Two steps forward……no steps back.

In light of what I posted last week, I feel there is a need to for me to respond to some of the commentators who have chosen to berate my decision to write these last few posts concerning my marriage. A critic deemed me to be very “me me me”. Well that could not be further from the case. In my post ‘Drawing a line for now’, I talk of how my husband and I are trying to move on from the trauma of this past year.

The month is now July and I have written the second part of my marriage’s breakdown after six or so weeks break. There is a reason for this. My husband and I have been moving on – together.

We are not in denial; things have been at their worst this year and in all the time where the two of us suffered in silence, neither felt the confidence to talk to our friends. When the time reached a point where I needed to confide in a friend, the person, through no fault of their own, defended and supported my husband. That threw me somewhat as I needed an ear to listen to me and feel the pain that I was going through. If that is selfish then so be it. Don’t we all want and expect friends to take our sides before our husband’s/wife’s?

I am no way comparing my husband’s behaviour to that of my abusive father. That would be absurd! However, during the worst of this year, I came very close to feeling the same way my father used to make me feel – small, alone, worthless. As a new mum, these are not feelings you want to feel especially when you are tackling so many other emotions too.

Although I may not vent to all my friends the ones I do talk to never judge what I’m going through as that would negate what a friend does. I am lucky to have found many ‘friends’ on WordPress too, people that too are going through similar things and don’t compare my problems (however trivial they may seem) to others’. Thank God. Yet, here I am, justifying to the world, justifying to my critics. I can see how my last two posts have been presented but I am unsure of what you expect from a personal blog about someone’s life…….

Baring in mind that I have only ever blogged good things about my husband, loving things, I think it’s pretty clear that this bump has been pretty serious in terms of our relationship’s solidity.

As for me “airing my dirty laundry” or “humiliating my husband”? Well, I am doing neither.

My husband knows me inside out, to him I am a blank canvas, open and honest. There was a time where I never opened up to him, my lack of intimacy and his lack of communication led to our break up in 2010. From that moment on, we both promised to be open with each other. Just because we have crumbled somewhat, does not mean the honesty has not stopped.

The incidents that have happened and that I write about are upsetting yes. They are upsetting for my husband as he has to relive the mistakes he has made. He is left knowing that his faults and actions are immortalised on a site for the world to see, he has to deal with the fact that the wife he loves so much has seemingly taken some sort of revenge on him……that is what many are saying to me right?

Well, yes, that would be true if my husband wasn’t the one who told me to do this. That would all make sense if my loving husband, who is desperate for our marriage to work, hadn’t encouraged me to be honest in the one place I feel free to be myself. I have said it before and I’ll say it again. I love my husband. I just miss the man he was. Writing these things may make me seem like the baddie but I think it’s unfair to say one should not talk about their life on a personal blog. Your bitter words are not comments I “welcome” (!) What an absurd thing to say. I welcome supportive, understanding comments. I am not looking for someone (who does not know me) to analytically attempt to dissect my life and personality and to do it with such hatred and aggression.

Telling me to put my husband first before myself is a most ignorant and ridiculous statement. If there wasn’t a baby in the mix then perhaps that would be an option but at a time where I should have been spending all my energy nurturing my little one, I was spending all my energy trying to save my husband from falling into a pit of despair. I spent every day worrying about him, panicking, fretting. I put everything about myself to one side so do not tell me to consider his feelings. Then to make the bizarre comment that I should write a blog about all the wonderful things my hubby has done for me actually made me giggle. Thanks for that. What a strange thing to say to someone.

You critics do not know my life. You do not know who I am and what makes me human. Just because I have chosen wordpress as an outlet to vent does not make me a bad person. Selfish as it may be, it gives me a voice. Nobody has to read it. I do not look for sympathy, not at all. Just an ear or two to bend. To the commentator who said he “touched a raw nerve”………duh! I think that was possibly your intention in the first place. After all, when I responded, you took it upon yourself to make a rather personal attack. Funny that.

