It’s a bold question to ask as I look back on the relationship I’ve just come out of and been patiently waiting to write this blog post until the court hearing was over.
This is a very personal account of something that completely changed my life.
Life took over and I neglected my blog for almost 2 years, around the time I met up with him again and we rekindled the romance from 8 years previous to it. At first I thought it was a brave move with him getting in contact with me again to ask me out for a drink, as I was the one who finished it before. But we met, caught up and set a date for another date.
Things moved fast and before I knew it, I was moving in with him until my new home completed the sale.
Travelling to and from London to train jiu jitsu in Southend, Essex was a chore, as I was driving 60 miles round trip, but something that I had to do. Training for competitions, working all hours and trying to be a good (dog) mum and girlfriend were keeping me so busy. That’s just how I like my life to be, full.
I moved in to my new home, and conveniently 10 minutes from the gym.
My new home was a wreck and a real project. He helped me a lot with the work, which I truly appreciated, but never asked for.
I would pop out to train at lunchtime, then again in the evening. Working from my laptop in between and going to my office 25 miles away. I was balancing life well and still working on what was my new home.
His worked finished, so he didn’t bother looking for more work, he just kept spent the time at my place watching me fix it up and helped with the work.
The more I popped out to go training, the more the comments about not being there to finish the work on my home were coming.
Arguments started, but we would soon make it up. More comments would cut deep about me training, but he didn’t want to be ‘that guy’ to stop me from going.
My place was looking more like a home and less like a building site. The world masters 2017 was coming up and I started to step up my training. I was having sports psychology to get my mind in gear and strength training to keep me strong. I hadn’t done that well the previous year, so I had something to prove to myself that I had got better.
Then a huge spanner was thrown in the works. A woman called Amy contacted me through Facebook to say that she had slept with him the night before. I was just about to teach my women’s BJJ class and I burst in to tears. I held it together and walked in the gym like nothing had happened. I confided in my friend and student what happened and the tears just started to flow and I couldn’t stop. I lied to my head coach and said I wasn’t feeling good; well some of is the truth.
He denied everything, and the more I messaged her back, the more I realised that she was a fruit loop.
The world masters came and went. I lost. I was nervous, made a mistake; I was impatient and fought so bad. I wanted to stay and watch the rest of the matches, but he insisted on leaving and enjoying the Vegas sun.
I’m not going to deny, we had an amazing holiday, all paid for by myself. How could I go to the world masters in Vegas without him? He gave up his work because he didn’t like the job, so therefore had £100 to spend in the USA for 10 days.
We had booked and I had paid for the pair of us to go to a training camp in Ibiza. He had started training a little, but stopped when he had no money, so being with him training was a lot of fun and great to see him enjoying my passion. The camp was the first time he had trained and sparred with other females than myself. Once it was over, he didn’t come back training for a few months after. He said he felt weird training with other women.
We got engaged in Formentera, and Island off Ibiza. It was romantic and fun. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
Then we came home and apparently I ‘Changed’. I’m not sure how. I was the same Jolie, the busy Jolie, training, working, coaching, walking of my dog and being the housekeeper and homemaker.
The comments about training all the time became more frequent, but I offered to give it all up to stay at home and be with him in the evenings. He didn’t want to be that guy. I took more abuse about training, and again I offered to give it all up to be with him in the evenings. Knowing full well in my head I would never give up a passion if someone asked me, no matter whom it was.
It felt like the ring on my finger gave him permission to degrade me. Was this what a real loving relationship was all about?
On 29th November, I remember the date as it’s my dad’s birthday and I was planning a day of remembrance for my dad who’s no longer here. I was quiet all morning, and told him that I’m going training in the evening. An argument erupted and his voice got louder and louder, scaring me as it shouted in my ears.
His frustration made him pick up a picture that had been placed against the wall, as I hadn’t quite figured out where I was going to hang it. Then he threw it down the hall way and glass shattered everywhere. Shards landing all over the floor and the dent the frame made in the wall.
His foot went through a heater in the living room and he picked up a glass covered candle and throw it at the wall.
The place was a mess and my dog was terrified and didn’t know where to put herself. She was shaking and hiding herself behind the sofa.
Then he said he was sorry and all was forgiven.
A month later I was a having a sad day. I get them sometimes when I think of my dad who we lost in July 2015. I go quiet and soon enough, I snap myself out of it and take myself off to training.
Another argument started. I’m always training, but he didn’t want to be that guy who stopped me from doing so. What was he trying to achieve with his comments, he wanted me to stop, but with my own decision. More things got broken and the door handle to the bedroom was broken off due to him slamming it so hard.
Being the resourceful person I am, I changed the handle and cleared up the broken cup from the kitchen.
Christmas came and went, then New Year came and there was very little training to be had. I was home a lot, and worked the odd day over the New Year, but tended to his needs when he had some sort of flu. I spent New Years Eve watching Jules Holland on my own while he lay on the sofa asleep and unwell. A far cry from the romantic New Year we had for the previous one.
