Post Separation Abuse

You would think that by leaving an abuser, it would set you free from their abuse – This is not always the case.

I hadn’t really thought of post separation abuse much. I was aware of many friends, family and strangers having problems with the other parent of their child/children. Where courts or other services got involved due to problems. However, I had not really thought of it in the context of abusive relationships.

Post separation abuse, like types of abuse, can happen in so many different ways. Some examples include;

  • Financial,
  • Harassment,
  • Stalking,
  • Control.

Despite being ‘free’ from my abuser, I have experienced continued isolation since leaving my home. Perhaps not in the traditional sense, however I have been isolated from in-laws, who chose to pick sides and ignore me, despite being desperate to form a relationship previously, they have been able to switch off any relationship we did have. According to my ‘Wife’ they are aware of the full story, however I find that extremely hard to believe. I have been isolated from friends, this includes ignoring messages and deleting and blocking me on social media, without even checking how I am or finding out the whole story. I am presumed to be the ‘bad one’ – I planned none of this!!

One thing I have learnt through this process is that a person can be a fully grown adult, have a partner, children, a good job and/or own their home. Yet they can be the most unkind, petty and childish people out there – especially when they say mental health is important or to “Be Kind” – then they treat me like this – I’m sorry but that is just hypocritical!!

Other ways I have been abused post separation is simply by the continued refusal to provide a key to my house, then by putting an alarm system on the property, also denying that code (illegally). Whilst I find this incredibly childish, it would not necessarily deter me from entering the property, however I am not going to do that, as even if I enter legally and get locks changed, alarm code changed and codes and keys given to the other owner, they would only be changed again. People think that because I walked away I have just thrown away my home, they have not considered the fact I left for my safety. I could be dead by now!!

My divorce could have gone through by now, however I have been advised to hold off until financial and property legal issues are sorted, just in case anything was to happen. From the very start there has been delays and lies with anything legal. With excuse after excuse.

Considering my ‘Wife’ had plans to throw me out and move someone else and her new ‘daughter’ into the house, you would think she would want this all sorted by now. I just do not understand how someone who would hate me so much and not want to be with me, or near me, would want to still be attached to me in this way!! It makes no sense to me.

A major part of my divorce I have noticed, especially in recent letters I have received are false allegations. I attended my property (as legally allowed to do so) once alone, to post some paperwork through the door – considering her Grandma had just died, I thought she would appreciate the handwritten letters, that for some reason she had packed with some of my stuff, I could have burnt them or shredded them, but I thought she would want them. Anyway, I simply got out the car, posted it through the letterbox and got back in car, locked the doors then sent my texts saying I was safe, set up the sat nav and went back home, I was in the area for a Hospital appointment. However, her solicitors have been advised that I am ‘hovering’ at the property, therefore causing issues. Considering I am a student, with no full time work and experience panic when I visit the area, I would not waste any more time, energy or money on a 100+ mile round trip, just to hover outside the house. Although I have realised the reason the solicitor may have been told this is to try and justify the lock change and alarms on the house.

However one thing my ‘Wife’ does not know is that this whole visit was video recorded and to this day is saved and available to anyone who needs it. When you spend years with a liar, who constantly accused you of lying or saying they “Can’t remember you saying that” you learn to make sure things are recorded or noted somewhere – keeping it safe is another issue for another day.

Other allegations include me being accused (falsely I may add) is Slander on social media. It seems that despite being blocked and my Facebook page being ‘friends only’ my ‘Wife’ can still see my social media pages, whether through an extra account, or through other people aiding her – it is worrying why she is obviously finding ways to see my accounts. However, other than the false allegations aimed at me, I am not too worried, as I know I am not slandering, as everything I have stated is true and with evidence. It seems she does not understand that slander would only apply if anything I did put was false, which it is not. I have been told by quite a few people I am being too kind to my ex!! That if it was them they would have reacted very differently.

Looking back I would change the way I have reacted, I would not become violent but I would have done things a little differently. But I got out!! I got my dogs out!! There has been continued abuse since leaving and even a physical assault (also a topic for another day) I always thought I was lucky it never turned physical, but it did that day.

