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

I Hate Myself…

I look in the mirror and you know what I see? I see a monster. I hideously ugly monster. I honestly make myself feel sick when I have to look in the mirror. If I could avoid them, I wouldn’t have a mirror in my house but the boys need one. I want to puke when I see my own face. I can hear them both. You’re fat… you’re ugly… you’re hideously foul and they are right. When I see myself in the mirror, that is all I see.

Why do I see this? Apparently, according to my psychiatrist I have something called body dysmorphic disorder. I loathe my face and my body. My physical appearance really does make me sick to my stomach.

I have an awesome partner who tells me that I am beautiful every single day. My problems is that I just can’t accept/believe that it is true. I try very hard to avoid looking at my face. When I have no choice, and I do see it, I actually want to vomit. My foul features and fat and horrible body are enough to make anyone vomit. I just hope that the men who did this to me never ever feel the way that I feel right now. Because I wouldn’t wish this on my own worst enemy.

Be kind to each other.x

Living the dream…

WARNING: THIS POST DISCUSSES SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND DOMESTIC ABUSE.

No. That title doesn’t mean what you think it does. Over the last couple of weeks, I have been having more flashbacks and night terrors than I’ve had in years. I have no idea why these terrors have invited themselves back into my head, but back they have come. Back with a total vengeance.

It is never the same dream or memory two times in a row. Every single time it is different. Every single time I get to relive a horror that I thought was gone for ever. Every time they come back to haunt me and invade my life. Why, why do they do that? Especially when I’ve worked so hard to block them from my mind. These memories worm their way through my memory like poisonous black tendrils of fog through the white mist of my mind. I can do nothing to stop them either. They come unbidden to terrorise me.

The first time that a flashback came back to haunt me, I was trying to recover from my mammogram, which was a traumatic experience. I’m only getting them so early due to my family history of breast cancer. I had been petrified to go. Agoraphobia is a bitch of a mistress. Yet she was in cahoots with her little sister, haphephobia. She was winding me up too. My haphephobia is luckily restricted to being touched by strangers, but unluckily, it is a thousand times worse in intimate areas of my body. So here was I, about to get mauled by a total stranger. I had no clue that if would be as bad though. No idea at all.

The night before my mammogram, I barely slept a wink. Most of the night, I sat with my arms around my knees, rocking backwards and forwards with tears running down my face. Come morning, I had huge black circles under my eyes and was panicking like crazy. Several times I came close to cancelling my appointment and wheeling quickly in the opposite direction. But my carer talked me into going. He was right. I needed to go. I told myself I was doing it for my kids. That was what gave me the courage to face going along.

On the morning of my test, I couldn’t eat a single thing. I was so anxious I couldn’t eat a single thing. My heart was pounding and I was sweaty and shaking. All I had was enough water to get my tablets down. Once the boys were off to school, I got ready to go. We had to set off early as the drive into took a little under an hour to get into the centre of town. The traffic was horrific, so I called the reception to let them know that I may be just a little late. The response I got? “Well you should have set off earlier.” What the hell?

We made it there with just under 10 minutes to spare. My carer wheeled me through into the main reception of the hospital. It was full of people and within seconds, I was freaking out. I had to shut my eyes tightly while I was wheeled into the lift and taken down to the lower ground floor where the X-ray department was. Thankfully it was much quieter and I was able to relax a bit. I booked in at the reception and asked to speak to the person who would be doing my mammogram. I wanted to explain my issues, so they would be prepared for how I was likely to react.

After about 20 minutes of waiting, the grumpiest looking woman you have ever seen in your life came stomping around the corner and over to me. “What?”she barked at me. I asked her if I could speak in private. She tutted! She actually tutted at me and then went to grab my wheelchair from my carer. I screamed get off at her. It was a reflex defence mechanism. I told her that if my carer couldn’t come in with me then I was going to go home. Reluctantly she beckoned for us to follow her.

