On compliance and control in a relationship.

This post has been really difficult to write.  Not just because reflecting back on my relationship stirs up a whole series of emotions: anger; bitterness; frustration; upset and now relief, but principally because it is really difficult to put that time into words.  It is difficult to articulate, in a way that doesn’t make me sound melodramatic and weak, what my relationship was like.

If there are two key lessons that I have learned they are that:

  • Toxic relationships can sneak up on anyone. 

My ex and I were together for six years.  Although there were subtle clues early on, I was blind to them and would never have predicted that our relationship would turn out the way it did. 


  • Emotional abuse, and I do hesitate at calling this abuse, can be subtle and almost impossible to diagnose and rarely visible to those outside of the relationship. 

This led me to question myself and to believe that everything was my fault and in my own head. 

Here are some features of my relationship:

  • His criticism was chronic. 

Often it was just small things:  he didn’t like my nails to be too long or painted because “they look like claws“; I was not chatty and outgoing enough with friends at parties; I should do more exercise; we should seek his sister’s advice on decorating our house because “she has a really creative eye”.  She may well have a creative eye, but this was our house, our home, my house and my home. He said that I was emotional and hormonal after childbirth and not capable of making a rational decision.  He insisted on speaking to my mother, implying that she was capable of the logical thought that I couldn’t muster.  

In public things were very different.  Prince Charming was on form “Pen is a very talented artist”, “Pen was very stoic during labour”.  

This probably doesn’t sound like very much.  In fact reading it now it sounds prissy and inconsequential, but when the small daily critique builds up and you feel like every little thing you do could use improvement in your partner’s eyes you are not being valued as an equal, and you are certainly not being loved unconditionally. 

  • He used his ‘emotions’ to manipulate me.

My ex said that he would “blame, begrudge and resent me for the rest of our lives” if I did not consent to a Catholic christening for our son.   These words, his face and the park that we were walking in at the time will be forever engraved in my mind.   He then cried.  He said that our son had to be christened a Catholic because his father had converted to Catholicism on his death bed fourteen years ago.

But my ex never goes to Church, he is a divorcé who married ten years ago to get his now ex wife a visa to stay in the UK, we cohabited and had a baby out of wedlock. These are not the actions of a Catholic.  But I couldn’t challenge my ex on this point because I felt guilty about his Dad’s death.  I could not question him during his outpouring of grief.

  • He belittled my beliefs. 

My ex shouted that my lack of religion was ‘a vacuum’, ‘a void’ in me and that I would never be able to connect or  to fully understand what it means to be spiritual and to believe. 

Now don’t get me wrong, it is great when our partners can challenge us into interesting discussions and give us new ways of looking at the world.  This is what I want from a relationship.  It is not great when they make you feel silly, or stupid, or small, or inadequate, or they consistently try to change your mind about something important to you and which you believe in.  It gets worse when they deliberately ignore your views, over-rule you and/or go behind your back.  

Openness to new experience is great, but a controlling partner doesn’t see it as a two-way street, and only wants you to think more like they do.

  • He made me so tired of arguing that I had to relent. 

I avoid conflict. I know this.  I need to get better at it.  I got exhausted very quickly from any ‘discussion’ so would relent.  Compliance was easier…until it got to an issue where his desires were so totally at odds with my belief system and his threats were so stark that I couldn’t comply any more.  I had to end it.

  • He had a frightening temper. 

He never hit me, but he would often bang his fist on the table right in front of where I was sitting. If we were in the car he would accelerate hard so the gears were screaming and then slam his foot on the brake.  He first did this very early on in the relationship the morning after I had refused to get in the car with him because he had been drinking.  That was a clue back then, a clue which I ignored.  He did this in January last year whilst our baby, Cygnet, was in the back of the car.  By then, it was too much.

I am out of the relationship now.  Well, I am out of the relationship in a romantic sense.  We will have a co-parenting relationship as long as we both shall live.  

What scares me the most now, is that I won’t be able to judge whether the next person I meet is a similar kind of controlling individual.  I know that our control / compliance dynamic crept up on me.  The toxic nature of our relationship snuck up on me.  How will I see it coming? 

This is why I don’t think I can even think of getting into a new relationship yet.  I don’t have the belief in my own strength of mind to be able to identify and act upon the signs. 

I don’t know that I ever will. 

