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Ask The Band: Control

Sometimes, we find ourselves stuck in a domestically abusive relationship and don’t see a way out.

Can you please help her figure out what to do next? 

I’m in a controlling relationship.

Funny thing, though: we are not a couple.

We haven’t been “together” since I was three months pregnant with his daughter. That was when he decided to back me into a corner and scream in my face over something silly. That was after he broke my phone in half. My two older kids were asleep in the other room, and he refused to leave MY house. The next day, I took my kids to my aunt’s house with me. He got pissed and started screaming at me again.

I called my aunt behind his back and he tried to slap me, with my terrified children at my feet. I moved out in three hours, after he went to work one Saturday, with the help of some amazing friends.

exhausted from abuse

I missed grabbing some things in the shuffle and he refused to give them back. After I told the landlord I’d moved, he finally moved out; then he moved in with a mutual friend. The friend called me one day so I could get my things from his room while he was gone.

You should have heard that fight: What right did I have going into his house and taking his things? He never did understand that it was NOT his house, and I was invited by the homeowners AND didn’t touch his stuff. I only took mine.

Shortly after that, he amazingly made up with one of his “mortal enemies” and moved in with them. The best part? The house was three houses away from my grandma’s – where I’d moved with my children. He’d call every time I left the house or returned home – every time there was a car in the driveway. Sometimes, he’d call over 10 times in one minute.

One night, I called the police. The next day I got: “I don’t know which of your boyfriends you had call me, but I know you’re a liar and that was not a cop. A cop wouldn’t have restricted their number.” That is the level of stupid I deal with.

Our daughter – who is now four – was born and things are just as bad. If he even THINKS I am seeing someone he says, “We need to talk.”  One time, after he found out I was dating someone, he refused to give my daughter back after a scheduled visitation.

I called the police.

They showed up and he said, “Oh I’m sorry officer. I never told her she couldn’t take the baby. I was just going to get her when she called.”

Mind you, he pushed me out of his way because I was just going to go in the house and take her. My other kids again, right there, saw it all.

If I make plans, he wants to know with whom, where, and when. And if he can watch the kids, which he doesn’t seem to understand will NEVER happen.

The one time I allowed him to watch all the kids, he decided to take a bath with my daughter – my daughter from a previous marriage. During this (naked) bath, he talked to her about his flaccid penis floating in the water. The detectives couldn’t prove anything, other than suspicions that he was “grooming” her, so everything was dropped.

This is the ONE thing I said would never happen to my kids, and I just handed it to him. Let the courts handle it instead of letting every single person I know kick his ass. And in the end, I should have just let them. Maybe then he’d understand.

It KILLS me that I have to leave my youngest daughter with him. It is sad that I had to teach my (then) not-even-two-year-old about good touch and bad touch. No one should have to do that.

The controlling goes on and on. I’ve told him to leave me alone. He always threatens custody, which, okay, I know I can’t afford that fight. He can because his mom always backs him up. no. matter. what. So, I stay quiet.

He makes sure our daughter has what she needs and I’m grateful for that.

But part of me wonders if it’s another way to control me – every time I refuse to tell him what I’m doing, he asks our daughter about me. Every time. Never fails.

He will buy me underwear or swimsuits, and he won’t take “no” for an answer. When we drop off or pick up our daughter, he backs me into a corner and kisses my neck. He makes inappropriate comments. I absolutely know this tactic. But I’m so tired of fighting – I simply don’t say anything.

Pervert is sometimes easier to deal with than asshole. In doing this, I know I’m letting him win. My depression will never get better with his behavior – I simply don’t know how to stop it.

He’s been blowing up my phone for two days because I didn’t tell him good morning or answer a rhetorical text he sent.

I love my daughter to pieces – don’t get me wrong…but sometimes…nope, can’t even write it. I love her too much.

I just want to take my children and run far, far away.

I don’t know what to do, The Band, and I don’t know how much longer I can keep doing this.

How do you get out of a controlling, possessive relationship when you have children together, but you aren’t even “together” anymore?

PTSD and Childhood Bullying – A Silent Suffering

I always thought that PTSD was something soldiers developed – I was naïve; had no idea anyone could develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. After my teenage son began to get into trouble, I assumed we’d become another statistic – a family with an out-of-control teen.

