Bite your Tongue.

There are many times where one will need to put this into practice. Often with total strangers, sometimes with friends and colleagues. Usually it’s with the people closest to you – family.

The people that supposedly know you the best seem to be the ones that overstep the mark on a regular basis.

I’ve talked many times on here about boundaries. My family overstepped every boundary I set for myself; they themselves rarely kept any.

From telling me every intricate detail about their private lives to offloading their problems at work on me or irritating friendship issues at every opportunity to the sicker elements of boundary crossing where they’d expose details of their bowel movements while I ate my breakfast or moaned about the constant itching they felt ‘down there’. How is that appropriate? Just because I am here doesn’t mean you can use me as your confidante, your doctor, your therapist.

I cannot give anyone medical advice and even if I could, it would be fairer on your child to see a professional.

As adults and parents ourselves, we too have everyday stresses and problems. I especially know that you need to find time to work through those sorts of stresses in order to get some happiness. You set personal boundaries to protect yourself, to assert your personal rights.

You can be close to a parent without overstepping these personal boundaries. You can share, talk and listen to each other but each of you know where to stop. You know when it becomes suffocating or stressful or inappropriate. Who would want their child feeling stressed out or worried to talk to them?

Not having a proper social interaction and taking a real interest in your children can massively affect them. My family on greeting me, never asked me how I was or what I had been up to – they only used the time they had to talk about themselves. If I dared to mention something to do with me I’d either be accused of and berated for being insensitive or selfish. This would only prevent me from ever offering any information up about my life so when things went wrong in relationships, work or home – it would solely be my fault for not opening up to them sooner.

How could I? It was an impossible vicious circle. If I revealed it all they’d use it against me or feel it was their right to delve as far as they could. Rarely did I receive anything helpful or thoughtful. Usually it was anger and criticism – probably why I don’t deal so well with it now.

I have bitten my tongue for many years and continue to do so now.

My father was a racist, homophobic chauvinist. He hated people from Africa, women drivers, lesbians, politicians, the police. He was critical, opinionated, angry, spiteful, dangerous and very tricky. Talking to him about anything was a risk. Sometimes it was a risk I had to take for my own sanity. In the weeks where he was ignoring me over some “mistake” I’d made, the silence was almost excruciating. If I attempted to make conversation with him he’d either leave the room or stay and utter nothing. He would not even look at me. He’d only break his stubbornness – his rancour – his belligerence if I weakened myself and asked his advice on some other mistake I’d made.

Power is everything to people like that.

When I do not speak of myself is when my family talk to me the most. When I show an interest in their lives, I am heard but only for an opinion on their matters and they’ll be pretty miffed if that opinion is anything other than supportive.

Conversation never flows with my family. Therefore I go through life biting my tongue.

Would be nice if others did the same (!)

 

2015 – A year in Review.

Usually, at the end of each year, I do a month by month review but evidently as I have not posted as frequently this year than others, there isn’t as much in my life to review!

Makes more sense to sum up the more stand-out months that passed.

January was the first time my daughter slept through the night. This might not seem like a big deal but believe me – IT IS. She slept through which meant WE slept through. Bliss!

Needless to say it didn’t last.

March and one of the months I would rather forget. My birthday fell on the 2nd and my husband decided it would be a good time to treat me like a piece of s***. He ignored me for most of the day, sulked and generally ruined what should have been an enjoyable, relaxing time for me. Don’t think that it’s asking too much to feel good on a day where you get older is it? My husband and I hit rock bottom that month.

May was the month I chose to blog about my marriage. My broken marriage. My post https://freefromhim.wordpress.com/2015/05/19/when-history-repeats-itself/ caused a bit of a stir. It worried some friends, especially that of my husband’s. We had always come across as so right for each other. We may have been two very different people but no one ever doubted a connection. However, nobody can ever see the inner workings of a relationship nor can they truly know the person. I spend every day with my husband and when times are stressful, they’re really stressful and when things are tense, they’re incredibly tense. I can’t pretend that life is going smoothly when it’s falling apart. I’ve done that before and I suffered terribly for keeping it a secret. As a promise to myself, I vowed not to hide away from pain, be upfront about it and then at least it’ll be in the open. Some cannot understand my logic but that’s fine. I don’t look for agreement as it is solely my life and my choices I only ask for no negative comments. Nothing is gained from that.

