Category Archives: domestic abuse

Then I became me…

Emotional abuse is such a complex thing.

Life after emotional abuse , even more complex.

Many of us aren’t even aware we’ve been emotionally abused.

So how do you rebuild? The physical abuse , the sexual abuse well you just have to let literal wounds heal. You have to come to terms with the fact you’re a little changed. You’ll forever be a little more cautious. You know for sure it happened though. You felt physical pain.

Emotional abuse though? Well how can you recover from something you don’t even know you’ve been a victim of? Well if you’re even questioning it I would thoroughly recommend doing the Freedom Programme. I know I talk about it a lot but doing it saved me from total self destruction. I dealt with the impact of the abusive relationship , but more than that I have been able to identify emotional abuse in subsequent relationships . I don’t even mean romantic involvements but just even friendships or any situations where I have to deal with other people. I am confident that now I can pick out a twat in a crowd. They think they’re ridiculously clever but they are so similar they give themselves away very easily.

So rebuilding after abuse I found incredibly difficult. I expected once I left I could snap back into being the girl I was before him. It was naïve, but I believed I’d only be truly recovered when I was back to pre -him me. In hindsight pre-him me I was a teenager, I still had a mum, I wasn’t a mum myself. You can’t just flip back into that . So I learnt that I had to rebuild but as a new version of me. A better version of me. Ultimate Kelly if you will.

Emotional abuse is like a giant game of jenga (I’m so sorry you know me and my analogies)

The jenga tower is set up. On each brick is a character trait that makes you you. Some are little things. Maybe that you love lipstick or that you have a favourite movie. Some are huge : That you are opinionated , independent , intelligent .

At the start of the game he takes the little bricks . Tells you you don’t need to wear lipstick you’re already pretty or that that favourite movie of yours is a bit silly . Aren’t you better than that? He thought you were cleverer than that? He takes them gently and the tower doesn’t topple because these are easy bricks .

Once the easy bricks are gone things get a little more complicated . he has to go for trickier ones . He doesn’t want the tower toppling just yet , not too early he’ll give himself away. You see that brick with your best friend’s name on though? Yeah he needs rid of that and its going to be tricky because it’s one that’s helping hold the tower in place. You’ve played jenga though haven’t you? You know the key to removing the tricky bricks is confidence. Just in and taking it , you falter you’ll lose. He mentions he overheard your best friend talking about you , laughing at you , she’s only friends with you because she feels sorry for you . Just like that the brick is taken . The tower looks more vulnerable now . It could fall at any minute.

He’s not going to lose the game though , no way . Not after he’s put so much effort and time into it.

There’s one block holding things together. Keeping the tower upright that everything is resting on. It has self -belief written on. It’s the belief that you know you are strong and that you are loved and that you are worth so much more than him. He can’t let that stay. He can’t take it though either , people will realise what he is doing. So he talks you into taking that block yourself. Tells you you’re ill , you need help. You are paranoid and delusional and you need him to take care of you. With shaking hand you pull that block yourself and hand it to him.

The tower topples.

What was once a combination of all the things that make you you is now just a heap of bricks on the floor .

The bricks stay like this for a while . You accept your lot. You’re broken , defeated and there’s nothing you can do.

Then. One day. Maybe the day after you throw him out of the game for good , maybe it takes weeks or months or even years you begin to rebuild. All on your own. All the original bricks are back , stacked and stable . The tower looks strong , but you’re aware that it would only take a few lost bricks to make you vulnerable again. So you add more bricks to strengthen the structure , to make it so strong and stable it’s almost indestructible. Bricks you didn’t even have access to originally.

You add a strong support network , you add therapy and counselling and knowledge. That Freedom Programme brick makes your tower a super structure. The self worth brick , the confidence brick , the trusting yourself brick they are all pretty hefty ones too.

You see I’ll never be the pre-him me ever again.

To become the post-me him I had to take on board more character traits that I’d never needed before . I had to become brave and self secure and independent. I had to become resilient and tough and focussed.

All the bits that had previously made me me had been demolished . I had to round them all back up again , then I had to find a few more for back up.

Then I became me .