That day made me feel relief (and pain) but I knew in that moment that I did the right thing in leaving. Emotional abuse did turn physical, it could have been so much worse!!

Being Scared to talk about abuse

When things got to a certain point in my marriage, they started getting even tougher. Nobody warned me that leaving and choosing my life would be the first step. I thought healing and getting over a break up would be the second hurdle. What I was not prepared for, was speaking up and telling my story and that completely backfiring on me.

I was petrified,but tried to stay as civil as I could, still walking on eggshells, until I got my belongings and legal matters where complete, then I could simply draw a line and move on. I was not expecting things to go downhill from there either.

I thought I would be believed. Who lies about domestic abuse? Apparently more people than you would think! For some reason, there are quite a few people out there, who think I am lying and causing problems. When I can say with my hand on my heart, that I am telling the truth.

I am (or was) always a creative person and have chosen to direct that creativity into exploring what has really happened to me. But that seems to have also backfired on me.

Now I am scared to be open again.

I am scared to tell my story.

I am worried about mutual friends because someone has been causing trouble and showing what I post to my abuser.

Despite knowing I have proof for the things I say, that they did happen and that Domestic Abuse, especially emotional abuse and gaslighting, are not talked about enough. I feel ashamed of my story and fearful of trying to be open and help others, because of the people that say it is lies and slander.

Leaving a relationship is challenging, especially so if that relationship involved a bad ending or abuse. But when people you have known, been related to through marriage, worked with or even complete strangers are being led to believe lies and that my truth is a lie, just to get some sort of revenge – that hurts.

My revenge is living. I did not end my own life.

I SURVIVED AND I LEFT FOR MY SAFETY AND I CHOSE MY LIFE.

“I never said that!!” – What is Gaslighting?

Have you ever heard?

  • “I never said that”
  • “You’re imagining things”
  • “I didn’t do that”
  • “You are being paranoid”
  • “I always make an effort, you just never bother”
  • “You’re imagining things”
  • “I was just joking”
  • “You twist things”
  • “That never happened”
  • “You need help”

Sounding familiar?

Gaslighting is a term that seems to appear quite often now, compared to 5 years ago. It is a term that basically means a person is being made to question their own sanity and the world they are living in. It can be described as “walking on eggshells.” Gaslighting can cause a person to completely lose trust, not only in others around them, whether strangers or not, but in themselves.

In my case I truly realised I was being gaslit towards the end of my marriage (especially after I left-Everything sort of clicked). Once I knew my wife was interested in someone else. Despite me having clear evidence of the behaviour it was denied, I was told I was overreacting, twisting words and imagining things. Long story short, I was not, what I had heard and found was indeed true. However it often is the case that until a relationship is struggling, or ending/ended you really do not realise how manipulated you truly were.

Once I had left my home, so much started to make sense, I really started to come to the realisation that pretty much the whole time I knew this person, it was one big fake lie.

Many people who are being gaslit may not even realise it themselves. Which can cause problems if others question the situation they are in, simply because it will be denied. It may be “normal” to them.

The best thing to do is support them the best you can. One day they will be grateful for that support. They will need that safe person – that believes their truth.

Returning to Work following sick leave

TW : This post can be triggering.

I do not really know how I am feeling at the moment.

I have gone back to work after being off for the entire period of 2018. (Literally!!)

Was I ready?….No

Was it necessary?….YES!!

Thoughts I have had since being back at work;

  • Wanting to self harm.
  • Thinking I would be better off dead.
  • That I am useless, weak and stupid.
  • That I am making work for people.
  • That I do not deserve this job.

And so many mixed feelings of anger, frustration and sadness.

Being off work is difficult, if your partner works then you cannot get financial support because “your partner earns too much” and when you finally get told to apply for Universal Credit to help they tell you sorry “too much money” – after weeks of waiting, meetings and appointments!! PIP takes months and I hear more about them rejecting claims than anything and ESA you cannot get if you get SSP (although mine ended in June so I could have applied for this during my time off but didn’t as I was told I had SSP until August.)

