Tag Archives: life after abuse

How my words ended up a real actual book!!

This little blog of mine began life as a secret anonymous blog about life after abuse. I really wanted to document that there was hope. That freedom was possible. I wanted to cover the tricky bits too though , it’s often not all over the second you escape but the end result will be worth the hard moments.

I’ve always said I can only tell my story , I can’t speak for any other woman’s experiences and would never ever try to. I wrote very specifically about the impact domestic abuse had had on me . About how precious memories were sacrificed to save my sanity , about how  I Believe You are the most important words an abused person can hear. I wrote about my emotional intimacy issues. All the things that were specific to me. 

Except it very soon became apparent they weren’t. Other women identified with them too. Out of an abusive relationship you truly believe you’re the only one who feels this way , who behaves this way. Realising this is the case is so reassuring. Women telling me by telling my story I had made them realise it wasn’t just them too made me braver . I carried on telling my story , I came out of the anonymous closet.

My blog developed , it became a place to just write about what was going on in my head at my given time. It’s my little spot in the internet to talk about shared parenting woes and how teens and toddlers are similar and about how much I fancy Andy Murray *swoons*

Writing about my mental health struggles though. That was terrifying. I was so scared of pressing publish on the first post I wrote about it I did that thing were just just shut your eyes , click and squeal ? What do you mean you’ve not a clue ? 

What if everyone thought I was nuts? .What if everyone thought me an awful mother ? What if my family and friends were embarrassed of me ? 

I needn’t have worried of course . Suffering with anxiety doesn’t even register on the reasons people are embarrassed of me !!There are way too many better ones (yes one is the Andy Murray thing!)

I suffer with anxiety.

When I first left the abusive relationship it was an all encompassing , debilitating condition. It was every day , it had a huge impact. As time has passed I’m lucky it’s eased a lot . Still shows up at times to bite me on the arse ,remind me I can stumble at any time but nowhere near as bad as it as that first year.

Writing about it helps.

So when I was asked for permission for one of my posts to be used in a book I was surprised but proud. That must mean mywriting isn’t utter horseshit right?

My post had been published on the I am 1 in 4 website previously and now they were making a book as a fundraiser in order for them to keep up the amazing work they do to tackle stigma associated with mental health.

I’m very proud to be featured alongside some raw and heartfelt pieces by some great writers.

Also…. seeing your words on actual pages in a book feels pretty special

The book itself is here … it’s a fundraiser so I promise I’m not trying to force it on you so I can buy a holiday home in St Tropez…. that’ll be my novel!!!

The I am 1 in 4 Facebook page is here if you want to join a supportive community without any worries of stigma. 

My Facebook page is here if my ramblings are your thing!!!


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Bringing up Georgia





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I haven’t forgotten and I certainly do not forgive

These days , so many years after I left the abusive relationship I do at times have to communicate with the man who abused me . 

When I first left this was a massive anxiety trigger for me.Just seeing his name in my e-mail inbox had me struggling to breath and my heart racing. The fight or flight reflex was still very much in place even though I was physically away from him. His name alone was still so closely linked with terror and the anticipation of something awful happening.

This is no longer the case.

I see his name in my e-mail. I roll my eyes. I maybe mutter “what does this twat want now ”  under my breath but there’s no fear there. There’s boredom at having to read his over friendly words as though I’m some old friend he’d lost contact with. There’s mild irritation in his choice of over familiar language and his appalling spelling. Nothing about it causes me panic anymore though.I can arrange him seeing the kids ,I can deal with emails .

One thing about having to communicate with him though ,now we’re so far down the line , is that he seems to have expected that I have forgotten what he did. That he can make attempts at humour or that he can project some kind of united front when he talks of ‘our’ kids or makes observations about the children as though he knows them oh so well. That he can add lol to the end of a sentence cos we’re old buddies now , never mind all that torturous abuse that was just bants mate come on lol with me!!

It seems to him that because I tolerate communication from time to time everything that has gone before is swept under the carpet. He acts as though we’re exes who had a bitter break up but so many years later it’s all healed and fine.

Well no.

