After ten years of marriage, Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow have announced they are to bring their marriage to an end. They have stated that over the past year they have been working hard to live some of it together and some of it apart. They have now worked out that they are not to be together as a couple but they will remain as a family. They go on to say that they still love each other and in some respects are closer than ever.
What do you think of this statement? I personally think if they do manage to get along and still spend time as a family with their children then this is admirable. Many people may argue that if this arrangement was for the sake of their children then maybe they should have stayed together for the sake of them. I disagree with this stance. Children know when their parents are happy. Children benefit much more from two happy parents than spending time in one miserable and unhappy home.
I hope this arrangement works out for them. I would have given anything for things to have been amicable between my ex (father to my children) and I. It was never a possibility for me as my ex did not even wish to communicate with me for the sake of my children, never mind spend time as a family.
Good luck to them, I say! And for those that say ‘what a shame’ and ‘no one seems to last long these days’ I would respond with this: Ten years of marriage is admirable, it is a long time in anyone’s life, around one eighth or so. To commit to a person for this amount of time is in itself an achievement. Not much lasts forever, it is not the way of life, everything changes and evolves. People also change, we are not immune to this. If one changes and becomes so different to the other, it is unusual for them to break away and find a place they feel they fit, with another or others they feel at home with and where they belong. Life is too short to be unhappy. To be happy is not a selfish act. To remain in a unhealthy relationship or situation is a tragedy and a waste of the life you have been given.
Emotional Abuse is not something which is easy to recognise. I was involved in an emotionally abusive relationship for five years in total, I was married to him and had two children with him. I did not realise at the time that the relationship was abusive. I thought we just had a ‘roller coaster’ of a relationship and there was so many ups and downs because we were passionate about the relationship an really loved each other. That is what he told me anyway………
Many people think someone in an abusive relationship is in denial, but in actual fact most do not realise there is a problem. They are not burying their head in the sand or covering up for them…..they just DO NOT relate themselves to being in an abusive relationship. Full Stop.
Abuse is usually something which is thought to be physical….something which can be seen….marks on the body for example. It is also important to remember that abuse of any type is not limited to a male abusing a female. Abuse happens in same sex relationships and some females abuse males. We need to learn to pick up signs of emotional abuse, whether this is for yourself or someone else. Emotional abuse is something which is more difficult to pin point as there are often no signs. At first things are great and then one day something happens but because you are hoping that this person is ‘THE ONE’ you are looking at them with rose tinted spectacles! You will justify their behaviour in your own mind with things like ‘they ve just had a bad day’ or ‘they are nice to me all the other times, they do not mean it.’ Every time you smooth over a situation and let your partner get away with the unacceptable behaviour the next time it is likely to be worse, it is a steady decline. The power they feel makes them want more and more. They will no doubt apologise, they may buy you gifts, take you somewhere nice to make up for their behaviour. Some will cry telling you how bad they feel… (this means that they are sorry….does n’t it?) HELL NO!!! You could not be further from the truth. They are simply manipulating you into feeling sorry for them, transferring the guilt on to you, and over time ‘chipping away’ at you, slowly unpicking your personality, stripping you of your charisma self-esteem and independence, simply so they can control you and you will be totally dependent upon them. They will suck out your ambition, crush your spirit and stamp on your feelings. They will rule you with an iron fist.
“This won’t happen to me” I hear you say……. THAT’S WHAT I SAID……But it happened to me.
I did not realise it, my family did not realise it (in fact he even managed to turn some of my family against me) and it was only thank you to a caring work colleague who one day took me to one side and said “This is emotional abuse, he is doing all he can to try and break you down….” That was the day when the penny dropped. That was the beginning of the rest of my life. So what are some of the signs of EMOTIONAL abuse?
1. THEY WANT YOUR UNDIVIDED ATTENTION 24/7 This sounds great does nt it. When you first get together it is normal to want to spend time together. But if they drop all his friends and stop doing the normal things like their hobbies etc, your relationship may be going in the wrong direction. If you feel you do not have much time for yourself, or your friends or family, and feel that you cannot do the things you normally would do as you do not want to upset your partner then your partner is probably trying to control you. This may seem dramatic….but think to 6 months or so down the line, when you are constantly attached to each others hip, and your friends or family no longer invite you to do things as they know your answer will be ‘no’. How will you feel when you realise that the only person you have is your partner? Probably fine…..until something goes wrong and you feel lonely and stuck. Is this really how a relationship should feel? “I had a little boy when I met my ex, I did n’t realise at the time, but my partner was extremely jealous of my little boy and tried to push him out. He not only emotionally abused me but he emotionally abused my son too. that is something I find difficult to deal with and it has taken a long time for me to forgive myself. Luckily my son is growing up to be a good level headed young man, of whom I am very proud of. It could have been a very different story.”
