Do not judge me.

It is very easy to draw ideas about my blog, my life or anyone’s for that matter.

I write of my marriage’s demise and I speak of a time several months ago. My husband and I are truly working through whatever problems we have. I want it to succeed and I want us to feel the love we once felt so strongly for each other. Whoever reads this, please do not judge me. I’ve said it time and time again on wordpress. This is my outlet. It is my voice. I cope with the problems, the struggles, I’ve lived through much worse and held down a job, a relationship, a flat. I am no weakling as much as you say that “I need assistance”. Writing is my help – ‘self help’ if you will.

I do love my husband. Even through everything I tell him this. I want him to know this.

We are making concious steps to resolve our differences for everybody’s sake and I feel that we are getting to a better place. Yes, I suppose these posts are somewhat of an exposé nature and do ‘shame’ in a way but none are secretive. I do not do this behind his back.

So whoever you are who feels it is necessary to condemn me.

Don’t.

This blog is solely dedicated to telling people of the abuse I once suffered and of the life I lead now. You have options, please do not read it if it offends you.

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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.

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

Farewell My Friends.

I cannot believe I am waving a sad yet sweet goodbye to my fellow bloggers and supporters of freefromhim, my beloved blog for the last twenty months.

It was a difficult decision but as I am now looking forward and moving towards recovery, I feel that the blog has done the job it intended to do. Now, with the ever-progressing pregnancy and new changes in my life, I feel it is the right time to close the chapter on this blog.

I have decided on a date to say goodbye. I can only hazard a guess that baby will be born on it’s actual due date – the 10th November however it is more than likely that baby will be the only one to decide when it needs to come out! Thus, when it does and when I return home to show you all our little beauty, that will be the date I will post my last post.

For the next fourteen or so weeks, I will continue to blog current and old news. I will re-blog some of the most memorable, life-changing and poignant posts I have written especially the ones that gained the biggest reactions or the most support.

I am so grateful for what this blog has done.

I was hesitant to start it and sadly, was faced with many a negative comment along my journey, some highly derogatory and condescending. Others, just plain ignorant. I do not regret anything I have written about. It was my choice and my words of a past and truth that existed, it happened and as much as many haters will deny it, my father was my abuser.

Closure is what I set out to find and closure is what I have got.

No longer am I angry.
No longer am I hurt.

He is dead and long gone and has no way of hurting me now.
Although my family is no way repaired (the emotional bruises of the last thirty years are still incredibly apparent) and even though there are issues still to be resolved, I feel ten times more stronger than I did at the beginning of my journey.

Undoubtedly, that is due to the immense and loyal support from my friends and fellow bloggers. Your faith and compassion has surpassed my expectations.

So thank you.

Without you, my faith in humanity would have disappeared entirely.

Of course, I am not vanishing completely from WordPress. As I mentioned in ‘Biting the Bullet’ post of late, I will be setting up a lifestyle/fashion blog in the next few months (possibly on my maternity leave when moving around becomes limited!) so PLEASE follow me there and stay with me on my new journey.

Life is precious and my god does it fly by. He took thirty years of my life. He controlled, abused and manipulated all the time we had together. I do not plan to live the rest of my life with him in my thoughts. They do not deserve that. They do not deserve an ounce of our time or a second in our minds.

We must remain free.
Free from them.

Dear Sister. Part 2.

Dear Sister.

Things could have been so different. Things should have been so different. There are so many unanswered questions and too long a wait to find any answers. I can never understand it, why you went back to him. I do realize how you lost your father figure but it was your decision. You made your choice as an adult, it was based on clear evidence and truth. You saw him through realistic eyes, you weren’t under his spell.

So what happened?

It was your choice to cut our mother from your life too. Do you regret that also? Will you appear on her doorstep one day wanting to reconcile and forget the past? Life is nothing but a game to you. You play with it so freely and we, the pawns get so easily cast aside. I know you will be back, perhaps not in my life but certainly in hers. You have already started. Why can you not just pick up the phone and speak to her? Every choice and action is so cryptic with you.

