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

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Wednesday 17th September – Just a normal day at work……….right?

This day began the same as any other. Yes, I was 32 weeks pregnant and still at work but I had made the decision to work through my pregnancy. Partially to keep me sane and active and also because my husband and I couldn’t afford to lose my wage for the next two months before baby’s expected arrival.

I woke up in the morning having had a satisfying, full sleep the previous night. However, shortly after rising I began to suffer from a deep headache. It came on very suddenly. I wondered if because I had been unwell the previous two days and had spent time at home resting and recuperating, that my body was unable to cope with the shock of waking up so early and heading out to work. It was the only explanation I could muster.

Once at work and after eating an unhealthy McDonald’s breakfast, I sat in the staff room being greeted and welcomed back. I felt fine if not a little tired. As I began my working day, supporting a colleague with a class for the morning, I felt eager to get back into my working routine. I sat supporting a group of children I regularly worked with for the first hour of the day. At 10 am and as we prepared to go to morning assembly, I suddenly felt odd.

Strangely and almost worryingly, I felt an urgent need to pass wind! Embarrassed at the thought I might “let one go” in the middle of the classroom, I sat tight in a fit of panic. Within seconds, my insides cramped and I was certain I had lost control of my bladder. I quickly realised that I couldn’t keep whatever was about to come out – inside. I immediately excused myself to the bathroom and hurried down to the staff bathrooms. Along the way, nothing could keep it from flowing out. I had no idea what was happening as I bolted down the stairs. I was convinced I was wetting myself.

Thankfully, no one crossed my path as I finally made it to a toilet. I locked myself in, pulled down my drenched trousers and attempted to use the toilet. Nothing came out. I was confused. Had I emptied my entire bladder on the way there? How mortifying! I stood up. Within moments, water began pouring out of me.

“Are my waters breaking?” The obvious question and answer finally hit my mind. I did the only thing I knew you could do to check if this was the case. Please look away now if you are easily disgusted…….
I smelled my trousers to sense the smell of urine. Of course, that would be the most obvious sign of a bladder problem. If the smell however was odourless, then it was definitely a sign of waters breaking. Mine smelt of the latter. NOTHING.

SHIT.

My waters had broken. At work. In class. WAY too early.

I was only 32 weeks pregnant and seriously panicking.

I waited and held my trousers underneath the dryer so that I would have some dignity when I could eventually leave the bathroom.

I managed to find the same colleague to help me after a half hour. She was surprised but her along with three other women, helped me through the nerves and stress of this sudden revelation. Well wishes and good lucks flew at me as I made my way to my hospital.

There, as my husband and mother met me, I was told baby needed some monitoring over the following days. So I was admitted into hospital. My waters were still coming out thick and fast annoyingly so I had to wear towels to stop the leaking. It was very strange. I was given an essential steroid injection to mature baby’s lungs in case it decided to appear sooner than we wanted. It bloody hurt! I’ve never felt pain like that before but unfortunately, it would not be long before I would.

After a few hours, I was placed in the care of the Antenatal Unit. David, my husband, stayed with me as I nervously waited to be told what was next in store for me.

It would be the start of my little adventure to the day I gave birth to Ivy-Wren.

Last night in hospital.

One week into the new year and I’ve already managed to gain a trip to the hospital via ambulance yesterday! Not what I was expecting for a Tuesday afternoon. I am off work today under the advice of the paramedics and doctors. A painful and poorly two weeks have passed where it was clear that either I was becoming ill or that I was patently run down. I have been having mild asthma attacks over the holiday but nothing so worrying that a doctor would be needed. However, since Sunday and after two nights without sleep, it was obvious that something was not quite right. 

Yesterday at work, around lunchtime, I noticed my chest had tightened so much that even standing up from my seat felt like a chore. My face had become slightly bloated and most frighteningly, the Asthma medication that I use to relieve any pain was not working. There was no relief. 

I left work early and made my way home. I called my mother on my way. It is safer to not be alone in these circumstances. Luckily, she was there and waited for my arrival. As soon as I entered the front door, my mother was alarmed. To her, I looked awful. I was finding it hard to string a full sentence together. She knew what to do. The doctors’ surgery wouldn’t give us an early appointment and in all honesty, I felt like I had to convince them of how ill I actually was. Not something you should have to go through when you can barely breathe. My mum called an Ambulance. It was too big of a risk to leave it.

They came immediately and quickly put me at ease. 

The paramedics were angels. They are amazing people who probably aren’t acknowledged enough for the job they do. With an oxygen tank beside me and a mask over my mouth, the medication quickly soothed my aching and wheezy chest. I felt calmer too as the paramedics joked with me. My chest opened up and I began to feel slightly normal again.

