“Why don’t they just leave?”

Every now and then I get an overwhelming feeling, a flash back, a whiff of something that reminds me of an unhappier time in my life. A picture, a word, something on TV, or a trigger that I sometimes don’t even recognise, will cause the past to wash over me. The twinge in my stomach, the lump in my throat, the dizzying anxiety that pulled me apart. It’s how I imagine drowning to feel. The suffocating weight, the pain in your chest, unable to breathe, the panic and fear. This is how I felt in the midst of an abusive relationship. Unfortunately this was not the only thing I was dealing with at the time. I wish it was, and maybe I would have dealt with things differently, or at the very least, have coped a bit better and thought a bit clearer. I would have fought harder. Shouted louder. Kicked and screamed and shown him I was not afraid, even if I was. Walked out the door more often, or walked out for good sooner, instead of being paralysed with fear, afraid to run for the door in case he’d get there before me. But I was dealing with so much more. I was grieving for people lost in my life. Over loaded with work as a result of a recent promotion, that was the biggest challenge I had encountered in my career and was beyond demanding and stressful. An unplanned pregnancy and the war between my logical and moral being in deciding what to do about said pregnancy. An unhinged ex-girlfriend, of my then partner, harassing and tormenting me, calling my work, sending threatening letters. It all came crashing down around me in the space of a couple of months. With no close family or friends to talk to, the loneliness and vulnerability was unbearable and resulted in me finding further refuge in the person that ended up causing me more heart ache than I ever could have predicted.

The over bearing noise that were my thoughts and fears, whirred around my head 24/7. The sickness, the hours spent with headaches and nausea that was induced by a combination of morning sickness and stress, exhausted me and drained the little energy I had. The constant beating of my heart through my chest, that at times stopped me in my tracks with the intensity at which it was beating. The sleep deprivation from worry and which was also inflicted by my ex. Especially if I seemed to be making a recovery and might be starting to think straight. Screaming and roaring at me through the night, in a house where no room could be locked because he took all the keys. I had no escape. He would sometimes let me think it was over and I would finally be drifting off to sleep from sheer exhaustion. He would barge through the door, rip the blanket off me, drag me out of the bed and berate me for daring to fall asleep while he was still awake. I was constantly walking on egg shells, waiting for the next bomb to go off. It was the noise of all this in my head, that got to me the most. Building and building, until I felt I would explode and scream and fall to pieces. But I never did, I silently screamed inside and let the emotions rage on within. On the surface I smiled and remained silent, afraid to let anyone know what was going on behind closed doors.

There is a view from the window of the bedroom in his house, that is forever etched in my mind. I can see it, the top of the house across the road, the branches of the tree and the lamp-post. This was the view in my line of sight when I would lay on the edge of the bed, gazing out, fixated on one spot, even when he would come right up to my face, “are you f**king stupid, are you mute?” trying to ignore the incessant shouting, by focusing on the outside and doing my best to zone out of what was going on inside. The effort of fighting back being futile and pointless. The want to crawl away and hide from the world, to get everything to just stop for a minute, one minute, to allow me to catch my breath. Anything. Just anything……………..but there was no reprieve. Wave after wave of disaster and abuse and sickness and heart ache. The terror and anxiety and constant fear of what was next. What was waiting for me around the corner. Because there was always something. When I would think that things could not possibly get any worse, another situation, fight, work issue, health problem, family emergency, would be there to break me that bit further. How could I fix this? How can I get out? I couldn’t see a way. Holding on and hoping something would give, because you know you’re just surviving, barely holding on, afraid and alone. It was a numb, hazy, foggy existence.

This is how it felt to be trapped in an emotionally and sometimes physically abusive relationship for me. So for those of you who think “why don’t they just leave”, it’s not that easy. Your mind is not clear. You are a wreck, trying to cope with each day as it comes. I had nowhere to go and nobody to turn to, or so I felt. I was living away from home and the solution was far from straight forward. The day that turned it all around for me was the day I finally said the words out loud to someone. “I am in an abusive relationship and I don’t know what to do”. These were quite possibly the hardest and scariest words I have ever spoken. The wheels that were set in motion that day were paramount to my future. I won’t lie and say it was easy. It scared the shit out of me. I spent the next week crying harder than I ever have done before, knowing what was about to come and not knowing, at the same time. How would it all work out? How was leaving going to fix anything? I am having his child, I can never really escape. I am going from one bad situation to another! About to give birth to a baby with nowhere to live, no proper income, as I was now on maternity leave and no way of providing a life for me and this baby. Leaving the nursery I had just decorated and filled with beautiful things for my baby, our belongings, my job, my life, to return to Ireland, to potentially live on social welfare in a council house? It all seemed so impossible. I was also worried sick that he would find out I was leaving before I left and what the consequences of that discovery would entail. Worried about hurting him and taking his unborn child away from him. It was the toughest thing I’ve ever done but the best thing too.

Everyone’s story is different but there’s one thing I believe we all have in common-we are survivors! We have been through hell and back. This does not make us fragile or damaged or broken. This makes us strong, fierce, experienced, determined, resilient women.