2. THEY ACT LIKE A DICTATOR AND MAKE ALL THE RULES IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP They do not want you to hang out with your mates, but it is fine for them to do what they want…..they will complain that they do not like your friends, saying they are a bad influence or are too slutty or they do not trust them. They hate your best friend (probably because they are trying to indicate your partner is controlling….). Does this sound familiar? How about this: They do not like the clothes you wear, always choose what you are doing, what you are eating, what you are drinking…. “My ex hated my best friend. He was very clever as he managed to turn things around so that I felt sorry for him and I ended up not seeing my best friend for over two years. I never fell out with her we just eventually lost touch. She was frustrated because all she wanted for me was to be happy and to be with someone who treated me right. I was so in love with him that I could not see the tree for the woods. Looking back he was always controlling, very clever and calculating and in the end I paid the price. Luckily my best friend and I are now back in touch and things are as they always were. We are always here for each other. We may not see each other from one week to the next, but we share a bond which has always been present from the day we first met at nursery at the age of just three years old. That bond will never be broken. The day we reunited we picked up from where we left off. I was lucky but many people would have lost that friend for good.”
3. THEY ISOLATE YOU FROM PEOPLE THAT YOU LOVE This related to the point above, but goes a little step further as it moves from telling you that they do not like your friends, family etc to then actually managing to stop you from seeing them. You will stop going out with friends so that they stop accusing you of cheating. You will stop seeing your parents to avoid you getting backlash from your partner because ‘you stayed too long’ or ‘you said something wrong.’ Your partner creates situations to try and force you to choose between them and your friends/family. You should be able to talk to and spend time with people you like without having to justify yourself. “My ex used to insinuate that my parents had said something horrible about me to them, such as “they say you are out of control” or “well that’s not what they ve said.” but would never elaborate, leaving me to stew. This allowed me the time to create whatever situation my brain wanted. It left me feeling like I could no trust anyone.”
4. THEY ‘RE TAKING AWAY YOUR FREEDOM AND NEED TO KNOW YOUR EVERY MOVE A really bad sign of an emotionally abusive relationship is if your boyfriend demands that you tell him details like where you are going, what you are doing and who you are with. He gets mad whenever you do something without telling him. If you do not tell them, then they will do all they can to find out. They cannot deal with not knowing! “My ex went so far as to check my phone and social media accounts, he would log in as me and response to message as if it was me. It was only when friends responded saying things like “What are you talking about?” that I would realise what they had done. My ex once even text a work colleague pretending to be me, saying something along the lines of “Great night last night, can’t wait to see you again.” The colleague asked me what was going on. Although it was extremely embarrassing I am so glad that he did, as I was able to prove the message was not from me as it was from another number (and it made no sense anyway as I was not with them the night before) but I also have a very good indication of who it was…..”
5. THEY USE THE SILENT TREATMENT TO PUNISH YOU An emotionally abusive guy will refuse to answer text messages, phone calls and e-mails when he gets mad at you. He won’t tell you the reasons that he is mad at you either. Instead, he’ll just disappear off the face of the earth until he feels that you have been punished enough. “My ex ignored me for weeks on end. We lived together and the atmosphere was unbearable. It was only once he could see I was at breaking point that he would then offer ‘an olive branch’, a cuddle, a kiss….but never a sorry. That was my job!”
6. THEY PUT YOU DOWN AND HURT YOUR FEELINGS “He would call me ‘fat’, ‘ugly’, ‘manipulative’, ‘horrible’, ‘bad mum’ etc etc, anything he knew that was important to me, he would pick at. I now know that he put me down so that he had control over me.” An emotionally abusive guy will accuse you of making a big deal out of nothing when you tell him he’s being hurtful. (Like my ex who always used to say ‘oh as normal you are making a mountain out of a molehill’, or ‘you are such a drama queen, get a grip.’) This type of person is so insecure of themselves that they need to lower your self-esteem to ensure that you always stay with them.
