Some time ago – about 7 years ago, I met a man. At the time he seemed like everything I could want. He was handsome, charming, kind, thoughtful, strong emotionally, and interested in my children. He listened to me , was gentle with my emotional state, cooked for me, made me laugh and cherished me. I fell so in love with this man. I felt ‘God’ had smiled on me in my most difficult time and delivered a person who could and would help and support me raise my family. He fell in love with me too, and I provided a home and stability that he had ben missing. And as his career was at a bit of a low point, I also provided funds – for food, for wine entertainment, and soon for everything.
All I really wanted was someone to love, and to love me and the kids. I thought, at 45 I had found it at last.
Everything was just dandy really for 18 months… and then, then the cracks started to appear. The first time we argued, he refused to speak to me for 3 days. We went on a holiday of a lifetime touring americas east coast. He got in a mood about the boys and I enjoying a splash in the river on our way to the campsite – and drove off and left us to walk there. It was about 10 miles. Son #3 was just 7.
After I “forgave” that, the instances of alleged poor behaviour of son #1 started to escalate. He was 14, and not easy. But he was ostracised, picked on, bullied and intermittently forgiven… I became increasingly discomfited by the “Victorian father” behaviour. I noticed more how little his own children were actually in contact, and small things slipped out when we did see them. Quickly I realised that “talking” things through was a non starter as the man would shout at me, throw things at me and refuse to listen to my opinion. About my children, in my house.
I became increasingly unhappy, stressed and sad. I stopped drinking in an attempt to bring some clarity … and quickly had a nervous breakdown. I was off work for 6 weeks. I told people I was over stressed at work, but it wasn’t true. It was all about home. I felt so trapped. I loved my son, and felt he was being treated badly; I had loved the man, and I couldn’t believe that he was not who I thought. I began to think the only option I had was to jump from a high building. That thought grew, and I knew I was significantly unwell. I sought help, dragged myself back to coping – and started drinking again.
By now son #2 was well into puberty and becoming another person to bully. Interspersed with these episodes were brief glimpses of the man I once knew, the man I thought I loved. The man who was kind and helpful. The man kept needing money for projects, I kept icing him money. I earn well but found myself in increasing debt, talking to the man about earning for himself resulted in more tantrums and throwing things, I learned not to mention it, to carry the burden alone.
Until close to a second breakdown I confided in T. T who was a friend of my ex partner but a man I felt safe with and trusted,T who offered no judgement and no solutions but offered me space to cry and start to unravel the tangled horrific mess.
And then I got sober.
This story is of course mine, and that of my ex partner.
So sad, and yet so common. Just a common or garden tale of a vulnerable woman and a man who abused her, and her children.
So sad, but it’s behind me now. And I will not look back any longer. The rage and anger seems spent. There is nothing left right now, no emotion, no anger, no hurt, just a little sadness and a big dose of relief that it’s over now …