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I misread the signs

Hindsight, they say, is a wonderful thing but foresight is better.

In hindsight, I realise that I had misread the early warning signs of abuse and the abusive relationship that was to come but at that time, I hadnt experienced any kind of physical or mental  abuse (narcistic abuse) in an adult relationship so no warning bells were ringing.

Although Valeri was great in so many ways, I was aware that some of his behaviour was not quite right or acceptable to me.

He was very controlling early on but I put that down to him being a strong willed man. A real man! The hunter gatherer traditional Bulgarian man who was just taking care of me. In fact I liked it at first as it was a pleasant change to have someone else take the lead so I could take my foot off the brakes for a while, especially after the hurt I felt for being cheated on by Steven whom I had done everything for.

He would go on about me smoking and that I should give up which I did see as probably right but I hate to be told what to do...However he moaned about it that much that I stopped smoking around him when he was in my home, often going outside to smoke which although courteous was not something I should have felt the need to do in my own home..
He would hide my cigarettes or throw them away which although I thought he was doing for my health, nevertheless it was not his choice to make.

Valeri would tidy up but rearrange the way I had arranged my things in the home.

Initially it was just ornaments and personal effects that would be removed from their place and put away or thrown away! For example I had numerous led light candles that he disposed of as they were plastic and rubbish in his opinion.

The items in the kitchen cupboards such as cutlery, plates and saucepans were moved to different places which he would justify as being far more practical.

Cleaning products that he claimed were no good and harmful to the environment were thrown out as were my tea towels which he said were un hygenic!

There were many more similar things of this nature that he did which although irritating, I thought were just teething problems and misunderstandings that were always present in new acquaintances and perhaps down to the language barrier or due to cultural differences.

Nevertheless I saw these issues as easily rectified  by raising them for discussion with Valeri and asking him not to do this in my home anymore with out checking with me first which I did in a non confrontational way whilst thanking him for his help and giving him the benefit of doubt that he was just trying to be helpful!

He seemed surprised and bewildered that I would rather he didnt change the way I had arranged my home and take it on himself to throw away my things without asking and reminded me that I had said he was to make himself at home.

Although I thought it was obvious that as a guest in anyone's home, making yourself at home did not mean to literally make it as you would prefer it to be as if it was your home by changing the decor and rearranging the layout. However I clarified that I meant as a guest he was welcome and I wanted him to feel comfortable in my home as it was..

Valeri was extremely insecure and paranoid so for a while after our conversation about rearranging my home, he would regularly want reassurance that I was not cross with him and he was still welcome in my home..

It was also because of his paranoia that I stupidly had said to him one night he was free to search anywhere and everywhere in my home when he was having a 'moment' and suspected I was working with 'the system' to hurt him. That night he searched the house for about 6 hours, leaving no stone unturned in order to satisfy himself I was telling the truth.. I allowed it as he seemed genuinly in turmoil and frightened and I felt sorry for him to feel that way. I had nothing to hide so it wasnt a problem for me however it did set the precedent for him to freely go into any room, cupboard or drawer in my home whenever he wanted.




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Overview

I am an English lady who lived in Bulgaria for 18 months which sadly did not turn out as I had hoped.
I was not new to Bulgaria's Black Sea Coast region as for 10 years I had owned an apartment there which I used regularly, even staying there for 6 months at a time on occassion on my own. I felt I knew Bulgaria and the culture well. I had learned to speak enough Bulgarian to get by and was familiar with the Bulgarian way of life.
I knew Bulgarians, in comparison, to the UK, still had a lot of outdated views and prejudices but I had never felt these were directed at British, German or Scandinavian tourists but was well aware of their dislike of Romanians and darker skinned people who were referred to openly as gypsys and niggers. There also seemed to be some resentment towards Russians who did appear to treat Bulgarians as less superior to them and could be quite demanding!
There were some who resented Americans but most had never met one.
Being English, you are seen as rich and pr…