I have gained a lot from my experience. I do not believe I have lost. I have a self-worth I never possessed before and this is something I continue to work on. A determination to go after what I want that will not be deterred. I am not willing to settle for anything less than I deserve in a relationship, and I believe I deserve a lot. I have no time for toxic, draining people in my life. I do not waste my time on people who cause me pain or try to belittle me or walk over me to get what they want. These people can f**k right off and god love them if they push me too far. I will fight back if needs be. The most important thing to come out of all this is my beautiful son, whom I live a very happy life with. Me and him against the world. Our world is one of so much love and cuddles and Laughs. Life can never be bad with him in it. He is my happiness, my strength, my everything. And I would go through that hell, and worse again, to get to where I am now, with my little boy, surrounded by friends and family and people who love and support me. You forget how that feels when your with your abuser. That life seems so far away and so impossible, but it’s not. It’s closer than you think. And when it gets too much, remember, you are not alone, even if it feels as if you are. Pick up the phone, knock on a door, ask for help, and when you have, take the wins and carry them with you, leave the losses well behind. xx

Love played it’s part

A Song took me by surprise today. My initial reaction was to turn it off immediately but I forced myself to listen, intent on not letting it get to me and to push past the feelings it raised. The effect it had on me was greater than I expected. I thought it would be forgotten in minutes but I found myself emotional and distracted and flooded with memories of my ex for the rest of the day. Not the horrific fights and abuse for once, but of all the nice things he’d done for me, however manipulative his motives may have been at the time. A song called Indian summer, by Stereophonics, was the trigger on this occasion. He had bought me tickets to go and see them for my 26th birthday and played their new album in the house over and over on the run up to the gig, telling me that this song reminded him of me and it was our song. Listening to it reminded me of the thoughtful things he used to do for me and made me realise that at one time I had been madly in love with this man. I had never met someone who put so much thought and effort into everyday little things, as well as bigger surprises and occasions. I had never had someone make me feel so special and loved and looked after. The first time I slept over at his house he brought me a Mc Donald’s breakfast in bed, ran me a bubble bath in the middle of the day and fed me champagne. We had spent the morning lying in the back-garden sipping away and telling life stories. When things were good, they were great. I have never laughed so much with someone, spent so much time with someone and still craved to be with them even more. When we were out together we spent all night beside one another, laughing and talking, oblivious to everyone else around us. Even when we lived together, we acted like teenagers on a night out, only having time for each other. I remember two girls once commenting that they had a bet on, to see if it was the first or second date we were on, when in reality I had known him over 2 years at this stage. We started as friends and became closer at a time that I believed both of us were going through a tough time. Little did I know that his tough time was mostly a lie, combined with a lot of self-inflicted life problems and him being there for me, was his way of taking advantage of my vulnerability and a way of getting closer.

Before things got bad and I saw the sheer cruelty that he was capable of, I don’t believe I have loved someone and enjoyed someone’s company as much as I had his. When you love someone this much and they are so convincing at showing you they care and will go to the end of the world and back for you, it is so much more painful when they hurt you. The person you have finally made yourself completely vulnerable to, is willing to use that against you to hurt you. It is soul destroying to come to the realisation that the man you love can hurt you in this way. What’s even more devastating is, not only is he the man you love, he is the father of the child you are carrying and instead of being there to hold your hand, he there’s to grab your arm and throw you against a wall when you try to get past him and get away from the abuse he’s hurling your way. When you go to your first midwife appointment and he should be sat by your side waiting anxiously and excitedly to find out more, you find yourself on your own, crying uncontrollably because you can’t think of who to put down as your emergency contact, because you’ve broken up with him after things got too out of hand at the weekend. The man that should be reassuring you and holding you, when your crying for the grandfather you just lost, is instead starting a fight and keeps you up all night roaring and shouting and trashing your apartment, it’s heartbreaking. At times I question why I stayed when I did and there were many reasons. The step kids and wanting to protect them, the fact I was carrying his child, fear, exhaustion, my job, but the biggest reason may have been I loved him! It took until today for me to finally, really, admit that to myself and accept that it’s ok that love played its part. He put as much effort into convincing me he loved me as he did into making me miserable. His actions were always well calculated and constructed to balance the good with the bad, and this made it all the more confusing. I’d be at the brink of having enough, the final straw and he’d pull me back in, just enough to make me think twice about leaving. It is torture to be second guessing yourself all the time, to be at war with your emotions and common sense. An abusive man is a scary thing, an intelligent, abusive man, is terrifying.

I’ll never learn!

So, it’s happened again! Yet another disappointing encounter with a man. I am sure women can be equally as disappointing but as I have very limited experience with women, I can only  speak from what I know and what I have come to learn, and that is, it is extremely difficult to meet a man that can live by a simple rule I have set my standards by. If you wouldn’t like it done to you, don’t do it to others. Something we are all taught in some way or another as a child, or at least used to be. Something very simple. Yet this is not so simple to apply to life for all. I would like to challenge people to consider, what the person you are about to screw over, might have already been through, and how your actions may impact that person’s life.  Because lets face it, our actions will impact in some way, but to what degree differs in each situation.

