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Held hostage by my former partner weilding the legal system

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Held hostage by my former partner weilding the legal system

Postby CherylTunt » Wed Feb 22, 2023 9:26 pm

I'm now just over 14 months removed from an extremely abusive relationship (I own my share in it as - contrary to popular belief - I find that abusive relationships are very rarely one-sided).

We first met about 7 years ago in a cushy private D&A rehab / mental health clinic and very foolishly decided to move in together right away. Both of us being severe alcoholics with a long history of drug abuse and mental health issues, I was extremely lonely at the time and she had just been kicked out of her house by her husband so the apparent hopelessness of our respective situations seemed to provide the perfect environment for what we decided to do.

In the beginning, she told me about how abusive her husband was to her - putting her in hospital multiple times and, because he owned the house, the DV intervention & criminal charges the police imposed upon him meant that she wasn't able to live at their marital home anymore. During one of our boozy binges, I (half seriously) asked her whether she was going to be one of "those crazy traumatized women" who would project the trauma from previous relationships unfairly onto the subsequent ones - not the most chivalrous question to ask my new girlfriend but a fair question I thought at the time. She assured me that would never be the case.

What ensued in the coming months were a lot of predicable arguments (both of us being unemployed alcoholics) and threats that I made to end the relationship because it clearly wasn't working for either of us. Suddenly, she made it clear that, if I tried to leave her, she would call the police and have me falsely charged and arrested for DV and have a protective order imposed on me (essentially meaning that any subsequent accusations of abuse would have me sent to prison.

Terrified of both her expressed intention to abuse the legal system to threaten me into remain in a relationship and household with her where she was free to do as she pleased with my money, time and every aspect of my life, I remained in the relationship until an incident when were had a loud argument and I threw something at a wall, attracting the attention of the neighbors and the police who, of course, charged me with assault and imposed the protective order.

Stupidly, I decided to plead guilty and consent to the order which further emboldened her to control every aspect of my life as I lived in fear of what she might do next. Two months later, she made a further accusation and I spent 3 months in prison for an assault I don't remember committing and, when asking her for clarification for what actually happened that night, her story would change every time she told it. All I could remember from the night/day in question was that we were both extremely drunk and I was being physically attacked by her repeatedly and responding by removing myself from the situation right up until she had me backed into a corner, wielding a shattered wine glass in my face, and me pushing her away from me so I could protect myself.

My time spent in jail seemed to bond us in a bizarre way - psychologists often refer to it as "trauma bonding" - we spoke every day in the most loving, doting terms and all I could think about was seeing her again upon release. I was convinced that she felt the same way.

Of course, I was released and the relationship quickly defaulted back to our previous relationship, except, this time, she had the DV protective order to wield in my face as well as reminding me that she could send me to prison any time she wanted to. Police don't do nuance in these cases - especially in the jurisdiction where I live - it's literally: throw the man in jail first, assume he's guilty, then sort it all out in the coming months. She made it clear to me that, if I decided to leave her, I'd be in prison soon afterward. Which, of course happened again, four months after I was previously released from prison - this time for an assault that I had allegedly committed in my sleep. Yes, you're reading this correctly: I was charged and convicted of an assault I committed while I was asleep because my partner was drug and took offence to me hogging the blanket (3 more months in prison).

Luckily for me, one of my parole conditions stipulated that I could no longer live with her (in a twisted way, her accusation backfired on her and served to protect me in spite of me now being labeled a violent criminal and domestic abuser).

Because I'm ###$ in the head and suffer from BPD (one of the symptoms I seem to experience is that I prefer to be in an extremely abusive relationship rather than be alone), I continued the relationship until the protective order expired and it became clear that we were both cheating on each other. One morning, I helped her move into a new apartment, got drunk and made some disparaging comments about her fat, ugly neighbor (in a private conversation with my partner yet, admittedly, in earshot of fat, ugly neighbor who decided that being body-shamed in that way required a 000 emergency call). I had fun, knowing that that, legally, I had done nothing wrong and that the police couldn't do anything - my partner agreed that I was only there to help her move and that no argument or abuse had taken place and that we were essentially just enjoying each others company.

My partner then sent me home, furious that I had insulted her fat, ugly neighbor (who I assume was responsible for the malicious false accusations that had me jailed three times and serve 2 six month prison sentences) and told a story to her parents about how drunk an abusive I was that day - to which her parents responded by suggesting that she seek yet another protective DV order against me. Luckily, that was the final straw for me and I lied my way out of the relationship permanently (told her that I was going to a 12-month, long term rehab facility where they didn't allow phones blocked her number).

5 months later she was found dead in her apartment from an apparent suicidal overdose. Her family excluded me from the funeral and I found out from the police who were conducting an inquest (vetting me as a possible murder suspect).

I'm completely traumatized by all of this.

7 years living in fear of something that proved to materialize over and over.

The jurisdiction I live in really does function the way that I described it to and my now destroyed life could probably considered collateral damage within a culture that I am constantly confronted with that disseminates a narrative that men are intrinsically violent abusers, that women are always innocent victims in DV cases and that false accusations never happen nor do women ever abuse the overwhelmingly overbearing laws that protect them. The media continues to propel the narrative that we are living in a crisis-level society where women are always at risk and more needs to be done to protect them.

This OP was probably not much more than a vent. I feel ugly for writing it. But I'm exhausted by the PSAs and advertisements that continue to proport the myth that we're living in a society that we're living in a society of monstrous men who get off on abusing women. And that I'm apparently one of those monstrous men.

The dramatic irony is that I still love her and grieve her death so much that I often contemplate suicide (one psyche actually diagnosed me with Stockholm Syndrome). And I'm convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that, if our lovely good samaritan neighbors and police had just left us alone to be the unhinged little Bonnie & Clyde act that we seemed to enjoy together, maybe she'd still be alive today.

Such is life.

I'll never see the world the same again. Especially not the nanny state society I continue to live in (and probably won't ever be able to escape given my criminal record).

I guess I'm to blame for being too cowardly to leave her in the beginning. Choices and whatnot.
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Re: Held hostage by my former partner weilding the legal system

Postby Terry E. » Fri Feb 24, 2023 3:20 am

I was at a child abuse survivors workshop years ago and out of nowhere the topic of hooking up with other survivors came up. We polled the room and nearly half had done it. The surprise was we almost all said we had not disclosed our abuse until late in the relationship. Can't explain why but we see someone who " gets us", although we at the time don't know why. Having someone who understands us is very powerful. Think this was you and her.

Sorry about living the narrative. I saw my mum draw blood on my dad but never the other way around even when she was literally screaming in his face. She was a sadistic narcissist.

It is very hard to compare abuse stories, but in child abuse, women are much crueller. Men can be, usually when drunk but women take care to make the emotional pain match the physical. The worst cases of abuse I have ever read come from women who slowly tortured children to death, over many hours or many days.

So deep down the courts know, but superficially, it is what you say.

I really hope you can get the help you need with your addiction and be allowed to move on.

I also understand your loss. When you two were not drunk you had a very intense caring relationship.
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