Monday, 28 February 2011

It has passed

Yes, the missing him feelings from yesterday have passed.

I am feeling ok again today. Phew.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

I miss him.

Today, I just miss him. Miss us. Miss our complete family. I feel angry, but mainly just sorrow and a tinge or two of pain.

Why couldn't he just not be abusive?

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Bank trouble.

Everything has been going so well.  I've been feeling positive and happy and thinking 'great'!

Then I've had twenty four hours of total grief.  Started with shopping for some household essentials and getting my card declined.  I thought I had £100 in the bank so rushed home to check.

Basically due to a system error I have no idea when I will have access to this money, but it won't be this weekend.  I've spent all day yesterday and this morning phoning between a company I bought something from online who I have paid, their 'sister company' who are holding this money and my bank.  Nobody can help basically, just tough shit and you have to wait for it to become available again.

Now, for some people losing access to £160 for three or four days is probably no big deal, but as a result of this I have no money whatsoever.  I needed to buy nappies, deodorant along with various food items.  I can't now, and have no money for the whole weekend for anything. 

The uselessness of these companies, the probably ten pounds in calls to 0870 numbers, the time and stress has been just awful. 

Normally, maybe it wouldn't be such a big deal but this really stressed me out yesterday to the point I stood in the garden  and just screamed at the top of my voice (god knows what the neighbours thought!!) with pure frustration and anger.

Then I felt down and miserable and stressed all day and all night and all this morning.  Maybe I'm ok if things are going ok but just can't handle anything rocking the boat. 

I'm trying to go easy on myself today and think I'll just chill out and read all weekend. 

Oh, my back is really painful today as unfortunately as I was trying to put a seat into the car yesterday my 16yo daughter shoved it down really hard and the heavy weight of it smacked into the top of my head.  For some reason my neck and back have been very painful since.

If I was a spiritual rather than agnostic person maybe I'd think that 'someone somewhere' is engineering things so I have to sit home on my own all weekend and do nothing!

So, from great to major stressed in only a few short hours.  Life on the merry-go-round continues.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

What I'm up to right now

So, I have had a really fantastic 8 days.  I've been feeling up-beat and positive.  I've had a couple of times of feeling what I would call 'flat' but have come easily out of it.  The hardest times are when I'm on my own, but there is so much stuff I want to do when I have time to myself that it doesn't last very long.  It's over a month now since we separated. 

I have booked myself onto a course to become a professional face painter!  Yay!  Such a great, flexible job that I can do around the family (and with them if necessary).  And I really enjoy face painting too.  So, in the next two months I'll be fully qualified and ready to paint. 

I've sent in my financial forms and am signed up for my next university courses, both of which I'm excited about (doing them by distance learning so fit round the family too).

All my money and benefits are sorted out now, and it looks like I'll be OK.  No lavish lifestyle, but rent and bills paid and money for a few little extras too.

I have bought a new car!  (well, old car but new to me)  One that will be loads cheaper to run, and is cute too!  I love it :-D

I'm still moving stuff round the house and getting the house how I want it.

I'm enjoying beyond all expectations being free in my own home.  Living without judgement or disapproval.  I am just absolutely loving this.  At no time am I bored of my freedom.  It is joyful.

My husband has attended three sessions now of his abuser group.  I haven't spoken  in depth to him about it, but have a little.  It sounds to me like he is at the moment getting something from it and learning about himself.  Of course it remains to be seen if this continues and if it is long lasting.  But I'm happy for him.

I have come to the realisation that there is no possible way that I can live with my husband again - no matter how much he changes.  I don't think I will ever be able to truly believe that the changes are forever.  I cannot put my children in the position of one of these yo-yo relationships where we 'try again' then separate, then try again, then separate etc etc.  I just won't do that.  That is probably the most harmful of all scenarios.

This realisation is both sad, and freeing.  I almost feel I have become much more objective as a result of this.  I don't feel any pressure, or any wondering about whether or not things are working out, how we are communicating, if there is anything I could or should be doing and on and on and on.

I do occasionally wonder if it would be possible to have a relationship with him where we don't live together.  I used to imagine that the perfect living arrangement would be for us to be next door neighbours.  Close enough to see each other as a family often, but not living together.  As the issue is control and the main driver is jealousy (jealousy of me with other people, me being happy, me being organised, me doing well - just jealousy of everything) I am not sure whether this will ever be desirable or possible.  At the moment I'm just letting go of 'us' so focussing on this isn't really helpful.

All in all, I feel very positive and happy.  I am positive about the future in every way.  About money, my dreams, my lifestyle, my children.  Things are looking good and working out.  If I think about how my life would be right now if he had stayed.... well, it sends a shiver down my spine.  I know I've done the right thing.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

A good description of Emotional Abuse

For those who want to know more about emotional abuse a friend on an emotional abuse forum just posted a link to a fantastic article which describes it really, really well.  I was nodding all the way through!

If the article makes you stop and think or you recognise your relationship in it, then do yourself the biggest favour of your life and buy this book.  ;-)  

(I'm thinking I should take shares out in this book!!)

Friday, 18 February 2011

Homeopath visit.

I saw the homeopath a couple of days ago.  I have been going since around August, and this was probably the fifth or so appointment.  I started going because I felt that I have lost sight of 'me' and wanted to genuinely feel free to be me.  I identified that I felt stifled and like I couldn't be myself.  I couldn't have imagined how everything would change since that first visit.  Mainly I think the remedies then were to cleanse out any toxins from my body (residual from antibiotics and vaccines) and to allow any 'issues' to surface when I was ready to deal with them.

