The decision to stay at home.

Leaving your job, that you love, is not an easy decision to make. As a new mum, people will make assumptions and judgements on whatever choice you make. Stay at home or return to work? A choice that many working mums are faced with. When I got pregnant, there was no such thought in my mind. I wanted to return to work. My job was a constant for me, an achievement and most of all something that gave me a great deal of confidence and pleasure. Leaving was not an option.

However, nothing could prepare me for the feelings I had when my daughter came into this world. I had not expected to feel so overwhelmed with love and be distraught at the thought of leaving her with somebody else. In fact the very notion of it haunted me for the first few months of her life.

We researched many options for child care, shocked at the cost and left in despair at how we, two full time working people, could not afford to put our little girl into a day nursery for the week. The only other choice was for me to return part-time and for my daughter to be placed in a much less costly environment at a childminders’.

Sadly, even the few we visited left me feeling a little sick. Not because they were bad in any way but simply because I had to deal with my separation anxiety and not hers. She seemed to adapt well to one particular childminder, surprising us all (as babies often do) and both my husband and I felt happier instantly.

It seemed to be all sorted at work too as I was to return for two days a week while my little one was at her childminders’. Unfortunately we were dealt a little shock as we didn’t realise childminders charge something called a “retainer fee” to keep a child’s place free until they are due to start. In our case, her place needed to be retained for 6 months which would cost us an un-refundable bomb. We just couldn’t stand to lose that money thus putting us in a very difficult position.

I now had to consider leaving my job.

I read an article at the start of the year about more working mums in Britain, having to leave their jobs as they could not afford expensive childcare. London seems to be the most costly of places and sadly that is where I am. Other European countries seem to have this base covered a little better or a lot better should I say.

In Sweden, the state subsidizes the child care cost so the parents do not have to pay more than the equivalent of £113 a month.

£113.

The fee for our local, well known nursery per month is £1600. Yes that’s right – £1600!!!!! Fourteen times more than Sweden. It’s ridiculous.

I could have easily gone back to work part-time/full-time if childcare in this country cost an average of £113 a month! Instead, I have had to leave work to be at home with my daughter. Undoubtedly, there are positives to this decision. I get to do what sadly, a lot of mums cannot – look after my daughter daily and spend these precious moments with her. I am thankful that I can do that. I only wish I had more of a choice.

On the job front I will be registering as self-employed in the near future and starting a career that fits around my new job of being a mummy 🙂

After all, it is one of the hardest jobs out there and certainly one of the most rewarding.

The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness. When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children.

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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.

The Big Move.

We’ve been living with my mum for just under two years now. It’s not always been the easiest of rides as my mother and I bare many similarities especially emotionally and tend to clash tremendously. This leads to quite upsetting arguments and usually an attack on someone’s personality. We do make up relatively quickly although my mum is much better at holding a grudge than me.

This doesn’t reflect on our time with her though. Many have commented how it is time for me to make the big move away from my mother due to my age, marriage and ‘lack’ of independence. However, our situation isn’t as ‘normal’ as they assume.

I chose to live with my father, my abuser, after the divorce. Even as my mum pleaded with me to leave him and offered up a much better life, I stuck by the man who tortured me daily, too frightened to go and too scared to be without him. He had become a horribly important part of my life. He was all I had known. The abuse was all I had known. The timing was never right. My sister was a prominent feature who too had the power of emotional control and influence over our mother. The battle that faced me wasn’t worth leaving the battle I endured every day.

I craved a time where I would be with my mum, whatever age. To be with her and feel like someone’s daughter. It came two years ago. I am ready to leave and set up a new home with my hubby and baby but my mother is part of that family now and always will be. It is not ‘unhealthy’ nor it is ‘dependant’ as some people have said. It is a testament to the love we feel as a family.

My husband loves my mother very much. He is very honest with me about our future and none of it includes abandoning or not including my mum. He sees her as a valid member of our family.

I went to visit a place outside of London yesterday. We now have a big decision to make………

To leave London or not to leave London..

Or ultimately, to leave my mum.

The Letters.

Today will begin a series of letters I wish I could have written in the past, letters that I wish I could send even now, words I have hidden and emotions I have protected. Only through personal strength and the ability and hope to move forward are these words being written finally after so many years. There are many people I would like to write to. Many who have emotionally bruised me over the years and many who have played a significant part in my healing. It’s not all bad of course.

The people I will write to are:

  • Mum
  • My high school teachers
  • Sister
  • Father (abuser)
  • The ‘friends’ who deserted me
  • My brother in-law
  • My father’s family
  • David (husband)

All had some effect in my state of mind during the abuse. Some were very positive but unfortunately hope and faith was rarely on my side. I hope these letters aid to my closure.