We all take breathing for granted. Such a basic thing we do day to day. Yet without the ability to breathe, life would not exist. Many people do not understand that Asthma is a life-threatening condition. The paramedic described it well. Imagine breathing underwater: no mask, no oxygen, just you, stuck underwater for hours and struggling to breathe, struggling to get your head above water. That is what it feels like inside an Asthma sufferer’s body during an attack. It is fiercely dangerous, and although we may look fine, we are not necessarily okay. Believe us when we say something is wrong. Some of the deadliest diseases and conditions are ones that lie silently and hide themselves well.

I was taken to hospital to be checked over. After four hours, my ordeal was over and I was welcomed home by my worried husband. My chest remains tight today. I have a dry cough that ends with a melodic wheeze. It is still difficult to breathe hence my choice to listen to the professionals and stay at home today. Hopefully, with the help of antibiotics, it’ll sort itself out by tonight. 

I wake up every day and I think, ‘I’m breathing! It’s a good day.’
Eve Ensler 

Boxing Day revelations.

I mentioned in my last post that my mother had seemed out of sorts on Christmas day and that on Boxing day, her reasons were very much revealed.

It was what I had predicted.

A few days before Christmas, my mother received an envelope in the post. The label had been printed on so it was not clear who it was from. My mother however, instantly knew. I had no idea this envelope had arrived. My mother had kept it out of my sight. I hate secrets so was frustrated to find out she had deliberately hidden it from me. I understand why though. It would’ve played on my mind all Christmas if she had revealed it earlier.

On Boxing Day as my mother chatted about how my she missed her sister’s daughter’s child that she had spent so much time with in India, I began talking about my nephew – my sister’s son and how much I miss him. Memories filled my mind, memories of him as a baby, drooling and smiling at me. He was beautiful. He was kept from me and I have barely seen him in the last four years. My sister has taken away that basic right and for no clear reason. Her anger and hatred for my mother four years ago grew into immense anger and hatred for me. I was getting closer to Ma. I was trying to get as far away from my father. She was always my mother too. Why I had to “compete” for her affection I’ll never know. A mother’s love should be unconditional. As should a father. But my father held conditions on his love. Conditions and expectations that I could never reach. Only one person met his expectations – my sister.

“Something came you know,” uttered my mother as she listened to me reminisce.

My heart dropped. I understood immediately what she meant.

“Well let me see it,” I needed to see it.

She brought out the envelope and handed it to me explaining that it arrived a few days back. I was horrified that this had been a secret. That she kept it private. I no longer want to be kept in the dark, to be the last person to discover shocks and be told that I have to accept them.

As I opened it, a card fell out. Within that card lay several photos of my nephew and the niece I have only ever seen once (at my father’s hospital bed where my sister told him that her daughter “does not go to strangers” as he handed my niece to me). I couldn’t believe my eyes at how much he had grown. It was beautiful and devastating at the same time. I tried not to let my emotion show. As I looked at the card I saw my sister’s handwriting. Her words were affectionate towards my mother. To a stranger’s eyes you would believe that this mother and daughter had a lovely relationship; close even. That of course is not the case. My mother and sister are strangers too. My sister estranged herself four years ago from my mother. She sent an appalling letter documenting lies about her. Lies that my mother accepted.

Was it an olive branch? Was she reaching out? Maybe. I won’t be too negative. Perhaps she genuinely wants her mother back in her life. There is no way that I would stand in the way of that but why be so distant and ignore her for the past four years. At my father’s funeral last year, my sister blanked my mother. Her husband ignored the both of us. That is not the behaviour of a person who wants to make amends.

I am suspicious. I have every right to be.

I have warned my mother that I cannot go through it all again. In 2004, at the end of the year my sister got married, something changed in her. Anger consumed her and it became increasingly difficult to say the right thing around her. I especially grated on her. She will forever look at me as a teenager. A view that is distorted. That opinion will never change. She holds no respect for me as an adult or a woman. The few years that followed were an emotional nightmare. My mother attempted to bend and bow to my sister’s commands but she never met her expectations. Sounds familiar right? So my sister eventually cut her out of her life and within a year or so, she had walked straight back into my abuser’s life.

My father’s prodigal daughter had returned.

She is my mother’s prodigal daughter too. I worry and fear for the future. I can never match their relationship. I have no longing to. Their relationship was unhealthy and suffocating. I do not want that to happen to our relationship.

I had hoped 2014 would be a new start. Where the past would not return and I could move forward.

