Fighting

The UK continues to provide a good source of friendship and family and a nurturing environment. But I miss my kids so much I’m feeling the loss like a physical illness. I Skype with them almost daily and it’s not enough. I’m consumed with thoughts of them and can’t enjoy the simplest thing without wondering what they’d think.

Unfortunately S has gotten progressively worse and nasty and I know a cold, hard fight awaits me in NZ. The blows which he’s dealt have at times rendered me breathless and unable to see a way forward. It’s like his contempt of me grows daily and he’s trying to make me stay away by increasingly throwing obstacles at me. I can’t remember feeling as despised as I have been. And this thrusts me into a horrible quandary. I want to be with my babies but I need to be strong to face S and his hard hitting blows. I wonder if I’ll be able to survive it.

My kids are gutted as time goes on. They miss me and need me back. They don’t understand why I can’t afford a flight back, they don’t understand that I’m not allowed in the house – but their father has hired a live in nanny instead. It’s confusing for them. I can’t slate their father to them. I have to bite my tongue and say it’s all going to be ok.

But it’s never going to be ok. I had no idea how capable of change someone I once loved could be. Someone that used to make me feel safe and loved. Now I’m treated like something lower than scum. 

The whole thing is a brutal mess. 

I don’t regret coming back to the UK. It’s been a place that’s felt safe and where I’ve been reassured I’m not a bad person.

But going back will take some serious strength. And as any communication I have with S usually renders me in a state of panic and unable to function – I worry if I’ll ever be strong enough.

This is looking to be my toughest fight yet.

No way back

My time in the UK has been fantastic. I’ve seen my best mate’s baby born, I’ve caught up with old friends and grown closer to my family. I rented a car so I’ve been independent and able to move around the country, spending nearly a week up North with a good friend who has relocated from NZ after her marriage broke down. She’s come an incredibly long way and looks and acts remarkable. She was quite inspiring.

I’ve overcome my anxieties to force myself out and engage with people. This is a huge turnaround from when I was in NZ staying in bed all the time. 

I actually started to think I could start over here with the kids. I have friends and family and it feels like a good base to start from scratch. Unfortunately when I mentioned this to S he not only ripped apart the idea but even had the audacity to throw my mental health at me as a reason for not having the kids. It was a low blow even for him. In retrospect I should have waited to discuss it until I got back. 

Now I don’t know how I’m going to get back – S isn’t going to use his air miles as previously promised. To make matters even worse, he’s been suggesting I’m not welcome to stay at the house. It seems in my absence he’s turned me into a monster and seems hell bent on punishing me. He even arranged a nanny to live in – knowing full well id be coming back. He’s been even colder and more nasty than I could ever have imagined. I’ve no doubt he’s had his family in his ear. He accused me of playing games, which makes no sense as I came here for respite, to gather my strength and always planned to go back. So I’m not even sure what ‘games’ he’s referring to.

I had no idea that he would take the house and flight away from me. It’s left me feeling really down and powerless. I don’t know how he expects to ban the mother of his children from her own house? He asked me to organise accommodation- but how can I do that from the UK? I need to be in NZ first and a hotel is out of the question because I could never afford it. Just when I think I’ve come to terms with everything, he throws something else at me. I literally can’t believe how much he hates me. How cold and heartless he’s being.

So I face a gloomy and unknown future. Obviously if I didn’t have the kids, I’d just stay here. But I miss them terribly. And time away from them is becoming increasingly more painful. I Skype with them regularly but it’s just not the same.

Being reunited with my kids should never have been this hard. I feel terribly anxious and overwhelmed at the new hurdles I face.

It’s such a horrible end to what has been a really productive and beneficial time here. I need to be careful that my mental health doesn’t plummet. I could already feel that sense of dread creeping in and the desire to give up and stay in bed. I don’t want S to have that power over me. Obviously as soon as I get back to NZ I intend to find a rental house and move as quickly as possible. I already know it’s not healthy to remain living in the same house as S. But as an interim, it’s all I have. I feel sick that he’s effectively trying to stop me from being with the kids.

I’m so glad I never signed the house over. I would definitely be left without a leg to stand on. I came so close to caving under the pressure. But now by hanging on by my fingernails at least I have some security.

I need to get back to my babies. I need to retain all the strength I’ve built and remember I have some awesome people in my life rooting for me.

Update 

I don’t want to go back to New Zealand! But of course I miss my kids terribly and I couldn’t live on the other side of the world to them.

It’s frustrating not being able to use a car and relying on my parents, but my friends have been awesome and I feel much less alone here.

The whole prospect of dealing with housing and the divorce seems so overwhelming. I’m sure if I stayed in the UK for longer I’d be stronger. But I can’t afford to stay, I can’t get a job because I need to go back.

