#4 Out of the frying pan & into the fire

A phrase that often refers to going from one bad situation to one that’s even worse.

Domestic abuse is far more common than many of us want to believe, so it is inevitable there will be people who have multiple experiences with different partners.

Systematic victim blaming and self blame, can lead those affected feeling they are the cause. That it is them who somehow attract abusive partners.

This is a MYTH.

As you read Rachel’s story consider these questions.

  • List the risks of a relationship like this?
  • How do you think Rachel might respond if she knew what Paul was doing?
  • Why do you think Paul feels entitled to behave this way?


After years of marriage to Graham, Rachel, 47, escaped his grip of physical violence. Soon after, she met Paul. at work and he swept Rachel off her feet. He was attentive & everything she felt was missing for years. 

Her ‘knight in shining armour’.

Paul was a gentle giant, quiet, unassuming.  Very different from Graham. He respected Rachel’s need to take their relationship slowly. She was receiving counselling & part of that meant she needed time alone to work on her self & build her confidence. He was sensitive & understanding.

During those months, she began wearing brighter, more flamboyant clothes & jewellery. Graham had always dictated what she could wear & how much makeup she used, so she felt really empowered when she bought a pair of multi coloured chunky earrings. They were symbolic of her feeling herself again. Loud, silly, fun all the things she wasn’t ‘allowed to be’ with Graham.

Paul complimented Rachel on her change in style & made her feel like a desired woman again. He was happy for her to take centre stage. She could tell he was proud to be by her side, when they went out together.

Rachel was gradually getting her identity back & felt she was back in control of her life.

There was just one niggly feeling that Rachel couldn’t shake off.

Paul would ask Rachel a lot of questions when she went out without him. She often met with friends or visited her grown up sons. It started very gradually, with the odd text message from Paul.

But over the coming months Rachel began to feel suffocated.

Are you having a good time? Xx

Who’s out? Xx

What time will you be home? Xx

Should I pick you up? Xx

I miss you, hate you not being here Xx

How much have you had to drink? Xx

Can you come home now? Xx

I just love you sooo much Xx

Rachel… bloody reply!

Rachel knew Paul’s ex had cheated on him, so she convinced herself he was just insecure. She would reassure him & he apologised when she explained how the calls & messages made her feel.

Paul would be the perfect partner again. Flowers, lovely meals, great sex would follow these lapses of character.

She continued to go out without Paul & felt proud that she stood her ground, she wasn’t changing not after Graham. 

What Rachel didn’t know was that Paul had downloaded a tracking app onto her phone, swapped her phone charger for one that could copy her messages & had installed a dash cam into her car which recorded where she went & sound in the car.

Paul knew her every move & the majority of her communication with friends & family.

He remained controlling he had just got clever.

He knew EXACTLY where she was, who she was with & what she was doing.

Rachel was pleased. In her eyes her reassurance has meant Paul stopped texting & calling her, she felt he trusted her.


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