My father was a bad man. You knew that. He abused the three of us. Knowingly and under no pretense, you let him back into your life. You became close to the man who mentally tortured me for twelve years. You allowed him to be a grandfather to the children you won’t allow your sister to see. How can you justify your actions? What lies are you telling your children? They see their grandfather as a wonderful man but have no recollection of the aunt that once spent so much time with them. I bathed, nurtured and loved my nephew and you have used my love for him against me. It’s disgusting.

Were you brainwashed?

No.

You fell into that relationship very happily. You welcomed him back didn’t you. Did everything just fall into place as though he had never gone? You made him very happy. The prodigal daughter had returned. Not a moment went by where he didn’t mention you. How pleased you made him. Seemingly, it was a match made in heaven. The two of you were destined to become close, like father like daughter eh? It takes one to know one and all that. Perhaps there is some truth in that.

I can’t move forward from it until you say why.

You told me to speak to someone the day I opened up to you. The day you phoned asking for money for his funeral flowers from the girl he emotionally abused. You told me to get help, to offload onto to someone more professional. Even then, you couldn’t step up as an older sister. Even then, you remained selfish, high up on your pedestal. All you had to do was listen and you couldn’t do that.

How many times have I had to listen to you? The anger, the hate, the endless tirades at life. You were a very difficult person and from recent events I have no proof to justify a change in yourself.

How can you be so polite over email yet when it comes to the simple request that you answer your phone to talk to me about something important, you immediately assume I am playing games with you?

Apparently, in your eyes, it was wrong of me to expect my sister to want to hear my good news. Most people tell their family they are pregnant face to face, at very least over the phone. However, with you, it was always going to be a problem. Everything that could be so simple becomes a problem. What makes you so special that you can vet your phone calls? Are you a celebrity? No.

There was nothing “alarming” about my email to you as you so strangely put it.

So why did you proceed to harass our mother? There was no implication in my letter to you that it had anything to do with her! Funnily enough sister, I do not play those kinds of games with people. We are not all like you. To add insult to injury, your irrational conclusions were nothing to do with me! Not once did you ask if I was okay! It’s equally ludicrous and laughable.

I just wanted to tell my only sister that I was pregnant.

I feel we have come to a dead end.

I cannot fight a losing battle anymore. I am tired. Ultimately, you have won. Yet, the war you are winning is sad. It’s sad for you. My love never stopped but yours ended a long time ago.

I know that now.

2013: A review January – March.

Ten more days to go until the first day of 2014. Once again, another year of my life has flown by and I am looking back on quite a year. This time however, I get to look back and share it with a new group of people: my WordPress followers, readers and fellow bloggers. What a year it has been. Lets look back together.

JANUARY

On the 6th of January, I decided to begin a blog on WordPress. It was a dangerous and risky decision. It would expose a life I had hidden from many people for over fifteen years. It would reveal truths some people would rather not know. It would portray a man (who many trusted) to be an evil, ruthless, callous and hurtful father who destroyed his daughter’s soul. It would be my story, a story that provoked people I had not seen for years. People who felt it was necessary to “warn” me and give their advice. They made it clear that I should keep my personal life “private” and that I might “hurt people”. I made it clear back that I had not set out to hurt anyone. It was much more than that. It was closure. It was freedom. It was truth. It would be a chance to speak and finally be heard. It would be the best decision I had ever made (bar leaving him of course).

FEBRUARY

On the 4th of February I celebrated five years together with David. We set our anniversary from our first kiss. It was a moment that changed my life. Gone were the men who used me and took advantage of my loyal nature. A new man had walked into my life. Little did I know that day he would make me as happy as he does now.

During this month, I received an abundance of support from old school friends and past colleagues about the blog over Facebook. I was taken aback from their kind words and blown away by their words of encouragement. It meant so much to know that there was no judgement, that people could see into my past and believe it, acknowledge it and most of all – accept it.

MARCH

I celebrated my 31st birthday on the 2nd. David took me to a South African restaurant in Central London for dinner. It was decadent and adventurous. I felt a little out of my comfort zone but enjoyed it nonetheless. Unfortunately, the food didn’t sit well within me and after a day I began to have horrific stomach pains. Within moments I was nauseous and lying over the bathroom toilet. I thought I had food poisoning but it was a severe case of gastric flu. The week after my birthday was spent at home ill. To top it off, my virus passed onto David who joined me for most of the week holed up in bed. Well Happy Birthday to me!

