The Scars Are Real… and I. Will. Never. Forgive…

TRIGGER WARNING : THIS POST DISCUSS SEVERAL TYPES OF ABUSE.

Abuse of any kind stays with you for a very long time. Even the kind of abuse that is committed by one of the people who is supposed to love and protect you beyond anything else. You can remember some of it. You can remember the first day that it actually happened. Every touch, every smell, every taste. Then the hand patting the top of your head like you were a freaking dog and telling you that this was our little secret and we mustn’t tell anyone, and especially not mummy because she will only get hurt and I will make her cry.

No way on this earth was I going to do that to my simply amazing and wonderful mum because she did not deserve to be hurt because I was being naughty. This went on for years until I became fourteen and all of a sudden it stopped. I was never sure why, but I was so relieved. But I realise why now. I was too old for you wasn’t I? Too old and too past it in your eyes. I didn’t offer the same set of thrills for you anymore. I wasn’t “fresh meat”.

My wonderful mother died when I was 16 years old after a long battle against breast cancer. I spent a couple of years after my mum died drinking and taking every drug I could swallow. I applied for my nurse training. I got accepted but my head kept on telling me that once they knew what I was – something dirty, something tainted that they would rescind my offer and send me on my way. One morning I woke up and realised that I had to get clean otherwise I would never be anything in life. So I went cold turkey and sweated it out for that was the only option open to me. It was hell but I did it.

I had a job and was doing it to kill time until I started my nurse training. It was only waitressing but it was a job and it kept a roof over my head. Being kicked out at 16 makes you grow up pretty damn fast, it really does!

I met my ex husband on a night out with some friends from work. He was 11 years older than me and incredibly charming. By the end of the night he had managed to isolate me from my friends and manoeuvre me into a corner all by myself. I guess that should have been the first red flag that something was not at all right in this whole situation

He basically, for the first six months of our relationship, treated me like a princess. He put me on a pedestal and gave me everything that I wanted. Within a week of us meeting, he had persuaded me to give up both my job and my apartment, getting me to move in with him. He was effectively isolating me and I never saw it happening. I had to depend on him for food, shelter, money – everything. He had me totally under his control. He started to apply pressure on me about my friends. Why did I need them he would ask me. Why did I need them when he was everything that I could possibly need? I began to talk to my friends less and less and before too much longer, I had none. He had me totally isolated.

This was when the gaslighting started. He was slowly engineering sets of circumstances that would make me doubt my own sanity. I began to think that they were all my fault and that I was starting to lose it. He would make a point of telling me that I would never cope on my own and that I needed him. That I needed him to survive. I believed him so totally. One of his favourite tricks would be taking my door keys off the key hook and putting them in bizarre places like the bathroom, next to the toilet, or in the kitchen cupboards. I believed him so completely. I had done that. He would never do something like that. Maybe he was right. I was crazy and I would never cope in the world without him. I needed him to survive. Before too long I was utterly convinced I couldn’t function unless he was by my side.

The verbal abuse was so subtle at first. He would criticise me for wearing too much make up when we went out. My clothes were too slutty, my heels were too high. Soon I was going out in baggy jeans and long sleeved jumpers and trainers and no make up. The plainer I looked, the happier he was with me.

The closer that I got to starting my nurse training, his attitude and his behaviour started to change. It was so subtle that I never even noticed it. There were lots of snidey remarks about doctors and nurses and the things that they “got up to behind the scenes”. He constantly accused me of having affairs with doctors and also of having bisexual affairs with women as I had “dirty filthy queers” as friends and they rubbed off on me. (Yes, I had some properly amazing friends in the LGBT+ community and they kept me sane) but I never once had an affair with anyone.

The first physical blow came when I had been on my first ward placement about six weeks. I came home from my shift and he was hurling abuse at me and screaming I was a whore and I should admit my affairs. I burst into tears. How could I admit to what I had not done? The pressure became more intense, until he struck me with the back of his hand right in the mouth and knocked me flying back onto the bed. That was the first of many times that he raped me.