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Affection withdrawal as an abuse tactic… conquered

I’ve waffled and whinged and whined in this blog a lot about my aversion to hugs and tactility. I’ve bored you all with my 2017 Eureka moment where finally the Ice Queen thawed and being touched no longer makes me wants to recoil in horror and turn into a statue.

What I’ve not really dealt with though is why I’m like I am .

It’s odd; life after abuse. You have so many lingering behaviours once you’ve left , even years on some habits stick (one of these days I’ll take my phone off silent mode) Some ideas still float about your head unquestioned ,until you realise that actually those ideas are not your own ideas ,they were a seed another person planted in your head so gently that you took them and everything that grew from them on as your own but they never ever were yours. Sometimes one day , everything clicks into place and you realise that your behaviour still mirrors that of that abused woman ,and then…well then you have the power to get rid of it .

I had a bit of a Eureka moment like that over this week. I know where my hatred of affection came from , I know why I’m like I am and now I do I can banish it for good.

When I met the man who abused me I was going through a tough time , I was vulnerable . I must have been a gift to him! Now I’ve never really been a hugger ,that I can’t say is down to anything other than I’m not naturally a tactile person. He came along though and showered me with affection. At that low point in my life I soaked it up. Cuddling , touching, all the affection and compliments and kind words and gestures wrapped me up completely. I liked it , I liked being the focus of all this love and I was flattered .

Over time emotional abuse became the norm . I was manipulated and coerced into behaving a certain way. He was charming and I am a people pleaser so it probably wasn’t that much hard work to get me to do as he wished. However on one occasion I resisted . I didn’t play along with his games . I stood my ground and didn’t give in . I can’t even remember what it was that was the issue now but that day he withdrew affection and kindness and compliments and they never returned. Those strokes of the arms as he passed me , the hand squeezes that I’d relied on ,am arm around me or a peck on the cheek all disappeared immediately along with compliments and encouraging words (even only now as I write this do I realise why I hate compliments too)

As I mentioned above I am a people pleaser by nature and I’d grown to like the affection he had lavished me with. He had already done enough ground work on my head to ensure that the affection withdrawal would have the desired affect. It did. Then you see I was always striving to get that back. I was doing anything he wanted to try and pull back the affection , only now I was so very grateful for the tiniest scrap of approval he only need offer the occasional hand on the shoulder or feeble words of praise to make me feel better. I was altering my behaviour and character to get this guy to go back to his love bombing of the beginning . I was absolute putty in his hand , easily moulded to be exactly what he wanted at any given time.

I think we’re joining dots now to find out why I then became the girl that hated hugs and affection and touching. I always knew it had to be a defensive thing and it absolutely was. In my mind I could never again give anyone that kind of power ,that hold over me . I couldn’t settle in to enjoy affection because I knew how horrific it was to have it removed.

Years away from toxic relationships , therapy and this blog though have been my trio of weaponry against the damage done mentally. They’re pretty solid too these days. I talked here last week about my need for patience and yes I do absolutely need that understanding and trust if I’m going to be close to people , physically and emotionally.

You know what though ? I’m going to have to disagree with the Doctor on this one now . You can trust a hug , I like hugs . I like hand holding and little kisses to the face and my hair stroked. Physical contact is a primal human need and I’d deprived myself of that for way too long .

Kate on thin ice

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I am healed ,but I still need patience

I am many years free of abuse and toxic relationships. I am stronger mentally than I’ve been for a very long time. So many of the parts of me that had been dismantled and fractured have been put back together.

It took way , way longer than I ever would have expected. Years longer.

I’m here though , I am healed and I am strong.

I am healed but I’m battle scarred .

I’m healthy and I’m strong but there are very faded residual marks that I suspect will stick around a little while longer.

Like when stretchmarks that were purple and raw and red and angry fade to silvery faded lines. A memory of what a huge deal you have been through.

I still have a few remaining ,faded mental scars. Like those silver stretch marks they’re part of me , a record of a journey. Not that happy one of motherhood , but a journey none the less and one I finished a free woman. I’m sure those mental scars will one day fade even further , possibly disappear completely like so many of the other hang ups and baggage toxic relationships left me with. I got rid of them eventually. I’m not angry or resentful of the remaining scars ,they are me now.