Dear Mum follows later.

Let the journey begin.

With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.

WordPress nomination 2.

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Sending thanks to a fellow blogger/new friend from the blog Picking Up The Pieces,  http://sweetmarie9619.wordpress.com/author/sweetmarie9619/ for this nomination! As I have never been “freshly pressed” on WordPress (apparently, this is more of an accolade for writers who are “made” and popular). The majority of the WordPress community are aspiring bloggers with inspiring stories of wit, soul and honesty. It is lovely to see an award for writers that want recognition from their fellow bloggers, who seek support and gain an insight into other peoples’ lives so that they can have a greater impact on their own.

Thank you Amy (Picking up the Pieces) for your nomination. Her story is quite frankly an inspiration. She, and many others on WordPress, have overcome such horrors in her past. She writes so effortlessly and eloquently, telling her story of domestic abuse. She humbles me and to be given such an honour by her truly makes me smile.

I have been blogging on WordPress for thirteen months now. It was something I had wanted to do for a very long time. I just did not have the courage before. I had kept my past hidden from almost everyone in my present. Of course, family and close friends knew parts, but never to the extent that I have revealed on here. My father was my abuser. He controlled my life. He monitored my movements and held an enormous reign of power over my mind. Mentally, verbally and emotionally, my father tore me apart for thirty years. It was only until his death in 2012 (three months after my wedding) that I felt it was time to tell the truth. Blogging has allowed me to do that. It has allowed me to feel free. The support and faith from my fellow bloggers has been overwhelming. I have had many people question and attack my decision to come forward. Only recently, I was accused of being a fake and that my story of abuse was “self-indulgent”, that because I do not have physical scars or bruises over my body, I could not call what happened to me abuse. The response I received from more respectful bloggers, from my new friends and kind strangers (especially those who have suffered emotional abuse) was phenomenal. Thank you.

It is still a struggle to feel worthy but through your love and immense kindness, I am starting to feel that my father may have been wrong about me. I can be loved.

My journey did not necessarily begin with the expectation that I would reach other victims of abuse. I would never have hoped that another blogger and survivor of emotional abuse would call me “inspiring”. That to me was unheard of. But to be able to reach out and have someone sit up and say, “That’s what is happening to me.” To have someone, one person, realise that they have been emotionally abused and that all along they were right to think something was wrong, will mean more to me than anything. There are many survivors out there, haunted by their past and on the slow and lonely road to recovery. We are here for you. I am here for you. We should not have to suffer alone. WordPress is an opening to many, a chance to scream and be heard without judgement. Thank you to my loyal readers who let me vent without criticism, who join me in my journey to reach a state of peace and happiness in myself. Too many of us have been burned. You have all cushioned my fall this past year and any time I feel like it may be too much, I come to my blog, look through these kind comments and realise that my father never won. I did.

I would love to be on Freshly Pressed. It would be an honour.

Here are the blogs I want to present this award to:

http://paininhidingabuse.wordpress.com/

http://iwonttakeit.wordpress.com

http://isadoore.wordpress.com

http://sheddinglightondarkness.wordpress.com

http://masknolonger.wordpress.com

Rules for Nominees:

1. Select the blog(s) you think deserve the “The I’m NOT Featured On Freshly Pressed Award”.

2. Write a blog post and tell us the blog(s) you have chosen- there are no minimum or maximum number of blogs required- and ‘present’ the blog(s) with their award.

3. Include in your blog post a paragraph about why you’d like to be on WordPress’ Freshly Pressed OR a paragraph on why you couldn’t care less about Freshly Pressed. Up to you :)

4. Let the blog(s) that you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the instructions with them- (please don’t alter the instructions or the badge!)

5. Come over and say hello to the originator of the “The I’m NOT Featured On Freshly Pressed Award” via this link: http://DonCharisma.org/2014/01/01/the-im-not-featured-on-freshly-pressed-award

6. And as a winner of the award- please add a link back to the blog that presented you with this award, and then PROUDLY display the award on your blog.

7. If you ever do get officially “Freshly Pressed” then take down this award badge and display the official “Freshly Pressed” badge instead.

Am I aggressive?

