It’s around about the anniversary of when I left the abusive relationship.
Usually I use this date to reflect on all the massive obstacles we’ve overcome. How far we’ve travelled as a family and me personally.
This year though , for some reason I was stuck in what I hadn’t done . I’d not gone back to university , I’d not found the perfect home , I’m not settled in a love of my life relationship , I’ve not done any of the things that the me trapped in that misery had promised herself she would do.
I know why. Absolutely. The me trapped in an abusive relationship ,almost laughably, was a bit naive . She thought when she left and shut the door behind her it would all be over . Done.
She didn’t realise how hard freedom might be . How tiring battling with your own brain ,programmed by someone else would be . How exhausting feeling you have to prove your truth to the world would be. How determined and pig headed and brave I’d have to be just to get to the point where I was healed enough to have that brain reprogrammed to think as me , not the me he told me to be .
So yes I’ve been a bit hard on myself.
So I’m going to be a bit self indulgent if that’s ok and just think of what I have achieved since leaving all those , so many years ago now .
I’ve raised good people
My 2 sons have now both left school. In the dark days when they were little and we were stuck inside I taught them to read before they started school. I was criticised of course for “boot camping” them but they bloody loved it . They’re both intelligent lads ,but more than that they are good people. Obviously mum bias comes into play here , but other people compliment their manners and how they behave towards other people . I personally – mum bias in full throttle find them great company , witty and fun.
I had to have played my part in that.
I’ve kept on keeping on.
It’s hard ,life after abuse. You pick up so many habits that are seemingly impossible to break. You are questioned and you are tested and goodness me you come so scarily close to giving up (If you are currently in an abusive relationship please don’t let the fact it’s hard afterward put you off leaving. Shit , nothing is ever going to be as hard as what you’re living now – it’s hard but so worth the work and you’re a warrior I know you can come out the other side)
You do come close to giving up. For one reason or another that thought crosses your mind. Then you realise that freedom is worth it and you put your head down and you fight another day , and as days go by the days become less of a fight and more of a life.
I’ve helped other women
I think I have , I hope I have .
I get messages from women who have read this blog and that goes right back to when it was an anonymous little blog that barely anyone looked at. The one by far and away the most common is women saying that I’ve helped them realise it’s not just them. Abuse is isolating. It’s often still after leaving shrouded in shame. Women identifying with my ramblings and it helping them feel less isolated and alone well that’s just the best use of my time.
They’re the big things but there are little things too:
We have disco and karaoke nights at home and we can be as loud as we like.
We have celebrated the kids birthdays absolutely without repercussions from a jealous man upset the attention isn’t on them.
I’ve slept in a bed with a man and I never thought that could happen.
I have close friendships and have lowered my personal barriers .
I wear what I like , sounds silly but you can’t imagine how huge that is.
I write this blog.
I can nap.
I can read.
I can go to the cinema or theatre or out for dinner whenever I like.
I can go to sleep when I want.
I can be affectionate and hug and hold hands with a man.
I can sing round the house .
I can watch the trashiest TV shows imaginable .
Though I can also watch Question Time without getting shit for thinking I’m clever when I’m a “thick, stupid bitch” ……bloody hell watching QT is no sign of intelligence…
I can make small talk with strangers .
I can holiday alone…oh and compared with ‘holidaying’ with him it’s absolute paradise !!!
We have taken back Christmas!!!
I have learnt how easy it is to fall back into toxic relationships.
Also though I’ve learned how to cut out toxic people , be that friends or family or anyone who doesn’t make a positive impact in my life.
I don’t think I’m fat.
I don’t think I’m ugly.
I don’t think I’m stupid.
I embrace my flaws , I’d not be me if I weren’t a bit dozy and absent minded.
I can express my opinion.
So that’s actually a pretty big list and I’m sure there are many more . Freedom can be a tough journey ,but after surviving what you have tough isn’t so scary .
Many years ago. A Doc Martin boot in the face was a final straw . It wasn’t an unusual act. It wasn’t rare . My reaction was though. For that I am just so grateful and relieved and yes the journey was (and some days still can be ) tough. So bloody worth it though!!!
I’m going to celebrate with a solo date to the theatre ,dressed how I like whilst making small talk to strangers !!
Well done me