He doesn’t get to rewrite history. He doesn’t get to edit and censor my experiences. I know he’s done this himself. I know he has a story he tells people about our relationship and why it ended as subsequent girlfriend’s have sought me out once they’ve split with him. He’s chosen a story for himself (you’ve probably heard it many of you – psycho ex stopping him seeing his kids???) He tells his story to friends and family and new in laws.

Don’t try and tell that story to me though. I was there.

I was there the first time he ever hit me (in an Odeon carpark , he hated the movie , it was American Beauty)

I was there the first time I lied about marks on my face (it was at work ,I said I’d fallen out of bed)

I was there when I was putting something heavy against the bedroom door so I could just please nap when I was exhausted and pregnant without him flying through the door in a rage at my laziness.

I was there when every special day , Christmas , kids birthdays , were spoilt by him having toddler tantrums because all the attention was away from him.

I was there through the really dark times.

The ones I won’t even write about because I won’t give them oxygen.

I remember every last one though.

Every last detail.

Every last word he said.

So you see never would I want to be pally with someone like that . I’m never going to engage in anecdotes about these amazing children with him. I’m not going to “lol” at his far from hilarious quips. 

Should he mistake my bare minimum communication for forgiveness then he is so very wrong . Remembering is my strength. It’s my reassurance that I did the right thing all those years ago and the only forgiveness I’m interested in showing to anyone in that situation is to the scared girl who packed up her kids and fled.



My Facebook page is here

Not Just the 3 of Us

           


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???

A while ago I wrote about how after the abusive relationship I’d harboured an unrealistic expectation that I’d return to be the girl I was before I met him ( it’s here if you want a read

It took me years to realise this would never be the case : abuse changed me. 

That 18 year old pre-him.

She was gone.

Over the years I’ve ploughed my time into the obvious child rearing. I’d dragged them up 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 how I was called fat,ugly and stupid on a daily basis during the abusive relationship. I no longer believe any of this 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


My Facebook page is here

#Blogtober17











I’m resentful…and it’s strange

The man who abused me is getting married in a few weeks.

It’s provoking a few strange emotions in me.

Ordinarily these days I rarely think of him. He took up so much space in my mind for so long. I simply don’t allow him any more. Having to organise the summer holidays though and work things out with the children ‘The Wedding’ comes up a lot and I’ve had to communicate with him way more than I usually do. So hand in hand with that I have been feeling a little unsettled .

It would maybe be expected to maybe go through a train of thought of wondering why he could behave normally and decently with someone else. It’d maybe be expected for me to wonder what it was I did to make him behave that way.

I don’t though. 

Not one bit.

Mainly thanks to therapy and The Freedom Programme I know that there was nothing at all I did that caused him to behave that way.
Nothing.
That is all on him.
He chose to be abusive.

A secondary reason I’m not having those kind of thoughts though is because I don’t believe he has changed. To have changed would mean taking responsibility,seeking help to alter your behaviour. However he still gaslights my experiences by never ever having admitted how he behaved.

So with not believing he has changed ,that brings with it a sense of responsibility towards his wife to be. I wrote a note to her here detailing how futile I know it is for me to tell my story ,to attempt to warn her off.

I wish there was a way I could keep her safe but it’s frustrating as hell that there is nothing I can do.

Mainly though the strongest feeling I have in regards to this situation is a whole heap of resentment. 

I’ve spoken about how that relationship left me numb for a very long while. There are many negative feelings about what happened to me that I have dealt with and then tucked away , anger being the main one.

Resentment though that’s been niggling a while.

I’m resentful that he gets to get on with his life ,having the normal grown up relationships whilst I was left so broken only now almost a decade on can I even ever so gently begin to date.

I’m resentful that I still and probably always will carry mental scars and struggle in certain situations whilst he gets to carry on without a care in the world.

I’m resentful that my children are being dressed up and shown off at this wedding and he will take credit for what amazing people they are despite not being in their lives for years.
I know it sounds like the whining of a bitter ex ,and this post is a bit of a whinge fest I’ll grant you. 
I document every huge stride I take in recovering from abuse though that it only seems honest to cover the tricky times.
I’m not sat here rocking in a corner or conjuring up complex revenge plans. I’m too healed for that.
I truly hope the kids have a fun day and enjoy themselves.