Sadly in July I would receive a stream of negative comments from people I didn’t know, all condemning me for berating my husband so publicly. It upset me and I know I should not have let it. It led me to defend myself which I also know I didn’t need to do. I just hate being backed into a corner or accused of behaving in a way I haven’t. Why when we speak up about suffering or hurt we are sentenced to a term of judgement and verbal punishment? I experienced the same sorts of abuse when I posted about my father. It’s so hypocritical – you speak up and speak frankly – you are a nasty wife who is exposing your “fragile” husband or you keep shut and hide away – you have led yourself into that situation and you should have walked away earlier…..

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

September saw my daughter reach her 1st birthday. My little premature bird of a baby whose tiny fingers once wrapped around one of mine, made it to her biggest milestone. She not only made it but smashed through every expectation and want we could have had for her. I gush about her a lot. I know. But seriously – she amazes me! She’s so sparky and curious and has her own way about things already. Children are so beautiful. She is so beautiful and after everything, every stress, every heartache, she reminds me what true happiness is.

November marked the month where my husband returned to work. He had been unemployed on and off for around seven months. An especially long and frightening time as I had also given up my job to look after our daughter. It was an incredibly difficult decision as I was aware my husband’s project work was coming to an end and there was always going to be a risk of unemployment. Foolishly and probably wanting to in some way, I believed my husband when he assured me he’d find work within the following month.

He didn’t and thus followed a very stressful time.

I look on it differently now and have done since September. I began to cherish the time he had with our daughter. What father gets to spend seven months with their baby in it’s first year? It rarely happens. My husband had an opportunity to nurture his daughter in those crucial months and witness her grow so beautifully. One thing I always wanted for her was a close relationship with both her parents. Not clinging to one as she’s passed to another. My daughter does not prefer mother or father. She wants both and I am so proud of that.

Here we are at December. The year is over and once again it has gone by in a heartbeat.

I have many hopes for next year: that we move out into our own home, that my marriage strengthens, that my daughter continues to grow, thrive and amaze me, but most of all that I try to strengthen myself, think more positively and enjoy every day as a mummy.

Happy New Year everyone xx

 

 

 

The Power of Mind.

 

As everybody else tucks into their mince pies and mulled wine, I have spent the last week wondering why my horrific nightmares have returned. I haven’t dreamt this way since living with my abuser and even in times of the worst stress, I have been able to wake myself up from these nightmares. However, recent nights have not allowed me to do that. Instead, I endure the horror and wake distraught, confused and panicked.

Only last week I dreamt my father attacked me and woke up suddenly, clinging to my wrist, letting out a jumble of frightened words.

I was convinced my wrist hurt for the rest of the day. How long had I been holding it? Long enough to hurt myself? Maybe. The fear, but the fear was so intense.

My father was never physically violent to me. I use the word physically specifically as there is such thing as emotional violence. He did that all the time. He never hit or slapped me. He didn’t throw things at me. Yet he would spit on the floor beside me as he called me a filthy pig and he would kick over a rammed dustbin to remind me it needed emptying.

Nothing was ever direct. How wrong of me for wishing it was.

He would not give me that. Physical violence would have been a privilege for me as he often stated. I did not deserve an ending to my “misery” with him, he would mock – he often joked about my life knowing he was the cause.

I dream the most horrible of things. Frightening, sadistic, gut-wrenching.

Some nightmares of the past will never be forgotten. The moments where I woke in the night dreaming that my father had slit my throat and I had witnessed my own death. The dreams where I see myself lying in a coffin with ligatures around my neck or that I cannot breathe as I sleep. Those dreams haunt me.

When most things are certainly better in my life, there is a great deal of other stresses to contend with at the moment. Things my husband and I cannot avoid and although we are supporting each other, times are tough. Mentally it’s tough.

It is something I cannot openly talk about on here with fear of who may read it but be sure, I will express what we are going through over the next few months as sadly, I do not believe we will be free of it for a while but when we are, well, god I pray these nightmares disappear.

The mind is magical. When you think you are coping, it shows you in ways you cannot expect that you aren’t. Positive thinking and all that jumbo is fine, but really all I want is freedom. I can deal with life stresses – what life runs without lows, troubles or faults? I just cannot deal with surprises, tricks, manipulation. I should not have to any more.

I should not have to dream of a man who tortured me so badly.

He is dead and gone and I should be free.

 

 

I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free… so other people would be also free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you guilty of……….Self-Sabotage?

Having recently read an article on this subject, I have discovered that my husband and I are very much guilty of self-sabotage. In fact, my husband has raised this in the past knowing that he often deliberately ruins things that are going well in his life because he expects them to fall apart anyway. We are creatures of habit and naturally learn ways of life that aren’t necessarily good for us. We do them anyway because we feel that they protect us and we have grown accustomed to them.

