Wanganui woman Anne was fighting to live and now she is fighting to survive.
She is still coming to terms with the domestic violence she suffered up until February and is having counselling to help regain some balance to a life that is so far in the red.
The 40-something single parent with two children has slipped down the rungs of self-sustainability and is dependent on the state to live.
Anne (not her real name) says she is frustrated that she is on a benefit, and this week her counsellor went to a food bank to put food in her cupboards.
Her sense of well-being is constantly under attack from the daily grind of trying to survive. She has applied for 15 jobs since March, and on Tuesday night applied for another two.
The family home is tastefully furnished and clean, and she has a garden with winter vegetables.
Anne is not complaining and does not feel sorry for herself. But she is trying to get her head above the stigma of living on a benefit, when she would rather be working.
Since 1995, Anne owned her home and car; she has two careers behind her and felt good about where she was in life.
A man she briefly met in the'80s re-entered her life, charmed her, lied about his past, then systematically took over her life through psychological, physical and sexual abuse.
"He wore me down and denies the abuse," Anne says, adding when he lived with her, and following their marriage, she has "never known a life like it".
She is now $50,000 in debt and while he was living with her, she had to withdraw her KiwiSaver to buy food and pay bills.
In December 2012, he crashed a work vehicle while driving drunk, so Anne had to swap her car, then borrow money to pay for lawyer's fees and repair the vehicle.
The couple worked for the same company and, because of her husband's actions and behaviour, they had to leave.
"We had no money for three weeks over Christmas and a mortgage holiday I was on, came off. We got nothing from Work and Income," she says.
In February, Anne had her husband arrested because he once again threatened he would "knock her head off her shoulders and kill her".
She was left without money, had no income and her husband immediately stopped the car payments.
Further stress was placed on her when she had a two-week stand-down before she could get a domestic purposes benefit.
She ekes out a meagre living from the benefit, and once costs have been taken out she is left with $80 a fortnight to live on; to feed herself and her children, the dog and the cat.
The dog was bought as a puppy when she was working, and the cat was a stray.
The dog needs to be spayed for its health, yet her husband would not allow her to spend the money for the $270 veterinary fee.
Anne said the nightmare started in 2011 when the man she eventually married called her "out of the blue" and offered to take her out to dinner, where he drank only orange juice.
"I thought this was great, someone who does not drink."
She said he wanted to help financially, but the mother-of-one declined and said she was okay because she was working.
He moved in to live with her, and turned up without any belongings.
"There were more lies about why he had nothing, everything had been stolen, he said."
Just before they married, he grabbed her face and gave her a fat lip. But Anne was now in his grip and too afraid to back out.
The couple married and have a child together. Last winter he threatened to kill her, and drive a truck into the house while the children were inside, to kill them. The abuse continued until she snapped and had him arrested in February.
He is on a good behaviour bond for a year.
Anne has no self-pity for her situation, but what she does not like is that she has to go to Work and Income and beg for anything extra.
"I am grateful for what I get, but it is hard enough as it is without being treated like scourge of the Earth."
But the irony was, when Anne, who has a protection order against her ex-husband, went to the Wanganui Work and Income office, where she was served by staff wearing T-shirts promoting the "domestic violence, It's not OK"; and then they asked her when she was going to go back to work.
Another time she went to Work and Income to get help to have one of her major appliances fixed, but she first had to go to a mortgage broker to get a breakdown of her assets to show she did not have the income.
It's not as though it's a grant, she says, because a weekly amount is taken out of her benefit for the advance.
"I am over it, I am so frustrated at the whole thing. The situation takes everything away from you."
She said she would love to work 20 hours a week because she is receiving counselling for the abuse she suffered and she wants to continue with that.
Her pre-schooler will be looked after by her parents.
And despite her struggles, Anne counts her blessings.
"I feel peaceful now, there is a calm in the house."