On WordPress I recounted the triggers that remind me of my father and his abuse. Fruit, movies, plastic knives and forks, making beds and self-help books were the entries I made in March, they continued into April with Furniture stores and Toothpicks and table manners. These triggers still happen. If I see certain objects or hear a particular piece of music, if I visit a particular place or even hear a phrase he might have said; it propels me back to a specific time where life was frightening and upsetting every day. I become emotional very quickly and find it difficult to calm down. A panic attack can be the worst reaction to one of my triggers.

March was the month where a colleague questioned my “motives” for writing this blog. She accused me of taking “revenge” on my dead father. That it was unkind and unfair to do so. It surprised me that she could not empathise with my situation nor could she understand my reasons for revealing my truths. I was annoyed by it. I did not feel I should have to justify my choices and actions to her. She did not know my father. She had not met him. She only had her morals and principles and values to go on. I have morals. I have principles and values too. That is an important part of why I decided to do this, because of my values and principles. I would not be following them if I hid away and “forgave” him for all the hurt and pain he caused.

Dead or not, the truth will always shine through.

The Good Samaritan.

After my fleeting moment with the lady on the train a month ago, I decided that I would no longer ignore people in times of need. Of course, in certain situations, it is sensible to think of my own safety but sometimes it is necessary to take those little extra steps to make it easier or better for others. Today was one of those days.

As I waited for the bus home from work, I caught the eye of two girls that live on my road. We have never spoken but they have always been friendly and smile at me each time we get on the same bus. They became even more excited when they discovered that we live on the same road. I am polite and smile back. Children are judged too quickly these days. People seem to fear them but why should they be condemned before they have done anything? We wouldn’t do that to anyone else yet why is it okay to judge teenagers like that?

Our bus home arrived and quickly became packed with passengers. I sat down as the two girls got on. The driver suddenly got louder and seemed to telling one girl off. I took my headphones out as they seemed to be arguing. I did not want to pry but it was very crowded and the driver was making a scene. He began shouting at the girl about her ticket, telling her that she cannot ride the bus for free and that she “needs to pay like everybody else”. She wasn’t trying to trick the system, she was waiting for her new Oyster card to be delivered and kept telling the driver it was coming in eight days.

It was pitch black out now the nights are longer and so cold; to send her out and throw her off the bus not only seemed unreasonable but totally unjust. He continued to rant at her and some exasperated groans left the mouths of the other passengers. Enough was enough, she did not need a lecture she just wanted to get home and out of the cold. We do not live in a dangerous part of London however even here, have I recently been followed by some rather dodgy men on a Friday night. It was only 6.30 in the evening but the darkness had become their cover. Thankfully, they did not harass me too much and my bus arrived to save me in time but that didn’t mean that I wasn’t petrified.

I know that girls alone, in the dark, are an easy target.

I got up from my seat and without hesitation paid the driver the extortionate £2.40 he demanded from the twelve year old girl. Both sisters kept telling me not to worry as they would just leave, but I came to their defence and plainly told the driver,

“They are children and you are very happy to throw them off the bus in the cold and in the dark. We as adults should be looking out for their safety whether we know them or not. They aren’t trying to cheat the system. They are very sensible girls”.

Okay. I didn’t know if that last part was true as we had never talked but two young teenage girls who stand up to let the elderly sit down or smile at their new neighbours, seem pretty sensible to me. They are innocents and we, in a world like this today, should be celebrating that.

In  the background while the driver began barking obscenities at me, an elderly lady said as other passengers murmured in agreement,

“She’s a good Samaritan that one”.

The young girls seemed grateful and began speaking to each other in their own language as they sat down, The younger sister blurted out,

“I’ll pay you back, I’ll go straight home and pay you back!”

I said not to worry. What’s £2? They get to go home safely, that’s all that matters. The elderly woman had her feathers ruffled as she was appalled by the driver’s attitude and manner. I just reiterated the point that they are young girls being thrown off a bus and how inappropriate and unkind that would be.

As we drove further, another older man began rummaging through an envelope and started counting some loose change. He caught my attention and handed it to me. I immediately refused and smiled telling him to put his money away. I was shocked that so many people were now coming to my need. That was so lovely to see.

The young girl did repay me later.

I told you she was sensible.