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The emotional and psychological abuse started from the first day I moved in with my partner, as she was pregnant with our daughter I tried to fool myself that hormonal changes were responsible, however, it soon became apparent that lack of the ability to trust, an eating disorder with all of its underlying causes, and childhood emotional abandonment from her Mother were at the root of it. After I was badly physically abused on one occasion I arranged Family Counselling through the Courts in our home town in N.Z., however, this did not benefit her. I asked her to go to Violence Counselling, only to find later that the sessions she attended were for victims of Domestic Violence.

Most of the violence was emotional, for days on end she refused to speak, leaving me isolated within the relationship, constantly putting me down, never wishing to engage socially on any level. Whenever we went anywhere together, the slightest thing would see her belittling me publicly. When our wee girl was born I gained employment as a Counsellor, but the emotional abuse continued, and along with poor treatment from my employer, saw me having a breakdown. I took the employer to mediation, where they settled out of court, and moved the family to Australia, which had been an intention anyway, because I believed that my partner would benefit emotionally from being close to her family, that this would in some way help heal her family rifts, and as a consequence she would start to begin her own healing process. I also wanted our daughter to have the benefit of having Grandparents available to her, as my own parents had passed away some years before.

My partner's choice in Australia was that I become the primary care-giver, while she worked in her chosen profession. I had become quite numb by this time, but I believed that this new start would see improvement, but nothing changed. My partner's constant isolation of me saw me withdraw more and more, the more I tried to get her to see what it was doing to us, the more emotional abuse I received. I cried, I yelled, I sent her to counselling, I couldn't sleep or eat properly. I would be up all night just wandering around the house with my head in my hands, spinning out. All of this time, she would be telling work mates that it was me who was violent. Eventually, my daughter was to suffer a bout of her anger, and I told her to leave. A few days later, I agreed that she could return on the grounds that she both attend counselling again and confront her work mates with the truth, that it had been she who was the perpetrator, and not me. By this time, however, I was at the stage where I was completely numb. I looked after my daughter's needs totally, but whenever my partner was home I retreated to the computer, just zoning out, trying to stay out of harm's way.

I came to witness her mother's continued abandonment of her, when she would drive long distances for weekend workshops, and not even ring or drop in to see her granddaughter; when my partner had her 40th birthday, and did not even get a call from her; when she babysat our little girl for one night, and when we came home at 10.30, to find that our daughter was wandering the house while she had gone to bed at 8pm, before our daughter was asleep. These things reinforced for me why my partner could not trust anyone, when the one person she she should have been able to rely upon since childhood, had never been there for her. The stories of having to look after herself as a wee child, of having to be the parent to her siblings from an early age, started to make sense to me. I had two people on my hands, one the responsible professional in her work, and the broken and hurt child at home. I could not help or compete with her mindset, and confronting those issues with a professional counsellor was too scary for her. I now understood why she had an eating disorder, trying to fill the enormous hole inside herself left by her mother's absence, then feeling guilty, as if somehow it was her own fault, that she was intrinsically unloveable.

Throughout the relationship, I have had the responsibility for arranging educational and medical needs for our daughter, housing and moving, all financial affairs, arranged holidays, creating a home, and making sure all of our needs were met. My partner's absolute inability to trust anyone, her constant belief that I would leave with our daughter and go to N.Z., her belief that I don't care about her or love her, were totally unfounded. If I had wanted to leave, I could have done so on countless occasions, I could have been in N.Z. before she got home from work. I stayed because at the deepest part of me, I could not believe that she wouldn't, or didn't want to change, and within my heart, however I tried, my love for her still existed. My partner's continual need for positive reinforcement while only giving me negatives drained me, until there was nothing left in me to give. I am now nearing 61 years of age, and after eight years of this treatment from her I feel totally broken, lost, and the me I once knew has disappeared from sight.

It must be hundreds of times that I have heard her say, "I am sorry, I realise what I have been doing, you don't deserve it and I will change," only to see her do exactly the same to me the next day again. It seems so long since I have felt any kind of safety, of belonging. We are in an Australian country town now, where we have been for almost two years, and the abuse just continued until she left at the beginning of February 2010. I still have primary custody of our daughter, however, she still continues to tell all and sundry that she is the victim of the abuse. Still, my partner tries to control everything, leaving me with all of the family related responsibilities, financially, educationally, while making out to all that I am responsible.

I now feel at the end of the line, crushed, defeated, with nowhere left to turn.

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