I have a bad elbow, it is really painful, even it touching my clothes hurts. It is clear I have done something to injure it. But surely with this pain, that is getting worse I would notice when the injury happened and be able to tell when this pain started. It was really annoying me to not be able to work out when this pain and discomfort started.

It was so slow I did not notice

Then I worked out why, I have a new car which is a different shape to my old one. Everytime I put my seatbelt on I hit my elbow gently on the car door. At first and for quite a long while too gently to notice. It wasn’t until the discomfort built up to a pain I really took any notice. I was so glad to have the car it did not cross my mind it was the cause of my discomfort and pain. And that putting on the seatbelt – the very thing supposed to keep me safe on my jouney was the cause.

Why would someone who loves me, hurt me?

Like my excitment of having the car it didn’t cross my mind it could end up hurting me; at the start of my abusive relationship, it was hard to imagine this charming man who seems to be so in love could possibly cause discomfort and pain, let alone be doing so on purpose.

We lose confidence in our own reality

Even when I realised I was being abused, there were still  times of great love and care that mask the true nature of what is happening. With all the complexities of abuse it is hard to truly understand why there is so much discomfort. In a healthy relationship our sense of well-being is increased. In an abusive relationship we start to lose confidence in oursleves and our ability to do things we have always done. We start to feel dependent.

Know and notice the signs of abuse

It is so important to understand the signs of an abusive relationship. Whether you are the one in the relationship or you suspect a family member, friend or colleague is being subjected to abuse.

Nobody deserves to be abused

Abuse is about power and control. Information is powerful and being informed could help balance the scales to assist the person being abused. It took me years to truly understand what happened to me. I thought I somehow created the pain and discomfort in my life. I now realise it was not something I earned or deserved, I was a victim of domestic violence.

Do you know the signs of an abusive relationship?