The Night My Hope was Shattered

This post is about Domestic Abuse, if you want any help please click on one of the links above

I am so unhappy right now that it feels like my heart is going to explode out of my chest. I wish I could just curl up in a corner and sob the pain away but I know I cannot hide and I will not be able to face anyone with big red puffy eyes. Not today.

I have splashed water on my face more times this morning than I can count. I look into the mirror and see that my eyes are puffy enough from all the crying I did last night. Thank God I have a bit of make-up with me. I should be able to disguise them when I head downstairs later. I can always say I have a hangover.

My back is sore, I have tried to stretch out that achiness you get from sleeping in an uncomfortable position but my so-called bed wasn’t very comfy either last night so the stretching hasn’t eased my pain.

He is still snoring his brains out in the bedroom, totally oblivious to what happened last night.

Last night; he said I should have waited on him, that I shouldn’t have gotten into the lift to go upstairs without him.
He said I should have waited on him while he went to the toilet, he was only going to be gone for a few minutes.
He said I should not have gotten into the lift with our friends who were with us.
He said I should not have gone upstairs to our hotel room without him.

Maybe he was right, maybe I should have waited outside the lift for him while the rest went upstairs.
Why didn’t I wait? was it because I didn’t want to wait there on my own? or that I was having too much of a laugh with our friends to end what had been an enjoyable evening in the Residents Bar there outside the lift. Or did I just want to go straight up to our room to get those blasted hair pins that had been holding my ‘hair do’ together the last two days out?

He was more than a few minutes because by the time he did knock on our bedroom door I was nearly finished de-constructing my ‘hair-do’.

‘Why the fuck didn’t you wait on me?’ was the first thing out of his mouth, ‘I told you to wait’.
‘I didn’t hear you say that, sorry’ I replied.
‘Well why didn’t you wait anyway?’ he asked.
I stuttered out my excuses and stumbled across words to try to explain something that hadn’t even occurred to me until now. Why hadn’t I waited I asked myself.
I had no idea. But he had.
‘If you loved me you would have waited regardless of who was getting into the lift’
‘If you weren’t so selfish you would have waited on me’.

I have gone over our ‘conversation’ a hundred times this morning trying to make sence of it.
He was drunk and he was annoyed and hurt I hadn’t waited on him outside the lift.
I hurt him by not waiting on him.
But boy did he get me back.
He said I was a selfish cunt, always thinking of myself. That I was an ignorant bitch, always thinking of myself. Don’t love anyone but myself, always thinking of myself. Always thinking of myself.

I got it, I’m always thinking of myself. And last night all I could think about after he got into bed and started snoring was of myself.

I cried and cried. I was so hurt because somewhere in my brain I thought things would be different after we got married. That all his promises would matter after we were wed. That he would keep his promises about not saying hurtful things like that ever again once we were married.

I took my pillows and the extra blankets and went into the en suite where I slept or tried to sleep for the night. I just could not be in the same room as him never mind the same bed.

This morning I wash and dry my face, again, and sit back down on the toilet seat holding my head in my hands. What am I supposed to do now? He has broken my heart, and my dreams that things would change. Realising he will never change makes me want to sob all over again but no I cannot cry this morning. I have people to face downstairs at some stage; family and friends that stayed the extra night after the wedding.

I stand back up, brush my hair and go back into the bedroom. Room service are on their way with our breakfast and I have to open the curtains and wake my husband up and start a new day like the night before never happened. That’s what he will do.

The day before yesterday we got married and already my world has been shattered…

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What Real Love Means

What does it mean to feel loved?

The little good morning kiss, with eyes half-open as she struggles to get out of bed for work.

The ‘I love you’ at brekfast time after you have made her brekfast.

The quick chatter about the Worlds News over brekfast after reading through Twitter.

The little touch of her hand on the base of your back as you wash the dishes and she leans in to kiss you on the cheek.

The hug and a kiss every morning as she heads out to work.

The numerous little text messages throughout the day, sharing stuff that happens along the way.

Looking forward to her coming home from work.

Family dinner in the evening where everyone has a chat about their day; kids always excited to have adult ears listen to their ideas and thoughts about video games and supercars and whatever they are into at the moment. Or deep conversations like from the 12-year-old about Hens having souls…

Once the kids are settled in their bedrooms reading/sleeping, it is time for the adults to lounge in front of the telly with a cuppa.

Agreement about what to watch; shared interests and compromise make for a relaxed evening, every evening.