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  1. March 8, 2016 / 12:42 am

    What hurts most from being in that type of relationship (I’ve been there too) is that you justify everything because you’ve invested so much time and in the end it was valuable time wasted. I was lucky enough to escape without children. You should know the signs if you ever get into a new relationship. You will spot them instantly. I’m visiting from #mg.
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    • thesingleswan
      March 8, 2016 / 9:56 pm

      Hi Trista,

      Thank you for your comment. I sincerely hope that you are right and that I will spot the signs instantly. I appreciate your encouragement. x

  2. March 8, 2016 / 1:52 am

    First of all THANK YOU for writing this! I got the sense that you are still not quite sure if it was really all him or if there is a little blame on you. I’m telling you, it was all him. And feeling angry about that isn’t a bad thing. I too was in a very emotionally abusive relationship for a few years and the way you described “chronic criticism” hits the nail on the head.
    There is hope! As soon as I really started being good and comfortable with who I am as a person post-toxic relationship, was when I met a man that is everything I never thought I could find. He is supportive, kind, funny and has never once belittled me. But I truly believe that the key to finding that is getting to the point with yourself where you know exactly what you will tolerate and what you will. not. tolerate. Because you deserve respect, damn it.
    You’re good enough.
    Thanks for the honesty.

    • thesingleswan
      March 8, 2016 / 9:53 pm

      Hi Laura,

      Thank you very much for your comment. Thanks also for sharing your positive story about getting over an abusive relationship and finding who you are again, and then obviously finding someone who loves and respects you. Your encouragement is really appreciated and lovely to read. x

  3. March 8, 2016 / 7:39 am

    Thank you for being so brave and sharing these difficult things. When I was 18 I was in what I now recognise as an emotionally abusive relationship – he was aggressive, caused a distance between me and my family and would constantly emotionally blackmail me. Thankfully, I was only with him for 18 months and although engaged I got out way before we got married or had children. My point is, it’s so much more common than people realise and it takes a lot of strength to remove yourself from the situation. My heart goes out to you x #kcacols
    Laura recently posted…Book Review: Xalien The Purple Alien by Michelle PathMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      March 8, 2016 / 9:48 pm

      Thank you Laura for your comment. I am really glad that you got out of your relationship. All of these controlling men out there. How do we as mothers ensure that our son’s do not turn into the controlling types that we have had to escape?

  4. March 8, 2016 / 7:46 am

    This must have been an incredibly hard post to write. I hope that by getting it on page it helps you. It’s an odd quirk when you write down what can feel like petty concerns when taken alone but when put together clearly mark out the warning signs. Knowing goes part of the way towards not repeating those patterns and hopefully your post may be the prompt for others to look at their own relationships so they can make changes or if necessary get out of them.

    Thank you for sharing.


    • thesingleswan
      March 8, 2016 / 9:46 pm

      Thank you. And yes, you are right. Writing it all down and trying to make sense of it all did give the small little insidious actions greater significance. It is difficult, when you are stuck in the middle of something, to piece together all of the clues and to really make sense of what is going on.

      Thank you for your comment. x

  5. March 8, 2016 / 1:00 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sure there are many who can get strength from you telling it. Perhaps you are not ready for another relationship just yet, but I’m sure that one day you will be. The fact that you can recognize what was wrong in your last relationship shows growth.
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    • thesingleswan
      March 8, 2016 / 9:45 pm

      Thank you for your comment and your encouragement Sarah. I really appreciate it. Pen x

  6. March 8, 2016 / 2:34 pm

    Your blog, particularly your comments about questioning yourself, reminded me of my own abusive relationship. If you haven’t already, I recommend reading “Why Does He Do That?” by Lundy Bancroft. It helped me come to terms with the fear and shame that arose from feeling that I had “allowed” myself to be abused, and the fear of it happening in a new relationship. I now feel better able to recognise abusive behaviour, especially the early signs, but also understand that why it was so difficult to identify it before I had this information about how abusers operate. I no longer feel “stupid” for not seeing what was happening to me, or ashamed for being abused by someone who took advantage when I gave them the benefit of the doubt. The book explains how insidious and damaging emotional abuse can be, and how an abuser uses a lot of confusing behaviour to make you constantly question yourself (e.g. saying it is for your own good, which prevents you from seeing clearly what he is doing, and means he is able to avoid taking responsibility). It explains how abusers may behave pleasantly when in public, so people see them as normal and credible, which makes it less likely that you will be believed if you express concern. It helped give me a clearer understanding of an abuser’s tactics, so that I felt more confident about seeing “red flags” and understanding the difference between a committed and loving relationship in which both partners may legitimately challenge each other, but it is done with love and boundaries are respected, and a situation where challenging behaviour is used to undermine and control, “nice” behaviour is later used to excuse bad behaviour, and real respect and love are missing.