7. THEY ARE EXTREMELY JEALOUS….OF ANYONE IN PARTICULAR FRIENDS OF THE OPPOSITE SEX When you are out together, they constantly accuse you of looking at other people. They will accuse you of trying to make them jealous whenever you dress sexy. They do not let you wear sexy clothes like a little summer mini dress or (men) taking your top off to show your abs! “My ex used to tell me that I looked better without make up and did not want me wearing shorts or short skirts telling me I looked like a slut.”
8. THEY HAVE NO LIMITS Some emotional abusers are drug/alcohol dependent and will often put their addictions before you. This will bring out the worst in them and will often be when they are at their worst.
9. HE INSTILLS FEAR IN YOU Most healthy romantic relationships offer support and security. “I never felt secure and I never felt supported. This only made me try and get more affection from him by trying to please him more.” You should feel comfortable in being able to talk to your partner about anything without having to worry about what their reaction is going to be. whatever I discussed with my ex, he would turn it back on me so that I was the person who was at fault. “Why are you always playing victim!” Would be a favourite statement of his. You and your partner should be able to accept each other for who you are. If your partner instils fear by threatening or intimidating you to the point where you hesitate to do things without your partner’s approval, it is time to re-evaluate the relationship. I would in fact suggest ‘getting out’.
10. HE LOWERS YOUR SELF-ESTEEM What do you think when you imagine your favourite partner. Mine make me feel like I am the only woman in the world, they make me feel beautiful, they build you up, they hug you and make you feel loved. If they begin to make you feel like nothing, you start to doubt who you are and what you are worth, or being to feel like you have nothing to offer and are worthless, then your partner is not having the effect on you that they should and it is time to re-consider.
11. HE TREATS YOUR LIKE PROPERTY You know that it is time to end an emotionally abusive relationship when you no longer feel like you have any input in it. Your partner only cares about self-preservation and uses you to benefit himself or herself. There is no “we” in your relationship, it is solely based on the interests of one person. And we all know that that is not how things should work out.
12. ROLLER-COASTER RELATIONSHIP If there is never a constant in your relationship and you never know what to expect from it, it would be categorized as unhealthy. Although it is typical for couples to go through their ups and downs, cyclical highs and lows should not become a pattern. Once you get into a habit of severe fights followed by make ups, you will never gain stability. This erratic relationship can only result in lots of stress and heartbreaks. “From the start we used to argue and fall out, he would throw me out of the house, and then in a few hours we would make up. He would justify it by telling me that his friend had said ‘It is the day when you stop fighting that you should worry, as that is when you feel you have nothing to fight for.’ Another favourite: ‘It is only because we love each other so much that we argue.’
13. THEY USE GUILT TO GET WHAT THEY WANT “If I was ever due to go anywhere whether with friends or family, my ex would write me letters insinuating that he was going to harm himself then take off in his car. He would go missing for hours. He would nt answer my calls or texts and would often turn off his mobile, only returning after ensuring I had missed my prior arrangement or just beforehand telling me I could go, knowing full well I would not go as I was not ready and was too upset to do so. If it was ever brought up in a later argument he would tell me ‘well I told you to go!’
You are worth so much more.
Your life is valuable.
It is a gift.
It is your duty to grasp it with both hands.
Do not allow anyone to take this gift away from you.
Are you planning on proposing some time this year but not sure how to do it? Are you looking for something different other than he standard get down on one knee? Are you unsure if they will say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ and for this reason would like to put off buying the ring until you are sure? (OK, so this last question is not ideal, but lets be honest it happens…..)
Whilst browsing the internet this morning I found this charming necklace, It can be personalised with any message you wish. However, I thought it was perfect with the message ‘Marry Me.’ How cute, and what a great keepsake (if they said yes, of course!). There is a mini version (which is the one shown above) at a cost of £49, with the standard size costing £68-£80 depending upon whether you choose the gold or silver option.
We would be more than happy to be proposed in this way. Gone are the days of ‘down on one knee’ holding an Elizabeth Duke velveteen ring box. You need to stand out from the crowd and make a proposal that your chosen lady will remember for time. However you decide to do it, this would be a great addition.