From then on in, the verbal abuse was a daily occurrence and the physical abuse occurred at least three or four and sometimes more times a week. The sexual violence was slightly less because a lot of the time I was simply too scared to say no to him. A no meant a beating and being forced.

I simply could not understand why this was happening to me. I had never done anything to deserve this treatment and I just had no idea why it was happening. I tried to think why. Was it truly me? Had I really done something so very wrong to deserve all of this? Many nights I lay awake whilst he was in a drunken stupor and I cried for the girl that I had lost.

When he proposed I accepted without even thinking. I thought that agreeing to marry him would calm him down and convince him that I was somebody that he could trust. Sadly not. The abuse picked up and became worse. It was a daily thing now.

Even having two beautiful babies did not convince him of my loyalty. Several more years went by and slowly the abuse got worse and worse. Many times I have been asked why on earth I didn’t just leave him. Nobody who has not been through this kind of abuse can ever really understand the answer to this question. I could not find the courage to leave because I was so utterly crushed and dragged down by his abuse that I believed every single word that he said. I was stupid, dumb, a moron. A fat, ugly bitch who would never ever cope without him to guide her.

Then one day came the straw that broke the camel’s back. He threatened the lives of the boys. He threatened them both with a ten inch long machete. That was enough. I waited until he was passed out blind drunk in the early hours and grabbed my bag and the boy’s coats and we ran. We left every single thing that was owned behind us, fleeing in only the clothes we stood up in. I don’t think I’d ever been so scared. I kept on thinking that he would find us and stop us. It was when the train was about 40 minutes out of the station that the “where the fuck are you?” phone calls started.

I fled to the house of a very good friend of mine. She protected me, made sure that I got the right help and was always there. In the end, the police took my mobile because my idiot ex actually made death threats and left them on my answerphone. Those messages were evidence in my court case.

Eventually I decided that I needed to return home. To make sure that my boys were safe and happy. I decided to come back to Scotland. I was raised upon the largest of the Shetland Isles until I was 8 years old. My ‘father’ one day decided that he was going to take us back to where he was born, just outside of Manchester in England. I missed my homeland so very much that I could not have truly considered settling anywhere else and knew that it would be the safest place for the three of us to begin to heal.

Luckily for me, I had a friend in Aberdeen. He was one of my friends from Shetland and he now lived on the mainland. I contacted him to let him know I needed his help to flee and he gave it willingly. He drove down to where I was staying, helped to pack up the meagre possessions that we had into a van and he drove us back to Scotland. He let us stay at his place until I was able to find the house that I live in now.

My life is safer now. The kids are no longer at risk from him and that is all that I care about. They have good lives which is all that matters.

I carry a great deal of scars both physical and mental from my 25 years of abuse. The mental illnesses illnesses that I have to live with as a result of the abuse are never going to go away. That I have accepted now. But I fight hard to keep my kids from seeing any more tears or pain from me. They have seen enough. They don’t deserve to see more.

I’m moving slowly through my life and I’m doing the very best that I can. I can think of two people I would stick my middle finger up to. My ‘father’ and my ex. They both told me that I was useless, fat, ugly, pathetic and would never cope without them. I have coped. I have escaped and we are moving on with our lives. My story is not over yet. ;

I guess that’s why I’m trying to write this piece. Fuck the piece of shit monster who abuses you. You can get out. When you feel the time is right for you, you can work. You can fly free.

But one thing I will say is this. I. Will. NEVER. EVER. Forgive. No fucking way. I’ve had therapists a plenty tell me that I should let go. Fuck that. I want to remember. I want to hate them. I want to loathe every single pervert who put his hands on me. I will never give them the satisfaction of knowing that they have gotten away with what they did. Suffer bitches. Just like you’ve all made me suffer. Burn in hell. Fuck you. All of you. You will never ever know peace while you know that you are not forgiven for your crimes.

To my fellow survivors (I refuse to use the word victim), I salute you. You can escape. You can fly and be free. I promise you. Be safe beautiful people.