After we started family counseling, my therapist suggested that I try private therapy. About a week into it, I was diagnosed with PTSD. The therapist said were several things that led to PTSD.

PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, can occur when something horrible or traumatic has happened in. It causes stress every time you encounter a situation is similar to the previously-experienced traumatic events.

I’ve had a few types of traumatic events. I had a rocky relationship with my father growing up and then his death was both very sudden and very traumatic. An abusive relationship with my ex. I’ve experienced abuse from my son. Lastly, I was bullied by a girl from second grade all the way through high school.

My reactions to everyday situations can be more intense than they need to be – but whenever I am in a stressful or threatening situation, I relive past experiences. It’s hell, reliving the same horrible day over and over.

Once, when I saw my grade school bully in the grocery store, while I was there with my kids and we were checking out. The sound drained out of the store. My heart began to race. Blood pumped in my ears. My face got hot. As soon as I was able, I grabbed my kids and ran for the car. I must’ve driven break-necking speeds home, but I don’t remember getting there.

I had a panic attack after seeing this woman! We live in a small town and the odds of running into her are probably higher than in other areas, but I never see her. When I did, I hit fight or flight mode, and flew! That was six years ago.

Since I began therapy, I’ve seen her again. My daughters were with me, and this time I made sure to make eye contact with her as I turned to my daughters and said, “Girls, let’s go check out. I think we’ve got all we need now!” I turned and went to check out. As we left I felt so proud of myself for facing her, and not fleeing like a chicken facing slaughter!

Thanks to the ways she traumatized me, I always tell my kids, “Don’t take anyone’s crap at school!” Recently my daughter was getting harassed by a staff member at her middle school. I contacted the principal and reported her. This woman has not bothered my daughter since I reported her; threatened to file a sexual harassment suit against the school.

Since starting therapy, I stand up more than I used to. Despite all the reasons my therapist thought that I was traumatized, I think the bully and my father’s sudden death were the two that really affected me.

I was a victim of domestic abuse, but I came to terms with it, and took a stand. I left my then-husband and married the man responsible for making me feel like I was worth more. I call him my White Knight because I was considering suicide when we met – he saved me.

My son and I have resolved many of our issues and are working on our relationship; things are getting better.

I still have issues with my dad’s death.

See, I was blamed for him dying. He died from cancer 14 years ago and afterward, I was told that being around stressed him out – caused his cancer to return after it had been in remission.

Being blamed for his death is a hard thing to overcome. But this year, I was able to make it past his birthday and the anniversary of his death (exactly a month apart) without being a total mess!

To all those out there who have been bullied, abused, or lost a loved one, don’t assume you are strong enough to deal with it on your own.

PTSD snuck up and took over my life. I’d been miserable for years because I didn’t know what I was trying to cope with on my own. I suffered for years without understanding why, until I didn’t want to live any more.

Now, I cannot imagine having missed one day of my kids lives. Good or bad, I want to be there for it all. When they graduate from high school, when they get married, go off to college, when they start their own families. I want to be there, protect them from the problems I had. To tell them, “You’re better than this!” Or smile for them after they avoid bad situations entirely!

Don’t hesitate to get help for PTSD. It really does make a difference.

I never wanted to go to therapy every week, but I am, and I am doing much better. My therapist told me last week that he thinks I am nearly ready to be done. I think that’s a remarkable thing to hear – I am better, I can do it.

My therapist told me recently that I’m a remarkable person for dealing with what I’ve experienced, and still managing to smile. I told him that despite any issues I’ve had, I have great kids and a loving husband.

That’s all I could ask for!


I was friendly. That’s all.

He was my friend.

He asked me to go with him to feed his rabbits. How could I say no? I love rabbits. So we went.

They were trying to nibble at my fingers when I felt him come up behind me. I asked him what he was trying. He didn’t even say a word before he turned me around and forced his lips on mine. I pulled back…or tried to. In a second, his hands had already torn my bra off. Believe me, I was fighting. I mean, I liked him, but not that way. I kicked, I punched, I begged… We were up against a wall when he tried to rip my pants off. I was trying desperately to reason with him. Nothing could fend him off. He lifted and started carrying me to his quarters. I couldn’t even move one of his fingers away. He was too strong. He put me down to open the door and there I strangled him. He was laughing. How?