    • thesingleswan
      March 8, 2016 / 9:44 pm


      thank you so much for your comment. I haven’t heard of “Why does he do that?” thank you for the recommendation. I will check it out. I think your last sentence sums everything up perfectly for me. Real respect and love are missing. That is the key question for any relationship I think.

      thank you again

      Pen x

  7. AnTeallach
    March 8, 2016 / 6:47 pm

    You are brave – above all to have left the relationship but also to have articulated what so many have been through but never discuss. The abuse I had from my ex-husband was emotional, but also verbal and physical. I was made out to be stupid (I was at least his intellectual equal), pathetic, out of touch with reality (I was a stay at home mum, raising his 3 kids). I was belittled, manipulated and had to put up with horrendous outbursts of aggression and anger – all, of course, apparently my fault. With hindsight, it seems ridiculous that he was the one to leave the marriage!

    Many years after we divorced, he turned his anger on my middle child. She was physically hurt and the force with which he hurled an object – thankfully missing her – left a large dent in his kitchen wall. She and my younger daughter were petrified and have refused to stay with him in the 3+ years since. His attempts at trying to manipulate the police, who were involved that night, very nearly had him arrested. My daughters (now in their mid/late teens) barely have contact with him now; my youngest still refuses to see him.

    I’ve had one long-standing relationship since, with a man who became more controlling and manipulative as time rolled by. Sadly, I once again initially made excuses for much of what happened, rather than recognising the behaviour for what it was. But I did finally see the light and got out after four years. I know I’m attracted to Type A’s – ambitious, competitive and, yes, often aggressive. It’s taken me a very long time to take on board the downsides of this personality type and acknowledge that much of what I have experienced is totally unacceptable behaviour. Of course I’m concerned about being on the receiving end of any of this again, but has it put me off being involved in another relationship? Hell no! I’m now more aware of what can happen, but as you say, it’s the creeping nature of these toxic relationships that’s so difficult to deal with. I suggest you voice your fears to your best friend/s and/or sister/s, so that if you’re unhappy and confiding in them down the line in a future relationship, they may be able to flag up any concerns about control. I’ve done this myself.

    Meantime, give yourself a break. It took me a long time after my marriage ended before I embarked on my next relationship (7 years!) and I’m only now thinking about getting ‘out there’ again, 2.5 years after I ended that. I regard myself as stronger and wiser now – but have the backstop of friends and family just in case …. Good luck!

    • thesingleswan
      March 8, 2016 / 9:41 pm

      Thank you very much for taking the time to share your story. You have had a really tough time of it and so have your daughters by the sounds of it. I really like your suggestion of confiding with close friends / sisters. Part of the challenge of being in a relationship like that is that you so want it to work and you convince yourself that it is entirely your fault that it doesn’t. Close friends and family can keep you in check. My family have now told me that they had reservations about my ex. Nothing major. My sister felt that he belittled me the first time that they met him. My parents felt that he was selfish and unsupportive. My family don’t know about this blog and I haven’t told them about everything in this blog post. Maybe I should. I don’t know. I worry that they would find it very upsetting.

      Anyway, thank you for your comment again. Good luck to you too.

      Pen x

  8. March 8, 2016 / 7:45 pm

    Thank you for sharing this tough part of your life. I’m a Catholic but my husband isn’t, as much as he supported me in my religion but I don’t force him to have the same faith as I have. I respected him for what belief he has. Hope you’ll soon recover whatever heartaches you felt and take it as a lesson for your future relationships. Lovely post #mg

    • thesingleswan
      March 8, 2016 / 9:35 pm

      Hi Cheryl, thank you. I really appreciate your comment. Pen x

  9. March 8, 2016 / 11:29 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this post.
    You’ve given me a lot to think about. :/

    • thesingleswan
      March 9, 2016 / 1:08 pm

      My pleasure. thanks for reading.

