I spoke to the woman behind the ‘Texts From My Abuser’ Twitter account
She received all the messages during a former relationship
“Do you want me to strangle you, is that it?” reads one of the texts. “I want to Skype you right now just so I can fucking scream at you” reads another.
“All the tweets from my account are direct quotes from messages that my abusive ex-boyfriend sent me over the course of a year and a half,” explains the woman who runs the Twitter account, Texts From My Abuser. She received all of the messages during a former relationship.
“I’m in the process of going back through the backlog of Facebook conversations that I have with him, saving them, then re-reading them,” she says. “It’s like I’m live-tweeting the abuse, only a long time after it happened.”
The charity Living With Abuse (LWA) say that abuse will affect one in four women, and one in six men, at some point in their lifetime. Abuse comes in many different forms. “Psychological abuse is as invisible as it is terrifying. [This is] an important part of my healing process,” she says .
“I’ve got a lot of built-up rage, and after suffering in silence for such a long time I want to be heard. It’s extremely validating for me, and if it’s validating for other people who have had experiences like mine. I think I almost have a responsibility to stay vocal.”
The messages vary in their severity, from seemingly gentle yet suggestive warnings such as “Just keeping an eye on you”, all the way to sustained abuse that reference threats, bulimia, self-harm and even suicide. Reading them back even months later, she admits they still shock her today.
“I genuinely don’t think that I could pick the most awful message, and I don’t think it would be right of me to try,” she admits. “It’s important not to think of abuse as a sliding scale, that some people have it worse because ‘worse’ things are said to them.”
Speaking on her experience, she adds: “Emotional abuse, no matter what form it takes, is still abuse, and every survivor should be treated with the utmost respect, kindness and compassion, regardless of the ‘scale’ of their suffering.”
Creating the account was not entirely cathartic, though she says it helps her to come to terms with what happened. She hopes to provide support for others in a similar position to the one she was in.
“It can be very traumatic to realise that what you’re experiencing is abuse, and it’s important to keep yourself safe,” she says. “If you can, try and turn your mind to the idea of leaving the relationship, and to start to build a safety net around yourself. You cannot change an abusive man yourself – they have to be committed to change, and unfortunately, abusers are extremely reluctant to change themselves.” She advises looking for support groups for abused women and considering therapy. The book “Why Does He Do That” by Lundy Bancroft is also recommended as it’s an “abuse bible”.
“So much of emotional abuse is about silencing and isolating,” she says. “I want other sufferers to see that they’re not alone, and that it’s not their fault.
“There is no justification for abuse. That’s why I’ve only published his words, and not mine.”