As with most of my current posts, this comes with a TRIGGER WARNING…this covers domestic violence, rape, abuse and suicide. Please look after yourself and only read if you feel able to cope with these topics.
On the 21st August 2000, one week after my 21st birthday I married Luke. We had been together since the end of January and whilst we had some minor issues, I was desperate to get married. A few months previously I had watched my friend get married and knew that he and I would now never be together and it was time to let go. I was a mum, I was lonely and I wanted someone to love me. Luke seemed to give me this.
When we got married, my best friend was really worried for me. She and I had fallen out many times over Luke. He was into taking drugs and treated me badly a lot of the time. She made me angry and we would argue a lot. Alcohol induced rows would lead to some violence which I am sure had the neighbours twitching their curtains. Her only concern though had been for mine and my daughter’s safety and she didn’t believe that Luke was the right person for the job.
The day after our wedding, which was pathetic and not what I had ever wanted in reality, was the beginning of what was to be the longest three and a bit years of my life. We had a row, have no idea what about but I do remember that his fist came towards my face only to miss by millimetres and punch a hole in the door. He then threw his ring at me. Great start to what was meant to be wedded bliss.
It was not until 5 years after we split up that suddenly all the shame and pain of those 3 and a half years of being married to him would make sense to me. I was attending a course for volunteering with Victim Support in Northern Ireland where I lived at the time. We covered a lot of things, but on this particular day we were concentrating on domestic violence. I knew about physical violence, I had seen my dad hit my mum and remember clearly some of the horrendous rows they had. What I hadn’t expected was for the case study we were using as an example ring bells in my head. I went home that afternoon with my husband and discussed it with him. He quietly agreed with me that I had been emotionally and mentally abused at the hands of Luke. I felt so incredibly stupid that I had never realised that this is what had been happening to me, but suddenly it was like I had completed a jigsaw puzzle and now I could see the full picture. I chose to push it away and not to think about it, but since the decline of my mental health, it has been something which I can no longer hide from and something which I must deal with.
I am rarely aware that it is the anniversary of my first marriage, but yesterday it was a pretty horrific day for me mentally. I could hear is voice, I saw him wherever I went. inside I was scared of my own shadow and all I wanted to do was to end things. The fact that my second marriage is in such a bad state has increased my fear of being rejected, not good enough and that I am a massive failure.
My marriage to Luke was happy at times, but it was predominantly filled with bad times. It haunts me at night, I am triggered frequently by things that my husband says and does and I feel confused as to whether this marriage is also emotionally abusive. I no longer know what’s real and what’s not. I feel like I am literally just existing with the main objective not to piss my husband off. This was what i did in my first marriage.
I was scared of my first husband. He would get angry with me and shout, punch anything near me and then storm off. I never knew if he was coming back. He would throw his wedding ring back at me everytime there was a fight. I walked on eggshells around him. I would bite my tongue a lot of the time just to keep the peace. Sometimes the feisty me would make an appearance and I would stand up for myself, but this inevitably led to worse consequences and I would wind up getting verbally abused, made to feel so insignificant and unimportant that I started to believe that.
I actually went to see my GP at one point because I was depressed, I was prescribed prozac and that was it. I have not talked with GPs about my mental health because I think they are idiots. They don’t seem to get it much of the time and the general thing I get told is that my life is really not that bad. Focus on my child/ren…FUCKING IMBECILES…
This is funnily enough one of the things that came up in the case study, the woman went to her GP saying she was depressed, her husband encouraged this train of thought and she believed that she was the one who was the one with the problem. What she didn’t see was how isolated she had become, that her husband had stood in the way of her having friendships, holding down a job, relationships with her own family were discouraged. This was my marriage I was reading about.
HOWEVER, there is one thing that was very different…whilst the case study focused on mental and emotional cruelty, there was an element of physical violence. I have said all along that he never hit me…he did once. It was after he read my diary. I bashed my head on the door frame and had an attractive black and blue line down the side of my cheek for a few weeks. I had written about how unhappy I was, that I wish we had never got married and that he made me feel sick. I have never kept a diary since.
During the last year of our marriage Luke raped me time and time again, violently. But last night in talking to a friend I admitted that sex had been used as a weapon against me. I was fairly honest with Luke about my past, especially about the rape when I was 17, that left me with a huge amount of fears. When we had a row, or he was just in a bad mood, he would be rough with me and sometimes what he did was reminiscent of things which had happened to me during the rape or from some of the abuse when I was younger. He would do this on purpose, I would ask him to stop but he would continue and whilst I would inside be freaking out, my body would be betraying me, reacting with pleasure to what he was doing. Even now I am confused by how my head can think one thing yet my body can still find it to be something enjoyable.
Luke was a control freak. I can see that now, he belittled me, made me feel worthless and that I wasn’t good enough. He just confirmed all the things that I had ever been told throughout my life. My now husband is a better man, but sometimes the things he will say make me feel these things again. I don’t understand how when you love someone you can make them feel so small. So useless. I don’t need my ego to be fed with compliments and told how wonderful I am. What I do need though is to feel loved. To feel needed and wanted.
BPD exacerbates my fears ten-fold. I am constantly paranoid and anxious about what I say and do and how it is perceived. I try my best to be a good person but know that there are times when I fall short. I can be completely self-centred and consumed with my own pain that I fail to see how it is effecting the people around me. This is wrong and I feel that I have frequently let down my husband and children.
Yesterday, I wanted to die. I was ready to die. I had a plan and I was going to carry it out. But the nearer the time came to it my thoughts moved to how it would be on the people who care about me. The kids, my husband and a few friends. I don’t want to hurt anyone, I don’t want to damage anyone. That’s not who I am as a person and killing myself would hurt more people than my living will. But what made me decide not to do anything was my friend who trusted me, who opened up to me and shared a secret with me which I know was incredibly hard. I want to be here to support my friend and see them have a better life. I don’t want to let my friend down and I am determined that no matter how small my role may be in their happiness, I will keep fighting my demons.
There are monsters everywhere, some we can face easily, others take more courage and sometimes additional support. I feel lucky to have some wonderful people in my life, in real life and on the net. People seem to care about me in a way that I have never felt before and I now feel like there are people willing me on to win the fight, to slay my demons and to become the person that I want to be.
To all those who have shown their love and support to me, thank you. Your words, support, ‘hugs, and love have really helped to keep me going. You have been the light when there has been nothing but darkness and I cannot begin to explain how much that really means to me. Thank you sincerely, from the bottom of my heart.
To the special group of people with whom I have got to know really well, your support and friendship means the world to me. I know you are all there for me as I am for you and I really hope that one day in the not too distant future that this little group will meet up and be able to become firm friends in real life. One of you I consider to be a real life friend already and thank you for letting me cry down the phone at you for hours, for texting and whatsapping with me. I hope that our friendship will continue to grow and blossom and should we ever find ourselves North of the border, I hope that we will survive! 😉
And to my friend, you give me hope and courage when I feel it the least. You seem to believe in me in ways that no one has before and you make me want to fight. I feel privileged and honoured to call you my friend and that despite a shitty time yourself you have been there for me when I have been in the darkest of hours. I know you do not share things about your life easily and the fact that you trusted me, you shared a huge part of yourself with me makes me feel that I am needed. That there is another purpose in my life and that is to be there for you in whatever capacity that may be. Thank you for believing in me, for talking to me and for just being there for me. You are one of the best things that has happened to me in a very, very long time and I hope with all my heart that one day we will both achieve a happy and content life. Love you very much and I will do my best never to let you down.