  10. March 9, 2016 / 7:07 am

    Thank you for writing about this. I’ve been there and I totally agree – it’s so hard to express without sounding prissy. However, you have summed it up perfectly.
    I was with the guy who undermined me for 10 years. I left when I was thirty and I thought it would take so long get over the whole situation that I would never get over it, find anyone I trust and then build a family. If I can take a positive out of the situation though it is that I can now see those chronic criticisms a mile off . When I met my new partner I waited for the criticism and the temper tantrums and to be told my favourite dress made me look fat but they never came – I love him for lots of reasons but one of the reasons I fell in love with him is because he lets me be me warts and all at home and in public. You are so much stronger than you think – you are here writing this for starters. If you want to start a new relationship then I know you can do it. If you don’t want to? Well, that’s fine too. Just continue to do what you do on your terms. xxx
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    • thesingleswan
      March 9, 2016 / 1:07 pm

      Hi Abby,

      thank you so much for taking the time to write such a long comment and I am really pleased that you have found someone who loves you warts and all at home and in public. Sometimes I wonder whether the warts and all thing just happens in Bridget Jones’ Diary “He loves me just the way I am”, but obviously not!
      THanks so much for sharing.

      Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      March 9, 2016 / 8:55 pm

      Thanks for your comment.

  11. March 9, 2016 / 3:18 pm

    This is awful for you and so bad it seemed to creep up on you. It must have been the hardest and best decision to get out of that relationship but just by writing this, it will be helping and I’m sure in time you will meet someone deserving of you and treats you so well. I wish you lots of luck. xx #bestandworst
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    • thesingleswan
      March 9, 2016 / 8:55 pm

      Thank you very much Sarah. I appreciate it. Pen x

  12. March 9, 2016 / 8:56 pm

    This must have been very difficult to write. But I’m sure it’s also cathartic. A long time ago I was in a relationship with someone who used his emotions to manipulate me. He’s now long gone but I still feel a bit angry with myself that I didn’t get out sooner. It was so hard to see it at the time and I was young and dreaming of the future. Luckily I did trust again. My next relationship was with Mr Tin Box 🙂 x #KCACOLS
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    • thesingleswan
      March 10, 2016 / 8:59 pm

      Hi Claire,

      I especially like the happy stories left in my comments that tell of a new and great relationship after a not so good one. thanks for sharing yours. Pen x

  13. March 9, 2016 / 10:11 pm

    You’ve written such a lovely piece here. I’d seen the title and at first I backed away and couldn’t read it, I looked at cooking ones and ones with humour because I didn’t want to hear about another woman suffering at the hands of a controlling man. My story, if I were ever brave enough to write it would be similar, as would many many woman’s and it makes me sad for us all. The plus side is that we are on the whole very resilient, we are the stronger sex which is why men try to push us down. Not all men are that way and you will dust yourself down and emerge a wiser and more powerful woman for it. Good luck and look forward to that proper, kind love to enter your life:)
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    • thesingleswan
      March 10, 2016 / 8:58 pm

      Thank you Mainy. I appreciate it and I totally get why you read the recipes and interior design and humorous blogs first. I do the same. Sometimes escapism is all we need. I would have liked to have written a humorous blog about a controlling relationship but I just don’t think it would have been right. Thank you for coming back to my blog post and for having taken the time to write such a nice comment. I appreciate it. x

  14. March 9, 2016 / 11:08 pm

    I read this yesterday and I wanted to comment – I have so much I could say – but I don’t really know where to begin. Yes, I know that emotional abuse can be subtle – I have read a lot on the subject and I know all about the tactics. I’m glad that you were able to escape from this Pen. It isn’t easy. X #thetruthabout
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    • thesingleswan
      March 10, 2016 / 8:56 pm

      Thank you Sam. I hope that you are okay. Take care of yourself. x

  15. March 10, 2016 / 11:19 am

    Thank you for sharing this and like you I have been there and I think it is only when you are out of the relationship that you realise just how destructive it was. Like you I never shared it with anyone as it was little things which on their own sounded menial but it was his way of totally controlling me. It took me a good year to get away from him but I am so glad I did as I now don’t recognise the person I was with him. You sound really strong and brave Pen so big hugs 🙂 #KCACOLS
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    • thesingleswan
      March 10, 2016 / 8:55 pm