Now I’m not so sure.

Night Terrors.

It has been over seven months since I last blogged about dreaming of my father. That is because it just hasn’t happened.

Until now.

Last night marks my first night terror in a long while. A conversation with a colleague on our way home from work sparked my memory of my nightmare as we discussed funerals. At 4.am this morning I awoke suddenly. I was short of breath, sweating and disorientated. What had brought on the beginnings of a panic attack? It didn’t take long to recollect.

I had dreamt of the abuser. It was so vivid, so real, that I was completely shaken up. The worst thing was how frightening the actual night terror was. I had dreamt that I began receiving phone calls; phone calls from my father. My dead father. When answering these calls, he would speak to me, from the dead. In whatever hell he is in, he was speaking to me. I could hear his voice so clearly. The roughness of it punctured through the earpiece and entered my soul. In the dream I was as terrified as when I woke up. He sensed my fear, reiterating that I would never truly escape him, that he would forever have control of me and that I was a puppet to him, one that would be his source of entertainment (a position I had in reality).

The nightmare ended abruptly and I awoke with a jolt. I looked around the room, aware that I was on edge, searching through the shadows on the walls, looking for a figure. Like a child, the light went on. I needed reassurance.

I do hope that this will not be a new pattern and that he will not haunt my dreams. I just want closure from him. The everlasting stress that continues even after he has gone, needs to be put to rest. Just like him. I cannot cope with the games my family are still playing, even now. It is only adding to my already fragile state.

Moving on, is a simple thing, what it leaves behind is hard.
Dave Mustaine

Fight or flight? Coping with panic attacks.

I have suffered with panic attacks for over ten years. I only get them in extreme emotional states. They usually link to my Asthma as in the height of them, I often cannot breathe therefore rely on my Asthma pump or tea to soothe and calm me. If I am ill, my mother tries to keep me calm as the panic can bring on an Asthma attack and vice versa, she hates seeing me like that. It only reminds her of what he did to me.

The abuser brought on these attacks.

Ten years ago, at the age of twenty one, my father was no longer a decent man. By this time, all of his redeeming qualities had disappeared and I was left with a shadow of his former, loving self. Just one second in his presence caused anxiety. A constant fear of speaking or walking or breathing the wrong way was something I dealt with on a daily basis. Panic attacks appeared quickly.

The key symptoms began in his company:

  • sweating
  • a feeling of suffocation, the inability to breathe properly
  • trembling
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • a feeling of dread as if life could be over any second now
  • sick to the stomach or excrutiating stomach pains
  • thoughts of extreme fear

Every moment of every day brought up one of these emotions or physical feelings. On the NHS website a term called

Depersonalisation

is mentioned.

This is the description:

During a panic attack your symptoms can feel so intense and out of your control that you may feel detached from the situation, your body and your surroundings. It can almost feel as if you are an observer, making the situation seem very unreal.

This sense of detachment is known as depersonalisation. Being detached from the situation does not provide any relief, or make a panic attack less frightening. Instead, it often makes the experience more confusing and disorientating.

*Photo from Google.

I have certainly felt this way before. A feeling of watching yourself suffer and being detached from your own reality is frightening beyond belief.

I have found great support through the website http://www.mind.org.uk ** as not only did one of their counsellors open my eyes to the depth of his abuse but the fact that the website is a place that I can find support and answers from.

Without judgement.

**The link to Mind will redirect you to the correct site if you click on it

The boss of me.

I have to be honest here. I lack majorly when it comes to standing up for myself. If questioned, I feel backed into a corner. I hesitate, show anxiety, panic and doubt myself if questioned in a bossy way. My father was so demanding and his level of questioning was always challenging towards me. He made me feel like no answer would satisfy him and that nothing would appease the situation.

When challenged by my peers now, I react similarly to the way I did with my father. I do not like to be bossed yet I respond well to clear and respectful orders or requests. I notice it the most in a working environment. No matter where I have worked through my career, it has always been the same. I appreciate being talked to not talked at. I appreciate communication and cooperation. It makes for an easier life. I am not good at second guessing or acting on assumption, I like to know in advance and feel prepared for something. Of course, this doesn’t mean I can’t be spontaneous. I just leave that for the other parts of my life. At work however, I want to know where I should be and what I should be doing. 

My father was always the boss of me. 

He gave himself that role and I allowed him to have it.

Thursday will be an important day with an important post. It will be exactly one year that I watched my father’s body be cremated. It will be a time to look back on what I consider to be the most surreal moment of my life.

It was a hellish day, an upsetting day and most of all, a very revealing day.

It was my father’s funeral.