More conversations about the day; work, garden, families, plans for the future, World News.

Everything and anything can be discussed.

Being asked ‘are you ok, you seem a bit down’ when you are feeling a little low. Feeling lucky that they noticed.

Feeling safe to discuss whatever it is that is making you feel ‘a bit down’.

Loving, and being loved by your best friend, your soul mate, your life partner.

Sometimes I am surprised at how safe and comforting being in a loving relationship is. I shouldn’t be surprised because this is what all loving relationships are like. Recovering from being in an abusive relationship takes time and breaking free from the clutches of an abuser is hard for a while but it is so worth it. I look at my kids sometimes and wonder what their lives would have been like if I hadn’t broken the cycle of domestic abuse and I know I made the right decision way back when, for them and for me.

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My Saturday Nights

The music is loud, too loud for proper conversations.

Everyone is shouting to be heard while the band are trying to drown out all the chatter.
Background noise for a Saturday night in the local pub.

It’s just gone 11pm; she knows because she has been checking her watch every so often.
Counting down the minutes until closing time.

But first the lights will flicker above the bar, letting the pub patrons know it’s time for last orders.
Letting her know it’s time for her husband to get his last pint and the obligatory whiskey chaser.
God forbid he would miss getting that last drink.

She looks around at the group of people she is a part of.

His gang of friends.

Luckily tonight two of them have their partners with them so she has other women to talk with.
Usually she has to sit there feeling like a spare part while all the lads chat about football.

She could have stayed at home but she has learned that her husband doesn’t like it when she stays at home. He thinks she doesn’t like his friends then. They are his best friends and it is his only outlet after a hard week at work. The fact he saw them two nights previous because of some European football match doesn’t count because they could not chat during the match. And he could ‘not enjoy himself properly’ because he was at work the next morning.

She understands his need to go to the pub to see his friends. She gets to see her friends at work and sometimes in the local coffee shop on her days off, with the kids.

But she wishes they could do something else on their night out, rather than go to the local pub to meet with his friends. She couldn’t remember the last time they went to the cinema, or went for dinner together on their own.

No, this was it. Every Saturday night forever.

That thought makes her feel a little bit sick.

How is she going to continue doing this; smiling at the women who think they know her, or laughing with the lads who think her husband is so funny.

He is funny, always cracking jokes, or making fun of himself, or baffling them with his memory and statistics on football. He is their best friend. He is the good guy. He is the one who has survived a hard childhood. He is the one they turn to when they need a shoulder to cry on. He is the big softy in their group of childhood friends.

But they don’t have to help him up the road home drunk after the pub closes. They don’t have to listen to him argue with her about her friends or what she has or hasn’t done during the week. They don’t have to listen to the insults that he throws at her when she tries to defend what she has or hasn’t done during the week. They don’t have to listen to the name calling at 1am on the Sunday morning.
They don’t have to wake him at 2am after he has fallen asleep on the couch with a half eaten bag of chipper chips on his lap.

They don’t have to listen to him snore for the rest of the night, snoring that keeps her awake. They don’t have to listen to him the next day giving off about how she hasn’t kept the kids quiet enough while he tried to sleep in and sleep off his hangover.

They don’t have to put up with his hangover mood swings for the entire Sunday.

How long more can she do this?

She looks around at the group of people she is sitting with.

They are all laughing at something, she laughs along with them.

She has to or he will notice.

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Another ‘nail in the coffin’

Two days, two whole days and I still have 2000 words remaining to write.

Oh, 2000 words isn’t much I know but I’m working a 12 hour shift tomorrow and I’ve our two small kids to look after the following day.

But I do have this evening and tomorrow evening. Both boys are settled and in bed asleep and their Dad is in the pub watching his favourite football team play on the telly, so I have peace and quiet to finish my project. Tonight I will finish writing the final draft and tomorrow night I will type it all out.

Six months on and I still cannot believe I have started this course. When my friend recommended it I said she was crazy, there was no way I could go back to studying after all these years. But she said I would love it, and it was only one evening a week (for two years) and just think of the Diploma at the end of it she said. She maintained I could get a promotion at work too if I had this in my back pocket.

She was right, it is the best thing I have done for years, and it is giving me something to focus on and look forward to every week. Of course the hard part is doing the continuous projects and getting them posted to the college on time, but I am managing it.