I just had to write this though.

I needed to document my feelings because amidst the champagne and the smiles and the happy ever afters….

I see him.
I know.

I remember.

So does he.

Out of my hands 

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) 

Back then. 
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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<a href=”http://www.motherofteenagers.com” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e14/Motherofteenagers/3%20rsz_1rsz_1rsz_teen_logo_launch_zpslcprplei.jpg” alt=”Mother of Teenagers” /></a><br /><br /><br />

It’s coming up to that time of the year again.. .. 

We’re here again. The anniversary of the date I left the abusive relationship is on the horizon. I think by now I’ve possibly bored you all with my take and insight on that particular subject. I just wanted to talk about The Freedom Programme though and what an invaluable resource it is when you’ve suffered abuse (or indeed still are) 

That scary day, all those years ago, that I fled I didn’t expect to succeed. I don’t remember much about that time due to a shed load of unhealthy coping mechanisms as I spoke about here. What I do remember about that day though was the fear. Standing at the train station with the kids – sick with fright fully expecting him to show up and force us back. To this day I still occasionally have dreams of that exact scenario happening. They’re truly horrible. 

I did do it though. I got away. 

That startled girl in new city though is a million miles from the woman I am now. I’d naively expected to be able to  shut the door on that relationship and magically transform back into the person I was before him. Confident and ambitious. It sounds silly but it came as a shock to me quite how damaged I was. Thankfully here, years of therapy and using this blog as an extension of that down the line I am in the main healed and healthy and stronger. 

My healing process began with The Freedom Programme. I’d really like to share with you how it helped me so much. 

Firstly the fact that it’s a group scenario becomes really helpful. I know I know! That ironically was what almost put me off doing it in the first place. I had no confidence back then. I could barely look anyone in the face. How could I stride into a room of women and talking about things I hadn’t even with my closest people?
Well of course it wasn’t like that. 
It was a room of kindness and gentleness. Women just like me, who had the same stories to tell as me. That’s where the fact it’s a group scenario becomes empowering. You’re so isolated when you’re in an abusive relationship the relief of another woman saying “me too” when you talk of your experiences is incredible. When you speak of incidents that you’ve not mentioned to others as you worry they’d be seen as trivial and women relate,that’s powerful. Nothing sounded silly to these women, they knew. They got it. 

Secondly it’s just a brilliantly put together programme. The woman who devised it really knows what she is talking about on this subject and you can feel it. 

Each week you look at a different side to the perpetrator, the different behaviour they use. For me I for  the  first time acknowledged shared beliefs with the perpetrator which really helped me gain an understanding. You also are introduced to his opposite. Identify the characteristics of a more supportive man. The decent human being. Helpful in itself. 

Another amazing thing I gained from doing the Freedom Programme is that it helped me to allow myself to let go off the guilt I felt for not being able to get  the children out of that environment sooner. I wrote a whole blog post covering that here but it really was weight of the world lifted off your shoulders stuff. 

Lastly, and really importantly, the Freedom Programme stays with you. Here I am still banging on about it all these years later, I probably will be in another 10 years. 

There’s a section in the programme about being able to identify early signs of abusive behaviour. Kind of red flag warnings you can spot at the beginning of a relationship. I come back to these often. Between learning these on the programme and a good few years of just interacting with people I do feel quite well equipped to spot a twat from a distance these days. It’s helpful.

 They. Are. Everywhere 
The ones just beginning to chip away at a beautiful woman. The ones further down the line in absolute control of other people. The ones still single yet give off a waft of ‘abusive tendencies’ so strong  you can almost choke on it. 

If you are experiencing abuse there are agencies that can help you. That can safely support you. There are a whole army of women out here ready to mobilise on your command. 

Refuge 

Women’s aid

And of course the brilliant Freedom Programme

Are all here if it’s safe for you to get online. 

