Me and My Shadow

by Caz

I met a man back in the summer of 2008. It was warm and lovely weather, and we had a lovely time. He appeared to be everything I sought. Attractive, charming, good sense of humor and he promised to be there for my children and me. He paid more attention to me than anyone had in a long time. He used to tell me he loved me and that he wanted a future together. I was hoping for the same. We traveled together and had many pleasant memories. This period of travel was when I started to notice things getting strange.

He would have odd mood swings. I would usually hear from him every day a few times a day, but there were times where he would go quiet for days with no explanation. He would then contact me again with no explanation or use excuses, ones that didn't make any sense. He would also start texting me at odd hours of the night expecting me to answer straight away. He would tell me that he had been out with his friends or boss and if I didn't answer straight away, he would panic or get nasty.

There were times where I was in bed late at night, and he would demand that I went over to see him as if I was expected to drop everything. There would also be times where he would arrange t see me and cancel at the last minute.

At the bottom of it all, he told me he didn't trust anyone and that all his exes had cheated on him and he was afraid that I'd do the same. He got to a stage of saying that I was his and that he'd attack any man that tried to flirt with me. He didn't give me any space when I went out with friends, bombarding me with messages and saying he would turn up if anything happened. It made me feel guilty for wanting space and freedom. After going on nights out, he would insist on seeing me early the next morning to make sure I was OK.

At the same time, he was insistent on having time with his friends. If I wanted to spend more time with him, he would accuse me of isolating him or say that he was busy. Its as if our whole relationship was an inconvenience to him. He didn't let me meet his family or many of his friends because he was afraid they would either steal me away or put me off.

I fell pregnant, and he wasn't happy at all. Saying that I had trapped him into things and that he didn't want to be a dad. He made me choose between him and the baby, and I picked the baby. He was quite unhappy about this, even to the point of getting angry. He tried to convince me to get rid of the baby, something I couldn't do.

A few months after the breakup and after having no contact, I started to notice his car around the area I lived. I woke up at 7:30 one morning to see him in the car park opposite my bedroom window. I also started to notice two of his friends following me. One even followed me to pick up my daughter. It got to a stage where they figured out the bus routes I used regularly, and they would go as far as to try and disguise themselves.

I went to the police, but there was little they could do. The police made a log of the incident and told me to come back if anything else happened. It was almost as if law enforcement didn't believe a word I said.

Eventually, I had to get help from a women's refuge and move out of town. I did not want to live a life of being spied on and feared for my children's safety. I am glad that I have got away from it all now and just hope that they haven't followed me to my new address. A new life and fresh start are what we needed, and it's what we have.

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