Our demise – Part 2.

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I realised I had ‘lost’ my husband. From the birth of our daughter he changed from being a supportive caring husband to a distant and depressed human being. We had decided that he would be in charge of putting baby to bed every day. He wanted to do it as he would be at work all day and would not see her but of course with this choice came responsibilities and promises. It came schedules and routines. It came remembering endless things that baby needed. Too many things for him.

Tired from work, he would enter the house. He would greet baby and take her upstairs. No Hello, no kiss, no acknowledgement of his wife. He would come back from one job and enter another. There were no questions about my day. He did not know that baby had been sick twelve times that day. He did not know that she had not kept down a single bit of milk or that I had not brushed my teeth that day. He did not know that I had cried several times that morning and that my ‘lunch’ consisted of two pieces of toast eaten over three hours. He did not know because he did not ask. For six months he did not ask. I was not myself for the first three months of my daughter’s life.

The doctors and health visitors had insisted that I should not take baby outside for at least seven weeks (until her due date). Out of panic and fear I listened to their advice and out of panic and fear, I only left the house five times in the space of three months. I could not leave without having a panic attack.

A few years back I had worked with babies in a day nursery; a job that I enjoyed very much. I gained a lot of ‘insider’ knowledge first hand and felt prepared for the future. However having my daughter seven weeks early threw every preparation I had into chaos. I will be the first to admit it – I struggled. I really battled through the first three months. My BDD (body dysmorphic disorder) seemed to be developing into a problem again. I felt frumpy, disgusting. I was angry I was unable to lose my baby weight. My confidence dropped.

My husband must have seen a change in me although he chose to ignore it. Instead he disappeared into himself, cutting himself off from me and only thinking of his own problems. I was shocked to find my caring husband grow into such a cold and detached human being. Christmas was a very unpleasant time for us. There had been a few incidents leading up to it where my husband had chosen himself over me and his baby. He had put his selfish needs first and begun leading a very separate life to mine. I discovered some real eye openers to the man he had become – a man I could not recognise. He wasn’t ashamed of his actions either although he managed to shed a few crocodile tears. I hate seeing him cry and not because it breaks my heart but because it’s the easy way out. Tears gain sympathy. He didn’t deserve that. His behaviour didn’t justify tears.

He chose to betray me in ways I find very hard to forgive.

He became cruel and nasty. A shadow of the man I once knew. He became defensive and verbally harmful, snapping and hurting. He became angry, aggressive and frightening. There were times I was truly scared. I hadn’t felt that kind of frightened since my Dad. That was the point I knew my marriage was over. The man I had once loved so deeply had reminded me of my Dad. He reminded me of what that abuse felt like. He reminded me what it felt like to feel small, neglected, alone. I vowed never to feel that way again and this man had succeeded in making it happen at a time that should have been the happiest in my life. I will never forgive him for that. NEVER.

The culmination of his abhorrent behaviour happened on my 33rd birthday. We, at this point, had no relationship. We barely talked to each other and if we did, it mostly referred to the baby. I was dreading my birthday. In past years, D had gone out of his way to make me feel special. He didn’t have to shower me with presents or do anything romantic, I was just treated very well that day – lots of cups of tea and putting my feet up kind of thing. He was thoughtful and considerate and I appreciated that.

This birthday was different. I asked him the day before, jokingly, if he had got me a card, fearing that he may have forgotten. I was right as he suddenly began to severely berate himself (something he had been doing often for the past months). He could have lied and said yes and then sneaked out later to get one. He could have made me feel like it was all okay out of kindness, out of thoughtfulness but my husband wasn’t like that any more. He’d rather wallow in his endless mistakes than make me feel better about a situation, than make the moment pass and move on after all, there were many times I brushed over his snide comments about me for an easier life. After the casual comment about the card, my husband was in a foul mood for the rest of the day. I put it behind me not wanting to ruin my actual birthday. I had stated I wanted a simple one.

