Q:

Could he be right in what he was saying?

Hi Jude, I grew up with violence, my mum left me when I was two years old, I was raised by my Grandad and his wife who I now call Mum and Dad. They would go to the pub, come home and start fighting, swearing at each other. Us kids were always getting hidings over silly little things, we were yelled at, put down, we weren't allowed to go anywhere.

I don't remember ever been told I love you, I don't remember ever been cuddled, I don't remember ever hearing I'm sorry. I promised myself growing up I would never go with anyone who was violent - never. At age 17 I meet this wonderful man who was loving, never ever raised a hand at me or put me down, I never knew what love was until I met him. We had two beautiful girls, we were together for 12 years.

In 2002 I made the biggest mistake of my life, I left that good man but we remained good friends because of our girls. I left him for a man who ended up being the one person I promised myself I would never end up with. The signs were there but I never saw them until years later after we separated.

I was in that relationship for three years and still to this day it hurts and angers me. He would rip my clothes, hide them, he would read my texts, he smashed my stuff, he would get all upset if I wanted to go anywhere. Half the time I just stayed home. He would get jealous if I was sitting or talking to any guy, he scratched my car, he did P, he smoked dope around my girls when I had them.

Being around him was like walking on egg shells. I found myself snapping at my girls cause he didn't approve of something they were doing, he made me feel guilty whenever I had my girls. I found I didn't have many friends anymore because they weren't allowed to come round cause he grew dope.

I remember when he first hit me we had only been together two months. I was lying in bed and bumped his sore leg by accident, he turned around and punched me in the leg three times and I did nothing, I told no one and that's where it all started. It only got worse.

I hate myself for believing I deserved to be treated like that and that I couldn't do any better. I hate myself for allowing him to control me, put me down, for allowing him to hit me, for choosing him over my girls, for allowing him to take away my self worth, my confidence.

In 2004 my girls' dad died, I was devastated. On that very same day my partner blackmailed me saying I had to give him children if me and my girls wanted to stay with him of course I said no. I hate myself because I ended up doing the exact things he did to me a few years later, I stooped down to his level. I was insecure, angry, I went nutty...I was so full of hate and revenge and hurt I wanted him to hurt like I had been. He was too big to hit so I scratched his car and slashed his tyres which I ended up being charged with. I would take it out on my girls verbally, I was a mess for a very long time. I would send him up to 300 texts at one time reminding him of what he had done, it's like I didn't want him to forget. He would text back saying I deserved everything I got cause I wouldn't go away and that I must have liked it.

Could he be right in what he was saying? What I don't understand is why did I allow for this to happen, why when he wanted to break it off I didn't wanna let go? Why did I end up doing what he did to me? Everything I have mentioned is just the tip of the iceberg. Nobody knows the mind games, the violence I went through with him except for me and him and it hurts that still to this day people are living my past and judging me on hearsay. He has lied to them having them believe he did nothing. He once said to me yeah it's cause he's cleverer than me. All I want from him is an apology for his wrong doings and he knows that and yet he won't. How can someone treat someone so bad and not apologise? How can they not want to help heal that person?

 


A:

Thank you so much for your letter/question. First of all I want to acknowledge you for what you have shared and with such honesty. I know how difficult this must have been for you and I respect you for that. I personally understand so much of what you have shared as I too have done and been through all the things you talk about, so I will share with you what I did and offer various suggestions of what may help you.

What we have to do is find a way to let go of the guilt we carry about our past, the hurtful things we have done to people we care about, the hurt we have inflicted on our children. These things cannot be changed, they are done but what can be changed is what we do from here on. We need to be totally and completely honest and take responsibility for any part we may have played in any act that hurt anyone else. (You have already done this so you are half way there).

Please keep in mind that for those of us that were raised in homes where we were abused or witnessed family violence of any sort, it does not give us a good foundation, to go forward in life in a positive healthy way. Often we are damaged, suffering from low self esteem, lost identity and no real understanding of how to be in a healthy equal relationship or how to parent effectively. This is why it is so important that we do all we can to learn new skills, new behaviours and take on new attitudes and beliefs and as I mentioned earlier, take responsibility. 

For some of us and I suspect for you also, we have such a desperate need to be loved and to belong and we search for this based on a belief system that we are carrying at the time which comes from our childhood. If you have been put down a lot in your childhood there is a very good chance you have taken on some/all of those things as the truth then you will not have a good healthy belief about yourself and because your belief system is directly connected to your self esteem, this usually means that your self esteem can be quite low. Therefore you tend to choose men who mirror the same as yourself because you don't believe you are a worthwhile person and also that you don't believe you deserve any better.

While carrying this belief we end up doing things that don't make sense, that aren't rational but that need to belong and to be loved supersedes absolutely everything else, and in some cases, even our own children. I lost my two eldest children because I chose to put men before them. Men who weren't of good standing, abusive men, but my need to be loved over rode everything else, even my babies.

It wasn't until I changed my belief system that everything changed. Obviously I could not undo what I had done to my children but what I have done is show them who I am now and I have apologised to them for the hurt I put them through, asked for their forgiveness and do everything I can to be the best Mum I can be. Please know, it's never too late, my two eldest children are now 32 and 30.

I suggest that you consider the possibility of seeking some professional help. You have been through so much and from what you have said are still carrying a lot of anger and for your girls sake as well as your own it would be incredibly helpful to address this. The answer is not to slash tyres because it just comes back on you and as a result you end up being charged and then have to deal with the consequences of that.

There are many agencies who specialise in what you have been through and would be only too willing to help if you wanted to reach out and ask for it. If you call 0800 456 450 they will tell you what's available in your local area. There are many programmes available that could help, programmes for women who have experienced family violence, programmes to help with anger, parenting programmes, personal development programmes. All could help. It is just a matter of how serious you are about getting help and what you are prepared to do to get this help. From what I have read in your letter you seem to be a woman who is prepared to do whatever it takes which is wonderful.

Lastly I just want to say, that waiting for an apology that may not come will only hold you back. Some people will never be able to step up, take responsibility and acknowledge the hurt they have inflicted on another person. So we have to find a way to rise above that and be better than that and move forward without it. While waiting for it only keeps us in the darkness of that time with them and literally binds you to them with invisible chains. You are better than that. Do this work on yourself and focus on becoming all that you can become in a wonderful loving way. You and your children are the priority, not an apology. I wish you all the very best and again I acknowledge you for taking this first step. Good luck. 

Jude 

 

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