Be kind to each other.x

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Book Review – The Girl In The Red Coat – Kate Hamer…

Eight-year-old Carmel has always been different – sensitive, distracted, with an heartstopping tendency to go missing. Her mother Beth, newly single, worries about her daughter’s strangeness, especially as she is trying to rebuild a life for the two of them on her own.

When she takes Carmel for an outing to a local festival, her worst fear is realised: Carmel disappears into the crowd. Unable to accept the possibility that her daughter might be gone for good, Beth embarks on a mission to find her. Meanwhile, Carmel begins an extraordinary and terrifying journey of her own. But do the real clues to Carmel’s disappearance lie in the otherworldly qualities her mother had only begun to guess at?

Oh dear. Oh dear me. I really wanted to enjoy this book as I’d heard good things about it from a couple of friends of mine. However the glowing reports I’d received sadly did not match up with my own opinion of this book, which I found a struggle to read. It was that bad.

Am I really the only person in the world that disliked this book? I’m looking through the reviews on Goodreads and the vast majority of them are far too positive, they really are.

This book is based on a tried and tested formula. That of a kidnapped child. Carmel is taken from her over anxious and paranoid mother at a festival by a strange man. One could argue that Beth’s (the mother) paranoia was justified as she does lose her daughter but the author takes this concept way too far.

The story flips back and forth between Beth and Carmel but towards the end of the book becomes woolly and ever harder to follow. How did this couple manage to get a girl with no ID and no passport into the States who have some of the most stringent immigration control laws in the world? It just doesn’t sound believable and that makes it a misnomer in what is supposed to be a believable story.

As the book goes on I get more and more turned off by the religious aspects of the story. Atheist and proud here. I found this story really rather difficult to swallow.

This book is labelled as a psychological thriller. Huh? In what alternate universe is that then? This book is about as much of a psychological tension filled thriller as I am a gold medal ice skater!

The ending is my biggest beef of the whole story though. It is so insubstantial and abrupt it leaves you with a sense of emptiness and feeling incomplete. This book left me feeling cold.

A one out of five star read.

Be kind to each other.x

Book Review – The Secret – Katerina Diamond…

Can you keep a secret? Your life depends on it…

When Bridget Reid wakes up in a locked room, terrifying memories come flooding back – of blood, pain, and desperate fear. Her captor knows things she’s never told anyone. How can she escape someone who knows all of her secrets?

As DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles search for Bridget, they uncover a horrifying web of abuse, betrayal and murder right under their noses in Exeter.

And as the past comes back to haunt her, Grey must confront her own demons. Because she knows that it can be those closest to us who hurt us the most…

Wow. Just wow. This is Katerina Diamond’s second book, but the first one that I have read. Her writing style was a little difficult to get to grips with at first due to the way that the way her chapters jump back and that, for me, is a slightly difficult style to follow as for me, I worry about losing parts of the story. Fortunately that didn’t happen and I was able to thoroughly enjoy the whole story without losing any bits of it.

I’m a little bit in love with Imogen Grey. She has some way to go to prove herself to be in the same league as Kim Stone and Helen Grace, but I’m sure she’ll get there.

Diamond is a masterful suspense writer and able to create both evocative and dark suspenseful story arcs and also to keep the reader guessing about just who the bad guys really are until the very last pages.

I’m really not able to say much more about this book without blundering my way into some serious spoilers, so my advice is definitely just read it! It’s one of the best books I’ve read in a while.

A five out of five star read.

Be kind to each other.x

Book Review – The Missing – C.L Taylor…

You love your family. They make you feel safe. You trust them.

But should you…?

When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire, blames herself. She’s not the only one. There isn’t a single member of Billy’s family that doesn’t feel guilty. But the Wilkinsons are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn’t until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface.

Claire is sure of two things – that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance.

A mother’s instinct is never wrong. Or is it?

Sometimes those closest to us are the ones with the most to hide…

I was really excited having just read and really enjoyed this author’s first foray into the world of young adult fiction to pick up this book and I really wasn’t disappointed. The book is very cleverly written and the use of Snapchat conversations at various points throughout the story was a really clever way to enhance the story being told to the reader.

Those conversations certainly kept me guessing right until very near to the end of the book! I was convinced it was 3 or 4 different people at various points throughout the whole story.

