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I confess it: I am always writing one-liners about myself online.
No longer are your recommended matches likely to be living in their parent’s basement at 42, nor do most of them have a profile picture that’s an awkwardly posed topless selfie in the bathroom mirror, socks visibly pulled up towards greying underwear.
I started to see less of my friends who Ben implied would ‘be a bad influence on me’. They find another reason to blame you for their anger. You earlier ignored the warning signs, now you deny the reality of the abuse. I didn’t even feel the shattered glass as it cut into my flesh. They charged him with assault and issued a restraining order.
I started wearing more conservative clothes, those he wouldn’t deem ‘slutty’. Denial is aided by the fact their remorse is equal to the scale of any attack, verbal or physical. Then for some reason, he went to the kitchen and started smashing everything there. (He would later be convicted and given a suspended sentence as a first time offender.)It seems incredible to admit, but I let him back into my life shortly before our baby was born.
And in those days domestic disputes were seen as a private matter. I tried the first time when my son was six months old. It took a lot for me to accept that the risk of my death far outweighed that illusive high. If I loved Ben unconditionally, I had no right to expect him to change. I had to give my son the best start in life I could. You’ve been numb for so long and then a rush of emotions pours out at once. Either way, like any addict, you risk losing your life. An abuser is 100 per cent responsible for their actions. I fell in love with a man who later became violent towards me. Why is it I need to numb myself with someone who is like a drug to me? I had to learn my propensity for this kind of addiction was in me way before I ever met Ben.
If I’m honest, my behaviour deteriorated, too, and I’m not proud of it. I left for good when my baby was one — taking just him and whatever I could fit into my car. Only then could I stop trying to fix him and focus on healing myself. With zero self-worth, we attract those who treat us as worthless. Thanks to the lessons I learned from my relationship with Ben, I’ve spent 30 incredible years with a man who is my best friend. Both my boys have since grown up into beautiful, loving, well-adjusted men. I chose to never say a bad word about him to our son. I forged a successful career, first as an actress in TV soaps and series, such as Prisoner Cell Block H.