Martha | Gaslighting

My ex husband was, and I believe still is a police officer. We divorced about a decade ago only it is only now that I am realising and dealing with the fact that I was psychologically abused by him. At the time I had never heard of gaslighting and certainly wasn’t in a state of mind to understand that it happened to me.

At the time I dealt with his serial cheating. The fact he walked out on me for another woman, a woman he should never have been in a relationship with as he was assigned to her domestic abuse case. She was one of many he admitted to cheating with.

His lies were constant yet if ever I picked up on anything or questioned him it was me in the wrong. I didn’t love him, I didn’t trust him, it was never his fault. He constantly manufactured arguments, shouted at me, ignored me, made me feel worthless. He would confuse me by denying conversations ever took place and was so convincing that I thought I was going mad, I had imagined it, I was wrong. I would always be the one that ended up apologising even when I had done nothing wrong. He would insist he had told me to do simple things like put something in the oven and shout at me when I didn’t do it and no matter how much my brain told me that the conversation never happened he would convince me it had and I felt stupid and like I was losing the plot and couldn’t remember things. I felt like I was always in the wrong. He fed people lies so they stopped talking to me and then would hug and comfort me when I was upset about it, reassuring me he would deal with it when all along he was the cause. He was never physical but i was still scared of him. I would always back down and apologise as I was scared of what could happen if I pushed him or stood up for myself. He would constantly make me feel that I wasn’t good enough and nothing I did was ever good enough. He cheated with so many women. He even got one pregnant. He never used protection with any of them, it was humiliating getting tested after I found out. He didn’t care about putting me at risk. Other police officers would give him the numbers of women he could hook up with, they didn’t care he had a wife at home. They encouraged each other to cheat. Even our divorce was controlled by him. He threatened to reveal things to my family I didn’t want them to have to hear unless I agreed to not say he was an adulterer on the divorce.

He has left me with no self confidence and I feel worthless. I can’t make big decisions as I don’t trust my own judgement. I don’t understand why he stayed with me for so long, he could have left sooner and given me my life back. Instead over a decade later I am still suffering because of the emotional abuse.

Constabulary: West Midlands Police

Timespan: Ten plus years ago

Did you report it to the police?: No

Your ethnicity: White British

Have you experienced suicidality due to this?: No

Illustration by Danny Noble

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