Life was not easy with the baby and my confidence hadn’t returned but that did not mean I didn’t want my husband to not go to any effort. He had taken the day off work after all. Surely he was going to do something special? How wrong was I. The next morning I went into my baby’s room as she was cooing beautifully by herself. I lifted her out the cot and gave her some mummy kisses. My husband, groggy from his slumber, followed in. He made no eye contact nor spoke. I waited for the obligatory “Happy Birthday!” to fall from his lips. Instead, he yawned and sat on the bed in baby’s room.

“Don’t say happy birthday or anything please,” I remarked disappointed I had to remind him of what day it was.

“I was just going to!” He snapped.

Plenty of time had passed from when I had entered the room, it was clear he wasn’t planning on saying anything. Immediately I felt uncomfortable. He had chosen to snap at me at six in the morning really setting me up for what was about to come. Once downstairs with baby, D barely uttered two words to me. I felt incredibly uncomfortable and when my mum came in with a card I found it hard to show her any happiness. She knew something was wrong but it had got to the point where the son in-law she was once so close to had now become a very intimidating stranger to her. She watched him disrespect her daughter but of a want not to be shouted at or spoken to sarcastically (a trait my husband excels at) she often kept quiet. Their relationship remains on the brink even now.

Due to a hectic schedule with baby, I hadn’t given my husband any idea of the kind of present I had wanted or that I had even wanted one. Really I had hoped he didn’t need telling. I had hoped the man who always used to get it spot on would come through for me again. Instead, with my own money, I ordered a bag from a shopping site I like on-line and my husband ‘refunded’ me the money. It felt like my father all over again. My father never bought me presents for my birthday or Christmas as he never bothered to find out what I liked. He just handed me money (after negotiation) and then berated me when I spent it on something like shoes or bags. At his request and demand, I often ended up having to say a detailed explanation as to why I deserved a gift in the first place. After a while I begged him NOT to give me anything as I just couldn’t hack the events and interrogations that would follow.

I didn’t say anything that day to my husband when I opened the card I had told him to buy for me. I didn’t say anything when I read his meaningless message to me inside. I was too worried that if I said something his reaction would be far worse than his intent. Sadly, the rest of the day continued on that note. My husband decided to feel sorry for himself for most of it. Knowing that nothing was special and sensing how sad I was about it all, he decided to make me feel even worse by ignoring me. He couldn’t even try to make conversation with me. He just avoided me. I was distraught. What the hell was the point in taking the day off?! I could have gone out with my mum and baby for a nice lunch and had a great time. No, my selfish husband instead made the whole day about him.

It all blew up in the afternoon when over a late lunch I voiced my disappointment. To many, I’m probably sounding like a needy drama queen but my husband had made a big deal of my birthday in the weeks leading up to it. He gave me the impression that I would have a nice day organised by him. When in fact I spent the day looking after baby (as normal), depressed because my husband was ignoring me and scared of what explosion was going to happen later. As soon as I uttered the words, D blew up. Shouting, aggressive, storming off all in front of baby. I left her with her grandma and followed him into the living room.

“What’s wrong with you? Why are you doing this?” are the types of questions I could not avoid asking.

He paced the floor furiously and I realised the day would be ruined for good. He could not break from his anger, his rage and disappointment in himself had encased him. Seeing red he tried to push past me in order to leave the house. I wouldn’t let him pass for two reasons; one, I did not want my mother and baby to see him so agitated, it really was very frightening but to me, it wasn’t anything I hadn’t seen before in a man and two, I was angry at this nasty person for wanting to storm out on me on my birthday! He gets to leave but I don’t. I have responsibilities even on my birthday and no amount of rage will make me leave my child. The day dragged on as my husband remained in his solemn, distant state. We did not utter a single word to each other for the rest of the day.

Until the evening, when at dinner, I just couldn’t keep my upset inside any longer. I lost it. I cried and shouted as loud as I could without disturbing our baby. I was distraught. Never had I experienced a day like it. Even the abuser attempted to make my birthdays a little pleasant. My husband however couldn’t even do that. I knew something was wrong in him, something quite serious was happening to him. He had become a monster and I was frightened. That night he made me frightened. I never imagined my timid, sweet husband who once loved me so much would make me frightened.