After a peaceful week and a fabulous weekend spent with friends and family I woke up this morning in a great mood. Despite me being woken by our pup at 6am I was happy, the sun was shining and I was still buzzing from this weekend. You simply cannot beat spending time with people you really love. Some of my friends I love like they are my family and feel more at home with them than some of my actual family.
Shame the ex had to get in touch this morning with another manipulating text full of guilt trips and hate. This instantly put me in a bad mood. No matter how much I try to not let this man affect my life I just cannot help it. This frustrates me no end. Instead of letting it get me down for too long I’ve learned to try and deal with my emotion and release it. I did a quick drawing, the title…….Bad Mood
I had my first child at 17, needless to say I was nt married and the relationship did not last. By 28 I had given birth to my second and third children. I still was not married, nor did the fella ever intend to propose, mainly as he knew he had some sort of control in this matter, and all I ever wanted was the happily ever after. So I planned the wedding, and when our third child was 6 months old, we got married. I was never proposed to, and he never said he wanted to marry me, but he did. I am now divorced. Single again and have been for two years. I am dating, for the first time in my life. I meet men, go on dates and if I want to see them again I do, if I don’t then I don’t. For the first time in my life, I realised I actually had a choice in relationships. My children are older now. I go out with friends, I go on holiday with them, weekends away to festivals and allow myself that time to let my hair down. I am truly living a single life. With three older children in tow. They of course also get my time, but as I am sole carer, with not much of a break I allow myself some freedom now and again. I benefit, but so do they.
I had a career at 21, working in a law firm, receiving a large pay check at the end of each month and a decent annual bonus to boot. At 30, I left, I’d had enough of the rat race and returned to university. I am a student. I also work, part time.
I had a house at 21, albeit with a mortgage but it was mine. After a failed engagement and then a failed marriage and all the financial implications that came with that (thanks ex-husband for eternally lumbering me with your debt) I now live in rented. Although it is not all bad, as in actual fact this is the first house that actually feels like home to me, since leaving my parents home some 15 years ago.
At 21, despite having a child, I had savings. Maybe this was because it was before the recession hit us, I do not know. But I now no longer have savings. Another way I have gone backwards…..?
I felt at one point I had it all. Husband, children, career, money. But I did not. I did not have my freedom, nor my happiness. I was sad, and despite being surrounded by my husband and children I felt lonely. Nothing fulfilled me. I felt like a shell, an outline of a person with nothing inside. Empty.
I used to be very creative, but all of this had fallen by the way side to make time for my career and my children. I was desperately trying to hold everything together and it worked for a couple of years, but once the cracks began to show, no matter how much I tried to plaster of them, it was just a temporary fix. I had to strip back to basics, and reassess my life. At first I thought I had thrown everything away, until I realised I had in fact just began to clear everything away. The things which I no longer needed in my life as they served no purpose, and in fact made me very unhappy. However, I am happier now than I have ever been. I still have problems in my life I have to deal with, but I do not ‘struggle’ to deal with them. I am not constantly stressed out and have managed to develop a ‘whatever will be, will be’ attitude. I believe sometimes we are so conditioned by society that we believe the house, car, husband, children, career blahdy blah is what is going to keep us happy. Having lived that live, it did not work for me, and I know plenty others that it has not worked for either.
If you feel unhappy, it is time to assess your life. Do not be frightened, as you have to do this, for yourself. You have a duty to live life in the most happiest, fulfilling way that you can.
I had difficulty allowing myself time. I felt guilty, feeling as though I had to be there for my children 24/7. So I not only felt guilty when I went out for dinner with friends, or for a weekend away at a spa, I felt guilty when I went to work! Working 10 hours a day in a law firm, meant most days I did not see my children for more than an hour a day-combined from before and after work. It made it more difficult for me to accept as when I tried to explain it to my husband, he was so money driven (mainly as I paid his bills) that he failed to even consider a reduction in my hours. So when I was finally brave enough to take a look at my life, and after my now ex-husband had left, I know the next thing on my list was my work. I had always been interested in people and what made them tick, so I chose to do Psychology. I left my work, which had always served as a security blanket and I took the giant step of becoming a student. This freed up a lot of my time, and now I can take my children to school every morning and collect them from school three days a week. The guilt of not being a ‘proper’ mother (this way my ideal of the type of mother I wanted to be) to my children has gone. Which now means I can also take time out some weekends, guilt-free.