As Claire searches for her son Billy, it becomes clear that she didn’t really know her teenage son at all. Was that to be expected in the family dynamic? Who knows? One could say that we all change as we grow and we feel the need to be less open with our parents, having the need for our own lives. Or one could say that a truly close family will always know each other. *shrug* Who knows?

There were suspicious elements casting a shadow over several of the characters in this story and and at one time or another, they could all have had something to do with Billy’s disappearance. I can’t mention this one particular character as I don’t want to include spoilers in my review. But as I think back to the story, there were clear indicators that this person was hiding something very major.

The book discusses “hardcore” porn. I kind of wish that the writer had just used the correct term and said BDSM. However that is just a minor grumble.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book and will definitely be looking out for the writer’s other work.

A four out of five star review.

Be kind to each other.x

Book Review – I Kill – Giorgio Faletti…

The voice on the radio.
The writing, red as blood.
I kill . . .

A detective and an FBI agent embark upon the most harrowing case of their careers as they attempt to track down an enigmatic killer in this relentlessly suspenseful thriller. The killer announces his heinous acts in advance with desperate phone calls and ties his crimes together with songs that point to his victims; he then mutilates them and removes their faces.

Set in Monte Carlo and featuring an international cast of intriguing characters, the hunt for the deranged perpetrator remains gripping and unsettling, possibly even more so, after the killer’s identity is revealed and the detectives must close in on their target before he strikes again.

I had, for some weird reason, I have no idea why, a really sinking feeling when I picked this book up. It wasn’t the length of it. No, I’ve read many 500+ hours age books before. I just couldn’t nail down what it was. Then I started to read it. Oh dear…

By the time that I was 100 pages in, the book’s pace was so turgid and slow that I seriously felt like putting it in the charity box pile and saying goodbye to it. But I am stubborn. I do not like leaving books unfinished. It leaves me with a sense of dissatisfaction and unsettlement. So even though I can see me taking a long time to read this book I will get through it.

Well, so far, all I can say is that the book appears to be set in 2005 and it feels like it is set in the 1970s!!! Everything just feels dated. Even the murder of Allen Yoshida, the computer billionaire. *yawn* I’m beginning to think it’s going to take me longer than a little while to get this book finished I really am.

I’m now about 120 pages from the end and whilst there have been a couple of plot twists that did shock and sadden me a little bit, my mind just has not been able to wrap itself around the tedium involved in this story.

The two main protagonists, Nicolas Hulot and Frank Ottobre do not act like senior police officers with years and years of experience. OK, Frank could be excused up to a certain degree because of what had happened to him, but I honestly just wanted to reach through the pages and throat punch the both of them to see if that would shake some life into them.

It’s honestly a real shame as the story itself had the potential to be absolutely brilliant! But I just couldn’t get into it at all. This is very unusual for me as I can normally find at least two characters and a couple of threads of story line to give me hope. There was Barbara though. I identified with her very much for reasons of my own.

As the end of the book gets nearer, I’m discovering that I’m not excited to find out how it ends. I’m just excited for it to end. Isn’t that sad?

Now I’m really cross. I’ve just read a paragraph where Faletti mentions “Pagan idolatry” as being responsible for the evils committed by the “bad guy”. How DARE you Mr Faletti? Pagans are not evil and this continued misrepresentation by authors and by the press simply is not acceptable. Christians are capable of far greater evil the pagans ever have been!

Right, I’ve actually finished this awful excuse of a book. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that I have found as dreary and uninspiring as this one. At times it felt like the words were superglue and my eyes were constantly sticking and having to be dragged over the sentences. I am quite literally only giving this book one star because I can’t give it none. Do yourself a favour. Put it down and read something else instead.

A one out of five star read.