How do you draw a line under that? How do you accept his promise to change?

You can’t. I live day to day now concious that he might fall back into his destructiveness, fearing that he might become distant. He had a course of CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) as communication was not something he ever did and it seems to have helped. It has taken nearly five months for me to even ‘like’ him again. He is trying, I can see that but every now and again I see glimpses of the cruelness and I begin to panic. I do not want a marriage where I fear my husband. I do not want a marriage where I am always anticipating his bad reactions, his anger, his spite. I cannot say I am hopeful. I can only say that I can see things more clearly now. I will not continue a charade of a marriage to please other people. I will not force a love that does not exist. If we are meant to be, then we’ll get through this. If he values the life we’ve built then he will change. I know I need to change too……if I can.

There’s a lot of ifs………… But no buts.

Advertisements

Our demise (how it all began) Part 1.

As I stated in my last post, my husband and I are trying to work at our relationship. We do this not only for each other but for our beautiful daughter. Our broken marriage sadly was never very strong but I never imagined we would ever be in the situation we are now. Every relationship has it’s ups and downs, ours always even from the very beginning. The two of us are very different people yet we were drawn to each other at the start. He was the man I could be myself with. No airs, no snobbery, no judgement, just easy. I had never had that before but things clearly changed.

I have to break this post into two parts. I mean how do you sum up the downfall of a marriage in one post?

I can’t spell out an exact breaking point or a specific trauma between us. Our demise has been very slow burning over the last three years. I think my husband probably proposed to me for the wrong reasons. We had come to the end of a pretty trying year between us. I had discovered some revelations about my ‘dearest’……things that threw our relationship into disarray and made me question everything I have ever stood for. You know – the ‘I’d never stay with a man if he did that to me’ kind of stuff? It wasn’t soul destroying but I was pretty pissed off – “betrayed” is a good word for it. I’ll leave you guys to draw your own conclusions on that.

We “worked” at our relationship back then, all those years ago and we did actually sort it out. I forgave him and we moved on and on New Year’s Eve 2010, he proposed to me. Maybe he felt pressured. One of the reasons we had problems back then was that neither of us truly opened up to each other. We were in a very superficial relationship. My life at the time was one big headache as my abusive father was very much controlling my life. For the first two years we were together, I lived with the abuser. How could I show or tell my husband the truth about him? He was so charming to my then boyfriend. Like every other, he liked my father, he could not see who he really was and by the time he saw his truthful nature, my husband was too gutless to do anything.

Even with someone I was still alone.

I accepted his proposal. I needed something from him – a commitment. We had just begun living together, I should have seen that as enough. We weren’t ready for marriage but pressures and excitement from family and friends cascaded us into wedding prep and a day that we never should have had.

I cannot talk still about my wedding day. I do not hold good memories of that day. Not because I got married but because of the issues and ordeals my father put me through leading up to and on it. I spent the majority of the celebration in my hotel room with a glass of wine. I felt disgusting as when most brides lose weight for their wedding, I had put on well over 14 lbs within a year for mine. My dress was tight and I knew it was obvious. I put my hair up which is something I NEVER do in my actual life but I did for the most special day of my life because I thought, “That’s what brides do”. Well what about what I do? I really lost myself at that time. I often talk to David about that day. He did not enjoy himself either. The whole thing resembled nothing of us. I really did it for others. We even invited people that meant nothing to us. Why? Numbers? To be polite? Probably.

It’d be very very different if I could do it again but that doesn’t seem likely now does it?

After the wedding, things returned as they were. Except the year would now be tarnished with my father’s death. I do not feel sad for that time, it is the happiest moment of my life his passing but the weeks before he died were hellish. He wouldn’t stop, even at his end. My new husband was phenomenal. He showed me a side of him I thought I would see from there on in – confident, protective, loving. I never saw that guy again.

Stresses followed. My father’s will, my sister, her husband, deliberately making our life difficult, making things awkward. My husband was in a job he wasn’t enjoying. That changed him. He became isolated, discarding friendships in preference of staying at home doing nothing. He even blamed me for not seeing anyone. I saw my friends. It was his choice to abandon his.

