"He was everything I never had," domestic abuse survivor Sarah* explained of her past relationship.
"He was very attentive and romantic."
What may have appeared to be genuine interest and connection quickly descended into emotional manipulation and living with crippling stress.
Thursday marks the end of the UN 16 days of Activism to End Gender Violence, and Sarah believes that more people need to be aware that domestic abuse often involves more than just physical violence.
"He never hit me," Sarah explained.
"This is what kept me in the cycle of abuse because he never hit me."
Manager of the Links for Women refuge in Griffith, Carrol Farlow says that perpetrators of domestic violence can use a number of forms of abuse in order to maintain control over their partner.
"Some women don't even recognise they are in a domestic violence relationship," Mrs Farlow said.
"Domestic violence can take the shape of a number of abuses like financial, emotional and verbal. For example not sharing the household money with her or stopping her from seeing her family and friends.
Sarah explained that her former partner would control her by keeping the entire household 'walking on eggshells', fearing one of his verbally abusive tirades.
"He would stomp around the house and throws things around and you could feel the dread coming on... and then he would explode you couldn't avoid it," Sarah said.
"It was a constant day to day drama and stress and worry and fear. I was constantly stressed thinking about what I could do to fix things.
"I thought, if I cleaned the house from top to bottom, would he come home and be happy?"
Often the threat of violence is enough to keep women fearful and compliant with an abuser's agenda. The impact this kind of unpredictable behaviour has on a woman's confidence can be crippling when considering to leave an abusive relationship said Mrs Farlow.
"A woman can often try to leave a number of times before she actually decides to leave for good," Mrs Farlow said.
"We have crisis accommodation and the transition units so we can support women to move back out into the community and live a changed and independent life."
However Sarah, who spent a number of weeks in Griffith's Links for Women refuge, wants to remind women that despite the fear, you can leave and life can be better.
"Your abuser wants to make you feel like you are alone, but you are not alone. There are people and organisations who are there to help," Sarah said.
"Put a plan in place and reach out for support.
"The life I'm living now feels like a second life."
If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, please contact 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or Griffith women's refuge on (02) 6964 3381.
*Name changed to protect Sarah's safety.