Be kind to each other.x

Irrelevant Me…

I’m irrelevant. I don’t matter. Nobody sees me. Nobody hears me. Nobody wants me. I may as well be invisible. My soul is just dying inside. Nobody tells me anything. I’m just… nothing. Irrelevant…

My soul bleeds… I scream into the void where my emotions used to be, tensing every part of me, waiting and hoping for some kind of response that will show to me that I am destined to feel more than this soul drenching pain that controls me…

I try to reach out… I reach out a hand, an arm, but before even my little finger becomes extended, she arrives. I should have known that she is on her way. I should have listened to the white noise in my head trumpeting her arrival. She grabs my arms behind my back and then she pushes me kicking and screaming into that cage she keeps for me inside the corner of my mind. Once she has me safely locked away, she is free to run the show…

Once she has this total control she begins to stamp around inside my head and the white noise turns down…

All I hear is her. Telling me that my ex was right. I’m fat, I’m stupid, I’m useless, I’m ugly and so many other insults. Then she tells me that all the people who love me don’t really love me. That they are only with me out of pity and that they will leave me soon. She screams out and says vile things to the people near me. I bang my hands on the bar of my cage and scream, trying to get people to hear me but they don’t. They only hear her. The bitch is very clever, she really is…

I’m so scared that she will get so vicious and nasty that people will think “Screw that!” and just walk away from me. After all, who wants to spend their life with a crazy, fat cripple?

I’m so terrified that I will lose my family, every time they leave the house panic sets in and she is able to take control again.

I fight every single damn day to be even a little bit normal. I fight for my family to love me.

Stigmatised by my favourite magazine

Stunningly written piece by a very good friend of mine regarding the damage done to the work that mental health groups and charities to improve the reputation of those of us within society that suffer with a mental health condition. I messaged Psychologies magazine via their FB page and was ratio and polite. I received NO response from them. That is how little they care about the people whom they are stigmatising even further and damaging their reputation even further down the road or almost irreparable damage without ever. Being mentally ill is not shameful or scary. It’s jus us. Who we are. That is why we stand up for those of us who can’t. This was my reply to Northernbird’s original blog post.

“That article literally made my blood boil. Suzy said that she had edited it? How the hell did that bullshit get past her? In other words, she didn’t read it properly and just sent it straight for publishing as it will benefit the magazine’s circulation.
When I left them a one star review on their FB page, which I WISH more people would do, they left me a patronising message trying to tell me what BPD was!!! Erm… I actually have BPD you bunch of inbred dickwads.
Yes, I am angry and hostile towards this magazine and I really couldn’t give a flying fuck if anyone disagrees with me. With their shitty “editing” and desperation to sell more copies, they have bad mouthed every single person with a mental illness. Not just those of us with BPD. We must be one voice and show just how wrong Psychologies magazine are!”

Northern Bird

Far from being click bait, the title of this post is 100% true.

Psychologies is a women’s magazine which focuses on personal development and well being. It publishes articles and dossiers on mindfulness, career and relationship advice as well as discussing anxiety and depression. Sounds great doesn’t it? I thought so to, which is why I subscribed to the magazine at the beginning of the year.

Roll on the August 2018 edition.

Capture

This month’s 18 page dossier is all about restoring your energy and how you can rid your life of energy vampires. That’s me.

Confused?

Let me explain.

I have a mental illness, Borderline Personality Disorder. It is a disabling illness which affects every aspect of my life. Which according to this dossier means I suck all of the energy from my peers, partner and everyone around me. This is not OK.

I have included the email I sent…

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Book Review – The Treatment – C.L Taylor…

“You have to help me. We’re not being reformed. We’re being brainwashed.”

All sixteen year old Drew Finch wants is to be left alone. She’s not interested in spending time with her mum and stepdad and when her disruptive fifteen year old brother Mason is expelled from school for the third time and sent to a residential reform academy she’s almost relieved.

Everything changes when she’s followed home from school by the mysterious Dr Cobey, who claims to have a message from Mason. There is something sinister about the ‘treatment’ he is undergoing. The school is changing people.

Determined to help her brother, Drew must infiltrate the Academy and unearth its deepest, darkest secrets.