He relented for a second, and I ran. I climbed the gate and ran home.

I’ve been crying.

I can’t stop.

He texted me the next morning saying I was a good kisser.

I want to kill him.

I was once in a similar situation. Called the cops. But now, do I send this man to prison? Again, we were friends.

What if I see him again? Will I run? We’re almost neighbors.

He didn’t rape me. But he was going to. Was he?

Am I just a walking vagina?

Sexual Harassment and Assault

I’m just really tired of it all. It’s been eating away at me for some time now. I can’t count all the times I’ve been harassed by boys and grown men. I don’t know one girl that hasn’t been sexually harassed at least once in her life. That’s pretty sad.

Sophomore year was one of the worst years of this. Two boys harassed me all year long saying disgusting things to me, touching me, poking me. One day one of them even stuck his hand up my skirt and pinched my ass! That was super fun. Later that year a different boy pushed me on the ground and stood over me jokingly saying “give me a blowjob.”

Junior year I didn’t have classes with the two boys anymore. But then the boy who had said “give me a blow job” later took it even further. I was at a party at his house, most everyone was already gone. It was me, him and his brother and my other friend who is a boy. The boy twisted my arm forcing me to the ground, next thing I know him and his brother start to dry hump me. His brother on my boobs, and him on my lower stomach. I was yelling stop. They didn’t care. And my friend didn’t do anything, he just stood there. And that really hurt.

They have finally stopped.  It amazes me that boys think these things they do are okay. I just want it to stop. But the really sad thing is, I feel like I deserve it.

My Brother-in-Law Sexually Assaulted Me

My brother-in-law (I’ll call him Tom) has always been flirty with me, but not in a gross way – just normal guy stuff.  I knew him before he knew my sister (who I’ll call Heather), I’m 37 and he’s about 5 years older, she is 2 years younger than me.

I own a multi-family home with Heather, I live in my apartment and she rents out her apartment because she and Tom and their son have a single family house about a half mile away.

I recently moved back to this house because I got out of a tumultuous relationship. I had also just had a miscarriage (with the ex’s baby, so nature made the right decision for me) literally about 4 days before moving.

I was happy to be home with my son. I felt safe. I felt calm. I felt like I could heal there.

One day about a week after I had moved, Tom texted me to tell me he was going to be at the house to cut the lawn and to clean out the basement a bit.  When I got home with my son, Tom was there and had definitely been drinking. He’s not a big drinker so it was a little strange that it was a weekday afternoon when he started on the beers. But I attributed it to a rough day and he wanted to relax.

At the time, I was still smoking, and I was outside on the porch having one and he came up to me from behind and pushed himself against me. I could feel it. I moved away, laughing nervously and said “OMG stop!!!”  Like I said, he had always flirted and he’s very sarcastic and jokes a lot.  He came up to me again and talked into my ear about how bad he wanted me and just wanted me to let him touch my butt.  I again said “no” and moved away, the ‘whispery’ type voice in my ear was creeping me out.

My son was inside the house playing in his room, so when I went in shortly after that, Tom came in to say hi to his nephew.  I was in the kitchen when Tom grabbed my hand and pulled me into the bathroom. I said “What are you doing? Stop”. He closed the door behind us.  He continued with that creepy voice, reached up under my dress, yanked my underwear down and put his hand on me, rubbing it around.  I was in shock. I said “Stop it! No, this isn’t right, come on!”

At that moment I felt like I was outside of my body. My brain was going “Is this really happening”? and simultaneously thinking “I’m probably still bleeding from the miscarriage, is he going to hurt me?”  The only thing I remember next is him pushing my head down towards the sink and saying “Come ON!”, he took my hand and made me touch him. I held it for a few seconds in fear but then let go. I was mortified. This is my SISTER’S husband. I said no, I said stop, I did NOT ask for this.