Doing the Freedom Programme started off my healing from abuse in the most positive way. Writing this blog and years of therapy have a big  part in enabling that healing to continue and there are also some spectacular humans who have helped me to get to where I am now, which is in no way a spectacular place to be but thinking back at this  time of year is way better than I’d have dreamed my life could be back then. 

Thank you all of you 

Xxx

 


Shameless plug : If you like my nonsense and fancy nominating me in the #BiBs2017 you can do so just here http://www.britmums.com/nominate-for-the-bibs2017/



Rhyming with Wine




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The Pramshed




Packing up the emotional baggage that was never even mine

I’ve been telling you for ages now about how healed I finally feel years after I left the abusive relationship. Therapy, this blog and time were a really helpful trio is aiding this and I feel mentally more healthy in so many ways.

I’ve accepted as fact though that I’ll always have my little ‘issues’ left over from that relationship. I accepted I’d been damaged and some of that was irreparable, but that’s life I just had to get on with it.

That’s bullshit.

You see I’ve come to realise many of my ‘little issues’ are in fact not mine at all and there’s no chance I’m carrying around someone else’s baggage around with me forever.

Let me try to explain…

My lack of confidence in my parenting ‘issue’

Yep that was never mine.

I think I’m doing an OK job. Some days I’m supermum, some days I’m locking  myself in the bathroom and wondering what on earth I’m meant to be doing. I’ve come to realise this is how many (dare I say most) parents find parenting. A roller coaster of joy and worry?

The issue here belongs to the person so aware of his own crap parenting that he needed to make someone else doubt themselves at every turn to make himself feel better and essential to my existence.

He can have that one back.

My emotional ‘issues’
Yeah I’m cold and unfeeling. I struggle to express my emotions and in fact emotions as a whole terrify me…

More bullshit…

Here I am, in this very blog expressing my feelings and emotions. To other people. Often over sharing in fact (sorry about that! )
It turns out I feel a whole myriad of emotions which from time to time I even manage to express quite articulately (ssshhh don’t tell about the rogue grammar and excessive exclamation marks!)

The issue here was with the person who stifled my emotions in the first place, who belittled me expressing my feelings. The person so threatened by a chatty, intelligent, ambitious woman he had to squish all that out of her by one way or another.

He can certainly have that one back.
The icy ‘keep away’ wall that lingered around me long after he did should have only ever have been built around him… . Preferably with no door. .. and a with a lid… and then buried. …. Anyway I digress… but yes, not my issue.

My intimacy ‘issues’
This was quite a clever one to make me believe was mine. It allowed him to retain a bit of power long after he’d gone.

I hate touching and affection – well seems when I’m relaxed and comfy in another persons company I’m actually quite the fan!

If I let another person see me naked what with me being so grotesque his eyes would dissolve at the sight.  – trickier to get over this one, I grant you. We suffer enough with body confidence as women as it is, particularly when you’re a mum.

After an abusive relationship though when that’s been a huge weapon in his armour you’re going to disregard anything positive a new person will tell you, ignore compliments. The ‘fat and ugly’  voice in your head is louder. 
Not forever though.  When a positive, complimentary voice  is consistent and you choose to allow THAT voice to be louder… Well it turns out the ‘fat and ugly’ voice shuts up eventually.
A multitude of sex ‘issues’. I was probably best celibate forever –
Again, tricky. I decided to own this one though. Warn anyone I got involved with how awful at sex I am. I may have used the line “honestly if I was reviewed like on TripAdvisor I’d get 1 star” (a REAL issue I have is thinking I’m funny-it’s a family thing)
Turns out (and I detect a recurring theme here. .. Comfortable… Relaxed. . ) not my issue either!
They were the issues of a man who needed me to totally believe the only person who would ever be interested in me was him.
These are getting so much easier to return to sender.
After all the big stuff this is going to sound daft. The ‘issue’ I got worked up over the most though was that I knew, definitely I’d never ever be able to sleep in a bed with a man.

How would I explain this to a new boyfriend I was trying to enthrall and interest? Where in all the flirting do you slip in “can you sleep on the sofa please a man in my bed  freaks me out”

Come on , you can’t do that I’d think to myself . It’s OK I’d just lay in bed and pretend to sleep. Keep up the illusion of being a normal human.

