“The biggest support I felt was the group solidarity.”
The Freedom Project: A new way of life
I started seeing my boyfriend and he was lovely. If I went out with my friends we would spend all night texting each other. All my friends thought he was great as well. I thought this was so romantic…
As the months wore on the relationship became suffocating. He was so jealous – even of my female friends. I stopped going out with them. He even accused me of having affairs at my work. After being question on quite a few items of clothing I changed the way I dressed. My opinion was always wrong. I stopped disagreeing with him. I stopped saying no to him. I was nervous all the time. I didn’t know what would send him into a rant. I was frightened of him.
Bit by bit my confidence dropped and I ended up with low self esteem. I never thought this would happen to me.
I heard about the Freedom Programme and thought this could be just what I need. The first session I attended I was so nervous I felt sick. Sitting in the group I was so worried about what the other ladies in the group thought of me, but it soon became obvious that everyone understood how I felt as they had had similar thought or feelings regarding the relationship they were in or how someone tin their live could influence and control them.
I was still with my partner as I attended the group I wasn’t sure if I wanted the relationship to end, I still had a lot of feelings for him. He would be his old loving self sometimes and promised that he would change – he said got jealous because he loved me so much. But I just knew I was unhappy, nervous and scared. I had become a shadow of my former confident, bubbly self and I didn’t know or like who I had become.
It was great to be in a place and with people who I could talk to and who understood me and why I had stayed in an unhappy relationship for so long. I had stopped talking to my friends about how I felt and hid my feeling from my family for a while now. Comments like he’s a ‘beep’ and ‘you can do so much better’ weren’t helping me and making me fell a lot worse.
At the group every week we would look at a different tactic a person can use and the way it affects their partner. Some weeks would be more upsetting than others as different topics would upset different people in some way..
The project is delivered in a way that is so effective; sometimes there is humour and sometimes compassion and empathy but the biggest support I felt was the group solidarity.
It is not a quick fix and through investigating the tactics used and how they were influencing me, my thoughts began to change.
I had thought my partner was one type of controller – the persuader – but through the programme I became aware of the many tactics being used to make me conform to how my partner wanted me to behave.
By understanding the tactics I began to change the way I reacted to them and began to take back control of myself, my confidence, and esteem.
Book a Course
The 12 week course is for any woman interested in learning more about the effects of domestic abuse and, in particular for women who experience/ have experienced domestic abuse.
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