The main one is a need for patience from people around me.

Super patience.

Patience in ultimate 4D.

Patience with a cherry on the top ,tied with a bow.

You see all those parts of me that are healed yet fragile , they can all be fixed with patience.

I don’t have loads of friends or a massive really close family. I have a tiny inner circle of people who I trust and care about and whom I am certain care about me.

That’s really all I need , the inner circle rocks you know? Full of amazing humans! I think they get it those people. They understand my need for patience,but I think it probably takes a while to get to grips with the nutty girl who behaves oddly sometimes!

I need patience that sometimes I cancel plans because the horrid voice in my head is telling me I’m rubbish.

I need patience with my indecisiveness . It comes from a place where when questions were asked there is a right or wrong answer and it is essential to get it right (despite the fact you never will) questions still sometimes transport me back to that mindset and it’s as irritating for me as it is those around me.

I need patience at my ( what must be bloody infuriating) absent minded ,head in the clouds behaviour. It comes from a place where once I had to be hyper vigilant every second of every day. I had to think 3 , 7 , 12 steps of another person all the time in order to second guess how I should be behaving to avoid a blow up. From having to be so aware of a tapping foot ,or a certain type of sigh or a look so as I could attempt to diffuse a situation before it happened. Now I’ve always been naturally dozy I confess but I also worked out with the help of my therapist that actually ,now away from that situation I’ve learned to relax , no need for hypervigalence . I’m comfy and have gradually relaxed …. I’ve relaxed …a lot , possibly too much!

I need patience when I over think and am mentally already dealing with a situation that hasn’t even happened.

I need patience when my brain melts at emotional intimacy. That the L word is not in my vocab. That I’m getting better at hugs , but ON MY TERMS!

I need the patience and constantly. I’ve been around people who’ve understood for a short while but then become frustrated and irritated and then that’s me done really. Shut down. Closed for business. Emotional attachment done with. I know it’s irrational but this is why the inner circle is so small I guess.

It once took me knowing someone 2 years to go on a first date. 2 years!!! I didn’t fully realise back then but I absolutely needed that time of consistent words and actions. I needed to know this wasn’t someone who would change goalposts or be a different person from one day to the next. I know it must seem nuts to most but it was necessary for me. Bloody hell dating me you have to work at Kelly pace , kind of like snails pace but a thousand times slower.

I’m healed , I’m strong but I still need that element of patience in people I am close to.

I do so appreciate how my amazing family and lovely friends ARE patient with my flakey , indecisive tendencies I really do! I’ve so much adoration for people who stayed the distance. Honestly , if I used the L word I’d declare it now but small steps eh??

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If Mother’s Day makes you miserable…

Mother’s Day for me is as much as a downer as Valentines Day , and that is saying something.

 

 

I don’t have a mum. She died almost 19 years ago. Before I was really a grown up , before I was a mum myself . I haven’t had a mum for a long time and I’m no longer grief stricken in that all encompassing , consuming way that fresh bereavement brings with it. I don’t have parents , that’s been part of my life for a very long time. I don’t weep everytime I think of it or flinch from talking about them.

 

 

Mother’s Day though that always feel like a bit of a stomach punch for me . It hits hard and it hurts and it lingers . I think it’s because it is everywhere. I have had emails everyday for about 3 weeks telling me to treat mum , buy her something special. TV ads are there too telling me to spoil my mum , get her a cute personalised card , take her out for dinner. Well you know what advertisers ? I’d love to. I’d be delighted to be able to take my mam out for dinner somewhere fancy , I never ever got to do that you see. I’d only just finished my A levels when my mum died . I wish with all my might that tomorrow we could do a lovely Sunday lunch , my mam and my children , my sister and hers . I wish we could have one of those days the advertisers are shoving down our throats. I wish I could spoil her – only present I can remember getting her was a pack of dusters when I was about 7 because she’d been saying she needed new ones ( I’d like to think that my gift giving skills have improved since then)

 

 

Mother’s Day without a mum sucks , I’ve seen a few other people mention they feel the same over the past week or so on social media . I suppose it’s just because we are bombarded with what we are missing . Highlights the hole in your life.