Since then I've had remedies to help with fear, anxiety, to uncover repressed emotions etc.  Each time I've had a strong physical reaction very soon after starting the new remedies and a pretty *huge* emotional reaction has occurred more gradually over the last few months.

First up I became hyper-aware of each instance that I was changing my behaviour and what I said as a reaction to someone else.  This happened quite regularly and was nearly always to do with my husband.  I also became aware of my reactions to other people and how I was handling things.  I couldn't seem to change my reactions or behaviour initially, and wasn't frustrated by that.  I was just observing myself, in a way - which is a good way to start being myself I suppose!

Then I started re-visiting my old interests and some new ones.  I started to do things for myself - regardless of the reaction I knew I would get from my husband.  I suddenly felt like it didn't matter what he thought, and that I was Ok with that.  Prior to this I'd been always second-guessing what he thought, and always trying to minimise or negate the constant disapproval that I felt from him. 

Then, of course, suddenly just after Christmas we separated - you know the story of that!  (If you've read the blog, you do, anyway.)

As usual it was a really useful appointment.  Just going over all the emotional and physical symptoms I have had in the last 5-6 weeks since I last saw her and linking them together is very insightful.  She is also totally non-judgemental about everyone involved which is helpful when you are not sure how you feel about them on any given day anyway ;-)

So, I have now moved onto some big grief remedies to support me me through present turmoil, having finished with the anxiety and fear remedies.  I still have some tincture for when I have any major anxiety happening, but I don't need it all the time now.  My anxiety and fear have faded from constant with racing mind and sleepless nights to reactionary - just when something happens.

I am also still taking the 'uncovering repressed emotions' remedy too, so we'll see what new things happen over the next 5 weeks until I see her again. 

I was always sceptical about homeopathy, having read through the scientific data and studies (as they are) but it has cured a physical ailment of my son's and now has had a huge and profound impact on me emotionally, and physically.  I suppose the proof is in the pudding, so to speak.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Three blows in the last 24 hours

Blow number one.

I have been trying to get a job.  Mainly I just want something non-stressful, that will fit around the children and will fulfil the criteria I need to get tax credits.  Wages is not even particularly an issue, but obviously I need around £70-£90 a week ideally.

First up, I contacted a range of places that I thought I could possibly work that know me and whom I have worked for before: a shop, my old teaching job, some magazines I have written for, a friend who often needs admin help at her business.  I also had some ideas for new things - childminding 8's and overs, and houseminding while people are on holiday.

I had a reply from the shop that made me think I would be able to work there Saturdays which would be ideal.  I popped in to meet the new manager and it became clear that it's only a might, and only an afternoon a week and there was no definite idea of if/when they will let me know about the job.

Blow number two

My old teaching job.  It's a job that actually I intensely dislike.  I haven't worked for 14 months but always had it in mind as a fall back as it's very flexible and the pay is very good.  I contacted them and got a call from one of the supervising tutors to say that just before I stopped teaching 3 clients had made an official complaint about my course.  It was too unstructured, too discussion based.

So, the upshot of this is that there has to be a lengthy 'process' put in place before I will be able to teach which includes attending professional development days, being observed by the supervisors.  Also, I got upset explaining about the marriage ending and she said that they "have to make sure the clients are safe"!!  What the.... As if they would be unsafe because I am upset about separating from my husband!  Anyway, it feels like a load of barriers just got dumped in front of me.

It probably won't be 6 months til I can teach and earn some money.  I'm wondering if this is a sign that I hate the job and should do something else?

Blow number three

I need to replace the car.  It is dh's car, he has got a new one and will be cancelling the insurance.  The car doesn't have an MOT and will cost a fortune to get through one, then the insurance is through the roof because I have no no claims discount (being only a named driver on dh's policy for 11 years).  Plus, it only does 4 miles to the litre so costs a fortune to run.

The best thing is to replace the car with a smaller, newer car that is more fuel efficient and has cheaper insurance.  I found the perfect car and actually got accepted for finance and was going to pick it up this morning.  However, when I called they said that I had to bring in a passport AND driving license and my driving license is missing :-(  So I can't get it, and it'll be weeks til I can apply, send off for and receive back my new license.

Maybe it's for the best as I was going to be paying back £115 a month for 4 years, and I don't know yet how much money I have.  Maybe it's best just to buy a small, old car for £750 that is cheaper to run and not have the monthly payments.

But I'd psyched myself up and was excited to get the new car today, so am just now disappointed and feeling like everything is going against me.  Pah.

The good thing is that I have my appointment with the wonderful homeopath today which is always very helpful.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

The fog nearly got me again.

Today is Tuesday.  On Sunday morning when A was picking up the children I started talking to him and he came and sat down in the living room.  We chatted for about half an hour.  About this and that, but I wanted to talk to him about this decision I need to make about a new car which has been worrying me.  I haven't made a big decision like this on my own before.  I knew that I would feel happier if he endorsed my decision.  I wasn't happy that this was what I was thinking, but couldn't seem to 'change it' if you know what I mean.

Anyway.  Afterwards I felt really happy.  The contact with him, him endorsing my decision, him being nice.  Then yesterday morning he sent me a valentine's card saying "in case you are wondering.  I love you."  I started to think about the Asperger's (see two posts previous!) and wondering if the abuse was somehow caused by the combination of the Asperger's and his father being emotionally abusive.  And whether this meant there was more hope for change than the usual abuse case.

