When you suspect you are being controlled and abused – a personal message

I receive a lot of messages from victims of coercive control who are deeply upset and feel powerless. Many of those people are asking me if I think they’re going crazy. I’m writing this message to anyone who might feel this way.

If you suspect something isn’t right, it probably isn’t. Your instincts are finely tuned and you should listen to them. You don’t need anyone else’s validation. You have a psychological gift inside you that tells you when something isn’t right, it’s powerful and it’s wonderful. Trust in it.

If you are in a relationship with someone who is controlling, the bad news is that it won’t get better. This is who this person is. It’s not your responsibility that they are who they are, or for you to try and change or support them. Things are far more likely to get worse than better.

I would suggest anyone in this situation finds someone to confide in. That may be a friend or family member. There are so many professionals who you can confide in too, local domestic abuse services, GPs, midwives, police officers – or use the domestic abuse helpline. Don’t suffer believing you are wrong. Telling someone is a big first step and you will probably find they will understand. You don’t have to make any big decisions, but you should have someone in your life who knows and can be there for you.

A quick word for anyone who has been trusted with a disclosure. Don’t judge, don’t tell the person what to do, don’t confront the controlling person. Listen and support.

It’s a horrible time when you first realise you are in a relationship with a controlling person. It is unlikely they will ever change, and it’s unlikely that things will get better. Take a deep breath and know it’s not you – it’s them. You are okay and you will be in a better place when you feel you can make decisions about what to do next. There is help, and you are not alone.

Never be afraid to call 999 if you or someone else is in any kind of danger.  If you can’t speak after calling 999 – press the 5 key twice and police will respond without you having to say anything.


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