 

 

 

It’s not just the lack of a mum that gives me the Mothers Day angst.

 

 

I’m a single mum too , again I have been for a long while . There is no other adult here to give me a well done or make me feel special and that’s a bit of a niggle too. The kids will ( I hope ) have made cards and small girl’s daddy will have gotten a gift for them to give me and we’ll have a lovely tea and possibly a Mothers Day disco if we’re feeling that way inclined . It just all leaves me really flat and exhausted. A total fake of a day. That in itself makes me feel guilty , surely Mother’s Day should be spent dwelling on how bloody lucky I am to have these 4 amazing nutcases in my life. Instead I’ll be feigning happiness and joy that simply is stripped away from me on Mothers Day. I know that feeling this way stems from the toxic relationship I was in when I was first a mum and for the years after. Some of you may unfortunately know that big days and events that aren’t focussed on the perpetrator in those kind of relationships can be horrific. Kids birthdays , Christmasses well they were volatile enough but Mother’s Day ???Whole other level. You may be showered with expensive gifts in front of people to have them smashed to bits when you’re alone or you could be told that you’re too much of a shit mum to get a card on Mother’s Day . You don’t deserve it .

I think this is one of my few remaining hang ups left over from those times . Maybe I’d have conquered it with setting our own traditions and taking back Mothers Day like I have so much other stuff but the thing with it is I already feel like the wind has been taken out of my sails with not having a mum and I don’t really have the energy to fight THIS added problem that kills Mother’s Day stone dead for me .

 

 

I didn’t intend to make all this about me honestly. As I say often my blog is therapeutic and getting thoughts out of my head into words on a page really helps me understand myself and my thinking better. I don’t resent other people having the worlds best day I feel obliged to say . I love seeing the happy pics on social media of mums with their feet up , having breakfast in bed . I love to see amazing mums thanked and celebrated , they bloody deserve it ! Tell me stories of your mums and how they are absolute rocks ! I don’t scroll through social media cursing those celebrating the day I promise ( possibly DO do that on Valentine’s Day)

 

 

 

 

There are many of us though, for whom Mother’s Day is painful .

There are a multitude of reasons why .

It could be that you’re not a mum when that’s all you want in the world , that must be almost unbearably hard.

Maybe you’ve lost a child , that would be a traumatic thing to deal with on a day celebrating mothers. I can offer no words of comfort there because I’m almost sure there are none.

Maybe you have an ill child , are ill yourself , have an ill mum and are dealing with just try to get through a day.

Maybe Mother’s Day triggers poor mental health , I’ve certainly been feeling as though an anxiety flare up could be on the horizon.

Maybe you are in an abusive relationship. Forcedly estranged from your mum and other family , feeling so alone and trapped . Told what a terrible mother and person you are , that you’re pathetic and useless , that your kids would be better off in care than with you. To you women let me just say this , you are outstanding , you are doing an amazing job in intolerable circumstances and you deserve to be free. You are worthy of love and of kindness , you are worthy of being supported and empowered not kept down and silenced . When the day comes that you are able to leave , all these things will find their way to you because it’s no less than you deserve.

 

Maybe you don’t have your children with you this mother’s day for one reason or another and there is a painful void .

 

 

I don’t have the answers on how to make this day more tolerable , bloody hell I’m here writing a blog post that is basically one long whinge.

 

 

All I can offer is that Mother’s Day is just one day . That’s my mantra . Just one day . The next day will be better , less pressured . Surround yourself with people who lessen your pain if you at all possibly can. Fill your own little world with people who make you feel better , even if that just means spending time alone. Me ? I will be having a day with these awesome individuals that make me realise that even the shittiest days can be tolerated. I’ll also be tossing about on social media as per usual so if anyone wants to chat I’ll be around . Whether that’s because you are struggling or you just want a distraction and fancy chatting about trash tv I am your girl ( The seven year switch eh??….looks to be a cracker!! How about Richard from married at first sight??….sorry I digress…)

 

See you on the other side!!

 

 

 

 

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2017 – The year the ice queen thawed so much she almost melted!!!!

I know , I know I’ve bored everyone with my 2017 was great going on. Personally for me it was a game changer. I found myself content with who I am, comfier in my own skin and quite inspired!

