It wasn’t long before Al’s new partner had moved in with him, he doesn’t recall this ever being agreed, his partner just never went home again. Al’s close family didn’t take to his new partner, they felt something wasn’t right about the relationship and that he was taking advantage of Al’s financial position and comfortable lifestyle. Al became more isolated from his family as it was easier than dealing with the tension between his family and partner. His partner also encouraged this, Al later found out was that his family had sent cards, which were returned without Al having knowledge of them, he had also told them that Al wanted nothing more to do with them, as they were too interfering.
They had a civil partnership and soon after Al started to really recognise the abuse. It started with ‘joke’ name-calling, but this became very personal and Al’s confidence was completely knocked, the more abusive his partner became, the more Al tried to make him happy to try and smooth things over. This generally involved buying expensive presents, Al’s ex would become aggressive if he didn’t get the present he thought he deserved. The abuse increased and at times was physical, Al’s mental health was severely affected to the point he felt like ending his life. He tried to end the relationship, this wasn’t easy and took several attempts as Al’s partner would promise to change if he was given another chance.
Al had one to one sessions with a BCD worker, it gave him time to explore and understand what he’d been through. Al questioned why as an intelligent person he didn’t see the abuse initially starting and why at the end it had been so difficult to leave a person he was frightened of.
He worked with BCD to understand the dynamics of an abusive relationship and the impact it has on a person. Al hadn’t recognised how vulnerable he was when he met his partner, he gave his partner personal information very early on, which he then used to manipulate him. Al had a lot of self-blame and questioned if he could have changed his behaviour to prevent his partner from getting angry, Al reflected back to the relationship with his worker and realised that he was always blamed by his partner when he was abusive, this is what had led to him questioning his own behaviours, Al now understands he couldn’t have prevented an abusive person being abusive.
At the end of support, Al said that he felt his confidence was coming back. He said he had a better understanding of what happened to him and had stopped blaming himself. He found the worksheets used particularly helpful, they helped him to structure his thoughts and put things into perspective. Al had also worked through the early warning signs of an abusive relationship and related some of them to his own relationship, he feels confident that he wouldn’t be so vulnerable if he met someone in the future.