      Thank you Emma for sharing your story. There are so many people who have been through something similar (just look at the comments on this post) but who have never talked about it for various reasons. Thank you for your support and encouragement. x

    • thesingleswan
      March 10, 2016 / 8:53 pm

      thank you Emma. And yes, I do feel better. xx

  16. March 10, 2016 / 10:08 pm

    Having been a benign lurker on your blog for some time, it certainly sounds like you have made great progress towards understanding what you have been through over the past few years. I hope that when the time is right for you, you will feel able to put your trust in someone again, and that this time it will be better deserved.
    x Alice
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    • thesingleswan
      March 14, 2016 / 9:49 pm


      thank you. Lurkers, benign or otherwise, are always welcome on my blog. I loved your washing line of women. I hope to see you back here soon. xx

  17. March 11, 2016 / 12:43 pm

    I hear what you are saying 100%. Many years ago, I seemed to go from one terrible relationship to another, with the thought in the back of my mind (I think ingrained from my parents) that I should be grateful for any man. They always thought I was a great girlfriend which at the time I took as a compliment, but I realise now that it was because I was so compliant and a “cool girl” as described in the book “Gone Girl”. I was so afraid of being alone that I fitted in with whatever they wanted, allowed myself to be controlled and lost many friends because of it. I didn’t know my value. I cringe now to think of it. Every time I ended the relationship they were always massively surprised and hadn’t realised how unhappy they were making me – whether I should take some responsibility for this, I don’t know. Since that time, I have difficulty separating what is “normal” in a relationship – compromising and not being selfish – and what is being controlled, as realistically there are times when we do have to fit in with what the other person wants to do, especially with regards parenting. It’s something I think about a lot. You should write a book to about it – to teenage girls – this is your value, don’t throw yourself away on a supposed Prince Charming – these are the warning signs, here’s what to do. The end.

    • thesingleswan
      March 14, 2016 / 9:48 pm

      Good idea. I like that. I could write a book for teenage girls on why they should avoid Prince Charming. Fairy tales have a lot to answer for.

      I think that was a crunch point for me though – I realised that in this relationship I could never be the parent and want and need to be. After that it wasn’t about me anymore, it became about Cygnet and that made things easier.

      thanks for your comment

      Pen xx

  18. March 11, 2016 / 2:14 pm

    So well articulated. I can relate to this, and I think one of the worst things about these subtler types of behaviour, along with the charming front with others, is that no one really sees it or takes you seriously even if you try to tell them. They imply that you must be overreacting or have misunderstood, so then you are very isolated. Glad you got out of the relationship. #KCACOLS
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    • thesingleswan
      March 14, 2016 / 9:45 pm

      Thank you. That is totally it. I don’t think that anyone would quite understand or appreciate what the relationship was like if they had met him. He is all sweetness and smiles. I don’t think that he would recognise his behaviour himself. He would just dismiss it and say that I was over-reacting. It is really tough. thank you for your comment. Pen x

  19. March 12, 2016 / 1:28 am

    I’m glad that you managed to get out of that relationship. It was cleared that it was not for you. It will of course take time to heal but I’m sure you will not get into this situation again. I’m sure you have learned how to spot this type of behaviour. I also had a difficult relationship when I was 21 years old. I was with this guy for 3 years! I really don’t know how I stayed that long with him. He was really difficult and very aggressive. I was completely into him, very blind that is why it took me ages to decide to leave him. He was very violent too and incredibly jealous so I was not allowed to speak with other guys on my own. He was always checking on me. It was a very intense and abusive relationship. I was lucky that I managed to get out of it on time as we were having plans to get married. I can’t even imagine now that this could’ve even been a possibility. I’m so glad that now I have found a great husband and an amazing father so I’m sure you will find the person that will hopefully complement you soon. Thanks so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS. I would love to see you again on Sunday! 🙂 x
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    • thesingleswan
      March 14, 2016 / 9:42 pm

      Thank you Franca. I appreciate your comment. I really like hearing people’s positive stories following their toxic relationships. It really makes me feel better. I will be back on Sunday. Loads of love. Pen x

