“Right from the start you were a thief, you stole my heart”

TRIGGER WARNING – Please take care, some of this content may cause upset and distress. Reach out for support if needed. 💜

“And I your willing victim”

Sound familiar? Yes that is a P!nk song

I had heard of people relating this song, ‘Just give me a reason‘ to a (damaging) relationship. However, I had not really thought about it. If I’m honest I could not really relate, although I love the song!

Looking back now, the song is actually pretty relevant to me. From the start of my last relationship, my heart was stolen by a kind, attentive and charming person. I had been back in the country for just over a year after spending 6 months away volunteering and nearly 2 years post relationship with my first serious boyfriend, who I thought I would marry and spend my life with. Within two weeks of seeing this person, totally infatuated, I accepted a drunken proposal. Despite it being nothing like I imagined-after double checking they remembered actually asking I said yes!!

Two years later we married.

Again, looking back before actually marrying I can see how I was totally attracted and won over by the charm, happy moments and love I felt. Ignoring the red flags and brief explanations for situations. Hiding myself and not telling my future in laws about our engagement, even going as far as her renting another room in the house (only used for storage) “just in case” anybody asked or visited. Because they “could not know.” By the time they knew we had moved to Wales and my ex had said she had cut out her family. I was the bad person who took her away from her family. Which was far from the truth. I wish I questioned this more at the time. Another red flag missed.

During the engaged-married phase we had good times, with very few disagreements. I shared stories, history and wounds. I felt happy and comfortable. I let someone gain my trust.

I identify with these words more so with the later experiences in the relationship, but definitely at least 2.5 years of the relationship. Feelings, events, emotions and even generalised facts that turned out to be true came out during sleep. Inconsistencies appeared, but I was persuaded that anything said during sleep was “not real” or “related to previous trauma” which I was told had “nothing to do” with myself. Everything had an explanation or excuse. For some reason, I just accepted these.

A barrier began to raise. Chemistry began to reduce, feelings changing. Nothing like the early stages of the relationship. Another major Red Flag missed.

Again, looking back, I was hooked. Love made me stay. It made me ignore anything that upset me, confused me or hurt me.

Like a circle, patterns and behaviours went round and round. Pain was fixed by promises and persuasion, kinder words, acts or gestures seemed to put a plaster over the issue. Things would plateau, before beginning the cycle again.

I was hooked.

Life revolved around happiness, experiences, sex and pleasure as well as a connection. Before switching back to negativity, tension and silent treatment. Where again, one small gesture or kind word seemed to fix things. Or so I thought.

Things on several occasions got to the point where I would sit there and think of reasons to stay. Reasons to fight. Reasons to change.

And then there is gaslighting

A person I loved. A person I trusted using my own trauma, my own insecurities and my own weaknesses to their advantage. Unknowingly being insulted and manipulated into thinking my feelings did not matter, that my concerns and genuine gut feelings were wrong. Even when having justification and evidence.

I was made to feel crazy and paranoid.

At the time I thought the stresses of life, bills, work and ill health were causing tension. Things felt empty. But yet I still was being made to believe my actions led to the situation. They obviously did not help and contributed but was definitely not the major issue. I wanted to fight, blinded by love. I thought we would be together forever. Despite looking at other couples and longing for their connection with my own wife.

Fast forward and behaviours continued, false promises made – resulting in “I don’t love you anymore.” Of course I came back within 24 hours – with the hope of change, false promises and a “mistake” being made. Yet things continued and the truth came out. There was someone else who had all the love that I was no longer being given.

Walking away was hard. But it had to be done. My wife at the time was in love with someone else, portraying me to others as someone I wasn’t.

It is amazing what information people come to you with, once a relationship is over. Finding out about things that have been said and done. Money saved away and plans to move others into my home. Expecting me to leave with nothing.

I wish I noticed the Red Flags sooner. I really do. Part of me also wishes I left sooner, before the added issue of her falling completely head over heels in love with someone else – like we did with each other years ago. If I had walked away sooner, perhaps the emotional damage would have been less?

These are just some of the reasons I find myself relating to this song more now, than following the release. I may be losing a marriage, my home and the life I knew. But I no longer have to;

  • Lie,
  • Withhold information,
  • Follow others rules in my own home,
  • Be silent,
  • Push myself when in a flare,
  • Ask permission to do certain things,
  • Play happy families,
  • Hide my chronic illnesses,
  • Sit silently while others call me the “friend” or the “partner” and allow people to not call me by my correct name or write the wrong name on cards without letting them know it is not correct,
  • Be manipulated, treated like rubbish and told I am imagining things, being crazy or paranoid.