I like my independence. I like to spend time alone. By now, we were in each other’s pockets. I couldn’t stand it. I would often go to my mother’s for a night on my own just for a bit of distance. Perhaps that isn’t normal but I wanted to miss him, I wanted to want to go back to him but I was reaching a point where being by myself seemed more of a good thing than being with him.

We hadn’t even been married a year.

Having a child together was not a rash decision nor was it an accident. Things did get better between us. We wanted a child. There are no regrets. My wedding day was not the most special day of my life, the day I gave birth to my precious daughter was and it always will be.

It was also the day that changed everything for me and my husband. He became someone I had never seen before – a man I did not recognise. He ruined the first 6 months of my daughter’s life. A time where I should have focussed my entirety on this little being, I was having to worry about a grown man who should have been there for me instead of only thinking about himself and for that I will never forgive him.

Part 2 to follow soon……….

When history repeats itself.

Don’t you just hate it when you vow never to put yourself through such torment and pain again after years of abuse then after a moment of happiness, you suddenly realise you’ve allowed yourself to fall into the same damn pattern as before? Don’t you just hate it when you’ve fallen deep into a hole of despair when you worked so bloody hard never to be there again?

I have always spoken well of my husband on this site. For many years he was my main support (other than myself), but lately, things have changed. We aren’t the same any more. He isn’t the same any more. I write this honestly and with his ‘permission’. Previously, I have written about other people under pseudonyms or by using their initials. However, I do not intend to do this with my husband.

Last month, I set up an anonymous blog, revealing the truths about my marriage. It will be closing as I do not want to pretend. I suppose people will condemn that I am doing this so publicly but the one thing I will say about my hubby is he totally understands that wordpress is my only outlet. Whoever chooses to read this must also choose not to judge me. I have a voice and sadly I cannot always voice it to friends and family. I often feel like they are out of their depth.

I can voice it here as I know my loyal followers and readers understand.

My marriage is broken.

Our relationship has been crumbling these past few years and perhaps marriage was a way of denying that. We are two very different people and sadly, it has become apparent of late that perhaps we aren’t so compatible after all. That saying, I do love him – very much and I know he loves me. Our problems have reached a point where we have to question whether or not we should be together. The trust has completely gone. I never thought it would. My husband has made some really bad choices this last year and has gone through some big stresses and I have tried to be there for him and be supportive. But I myself have suffered too. Giving birth before expected sent me into a world of anxiety. I became house bound for over three months. I still have panic attacks now if I stray too far from home. That wasn’t and isn’t me. I haven’t had a chance to deal with my issues and unfortunately, they have been pushed aside as I tend to my husband’s needs.

It’s my ‘duty’ as a wife right?

What about my duty to myself? My duty to my child?

The people I have told support my husband as they know deep down he is a good person. However, it only reminds me of the time I reached out to friends and family when my father abused me. They too defended and supported my father as they only saw the side of him he wanted to portray.

I feel this is the same way with my husband. He does not show the world what I see. They do not go through my pain.

I hope now I am speaking truthfully and openly, I will have the chance to release some of the anger and hurt with the support I need.

Thanks for listening.

R x

2014 A Look Back: January – April.

January.

I started this year in a different frame of mind. I began the year with several promises to myself. Not resolutions but a pledge of ten things I planned to fulfil. Did I succeed? Not quite. I managed two out of ten. Pretty rubbish right? One was to celebrate my birthday (which I did) and the other was to say No. I think learning to say No is a big achievement however. Now I’ve got to learn to say Yes! That sounds hard. Yes seems more difficult than No. Yes means opening up and taking risks, something I’ve always shied away from.

On January 11th I posted a piece called “What a ‘victim’ will often hear” http://wp.me/p32vbr-1j6 . It was strange to look back and read the long list of insults and criticisms made on a daily basis to me by my abuser. So many women, girls (and boys) and children hear these poisonous words by people they trust. After years of listening to it, you undoubtedly begin to believe it. Thankfully, this post was followed by “What survivors should say”  http://wp.me/p32vbr-1jM a post I should really look at more often to remind me how far I’ve come and to keep me looking towards my future.