From my first few posts about my marriage breakdown came some concerned wishes and questions from friend’s of my husband. None of them knew what was happening between us as neither of us revealed anything for months. We had always portrayed a happy existence. They never would have known anything was wrong if I had not posted on this blog (and many of you critics would argue that was for the best), yet as a result of it, many got in contact with D, voicing support and love for him, for us. My husband would never have contacted them. I tried so hard to get him to call his close friends but he had gone too far into his isolated world. For them to reach out to him has changed everything and my husband will be the first to tell you that.

If I didn’t care about my husband, why would I have called one of his oldest friends in tears, begging him for help? Because I’m selfish? Why would I have shown so much concern for the man who was once my best friend? I want my best friend back and I know one day, he’ll reappear.

It’s funny, when I first wrote of my father (and again, I am not comparing my husband to him), many critics let out a roar that I was shaming my family, humiliating and tarnishing my late father’s name and that I was incredibly selfish for doing so. I was told to move on in my life and that it is “all in the past”. Eventually, the comments and disapproval faded when people read about the kind of life I led with him and torrent of abuse I endured. Some voices never stopped criticising though and clearly that’ll be the case here.

In terms of depression and although I should not have to explain myself, I will. My husband is haunted with many issues from his past, as many of us do. Last year, with all the drama, he hit a wall. He found himself falling deeper into a world he had left a long time ago. I watched it happen. He and I both had elements of the ‘baby blues’ each showing signs in different ways. Depression? No, we have recently discovered that. A deep fear of failing? Yes a terrible fear. By taking CBT he worked through this fear and I am immensely proud of him. I do not need to tell anyone that but him that and I do, ALL the time. Why? Because I love him, very much and I want him to know he is a good, good man.

Even the best men can be bad. They can fail. They can make the worst mistakes. We all can. I should not have to say any of this and it should be a given but clearly some people need this spelling out.

I wrote in May that I would be revealing how my marriage broke down. It was a decision made by both me AND my husband. He is a follower of my blog so if you don’t believe it why an earth would I write something behind his back knowing he’s going to read it anyway!

I am in no disbelief that there are victims, people out there living terrible lives, going through such unbearable abuse and pain every day that there is often no way out. Someone, in 2014, told me that I wrote “self-indulgent bullshit” when I spoke of the abuse I endured from my father. They also said that I should think about the people living worse lives than me. That my abuse was incomparable to them. If you go to any abuse charity they will tell you, any abuse is abuse – emotional, sexual, domestic, physical – one cannot compete with the other for what you are going through is wrong. We are all individuals after all and deal with things very differently. Perhaps you critics out there are harder than me.

It is deliberately hurtful to tell someone that others are suffering more than you. You have no idea of the inner details of my life, my marriage, my family. I tell the world on wordpress as much as I can say. There are many, many horrible things about my father to tell and I can’t say I’ll ever have the courage to reveal it and yes, there are many things that have happened in my relationships too and for my husband’s sake, my daughter’s and mine, I do not reveal them either for a very different reason.

This is the last time I will ever justify myself for writing this blog.

My husband and I are heading in a very different and happier direction than we were several months ago. We are moving forward and are making conscious steps to heal our broken marriage. We are more honest, affectionate, caring, understanding and even with all these efforts we see that it is a long road ahead for us. We are realistic. Maybe relationships are all sunshine and smiles for you but you are living in a very strange world if that is the case. I am happy that my husband and I are finally on the same page and wish that we find a path we are both happy to follow with or without each other.

I feel like when people judge me they’re not judging me, because they don’t know who I am.

It’s in our genes.

How much do you really inherit from your family?

Genetics play a big part in who we become as people. We inherit eye colour, height even money over time but what about the other things? Personality traits being the obvious.

I know I have inherited many of of my mother’s traits. We are both very emotional people often allowing these emotions to take over our way of dealing with issues logically or rationally. Our highly emotive states aren’t always to be seen negatively. We are both caring and loyal people. Sadly, that can often be taken advantage of.
I hope I haven’t inherited any personality traits from my abuser.

To think that I could ever possess any of his qualities frightens me.

My family is broken.

It will never be fully mended as sadly, too many parts have crumbled, too many pieces are missing and too much has happened to ever totally heal.