S has done me a favour by acting like a prize twerp and being pretty bloody awful. I no longer miss him or hold onto a future with him. I’m concerned about how difficult it will be going back and him not being as least amicable. But that’s to do with making things easier, not a need to feel anything from him. If I had the kids here, I wouldn’t give him a second thought. I have family and friends here that care about me. I could easily start my life over back here.

But alas, the kids belong in NZ and I belong with them. They ask me everyday when am I going to go back. They get tearful and I know my lack of presence is affecting them. Although S would tell me they’re doing well without me! – anything to hurt me. But I care only about their welfare.

I’m applying for jobs over there while I’m here – and getting plenty of rejections too! No, my transition back won’t be an easy one.

Am I strong enough to cope? Thats the question. I wanted to come here and try to recuperate. And I am gradually getting my head together – but that’s through the love and support of people around me. I’m not sure how I’ll fare once I’m on my own again. Old habits die hard. And I’m always on the edge of a dark depression.

Tomorrow my best friend gives birth, so I’ll focus on her and the baby for now. I have a few weeks left to try and prepare myself.

Novelty wears thin

Staying with my parents;

Pros – I get treated like a kid

Cons – I get treated like a kid

As the novelty of their distant first born returning wears off and the frustration builds (we’ve had her hair done, bought her clothes and she’s still miserable) things are getting more strained. My dad feels it necessary to comment on anything I eat, and when I eat (which isn’t often but apparently I still get it wrong) and also there’s the whole, ‘get some fresh air, it’ll help you’ as I remain hidden away like a vampire reading my books. Of course, if they’d put me on the bloody insurance I could go out and yes, even walk! But no, they’re playing taxi which makes me feel awkward, and it’s slightly embarrassing ending a day with a friend, ‘I just have to call my mum.’

I did have lunch with my pregnant best mate the other day. It was an anxiety provoking start but I ended up relaxed and really happy to see her. And she’s asked me to be her birth partner – very exciting! Of course if she goes into labour before her induction, I’ll have to get my mum to drive me (insert eye roll here).

So I haven’t been out as much as I’d planned in my mind, but then England was never going to be a cure. 

And now I find my nights lying awake tossing and turning and dreading going back to NZ but not feeling I belong here either.

Of course I miss the kids dreadfully and we Skype a couple of times a day. S hasn’t bothered messaging at all to see how I am. I had to chase him down to discuss the kids and a parents evening, and even then I could tell I was a major inconvenience to him. That my opinions didn’t count and basically- who the hell was I again? And if it’s at all possible, he’s even colder with me than normal.

Mind you, despite my planned trip to Cambodia he later accused me of leaving our marriage, which was completely inaccurate. So I suppose with his family firmly inserted into my family, there’ll be whispers that I deserted them and I’ve no doubt it’ll be held against me for all eternity, like with Cambodia.

So in essence, I need to get myself sorted pronto. But as I can’t see a psychiatrist, I can’t see anyway to lift this perpetual dark fog. I’m chugging on with fluoxetine, but it’s not making a difference. And I can’t find myself facing the imminent task of house hunting and moving again with any energy or determination. To be honest, I’m not even sure how I’ll manage the flight at the moment. I’m conscious that September is divorce month and S will slap me with the paperwork before the ink from the printer is dry. Perhaps there’s some avoidance on my part. Although I don’t why. He’s as cold as the ocean, and has made it abundantly clear that he stopped feeling anything for me years ago. Why I continue to pine something that ultimately makes me feel like pond scum is anyone’s guess.

So here I am in limbo. Not getting the miracle fresh air that will cure me, and feeling completely isolated and deeply uncertain about my future.

Same old

Maybe day 4 or 5, no showering, same clothes. I’ve given up on life. I’ve certainly given up on myself. No one would believe I used to get my hair done regularly, get my nails done, care about my presentation. I’ve got long dark roots, perpetually greasy, lank hair, crooked nails, and I don’t even know where my make up is. 

I look old, ragged, tired, and I’ve lost my sense of worth. I don’t care how I look and I don’t care how others see me. I have nothing and I am nothing.

S only cares about getting me to sign the house over. So his parents can hold it and then hand it back. He’s sorted for life. And I’m pretty sure he’s seeing someone, he’s on his phone all the time, sneaking out to take calls. It’s like him and I never existed. He doesn’t show any signs of compassion or even regard me as familiar. I’m just an over stayer. I never imagined how much that would hurt. I never thought he could be so cold and callous. I don’t know him at all anymore. And I guess that’s part of the reason I don’t know myself anymore. I used to be life and soul of the party, now I’m pretty much in bed all the time. Forget friends, I haven’t made an effort at all. 