At the end of January, I posted a photo of my cooker at home. It was one of many photos I had taken of his property whilst I lived there. I wanted proof. Proof of what we lived in. People had been supportive on this site of my story, my journey. People had been very understanding that I suffered in my own way and although there was no violence, the abuse was still destructive and destroying. Sadly, you cannot always control who reads your work. There are so many supporters and equally plenty of haters.

Soon after posting this, I received a very critical comment from a stranger. Someone who knows nothing of my past, nothing about my father and the horror I endured. Yet this stranger, thought it was okay to condemn and chide me for my post. This stranger chose to belittle my abuse and imply that I was writing this to gain attention. Many of my wordpress family came together and put this idiot straight. Emotional abuse is hidden. It’s clever. It disguises itself well. It is harder to discover and can consume you as much as a violent attack.

 http://wp.me/p32vbr-1mT

February.

In February, I began experimenting with poetry. I have always loved poetry and written many poems when living at home with the abuser. It is a great way to express emotion without people fully understanding what it is you are saying. In other words, my abuser wasn’t clever enough to delve deeper into my poetry. He’d find them and know they were about him but his lack of intelligence prevented him from confronting me about it. I’d often find them ripped up in the bin. What else could he do?

I Hate Mondays has to be my favourite I’ve posted all year. Although, this one’s nothing to do with my father!

http://wp.me/p32vbr-1r0

 March.

Ah! The joy of getting older! On the 2nd I turned 32 and received the greatest present of all – I found out I was pregnant! Happy birthday me!!

April.

In April, I wrote a series of letters to certain people and groups in my life I felt needed to hear what I had to say. I must admit that there were some reactions to these letters and some were from the people I had written them to. I stand by my words. None were lies. I do not write lies. I needed a release and did it in the one way that felt comfortable and safe. As I have said many times, if you do not want to hear these things then do not read my page. If I am a nobody to you then what does it matter what I say? If you truly believe I am lying then why question it so much? Why punish me so badly? The reactions resonated with me more than the actual letters.

On a brighter note, April would be the first time I met my baby! Not in person thankfully but my husband, mother and I went for my scan and here was the result 🙂

roo

Who to trust?

You think you know someone, you think you know them well.

You feel you trust them, as far as you can tell.

A little whisper, a little laugh behind your back

And trust is gone, in an instant, with a smack

In the face, hard as hell, you feel foolish once more

That you lay open to them as you have done once before.

Where to sit, what to say, who knows when they will turn,

be on your guard, stay alert, protection from their burns

Bitter words shatter hearts and tear apart one’s soul

Just treat me as a human being, treat me as a whole.

Who to trust, who to doubt, for that I’ll never know

For trust can be as strong as Zeus or fade away like snow.

Just trust yourself, then you will know how to live.

 

Where Did it All Go Wrong? Dear Sister, Part 1.

Dear Sister,

Where did it all go wrong? I cannot remember most of my early childhood nor can I find any early memories of the two of us. Photographs show a forgotten love. I cannot say that we were ever close. I cannot even say that I have ever felt a natural bond with you. How sad, for both of us. Perhaps our parents were to blame. Any time I wanted to talk to you, communicate with you, I was stopped. They intervened.

“Don’t upset your sister,” they would say.

What could a seven year old have ever said to upset you? I was a child who did not understand depression. No one sat me down and explained it. I was just left to second guess every action and every word I spoke. That is cruel. In the past, when I mentioned it to the two of them, both have become defensive. Both have denied any wrong doing and I berate them for that. As a parent to be and a parent yourself. surely one is able to admit that they are not perfect. There are and will be times we will fail. It is what makes us human.

My only childhood memory of you that stands out is a sweet moment of sibling protection.