I wrote a blog post  a few years back about I identified with Elsa from Frozen ( it’s here poss worth a giggle) She obviously has a better wardrobe than me though. She had her ice palace and snowy bouncer to keep people away. Me , I had a self built metaphorical wall built 10 ft high around myself with big KEEP OUT signs plastered all over it. (I apologise in advance for how much I’ll use the wall analogy but that’s just how it is in my head )

I’ve been called cold quite a bit in my life. I know I’ve demonstrated being a little unfeeling and harsh at times.In reality I was just numb and turned off feelings to get me through tough times. It was a very unhealthy coping mechanism I know now, but it worked to get me through at the time.

Last year though , that KEEP OUT wall fell, hopefully never to be seen again.

I think the reasons were threefold

1) years of therapy

2)This blog , writing about the feelings I can’t vocalise means I do at least deal with them

3) The main one : good people

I’m incredibly lucky to have my sister , you all know how she’s my most favourite human . The woman is so good at advice and she doesn’t even realise she’s given it!!! Even during the wall years there was always a little catflap open for her to get in!!!

Over the past couple years though I have had people come into my life and ever so very,very gently with their kindness and patience and consistency take down that wall brick by brick. Not in like a wrecking ball (sorry Miley) smashing it quickly and brutally but more removing each brick one by one quietly and calmly so you don’t even notice until the wall is no more (sorry I did warn about the wall)

When you’ve been emotionally abused you often ignore kindness and acts of friendship and love. As always I can only tell my story, but I find acts of love and kindness overwhelming.

I don’t trust them.

I didn’t feel worthy of them for so long,I just assumed anything positive said about me was a lie.

You see in previous toxic relationships grand gestures had been thrust upon me . Affection was bestowed so intensely then used as a weapon withdrawn completely and cruelly as punishment. I didn’t want to put myself in that vulnerable position again.

I guess this is why my sister is so vital. I know she loves me and wants the best for me without question. I trust that about her and everyone needs that.

So it’s easy to put compliments down as insincere, you can disbelieve nice words, that’s easy …. Only sometimes people enter your life who don’t just take the ice queen at face value and leave her be.

For someone who has been emotionally abused THESE people are vital , the healers. Consistency is key – you can ignore compliments and kind gestures initially but when they are consistent and as low key as you need then eventually you begin to believe them. That’s when you let people in…..(wall alert) you’ll begin to pull down that bloody wall yourself because you want those people in. It’s a truly special thing and I’m grateful to have enjoyed that in 2017.

That ice queen is gone , hopefully for good. The woman who couldn’t have stood a hug is now a cuddle fan , she’s a bit slushy on the quiet , her cold little heart beats warmly.

It can be a lot to take letting these emotions in . I’ve become a bit of a cry baby and I feel in 4D …. I’m still a learner with these emotion type things but I’m getting there and I’m enjoying it!!!



 

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Me too

Let me start by saying that so much has been written on this by people with way more depth of knowledge , by better ,more articulate writers but holding my thoughts on this in are starting to drive me nuts . So this is merely the 2 pence worth of a blogger with an opinion.

Everyone has seen the #metoo hashtag over social media the past couple of days. In the wake of the Weinstein allegations and Rose Macgowan’s subsequent suspension from Twitter over a tweet she sent about another actor a call for women to boycott Twitter in protest went up.

The point was raised and I agreed wholeheartedly that by reacting to women being silenced by voluntarily silencing ourselves was not quite right . That instead let’s speak out, let’s shout,lets flood Twitter with our voices telling our stories.

#metoo is women telling their stories of sexual harassment and sexual abuse in a bid to show exactly how widespread it is.

It’s also women not wanting to , some not able to talk about their experience. Not wanting to give light to their trauma but using #metoo just to stand in solidarity and say yes this has happened to me too.

I truly believe that there are very few women who have never been subject to harassment and abuse of this kind. Most of us have numerous occasions we could talk about. When I first heard about me too I immediately off the top of my head recalled half a dozen occasions. That was without even sitting down and thinking about it. Most women I know would say the same I think.

We’ve been yelled at out of cars and vans , felt shame at the “nice tits” comments and immediately yanked up our tops.