That’s genius…Oh except ..I can only even fake sleep if I’m at the side of the bed nearest the door. I can’t possibly even breath if there’s a person laid between the door and I , he’s going to spot the crazy there immediately.

I was a lost cause, how sexy is a panic attack at 2am because you’re at the ‘wrong’ side of the bed?

This turned out to be the most insignificant worry ever. Again – relaxed and comfy around the right person  I can sleep soundly, even more amazing I didn’t even realise I’d slept the whole night at the wrong side, away from the door, until much later.
This one had been my issue. Caused by another persons behaviour then magnified ridiculously by my own brain.
So if I could overcome issues that were partly mine. Well the ones that belonged to other people, mislabelled as mine? Certainly time they were packed into the suitcase marked ‘Someone Else’s Baggage’ and said goodbye to for good!



Here’s my Facebook page 

 




The once a month boyfriend plan…

A while back now I decided maybe I’d had enough of the single life. That maybe after getting on for a decade single I was ready to dip the teeniest tiniest toe into the dating water. 

Big decision for me. 

I’ve spoken on this blog about how I’m feeling healed from the abusive relationship. That I’m finally feeling stronger and more content and happier in myself. I also know as well though that letting someone in, lowering the barriers even a little, makes me vulnerable. 
For me that’s really quite scary. 

There’s also the time factor, I’ve 4 children for goodness sake. Date night windows are few and far between other than during school hols when the kids generally abandon me for grandma. Whilst I’m mentioning the kids that’s another thing. We don’t need a dad here, we don’t need a positive male role model. We are a cosy comfy family of 5 and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. 

Ever adaptable though I came up with a plan. I could, if I could find anyone willing, date on my terms. Tiptoe into the world of relationships rather than take a big huge running leap. 

Surely there had to be a man who fancied the same. The fun of a great date without the pressures of a serious relationship. Maybe a guy with a busy life of his own, not looking to be married off within the year. It’s a long shot but the plan was formed. 

I’m not saying it’d be a very strict 4th weekend every month between the hours of 7pm Friday and 7pm Sunday. Pencilled in for strict romance, bedroom action and good conversation I’m nuts but not that nuts. 

 Just what would be great would be to meet someone who would be happy to see each other when the opportunity presented itself. 
Someone who understands I’ve 4 children and don’t really want a guy around them. Come on I selfishly want something that’s JUST mine. 
Someone who’s just looking for the occasional great weekend, time out from being parent. To find non family activities, to explore the most un child friendly restaurants we can. 
Unfortunately trying to articulate what I want is hard. 

“I don’t want anything too serious ”

Well that seems to translate as I just want casual sex. 

” I just want someone who’s company I enjoy”

Yeah get some friends lady. 

A combo of the two is the vomit inducing ‘friends with benefits’ and that’s certainly not it! 
Dating and all it entails, emotion and intimacy and friendship, only slowed right down that’s what I want . You know when you fast forward the adverts if you’ve recorded a movie and you speed it up to x 32?. . . Well I’m looking at keeping at x 2,moving onto x 4 if you don’t scare me off! 

The thing is this. I’m healed from the abuse, or as much as I ever will be. My mind and emotions are clearer and healthier than they have been in years. However I have very little faith in my own judgement. So it all has to be done at a snails pace, or a Kelly’s pace-it’s really the same thing. 

Tiptoe Tiptoe Tiptoe. 

No grand gestures. 

No declarations of love. 

No pushing. 

Just relaxed, good company and a bit of romance until I get the hang of being someone’s girlfriend again. 

It’s a big ask, I know, to find this person. I’ve said for a long time my next boyfriend will have to be the world’s most patient man. 

I’m not really willing to settle for anything less though. 


My Facebook page is here

Life after abuse : The  social services trauma 

I wanted to document some of my journey after abuse. When I first started to blog many of the experiences were all a bit too raw and painful to even think about. Only now at the other side am I able to document some of it with a more personal voice, telling my own story. Hoping it makes anyone going through the same know that they are not alone.