I started to feel upset about us finishing and thought I needed to vent (see post previous to this one). Of course he replied, a long explanation about different things.  We had a text conversation last night mainly about his Abuser programme which he had the second session of yesterday.  In his reply to my email were a couple of points I needed to address including one where he had 'redefined reality'.  I went to sleep and had a poor night's sleep.

This morning I woke up and thought Oh My God.  I nearly got sucked back in there!  I nearly started discussing these disagreements to try to 'make it clear' to him because he was 'forgetting' or 'misunderstanding' what actually happened.  I was minimising the abuse in my head while looking for research on Asperger's, starting to wonder if it was that bad.  I physically felt myself disregarding and starting to 'forget' or 'explain' the worse aspects.

It's so scary to see how easily and quickly I could be sucked back in, even after a month of being separated.  I feel like I had a bit of a narrow escape there.  Dh is expecting an email back in reply to his email and I don't know what to do about that.

I know it will be important to see how the Asperger's has impacted on the abuse, but not right now.  Right now I need to focus on me, and building up self esteem and self confidence, getting counselling to help me through.  In the future it is something I might look into.  Maybe it does mean he is more likely to successfully complete the programme *and* change.  We'll see - but I don't have to worry about that right now.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Email vent to dh.

I have been having so many questions and things I wanted to say bubbling over in my mind, and decided - why am I holding back?  What exactly is there to lose?  So this morning I sent this:

I've been thinking a lot.  A lot.  There are so many things I want to talk about and to know.
I spoke to the woman from your abuser programme the other day.  She wasn't giving a lot of info out, and there seems to be confidentiality stuff so all I will know is if you don't attend or say you will come home and kill me by the looks of it. 
When I first read the book it obviously opened my eyes to a lot, and validated a lot of what I had already felt.  It made me really angry with you.  I want to know honestly from you whether you have done all this deliberately, knowing that it was abusive.  When you've blamed our problems on me and my childhood issues, were you doing it on purpose just to shirk blame?  Because I can honestly say that although things happened in my childhood, I know that actually I've mainly dealt with and am Ok about them.  Only you telling me I hadn't put doubts in my mind.  Did you do that on purpose?  Did you want me to break down?
Like, why did you carry on pinching me all the time when I told you not to because it hurt?  What are you really feeling when you do it?  Do you enjoy hurting me but getting away with it?
Do you really think I'm a slapper?  Do you think I would be sleeping with other people?  Do you want to make me feel disgusting because you say I do these things?  Or do you not care how it effects me?
Do you really think I'm lazy and selfish?  Why do you say that?  Do you not care about me at all?  Do you not value everything I do and have done?  Why do you want to be with a lazy, selfish slapper?  I can only believe that you don't believe these things or you would have left long ago.  In that case why have you insisted for so many years that I am this person?  Do you enjoy causing me pain?
Are you really just trying to control me.  Do you just want me to think/act/live for you?  Jump to your beat, provide you with your every desire and whim?  Why are you doing this?  Why have you done this?
Don't you want to be together?  Don't you want to be happy? 
Have you lied to me about anything?  I feel like you have, but I don't know.  Have you cheated on me?  I wonder if you have.  You know they say that people who accuse or are jealous are usually cheating. 
What the fuck is going on A?  I feel like I am trying to piece together a jigsaw but you are withholding the pieces, so how am I going to get the full picture?
I've often said that if we lived apart but had a relationship we could be happy.  But actually I don't think that's true.  You are jealous of my friends and think I'm having an affair with them.  You don't want me to spend time alone doing things I enjoy.  You don't want me to study and do well.  I wonder if you don't want me to be happy!  All these things are nothing to do with us living together, are they?
I wish you would just be 100% honest with me.  And I wish that I could believe what you say.  But I think my naiivity has done me a lot of harm over the last 14 years.
I know he has composed a reply but due to some internet problem he can't send it.  I'm dreading reading it and wondering why on earth I sent it.  But, something inside me wanted to say all these things that I've been thinking. 

Sliding back or getting perspective?

Yesterday morning I talked to my dh for about half an hour.  It was nice to talk to him again.  I know, I know.

I've been thinking since.  Something I am really having difficulty with, and which I can find no information or advice about, is his diagnosis of PDD-NOS/ atypical Asperger's Syndrome.  I am on an 'emotional abuse forum' which is really helpful and supportive.  But often I just don't see A in the descriptions.  His behaviours have without a shadow of a doubt been abusive, but I'm not sure the motivations and some other aspects are the same as 'usual'.

A number of things make me say this:
  1. The physical violence never escalated.  There were 3 incidents (including the sexual violence) over the 14.5 years that we were together.  The last time almost 6 years ago.
  2. He has never denied his behaviour. 
  3. He is not a 'different' person with other people. 
  4. He has seemed genuinely horrified to find out that his behaviour is generally thought of as abusive.
Number one there on the list is pretty self explanatory.  Everything I've read says that if a man is physically abusive it will escalate in severity and frequency.  Neither of those happened.  So, it makes the doubts start to set in.

Number two - well, he has never denied things he has done with the exception of sometimes he denies remembering things that he has said.  This is difficult, because the psychologist who diagnosed the Asperger's explained how it has been shown in brain tests that during heightened emotional exchanges (arguments usually) the part of the brain responsible for laying down memories to long term memory closes down in order to divert energy to processing the difficult emotional reactions.  There was a neat, scientifically proven reason why he didn't remember things he'd said in the 'height' of an argument.