The room with the mammogram machine in was bigger than I thought it would be, which was a huge relief for me. I felt a little more at ease. I started to explain to her that I was phobic of being touched by strangers. She rolled her eyes at me and barked at me to hurry up and get undressed! As I have chronic pain and multiple joint disorders, I find it very difficult to get undressed quickly. I obviously wasn’t going fast enough for her. She lunged out and grabbed the back of my shirt and yanked it up. This not only jarred my back and caused severe pain, but I screamed at being touched and then went straight into the mother of all flashbacks.

“I had only been married for about six months. The mental and physical abuse had been going on for a while. This one particular night, my ex had been drinking all day and was in a really foul mood. I was scared of saying anything that would get me hit, so I was treading very carefully. He was watching porn, and decided he wanted sex. I asked him if we could wait as I had a really bad headache. The answer was a punch in the mouth. My lip split open and there was blood everywhere. But it didn’t end there. He grabbed my top and tore it open. The buttons went flying everywhere. I tried to cover my breasts but he was slapping my hands away and grabbing at me. The next thing I knew, he dragged me over to the sofa, forced me down and raped me.”

That was my flashback. It was horrible. I was so lucky that my carer was there to talk me down. They had to then go and stand behind the screen while the horrible woman mauled my chest onto the plates. I was sobbing so hard, I thought I was going to be sick. She squeezed my breasts into that machine so hard that I ended up with a large bruise on my left breast. I couldn’t get out of there quick enough.

Why tell this story? These are the dreams I am living. Vivid dreams of my past that will never let up or leave me be. If you reach out to touch someone in either a personal or a professional capacity, please stop and think before you do touch them. You never know the damage, the hell, that you might unleash for them.

Inside my head…

WARNING: POST DISCUSSES SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND DOMESTIC ABUSE.

Yesterday morning was not pleasant for me. I ran out of my psych meds the day before. As a result, I spent most of yesterday sobbing and gibbering like a total wreck. Why am I on these meds? They are a result of the years of abuse I suffered. Blogging about this is not an attempt to grab attention. It feels cleansing. Cathartic almost. Anyhoo, it’s my blog so I can post what the hell I like really.

Also, I had several flashbacks which were very unpleasant in nature. I almost lost it completely at one stage. My flashbacks had been easing off and prior to yesterday, I had not had one for several weeks, which was major for me.

The first one was a particularly violent one. I was standing in the kitchen, taking a drink from a can of Coke. I’d just finished a cigarette and needed to get the taste out of my mouth. (Cheap duty free cigarettes – nasty) As I placed the can down on the counter top, my ex came crashing through the front door, completely drunk. He wanted sex and started pawing at me in the kitchen. I pushed him away, and picked up the can to take another drink. He slapped the can away, and it went skittering across the floor, spinning as it went. Then he punched me square on the nose, and my nose felt like it exploded. The blood was pouring like a tap on full flow. It was terrifying. Then he pushed me to the ground and started to pull me round the kitchen by my hair. He tried dragging me to the living room and the sofa but I just curled up in a ball. Would he have raped me if he got me to the sofa? I have no doubt, as it happened many other times. This time he was content to just kick me until he had cracked two of my ribs. He then wandered into the living room to watch porn as I lay bleeding, sobbing and shaking on the kitchen floor.

Another one was when my youngest  child was almost one. My eldest was watching a favourite TV programme when scumbag came staggering in and switched the channel over to football. (to me, your kids come first!) My eldest then burst into tears and begged scumbag to let him watch the tv. Instead of doing the right thing and switching the TV back over, he raised his arm. I leapt up and stood between them. As a result, well, I’m sure you can guess. I ended up with a black eye and a split lip. Better my than my child though. Any day.

I was so angry! These patches of darkness had invited themselves back into my head without my consent. As a result, I felt really shitty and low for the rest of the day. Fuck you PTSD!

I’ve been better this morning, but they are still there. Bubbling away in the corners of my mind. So that’s inside my head right now. It is not a nice place to be.