My husband doesn’t like it though. At the start He said He didn’t think I could do it, He said it was a waste of money and that I would never find the time to do the projects. He was wrong. I love going to the weekly classes. I get to meet new people, people who have nothing to do with my workplace.

I am sitting at our kitchen table, I have all of my research spread out in front of me and am in the middle of jotting down my bullet points for my last few paragraphs when I hear the key in the front door. Dam, He is home early from the pub.

He comes in complaining about some ‘asshole’ down the pub who was slagging him about his team losing their match, that it was such a ‘shite evening’  He had decided to ‘come home to my loving fucking wife’.

I sit in silence while He has his rant. I know exactly where this conversation is going to go and I slowly start to sort out the sheets of paper in front of me so I can bring them upstairs to my room. He sits down opposite me at the table with his pint glass of water in his hand (always has a glass of water after coming home from the pub).

‘Shit’ I think to myself. I ask him about the ‘asshole’ to try and steer any talk away from our relationship and me his ‘loving fucking wife’.

But He doesn’t want to talk about the pub any more and starts talking about our ‘mini break’ that we are in the middle of since we started sleeping in seperate bedrooms 6 weeks ago.

It is a conversation that we seem to be having every day now. And no matter what I say He doesn’t listen to me.

‘I am not going back into that bedroom until YOU do something about your anger management problems’ I finally say.

He pushes the chair back so as to stand up and in the ‘blink of an eye’ He has splashed the pint glass of water across the table at me ‘Fuck you’ He says and storms off out of the kitchen and up the stairs to the bedroom.

I am soaked from the top of my head down my chest, and so is my project in front of me on the table.

So for the next half hour I am drying out sheets of paper instead of finishing my project.

But I don’t really mind, it is another incident letting me know our marriage is in serious trouble.

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Dying to Break up; the Worst Day

Does it matter to you what way you die?

Have you ever thought about it?

Have you ever been faced with the possiblity of dying? in a car crash maybe, or an accident at work, or from a life threatening illness?

Or at the hands of a loved one?

Every time we open the news papers there is coverage somewhere of the Oscar Pistorius trial in South Africa.

Reeva Steenkamp died at the hands of her boyfriend, and in time when the trial concludes we will know if it was an accident or in a fit of rage. Last night I read transcripts of her text messages the weeks prior to her death and my blood ran cold.

Every time I hear or read about a woman found dead in ‘suspicious circumstances’ my blood runs cold. Has she been a victim of Domestic Violence is my first thought, and most of the time she has (for more precise statistics see Womens Aid website).

In other countries being murdered by gun shot is not unusual as guns are part of peoples lives. But in Ireland woman are murdered just as violently with their killers bare hands.

So does it matter how you die? or a friend of yours? or a family member?

Being in an abusive relationship is extremely hard. It is not just the physical violence (bruises heal) or the emotional abuse or any type of abuse, but the daily stress of ‘walking on eggshells’, being afraid to say anything that you think will annoy or provoke an abusive reaction from the other person. Or the stress you feel when you cannot figure out what you did do to ‘trigger’ the abuse, but you are still being blamed for it.  

For a full 5 years I was not physically abused in my relationship, and I was reminded of it numerous times like it was a badge of honour. Yes, it was great the physical abuse (which was only a few occasions the first few years anyway) didn’t happen any more but the emotional and verbal abuse had continued.

Then one day I decided I would be brave and tell him I wasn’t happy with our marriage. He pushed me up against a door, his way of telling me that the only way our marriage was going to end was if he was physically violent, I could have no other reason.

That incident made me stronger and helped me realise  there was something seriously wrong with our relationship and talking about it with each other wasn’t going to help. I had to talk to others about it.

We struggled to live with each other, in seperate bedrooms for the next couple of months, until that last day, the day before he moved out for good.

 I was on my lunch break from work, and had called home for a bite to eat, and to see my two wee sons. During our lunch we started talking about our problems, and he boasted that he hadn’t drank alcohol for 6 weeks (which was great but too late to save our marriage) and how hard he was trying to cope with our mini seperation. The conversation started to go around in circles again, all about him (as it always did) and I got up from the kitchen table to leave, my lunch break was nearly over. He got up with me, telling me if we started sharing a bed again he would be able to put more effort into changing his ways or get some counselling.

I told him I couldn’t do that, it was too late, and I turned to face him saying ‘its over, our marriage is over’.

He saw red (as he said later) and with a fit of rage he put his hands around my neck pushing me backwards against the kitchen counter top and with force banged my head against the upper press. He squeezed my throat as I gagged for breath.

