Health and Wellbeing

Beware the lover that wraps hands around your throat.

June 19, 2013
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Intimidating behaviour is uncool.

Whether it’s hitting, grabbing, pushing, throwing stuff, slamming shit or even flipping your lid in an uncontrolled manner, if it’s scary in the slightest, it is intimidating behaviour.

And that blows.

Many people (I won’t just say women but it is mostly women who are at the pointy end of this behaviour) think that if they are not actually being hit, that it’s ok, but I can tell you first hand that it is not ok.

When I was 19 I had a boyfriend who I thought was cool as shit. He was powerful, built like a brick shithouse, commanded respect within his community (a group of Sydney surfers who have made the headlines time and again for all the wrong reasons….and then they went made a movie about them. Go figure) and was just a little bit crazy.

We partied a lot, and times were nutty. When he and I were given the moniker ‘Beauty and the Beast’, I thought it was cool. I presumed I was the Beauty, of course. If I were labeled the Beast, I probably would have thought it considerably less cool.

In the year and a half we dated, the police removed him from my house, after the neighbours called citing domestic violence, no less than three times. I never pressed charges.
He was also questioned two other times for aggression not shown towards me.

You see, this dude of mine, he had a bad temper.

Uncontrollable.

I moved house twice because my flatmates would end up banning him from our house because of his aggressive behaviour. He broke doors, smashed windows, and put holes in walls. My friends saw me belittled and pushed around and even threatened with a hammer.
My friends feared him, but worse than that, my friends feared for my safety.

I will never forget opening the front door one night to one of my best friends who took me by the head and rattled my brain.

‘You’re going to end up dead and I’m not going to watch it’

And she left.

And. I. Stayed.

He didn’t hit me. Not really. Sure, he smashed shit, but he only did it to emphasise his point. He didn’t really do more than push me a bit, and he was always sorry.

So very sorry.

Things came to a massive head in Bali on a surf safari when things got right out of hand.

As predicted, I really did nearly end up dead.

He lost his temper one night out partying. I left the venue and sought a safe place to chill until the storm passed.
A male friend, a little placid man, tried to protect me and hid me in his room. When my boyfriend found us, I remember seeing my protector fly through the air after being punched in the face, so I  left with this raging man who claimed to love me, before anyone else got in the line of fire.
We went downstairs to our room where he proceeded to unleash his wild temper in a display previously unmatched.

I remember the feeling of his hands tightening around my neck, squeezing the cords together. I had been crying hard, wracking the big blubs but I wasn’t crying now because you need breath to sob. I could still feel the tears on my cheeks as I looked up into his purple face. His eyes bulged with his anger and spittle rained down on me as he yelled at me while he pressed his weight onto my throat as I was pinned to the bed.

And then black.

When I came to he was rummaging around, throwing shit around and I dashed from the room while he was in the bathroom. The proprietors of the hotel, who had seen or heard most all of this disgusting scene, quickly beckoned me to hide in a little, dark, rat infested hole in the wall behind the front counter where they stored rice. The kind old lady pressed her finger to her lips in the international sign for silence as she closed the hatch on this tragic young girl.

I sat in there, wet with tears and snotting all over myself, listening to him raging around like a mad bull trying to find me, until I finally passed out, crouched in a corner.

Did I mention someone had given me a Rohypnol? Minor detail. It was the little placid dude, he said it would help me relax. Understatement of the century, FYI.

Anyway, I digress….

I woke the next day in a bed. Someone had carried me to another room and locked the door from the outside. I woke to the sound of the key unlocking the door and someone slid a tray bearing some tea and banana pancakes onto my doorstep.

My throat was covered in bruises but my ego had been beaten to death. I flew straight to my Mama in Melbourne where I stayed for a few weeks but when I returned to home, I also returned to him.

I know, right????

What was it going to take?

Truth is, I was scared to leave him now. Scared to stay and scared to go.

Quite the conundrum.

Then one day, I woke up one morning in an apartment with strange brown carpets and walls, that I didn’t want to be living in, with friends that didn’t want to see me, terrified of my lover and I just thought –

I don’t want this for my life.

Breaking up was hard. He couldn’t understand why I was leaving him.
He stalked me, and terrorised me at work trying to get me to get back together.

Further intimidation didn’t really work in his favour.

I moved house yet again and ended up pretty much repeating the mistake with someone else who intimidated me in a different way, but that’s another story. I think we can safely say I had a self-esteem issue in my early 20’s.

My point is, I’m a smart, sassy, spunky chick, but at that time of my life, I didn’t think I was worth more.

I don’t think Nigella needs our judgement. I dare say with her dirty laundry out flapping in the wind right now, she’s looking fairly closely at her lot.