I’d say I’m dead inside but I still have deep feelings of hurt and sadness. 

I don’t know if I’ll get through this. I hope every day that a truck will hit me, or I’ll have a brain aneurysm, just something that will stop this constant misery. I don’t want to hurt my children and I know they’d be devastated, so that’s why I’m not actually doing anything myself. It would be easier if it were out of my control. Every day. I hope something will happen. My funeral would be empty, it’d be process. Because I’m a nothing. A no one. I’ve not made any differences, I’ve not left any marks.

Well, maybe the plane will go down! Not that I wish death on anyone else.

I’m really anxious about my upcoming trip. I’ll miss my children so much. To be so far from them is a scary thought. There’s no ‘jumping on a flight’ in an emergency. It takes 30 odd hours of travel. I’ve never been very far from them before.

I wouldn’t be surprised if S left me there. He can do whatever he likes while I’m out of the picture. And I don’t know him anymore. It’s like he’d slay me with a sword with a smile on his face. I know he’s always thinking and planning, but in his mind, I’m the enemy. Sometimes he’s nice to me, and it’s almost scary. I wonder where the ‘metaphorical’ punch will come. I’m not sure he’s capable of being nice to me out of any sense of residual care for me, the anger, disgust, and disdain boils over too much sometimes for me to know where his true feelings lie.

Anyway, there’s no point keep going on about my sunken marriage I suppose. Perhaps this is normal, when couples separate, feelings change 180 degrees. It just becomes a game to some.

Hopefully England will give me the respite i  need. My parents aren’t particularly sympathetic people and usually blame me for my troubles, I only hope I can push that aside and just be grateful I’m out of NZ for a bit.

Furious – the ugly truth of rape culture 

I was so scared to share my last blog. Fear of shame, humiliation, being judged. I have spent the last few hours considering pulling it. I love to be honest and write my experiences and insight. It’s important to me, to document, to heal. To share.

I anticipated some backlash. But I didn’t anticipate this particular backlash, especially from someone I know.

And I quote (without getting permission)

Anyone in exposed situations is at risk. Doctors have to have someone with them if they are examining a woman. The odd woman will claim assault and there are big payouts if he does not have backup. It is being used by children against teachers etc. Yes there are bad public servants but a lot of innocent people have their lives ruined.

I mean, WTF???

You asked a question and I gave you an answer. There is now a bandwagon of money seekers. That is nothing to do with you or women like you but it is almost becoming a business now.

A business??

If you are an MP it is almost certain that you have carried out an assault at some point. In correcting one area the pendulum swings too far the other way.

Nothing to do with me or women like me??

Rape culture is defined as 

Rape culture is a term that was coined by feminists in the United States in the 1970’s. It was designed to show the ways in which society blamed victims of sexual assault and normalized male sexual violence.

Men and women have a subconscious or conscious part of this culture – that can be anything from the long held belief that rape is the attack of a young, fully clothed  (no flesh showing), woman being threatened by a knife with mask wielding maniac in an alleyway. It can be the long held belief that as long as a woman doesn’t get drunk, dress a certain way, have too many sexual partners, flirt with a man, walk around at night, to name a few, are somehow part to blame for their attack. It can be people judging the accused, assuming a natural bias towards the accused because they’re white/wealthy/popular/famous/could have any woman they wanted/was known to the woman/volunteered at a homeless shelter/adopted a cat – the list goes on.

Rape culture isn’t bias towards men, women, sexuality, race, age. Anyone can participate in perpetuating the myths that ultimately harm the victim, prevent justice and divide a community.

By someone I know declaring victims out to make money, buying into false allegations propaganda, empathising with the accused’s family, they are indirectly insulting me, my friends and other victims out there.

Let me tell you, I cannot imagine a woman alive going through the harrowing pain, humiliation, degradation of talking about an assault for the sole purpose of making some money. I don’t deny that there *might* be, but I’d think that number is so comparatively small that’s almost obsolete. The onus HAS to be on making women feel safe enough to speak out. To not be condemned, threatened, humiliated and destroyed by a trauma that she didn’t ask for.

Frankly, I haven’t been so disgusted for a long time. Not because someone spoke the words that so many already think, but because it came from someone that knows me and knows the heartache that I’ve been through. Someone that I believed would stand up to rape culture, stand up for women and not buy into this nasty, vicious secondary assault on victims.

Turns out, you really can’t know people. And people can’t really know you.

People may feel comfortable in their ignorant beliefs, content not to face the real fear that women have known for too long. But ignorance provides a blanket for predators to roam freely amongst them.  To go without punishment, to go without fear of consequences. It leaves a victim more afraid, more isolated, silenced and perpeptually ashamed.