Because I had been in a physically abusive relationship before, I automatically start to panic when the tone of voice changes, and his “Come ON!” scared me.  Would I have been able to physically push him away from me? Probably. Why didn’t I? I HAVE NO IDEA and it is killing me. I remember thinking “Oh my god, he’s going to rape me!” WHY didn’t I fight back? I’ve never physically hurt anyone nor have I ever had to fight anyone off me.

I also knew my 5 year old son was in the next room. I didn’t want to scare him.  I heard him yell to me “Mama! Where are you?”  I took advantage of this moment, knowing that Tom wouldn’t want my son to know he was in the bathroom with me – and that my son could easily open the bathroom door (it doesn’t lock).  I said “I’m in the bathroom, just peeing – I’ll be out in a second!”

I was able to get Tom’s hand out from my underwear, but he held me against the sink until he finished on my back.  I cleaned myself off and got out of the bathroom.  Tom kept saying “obviously we can’t tell anyone about this” and it’s as if he thought the only “wrongdoing” was that he cheated on his wife with her sister.

He went into the basement and I locked my door.

I got texts a few days later asking how I was and he asked if I liked it.  I wrote back telling him that I will NOT talk about this anymore. I told him I felt extremely violated and ashamed, and that I felt like he took advantage of my vulnerability from my breakup, and from the miscarriage.

He still didn’t seem to understand. He thinks “we” just had a little affair. I think he sexually assaulted me.  I have not told my sister. I am struggling with this. I want her to know because I would want to know of my husband of 9 years did this.  But I also don’t want to be the cause of her family breaking apart and uprooting EVERYTHING.  I also believe that Tom will vehemently deny this, or at least deny it was forced.

I’m terrified of the effect this would have on Heather, her son, my entire family, and everyone that knows us.  I’m terrified that Tom would be enraged with me.  I’m terrified that people would blame me for not fighting back harder. I said no, stop, no, stop – over and over. I never once invited this. I froze in the moment and just let him do his thing as I closed my eyes to keep the tears from coming out. I didn’t push him away physically. Why? WHY didn’t I fight back????

I plan to see a therapist about this, just haven’t made the call yet.  This happened in July. It’s the end of September. I struggle with guilt and “why didn’t I fight back?” every single day.

I struggle with whether or not to tell my sister.

This has caused me to avoid family gatherings. My parents do a lot with Heather and Tom. (Vacations, day trips, etc.) I don’t have as much in common so it’s not unusual that I’m not with them.  But it’s going to be harder around the holidays.  I have a hard time even looking Heather in the eyes, never mind being around Tom.  The guilt is horrible. Why do I feel guilty when I did nothing wrong? Could I have physically fought him off? I don’t know. But I didn’t try – and that’s why I feel so guilty.

I don’t know how I’m going to move past this.

Ashamed and Angry

Where do I start, The Band?  

I’m a middle-aged woman working in a man’s world – always thought I could laugh at their jokes and play along.. One man in particular assumed my lack of offense was a “come on.”

It was not.

Let’s start at the beginning.

I rejoined my company, and at first, I shadowed my colleagues to refresh my knowledge. M was one of these colleagues.

We got along well and I enjoyed attending events with him. At the end of October, M and I attended an event together. It was an early morning start so he stayed overnight in a hotel.

I invited him to dinner with my husband, my son, and I. It was a friendly gesture. We enjoyed a few glasses of with dinner and afterward, my husband and I walked M back to his hotel.

When we returned home, there was a text message. My husband said, “Oh you have a text from M!” I assumed he was thanking us for dinner so I asked my husband what it said. He read the text to me:

“Fancy a f*ck?”

The following day, I told M my husband had read his text to me. He was mortified but I assured him we’d laughed it off, blamed it on the wine. M’s response was “Well. Do you?” I told him no and explained that I was very happily married.

This didn’t stop M from flirting.

I’m not completely innocent, I’m also guilty of flirting. I had a wicked sense of humour and an outgoing bubbly personality. This could be misconstrued, however I made it entirely clear to M that I was not interested.

I explained that I’d been with my husband since we were teenagers and that I’d never cheated on him. M stated that he didn’t want me to leave my husband, he just wanted to have sex with me.

I explained I don’t do casual sex and never wanted to be anyone’s “bit on the side.” He stated that he loved his wife but he enjoyed sex with other women.