We’ve been rubbed up against on public transport , our space encroached on ,our bodies forced to make contact with an unwanted crotch.

We’ve been touched inappropriately yet felt too ashamed to cause a fuss!

We’ve been in one on one situations with creepy guys and felt so intimidated we’ve nervously laughed off inappropriate comments and behaviour, worried what the consequences of not would be.

We’ve been pushed further than we want to go sexually , pressurised , bullied to get us to do things we’re not comfortable with.

We’ve been raped.

Out in the street we should be safe walking down.

In our own bed , a place that should be full of comfort, by a man who we’re married to , who says he loves us as he abuses us.

By relatives , by friends , by co-workers.

These things , all these things have often happened repeatedly , they’ve been happening since we were teenagers.

We’ve often never spoken about them .

We feel ashamed , and embarrassed.
We blame ourselves , we know others will blame us too.

We can’t articulate what’s happened or we downplay it.

So if just by saying me too that makes other women feel less alone , or shows how many of us have suffered then just those words can be strong.

I hate leaving a post on a depressing note but on this one I can’t do any other. 

The thing is , I think in ten years time nothing much will have changed. 

I don’t have all the answers , I wish I did.

I fear though that our daughters , our friends , our neighbours in a decade’s time will still be saying #metoo



Bringing up Georgia


I found myself !!(in a theatre in Edinburgh)

Ok , I’ll level with you here. This is going to be a bit of an egocentric post. It’s probably going to also read like an X Factor sob story! Talk of a journey and everything!! Flying Without Wings should really be playing in the background!!….. I’ll keep it short??Deal???

 

Almost a decade ago when we moved away from home to a brand new city I was a much different woman to the one I am now. Iwas anxious and scared and damaged , I had not a clue who I was. Over the years I’ve ploughed my time into the obvious child rearing. I’d brought them across here , least I could do is to ensure they are happy and settled (turns out children are very adaptable )

Then I had a little wobble about how the kids were getting older and didn’t need me anymore and who am I? if they don’t need me?

I wrote an identity crisis bucket list , things I wanted to do because I loved them. To try to ‘find myself’ (urgh I know, so sorry did warn you of x factor speak …though I did also say I’d keep it short I guess!)
On the list was Edinburgh Festival. Something I’d always fancied. A whole weekend of theatre ….sign me up!!
When I was alone on my trip was when I realised. I needed to prove myself to myself of all people.

I’ve shaken off negative words from toxic relationships. I no longer believe it all to be true. I also no longer believe I am worthless and the worst mum. I don’t believe people cringe when I speak and I bore everyone.

I’m not bluffing either. I don’t believe those things about myself anymore.

Yet here’s the thing. Up until this weekend I did expect that was how I was seen by others. I did worry my chat bored people silly and they found me dull and boring.That I was just that mum with a load of kids in other people’s eyes.

I spoke to so many different people last weekend though , men ,women all different ages and that worry that I was dull and had nothing to contribute never crossed my mind once.

Then I realised, THIS is me. That real me I’d been searching for. I’m sociable and chatty and friendly. I’m not anxious about chatting to strangers ,I like it. I’m the woman absolutely in her element in a gorgeous city with lovely people with wall to wall to theatre.

That’s me

I quite like her


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She’s off on her soapbox again…

I am too.
I’m just so sickened and furious I can’t possibly not climb onto my soapbox. So forgive this long, rant post.
We currently live in a society where Tax Credits will only be paid for the first two children. I have thoughts on how we can meander into effectively being a 2 child state but they’re for another blog. I am aware that the welfare state is under excruciating pressure and that cuts have to come, again I’ve thoughts on why the cuts have to come from the poorest rather than the richest but again whole other blog post.
The one exemption to the 2 child law that is in place is if a third or subsequent child is “conceived as a result of rape or an otherwise coercive relationship”

All you have to do is fill in form NCC1 4/17 (an 8 page long document) to be assessed as to whether your rape counts or not.

Simple eh?

Nothing for you ladies to get your knickers in a twist about. The government are merely making sure they put a end to all those hoards of women getting themselves pregnant for benefits and one of those massive mansions some channel 5 documentary shows us they all live in.