He started to get well and training was back on as normal again. I was training for the Europeans. The time I spent nursing him over New Year was never enough, even the little I trained was not appreciated. The abuse became intense one night when he told me to admit that I was a nasty human being and a horrible C**t. The question over in my head was the same as before “is this how a loving relationship is truly meant to be?”
The Europeans came and went and I made a big decision to compete at the Pans. It was a first for me. The abuse got worse, more things were broken. One night I wasn’t ready to go to sleep, so he picked up a vase filled with lilies and water and smashed it against the wall. I waited for him to clean it up the glass so my dog didn’t cut her paws when she went out to the garden.
My training for the pans was not great. There were too many nights when I was caught up with work and couldn’t get to training. He hadn’t trained for months, and the comments about me going and not spending time with him worsened. But he didn’t want to be that guy who stopped me from training.
I was about to leave for training one evening, when he started. Comment after comment about how I don’t give him enough attention, and all I want to do is spend time in the gym training.
I got to the gym and I wanted to cry. As always, I held it together in a room full of men who would probably think that if I started to cry, it was probably just “women’s things” going on.
I got to my fourth round of sparring and wasn’t feeling it. I wanted to go home. My mood was low from the confrontation earlier, but I saw my friend who hadn’t been training for almost a year and he offer a round of sparring. We tapped hands and I went to pass his guard then “snap”, my finger bent out to the side and fractured my hand. I didn’t know this at the time of course, and just carried on sparring. “The pain will go away in a minute”. I had another round with someone else and knocked my hand, making me feel sick. I had to sit out. The pain was so intense. I told my coach that I was reluctantly going to get changed and go home. I was two weeks out of competing at the Pans, and I had hurt myself. I went in to the changing room and cried, but laughed, and cried some more and laughed at how much my hand hurt.
I got home, iced it, kept it elevated and kept it mobile. For two weeks I strapped it up and there was less pain, but it still hurt like mad.
I was close to leaving for the Pans, and he started again. I was in the bedroom on my phone, seeing what was going on in the world of Facebook and instagram. He didn’t like me looking on my phone; so being out of the way of him while doing it, I thought was the better option. It wasn’t, it just riled him more. He took the phone from my hand and threw it against the wall, hitting the metal beam that shapes the edges of the window frame. My phone broke in the most spectacular fashion that the guy in the apple store said he had never seen a break so bad and a phone so bent out of shape.
I replaced it the next day and thankfully I was due an upgrade.
The incident scared me, so I told him to leave and not come back. I was fed up of things I work hard for breaking. I’m not particularly materialistic, but I need my phone to work and communicate. It’s a 2018 essential for living.
I went to the Pans, lost in the first round after the ref had squeezed my hand so hard when I first stepped on the mats. The pain of my hand was all I could think about. I spent the day with my uncle and met Nate Diaz. It made my day that he thought it was badass that I competed with a broken hand.
I came home, and he came back in to my life. So sorry for his actions, he just loves me so much and wants me to know it.
The confrontations became more frequent. He was back training and working, but I still wasn’t giving him enough attention. I literally couldn’t fit any more of my life in to his life if I tried. One day I raced home from work early to be with him, and of course it was not appreciated, because really there wasn’t enough time to be together that day, as I had to go and teach my women’s class. That race home gained me 3 points on my license for speeding.
Easter came early and he received a script to do a self-tape with (he’s a jobbing actor). I hadn’t trained for 9 days due to work and being unwell, so I was so keen to get to the gym. His self-tape had to be with the agent on the Tuesday after Easter, so 4 good days of working on it was enough to get a good tape. No, he wanted to do it that night, he was in the mood, and for the first time ever, he asked me to stay at home with him. I said no, I haven’t trained in 9 days, and I need to get my mat therapy. As I was leaving the flat, he put his face against mine and called me a selfish C**t.
Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday came and went and he didn’t do his self-tape. He blamed it on me because I took him out of the mood he was in to produce the best work he could have ever done.
The week after it still played on his mind, so he took to telling me he was going to take an overdose unless I give him the time and attention he deserved. I laughed out of nervousness and he took the morphine pills out of the draw that he keep in case the pain in his back is bad, and threw a handful in his mouth. He cried and told me what a horrible C**t I was for laughing in his face. He always knew that the laugh I make when confronted like that was nerves.
He went to bed and asked me what I would do when I woke up and he would be dead in my bed? It wasn’t the first time he asked me this. He became drowsy, and ‘high’ and I stayed up all night watching him to make sure he didn’t foam at the mouth and overdose. I didn’t know what to expect from someone who took so many pills.
He woke up the next day and went to work as normal, but came home early because he was too spaced out. He wasn’t planning on taking that many morphine tablets again in any rush.