We’ve seen some damning photos, that prove that no matter how successful or how rich and glamourous your life might look, everyone has dark secrets.

I hope you stay safe, Nigella. I hope you consider your children, not just their safety but the lessons you’re teaching them. Only you know what goes on inside your marriage…

But intimidating behaviour, on any level, is uncool. Scaring people you love is unacceptable.

Being scared by someone you love, is not good love.

If you, or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, call the Domestic Violence Hotline now on 1800 656 463

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Hooking up with the glorious Grace, to shamelessly flog my blog for FYBF

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38 Comments

  • Reply Kristy @ The Life She Made June 19, 2013 at 7:46 am

    Thanks for sharing your horrific story, it must have been difficult to think about that time again, let alone pressing that publish button.

    I think your story is a really important one to be told, especially in light of what Charles Saatchi has now said in his defence – he was holding her neck to emphasise a point. Sure, this may be true, maybe he wasn’t actually choking her, but who the hell holds someone’s neck to emphasise a point? I call that intimidation. Like you said, at first, he didn’t hurt you, but his behaviour was intimidating. Your friends could see it, but you couldn’t.

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys June 19, 2013 at 1:33 pm

      Just the publish was hard. Thinking about it is fine. I read it to my husband first to see how I went and it really does seem like a whole lifetime ago. Like someone else’s story.
      Lucky everyone doesn’t emphasise in such a manner, huh?

  • Reply Mrs D June 19, 2013 at 7:47 am

    Takes courage to tell your story, I know it did for me anyway. Violence is violence is violence, Xxx

  • Reply Bunny Eats Design June 19, 2013 at 7:52 am

    Holy crap dude. That’s deep.

    I’ve never experienced domestic violence. It’s hard to imagine how people can put up with it but somehow, they do. Glad you got out. It sounds like such a lifetime ago compared to your life now.

    The statistics of domestic violence are staggering. And the thing is, pulling it out is all good, but also buries it deeper. I remember saying to The Koala how I couldn’t imagine anyone we know involved in domestic violence, as a perpetrator or a victim. Statistically, there must be someone we know hiding a secret. I know it sounds naive, but battered women seems so obvious when in reality, anyone can be a victim.

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys June 19, 2013 at 1:31 pm

      Tis true, my dear…tis true. By that rationale, someone you know also has herpes 😉

      • Reply Bunny Eats Design June 19, 2013 at 2:13 pm

        …and if no one you know has herpes, it’s probably you :/

        • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys June 19, 2013 at 2:16 pm

          I saw one the other day that said’ everyone has an ugly friend, but if none of your friends are….. oh, awkward’.

  • Reply ksbeth June 19, 2013 at 7:59 am

    This is beautiful and sad and so true and I thanknyoubfor posting this. Inthinknyou will help many people with this

  • Reply blowingoffsteamandmore June 19, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Wow. Thank you for sharing your story. I have dealt with issues like date rape and bulimia that are also considered “taboo” (i.e. no one wants to acknowledge them) and I admire your strength and honesty. I understand what it’s like to look in the mirror and think “I don’t want to be this person”. I also understand what it’s like the look in the mirror and think “I am beautiful and I deserve respect and love”. Congratulations to you for recognizing your own strength and getting out of a potentially fatal situation. Thanks again for sharing. People need to hear this and LISTEN!

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys June 19, 2013 at 1:34 pm

      Funny how bulimia and self esteem go hand in hand….I’ve also written about that chestnut!
      Going to go and have a read of yours now.
      Thanks for the love.

  • Reply Rachel June 19, 2013 at 8:46 am

    Mate. I’m so sad that this happened to you, but admire you so much for sharing it. I hope that any other smart, sassy young ladies who happen to have found themselves in a similar situation read this and realise that they don’t have to accept intimidation of violence in their lives. Love x

  • Reply monk-monk June 19, 2013 at 10:22 am

    you write powerfully about such a vulnerable and terrifying experience(s). Thanks for sharing…hopefully someone will read and see the signs and see that they can and deserve to get out

  • Reply Maree June 19, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    You are a very cool woman Mrs H. All power to you for the strength you show in sharing your story with others, and for the great parent you are to your little bears. If one woman steps out of her DV situation because of this story, your decision to share this part of your life will have been so very worth it. Go you good thing, Mrs H!