I have made my peace with that. I knew a long time ago that the family I always dreamt of wouldn’t exist for me. I had hoped that one day, I would have my own family. One that gave me security and make me happy. One without conditions and demands, insults and terror, threats and harm. I feel like that family is beginning. I have my husband and now I have my wonderful baby. I have my mother and a relationship with her I never expected to happen. Not once all those years ago could I imagine my mother and I would be close.

I’d love to have my sister in my life too.

I know I’ve spoken quite honestly about her on here but as candid as I may have been, my want to be accepted by her never faded. The darkness her and my father cast on me, their portrayal of me is untrue. I am not a bad person. I am not evil. I do not have that in me.

My heart is and always has been open.

I am not my father.

There is nothing of him in me.

I do not use my love. It is there if it is wanted. I do not bargain or control people with it. I do not give it then take it away. He did. The abuser did.

Love was a game, a business, a possibility to damage and hurt. That isn’t love.

‘Love is always bestowed as a gift – freely, willingly and without expectation. We don’t love to be loved; we love to love.’
Leo Buscaglia

Lovers.

Lovers watching

waiting in the dark,

touching,

whispering

sweet nothings.

Lovers lonely

Reaching out,

Confiding,

Searching

for love.

Lovers wanting

fantasy fulfilled,

Secrets,

Enticing

bitter kisses.

Lovers aching

clinging to hope,

dreaming,

Fearing

a life without.

Lovers existing

Hiding away,

Transparent,

Lucid

Ambiguity.

Lovers alike

Calling out,

Invading,

Avoiding

Creeping through.

Lovers escape

Shielding lies,

Rejecting,

Embracing,

Desolation.

Lovers beware

Clutching hands,

Corrupting,

Distorting,

true life.

End of SATs week.

This week at work has been the year 6 SAT tests. We have been working up to this point from September last year so for it to all be over is a relief. Not to say the anxiety has totally gone, we still have to wait for the results!

My head has been elsewhere these last couple of weeks. My morning sickness still hasn’t subsided and my headaches continue to appear. On top of that, my right arm has been playing up again; a symptom I suffered on week 5 of pregnancy. I spent last night with it bandaged up. I hope it gets better soon. 

I still have the conclusion of Dear Sister to write which I intend to do soon. It’s a shame my flow was broken three weeks ago as I really felt like I was getting somewhere. 

I would like to start sharing with you some of my recent poetry. The letters have opened up a new set of emotions, most of which I have channeled into my poetry. Perhaps I could start a May poetry week next week.

Enjoy the rest of your day xx

Feeling Blue.

My teeth hurt,

my head is banging

back numb

and mood is hanging.

On the edge, the verge

the brink, the threshold.

aching layers

unravel, resolve and unfold.

Unable to sleep

in my broken nightmare

I stay awake

in a world of despair.

My mouth is dry

my lips are chapped

feeling blue

feeling trapped.

 

Written in 2009, the year before I left my abusive father.

 

Sympathy versus Empathy.

After a meeting at work today and watching a clip on Empathy, I was left thinking about which matters the most. The clip highlighted that to be able to empathise, one needs to be able to place themselves into a similar position emotionally to the person in question. They need to have the ability to feel the same way. They may not totally understand your problem but will be able to tell you that confidently and offer reassurance and support to you without the need to give you any answers.

Sympathy on the other hand, was described as being condescending and rather judgemental. That is not something I totally agree with. There are times when sympathy is needed. One is not always able to step into someone else’s shoes or completely comprehend their suffering. I know I would have preferred either sympathy or empathy when enduring my father’s abuse. Anything that showed some form of care and concern. Sympathy does not have to be judgemental. Yes, there are elements of pity linked with sympathy and that can be absolutely patronizing and degrading and in those cases, people ought to keep their mouths firmly closed. However, there are times when we do not know what to say. There are times that shock us so badly, that we cannot believe another human being can treat someone in such a horrific way that we are dumbfounded with horror. We cannot find any words to help but we can offer sympathy at most. 

Some of us can offer empathy and relate on a different level.