I find this law abhorrent enough as it is. I can imagine many women having to struggle financially rather than go through the humiliation and reliving of a hugely traumatic event filling in the rape form then having to discuss it again with a third party.

The law itself isn’t what has me seething though (well it does but it seems I can get to a higher seething level). My issue here is that whoever dreamt up this Victorian, barbaric law and every person who signed it off along the way know nothing about domestic abuse and less than nothing about coercive control.

The thing that jumped out at me was that women still living with the father of children born through rape or in a coercive relationship are not allowed to claim this support.

So here we are at the first ridiculous notion. That if you are in an abusive relationship which, as they often do, include sexual abuse you are able to just pack up and leave. Now even without taking into account the slashing of funding for women’s refuges, making it harder for those who are able to leave, there’s the simple fact that many women in abusive relationships can’t just leave.

Then we get to rape in relationships. The people who dreamt up this law are obviously those who are experts in how rape happens. They clearly think it’s exclusively something that only happens in dark alleys, by big scary monsters of men who attack strangers.

Rape doesn’t always happen in badly lit streets after dark. Sometimes it happens in a comfy bed, in her own home, by the man she loves.

Keep in mind too that a tactic abusive men use too is to keep a woman pregnant. Ensure she’s stuck in the house. Often she’s denied access to contraception as she’s not allowed solo doctors visits.

So the people at the top who make these laws. Well you’re doing the work of the abusive man for him here. You’re telling these women that you can’t be raped if you live with someone (he’s probably been telling her that for years) Then when he does impregnate her without her consent she’s going to struggle financially, trapping her further. Well done decision makers. Research a project called The Freedom Programme they’ve helped many a woman get to grips with their own abuse. I’m sure a little read could educate even the most ignorant.

The rape clause also tells us that children conceived as a result of a coercive relationship are also exempt from the 2 child policy.
Except again this women have to have left to count.

Sigh. .. .
Coercive control in its nature begins so subtly women often don’t realise it’s even happening until it’s too late.
I can envisage many a scenario where coercive control in a relationship would result in pregnancy.
It’s the man telling his partner if she truly loved him she’d have a baby despite her not wanting one , after all doesn’t he live with the kids she already has by some other guy?
It’s the woman accused of having an affair because she doesn’t want to have sex. She knows from past history that line of questioning will likely end in violence so she lays and doesn’t protest whilst he has sex with her.
It’s the exhausted brand new mum, newborn by her bed whose partner is so jealous of all the attention she’s giving her baby. She’s sore, she’s exhausted, she certainly doesn’t want to participate but she’s told to just lay still and quiet so as not to wake the baby.

I could go on, but I’ve probably gone on enough. I just can’t understand the mentality behind this law in a country that considers itself forward thinking and free and fair.
I’m at a loss as to what I can do as a woman living in a country where the government shows such disdain for women’s rights and such a misunderstanding (or maybe a choice not to understand) how abuse works.

I fear what comes next.

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The Tale of Mummyhood

The Boyfriend List

I, tongue firmly in cheek, allude to The Boyfriend List in this blog whenever I chat about my singleness or my absolute unshakeable belief that MY Mr Perfect is out there somewhere. I say ‘my’ Mr Perfect because obviously no one actually is perfect are they? I believe there’s someone out there who is perfect for me though.

During a particularly productive therapy session years and years ago I produced a list of characteristics my ideal partner would have. It became The Boyfriend List.

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Now I know EXACTLY what you are thinking. You’re thinking that’s pretty demanding list for a woman in her mid 30s with a whole brood of children. I know that’s how it appears.

Let me explain.

Back when I wrote this list I was still battle weary from toxic relationships. I was also hugely aware that I was vulnerable.

The problem with being tired and wounded and damaged is this : It attracts the very men you need to be well away from.

Even back then I knew I wasn’t put off men forever. That I wasn’t sworn off relationships. It’s unusual to get to my age and never having been in love. I knew one day I wanted to give that a whirl (how on earth can I write my best selling rom com without ever even have had a sniff of the happy ever after stuff)

I was distrustful of my own judgement when I wrote the list. I also knew EVERY relationship I’ve ever been in had come about accidentally. There was never any desire or admiration or even the simple crush about them. I’d met someone, thought they were OK and fallen into a relationship .