Before it’s too late…

Absolutely bloody brilliant! Just wow! I had read a couple of books that really didn’t float my boat recently so it was awesome to pick up a book that gripped me from the very beginning. We start out by discovering our main protagonist, Drew is being victimised by a gang of girls in school. My heart went out to her straight away as I know exactly how this feels. The whole way through my school years, I was bullied too. It is nice to see a Young Adult book in which the bully actually fights back. I can’t say too much here as I don’t want to give out any spoilers, but there’s a desire to fist punch the air and shout “Yes!” when she does fight back.

Drew is overwhelmed by the apparent task facing her and she does not shy away from it. Once she has the information she needs, she makes an incredibly brace decision that will alter the course of her life and it gets her in to The Academy, where her brother is being held.

Drew’s character is one of great strength. Despite all of the bullying she has to put up with, she never loses her sense of strength and displays her sheer selflessness as she gets herself put into The Academy. There were stages at first where I wanted to give her a bit of a shake and tell her to grow some balls, but that was only in the very early stages of the book.

As the story progresses on, we begin to see exactly what strength, bravery and ingenuity Drew possesses as she is constantly plotting and planning to find a way out.

She forms a touching friendship with one of the girls in her dorm, Mouse (also known as Megan) and their interaction throughout the book just goes to show that lasting friendships can endure through the strangest of circumstances.

The thing about this book that scares me is that I could 100% see this happening to both children and adults who refuse to toe the line. There are shades of 1984 and of the Orwellian future laid out in that book.

The majority of the characters within this book prove themselves to be throughly unlikable sleazy and devious scum bags. Again if I were to say more, I would be chucking out spoilers. There are one or two good characters, one of which will come as a hell of a shock.

I can’t praise this book enough, I really can’t. A well crafted and suspense filled story that shows how we can never be too sure of what we are told…

A five out of five star read!

Be kind to each other.x

The biggest culprit behind climate change may surprise you #auspol #qldpol

An interesting read…

jpratt27

Food is the single largest direct and indirect driver of climate change.

Climate change is driving the expansion of agriculture into regions and habitats that never have been farmed before.

Clearing, burning, plowing and tilling natural habitats release enormous amounts of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, as do the cattle from methane and manure, other animals and the crops used to feed them. Overall, agriculture generates more emissions than all the airplanes, cars, ships and other vehicles combined — a total of 24 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions our societies emit.

Given these numbers, many organizations, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), are working to try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions via two key strategies: achieving conversion-free food production globally by 2030; and absolute reductions of GHG emissions from animal protein by 50 percent in the U.S. and 20 percent globally by 2030.

Take habitat loss out of the…

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Book Review – Pretty Baby – Mary Kubica…

A chance encounter

She sees the teenage girl on the train platform, standing in the pouring rain, clutching an infant in her arms. She boards a train and is whisked away. But she can’t get the girl out of her head…

An act of kindness

Heidi has always been charitable but her family are horrified when she returns home with a young woman named Willow and her baby in tow. Dishevelled and homeless, this girl could be a criminal – or worse. But despite the family’s objections, Heidi offers them refuge.

A tangled web of lies

As Willow begins to get back on her feet, disturbing clues into her past starts to emerge. Now Heidi must question if her motives for helping the stranger are unselfish or rooted in her own failures.

Urgh. Just urgh. I really wanted to like this book, I really did. Hearing good things about the author made me excited to read it. Yet the writing style really put me off. From one character’s point of view it was present time and from the other two it was several days prior and it kept on jumping back and forth between the three characters which made the story difficult to follow.

The characters were all seriously irritating. Apart from Willow. For reasons of my own I empathise with her. Heidi I wanted to throat punch, I really did. That woman was way too goody goody and pure. Chris seemed to be a frustrated adulterer (I hate cheaters whether fictional or in real life) and Zoe was a brat who needed a good attitude adjustment.

The concept of the story was good, but it could have been so much more. There are parts that are achingly sad, but they are far outweighed and let down by the rest of the story.

I will give this writer kudos for bringing to the fore the topics of mental health and abuse as they are not nearly normalised enough in popular fiction. I just wish that there had been a trigger warning somewhere in the blurb. It took several days away from the book before I felt able to continue with it, but that’s just me.

I’m only able to give this book a two out of five star read.