I remain appalled at these messages.  I print them here so I can assign blame where it belongs. With the culture that CHOOSES to be blind, CHOOSES the predator over the victim.

I want no part of anyone that is willing to throw myself or other survivors under the bus to make themselves feel better about the world we live in.

Shame. On. You.

Sweethearts and sickness

Its my high school sweet heart’s birthday today.  We’re Facebook friends.  We don’t talk to each other, just the odd ‘like’ on comments.  Way back when, everyone thought him and I would marry.  We ‘dated’ as you do in school, often split up and then made our way back to each other.  We were odd bods, which seemed to intrinsically link us.  Where others saw him as frankly a bit crazy (a candidate for manic depression), I understood his ebbs and flows.  His moods, and his little routines.  And I think in that, he felt safe to be himself with me.  Although he often chased the girls that were known for giving a bit more in the relationship physically, so to speak, he would often seek a respite with me.  Perhaps that’s because I was pretty damn crazy myself! – And as for the all of the politically incorrect statements I’m throwing around, I’m referring to our time in school.  Back then, labels weren’t applied, just observations.  He wasn’t my first kiss, that was DL. A local boy who went to the same first school and then secondary school as me.  I did think I was in love with him at the time.  I remember him dancing with Samantha at a school disco to the Bangles and I cried like a baby in my heart-break.  DL was also a larger than life character, he dabbled in some professional acting, and I believe does some acting now.  But DL and the first love that I refer to, AB, didn’t get along.  Perhaps their ego’s were too big for each other.

DL and I kissed in a cupboard for chairs one summer afternoon in a local village hall.  I was so terrified, but so excited.  We were dared to kiss.  When the kiss happened it felt so forced, I didn’t feel all ‘floaty’ as I would have expected.  I suspect he had kissed a lot of times before me.  I was 13.  I still picture it perfectly.  The room, the chairs, the lingering dust, the warmth of a summer’s afternoon, the other kids daring us.  It makes me smile.  Of all of the boys, DL was a great person to share that moment with.  A cherished fragment in a young life.

I never gave any thought to my first time sexually.  It wasn’t something people talked about.  Even AB chasing the other girls hadn’t considered sex, just even a look or a touch! – that’s his words!

Perhaps in a different world, AB would have been my first time.  Beneath his boyish humour and manic ticks, he was sweet and gentle.  We took many walks around the fields near his house, and not once in all of those times did he try anything.  I always managed to feel safe around him.  Even when he kissed me it never felt like a promise.  Perhaps we were never meant to be more than a dance of what could have been.  Certainly I have no doubt if we had have ended up together, it wouldn’t have lasted.  We both share the same moods and egos.  Both too passionate about our stances to back down.  We would have come to hate each other.  Both of us need someone calm, consistent and patient to counter our imbalance.

But life would have been better had I have chosen the person.  If it was planned.  And not necessarily even like in the movies, with the roses, candles and bed made by the fire.

This morning I went constantly into panic attacks.  My son was sleeping soundly in the bed, so I had to go into the bathroom and try to get a grip.  Then I got back into bed, drifted off to sleep and the same thing happened.  I don’t know what triggered me.  I guess a dream I had.  But clearly a lie in this morning wasn’t going to happen.

Already triggered, I decided to unblock HIM [the rapist] on Facebook and look at his profile.  See if anything significant in his life had happened, make sure we didn’t have any friends linked.  I wouldn’t usually do this, S has always done periodic checks for me, but it’s not his place anymore.  I need to bite the bullet.  Of course with Facebook settings as they are, I couldn’t see much.  Seeing his photos and I felt an odd shut down.  In my mind his image is set to back then.  His mouth, eyes, his demeanour is still clear in my head.  So the photos are hard to place.  I didn’t look for long, I didn’t want the revised image burned into my retinas.  I didn’t want any image to cause me distress.  So I didn’t find anything of interest.  Unfortunately now with Facebook I have to wait 48 hours to block him again.  So I live in fear of him seeking me out, I’m counting down those hours.

Seeing AB’s birthday was a reminder though of some of the better times in my young life.  Some of the possibilities that could have been.  But of course I feel sad, painfully sad for the loss of having a special memory for my first time.

S has decided to extend his stay in Auckland for another week.  So I’m up at the house.  I don’t have time to process any thoughts or feelings, and fighting this mood is difficult as I’m on call all the time.  S has also not left much in the way of funds, which is really stressful for me.  I had arranged for a babysitter to come on Sunday for a couple of hours so I could enjoy the women’s only swim, but I’ve had to cancel that, I can’t afford the babysitter.  I’m a bit annoyed that the one thing I enjoy I can’t do.