Number three.  He does have a different persona with people he has known for a long time.  When his mum is around he is Super Dad and Super Husband so she has a slightly skewed idea of what he does around the house.  He doesn't talk different or act differently towards me or anything.  We have always acted the same together around everyone else as we do on our own at home.  Is this a sign that his behaviour is not conscious but in fact just part of how he is wired?  Oh, he also acts like a prat round his best friend (from school) but again, I find it hard to believe that most guys don't do that?  At least when they are younger.

Number four.  Again, this could be an act.  I don't know.  But when he read The Book he seemed to genuinely have an epiphany that his behaviour towards me was not just 'normal' (apart from the physical abuse which he has always known and said was catagorically wrong) but in fact most people would describe it as abusive.  He seemed shocked and acted immediately - researching different abuser programmes, told his family and friends and has even brought the book for each of them to read.

So, this all leads me to feeling confused.  On the one hand his actions are definitely abusive.  On the other hand there are a lot of questions running around my head.

Is it that a boy born with a slightly different wiring that meant he could not easily see things from other's points of view and had very inflexible thinking (very difficult to change his mind) was unfortunate enough to grow up in a house with an emotionally abusive father that taught him that it's perfectly OK to belittle your partner, demand things from them, criticise them, have control over what they do with their time and so on.  Observing this family dynamic, would a child with Asperger's internalise that as a normal, desirable relationship and then as an adult the in-built lack of empathy and inflexibility mean that he also can't help acting in an emotionally abusive way? 

Or does it just not matter?  Should I not be trying to figure out what's going on in his head?  I guess the thing is, I'm wondering if there is hope here.  There seems to be little to no hope of abusers genuinely changing.  I'm just wondering if there might be, because it's not just black and white.  But is it ever? 

Oh, it's all confusing and I'm falling into the trap of over-thinking and trying to fix our relationship instead of just getting myself stronger and healthier.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Abuser programme contact

I finally got a call yesterday from the 'women's support worker' or whatever she was called.  I had no warning so it threw me a bit.

Started off by asking some random questions, don't know if this was so she could guage the sort of abuse that has happened or what.  It was quite upsetting.  I suppose in this kind of situation I feel an overwhelming need to convince the person that A was abusive.  Ridiculous, but as a result of this urge I have divulged some information recently to numerous people that I wouldn't necessarily have chosen to divulge if I'd had time to stop and think.  <sigh>

Anyway, she was also quite vague about the point of her contact.  She wasn't verifying information that she had, she wasn't offering counselling, she wasn't giving me information about his programme so I was a bit confused I suppose.

Halfway through I remembered the part of The Book (Bancroft WDHDT) that shows how to evaluate the effectiveness of an abuser programme, and a checklist of warning signs that the programme is ineffective.

There were a few warning signs.  She spewed out the old 'confidentiality' thing so that unless something is said in the group that implies I am specifically at risk I won't know anything that is said or done.  This was a warning sign in the book.

Also, I asked what percentage of men who go through the programme change.  She was extremely vague but actually plucked the figure of 80% out of the air!  80%  Unbelievable!  The chances that 80% of the men on the programme come out non-abusive are zero, and the failure to admit that was a big sign that the programme is ineffective.  Under further questions it turns out that 80% of the partners she talks to say that things 'are better'.  Not non-abusive, but better.  And this is during the group.  So, that makes a bit more sense.  I re-iterated that I'm not interested in having a relationship again if he's just not as abusive as he was before, I will only possibly be interested if he is totally non-abusive and I can believe that he is.  This is a tall tall order.  I can't imagine being totally comfortable living with him again.  I just can't.

So, I'm having my doubts about the programme, and just fingers crossed that it's of the Bancroft variety rather than the crap variety.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Good day today.

Today was a good day.  I was out and about, with my eldest daughter.  We saw family (my mum, sister and brother along with brother's family).  We had a meal, went to the theatre then had coffee afterwards.  It was lovely and took my mind off everything that has happened.

We went to see 'Wicked' which was fantastic, and the song 'Defying Gravity' really struck a chord with me.  Lyrics:

Elphaba, why couldn't you have stayed calm for once, instead of flying off the handle!
I hope you're happy!
I hope you're happy now!
(sung)I hope you're happy how you've hurt your cause forever,
I hope you think you're clever! 
ELPHABA: (spoken)
I hope you're happy!
I hope you're happy, too.
(sung)I hope you're proud how you would grovel in submission to feed your own ambition. 
So though I can't imagine how, I hope you're happy, right now! 
GLINDA: (spoken)
Elphie, listen to me! Just, say you're sorry.
You can still be with the Wizard, what you've worked and waited for. You can't have all you ever wanted! 
ELPHABA: (spoken)
I know.
And I don't want it.
I can't want it anymore.
Something has changed within me.
Something is not the same.
I'm through with playing by the rules of someone else's game.
Too late for second-guessing.
Too late to go back to sleep!
It's time to trust my instincts.
Close my eyes, and leap!
It's time to try defying gravity.
I think I'll try defying gravity, and you can't pull me down! 
GLINDA: (sung)
Can't I make you understand.
You're having delusions of grandeur! 
ELPHABA: (sung)
I'm through accepting limits,
'Cuz someone says they're so!
Some things I cannot change,
but 'till I try, I'll never know!
Too long I've been afraid of
losing love, I guess I've lost!
Well, if that's love, it comes at much to high a cost!
I'd sooner buy defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye!
I'm defying gravity, and you can't pull me down!
Glinda, come with me. Think of what we could do. Together,
Unlimited. Together we're unlimited. Together we'll be the greatest team there's ever been.
Glinda, dreams the way we planned 'em. 
GLINDA: (sung)
If we work in tandem: 
BOTH: (sung)
There's no fight we cannot win.
Just you and I defying gravity!
With you and I, defying gravity, 
They'll never bring us down.
Well, are you coming? 
I hope you're happy, now that you're choosing this. 
ELPHABA: (spoken)
You too.
I hope it brings you bliss, 
BOTH: (sung)
I really hope you get it,
And you don't live to regret it!
I hope you're happy in the end!
I hope you're happy, my friend! 
ELPHABA: (sung)
So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky!
As someone told me lately:
"Ev'ryone deserves the chance to fly!"
And if I'm flying solo,
At least I'm flying free.
To those who ground me,
Take a message back from me:
Tell them how I am
Defying gravity!
I'm flying high,
Defying gravity!
And soon I'll match them in renown.
And nobody in, all of Oz.
No Wizard that there is or was.
Is ever gonna bring me down! 
I hope you're happy! 
Look at her, she's wicked!
Get her! 
ELPHABA: (sung)
Bring me down! 
No one mourns the wicked! 
ELPHABA: (sung)
Bring me down! 
So we've got to bring her 
ELPHABA: (sung)

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Oh, hello Rollercoaster - did I think you were gone?

Yes, I was incredibly incredibly down yesterday.  I just felt so sad for the whole day.  It was my eldest's birthday and she was being typical-teenagery which just upset me.  She seemed so miserable even though we were doing fun things.  By the end of the day I just thought 'what is the point' and was in tears.

Also, I hadn't had a reply from the email I sent my dh about the sexual abuse and I was extremely anxious about that and didn't sleep well.  So that also contributed.

However, he replied around midnight last night and just reading the reply (long and not great, but not awful either) reduced the anxiety that I had been feeling.  So I slept Ok last night and woke up to blue skies and felt a lot more positive.  I'm not happy that my equilibrium is still so clearly in his hands, but I'm only 3 weeks into what will be a long process, so I have to remember that and not feel disappointed that things aren't different.

Today I woke up, got breakfast, tidied the living room and the kitchen and got the dinner in the slow cooker.  Having done that I lay in bed immersed in a book while the children made dens and played.  I read for probably four or five hours.  A rare luxury.  I needed 'me time' today.  I needed to be easy on myself.

Then mid afternoon we headed out to the library, a tour of some charity shops, an hour long trip to the park in the slowly setting sun playing frisbies and then we went food shopping before heading home for dinner, TV and then bed.  I've watched a show I'm presently enjoying a lot, checked in on the computer and will head up to bed now.  So it's been a nice, go-easy day and I'm feeling a lot better.

This evening I've gotten texts from dh asking how I'm feeling about the sexual abuse.  He says that he's never given it any thought, thought it was something we both knew about but he had never thought about how it effected me.  He says he has been thinking about it ever since I emailed and is so ashamed etc etc.

I've mainly said that I'm in shock about all the realisations I've been going through, but mainly I'm just horrified about what happened.

It was 14 years ago and nothing like that has happened since.  It was spurred on by his excessive jealousy and anger.  I know that.  Apparently all he's ever thought about that incident was about his jealousy.

What really surprised me was that his recall of the night was literally word for word, so he wasn't that drunk.  Also, he remembered that after taking my underwear off he threw me off the bed and onto the floor and nearly threw me down the stairs before throwing me on the bed and having sex with me.  Now that he says it I remember vaguely, but I had totally not been aware of that at all over the last 14 years.  Just the sexual abuse that happened afterwards.

So, yet another revelation and I can't help wondering if there are other things I am just unaware of...

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Email to DH

Ok.  I spoke to DH for around an hour this evening on the phone.  About the abuser programme, The Book, general behaviour and stuff.  I found it really hard to communicate.  I said I would email him.  He wants my 'list' of his abusive behaviour to show to the programme co-ordinator.

This is the email I just sent:

I'm finding it really difficult to compose my thoughts and feelings properly right now. 
Firstly, you want 'my' list.  I don't know if this will be particularly helpful.  But I will write out my list for you and attach it. 
There are a few things that I wanted to talk about because I've been thinking about them a lot.  Well, tell you what I'm thinking really.  I don't know what to expect in response, if anything. 
How am I feeling, overall?  Well, everything is very complex obviously.  On the one hand I feel a sense of freedom starting to come up.  Not freedom from a relationship, but freedom from that constant low level anxiety that has been brought about by all the abusiveness.  I'm starting to feel like for the first time in a long time my home is 'a safe place to fall'.  Somewhere relaxing, comfortable and well... just always nice to be.  I've not had that feeling for a very long time.  Not having the feeling of being 'not good enough' for the first time in 14 years is liberating, but I'm still getting used to it. 
But of course, we have been together a long time.  I love you and I miss you.  I miss the banter, conversation, chat, etc.   I miss the children when they are not here. 
I'm grieving.  For the loss of the relationship.  For the dying hope that it might still be saved.  For the relationship I thought we had, or might have one day, for our family.  It's such a huge loss.  I feel so sad about everything. 
I don't know what's going to happen with this programme.  I am feeling that I don't really trust what you are saying - whether you are saying these things because you honestly really think you want to change, or what.  I don't know if I can believe that you can change, because your values and attitudes which are abusive are so deeply ingrained and you so wholeheartedly believe that they are OK and even normal that I can't imagine how you will come to accept that they are neither.   
Specific times in our relationship keep playing over in my mind.  I'm second guessing your motivations and beliefs.  I don't believe that you are surrounded by people with a healthy idea of a relationship - your family, Rick, Joe, Darren etc.  This is a barrier to any change too, I think.  Even at work the people you know the best are from cultures that are highly mysogynist and these also validate your abusive behaviours.  So I worry about where you will get the support you will need to change. 
Ok.  I'm going to have to get to the bones about some issues. 
Firstly, this will come as a shock because it's a long time ago.  A very long time ago.  A, I have been turning over in my mind for a few months an incident that occurred years ago that I'd tried to forget.  Right in the first few months of our relationship, when we lived in P C. 
One night P from work came over and we were both drunk.  Nothing happened of course, between him and me.  But I remember and have always known what happened after that.  You were filled with anger and jealousy because you thought we'd been flirting and that I wanted sex with him.  I wasn't passed out when you undressed me and jabbed your fingers in me and had sex with me.  I was frozen and 'acting dead' because you were having sex with me fully knowing that I hadn't consented and was too drunk to stop you.  In fact you thought I had passed out.  I even managed to open my eyes without you seeing and saw the look of jealousy, anger and triumph in your face as you had sex with me.  I was so shocked and horrified about that, I can't tell you.  
I don't know if you will even remember this incident, let alone ever admit to what happened.  But I know what happened.  I've always known but tried not to think of it.  It's something that I would have had to bring up with you. 
Secondly, the incident when you picked me up from work and you thought I was late.  You screamed what a fucking selfish bitch I was all the way home.  How I couldn't ever fucking apologise for anything because of what a selfish fucking bitch I was.  And <DS>, aged only 1 and a 1/2 or so was sitting there in his car seat.   
Thirdly, all the little snide comments that you said which feel like you only said them to highlight to me that I wasn't good enough.  There are too many to list.... and they are replaying in my mind too.  None of them on their own seem like a 'big' incident and to make a big deal of them would have seemed OTT, but then that's the plan maybe?  To chip away bit by bit at me.  This is the kind of thing I'm thinking now.  Were you doing this sort of thing on purpose, or did it happen subconsciously? 
I also wanted to say as the only response I will make to any accusation that I am or have been abusive - think about self-defense and self-preservation.  Think of all the different ways that someone under constant low level and occasional high level attack might try to defend themselves.   
You know, I thank god that in between my childhood problems and meeting you that I had a five year relationship with someone who was just ordinary.  If it hadn't been for that I might well have believed that the way you treated me, spoke to me etc was just par for the course in any relationship.  I might have believed that maybe I was lazy, selfish, not good enough and that I had an incorrect image of myself.  Or that 'all relationships' go through this sort of thing.  I know though that it's totally possible to respect somebody pretty much all the time, to resolve conflicts and disagreements amicably and without outright hostility, to compromise, to live a life free from criticism, to have a mutually supportive relationship... all the things that haven't happened in our relationship. 
I won't expect to hear from you for a while, but maybe you'll reply straight away.  I don't know anymore. 
Despite everything, I don't write off the possibility that we might in the end have a good, healthy, normal relationship.  I still hope that we will be able to.

Of course, now I am extremely anxious about what kind of response I am going to receive.  I probably won't sleep a wink tonight, though I am exhausted.

In fact, I'm already wondering why on earth I sent this email.  What is the point.  I suppose because I would have wanted to tell the support worker these things and they might have told him.  Oh, I don't know.  Life's shitty and hard.

Abuser programme and contact

DH starts it tomorrow.  And I am anxious.

From reading The Book I know that many of the abuser programmes that are out there are not great.

Apparently I should have been contacted prior to the start of his programme by a 'Women's Support Worker'.  I don't know what they would be talking to me about, because they haven't contacted me which is already not a brilliant sign.  I'll try not to form judgements at this stage though.

DH has two individual 'sessions' with the person running the programme before he starts attending the group.  I'm thinking that possibly I will be contacted after these individual sessions so that I can provide my version of events and tell my story but I don't know.

Bancroft clearly states that the role of the abuser programme should be first and foremost supporting the woman, with the woman as the client.  This means sharing information and providing advice on dealing with the abuser if necessary, and getting support for recovering from the abusive relationship.  I hope I hear from them soon, otherwise I just feel the programme will be doomed to fail.  Already DH has started making noises about the cost of the programme, and I'm sure after a couple of sessions it will be complaints about the travelling distance and who knows how long til he uses these as excuses to stop attending?  When it get's hard.

Maybe I'm just being pessimistic, but with my experience and the stuff I've read I'm more inclined to say realistic.

Today, I have had contact with DH.  More than in a while.  We took the kids to the cinema - he took the older ones in to see one film and I took the younger one to see a different one.  So, we weren't really together much, but there was still more contact than we've had before.

Afterwards we went (in separate vehicles) to the park where dh stayed with ds who had sprained his ankle and I took the others out to play.  Again, not a lot of time together but more than in the last three and a half weeks.  It was tense and awkward, of course.  All this is new and boundaries need setting.