My eldest son (6 yrs) screamed ‘Daddy, Daddy’ as I gagged ‘the boys’. Both boys watched in horror at their father and mother in this violent embrace. It was over in seconds, he released his grip on me and retreated to the sitting room, slamming the door behind him.

I don’t know what stopped him, was it his sons screams? or his inner conscience?

What if he hadn’t stopped though?

 And do you know what? even after all the years I knew him, I never thought him capable of actually killing me. Yes, I was afraid of his words, his temper, his false accusations, his drunken rows but the look in his eyes in that moment was of pure hatred and rage, and I knew then he was capable of anything.

I also realised that he was probably always capable of that level of violence, there are no half measures with people who are abusive. What can start off as a slap, years later can end up as being choked.  That is why so many people end up in long term abusive relationships, because they find it so hard to get out of them.

Sometimes the abuse is at its very worst the moment you try to break it off.

If you are in an abusive relationship or someone has confided in you about their abusive relationship, then please keep talking! the best thing two of my friends did when I was going through my seperation was give me a spare key to their homes, just in case I needed to get away to somewhere quickly – it helped me feel so much safer. And they were always at the end of the phone.

 

 

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The Broken Vase; as delicate as a Heart

My vase was large and beautiful.

It was precious to me, something I had taken good care of from when I was a teenager.

I had minded it like a baby.

I never let anyone touch it, or I never lent it to anyone.

No, it was mine, mine until I met someone to share it with. I was so excited to share my everything with this person. I trusted Him with anything precious in my life including my vase. I was so proud to share everything with Him.

That first time he knocked it over and it fell against the side of the press, a tiny chip of glass disappeared from the rim. He couldn’t see it, but when I moved a finger along the edge I knew there was a bit missing. He was so apologetic afterwards. Arrived with a bunch of flowers and a box of chocolates for me!

I forgave Him, it was an accident and only a tiny chip.

Then we moved in together. My precious vase had a few accidental knocks along the way. But He always apologised with a bunch of flowers or a box of chocolates. Buying a house is one of the most stressful times in a young couples life and it was so difficult to protect my vase with all the moving and organising.

But it was only a few chips that were lost to it until one particular day we were having an argument, about six months before our wedding day, and bang it was on the floor. Luckily for me (and my vase) it landed on a soft rug and the hairline crack was only visible if I looked very closely. I rubbed a bit of superglue onto the inside and outside of the crack just to strengthen the glass.

I placed it back on its shelf carefully and He apologised the next day but I didn’t get any flowers or chocolates this time unfortunately.

The day after we got married my vase got knocked to the floor again and this time it cracked in two. I was gobsmacked. He knew how precious it was to me and yet He didn’t see how knocking it over would hurt me so much. ‘Your own fault’ He said.

I cried and cried thinking I would never be able to repair it, but I did, just in time for the start of our honeymoon the following day. I had gotten the superglue out and stuck it back together with as much love and care as I could muster up. I managed to fit the two pieces back together so no one would ever notice it had ever been broken. But I knew.

By the end of the two weeks I had all but forgotten about the so called accident to my vase.

Just back home from our honeymoon, newly weds, in our new home my vase was broken again. This time it was a piece of glass that broke away. No apologies either. ‘What’s the fecking problem? it was your own fault!’ He shouted at me.

I glued the piece back on. I shouldv’e just thrown the vase out but it was mine and I was very attached to it. I stuck a bit of cellotape along the cracks just to strengthen it and placed it back on the shelf.

Once our first baby arrived I put that vase on the highest shelf. But I put it up too high because 3 months later we had a big argument and the vase came crashing down and broke in half again. He apologised the day after.

That was the last time he knocked it over; I glued it, wrapped in up in a sheet of bubble wrap, placed it in a box and put it into the attic for safe keeping. Out of sight out of mind as they say.

Keeping it wrapped up and hidden was a great way to protect it. I had done all I could.

Until one day I took it back out from the attic, hiding it away was not actually protecting it. I might as well not have it at all. It was time to do something about it. I carefully took it out of the box, placed it on my knees and unwrapped it. After 4 or 5 years in the attic my poor vase looked a lot worse than I had remembered. It was covered in those little hairline cracks you see in old crockery along with all the ones I remembered.

The old cellotape and glue that had been holding it together seemed to unravel before my eyes and my vase fell apart into hundreds of pieces in the bubble wrap on my lap.