I never want to do that again.
So despite how it looks, my list really isn’t a demand.
It’s a promise. To myself.
It’s saying don’t settle.
It’s saying I deserve someone a bit special.
It’s saying even if he never shows you’re best on your own than in a shitty relationship.
It’s saying don’t lower your standards.

Also, as was pointed out to me – (my name is Kelly and I’m the least self aware person in the world) this list isn’t unreasonable.
I’m not asking to be woken in the morning to a specially assembled dawn chorus of trained birds before having breakfast brought in bed on a golden platter followed by out of this world, mind blowing sex. To later find myself spending the day on the yacht of my boyfriend, the most handsome man to walk the earth, lounging in my diamond shoes having my every whim catered to by an adoring man.
It’s really just asking for a decent human being.
That’s not too much to ask is it?

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The Pramshed

One Messy Mama

The nice guy

I’m not going to lambast Johnny Depp here. I don’t know what went on his marriage. I always speak about how important it is that women who come forward about domestic abuse are believed is.

I’ll say I believe her, and I’ll leave it there.

The thing that’s unsettled me most about the Depp scenario though is twofold. Firstly the horrific manner in which Amber Heard has been treated has triggered a hell of a lot of anxiety for me.

“she must have deserved it”

“those bruises are clearly fake”

“she can’t have been abused, there’s a pic of her smiling the next day ”

All the vileness and disbelief thrown her way took me to a dark place.

The other thing that’s really gotten to me about the whole thing is the number of colleagues and friends coming forward to assert ‘he’d never do this. He’s a nice guy’

Abusive men are usually nice guys. To their friends to their families. To your friends to your families, to you in the beginning.

These men are charmers, sweet talkers, they’re so genuine and caring and loving.

The insidious nature of domestic abuse is what makes it so dangerous and so frightening.

When the ‘nice guy’ asks you to stay in with him rather than go out with your friends, you find it flattering.

When the ‘nice guy’ tells you, you don’t need to wear make up, why don’t you take it off before you leave the house, you’re quite charmed.

When the ‘nice guy’ confides in you that your friends are no good, they all secretly laugh at you and hate you. Tells you that there’s only him who really cares you believe it.

When the ‘nice guy’ kicks you in the face for speaking out of turn he’ll apologise and cry and tell you it’s only because he loves you so much and it wouldn’t have happened at all if you’d just kept quiet. You’re worn down by then, you’re ashamed so you believe him.

When the ‘nice guy’ screams in your face that you can never leave as you can’t cope without him. That no one else will ever want such an ugly, stupid mess. You believe it wholeheartedly.

Then if you’re one of the lucky ones. If you get to leave, if you run away and escape from that torture that was your life. The charm offensive intensifies, towards you at first. Grand gestures, tears, flowers, on his knees begging you to come back. He must note a change though, a look in your eye, a change in your stance, a different tone of voice. He realises his power is waning and has to turn his charm elsewhere.

He’s good at that.

The ‘good guy’ will tell your friends and family he’s concerned about your mental health.

He’s likely put years of background into this to make sure they’ll believe he cares.

The ‘good guy’ will use tears to anyone with authority. The police, the social worker, the court. He’ll break down into heartbroken sobs that his children have been taken away.
He’s a charmer, some people will believe him.

The ‘good guy’ will have told HIS friends and family lies about why you’ve left. They’ll aid his abuse by calling you a liar.

Unfortunately you can’t pick out the abusive man in a crowd.
You can’t say it can’t be true because they’ve always been nice to you, bloody hell abusing their partner is a full time, intensive job, done over months and years they simply don’t have the time to abuse everyone they know.

You can’t say you’ve never witnessed it so it can’t be true. These men aren’t stupid, every action they ever take is planned and thoughtfully carried out.

I know many really good men (well a couple at least) hell I’m trying to raise two. I’m not saying the good guy doesn’t exist. I’m just saying maybe we can be a bit gentler with the women speaking out, doing the bravest thing they’ve ever done.

Abusive men are charming and manipulative, they’re good at it. Maybe we can keep that in mind before we judge.

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