This can’t be happening to me – Gillian’s Journey #3

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This can’t be happening to me – Gillian’s Journey #3


‘I could not believe this was happening to me, it can’t be true, he loves me and I love him.’ 

The woman on the radio says these exact words.

When I think of these words now, the tears fill my eyes.  I do love him.  I know he loves me.  Even when…

even when …

I’m totally distracted in work. If one more person asks me if I am ok, I think I will just melt.

Things are not that bad – at least I’m not covered in bruises. Or worse. I just need to get on with it and stop moaning, there are people out there with worse problems than mine.

The school has contacted me to say they are worried about Jake.  They have noticed that he has started to withdraw into himself and seems distracted. They ask me is everything ok outside of school. I say yes and make some excuse to hang up.

If I tell him about this, he will go ballistic.

What if my children are feeling scared too, just like that woman on the radio?

I google ‘domestic abuse Galway’ and COPE Galway comes up. I read phrases like “abuse is not always violent “, “Intimidation and fear”, “love shouldn’t hurt” and that really sticks in my head.

Love shouldn’t hurt. It shouldn’t hurt physically or emotionally, I should feel safe and relaxed in my own home.

But I don’t.

The next day I keep thinking about “love shouldn’t hurt”. The more I play the words in my head, the more hurt I feel as time goes by in my relationship. Yes, of course there was love and good times, but they seem to be less and less now and I feel I don’t have a say in anything anymore.

Anyway it’s not only about me – what about the kids?

Ok, I think I have to stop making excuses and start trying to find answers.

To tell myself the truth about how I feel, is that I feel unbearable loneliness and isolation. I am beginning to see a sadness in my children when we are all together, an unhappiness that I can’t fix.

‘Hello can I help you…..?’

I hang up.

I don’t think I am ready to talk to anyone, what if they don’t believe me? What if someone knows me? What am I even going to talk about – I am mortified – isn’t it just how I feel? Nothing serious has happened to me.

I can’t do it.

16 Days

During 16 Days of Action on Violence and Abuse against Women (25 Nov – 10 Dec) we are publishing regular updates on Gillian’s story here at

Read in the next instalment how Gillian called COPE Galway for help – you can do this too.

We are open 24 hours every day, so there is always someone to take your call.

You don’t need to give your name or tell us anything – we won’t ask too many questions and we will not tell you what to do.  We will listen, we will believe, we will answer your questions – we will help you work out what you want to do, what you need to do and what you can do – for you and your children.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse or is affected by any of the issues mentioned above phone COPE Galway Domestic Abuse free and confidential service at 091 565 985 (24h).

When you’re ready to talk we’re ready to listen.

#16daysofactivism #16Days #letshelptogether

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