My ex-partner controlled my life

Over 11 years, my ex-partner basically controlled every aspect of my life.

I didn’t feel strong enough to get away. He also made me feel guilty, like it was my fault that the children were without a father that I was splitting the family up.

He was very paranoid and possessive and I wasn’t allowed out of his sight. He had to know where I was all the time and who I was with.

For the first few years, he would physically abuse me but later it was more mental. The physical abuse is horrible, but the bruises often fade. The mental abuse makes you breaks you down, you start believing what he says. You feel more and more dependent on them and they make you feel like you are nothing, that you’re stupid. They make you believe that you’re not capable of doing anything about it.

I never really had help before. I left him before and had no-one to turn to so went back. I had family around but felt guilty about the trouble I was causing. If I had known of agencies that could help, I could have left without causing my family stress.

This time around, I had already asked him to leave but he wouldn’t go so I spoke to the housing office, that’s how I found out about Next Link. They help with moral support, talking and making you feel like you are not alone. Even the name helps with things like the housing. When an agency is involved the other agencies think you are serious and take it seriously. Next Link help with paperwork too, like grants, they help with all the loose ends that you don’t know how to do or don’t know about. It’s brilliant to help with courts and injunctions, coming with you if you need it.

When I got an injunction out the first time, the only help or support I got was a solicitor, but I had to go to her, she would not visit me. No-one came to the court with me, I got my Dad to come in the end. My ex was put into the same waiting room and came up to speak to me. I felt really vulnerable.

My hopes for the future are to make a nice safe home for me and my children where we can feel relaxed and in control of our own lives. I want to have a good future and go to college.

The moral support from Next Link has made me more positive and given me the encouragement to stand on my own 2 feet.