Comedienne Nicole Jäger was stuck in a toxic relationship for a long time. In her new book she reports on her experiences with psychological and physical violence from her own partner. And how she made the jump.
After meeting friends: quarrel. After professional success: quarrel. Instead of loving words: only grumbling. And then also being stalked by one’s own partner and experiencing physical violence: whoever this happens to, lives in a toxic relationship. Stand-up comedienne Nicole Jäger (39) experienced just that – and beyond. In her current book “Unkaputtbar. How my lack of self-worth became a problem and how I got out of it, ”writes the woman from Hamburg about her experiences. MOPO spoke to me about her.
It all begins in 2015: Nicole Jäger meets a man and falls in love with him. He showered her with love, pays her attention, compliments her. Everything seems perfect. This happens a few years later: Jäger is sitting on the sofa, her partner yells at her hysterically and threatens her.
She is secretly clutching a long, sharp kitchen knife. “He will try to kill me again. But this time I’ll fight, ”she thinks at the moment. Even if the couple actually reconciled after this escalation, what was initially a dreamlike relationship has developed into a partnership that almost kills Nicole Jäger. How could this happen?
Toxic relationship: “And then the psychological terror begins”
“It all starts with criticism. Something like: ‘You are no longer making yourself so beautiful for me, you no longer care about me, your job is more important to you than me’. And then it gets more and more, louder and louder, more and more abusive. And then the psychological terror begins, ”says Nicole Jäger to MOPO.
“A toxic relationship begins when the partners no longer treat each other benevolently,” says Hamburg psychologist Christine Geschke. “Those affected are often suspicious instead of trusting. One eventually becomes unhappy, worrying about the relationship ”.
At some point, Jäger’s everyday life is shaped by precisely such worried thoughts: “What am I doing wrong? How can I do it better? ”She wonders. “My ex-partner entered my misconduct in Excel lists to present them to me. Everything that I did outside of our relationship, he perceived as an affront to him, ”says Jäger.
One day Jäger has an important TV appointment. She worked for this moment for a long time. When she arrives at the hotel, he is there: her partner. “That was so incredibly embarrassing. He then got drunk and made such a violent drama. The whole hotel noticed, ”says Jäger. “He made sure that I didn’t get an hour of sleep and wanted me to miss the appointment.”
Comedienne Nicole Jäger from Hamburg: Stalked and bullied by my own friend
Another incident occurs at the funeral of Jäger’s grandmother. The funeral service takes place in her home. On this day, the focus is not on her partner, but on the deceased grandma. “From ‘You are all going home now’ to ‘Nobody will get anything to eat here’ everything was there. He made a huge riot. In front of my whole family, ”says Jäger. The family eventually leaves, he blames them.
Until then, the toxic relationship is expressed through accusations, criticism and loud shouting – verbal and psychological violence. Until that day. After she tells him that she wants to leave him, there is another escalation, but this time even worse: Nicole Jäger is brutally strangled by her boyfriend. It doesn’t stop at just one time. After another argument, it happens again.
Relationship violence increased during pandemic
According to the Federal Ministry for Women, every third woman in Germany is a victim of domestic violence at least once in her life. In the Corona year 2020, cases of intimate partner violence in Hamburg even increased by ten percent. The Hamburg police counted 5,400 victims last year. Not even every case is reported. So did Nicole Jäger’s. Out of fear, shame and disorientation, she keeps it to herself, as she says.
After the attack, Jäger is even more certain that she will have to part. However, she stays with her bullying boyfriend for another year and a half. But why? Jäger speaks of anxiety disorders, panic attacks. “He let me know, if you break up, you won’t survive,” says the 39-year-old.
Nicole Jäger: “There is a way out of there”
“Good news: you can get out of there,” she says. Jäger finally separates gradually. She secretly takes the keys to her front door from him, no longer tells him where she is, no longer reacts to his messages and calls. When Jäger made the decision to split up, her best friend moved in with her. “I would never have been able to do it on my own,” says Jäger. She breaks up with him over the phone – just to be on the safe side. After a few attempts to ambush hunters, contact with her dangerous ex-boyfriend is finally broken off.
Hunter managed to break away. After all these years of psychological and physical violence, she is finally free again. Writing her book has been her outlet. “I couldn’t put it into words at the time, that’s why I wrote the book. Actually, I should have gone to the police at the time. And I advise everyone concerned. Or at least talk to someone. And if it’s the postman. This is the first step in the right direction, ”said Jäger.
Nicole Jäger became known when she lost weight two years ago and developed a comedy program from it. The Hamburg woman once weighed 340 kilos – now it’s 150. She is currently promoting her book to the public and supporting women who are in similar relationships to her then. On December 13th, 2021 Nicole Jäger will read from her book “Unkaputtbar. How my lack of self-worth became a problem and how I got out of it ”. Those interested can buy tickets on the website.