Living with my father and receiving daily insults about my character, programmed me into thinking I was incapable of being loved. When someone showed signs of caring deeper for me, I’d usually push them away. I’d think it was a trick – a trap. A way for them to use me for their benefit. I distanced myself from them until I realised what I was doing and quickly tried to mend it yet by then it was too late. My self-sabotage would earn me a broken relationship with no respect from them or for myself. It would throw me into a vicious cycle where I’d berate myself for my actions only to act them out again as a form of self-preservation. No one else can hurt me if I hurt myself?

Both my husband and I have anxiety issues. I constantly doubt myself. I do not have an ounce of self-belief. It has not always been like this but ongoing stresses have crept in and now I am battling with my anxiety. Writing helps and as long as I have an outlet, I feel okay. I am better with self-sabotage now although some would question whether staying in my marriage in a relationship that’s had so many let downs is not another form of it. I like to think it isn’t.

I am trying to be positive. In every aspect of my life and for someone who is prone to self-sabotage, this is quite a feat. However our daily stresses remain, we feel anxious most of the time, we doubt ourselves, we argue. We are trying but not quite on the road to success.

I guess the first step in overcoming it is recognising it and we have done that. We know what triggers the self-sabotage so can anticipate it before it happens thus sometimes even stopping it. A bit of anxiety is good. We as humans find ways of protecting ourselves and being cautious about things is a part of that. It’s when it takes over your life and stops you taking a chance – you have to break it.

Get perspective.

Get focussed.

Know that good things in your life are happening and they are allowed to happen. They can continue to happen.

Just don’t sabotage it!

The Right to: Have some ME time.

Whether you have a hectic career, you are a busy mother, you work late or just have too many things to do: everybody needs some ME time. Stress is a killer. It is one of the causes of high blood pressure, asthma, obesity, depression. Stress is a part of everyday life and we meet it at times when we’d rather not, usually when everything seems to be happening at once. The best way to take control of it is to have some time away from it.

Taking ten minutes to read a bit of your favourite book or watch that programme you saved on SKY + can be the difference between keeping your sanity and reaching breaking point.

It is not selfish to have some time to yourself. Yet the pressures around us tell us we don’t deserve to put our needs first.

Last year I posted something on Facebook about wanting to pamper myself – haircut or massage, can’t remember. Many mummies liked it and could empathise greatly. One woman found her way to it and commented that I should be more focussed on my daughter and should not have time to think about myself. This kind of comment was not meant maliciously but it was written sarcastically and it did bruise me. I really struggled with being a preemie mum especially in the first few months. I had only worried about my daughter, so much so that I hadn’t left the house in ten weeks for fear of infection. I was neglecting my mental health which was clearly starting to affect my relationships with others.

If I hadn’t taken any time out for myself, seen a friend for a coffee, gone shopping, had a haircut, I would have gone insane. The stress was overpowering me and I constantly felt ill. I can deal with not brushing my hair for three days or eating lunch at four in the afternoon because my exhausted baby refuses to nap. I can handle waking five times through the night not knowing what is upsetting my baby or wearing an unchanged, sicky t-shirt all day. I can do all that as long as I have some time for myself.

I have been lucky. Even during the worst times with my husband this year, he has always given me a bit of “time-off”. He has taken baby our for a little walk or watched her while I read a magazine with a cup of coffee for ten minutes. In that sense, he was amazing.

Channel 4 in the UK, shows a programme called, ‘The Three Day Nanny’. The nanny goes and helps a desperate family in need of her services. Last week, they showed a couple at breaking point with twin girls. The mum looked after the girls for the majority of the week, solely on her own. She barely left the house and was unable to complete the simplest of tasks as the toddlers were such a handful. In an interview at the start of the programme you could see tears in her eyes as she seemed so anguished at not having any time to relax and do something exclusively for her. Sadly, she did not have a husband that offered her this. In the two years since the children had been born, he had NEVER offered her a hour on the weekend to have the girls and give her a break. He admitted it freely like it was a norm. I’m sure it does happen and many mums are put in this position.

To have a healthy relationship with anyone, you need to have breathing space. That includes your children. Many women get that when they return to work but like the struggling mum on the show, I will be at home every day looking after my little girl. It was my choice (to a point, we could not find affordable childcare) so some will say, “Deal with it” but I am entitled to have a break.

Thank you David for all those breaks you have given me.

And to the woman who told me off for wanting to take care of myself, like I said to you before:

Happy mummy = happy baby.

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

What everybody else sees.

It’s very difficult to live with someone who appears to be something they’re not. I’ve lived my whole life with a variation of these sorts of people.