Again, I told him I didn’t share his methods and wasn’t interested.

I should have distanced myself from M. I now deeply regret not doing that.

Perhaps I’d been naive, but I believed we could talk openly and be friends without a physical relationship. We got along well and had a great rapport. I thought I could handle this.

His flirting became more sexually explicit which I took as banter. He began texting me after events telling me how sexy I looked. I enjoyed the attention and the compliments and did not discourage him.

I was always clear that I would not cheat on my husband.

His text messages became more sexually explicit as he sent me messages about what he’d like to do to me, what he’d like me to wear, and what positions he’d have me in.

I told him it was not going to happen and he had no respect for me. I asked him how he’d feel if someone was sending messages like that to his wife. He apologized.

A short time later, started it again.

Around about this time, someone told me that M had had an affair with another coworker, E. I asked M about it. He said that she’d chased him, and what had happened between them.

E and I were friends on Facebok and we had a late night chat. She was tormenting me about my friendship with M and I explained that it was only friendship. I told her, he’d sent very inappropriate texts. She confessed that he had been sending her these too. We discovered the content of these messages were nearly identical.

She told me that he’d been doing this for 14 years. He’d pressed himself against her in the office and suggested he pop by her house when she was alone. He had stroked my legs under the table at events and told me he had a fetish for nylon on skin.

It became clear that M was a sexual predator and he’d been grooming me. I confronted him and he denied it, saying E had “lead him on.” I knew that one day he’d try blaming me too, so I saved E’s conversation. M is very charming and convincing. He started to behave better around me – and again, I thought we could be friends. I’d hoped we’d moved on.

What followed was a really bad period in my personal life. My father had terminal cancer. I held one of my daughters as she gave birth to a dead baby. Someone lodged a complaint at work claiming I’d been acting fraudulently.

Although management dismissed it as nonsense, I felt my reputation had been tarnished. I struggled feeling I was being judged. I knew I’d done nothing wrong and invited a full investigation. The matter was closed.

My father died and family issues meant that I couldn’t attend his funeral. I thought I could handle it but the pressure; I was being judged for not attending my father’s funeral.

M had remained a friend and I spoke with him about some of these issues. He told me his marriage was going through a bad patch and that he no longer loved his wife. Around this time, he started to tell me that he had fallen in love with me. I was emotionally fragile and wasn’t sure how to handle it.

He blew hot and cold – one minute he was telling me he loved me while the next, he ignored me while he sorted things out with his wife. I still refused to sleep with him as I maintained that I loved my husband and would not cheat.

I had developed feelings for him but there was no sexual attraction. I didn’t trust him. I knew he was a womanizer who had no respect for women.

On a few occasions when we were on the phone, it became clear that he was masturbating. I’d put the phone down when that happened. He was always sorry afterwards (especially when his wife caught him).

I went to meet him at his hotel one morning for an event. We were going to travel  together, and I was early so he invited me to have a coffee. I felt I could handle the situation. As I was drinking my coffee, he went to the toilet and came out exposing himself.

I was mortified.

Immediately, I stood up to leave.

He asked me to touch it.

I told him he was out of order, he buttoned up, and we left. He said he was sorry; it wouldn’t happen again. I feel incredibly stupid now reading this, but I really believed we could be friends. He sent me a photo of his penis to our private email accounts, I didn’t report it at work.

At the beginning of April, his wife contacted the hotel where we’d both stayed on a business trip. She suspected that I’d spent the night with her husband. Of course I hadn’t – I spent it with a number of colleagues – including her husband – at dinner together.

Afterward, he came to my room with a bottle of wine – I felt safe. He sexually coerced me and had sex with me.

I froze.

I did not stop him. I  did not say no. He left immediately afterwards.

I felt dirty and confused. He had worn me down. I didn’t want to have sex with him but I hadn’t stopped him. I sat in the bath and sobbed. Then I showered. Then bathed again.

I just couldn’t feel clean.

The sex was unplanned and unprotected. I felt contaminated. I felt raped but I thought I couldn’t have been as I didn’t say no.