The clip we watched did not show sympathy in a very complimentary way. Occasionally, I wish people wouldn’t feel they had to say something and leave things very awkward. Sympathy can leave you having to justify your pain. That, I can relate to.

Any ideas?

To help you breathe better……

After last week, I decided to do some investigating of my own to find any natural remedies to aid my Asthma. I already know about the benefits of fresh lemon juice and its links to Asthma. I often drink lemon and ginger tea when unwell and have recently been having fresh lemon squeezed into a glass of water if any wheezing begins. It is not a cure by all means but it certainly helps. Other remedies include a few drops of eucalyptus oil on a tissue to be gently sniffed or drinking a strong black coffee (apparently it helps to open the airways).

I wanted to search for some breathing techniques too. For too long have I solely relied on my inhalers to relieve my Asthma symptoms. However, for my own resilience, I feel it is essential that I develop some more natural strategies to soothe and appease the pain.

A colleague of mine suggested Yoga. She is not the first person to mention it. My friend Katrina is constantly telling me to give it a go. She too suffers from Asthma and her regular love and practise of Yoga has practically sent it packing. I am not adverse to it, I just can’t seem to find enough willpower (or forced interest) in going to a Yoga class. It doesn’t seem “me”. Yes, health comes first before embarrassment but I doubt I’d feel very comfortable. I do not enjoy exercising around other people; an unfortunate side of Body Dysmorphic Disorder. I decided to take a look on YouTube and eventually fell onto a clip to do with the art of  “Pranayama” breathing. A Sanskrit word meaning “extension of breath”. Studies have shown it can be a great way to relieve asthmatic symptoms and reduce stress. I have only practised two forms of Pranayama – Shitali otherwise known as ‘Cooling breath’ where the breathing is done through the mouth with the tongue extended and Bhramari – Also known as ‘Bee Breath’ – where you make a humming sound while breathing. Both are equally effective. I tend to do the exercises at home before sleep and first thing in the morning (granted I have time before work!). I hope that over the following few weeks I can endeavour to attempt the other Pranayama exercises and hope that they also provide the same comfort as the others.

During my time at Drama School, we spent a lot of time before our dance and voice classes warming up. Much of this focussed on the way we breathed. We explored several techniques, drawing inspiration from Pilates, the Alexander Technique and general vocal warm ups. One exercise that I remembered was a technique that involved a partner. As you inhaled, you were to imagine your diaphragm and ribs expanding. You are to focus on only this part of your body moving. You must try to control your chest and prevent it from rising. If it does, you are not doing the exercise correctly. As you inhale, your partner needs to put their hands onto your sides, holding your ribcage. As they feel you breathe in, they must push against your ribs. You need to try to push against their resistance. At first it will be tough. Your ribs may not be used to moving like this but over time, you will start to see them expand more easily. As you exhale, your partner’s hands will maintain the pressure whilst continuing to support your ribs.

Try it. It might work for you. If anything, it’s a good exercise for your waist too!

Other tips include:

  • Counting and breathing – counting is a tried and tested way of calming people down in moments of anger – especially children. It works for a reason. It keeps you focussed on your breathing and distracts you from the feeling of panic or stress.
  • Keeping your head slightly tilted forward- it is tempting, in discomfort, to want to lean back or tip your head backwards. If you do this, you restrict your airways and the flow of oxygen to your lungs decreases. The same applies for the recovery position. You must tilt the head down to prevent choking on the patient’s tongue or vomit.
  • Relaxing – close your eyes, put on some peaceful music.
  • Buteyko Method (Nasal breathing) – making a conscious effort to breath solely from your nose is proven to be a better way of getting oxygen into your lungs. Breathing nasally will filter the air more efficiently through your sinuses unlike breathing through your mouth. It also helps to humidify the air that you inhale.
  • Good posture – keeping upright and not slouching are simple solutions. A good way of spotting an Asthma attack is if the sufferer is leaning forward. This is a natural reaction to the chest closing up and can bring some relief but keeping the chest area open will aid the patient more. Get someone to rub your back gently if needed.
  • Steam – one of my favourite remedies as it involves a hot bath. You don’t even have to get in it. If you feel tight chested, run a hot bath, shut the door and sit down in the bathroom. Lean against a wall so that you do not slouch. Take deep breaths in. You could count to keep a slow pace and inhale the rising steam. I assure you that this is an incredibly soothing remedy.
  • Keeping a control of your emotions- this can be a tough one and slightly ambiguous. This doesn’t mean become a wall of stone, just be aware of how you may be feeling. Extreme stress and upset can fuel Asthma attacks so I am going to state the obvious now – sorry – but do not PANIC! It will only make it worse. Anger won’t help either. Even side-splitting laughter can trigger an Asthma attack. I cannot be tickled as I end up wheezing like crazy. It is strangely difficult to explain that to people.