Life is hard at the moment. Take out my wonderful daughter who gives me nothing but pleasure and I’m left with many dilemmas.

I suppose I have to be cryptic but whoever they are will clearly know when I describe my current situation.

What do you do when you lose communication? When you feel like you can’t access the people you rely on, the people who are supposed to be by your side. In recent years, I have felt very much alone. My support system is crumbling. The people who were once so strong are now so distant and guarded. It happened gradually only revealing itself fully late last year. When I myself was having to deal with the trauma of giving birth seven weeks early and coping with being a mother way before I had expected. Not only that, but my precious daughter remained in hospital, trying to thrive and I had no certainty of when she would be home with her mummy.

I needed support. Someone to be there for me.

Instead I am forgotten. My struggles are forgotten and this past eight months have felt incredibly lonely.

I don’t really talk any more to anyone. Friends know what they need to know. I’m used to hiding. It’s almost like a second skin. I did it for twelve years with my father. Friends I did tell never fully grasped the extent of his abuse. People tend to look for the good in others. It’s natural but not everyone is good. My father was a very bad man. There were no excuses for his actions. They weren’t a result of anything. He was how he was because he chose to be that way.

We all have choices. Life is a series of them. I’ve made some really bad ones in my past. I chose to stand by my father, through the abuse and allowed him to treat me abhorrently. All because I longed for my father’s love. A love that never was.

Now I hold onto hope once again. It’s a bad trait. One I wish I didn’t have. One that holds me back and makes me weak.

I will always cling to hope. A hope that one day I can be strong again, find myself and be able to do it alone if I needed to.

Back to Work Blues.

Tomorrow is my first day back at work after a week off. I can successfully say that this was my least productive holiday in the sense that I have done f**k all this week! On purpose may I add. The most work and attention has gone into my blog which has been great. It’s been fantastic to have the time to sit down, especially in the day (normally I blog straight after work, completely shattered) and write. Poetry Week has been a total success. I was wary to post my poetry. After reading so many of my fellow peers’ and poets’ work on WordPress, I was not sure mine would compete in the slightest but each one has received some lovely support and likes. I really appreciate that (it’s still pretty new to me!).

Based on your reactions, I think I’ll make Poetry Week a monthly post 🙂

I do have back to work blues. I hope I do not walk straight back into stress again. The last five months have been extremely stressful at work and home hasn’t been much different. However, I am now more aware of my body and the triggers of stress. Hopefully, with the aid of my new-found breathing exercises, I can maintain and keep my stress levels under control.

Today will be my final poetry post till next month. In March, I will begin a series of letters that I wish I had the courage to write in reality. I am hopeful that it will provide and serve me with a little more closure.

March 2nd is also my birthday!

Love & authority.

4th November 2010: Phone call 9.30pm, diary entry –

Told me he was too angry to talk to me all week. Told me not to speak when he spoke nor to contradict him (not allowed an opinion). Continued by saying I have tortured him. For thirteen years, since the divorce, I have tortured him. Said I was “different”, “lovely” before the divorce then I suddenly transformed after it. Blames all my behaviour on my mother and my sister saying they “brainwashed” me throughout the divorce. Actually, we barely spoke to each other back then. He was the one doing the brainwashing! Told me he has suffered for thirteen years with my behaviour. Hundreds of episodes like last week.

I’m disrespectful.

“A father’s job is to love and have authority over his daughter,” he said to me with every belief in his absurd and worrying words.

Last week, I had NO right to ask him for respect. It was not my place. I am the child. At twenty eight, I am the child. A daughter cannot demand that. I have no right to want politeness from him let alone ask for it. Told me he cannot “go on like this”.

No Daddy. We can’t.

Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using his intelligence; he is just using his memory.
Leonardo da Vinci

Back from a short hiatus.

I’ve been off WordPress for three days. A long time by any bloggers standards! I have not even been near a computer! Impressive. I have spent the last few days at my husband’s parents’ house for a family visit. Into the depths of Essex we went haha. It was a lovely little trip although not very productive as the rainy weather kept me indoors for the majority of the visit. The main highlight was seeing my nephew for the first time. Everyone who knows me knows my love for babies. He was as beautiful as I imagined and more. An ever so tranquil baby who was calm with anyone. A lovely start to the New Year I’d say.

On a slightly more “depressing” note – I go back to work on Monday! Cue miserable face. I hope it will be less stressful this term. I am going back as positive as possible and staying strong. Gone has to be the defeatist attitude otherwise there will be no progress. I’ll let you know how it goes on my first day back.

Have a good weekend guys!