The Journey

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She described walking on egg shells and dreaded going home after work. I listened. She recalled episodes of her husband raging, leaving her petrified and fearful of what he may regretfully do. I listened. She explained he was not a bad man but suddenly seemed to have changed. His demanding behaviour made her and the children scared whenever he was around. I nodded, in sad acknowledgement of how difficult things were for her. I sighed: “it must have been difficult to please him”. She smiled in denial shaking her head, “no it wasn’t, it was impossible!” She said she hoped someday her story would be retold to give others hope, if she finally found a way out.

I had laughed, trying to make my concerns seem light, a bit anxious about being seen to be nosy. “We have to look after ourselves, we die once and best to make the days meaningful!” She had responded “every day is difficult” and added she could not see a way out”. Gradually more had poured out and I listened. She recalled terrifying situations ….I listened. She expressed gratitude for being able to talk, she said she felt better. She did not know what the next best step was to stop living in fear and yet fearful of leaving the dungeon she called home, darkened only by the presence of one person.

She was tired and drained, physically and emotionally. She said she had feared no one could ever understand how she could be so scarred, with no visible scars. The traumatic lashes inflicted on her for years, were unseen and the scars therefore too! She had stayed trapped, trapped in her world of respite at work which was challenging, but gave a break from irrational unrelenting demands from what she called “home”. She had dared to talk when I pointed out she had been physically present at the training session but her mind apparently not.

She asked if we could meet again. I was delighted she asked and said “yes”. She wasn’t sure how she would wangle the chance, to be out without it being work or an event related to the children’s program. He detested the idea of her meeting up with other women. We agreed to meet up during her lunch break. I had more flexibility so would come over……she smiled, we hugged and said goodbye. I walked away with tear filled eyes, another woman with unseen pain and silent victims affected too….. I was glad this was the beginning of hope for another woman, her children and others who may be involved, maybe even the pepetrator of the trauma…someday?

She hoped her pain would not be in vain. She decided to be open and share her journey with every opportunity, in hope that someone, somewhere, if only one would be set free as she hoped to be…

https://www.womensaid.org.uk/information-support/what-is-domestic-abuse/coercive-control/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-49022703

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