I felt nothing as he was doing it. It was like someone flipped a switch and turned me off. I remember feeling like I was standing at the bottom of the bed watching it happen to someone else. Like watching the TV with the sound off.

I was mortified that I’d cheated on my husband. I was so ashamed. I decided no one would ever know. I pretended nothing had happened. I thought I could go back to normal and forget it.

A few days later, I complained about M’s wife phoning the hotel. I felt I was being stalked and management queried why she was suspicious.

At this time, his line manager queried M’s mobile phone usage. He was my friend so I lied and said he’d never been inappropriate. I didn’t want anyone to know what’d happened and I didn’t want him lose his job.

I felt partially to blame for not stopping contact with him.

As soon as I’d given M a clean slate, he changed completely. He was doing his best to convince his wife that he’d done nothing wrong; he blamed me for leading him on and stalking him.

Around this time she started checking my – and my husband’s – Facebook page. M told me she was obsessed; that was going to contact my husband to tell him I’d had an affair with M.

She wouldn’t let it drop. I emailed her and asked her to stop cyberstalking me – I explained I wasn’t interested in her husband and if she wanted to talk to me, just call or email.

M enjoyed all the attention and wound me up about it. I reacted badly and struck out at him for his behavior. He’d told me he was my best friend; that he loved me.

Now, he treated me like a bunny boiler.

At home, my evening relaxing glass of wine became a bottle. It helped me forget. I became angry and argumentative. My husband desperately wanted to know what was wrong. I told him nothing yet became increasingly distant.

I drank to get to sleep but woke up three hours later when the wine wore off. I’d spent the rest of the night watching the clock.

For eight long weeks.

I argued with M, and told him I was disgusted at what he had done to me. He laughed at me and put his hand between my legs. I punched him in the face.

He was not going to touch me again.

Two months after the sex, I suffered a serious house fire. I broke down. I had nothing left to fight with. I told my husband what had happened. He was devastated, angry. I couldn’t cope and went to the doctor.

M’s line manager asked him not to contact me. I was off with stress and they knew he’d been sexually harassing me at work. We’d been chatting one day, and the next?


I asked him what the problem was. He ignored me. I was so, so stressed and couldn’t understand it! He’d groomed me for so long that I depended on his friendship. I was frustrated, humiliated, used, and lied to.

I emailed M and told him this. I’d lied to protect him and had (stupidly) thought we were still friends. He took my correspondence and using it to make me look like a stalker. He took a picture of his black eye and when he was told not to contact me, he reported me to management for assault and said I’d been harassing his wife and family.

To defend myself, I raised a grievance for sexual harassment. The case was heard and they believed him – we’d been having an affair for two years. He said I’d been blackmailing him to keep seeing me. I’d harassed him and his family after he ended the affair.

I was distraught.

After the house fire, I contacted rape crisis for counselling. I found the strength to ask my doctor for STI testing. Thankfully it was clear. I called the police and reported M for the sexually explicit images he’d been emailing me. As I was so distraught, they questioned me for ten hours solid and wrote a 35 page statement for a rape inquiry.

They took six weeks to get around to questioning M.

He told them we’d been having an affair and produced my emails. They charged him with nothing and spoke to me like I’d been wasting police time.

Work completed their investigation and found M was in the clear, but I’d face disciplinary action for assaulting and harassing a member of staff. They concluded that I was trying to ruin his reputation.

Talk about a no win situation.

I had a severe meltdown and called the Samaritans – I was suicidal.

Since, I’ve had a few relapses and have taken sleeping tablets together with wine. My husband is scared to leave me alone.

My rape counselor says I am suffering from PTSD. I have lost 8 kilos and now weigh less than 55 kilos. My guts are constantly on fire. I cry at the drop of a hat. I haven’t worn a skirt for 6 months as I feel vulnerable.

I have forgotten what normal feels like and have aged about 20 years.

My husband is supportive, but he’s also a wreck. M stole our exclusiveness. I appealed the work decision a month ago and have a union rep supporting me. My employer has  not yet given me a date for my appeal. M is back at work like he’s done nothing wrong. What M did to me was horrendous and I’m being punished for it.

I have lost my faith in Justice.

I begged him to leave me alone and now I’m paying the price.