Your steps do not have to be as life changing as mine, I am in no way advocating that every one packs in their jobs and gets divorced. This worked for me, and I am still in transition after two years, but every day I am a step closer to where I want to be. So even though I looked as though I was going backwards, (and believe me, many people questioned me, and some thought I was in mid-life crisis) I actually just cleared the decks so I could move forwards. I AM HAPPY.
My now ex-husband left the marital home three years ago, on Valentine’s day-anything for a bit of extra drama! So it has always been a bit of a strange day for me, a celebration of finally becoming free, but a reaffirmation I was once again single! Last year was the first Valentine’s day since the eventful departure/extraction of the ex where I actually felt able to date. I had been chatting to a man online for a few weeks and when he asked me out on a date, nicely coinciding with the 14th February, I was very happy to accept. I thought ‘Wow, this timing is perfect, it is surely meant to be!’ He seemed nice, always had plenty to talk about and from his pictures he looked attractive.
So, Imagine my disappointment when the guy who turned up looked distinctly older than he did on his photographs. He was also much shorter than his 6 foot 1 inches he had entered on his profile. So glad I had decided not to wear heels that day. I attempted to hide my disappointment and decided not to write him off just yet. We had connected when chatting on line….kind off, and he seemed pleasant enough. He suggested we go for a drink before our meal. As soon as we entered the bar we got our drinks and we went to sit down. He led me over to a table and he sat in the single chair leaving me to sit on a bench type chair in the corner, not very polite may I say, and in addition, I do not like being shoved in a corner. As soon as I sat down he then got up and sat next to me on the bench style chair. As there was also a table in front of me I now felt rather uncomfortable-in fact worse than that, TRAPPED. To break the ice and try to alleviate the awkwardness of the situation, I began began chatting about the messages we had sent and the conversations we had covered in those messages. As hard as I tried, after twenty minutes or so the conversation began to run dry, I was really struggling to find anything to say to this man. This is unusual for me as I can quite often fill any awkward silences with ease but this time I just could not think of any words. It confirmed things when he returned from a trip to the toiler and exclaimed:
“Oh well you’ve not done a runner so that’s a bonus!”
By this point I was desperately trying to think of a viable excuse as to why I could not go for the meal with him. I began saying I needed to get home shortly as I had loads of things to sort out before work the next day. He proceeded to show me pictures of his family days out, a final picture of his mum with hot chocolate round her mouth and stuck to her teeth were pretty much the final straw for me. Was this fella just some crazy man?! As I was about to make my excuses and go I received a text message. ‘YES!’ I thought. ‘A get out clause, I can just tell him that there is some emergency and I really need to go.’ But no one could prepare me for this. I could not believe it, it was from my date-YES THE ONE SAT NEXT TO ME! I looked at him, puzzled, and he showed no emotion on his face at all so I assumed it was an old message which had come through late. But as I clicked the message open I could not believe my eyes. The message read:
I am dying to kiss you right now
I know we met online, but this man did realise that when you meet up in person you are supposed to be able to converse face to face right? That we are not still in cyberland…..did nt he? I looked at him again (more than likely with a look of horror on my face). At this point I really could not think of anything I would rather not do. I did not fancy him at all, there was no connection, no spark and to be honest he actually was starting to freak me out! I could not understand how he had read this situation so badly. Surely the absence of my response and the look I gave him was enough for him to understand that this was no the way to approach a situation? APPARENTLY NOT!!!
Before I could do or say anything he lunged towards me, and I did only what I could have done in this desperate situation-I grabbed the scarf tied around my neck, and pulled it up over my face and said:
“NO, I REALLY DO NOT WANT TO!”
My date looked wounded, like a child who’d been told off for stealing biscuits out of the biscuit tin. He replied “Really?”. Erm, let me take a minute this think about this………YES, REALLY! I had been hemmed into a corner, subjected to his family album and epic tedious stories about people, of whom I had no idea who they were, pictures of chocolate teeth, and to top it off a text message whilst he was sat next to me. This was embarrassing enough, but then to have to create a diversion so as to not have to kiss him was more than my nerves could take. I felt as though I was on the verge of a panic attack. Overall I think anyone would probably agree this was not a great first date! We sat there in silence for what felt like a life time in itself(probably about three seconds) and all I could think about what what I could say so he would let me get away.
“So……erm…..I’ve lots to do before work tomorrow, I am sorry but I need to leave.”
