Open University Student. Student Nurse (Adult) Currently on a break. Student Leadership Academy Swansea University 2020 Participant. Health Care Worker. Chihuahua, Chorkie and Rankin Dragon Mami. Currently divorcing.
August 23rd 2021 = Primary Mental Health Assessment Day.
The dreaded and long awaited (not really, I only waited a few weeks) telephone call with my Local Primary Mental Health Team.
It actually went well. It was not my first time having an assessment, but I must say, I did prefer this telephone method, as well as the assessment itself being better, I felt more at ease than previous assessments.
I won’t go into much detail at the moment, as I want to ensure I get the right support first and avoid any further excuses and delays to my Divorce (The Divorce is on the final stage, so I can apply whenever, however, waiting on finances and property….still). But when I feel it is appropriate I will be more open. I am also very aware that people are going out of their way to look into my life and pass details over to certain people – But at the end of the day I have nothing to hide, I am telling the truth and if you want to condone abuse and violence, then do not bother trying to use the words ‘Be Kind’ or ‘Mental Health Matters.’ For those of you ‘Flying monkeys’ (Google it if you are unsure) and those saying you support mental health, support domestic abuse victims or even work in bealth services, teaching or caring industries-You are a hypocrite and should find a job in a more relevant area!!
I felt reassured that I am not ‘crazy’ or ‘imagining things’ as I have previously been told. It was a reality check for my mind, that it isn’t just physical abuse that leaves scars, but gaslighting and emotional abuse too, especially over a period of time.
I fear for those that still have the real side to experience, I fear their happiness and their lives. It is hard to adjust when you have shared your story (or part of it) and go unbelieved or not heard. There is only so much you can do.
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;
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!!
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;
Follow others rules in my own home,
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.