Back when we left the abusive relationship all those years ago.
Back when my now taller than me teenagers were still little tiny things.
Back when my now college boy was still in infant school.
Back when my articulate chatterbox 2nd born still couldn’t talk properly (damn you speech therapy it was THE cutest)
Back when I thought baby no. 3 treating brother baiting as if it were an Olympic sport was a phase she’d grow out of (poor deluded me)
I had one priority – to keep them safe.
It was hard at times. I was still so damaged from the abuse, I wasn’t strong mentally but still that fundamental aim remained.
Keep them safe.
I often felt like I was fighting the whole entire world and noone would listen to me and help me. For years through the family court nightmare with social services dragged into our lives by him every concern I had was met with ‘he’s their father, he has a right to see them’
I had to stand firm and unwavering at a time when I’ve never felt so fragile, but I could do it for them- to keep them safe.
The children have seen their dad intermittently. They go to their paternal grandparents every fortnight and though he rarely took up the opportunity I was clear he was welcome to visit them there. I didn’t want to be keeping my children from their father. Don’t get me wrong it suited me when he didn’t bother, I’m not claiming to be a saint here.
Now though, at almost 17,15 and 14 it’s no longer my call. It’s no longer my decision but theirs. It’s out of my hands.
This weekend they’re going to stay at his house for the weekend for the very first time. I’m really not dealing with it very well.
The thing is it’s no longer about their safety. They want to go and stay and I can’t stand in their way. They really like his girlfriend and I actually think she could be the draw of why they want to go.
It’s not that I believe them to be in physical danger – believe me if I thought that was even a possibility they’d be going nowhere.
The discomfort I’m feeling is for selfish reasons. The thought of them being there has triggered all the old feelings. Mentally I’m transported back to when I first came here – fragile and vulnerable and just feels bloody horrid.
When we first came here my anxiety manifested itself as a ridiculous phobia of fainting in public. My physical anxiety symptoms feel very much like that second before you faint. Erratic breathing, throat tightening, light headedness and back then I was new to the anxiety game and didn’t realise that’s what it was. It used to happen daily back then but it’s not happened that badly in a good 7 years. Then yesterday it happened again. I know it’s because of this weekend and I just can’t stand to feel this way. It feels as if all my strength and mental stability has been whisked away and I’m back to that shaken girl of old.
I know it’s only temporary though. I know when they arrive home Sunday after a lovely weekend all will be back right with my world. I do know that so I’m going to try to take a positive from this. I’m going to use it to acknowledge to myself how far I have come, how I am a totally different stronger woman now.
I did what I set out to do. I took my children out of an unhealthy environment and I kept them safe.
I have 3 down, happy, level headed (most of the time) teenagers and I have to allow them the space to make a relationship with their father if they choose to.
I kept them safe.
I just was unprepared for the time to come when it was out of my hands.
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