I managed in a slightly nervous squeaky voice. With this I shoved my way out of the corner and practically ran through the door. This was the last time I saw this man and the last time I engaged in online dating.
Yes he looked good, with his bulging biceps, tattooed arms and toned legs. At first sex was good, I think it was the novelty of having my own toy ken in the bedroom. However, the novelty did nt last long. His inability to talk about anything other than what he had trained, who he had trained, what he had eaten and what i had eaten soon took its toll. This poor man had no substance, he was like a really disappointingly expensive sweet. You take off the wrapper and it looks amazing but as soon as you take a bite you realise the investment was nt quite worth it so leave it for someone else to finish or put it in the bin.
I am struggling at the minute to write much for the ‘Diary of a Divorcee’. I know this is unusual, but for some reason I no longer see myself as a divorcee. I know I was once married, but now so much time has passed since we were together that I feel it never really happened. It is as if it was someone else who lived that part of my life. I have changed and grown so much in the last two and a half years that although the person I was then is still in there, it is only a small part of me. That small part is not significant enough to really have an impact on me any more.
The fact I have struggled to write for the diary is strange in one way because at the minute I have a real battle on my hands regarding contact with my children and their father. This is not something I ever anticipated I would be involved in (but then again I never anticipated divorce either did i?!) Not much of a psychic am I……god damn it, I really need to dig out that crystal ball!
So, anyway, due to some safeguarding issues for the time being I have had to make the massive decision to put a little bit of space between my children and their father. This is not a decision I have made lightly, and it is not one that I could make over night either. But when you are put in a position where you are actually questioning the safety of your children it is not something you can take a chance on really. I’ve had numerous meetings with solicitors and other professionals to ensure I am making the right decision. It truly has been one of the most difficult decisions ever.
Do not get me wrong…..I do not like the guy (my ex) one bit. For the past four to five years he has made my life a misery, or at least tried to. For the past two years I have learned to accept that this is the way he is and developed certain coping mechanisms. These are by no way ‘bullet proof’ but they get me through most situations. However, I would love some super hero on my side at the minute. If only there was such a character that could come and magically neutralize your feelings and emotions when it comes to dealing with your ex partners, especially where children are concerned. This aside, no matter how much I dislike him because of how he treats me and indeed communicates with me (in front of the kids), I have always tried to be reasonable. I have always realized that is is the children who would suffer otherwise (mainly because I saw it first hand with my parents so I have that hindsight). I have also seen the looks on their little faces when they are repeating to me what their father has said to them about me, and they are truly sad by the fact their parents do not get along. It hurts them.
This time though he has crossed a line which I simply cannot ignore. Things have come to light which when I have actually been able to consider their true meaning and seek professional advice I have been advised to stop contact. This has not gone down too well at all. Which is no surprise, if this happened to me I would simply die without my children. I was literally in tears writing a letter to him advising contact has to be stopped. As I said I do not like the guy, and I do not agree with what he has done either, but if I could not see my children then someone may as well rip out my heart, screw it up and feed it to a pack of dogs. Following that they may as well shoot me or take out my brain as I would surely go insane. As cliche as it is to say it, my children are my life (and I make no apologies for saying that). My ex will never know how difficult this decision has been for me as I know he thinks I am doing it for my own hidden agenda. Even when I have written a letter explaining the reasons for my decision and the fact that it is for no reason other that I do not believe our children are safe in his care. The sad thing is he does not have the capability to understand what he has done wrong. He does not understand the hurt and upset he has caused nor the impact this could have on our children long term. He blames me. Apparently I am the cause of all of this situation and he has gone so far as to say that he hopes I will explain to our children when this is all over why I have caused this upset to them, and indeed their father.
If he wants me to explain that he has put their safety in danger, that he has spoken about our children in a way that is unforgiveable, and decided to choose his bravado over his children’s wellbeing that sure, I can do this. But not until they are old enough to understand, and due to the nature of the incidents I am not sure when this will be, but it will not be any time soon.