I've suggested that in the future we might arrange one family afternoon activity a week where we are all together.  Not sure if that's for the best, or a result of my recent feelings of sadness, or what.  I guess the main thing is that I follow my instincts and do what I think is the best.

I'm really starting to feel that sense of enjoyment and comfort at home that I haven't had for many years.  Just a sense of coming home and feeling peace and contentment.  The absence of pressure or anxiety.  I don't fully appreciate it yet as it's a bitter sweet pill, combined as it is with long periods of previously-unknown solitude.

I don't know how long it will take me to fully embrace the freedom and peace AND solitude but I do know that it will come, in time.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

How my day looks at the moment

I've noticed a general emotional pattern.  I tend to wake up feeling positive and relatively hopeful.  Then around mid-afternoon I start to go downhill.  An overall feeling of sadness and aloneness starts to descend.  It probably peaks very early evening and then by evening I'm feeling somewhere between the two.

I don't know if this relates directly to the fact that I would have always been on my own with the children up til around tea time when dh would come home.  So maybe I'm just missing his company and banter in the teatime-to-bedtime hours.

Then in the evening I am enjoying a bit of me-time when the children wouldn't normally be around anyway, and feel quite cheerful.

This weekend I've been generally down and I think it's because I'm not yet adjusted to not having any/all of the children around at the weekends.  I'm missing them, missing dh, missing weekend family life.

Like everything else it is complex.  I miss them all, but I am enjoying the novelty of some time to myself.  I miss dh but I'm starting to enjoy the freedom from disapproval and low-level anxiety that was a constant feature.  I am happy to be in control of finances and know exactly how much is going in or out, and feeling as though any spending on myself needs to be justified for some reason.... but I'm worried about how I'm going to manage.  Etc etc.

There seems to be no uncomplicated emotional reaction to anything.  Everything seems complex and difficult, and I have conflicting feelings about nearly everything.

Friday, 4 February 2011


Yesterday I came across a quote. I can't remember it word for word but basically it was along the lines of how you feel hollow after leaving an abusive relationship.

That's a good word to describe how I feel today. Hollow, lonely, really sad.

I do miss A. He has been lots of things, as you may have read. Amongst all the nasty and horrible stuff he has also been my companion and lover. And I miss him. And maybe I shouldn't, but I do. At the moment.

I grieve for the loss of the marriage I hoped we'd one day have, the old age I dreamed of us sharing, the joint chatter about children and family life, the knowledge that someone I loved was with me.

I don't miss the other stuff. Sometimes I feel like my dh is two people, I love one very very much and just long and wish that the other didn't exist. I guess to come to terms with this I have to come to terms with thw fact that they are one and I can't (at the moment) have one without the other. That makes me feel incredibly sad.

"this too shall pass"

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Feeling ill, clearing anxiety and fear - and dh again.

I don't know if everyone is like me, but often during emotionally charged times I get physically ill.  Particularly, I have a weak stomach and suffer nausea and/or vomiting.

I am taking homeopathic remedies to help me at the moment, and they have always been very effective on me.  (what can I say, a control group of one).

On Tuesday night, bang on midnight (bizarrely) I woke up with an excruciating pain in my stomach.  On the right hand side between my lower rib and hip.  It was awful and I lay in agony for around half an hour.  Then I started being sick and I felt like it wouldn't end.  My stomach felt enormously bloated and the pain was horrible.  I didn't feel ill in any other way, like you normally do with an infection or something.  The pain and vomiting went on til around 2am when I finally got back to sleep.

Yesterday I felt nauseous all day and had a banging headache - I'm sure due to the strain of being so sick early that morning, and today the nausea has gradually diminished over the day.  Hopefully I'll be fine by tomorrow morning.

Something that surprised me was that from yesterday morning I have felt suddenly very calm and in control.  Those rollercoaster of emotions seems to have dampened a lot, and I'm just feeling a bit sad but I'm ok.  Not the awful ups and downs and terrible racing thoughts that I've had since everything happened.

So, I'm thinking that I literally emptied my body of all the fear and anxiety that I had been experiencing.  Not only during the last 2+ weeks, but also during the previous years of the relationship.  I know that might seem unlikely, but that's what I'm thinking has happened at the moment.  And I'm feeling Ok.  Not great, not singing and dancing, but Ok - like I will cope and everything will be fine at some point.

I have seen a fair bit of dh over the last few days.  He's had a week off work and so has been seeing the children more, which of course means more pick ups and drop offs.

He already said that he's told his mum everything, yesterday he told me he'd told his dad everything.  Now, I don't know particularly how to feel and you know what - that doesn't matter.  Uncertainty is a pretty valid emotion and feeling right now, I believe.

I'm wondering if he really has - if he has told them everything he says he has then I'm surprised I've not heard from his mum by now.  It has occurred to me that having read The Book he knows what to say he's doing to convince me he has changed (this is one of the things - fully admitting what you have done to everyone).

I was considering phoning his mum and having a chat... I'm not sure if that's the best course of action.  Sitting back and believing what he's telling me hasn't worked well so far.

But then, maybe it just doesn't really matter and I just need to focus on myself and my children and our recovery rather than second guessing everything else.

