15 July 2011

Emotional Abuse.

There I was, sat on the loo, knickers around my knees, gazing around, like you do, when the poster on the back of the door caught my attention.

Squinting to see better, my heart and breathing stopped.

We were at the Sure Start Children's Centre, little Robson and I, a few years ago and as life can do, it turned around in that very moment, not so edifying as it was and a normal day turned in to a not-so-normal one.  Oh.

'Intimidation and Bullying - using looks and gestures, threats of suicide, making you feel guilty, putting you down, Isolation - controlling who you see, making you feel afraid, blah blah blah.'  It all turned into a haze.  Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.  No.  A bit. Not sure, really etc.

So it wasn't me.  Not crazy after all, then.   It was classed as Domestic Abuse, according to this sheet of paper harmlessly hung there.

Not Domestic Violence.  The difference was important.  It helped.  It clarified things.

Although his actions could sometimes be classed so, he never struck me.

Having come from a Rugby background, violence was part of him and it sometimes showed.  However, I didn't like it - it was confusing.

In lots of ways, he was kinder than anyone else, my Ex, but that little read is exactly what started the ball rolling that day for him to no longer be my husband, i.e. for me to divorce him.

All in all, it was relief there was a name for it, because living a lie is a strain.  What to do about it would remain unresolved at that point, but, armed with such arresting information, the balance of power changed that day. Sometimes it is evident in other relationships  - not nearly to such an extreme extent, but especially around money issues.

Having worked in the City some years before, it had been only natural to acquire my own home outright, but he soon had me releasing equity, with my confidence eroded, to pay for counselling and flounder around - not my nature at all - just to pick up all the pieces of his sorry existence.

I loved him, that was the problem.

Why?  Because he was wonderful at first and he found me, pursued me and appreciated me, respected my Healing work and wasn't fazed by the odd TV, Radio or Newspaper interview demanded of me.  Looking back, he wasn't very impressed either - he was supposed to be the star of the show, remember, but he was far too clever to say so.

He undermined me in other ways, while staying pleasant on the surface and when your confidence has gone and their public persona becomes further removed from the private one, it is impossible to tell when their temper tantrums take over and your life becomes increasingly less yours.

Most of us think we are above this kind of thing and, being no exception, things ticked along for a quite a period of time.  Then the penny dropped.  That my unhappiness was not necessarily of my own making, but by colluding, it most certainly was.

And reading those faithful ' Diaries of a Middle Aged Single Mum,' this one written Summer 2009, reminds me how much harder everything was to become once the courage to do what had to be done came, plus how  every single hardship was worth it, per ounce.

Having some luck now with pictures, and from now on, we will be dealing with what this blog was originally destined to be - the more humorous aspects of being an older single mum - and less of how we got here.

P.S.  We go to the same Centre now, little Aiden and me.  The humble poster remains in place.  Who knew peeing could make you so proud?!  (Tel. 0808 2000 247 for help).  

Column 3 - Exhaustion and Delight Set In.  
 Supernanny ImagesTOP tip:  Never watch ‘Supernanny’ with any of your children!

Oh dear.  What a huge mistake – probably the worst ever since becoming a mum.  An absolute disaster. 

Robson, visibly appalled by the kids’ behaviour in the episode we watched together ‘for fun’ has ever so efficiently managed to mimic it brilliantly.  Firstly, it was funny.  Now, not so.  We have been to Hell and back slowly, surely and several times over.   

Matters have somewhat tempered a bit, but tempers are what we are dealing with. Estranged Husband said he could have told me what would happen.  Always clever after the event, while no help whatsoever in the aftermath.  He just sits there in shock.

Am well past that myself, trying not to faint with fatigue or the self-inflicted stress and agony of it all.   

Tiredness already overshadowed a great deal, what with the relentless disturbed nights and seeming conspiracy between the two boys that one of them will definitely be awake in the early morning to boot absolutely EVERY single day.  Not to mention the sheer practicalities of becoming a single parent and strain of a marriage break down.

But, no, depths of despair were yet to be discovered, only to be superceded by full on fear as Robson runs around the house screaming, clinging on to the furniture or bannisters, defying my attempts to place him on his ‘Naughty Step,’ while crossing his eyes when being told off.  A very impressive impersonation, it has to be said.  He, sweet natured, never would have thought of that himself, but it is no less awful for it and never previously being disposed or prone to headaches has meant these new ones I have developed - during such stage managed dramas – are all the extra unwelcome as something else to learn to cope with.  

My Susan Boyle effect eyebrows - one before her makeover and the other after it because the second one never gets finished - or even started sometimes - are now well matched with Hollywood sized circular bags under the eyes.  These, sadly, make me reminiscent for the smudged mascara I keep striving to remove with no such luck, because that is not what all the grey is.  It is only now my looks have disappeared that I realise there might have been any there in the first place, but that’s ageing for you! 

On the plus side, however, apart from all the madness, there is a wonderful air of peaceful delight among the three of us.  We dance in the kitchen a great deal and are generally frivolous without the moody old man mocking us.  We enjoy eating.  Plus chasing and tickling one another is a great pastime.  There are no demands other than our- plentiful enough - own, yet having a free rein enables me to be calmer and, therefore, more intuitive with the boys.  I can be gentle and truly listen to them without someone else to answer to or consider.  There can be quiet thinking time, which is essential and constructive.   

Not that one could be terribly averse to some regular back up, some splendid ideas and real support as Nature intended.  Indeed, in principle, with the right person, this could be deemed downright attractive, especially since this latest stupid scenario has occurred.

Experience with Estranged Husband, the first time around with son number one, proved to be radically more pressured.  It is preferable this way for now, but feels totally unnatural to be alone with it all.  Not only could the delight be at least doubled and the chores shared, it just makes more sense.  A recent short stay with my mum proved beneficial all round.  Robson and his cousins have each other and Baby Aiden doesn’t get plonked down once he’s stuck his nose in my armpit, smiling triumphantly, falling asleep after a feed.  
We are full of love.  The loveliness has room to outweigh the loneliness and Robson’s serious questions - such as whether the ‘Stop n Grow’ we paint on his nails will make his bogies bigger if he picks his nose - get more attention.

It may also be possible to remember whether it was the evening before that my teeth were cleaned, because, in the mornings, purely through lack of sleep, it feels like they were only just done. But we live miles away where the days are long, the nights seem longer, yet the years shoot by faster than we can say ‘Supernanny.’  And in the meanwhile there is always Touche Eclat make-up!     

Read Diary 1 HERE.

Read Diary 2 HERE.

Read Diary 4 HERE.