  20. March 13, 2016 / 2:23 am

    I admire you so much for sharing this, you have no idea how many women you will help! It is so difficult to write these things, but it is therapeutic. I wrote a guest post for someone a year ago where I was able to be completely honest about my past as I knew no one I know personally would read it. I haven’t been able to share my story on my own blog, so I admire you for your bravery. I was afraid (like you) that I wouldn’t recognise the signs early on in new relationships too. I jumped into a relationship quite soon after my abusive one and it was too soon (my ex was stalking me and I was still ver messed up). It took time, therapy and a lot of reflection and soul searching before I became strong enough to find the man I am now married to. I had to forgive myself, forgive the girl I was (confused, naive) and embrace her strength for leaving. Even after I was engaged to my now husband my ex tracked me down at a job. He there anted to kill us and any children I would ever have. But finally I no longer live in fear. In a post a few weeks back I finally admitted that I write under a pseudonym. I have no social media with my real name, and I don’t use my children real names, but I have finally decided not to hide my face or hide from what I love, my writing and photography. I know you have to have this man in your life, but remember he can no longer manipulate you or control you! You will find someone you can trust again and you will know when someone is worthy of YOU and your child. Trust in yourself, trust your strength and trust your ability to handle whatever happens. I was very honest with my now hubby when we first dated as I needed to be sure he wanted all of me and I am so glad I let myself be myself in front of him. It will happen honey, just believe in yourself and that you deserve great things. #mg
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    • thesingleswan
      March 14, 2016 / 9:40 pm

      Thanks Mac. I have received such great and supporting comments in response to this post. I really appreciate it. When you are going through a relationship like this you think that you are the problem. I blamed myself. I thought that I was the one who had to do better. I thought that things were wrong with me. I cannot tell you how empowering it is to be single again now. I am learning to be me again. Thank you. Pen xxx

  21. March 14, 2016 / 11:19 am

    A brilliant, brave post Pen. Thanks so much for sharing. It’s so important that we talk about abusive and toxic relationships out in the open, although I absolutely know how difficult it is to talk about something some personal.

    Compliance and control is so subtle and doesn’t begin immediately, which is why I think it’s so hard to spot. And by the time you do notice things, you’re normally already ‘involved’ and perhaps in love. Then over time, it becomes normal and you start to trust your own judgment.

    But – as someone who experienced this years – I can tell you, once you know the signs and patterns, once you’ve been on the receiving end, you never forget and you know what to look for.

    So you’ll be absolutely fine I promise. Just never forget to trust that gut and have high standards. GREAT post. I’m popping this in my newsletter today, to make sure more women read it. XXX
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    • thesingleswan
      March 14, 2016 / 9:37 pm


      Thank you very much for your lovely comment. I really appreciate it. I hope that you are right and that once you have been in one of these relationships once you are able to spot the signs forevermore. At the moment, I am just quite enjoying being single and focussing on Cygnet and work. The odd bit of dating is fun too… More on that to come. Thanks again Kate. Pen xx

  22. Chris
    April 21, 2016 / 2:29 pm

    Thank you for writing this post.

    I grew up with a father like that. It totally blinded me to red flags in relationships. Bad behavior seemed normal.

    I’ve healed up a lot, but it took a long time. Decades later, I still get occasional insights of how damaging emotional abuse is. However, it does give you empathy and some understanding of others’ suffering. And that is a gift.

    • thesingleswan
      April 21, 2016 / 8:40 pm

      Hi Chris,

      thank you for your comment. It is really interesting to hear a male and a child’s perspective on controlling characters. Emotional abuse can be incredibly subtle so your insight into other’s suffering is indeed a gift. thanks Pen xx

      • Chris
        April 22, 2016 / 12:56 am

        hi, Pen –
        Chris stands for Christine (chuckle!)

        • thesingleswan
          April 22, 2016 / 8:48 pm

          Oooops, sorry. I still appreciate your comment, even those it isn’t a male perspective. xx

  23. Cali jo
    September 26, 2016 / 12:00 pm

    Proud of you baby girl.

    • thesingleswan
      September 26, 2016 / 8:34 pm

      thanks x

  24. April 4, 2017 / 9:32 pm

    Emotional abuse can be as damaging as physical abuse. It causes a lot of stress and feeling of powerlessness. Kudos to you for the awareness you developed about what was going on in the relationship, some people go into denial and continue suffering. You demonstrated courage by leaving the toxic relationship, staying in a toxic relationship is an act that is not congruent with self-love.
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    • thesingleswan
      April 4, 2017 / 9:43 pm

      Thank you. Pen x

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