I have rarely met a man that I have dated, gone out with or hooked up with, that hasn’t been an ass in some way or another. On this occasion, I made the mistake of thinking that because this fella was a friend, he would have respect for me and treat me with basic common courtesies. I was very wrong. Not only must I accept the fact that I have been screwed over again, (which is a sore spot for me, as I really have had enough and it is pretty soul destroying and contorts my view of men and trusting people even further), but I also have the joys of been excluded and treated differently by certain mutual friends. Not because of my actions, but because of his. He lets me down and it’s me who pays the price. Not that I would expect my friends to take sides, or get involved. Quite the opposite. I want it to be left between me and him, no drama or bullshit. But instead I’m ignored and excluded. Invites for coffee or to attend a night out suddenly stop. When I finally go out in town to meet some friends, I am excluded from conversations and left stood on my own as everyone goes out for a smoke on more than a few occasions. Luckily for me there was some more mature friends who were out that night, and surprisingly it was the people I knew less that extended a friendly welcome and made sure not to exclude me. I know people have had their excuses and have their reasons, but all I can think is “I wouldn’t do it to you”. It has opened my eyes again as to who my true friends are and I will re-access and rearrange my priorities, as I have sadly had to do on more than one occasion. Luckily, I still have some very good friends. Some who have done very well not to treat either parties differently and I am glad for this. If only all friends could be as reliable and mature, but hopefully I will learn my lesson someday. Unfortunately, the only way it seems possible for me to stop feeling I’ve been taken advantage of and to stop feeling like someone who clearly deserves to be treated like shit, (because why else would it keep happening?) is to distance myself from people completely, because how else are you to know the good from the bad? There’s no easy way of knowing and my resilient & forgiving nature and positive attitude can only survive so much. It never really matters how little or how much the person who screws you over means to you. It still leaves a mark, a reminder of how stupid you were to trust someone and believe their bullshit. They could be a brief fling or a long-term boyfriend, each time I can’t help but question why? I’m told it’s not me, it’s them, they should be the ones feeling shit and who deserve to be treated badly, when they can’t treat people right, and I get what they are saying, but human nature means I still question myself and that’s not fair! because I know I’m not a bad person. I certainly don’t deserve to be cheated on when I’m loyal to you, lied to when I’ve shown you nothing but respect, messed around and manipulated when I’ve been nothing but forth coming and honest. All I’m asking for is the same in return, and if you can’t do that, please just leave me alone. Because I really have had enough and someday I will give up.

Pill problems :/

Is it just me or does being on the pill completely turn you insane? I did not have this issue pre-motherhood, it is most definitely a shift in the hormonal levels combined with the pill that has caused such a drastic change in mood. The first few months after having my precious little bundle of joy,  I felt at times that I could literally beat the crap outta someone. Confusingly enough I thought this may be a side effect of having recently left an abusive relationship, and that maybe my psychotic ex partner had turned me into a monster. It took a few months for it to dawn on me that this Jekyll and Hyde effect was taking place in cyclical form, roughly every 4 weeks. It took a good year for my hormones to settle down and for me to return to some resemblance of an emotionally stable person. This was short lived as I decided to start dating again and I went back on the pill. I have jumped on and off the pill a few times now, hoping each time would be different but sadly not.

Each time I have been transformed into a hideous, crazy, unreasonable little b**ch. I had absolutely no control over my mood. No matter how hard I tried I felt I wanted to loose it and just punch walls and scream at the top of my voice. It is only after a few weeks of coming off the pill that I have come back down to earth. So here it is ladies. My proposal. Give up the bloody pill and get the fuckers to wear a god damn condom. let them take the responsibility of birth control for a change. I know this is easier said than done, because lets face it, the consequences for us is far greater than it is for them should they fuck up. I recently gave this project to my now ex. I explained to him how crazy and outta control and unhappy I felt on the pill and told him it was his turn to worry about birth control. what a waste of time that was! What annoyed me the most was, he didn’t  seem to care how much hell being on the pill was for me, or he would have taken my request more seriously and would have done what was needed. He didn’t consider how I hated that it made me a moody mum and gave me less patience with my child and with him. Yet he still couldn’t do what was needed and put on a f**king condom. He actually requested I go back on the pill, which I stupidly did. So learn from my mistakes ladies and gents. If you care enough about your girl and she hates being on the pill, then don’t be a dick and expect her to go through the emotional turmoil of being on the pill. Man up and wrap your dick. And for those ladies who don’t wanna be on the pill, don’t be an idiot like me and do whats right for you. life’s too short to be going round feeling and acting out of control all because of one tiny little pill.

A quick Intro

So I’ve tried writing an intro a few times. Each time I feel like I am writing an ad for a dating site. Basically I am a single mum, who also goes to college and works part time. I am also a survivor of domestic abuse, a topic I feel strongly about. I plan to use this blog as a platform to share some of my life experiences and views. I am not saying my views are correct and that’s how everyone should feel. They are just my opinions and my experiences in life. Some silly, some serious, depends on the day I guess. so here it goes…….