Money is a b*tch!! We all have bills to pay but I find it a real shame that people who struggle and are going through a hard time get very limited support. Yet I know plenty of people that cheat the system and get more money than my annual income from working. (I am not judging people who do not work and that receive benefits, I am talking about several people I know that receive benefits and do not work when they could work but choose not to)

Now that rant is over. I am back at work part-time and should be building things slowly. We shall see, hopefully things improve.

To be continued….

 

 

I am only 27….

I am only 27 years old (or young!) and I have lived through

  • Emotional Abuse and Bullying

  • Physical Abuse and Bullying

  • Self Harm

  • Anorexia

  • Bulimia

  • Binge Eating Disorders

  • Suicidal Thoughts

  • Loss of a Parent

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

And you know what? I am still here!! Mental Illness is a difficult, harsh and life changing problem.

But

You can do it!! We are here for each other, if you are having a bad time, speak to someone – You can do it!!

Mental Health Awareness Letters – 2nd May 2018 – TW

As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I had an idea to write a letter each day to a person, or group of people that have had an impact on my own personal health. The first portion of the month has been delayed, however I hope that I will catch up and there will be a daily post. Thank You for taking the time to read these and I appreciate any comments or support you can provide on each post.

Please remember that if you are struggling with your health, both physical or mental, there may be some triggers in these letters-please seek support if you find these letters trigger any distress. Look after yourself!!

Letter 2 – To my old colleagues and your opinions on mental health conditions.

TW – This post discusses negative attitudes to Suicide/suicide attempts.

I have worked in several different areas but one thing stands out across all of my work places (in the UK) – is people’s attitude towards mental health.

I have heard colleagues in previous roles laugh about mental health, I have had to be present when these colleagues laugh and say that they ‘obviously hadn’t done the job properly’ and ask why “these people are ringing for help” and saying “if they want to kill themselves then just do it” or that they hadn’t “done the job properly and should do it properly next time instead of wasting time and ringing for help that, according to you is ‘not deserved’ “.

Some of these people laughing even rang in sick to work due to ‘stress and anxiety’ – then continued to ‘make fun and bully’ complete strangers.

Two colleagues in my role were supportive – I won’t put their names here but E and S were very supportive. S took time from his schedule and was so supportive, I appreciate him telling me his story and being so genuine when I asked for support. I wasn’t scared to be me and I was not made to feel like a liar, small or stupid.

S – You saved my life in a way you will never know. Thank You so much xx

  • To my other colleagues, I have sat behind you while you have talked about me.
  • I have been sat on the opposite table working whilst you have talked about me- I use to set my desk high and chair low, so to you it looked like an empty desk but I was there- whilst you mocked my colleagues and me!!
  • You have mocked my size, my mental health, my physical health and conditions, my marriage and LGBTQ issues.
  • You continue to this day to ban, block and ignore me on social media.

You are lucky!! Continuing to be lucky to this day that I did not take formal action and even criminal action against you.

I hope one day you bullies get treated as bad as the treatment you have given. Whilst I try not to ‘hate’ or treat people badly- I will not go out of my way to support bullies and hypocrites.

You contributed to me hating myself – but you will not win!!

One of the worst questions you can ask me….

Well there are several ways to word this question but the basic question that is really one of the worst you can ask me is;

“What has caused your anxiety/depression?”

At this point my head is saying

While there are several incidents, issues, triggers and events that have led to my current situation, the simple answer is ‘I DO NOT KNOW!!’

Quite frankly if I understood it myself I would have a better handle on my situation.

I am studying Mental Health and aim to have a career in the field, but even with my years of studying, assignments and exams – you can know about all the theorists, professors and professionals along with all the knowledge, practices and policies, but that does not mean you know everything. I still do not understand me.

It really distresses me and upsets me when people start to question me, I get embarrassed because I like having knowledge and when I cannot explain or justify myself it is embarrassing. Especially if there is a person looking at you or smirking, it is intimidating!!

sarcastic season 3 GIF by Ash vs Evil Dead

I am slowly losing the little level of trust I had in people. The way things are said, words being twisted and me being at fault.

I am struggling, not stupid!!

Maybe this journey is something I need to go through, I can already see it leading me towards certain goals. Maybe everything does happen for a reason. Only time will tell.