I hope these tips are useful to any fellow Asthma sufferers out there.

Keep well and look after yourselves.

xxx

*Asthma UK – The United Kingdom’s leading Asthma Charity. Image from Google.

Welcome back Ma.

This week will finally mark the return of my mother from India. It has been a long five weeks without her. That’s not to say that I haven’t enjoyed some quality time with my husband or a chance for independence – I have. However, the feeling of being in her house for so long without her makes me anticipate what it’ll be like when she really has gone for good. Yes, how morbid but I can’t help feeling that way.

Most thirty one year olds would dread the prospect of returning home to their mother. Not me.

Growing up, we never had a connection. Even into my early twenties did the barrier remain. There were ample opportunities to move to my mums’ during the abuse yet my father’s emotional hold was too strong and my unnatural loyalty to him was keeping me back. She has always criticised that choice, the choice to stay with my abuser. In my mind, I just clung to hope. A lost hope that he would change into the father he used to be. That is why I stayed so long.

Have I enjoyed these last few months with her? Yes. More than I thought I would. I wish we had spent more time together when we both were younger. It is upsetting to imagine the years we wasted.

I can’t wait to have her back.

See you soon Mummy xx

Image

Physical abuse – a new insight.

I have always said that my father did not physically abuse me. However, after delving further into the term “physical abuse” and all that it stands for, I am shocked to see that my claim is not true. He was physically abusive. I just don’t have any visible scars. In my quest to research the different aspects and consequences of abuse, I have fallen on new information. I have always believed that physical abuse was to be violent. The person on the receiving end would have scars and visuals to prove their abuse.

Research has led me to realise that there are many other appearances of this kind of abuse. My abuser was extremely threatening. If he did not get his way or I was disobedient, his threatening behaviour would follow. His deep, bellowing voice would resonate through the house or in public and the way in which he ordered me closer and breathed down my neck, talking at me through gritted teeth, all added to his aggressive demeanour. His physical stance and how he towered over me, making sure he had all the power as I cowered into the shadows. The way he would lure me into believing I was safe, even making a joke or choosing a lighter topic of conversation first before launching into his fit of rage and sudden burst of apocalyptic anger. The constant threats of harm against me that he made, telling me that I needed a punch – that it would “sort” me out or to go and kill myself to make his life easier. I never thought of it as physical abuse at the time but telling your own child to commit suicide must be classed as that. Oh and it’s abhorrent too.

His reckless driving and aggressive behaviour in the car all adds up to physical abuse. He put my life at risk every day I spent in that car with him. Every day I anticipated his anger and waited for another explosion. He deliberately chose the car as a place to shout and rant at me as I (in his words) had “no escape”. I wanted to release my seatbelt and fling myself out onto the open road many a time. The thought seemed better than enduring his continuous barrage of contempt.

A key part of physical abuse that I never recognised was how my abuser prevented me from seeking medical help or care. If I needed a doctor, he had to know the reasons why. When I refused, he exploded. The moment that stands out the most is the day of my massive Asthma attack in 2009* where my father refused point blank to call an Ambulance in the night for me, implying that I was seeking attention and being dramatic. The other option was that he drive me to a hospital at 1.am. He refused that too. He never felt worry for me, or fear for my life.

The way he would sharply raise his hand to my face holding it suspended, mid air, inches from my skin – surely that was physical? Yes, he never released it and let it slap my across my cheek but how can what he was doing be classified as anything else?

My father was an abusive man.

In every way.

* See post Notes.