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Help is at hand if you’re on the receiving end of controlling behaviour

Published: 06 December 2021

Support is available locally for people who experience domestic abuse. We share the story of a brave Worcester resident - she reached out for help and her life has now moved on to a much better place.

Break for Freedom

"I first met my former husband through friends in Worcester, which is why I thought he would be OK.

But he soon became very clingy and bossy and was extremely controlling.  His abuse was more mental and emotional than physical.  He would shout, slam things, call us names, give me the silent treatment, put us down and try and intimidate us.

After we got married, he insisted that we and my two children (from a previous relationship) moved away from the area where my family lived.  He didn't like me having friends and stopped me from joining mother and baby groups after the birth of our child.

When my ex-husband came home from work, dinner had to be ready and the house had to be spotless.  No-one was allowed to talk at the dinner table.

My two older children were expected to be out of the way in their bedrooms from 6.00pm onwards.  My ex kicked my eldest son out of the house when he was 16, in his final year at school.  He hated the close relationship I had with my daughter and tried to stop us from talking to each other.

After twelve years, I had finally reached breaking point and was no longer in denial.  My New Year's resolution was to speak out, ask for help and leave with my children.

I made contact with the DAWN project – a free, confidential and non-judgemental service for people who have experienced domestic abuse.  They support you whether you are still in the relationship or have left.

The DAWN project has been absolutely fantastic.  I don't think I'd be where I am today if it wasn't for the help, support and understanding I've received from them.  We've been in touch for about three years and they have given me emotional and practical support throughout.  We've had regular face to face and group sessions as well as help over the phone.

Jo, my support worker, talked through my options and helped me prepare a plan to leave.  I had a bag packed with mine and the children's essentials and important documents to hand.  I gradually took items over to my parents' house, without him finding out.

So on the day I finally did decide to leave with the children, I was well prepared.  We moved temporarily into my mum's house.  The DAWN project then supported me through my divorce and helped us to find a beautiful new home.

When you're in an abusive relationship, it's easy to start thinking that everything's your fault and that you're going crazy.  The support I got from the DAWN project helped me to see that this wasn't the case and I got a fresh perspective on my relationships.

If anyone reading this is experiencing domestic abuse I would say, please ask for help; talk to anyone: family, friends, teachers, doctors, neighbours, and most definitely the people at the DAWN project. They are on your side and won't judge you. They listen, advise and will make you feel valued. They have been my Guardian Angels."

What is the DAWN project?

DAWN is a free, confidential service for anyone who lives in Wychavon, Malvern Hills and Worcester who is experiencing, or has experienced, domestic abuse.

It supports victims and survivors at all stages of abusive relationships, whether or not they are still living with a perpetrator.

DAWN also provides support to access housing, benefits advice, debt advice, legal services, support at criminal and family courts, referrals to specialist counselling services, support with reporting incidents to the Police, and support with social care.

For more information:

Call: 07713 200699


This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Recommended reading:

The Covert Passive‑Aggressive Narcissist – by Debbie Mirza

The Smart Girl's Guide to Self-Care – Shahida Arabi 

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