The Relationships Column: Witnessing Domestic Violence in My Home

I would have never imagined it could happen to me in a million years. I see it in the news and the papers. I see it happen all around me. But never to me. I’m too strong for that. People would never get away with such things if I were around. Never.

I’d never let abuse go on in my house. Especially the abuse of a woman.

But I was wrong. Dead wrong.

Jim was a tall lad, about the same height as me. He had a very muscly complexion that conveyed to me he did a lot of lifting in the gym. He seemed able to handle himself. He had golden blonde hair that dangled across his forehead in a crop, and had lovely blue eyes, or at least that’s what I heard women say. His face was checkered with freckles which added to that golden boy look he gave off that often got him out of tricky situations. I’d known Jim for at least five years on and off now. I couldn’t fathom why not many people liked him. To me, he was nice. He was friendly.

His last partner was Sue. Sue was my best friend’s partner. I had known Ben and Sue for at least a good eight or more years by now. They were all my friends. My good friends. And, they had invited me down to stay to help me get better, get over this horrible affliction that was my mental illness.

I had only lived alone for about two months when they suggested that he partner up and live with me. Jim needed a house to stay–he was being evicted from his old house because his landlords were selling it. A tough situation, and I did feel sorry for him.

I’ll never forget the time he came to my house, passed out drunk with a beer for me. He had come back early from a drinking binge to give me a beer so that I didn’t feel left out because I was unemployed. I didn’t have any money. He wanted me to feel included. I found it an exceptionally nice thing to do since normally nice things didn’t happen to me. Yeah, I must say Jim won me over very early on. He was really nice. I guess I should have seen the fact that he was passed out on the doorstep as the first warning sign. But I was a sucker for grand gestures.

I was alone.

Jim filled that void. He was someone to share my life with that I had something in common with. I was a happy go lucky guy just as he was. It wasn’t long before I moved him and his things in. To live with me. I needed someone to co-exist with. I wanted to be happy. Or at least happy-er.

The first few months were completely awesome. We drank, we sat around our open fire and shared stories of long ago. We swapped conquest stories with females, we shared hard times and funny hospital stories. We really bonded, on a personal level. We laughed, we jested and we had a good time. Yeah, it was safe to say that I really liked Jim. He was a decent, open guy.

I didn’t realise what he was doing at the start. I suspect he probably didn’t realise on a conscious level. But as I look back, the stories that we shared and the things that we did together–it was to slowly but surely exert his dominance over me. That he was a stronger, more powerful and more dominant a person than I was. I couldn’t see it because I was blissfully unawares. I couldn’t see the subliminal messages he was sending.

I do now.

I really wish I was this aware back then

His stories that he shared, they were all of him conquering something, exerting his dominance over other males. I didn’t notice that in any of his past troubles he didn’t share anything of him being “normal”. Cocking up in royal fashion. Oh no, he was super-human. He attracted all the girls, defeated all the males, and won everyone’s affection. I forgot at the time that no-one is this perfect. But I already looked up to him as a boy would his father, ready to imitate him in any way possible. He was probably unawares to this himself, people generally are. It just happens on auto-pilot and you believe that you are just being yourself. But there is a subliminal plan to everything you do. And if you don’t constantly analyse yourself, you’ll never be aware.

I don’t think Jim was. I wasn’t either.

Our story starts when he brought his third girl home. A beautiful eighteen-year-old with an absolute thirst for life. She was zesty and bouncy and fun. Yes, it’s safe to say that I really liked Hannah from the start. Even if she was horrendously young for Jim. I liked the way she didn’t put up with any of his nonsense.

Jim was nearing his 30’s at the time. I’d like to say he was 29 but I can’t remember. Although I do know I was 25. He had tried to have his wicked way with Hannah and then get rid of her like she was a used playtoy. He loved doing that. Sleeping with girls half his age and chucking them away like a broken condom. I could never understand his thinking. My Mum raised me to never be like that, to be wary of men that were similar to that, and to generally be aware. But here I sat in my living-room as Jim played with her emotions like she was nothing. I didn’t agree with it. But he was my housemate. What could I do? He was already filling a hurting void. And I barely knew her. In essence, I had ended up living with a replica Dad. A person that was in every way similar to what my father was. It seemed I sought these people out during my younger years. Perhaps due to some kind of unresolved issues with my real dad.

Hannah was having none of his crap, though. She realised immediately what he was up to and fought the good fight to stay with him. I admired her strength. She fought hard, and she won. She ended up living with us, and him for two long years. Hannah was a beautiful, strong-willed and powerful girl. And he, he destroyed her. He destroyed me in the process too. I was caught in the cross-fire. But that, that was what he had intended all along.

After a few months of comfort, we moved out to a bigger house. Our small little terraced house wasn’t big enough for the three of us, so we moved to a larger, two-bedroomed flat. It was really lovely. We moved out just in time for the winter break. The first few months and the break were lovely. Jim and Hannah were all loved up, and I had made a new friend. Hannah.

But, but this is where the problems started. The flat was no longer under my control. It was shared responsibility. There was less threat or control on my behalf, not that it would have mattered I don’t think but it enabled the problems to escalate far quicker than they would have done now that I couldn’t rightfully boot him out. His name was on the rent document. It was his flat too.

This is where my journey to the bottom truly started. This is where all three of us took a journey to Hell and back. This is where my mentality took a turn for the worst….

Stay tuned for my next installment.