Luckily, I have a strong network of family and friends behind me. This keeps me sane and strong. Without these people in my life I would surely struggle as an ordeal such as this tests even the strongest of characters. My advice to anyone who is going through something similar is, no matter how difficult things appear, keep going. Write down at the outset the reason why you are doing what you are doing. Because believe me if your ex is anything like mine, they will try and manipulate you and break you down, trying to destroy all your beliefs and reasoning. You have to be strong for your children. If you do not fight for them then who will? Your number one job when you have children is to be their protector. You always hope it will never come to it that you will have to protect them from their father (you ve probably never even considered it!), a person who once was supposed to protect you all. Sometimes, life happens and you just have to deal with it. One day it will all be over, and your children will thank you for what you have done. Never question your motivations as mother if you are truly putting your children’s welfare and well being at the center of your decision making. You can only do what you feel is right. Similarly though, this goes for men who have this the other way around. I know a man who is in exactly the same position with me and his ex-wife.
As a parent whether you are mum or dad, you have a duty to ensure your children are safe…..from everyone, including if the situation arises, the other parent.
May be I have struggled to write for this diary because I have needed time to accept the situation. (And it is a lot differnt to the posts about me and the stream of bad dates or nor so great propositions). It has taken a lot of digesting, strength, courage and adjustment. I know this is going to be a long-haul type of situation and not something which can be resolved over night. However, I am happy for this situation to be decided by a professional and not just be pushed into a decision by my over powering ex-husband. If the Court looks at all the information available to them and decides he should have contact, supervised or otherwise at least that decision is out of my hands and I have done my best to protect them. Cop out? May be…..but at least I won’t question whether or not I have fulfilled my chief role as parent: Protector
I was always perceived at school as a pretty and intelligent girl who was confident and not scared to stand up for herself. The truth was I was shy and had very low self esteem. I constantly strived for approval from others and all I ever wanted was to be accepted.
I could never work out whether or not I was accepted and so I would do things that I would not necessarily do, and for that reason I have made some bad choices in my life. Nothing which has ended me in prison or anything but nonetheless, if I knew what I know now things would have been very different.
My mum and dad divorced when I was 10. I never thought it affected me until recently. I looked back at my life and realised I have been rather destructive to myself and in particular in relationships. My dad was not an altogether abusive man but on occasion was physically abusive to my mum. My mum was not an overall manipulator but could be manipulative. It is easy for me to see why they are not together now when I look at them both. They are both remarried and happy. Furthermore, they are all friends which is nice to see, though it has taken them twenty years to get there.
As I always wanted to feel accepted and wanted, I became sexually active at 15. By the time I was 17 I was pregnant, to a boy from school. He became abusive and manipulating and I let it all happen. Getting pregnant was actually the saving grace as it gave me the strength to end the relationship as I did not want my child growing up around this man. In short, he kidnapped me, he abused me both physically and mentally, he stole off me and he cheated on me with numerous other girls and even one of my ‘friends’. I did not know at the time but he was also an alcoholic and a drug user, who was also struggling with coming to terms he was bi-sexual. Not that this gave him the right to treat me in the way he did.
After I had my child I met someone who was doing well for themselves and was extremely good looking. He even helped me look after my child. At first things were great, we shared lots of great times. But eventually the relationship fell apart. He became very controlling and rather manipulative and I felt trapped. I was 22 but felt like 32 (I am 33 now and I felt older then than I do now!) I still see this man as he still has contact with my child and for that I will always be thankful. But what I had done was let another man look after me and do everything for me.
To be honest looking back I am not surprised I met someone else. Not only were there issues in my relationship with control generally taking each other for granted, probably due to the fact we were very young and not really knowing how to deal with difficulties in the relationship. Additionally, I found it extremely difficult to communicate with my partner. I am not suprised at this either. Although I’ve always known my parents loved me, whilst I was growing up I was not really told that they did. I never heard the words ‘I love you.’ When I lived with my mum and dad, dad occasionally did not come home. I remember me asking mum one morning whilst in the kitchen where dad was and she told me he had gone to work early. Even at the young age of 8 or 9 years old I remember thinking ‘he did nt come home’. If my mum and dad had problems then they argued. I remember a lot of bickering and sniping, but I do not remember them being particularly happy.
I guess then in some way I had been programmed not to deal with issues and to retaliate by pushing people away, because I believed they were going to leave anyway. With hindsight I now know that this is what happened with this man. I did my best to push him away, as this was a barrier I had put up as I believed he would leave anyway. I could not fully open myself up to love him and I could not believe that someone actually loved me for me. We are actually engaged to be married and had bought a house together. We had everything and could have had more. I kept all the photographs from family holidays we had together and looking at them the other day I broke down in tears as we were actually in love. The way we were looking at each other in the photographs was so extremely touching and it is for this reason that I have kept them as I want my child to have these so they know that we did love each other once. In fact, I believe we still love each other now, but things have changed and us as people have changed also. If I had the tools to salvage that relationship at that time then I would have done. But obviously it was not meant to be.