There were 3 things my abuser told me whilst I was in the relationship that would happen if I left. I’m sure anyone who has been in a similar situation can already guess them, these guys aren’t overly creative – cut from the same shitty cloth rings a bell.

“No one will believe you about the abuse ”

Everyone will think you are crazy” 

“you’ll lose the kids ”

These three things were said so often that in the end it seeped into my psyche and it became fact in my messed up mind. 

When I left, sure enough, he attempted to make all these things true. 

I spoke here about having to prove I was sane. 

No one believing me though, that was the biggie and coupled with the fear of losing my children it was the hardest thing to overcome. 

I’d left my abuser. I’d moved away from home where we were all loved to run away to safety. 

So my abuser got out the big guns. 

Social services. 

He wanted my children removed, they’d be better in care than with me, I was unstable and not fit to look after them he’d claimed. 
He’d also filed for full residence of the children at this time, I’d done the same so the court ordered a report to be written by social services to help them make a decision. 

I’ll say, as I always do, I cannot prove any abuse. I have no evidence, no charges were ever brought. (Please if you are in an abusive relationship if it’s at all safe to do so note incidents, dates, times, witnesses. Only if it’s safe though and  there’s no way the abuser will come across your notes.) 

This put me on the back foot from the off and my trying to explain my experience to the social worker was met with much talk of “your word against his” 

Having your parenting raked over with a fine toothcomb I’m sure any parent can imagine is a pretty horrific affair. 

Every room in my house was inspected (I’d ran here with absolutely nothing so my house at that time was sporting a minimal vibe at best! ) 

I was interviewed at length about why I was stopping a father see his kids. I was told how upset he was, how he’d broken down in front of her. Course he did –  turning on the tears was a very effective tactic for him. I in turn weren’t showing emotion, why was this? Well I’ll tell you why it was. It was because I was numb. Completely numb, I’d had to shut down my emotions just to survive living with the guy sobbing into his hanky currently. (One time I did cry and concerns were raised that this could be an indication I was unstable!) 

My children were interviewed at school, drilled about what I fed them? What we did together? How they felt about living here?  Did they miss their father? 

A meeting was called IN SCHOOL! This made me sick to the stomach, I’d not lived here long I was trying to make a good impression in a new school, start afresh and now I had to sit here whilst every bit of my life and my family were discussed around a table of strangers. Thankfully school were so supportive and I’ll always be grateful but honestly I felt like the worst human being on the planet during those days. I just knew though, I had faith that if I just jumped through their hoops the truth would out. 

In a positive of all this attention, the focus was also on him. He was also looked at, observed. 

It went on for months that ever present worry of social services, visits and interviews and having to prove myself. It was without  doubt the hardest period of my life. There were days I doubted myself. It’s unsurprising though, that when faced with the possibility of a court choosing that your children should live with him, you find strength. 

You find so much strength, so much fight. 

I was granted full residence of the children at social services recommendation. I felt validated by that. Yes hard questions had been asked of me, yes people doubted my ‘story’ about the abuse, yes it was humiliating beyond belief to be investigated so throughly when I’d done nothing wrong. You do whatever is necessary though. You have to. 

To anyone currently going through this I know how hard and soul destroying it is. To have someone gaslight your experiences to professionals, to barely be able to function with worry that they’ll believe him and you could lose your children. Hold on tight though, hold on tight and keep your head and surround yourself with people who care for you and have your back throughout this. You and your children deserve a happy, free life and that can be there for you at the end of this. 

I’m living proof of that. 

My Facebook page is here


Mummy Times Two

Life after abuse:Proving I was sane

I wanted to document my personal experiences of the domestic abuse in a few blogs. I know in the midst of, and indeed the aftermath of abuse you can feel like you’re the only one to ever go through this. 

You’re not. 
Once it became apparent to my abuser that I wasn’t going to return ,he realised he had to change his tactics.
He could no longer control me so his attention turned to controlling how others saw me. A very common tactic , I’ve since learned.