Another thing to ponder in the wee hours :-)  But at least my mind has stopped racing - that is a real blessing.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The Long Haul

Abusers are masters of storing away their resentment or anger to unleash on the unsuspecting victim days, weeks or months after the actual incident that has pissed them off.  Well, according to most things I've read and my dh is no different.  Obviously this sort of behaviour is a total mind-f*ck because usually they never let on what has initially started it all off (probably because they can see how unreasonable or childish their actions would be in the cold light of day) so for the victim it's totally 'out of the blue'.

I've been (obviously) thinking over so many things lately with my new 'clarity goggles' to cut through the fog of confusion that he's built around me.  I thought it might be useful to put down on paper one of these 'long haul' incidents.

This is quite recent and is actually the incident that lead to our separation and I mentioned it before but have been giving it more thought.

The initial incident.
Was Christmas just gone.  As usual we had both families due to visit and stay for the whole holiday period.  From the 23rd December to the 1st January we were scheduled to have a variety of visitors. 

Unfortunately we had a nasty flu-y sort of virus going round the children and lo-and-behold I got it on the 23rd December.  I tried to avoid being ill.  I continued shopping and was up til 11.30pm on Christmas Eve wrapping presents while feeling dreadful.  Dh got drunk and did nothing because he apparently is rubbish at wrapping presents.  Really, he just didn't want to do it.  My sister was there and was appalled and told him how lazy he was being.  We have 4 children... there were hundreds of things to wrap.

Gradually I got worse until on Boxing Day I was laid up in bed all day.  Dh came in and out asking me if I was going to be laying in bed all day.  He was obviously annoyed because it meant he would be doing all the hosting and cooking etc for a change.  (He did always cook Christmas Dinner - he is a 'show cooker' - only doing it when there is an appreciative audience (not us))  On the 27th - 31st I was still ill and came down when people were visiting but needed to regularly lie down to recuperate.  I looked and felt awful.

My sister got really angry as she overheard him moaning about me to his family saying he'd had enough of 'looking after her' now and implying I just couldn't be bothered to have to do anything.  Bearing in mind his idea of looking after might have been 2 or 3 drinks over the course of the two weeks that I was ill, it's hardly like he's been Florence Nightingale.

However, he didn't really say anything - just complaints and comments here and there to family, statements to me that Christmas 'wasn't enjoyable at all' and then when everyone had gone we got back to normal, I thought nothing more of it.

The build up.
Once I was better again dh started making comments that he could feel a bad time coming on between us.  I was surprised as I had thought that we had been getting on relatively well for a few months.  I said as much.  But every few days he made little comments and started saying that we always have a difficult time at this time of year etc. 

Now I think that he obviously was building himself up to a row to get out all the anger about me 'selfishly' ruining HIS Christmas by being ill.

First Attempt at lighting the touchpaper
Ten days or so into the new year dh suddenly started saying he wanted another baby.  I was stunned!  During every pregnancy and for the first year his abusiveness has always been at a peak, and each time I have been left devastated by the lack of support and downright nasty behaviour at a time that should be filled with joy.

My last pregnancy put such a physical strain on me, I was so ill - we decided that it would definitely be the last.  I have been pregnant or had young children since I was eighteen-years-old and am now in my mid-30's.  For me, that's enough.  I can just about cope happily with the children I have and have no desire for any more.  This is one of the very few topics that I am unswayable on.  And dh knows it.

So, out of the blue one night he says he wants another baby.  I laugh, because I think he's joking.  He looks seriously at me so I say, of course I don't want any more children - for me, four is enough.  He says "don't you think that's really selfish".  I say no and start to list reasons, wondering 'didn't we have this conversation?  Didn't we agree?'

So he says 'what if we won the lottery?'.  I say that doesn't change anything, for me it's not about the money.  It's the fact that for me I can't have another baby and go through another pregnancy, that I'm enjoying the children growing up and being able to be there for them and do things that we couldn't do with another baby etc etc.  So he starts saying how I'm being really selfish.

I now see he was trying to pick a fight.  He really believed I was being selfish when I was ill over Christmas, this is what this little conversation was about.  However, I was so stunned by this sudden turn of conversation that I just shrugged and left the room so he didn't get to let out all those built-up emotions tell me what he thought of me.

The successful attempt
He continued his 'we are going to go through a bad time' routine, which I was totally baffled about.

Then a week later - touchdown!  In popped the credit card bill which dh could convince himself in a very roundabout way that he knew nothing about.  Result!  And of course the bare facts of this (him allegedly having no knowledge about it) would mean that his actions would be easy to justify to himself, me and if necessary anyone else.  It doesn't matter if he had twisted the bare facts (because we'd agreed to spend this money on the credit card) because I didn't have proof of that decision we made together and he could talk it around so that he knew we decided that, but then thought I wasn't going through with that decision.  Hmmm. Clear as mud, yes?

When I got home he was holding the statement and going through the roof about it.  I've written before what happened, but it culminated in him screaming about me doing 'F. All' around the house, 'F. All' to contribute to anything, him working hard for me to lay around doing nothing and reading all day.  Now these things are total rubbish, couldn't be further from the truth.  But they are true about what happened when I was ill at Christmas.

And thus, it took him a while - around 2-3 weeks after the initial 'incident' but he got his anger and resentment out, supposedly justifiably, in the end.

Of course, this time it backfired, as I found the book and saw in all truth what he'd been doing and what was going on - but for fourteen + years this tactic has worked perfectly and he's managed to abuse and insult me to my face but then somehow twisted it round so it's my fault he's done it.

Quite clever, I suppose.