Was I Complicit in the Abuse That I Suffered?

Examining the uncomfortable questions.

Matilda Fairholm


Image by ruigsantos via Shuttershock

One of the many challenges of writing about your own experiences of domestic abuse is the flack that you cop in the comments. Of course there is always the option of ignoring them. The problem with that that for some of us, me included, the primary purpose in writing about our experiences is not to make money, but to impact lives.

And to impact lives you need to engage with people.

That’s why I write. I write because when I was trapped in the prison that is domestic abuse, I honestly believed that there was not one person out there that that would have been able to relate to my story, who would have believed me.

I was wrong, and that was a devastating reality to come to terms with.

In March I wrote this story about coercive control, a barely understood but insidious part of the fabric of abusive relationships.

Interestingly I wrote this story in four hours in an airport on my way home from a holiday with my now husband. Our flight was delayed and this story had been percolating for some time.

I think a few days of palm trees and sunshine gave me the strength I needed to go there.

I’m glad I did. Of all the stories I have written, this is the one that truly landed where I wanted it to. It told not only my own story, but that of many other survivors. I know because they left private notes, connected with me on-line and sent me emails.

The story I wrote was also their story.

A story of insidious mental control, of domestic imprisonment and of life destroying abuse, but without overt physical violence.

I say overt because like me, these women had been threatened with fists that never landed and had watched plates smashed and doors ripped off hinges with rage. Like me these women had been raped by the man who had promised to love and protect them.



Matilda Fairholm

Writing to rescue others from the devastation of domestic abuse, and learning to live better. https://matildafairholm.medium.com/membership