One day he told me that he had enough ad was close to walking out the door forever. The reply in my head was “Go on then”, but I daren’t say it because I didn’t want anything else broken. I knew to keep quiet and not answer back. I could no longer pacify him; in fact I’ve never been one to do that. I never show sympathy when I don’t understand why it’s needed.
A day past and not mention of anything.
Then came the next day when I panned to have a decorating day. I met with my friend in the morning for coffee and to chat about work, and then he called to ask where I was. I came home and found him there, not at work because he was sent home due to an injured knee he got in training the night before.
I pottered around doing bits and pieces, and then finally started on painting the wall where the vase had smashed against it a few weeks before. He was laying on the sofa with his leg up, but the lack of attention towards him made him throw two thick red candles at the wall I was painting and shatter everywhere, all down the walls, floors and even on the ceiling. I had enough. I cleared all the mess up, and my tray paint and roller. He started on me in the kitchen, confronting me on how I don’t give him time, but I’m happy to give it to everyone in training.
His fist dented my Smeg fridge freezer. I needed to keep busy as he was scaring me and making me nervous. I cut up some melon and put it in a tub and closed the lid. His aggression and voice got more intense and the abuse became so strong, that I took the tub and threw in on the floor. It didn’t smash and no melon sprawled on the floor, it stayed where it was. I went for the tub and he pushed me so hard I felt my feet come from underneath me and I landed so hard on my sharp slate floor and punctured my glute muscle. I thought I had broken something. The pain was so intense, maybe because of the shock, but I couldn’t stand or move. He told me he was sorry and he loved me so much that he wouldn’t ever hurt me intentionally. Then he told me what F***ing idiot I was for running at him. I was going to pick up the melon tub.
I text my mum to take me to the hospital, because he said that it wasn’t worth going, it was only muscular. He was right, it was muscular, but the X-Rayed me and took a risk assessment when I told them he had pushed me. I was one question away from being high-risk domestic violence and recommended reporting him to the police. I didn’t, I told him to leave. I gave him 2 nights while I stayed with my mum to get some things and go. We were finished.
I finally was able to walk properly after 3 days and drive my car. Sam cook was doing her Wominar in London and I could just about train. I told everyone I had an injury and no one batted an eyelid. I got swept in sparring and the pain intensified once again. I knew that I was a few weeks out of being fully recovered.
I finally went back to training, and although we weren’t together, he still came training, used my car, came round my flat and took the dog out. My home was finally getting finished as my mum spent time with me and helped cut the skirting boards and the place was beginning to finally feel finished.
One weekend I offered for him to stay, as he was sofa surfing. I felt sorry for him, but made it extremely clear that we were never getting back together. He hurt me and I couldn’t be with someone who physically hurt me. It would never end there.
He made me dinner on the Saturday, and the Sunday my friends cancelled our planned get together, so I took him for lunch. He took my dog for a walk, but I knew she felt a vibe, a very strange vibe. He watched the TV for a bit while I filled in the skirting boards and painted the walls of the living room.
He left for the afternoon to go and watch the football. I was glad to see him go because he was just hanging around. He came back around 6:30pm and was acting strange. He lay on the floor blocking the living room door way. The altercation came not long after this. He came up in my face scaring me, so I hit him in the face a few times and he grabbed the laptop I had closed to listen to him speak, and smashed it 3 times on the floor. He came back to me and covered my mouth to stop me screaming, so I pushed my feet against his hips and directed him away from me with such force. I went for my phone to dial 999 but he grabbed it. My grips kept a hold of it so tight that he lifted me up of the armchair and I finally gave in to let go. He left the room and I went for my work phone, he grabbed that too and then I told him to smash everything. Use his aggression and destroy my home.
He took the keys to my car and flat, and I shouted for him to leave them. He ignored it and left. I called the police and while my statement was being taken that evening, he was arrested and put in jail for 24 hours.
Yesterday I went to court to watch the so-called ‘love of my life’ be found guilty to criminal damage to my laptop. There were no domestic violence issues involved in the case as it was his word against mine. I was compensated for my loss, inconvenienced with the case, the trauma, the calls and text plus emails that he breached his bail conditions to contact me with. I had the worry of being prosecuted myself for striking him first, but thankfully the Magistrate saw me as an honest and reliable witness.
The case was just a drop in the ocean of what went on in 16 months of being with him.
Did Jiu jitsu cause domestic violence? Or did this man get put on a pedestal as a youngster that caused him to what I believe now to have ‘Narcissistic personality disorder’? He preyed on a venerable person whose dad died not long before they got back together, when I was at my lowest emotionally. He promised to look after me, but when in fact I was the empath and helped him with no appreciation from him what so ever.
What I do know is that since he has gone, my life has improved, I see my friends more, family more, have more time, do more things and of course I train more.
One day I will wear my Sunday dress again, or Gi! (Thanks Wendy).