He didn’t like me having friends full stop, never mind just male friends. When I did eventually feel like I had no choice but to delete all the male friends from my Facebook account, he told me, “you are learning”. At that point I started to feel like I was losing control of my life because there had been so many other little things before that that hadn’t added up by themselves.

He always told me my friendships weren’t real because we all live a distance away from each other, and at this point I started to question the whole relationship but didn’t know what to do about it.

When I would come home from work, the housework was MY responsibility and he made a point of telling me when I hadn’t done the housework or I hadn’t met his standard. He made it clear that it was my job to do the housework even though I was working full time and his job was intermittent at that time and he was at home most days. He would tell me I was “dirty”, a “slob”, was “disgusting”, or a “bad wife”, and a lot of the time I would feel like he didn’t have the emotional intelligence to speak to me without getting angry and shouting. He would expect me to be obedient and if I stood up for myself he would get worse until I backed down for fear of violence.

I’ve had trouble leaving those anxieties behind – its not easy when you’ve been told you’re bad and worthless for so long. I’ll never be completely free of that, but I am free of the abuse and have friendships again which is part of moving on from it.

Cath, 54, Knowsley