It’s not the first word that comes to mind if I was to describe myself or even to describe my faults. Aggression is really not in my nature. I cower and run from it, I’m frightened of it and avoid other forms of it. Confrontation is the last place you’ll find me. However, naturally, like any other human, I am capable of having aggression, of feeling it and sometimes, of displaying it too. Mine tends to come out when I’ve been passive for too long, when I’ve allowed annoyances to build up or have been biting my tongue. I explode and the emotion quickly follows. My husband tends to get it the most. He knows that I mean no harm and that it is usually nothing to do with him. Instead the stresses of day to day life and work come out at the strangest of times, especially when neither of us are expecting it.

I swear. It’s quite bad. It shocks him. Nothing too vulgar (even I’m not capable of losing it entirely), but bad enough to take him by surprise.

He gets it.

All those years I was “forbidden” to show anger or frustration. All those years my father berated me for having emotion or feeling hurt. Of course, anger would eventually come out. However, I’m no monster. I am quick to apologise and calm down. I do not want to be his mirror image or fall into his behaviour. I refuse to hold grudges over tiny matters, quickly moving away from the argument with softer, sweeter words.

My aggression was suppressed for many years. My whole family disallowed anger on my part yet they all freely let loose, screaming insults and rage at each other. Perhaps they wanted my innocence to remain but keeping such a basic emotion out of someone’s grasp is unheard of. The mere thought that I was banned from the reality of anger just doesn’t make sense. My mother still cannot take, to this day, my voice raising to a slightly higher pitch. If this happens and I appear bothered by something, she reacts. I am immediately reprimanded for getting angry. Of course, my natural reaction to this is of frustration, that I cannot even breathe in the wrong way and she’s ready to criticise me, and obviously – I get angry! So, she gets what she wants.

Anger is an emotion like any other. Bottle it up for too long and it will explode. Everyone has the right to feel it and to act on it but in a controlled way, without screams and chaos or violence and fear.

We are human after all. You can’t deny me my rights.

To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.
Nelson Mandela

22nd August 2012 – The funeral home.

Sorry this post has been delayed, what with moving this week, it has all been a bit chaotic but I can finally return to the story of my father’s death last summer.

During the day of my father’s death, I received a text from my brother in-law detailing the plan to meet together the next day at the funeral home to discuss arrangements for my father’s funeral. It was all still very raw and as I had spent most of the morning feeling overjoyed and released, it came as a surprise that I needed or that they wanted me to be there. Perhaps they were his wishes.

I did not want to go.

It wasn’t local, instead near my father’s church in a part of London that only reminded me of him. I didn’t want to be anywhere that reminded me of him. He was no longer here, let me mourn, grieve and most of all – move on. The funeral was not something I really wanted a part of. However, as my sister was organizing it, curiosity got the better of me.

In the last few weeks of my father’s illness, it had been revealed that my father had made my sister executor of his will. It was a deed he had once forced upon me several years back when I was living with him.

I remember being called to his bedroom one day to find a heap of papers laid out with a pen beside them.

“Sign it,” he ordered without even a glance in my direction.

“What is it?”

“Don’t question me, rude! It’s to be the executor of my will. Sign it. Someone needs to do it.” His gaze centred on me, “Why are you being difficult?”

It was futile trying to reason with him. I had crossed the line and dared to question my father. I was causing conflict in a simple situation. There was one problem though, I did not want to be executor of his will. I did not want that sort of thing put upon me. I didn’t want to have to deal with him even after his death. Could I voice this? Of course not. So, I had no choice. I picked up the pen and without any knowledge of what I was signing, my name began to appear on the lines he was pointing to.

I never heard about it again. He clearly thought he’d never die.

The next time I would hear it would be the moment I found out he had drawn up a new will. One that my sister was now executor of. I had been dropped in place of the prodigal daughter. She, unlike me, was happy to take on her new role. She enjoyed control and power much like my father. They were the same in almost every way.

At the funeral home, my sister took charge. I was horrified to find out that they had invited a woman along. A woman who was a friend of my father’s but in the situation that it was, it seemed inappropriate for her to be there. They weren’t confidantes, he never saw women like that. In fact, this was a woman he had taken great pleasure in criticizing over the years. A woman that I have heard some appalling things about from my father’s mouth. He was disgusting. The way he spoke of his so-called friends was shocking. It felt odd to see someone I knew irritated him at the funeral home the day after he died.

She seemed devastated. Why wouldn’t she be? My father may have insulted her behind her back but to the outside world he treated her like his daughter. Her child even called him “Uncle”. He was worshiped and respected by many and my sister – his new found disciple – did not want others to see him in any other light.

I sat and watched as the three of them took charge.

I sat back.

I was only there to show face.

My mind was elsewhere and judging by the strangeness of the day, I was anticipating the upcoming funeral.

I was right to be worried.