Mum couldn’t even use the toilet due to sickening abuse at hands of her ex

A mum was the victim of such horrific abuse from her ex she was scared of needing to use the bathroom.

Jennifer Gilmour says she was gaslighted, verbally manipulated and isolated from her friends by her former partner.

He threatened the mum-of-three with violence, called her names and accused her of having affairs, reports Hull Live.

According to Mrs Gilmour, her tormentor was at first charming, complimentary and the perfect gentleman when Mrs Gilmour first met him.

But over the course of their relationship, she says he inflicted emotional abuse and left her feeling worthless and frightened for his next move.

She said he controlled her that much that she even needed to ask his permission to use the toilet – something that at times he used to refuse.

"I met him at work whilst I was studying at university and at first found him to be charming, friendly, relaxed and a person that everyone liked and got on with, " she said.

"He was so complimentary to me when we first started dating and it was something that I really enjoyed, as I hadn't really been given them before.

"I wasn't a confident person and had been bullied at school, and didn't have a great opinion of myself, but he was so caring and listening and everything I thought that I could ever want in a partner.

"But he mis-sold himself to me, as he was actually nothing that he said he was on the back of the tin.

"As soon as we entered into the relationship, there was lots of jealousy if I spoke to other men, or if other men looked at me. But I was kind of flattered really as I was young, and had seen similar jealous behaviour in rom-coms and just thought it was normal.

"At first I didn't see the signs that he was an abuser, as what he did was so subtle and simple.

"He first started by isolating me from my friends as when I told him I was going out with them, he used to tell me that he thought we were meant to be going out that night, or said he wanted to spend time with me and could I rearrange.

"I felt loved and went along with it, but he did it that much that I lost my friends and also lost contact with my family, who he stopped me going to see, so I didn't go back to Hull in two years as he refused to let me."

During the relationship, Mrs Gilmour says her former partner controlled her through changing her perceptions on people and what was going on around her in order to control her.

"He used to alter reality all the time and leave me questioning myself after he did something or acted in a certain way, and made me blame myself about what happened," said Mrs Gilmour.

"Like when we used to argue, he would come back to talk to me later and lie and completely change what happened so I would think it's all me.

"I didn't know it at the time, but it was gaslighting – he even made me question my sanity and told me I had bipolar, even though I know that I've got no mental health problems.

"It was all about control all the time – he didn't like me working as I could mix with my colleagues, and he used to say it would be a burden for him to look after the kids if I went to work to try to get me to stay.

"He also used to accuse me of cheating on him when I never did, and I had to stop giving male colleagues lifts home from work, as if he knew I had, he would refuse to sit in the passenger seat as he said I'd let another man sit on it".

Towards the end of the relationship, Mrs Gilmour says the coercive and controlling behaviour got worse.

She said her ex-partner began throwing things in her vicinity to physically scare and threaten her, locked her in the house and also stopped her from sleeping on a night.

"The violence towards me was physically invisible, but I had internal bruising on the inside from what he put me through," said Mrs Gilmour.

"I would try and prevent arguments or issues, like washing up before he got in as he was obsessed with me keeping the house clean, but it would never be good enough and he would always cause a problem and tell me that I could never get things right.

"If I was going on a date with him and putting make up on he would tell me that I must be doing it for another man rather than him.

"He used to call me names too, and at one point I did put on weight because I was diagnosed with having a brain tumour so I struggled to keep the weight off and comfort ate, but instead of helping me, he told me that I had more roll backs than Asda.

"I even used to have to ask him permission to go to the toilet, even if we were in a restaurant, as a way to control me and sometimes he used to tell me no and make me wait".

After several years of being in the horrifying relationship, Mrs Gilmour was given the help to flee her abuser from a friend at the time who provided her with the support to get away.

This friend is now her husband who she is happily married to, but even though she is out of her former controlling relationship, she still has to think hard not to over-analyse situations with her new partner, or even ask him to use the toilet.

But it was only when Mrs Gilmour got out of her toxic relationship and went on a Hull DAP domestic abuse awareness course that she realised she had actually been a victim.

"Five months after I left the relationship, I went on a recovery course to try and find my personality again and discover who I really was. It was there that I found out that I had been in a domestic abuse relationship, and I just broke down in tears.

"I thought that everything that had happened in the relationship was because of me and took on all the blame for it, but it was then on that course that I realised that it was actually all him, and it was a complete weight off my shoulders.

"I knew that he shouldn't have treated me in the way he did, but I really thought it was my fault and pitied him and tried to support him even though towards the end I really disliked him.

"He changed the blueprint of me as a person, and I've had to spend a lot of time trying to find myself again".

Now Mrs Gilmour works as an author and advocate for women in abusive relationships and tours the country to share her experiences and through this raise awareness of coercive and controlling behaviour, as well as signposting support resources to victims.

"My journey has certainly not been easy and I still face challenges every day," she said.

"Thankfully I have learnt how to balance life, and with the help and support of others I am able to focus on the rewarding side to being an advocate.

"I am passionate about standing up for the changes that need to be made and the awareness their needs to be.

"If more people knew what an unhealthy relationship looked like then this could change the horrific statistic that domestic abuse will affect one in four women and one in six men in their lifetime".

As part of sharing her story and helping others, Mrs Gilmour achieved an award for Most Informative Blogger in 2018 and recently won the WOW by Jacqueline Gold to recognise the achievements of women starting their own businesses.

Mrs Gilmour will be speaking at the domestic abuse survivor event 'Sort it with Stella and Friends' to share her experiences along with other guest speakers to help women affected by domestic abuse, as well as to raise awareness of it.

The event on June 10 is being hosted by fellow domestic abuse survivor Stella Eden, with Hull Women's Aid also in attendance at the Holiday Inn Hull Marina.

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