  • Reply NewLifeOnTheRoad (@NewLifeOnRoad) June 19, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    I have never understood how anyone could stay in such a relationship – no man has ever hit me, one has tried to many years ago.
    But I have seen it many times over with those near by. I have been in the middle of a couple {a few weeks ago} who were fighting – physically and emotionally. I stepped in because they were fighting over their little boy who was going to be hurt by their tug-a-war. And i listened to both sides of their story – and feed their little sweet boy a sandwich.
    I tried to sober up the Mother with Coffee and a sandwich but she was too drunk for it to be a benefit.
    I listened to the Man call her some terrible names, but she kept on saying she loved him.
    He has her backed in a corner of where she feels like she has no where to turn – he threatens to take their son away from her if she leaves. She also feels like she has no-where to go.
    The whole thing is so terribly wrong because her 2 year old son sees all of this…..what will he think is normal?
    Violence is wrong – be it by words or by touch.
    You are so very brave to share your story, to get out alive and to live a different life. Hoping others can gain inspiration from your journey.

  • Reply tric June 19, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    Well done for going ahead and pressing publish. I think until it happens to you you will never understand why. Getting out of the situation is so much harder than putting up with it. For every action there is an excuse. I have only begun to share my abuse online. I can talk about it openly but I cannot easily write about it. You have obviously come a long way and learned lessons others will never know. Your post was very well written. Well done.

  • Reply robomum June 19, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    What kind of a person would do such a thing? What kind of a person would stay with someone who does this kind of thing?
    Your post answers…
    I’m so sorry that you and millions of people around the world have experienced this. I can see no ultimate end to this, just support for victims and education. A terrible story but such an important one to share.

  • Reply cookie1986 June 20, 2013 at 12:53 am

    It’s strange, I think. When we are young and plucky we are also too forgiving and not confidant enough to know when we deserve better. Thankfully you recognized the patern before you became stuck in it for good.
    Great Post. I hope it turns the lightbulb on for someone.

  • Reply Joyce June 20, 2013 at 4:38 am

    I’ve adored Nigella for ages and it saddens me to see pictures of her with a hand on her throat. That’s not normal. Thank you for sharing your story to emphasize that very point.

  • Reply keladelaide June 20, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Alcohol fuelled violence is the worst kind. That must have been a harrowing experience. Glad you got out and have the life you deserve now.

  • Reply Here Now Brown Cow June 20, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    That is scary shit. And to be in Bali, far from home. Wow. I’m glad you eventually left, but I’m sad for all those who don’t, or can’t. It’s an impossible situation and frustrating not to be able to help. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply larva225 June 21, 2013 at 3:20 am

    We were speaking about that here at work. I found myself saying “Why would Nigella – beautiful, smart, successful – put up with that shit?” But that’s not the right question, and if anything, only perpetuates the problem – the problem being why anyone would think they have the right to treat another human being that way.
    So glad you’re older and wiser and got yourself away from that sort of individual.

  • Reply Renee at Mummy, Wife, Me June 21, 2013 at 8:07 am

    What an horrific story! Thank you for sharing. That can’t have been easy. Thank Christ for those people who hid you. You are such a strong woman to escape all that and to get to where you are today.

  • Reply Lisa June 21, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Wow. This was very powerful, and must’ve been difficult to write. I’m glad you’re away from that person now.

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys June 21, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      Nah. Old news. Easy to write….pressing publish, however, that was scary. I know my mum reads this and she never heard the full story!

  • Reply Sarah @ Slapdash Mama June 22, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Holy shit. Your story is terrifying. So brave that you managed to extricate yourself. I had one boyfriend who never got to this stage but who I saw very very drunk very very often, vey very agro and I was very very glad to get away scot free.

  • Reply Have a laugh on me June 23, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Shit that must have been hard to write Mrs H. How freaky. I had a similar but different relationship, more verbal but then with the throwing, breaking things, lifting up a couch with me sleeping on it. And the worst, being spat on in the shower. I cringe ‘saying’ it out loud. Took me a few years but I got out too. Hugs x

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys June 23, 2013 at 6:56 pm

      Anything that makes you feel small and unworthy is shit…. And it all leaves marks on our hearts and souls. Pleased you discovered your awesomeness too.

      Sent from my iPhone

      On 23/06/2013, at 6:44 PM, Keeping Up With The Holsbys

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  • Reply Zanni Louise October 15, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    I can’t believe I have never read this before. It is so chilling. You are so brave to put it out there. I know similar stories which involved equally as smart sassy women. I have never known violence like this, but I have known psychological violence. At the time, I thought I was worth nothing, so I can relate to that part. Thank you for sharing. x

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys October 15, 2013 at 8:40 pm

      It seems like a million years ago. A lifetime. Look at us now, huh? Worth a million shining stars xxx

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

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  • Reply andrewisraelkazibwe July 12, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    This is a touching experience…Love need some fighting in it, but not with that violence where one looses their humanity…Uhmmm, love, so complicated as you tap into it!

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