I can start trying to be me again. Find myself and heal. I can find someone who does love me for me and protect me, rather than damage me.

I hope.

The memory of a child and how it had an impact on my life.

I remember a lot from when I was younger, but there are two distinct memories that are embedded in my mind, I did not know it at the time, but these memories played a part in mapping out my future.

The first memory involves me being in a car, I was being told if I cried and said I did not want to go and see my dad just say so and I could go to McDonalds. I was young and did not understand what was going on- I thought my father was mean and that I shouldn’t go near him. I liked McDonalds, so I cried….

I do not remember if a mobile phone was involved or if I was taken into a building or left in the car, that part is a blank. I remember if I cried I got McDonalds.

The second memory I am a bit older and I remember being told I could not go to my father’s funeral because of a few reasons, one being “there will be too many men there” so I did not go to my father’s funeral. At that point in life I didn’t really know about cremation, I presumed everyone was buried-I had only been to one funeral before, my Grandads’ and he was buried. I presumed that if I had no choice over going to the funeral it would be ok because there would be a grave I could go to. It turns out this was not the case either as my father was cremated and his ashes scattered.

I have been told that I am a liar and these memories are imaginary because they did not happen, but I remember them clearly, I can see them if I close my eyes. I may forget what I went upstairs for but these two memories I remember clearly.

What I did not know was that me being in the car that day, was because I was due to see someone (I don’t know if it was a judge or social services) however I know that this one decision had an impact on who ‘won’ custody of me. Of course I had a lot of good things happen to me growing up, I have four younger siblings that I love, but if I could go back to this day I would not have cried for that McDonalds and I would have gone to my Dads’ funeral. Judge me if you want but I was young and knowing what I know now, my father was not “dirty”, “bad” or “nasty” – he was my dad and he loved me.

The same goes for the second memory, apparently it did not happen and I was given a choice, but if that as the case I would never have missed my father’s funeral. These days I get very emotional surrounding death that I believe comes from having a lack of control at a young age when I lost a parent. Yes, I did not see him for about 8 years until he was in hospice care and yes, the parent I lived with got remarried and I have an amazing step Dad, but I still had another father. I have two dads (not in the sense of same sex parents) but my biological dad and my step dad (although I do not like the phrase step dad, he is my dad too).

As a child/young person, we aren’t always given freedom or choice, perhaps it is for protection or to maintain our innocence, but I draw the line on decisions being made for a child on the opinions of the decision maker-they should be made for the best of the child.

My bereavement for the loss of my father has only just begun recently and it has been 15 years. I never grieved, I didn’t want to, I was scared and did not want to show emotion in front of a certain person.

I have not forgiven myself for not standing up for myself, for not giving evidence in a custody battle, or going to that funeral and I don’t think I ever will. My life would have been so different if I stood up for myself.

Yesterday….

I said to myself I would try to write for at least a week using the WordPress daily prompts. Yesterday I forgot.

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My Facebook Post may explain a little.

April 25th, 2018 not only marked 2 years since my surgery (see April 25th 2018 – 2 Years Post Appendicectomy ), it also marked 15 years since my biological father died.

Due to my complex life history and reasons, I have only just started to explore my past in depth, I never grieved 15 years ago. With everything that has gone on in the last 2 years, my feelings of grief have only just emerged and I am starting the process 15 years on and getting help from available services where I can.

If you are grieving some time after losing someone I have learnt not to feel ashamed for your grief, there were several things stopping me from grieving years ago, it is not my fault I could not explore my feelings and I was not old enough or strong enough to stand up for myself. But I still deserve to grieve. We all do.

Yesterday’s daily word prompt was elaborate;

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Thanks Google!!

So I guess my contribution to the topic of elaboration involves my theory surrounding my grief. My childhood wasn’t necessarily unhappy, at the time anyway. Years on I have realised that certain things that happened and ways I was treated were not ‘normal’ and where definitely a cause for concern. I have had a complicated life, exploring it was always going to be a big job but writing this blog does help that. Maybe nobody sees this page, or comments, follows or supports it. But it is my story. My truth. I am not twisting or manipulating the truth, I have been lied to most of my life and I intend to live an honest life. If you do not like it then I am sorry. This is me.