Self Care Developments of the week

I have been forcing myself into certain situations this week. Scary times but this week my accomplishments include;

  • Going to the Doctors,
  • Meeting up with my Sister who I haven’t seen in about a year,
  • Going to the Dentist for the first time in 5-8 years,
  • Gone to the shop during the day,
  • Rang for some support from a local service.

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I sit here on my bed writing this, I am tired, worn out and know there is a lot I should be doing, my days over the last few months have been getting darker and darker but I have made some progress into looking after myself.

I have also been making an effort to fill in my journal, it is a 365-day book I bought before Christmas and I said I will put feelings/drawings/events or whatever I want every day, although I am missing some days, but I am making progress with that too. I had a yummy Easter egg, that is only half eaten at the moment!! Salted Caramel. I love Cadbury eggs but restrained from getting them this year as I end up eating way too much, although I did buy two little bunnies in Lidl and I am proud to say they have not yet been eaten. Although I do need to confess I am drinking way too much fizzy soft drinks (I do not drink hot drinks so I use soft drinks as an excuse to get caffeine).

I have 3 assignments left for University, well until the new academic year starts in October but I am looking forward to getting them completed and sent off (not looking forward to weeks of waiting to hear if assignments are passed, if I do not get certain marks for them I fail the whole year). Whilst I am nowhere near 100% with my health, I need to use the time well to care for myself and get better. I am looking forward to developing this site and things to come.

 

Sertraline oh Sertraline….

So having spent the last two days in the bed I have got myself up and retreated to the sofa to watch tv with my pooch and wife.

So I have not left the house but it is cold and the effort to get dressed is too much.

I have been thinking about my Sertraline, whilst there have been several days or events I have attended and I am less anxious or OCD symptoms have subsided- I find myself having more bad days and a cycle or really happy days where the world is my oyster, I can sign up for races and challenges and do loads of Uni work along with extra courses and enquiring about new courses to do. But then everything comes crashing down, sometimes for no reason at all and a couple of times something has triggered a downward spiral.

I saw the CMHT and have been discharged from their service after the assessment for re-referral from the GP if I need them. Although they have suggested some treatment but no point referring until I have moved as it is different health trusts. They have also suggested my medication is changed- saw a GP but not my usual Doctor as she wasn’t working but my dose has been increased to the max dose of 200mg to try and if then there is no improvement then we will need to switch medications. I had over two months worth of tablets here so I would rather try the high dose rather than waste the tablets by returning them to be destroyed by the pharmacy.

I am really weary and nervous about switching do a different medication because I don’t know what to expect. I am scared to side effects like my hair breaking and falling out that Citalopram caused. I’m scared it will affect my work, relationship or driving, along with fertility and weight. I am just scared.

I am positive about the work I am doing to secure a future in Mental Health for myself but I feel my own mental health is an unsolved mystery and I don’t want to live like this anymore. I want to be happy and I want to teach; stand up in a room and present, attend parties without heart palpitations and sweating like I have had a bucket of water thrown over me. I want to get up and get out and not hide in the house and do nothing, or think about ways to hurt myself or force weight off or even give up and pile weight on.

Although on a positive note I start bereavement counselling this month. After so many losses in the past 14 years and not grieving or speaking about them I think it is the right time to start healing those wounds. But only time will tell.

Today is a bad mental health day….

After a few months of silence here I am, although I have been slapped in the face with a ‘bad mental health day’.

Now I cannot go into the reasons for this but I woke up this morning after a night of tossing, turning and very strange dreams. Anxiety and depression have come and hit me right in the face-meaning no work for me today.

My anxiety is being made worse also by the fact that I feel like I am letting people down because I’m not in work, when I should be.

I don’t really know what to do, I am a bit lost if I am honest. I work and I study ( which I have always done so the added work from Uni keeps my brain active and benefits me) but my health both physically and mentally is taking its toll on me.

I know I will get there but maybe a bad mental health day is the minds way of saying stop- take some time to yourself.

These are todays plans (apart from switching to tea as I don’t drink tea or coffee) ;

Tomorrow is a new day. Let’s see how it goes.

S xx