The guy is convincing , really almost Oscar worthy in his weeping and wailing and playing the wronged father who has had his children whisked away for no good reason. I know that so , so many of you unfortunately know exactly what I’m talking about here.

It began with him telling all my friends and family that the reason I’d left was that I’d had a breakdown , that I was suicidal. He only wanted to know where I was because he was so worried about me.

I began to suffer badly with anxiety , though I didn’t yet realise that’s what this was. I developed an irrational fear of fainting in public , it was so horrible. I was convinced every time I crossed a road with the children that I was going to faint mid crossing and we’d all be killed. Many , what I now know to know to be, anxiety symptoms made an appearance. Horrid tummy pains , racing mind , disrupted breathing patterns , numb face all showed up whilst I was just tying to deal with this monumental thing I’d done by leaving. At this time I wasn’t aware it was anxiety and I began to wonder if this was in fact a breakdown , that maybe I was losing my mind.

Thankfully my new GP was a marvel. She was the most reassuring presence in a panicky , scary mess. She helped me more than I even realised at the time. She was the first stranger to say she believed me , she was the first person to assure me that I wasn’t going crazy and in fact this was all a natural reaction to the situation I was in. She referred me to counselling and put me in touch with the Freedom Programme – the course that not only saved my sanity but began to help me put myself back together.

Comforted and strengthened by the reassurance I found the anxiety easier to deal with , it wasn’t pleasant but it was liveable with.

Then came the abusers trump card – family court ( I’ll come back to that in particular in another post) and as a special double whammy -social services (again whole other post)

I’d found him telling all my friends and family I was crazy embarrassing and uncomfortable but this was up a gear. I found myself having to defend myself against claims that  I was unstable and as such surely I couldn’t be the good mother I was claiming to be ? Also I had made all the abuse claims up hadn’t I? To justify why I’d ran away with his children?

That’s how I found myself having to prove I was sane.

Psychological testing was ordered by the court (on both of us )

So one day I found myself sat in a psychologists waiting room , the words of a social worker ringing in my ears

“If there is any evidence you’ve lied about the abuse , I will look at removing your children”

Me now , looking back, is furious that a so called professional could say such an appalling thing to a vulnerable woman. Me now would tell that woman that she is colluding with an abuser , that she is herself continuing to facilitate abuse. I’d tell her she can no way prove I’ve made anything up. I’d explain to her that her scepticism in my ‘story’ made me do the opposite and play down my experiences, I’d tell her that because of her words when a sympathetic police officer tried ever so gently to coax out of me what had happened and explained how he could help and how actions could be taken against my abuser I couldn’t do it.

Me then though , was an anxious , vulnerable woman who could only think about jumping through whatever hoops were necessary to keep my children. She didn’t have a voice then.

She does now.

Even then though , sitting in that office I still had faith. I wasn’t crazy , I wasn’t lying. That had to be apparent. He WAS lying , he couldn’t fool a professional surely? I’m not sure what my poor naïve self was expecting , did I think he’d crack under pressure? How daft of me.He’d been given an ear , someone to give him the time of the day , someone allowing him to talk about how he was the victim in all this . He thrived on that!

When I got in to the psychologist he was lovely and warm and did put me at ease. He asked such in depth , personal questions it was all very disarming . My (lovely) childhood was raked over ,the death of my parents ,  previous boyfriends discussed , did I think myself a good mother. I knew I just had to be the most honest I’d ever been. I was too, really hard for someone who doesn’t like people knowing her business (yes I get the irony of me now writing a blog about it for the whole internet to read- let’s say years of therapy have left me a bit more open and that can only be a change for the better)

After the initial chat I had to answer a multiple choice questionnaire which seemed to contain thousands of questions , this was what would flag up if you were a naturally deceptive person , how angry you were , your state of mind. I’m not a psychological expert and I’m sure it’s all very accurate but again a lot for an anxious person to deal with.

That was that.

The day I had to prove I was sane.

Oh and I did by the way….and it may have been a stressful experience to go through but to have the report in my hand that says I displayed nothing of concern bar the moderate anxiety we already knew about was good for me. At that time I needed that for me as much as for all the other eyes that were on me.

 

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