After years of repairing and then keeping it wrapped up my vase was completely broken.

It was finally beyond repair.

And you know what? I was so relieved.

I now know that if you have something precious in your life, like your heart, and you share it with someone else, if they do anything to cause a crack or they break it, you don’t go back for more. Because if you do they will continue to break it, again and again and again. And no matter how hard you try to repair your broken heart or hide it, it will always bare those scars.

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Am I being paranoid??? eh, no, don’t think so..

I lift my freshly pulled pint slowly up to my lips; this new barman really knows how to pull a nice pint of Guinness. The creamy head tickles my upper lip as I let the smooth black stuff flow into my mouth.

‘awww, the best part of the night’ I think to myself. My girlfriend is sitting on the bar stool beside me after sipping her glass of cider and she glances and smiles at me. She later said it was because I had some cream on my top lip from my pint but I know that is not what she was smiling it.

Behind me I can hear them before I see them. A gang of lads from our workplace have just arrived in the door.

And that fella my girlfriend used to like is with them. I was her second choice, or at least that is what I figured out from reading her diary the other night. She fancied him before me. I don’t like him, he thinks he is ‘all that’ because of his promotion lately. He thinks he is ‘above’ us now.

I wish we had sat somewhere else other than beside the bar. Those lads, while they wait on their order of drinks, are all chatting away with my girlfriend who just cannot help herself but sound as if she is flirting with them. And she’s congratulating that guy on his promotion, and she fucking knows what I think of him too. I can see it written all over her face; she fucking still fancies him rotten. So much for the lies she told me when I asked her for an explanation about that entry in the diary.

She got all high and mighty first about me reading it, but I managed to turn it around. She kept saying it was so long ago, old news. And she had me convinced too until tonight! I’ll have to bring it up again later, just to see what she has to say.

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Oh Jesus I am so hungover, such a great night we had last night. I just love meeting up with all my cousins, aunts and uncles. And I got to show off my girlfriend too and she got on so well with them all. I think they like her.

It was a great family night out. Ah it’s hard to beat a good 21st!

Only downside was the way my girlfriend went dancing with some strange fella. I still cannot believe she said yes when he asked her up to dance for that jive. I didn’t think it was right her off dancing when I didn’t want to dance, especially with another man.

I didn’t care that he was ‘old enough to be her father’, or that she ‘didn’t want to seem ignorant to a friend of the family’, he obviously turned her eye otherwise she wouldn’t have agreed to dance with him. Plus she embarrassed me, I told her as much last night before I fell into bed drunk.

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I am getting sick of this now, we’ve only a few months to go before we get married and she is already spending more time with her best friend than me. Fucking new cafe has opened up locally and it’s starting to piss me off that she has to go meet up with ‘friends’ at lunch time. Doesn’t she see enough of her/them at fucking work? She’s always telling me how much laughing they do, and the craic they have at work. She’s always on about them. Doesn’t she have enough fun when we go out?

So what if I get a little drunk on our nights out. Or what’s wrong with meeting up with my friends every night we go to the local. That’s why it’s called a fucking local! It is where I get to meet my friends, I don’t see them at work do I? Anyway I hate going into town, it’s too far of a taxi/bus journey home afterwards. Pain in the arse after a few drinks too.

She wants to go dancing, but I prefer not to have to go anywhere new. Sure isn’t it better to go out where ya know everyone?

And there’s no craic in going to the cinema, that’s boring.

Am going to have a chat with her about how I feel. I think she sees enough of that wan at work. Sure aren’t we supposed to be saving, coffee is a waste of money.

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I knew it, I had a feeling alright that she wouldn’t turn up.

Thank God I have somewhere to hide out.

My brother in law is outside the toilet door telling me not to worry.

Fuck him, he hasn’t a clue about how I’m feeling right now.

When she said goodbye last night I should’ve known that was it. She was going to show me up today. This is going to be her punishment for all the shite I’ve put her through.

The ultimate punishment alright. Leave me at the altar, swinging.

In front of all my family and friends. They’re all out there now laughing.

‘the fucking sap, how did he think he’d ever get someone to marry him’, ‘sure who’d have him’ ‘fat fucker’.

Oh Jesus my heart is beating so fast I think I’m going to have a heart attack. How am I going to face them all with the shame of it.

I’ll have to leave the fucking country with the embarrassment.

‘She’s here!’ my brother in law shouts in the door.

‘Oh thank fuck’ I say.

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