I jumped from that relationship into another which initially gave me the freedom and excitement I was so desperately looking for. Unfortunately it turned out to be an extremely bad decision, but this I will discuss at another time as this is a very long story in itself.
It was only after I had to make some very brave decisions and walk away from this relationship. It was one of hardest things I have ever had to do. But it was only then that I began to actually find myself. Since my divorce three years ago I left my job, which I had not been happy in for over three years. I enrolled to do a degree I had always wanted to do, and got work at a local charity. I had desperately wanted to do a job where I felt I was making a difference to people for such a long time. I am still single, I am still studying and I am the happiest I have ever been. I have also taken this time whilst I have been single to reflect on past relationships and behaviours, as well as life events such as my parents divorce. I understand why I have acted in the way I have. I have forgiven myself for some of the things I have done. I have apologised to the relevant people for the way I have acted and I am ready to move on. One thing I realised is as my mum never said ‘I love you’ to me as a child I constantly say it to my children. My dad says it to me all the time, and I can easily reciprocate, but until recently I could never say it to my mum. Not because I did nt, but because we just never had. But mum if you ever read this please know one thing, I do love you with all my heart and now I am older I know that the words do not always have to be spoken.
Over the last couple of years I have had many discussions with my parents (separately of course) and I can see both sides of their story. I have also accepted certain things from my childhood and forgiven and let go.
I know I am of worth. I know I have grown up to be a good mum, a kind hearted person who does not judge others and always try to see the best in them. I have ambition and know I will get there. It may have taken me longer than I would have first envisioned but I know that anything is possible and I will keep going until I get where I want to be. So for all of you who have experienced set backs, losses and difficulties never give up, keep going because you will get there, even if the journey is long. If you are not at the happy ending then you are not at the end 🙂
Having been married to the chief manipulator there were a few things that I learned along the way, and a few I realised post relationship. First how do you recognise a manipulator? A manipulator is someone who will do anything to get you to do things for them. Beware of tears (they are not always a sign of being genuine), charm (being overly nice for no reason or over complimentary…..hmmm what do they want?!), guilt-tripping (projecting guilt on to you making them look like the victim) and lies (watch their body language).
If you find yourself being involved with a manipulator, here are my tips:
1. Do not negotiate with them. For emotional manipulators, it’s all about having, exerting and gaining more power. So they’ll always push for more and they’ll never compromise. YOU CANNOT WIN.
2. Don’t engage with them. Don’t try to talk, or reason, or discuss some matter with them – as they’ll try to twist your motives, and leave you feeling “bad”. YOU CANNOT WIN.
3. Don’t confront them. They’re quick to take offense and they love an argument. They’ll then turn and attack you – and never let things go. YOU CANNOT WIN.
You cannot have successful relationships with this type of person. Every argument will be your fault (and believe me there will be lots of them as manipulators love arguments). You will end up doing things you do not want to do or would have never considered (all because they want you to) and on the back of this, you will feel angry and annoyed with yourself for compromising your values or beliefs. If they ever help you then you will be forever in your debt. As difficult as it is, you need to try and not react to this person. do not allow them to press your buttons, as once they have worked out what they are, you will become their constant source of entertainment.
You really are best not having anything to do with manipulators as they bring nothing positive to your life. You will end up giving your all trying to please this person and constantly feel inadequate, therefore never happy.
Take note: manipulators are playing a game, they are unable to admit they are wrong, they do not build meaningful relationships. These people should be avoided at all costs, harsh but true. Do not work with these people, do not have relationships or friendships with them. Do not even walk their dogs or feed their cats. Whatever you do or whatever you say will be twisted and turned around to make you feel bad. They have one objective, to wear you down and make you submit. Everything to them is a competition and in their head the only person who can lose is you and they will not stop until they get that. One thing is for sure, your life will be so much easier if you avoid these people. I would have never said this ten years ago but seeing how my marriage ended and what I still have to put up with to this day it is something I can say with ease and not feel I have to apologise about.