I have made it clear in this blog that there was a time where my mother was not the person she is now. Looking back, she was a very frightening woman. In a flash of rage and disappointment (for reasons I cannot remember) our mother launched at me one day. It was not the first time she had been violent. Smacking happens all around the world and I understand that in certain circumstances it may be necessary but I cannot advocate slapping a five year old child on any part of their body. At that age, a time out should be used or at very least your words. I remember running from her and finding you on the sofa. I jumped on you in tears, scared to the bone, calling your name. She was storming towards us as I huddled and cuddled myself into you. She was on one mission only, for me to learn my lesson. Her flat palm took a large swing and her aim for my bare thigh was on target. With force she let go. I screamed anticipating the pain but before I knew it, you had shielded the beast with a cushion. There was no pain. My tears were staining your shirt, I closed my eyes knowing that she would not be happy. She yelled at you but you just yelled back. She wouldn’t fight you. She never has. You won. I won. You saved me.

I never felt that love again.

What went wrong? At what point did you stop loving me? I never stopped. I looked up to my older sister but I was an embarrassment to you. You only sought my mother’s approval and when you achieved it, I was of little point. As a teenager you distanced yourself. Academics and grades were more important and the small glimpses of fun you did enjoy were not shared with me. Yes, as an older sister, I do understand that having a nagging eight year old wanting your constant attention would be off-putting but I wasn’t a stranger off the street, I was your only sister!

I was no doubt confused the time you requested I stay with you for a weekend at University. To me, it made no sense but my happiness that my sister finally wanted to spend time with me was too much to question your reasons. I cannot remember that weekend. For a while, I thought I had imagined it. Only recently did my mother confirm it really took place.

After that, well nothing.

I felt completely apart from you. The only information I got was from my mother and she was not forthcoming with positive news. I was only to hear negative. It only created a further barrier between us.

How could the two of you ever ask or expect me to live with you instead of my father? You were not the better choice. Neither of you made me feel a part of YOUR family. I wasn’t. I was an outsider in the private, secretive world you had created. You were both so confusing, frightening. Your emotions and anger were raw and your hate for my father was so magnified. I couldn’t live with that. I loved him.

I loved you too. Both of you.

But love was used as a bargaining tool, how many times was I subjected to,

“Well, if you really loved us then……..”

Is that fair? As a parent and a sister tell me, is it?

Is this the point it went wrong for us?

If it is and you cannot forgive me then why on earth did you forgive him?! I have seen and heard of what he did to you. Yet, in his final years, you put that behind you. You forgave him for his torturous behaviour and allowed him into your life.

Explain yourself!*

 

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.

*Part 2 to follow.

To My Father’s Church.

To the Church where my father worked,

You held him in such high regard, the man who ruined my life. He became a martyr to you when he died. This archetype of a human being. A Christian man with Christian ethics. The words the pastor uttered at his funeral haunt me to this day. His description of him fell short of the image and character I endured for over fifteen years. 

What a shrewd man to deceive you all.

At his funeral, after his cremation, you approached me. You, the pastor, offered your sincere condolences for my tragic loss. You had been there. You had seen my father in action. He had told you the lies he created about me and you believed them. He asked you to pray for me so that I would not be condemned to hell but prayer was not enough. He would have exorcised me if he could. To him, I was possessed, inhuman, a savage. He could not tame me. I was too wild and broke too many rules. This was a lie. I only ever tried to comply. I just could not meet his endless demands and regulations. 

You humiliated me. I did not need your prayers. I was not a bad person.

As you all wept at sight of his coffin I wept too. I wept out of happiness; out of relief. I sat, staring directly down the aisle at his coffin. I resisted the temptation to kick it over. Nothing would have pleased me more to see it lying, broken, ruined. Just as he left me.

My sister became a beacon of hope, of love and loyalty to you. She honored my father well. He did not deserve honor. He didn’t deserve the audience you all gave him at his final goodbye. He didn’t deserve the tears or the laughs, the empathy or the memories. That room should have been empty. 

My father abused me. Mentally and emotionally, for thirty years of my life. He was the epitome of a bad man.

You were naive to believe his other representation.

You were naive to think he was true to his word.

You were naive to believe he cared about people, that he cared about all of you.

He didn’t.

Believe me.