I thought things would be different this time

Note: This is a real story, written by a real person. Please be aware of potential triggers in this important piece. To share your story, click here.

I was 20 I & in a relationship that was nearing its end.

I met another man who gave me the attention I was craving.

I cheated on my partner with the new man in my life.

I felt so guilty & we moved away out of town, this way I didn’t have to face the hurt I created back at home.

Within a couple of months my new relationship had become verbally & physically violent.

I’d had to take time off work till bruises on face healed.

He’d also threatened to kill himself.

When the lease of our unit ended, I left him & moved back to my parents & changed my phone number.

A few weeks later was my 21st birthday & we’d not had any contact. I was lonely & missed the good times stupidly I messaged him.

Then he had my phone number & we continued to contact each other.

After I few weeks we got back together.

I thought things would be different this time.

We moved in with some friends 4 hours away from my family.

Things were ok, there was verbal abuse but the physical was at bay.

Within 5 months I discovered I was pregnant.

He was very happy to have a child.

He told his family & the physical violence wasn’t showing. We had arguments. I felt I wasn’t enough, I couldn’t do anything right.

If I could just be better he would be happy.

Before baby was 1 the physical fights stated again, we continued like this for a few months. I was so far from my family & friends all I had was him. I thought this was my Karma for cheating on my previous partner.

He got me across the head & one night & a few days later surprised me with an engagement ring as a way to get me to stay. There was a cycle of love & hate.

I felt he treated me better when I was pregnant & convinced him to have another child.

Things were still rough but he’d never hurt the children.

When baby 2 was born, he said the baby didn’t look like him & accuser me of having an affair. I was just broken.

When baby was 2 months old we had a nasty verbal argument at my family’s home.

My 2 teenage sisters stood up for me & asked him not to speak to me so rudely.

He went off the handle & called them all sorts of nasty names.

He said “we have to leave”, I said “I’m not going”.

He said “Fine you can stay here with the baby but I’m taking the eldest with me”.

I couldn’t let my children be separated so we drove back to our house.

I was so sad it was my birthday.

He said my sisters will never see my children ever again.

I didn’t know what to do. I love my children & my sisters & parents.

I went through this torture for a month & 1 day when he was at work, I was feeling emotional about it all & thought I could take my pain away by getting drunk.

When he got home he was drunk to & we had a massive fight. He belted me & threatened to kill me at one point around the head whilst I was holding my baby. I was screaming & crying. I even ran out into my back yard screaming, hoping my neighbours would here me & call the police but they didn’t.

He left but before he did he said “I dare you to call the police. I had bruises on my face back & legs.

At the hospital I discovery I had 2 perforated eardrums from the pressure of the hits on the head.

He didn’t come home & there was a court hearing for a family violence order the police had taken out.

Within a week he had manipulated me into letting him back in the house.

The next day family services came to our house & issued us both with papers declaring us as unfit parents.

We had to go to the children’s court the next day & we agreed to their orders.

He attended a men’s health program & I attended counselling. I felt I could never tell the counsellor the truth for fear my children would be taken from me.

We continued to live in the hell, I honestly thought I would die in that house.

I felt trapped, I didn’t tell anyone the whole truth about what was happening in my home.

I turned to alcohol which wasn’t the right answer.

I felt if I left him he’d find me & kill me, he made me believe I couldn’t live with out him, that I couldn’t afford to be without him.

18 months later he had an affair & I had a mental break down.

This was 11 years ago from today.

Fortunately he accepted he’d done the wrong thing & we broke up. I took the children to my parents house.

3 weeks later he said he’d move out of the house so the children & I could live there. I took the kids back there but he hadn’t moved out. The day we got there the kids wanted to play with him but him & his mate where in the rumpus room smoking weed with the door locked. I got so mad & got really drunk, he had the police arrest me & they locked me up for 4 hours.

When I got home they were all gone.

I was beside myself & for the first time realised my drinking was a big cause of my problems.

The next day I went to my 1st AA meeting, I found a solicitor to help me get my babies back.

Within 5 days he called me & gave the children to me & drove off.

I collected a few things & never looked back.

My solicitor helped get through the court hearings & he had to attend supervised visits for some months. He passed everything expected of him & we had family orders made up in court.

He was granted every second weekend & a week of each school holidays with the children. The children loved him & wanted to spend time with him.

They continued to visit him until the end of last year when he physically hurt our eldest. He stopped calling them & paying child support. I now have have the agency collect for me.

My eldest son wants nothing to do with him.

My youngest is almost 14 & has recently been in contact with him & wants a relationship with him.

I can’t stop my youngest from loving his dad.

I believe even though my children’s father & I have a horrible history I don’t have the right to stop my child seeing his dad.

I still have flash backs.

I hope I can fully recover so I have a chance of a successful loving relationship someday.