You don’t always know

(Content warning: childhood assault and rape.)

As I revealed in my first blog post of this year, I discovered by accident last year, while doing some local research, that my ex boyfriend had been jailed back in June, for assault to a child.

When I used to read about these kind of stories, or see it on the news and it happened that close in the circle of family/friends, I used to think, surely they knew. But as I found out for myself, no, you don’t always know. I went out with him for 6 years and I knew him as a friend before that, for a year or so. (Or I thought I knew him.) Never, did I sense something was wrong, or that something happened in the years I was going out with him, or when I knew him beforehand as a friend.
The only problem I had with him and the reason I broke up with him, was because he seemed to not be able to commit. I patiently waited in the last 4 years of our 6 year relationship in hoping we would live together. (The last 2 years of our relationship, I asked him when he would move in with me. But I always got the same response, “Back end of the year.” With a shrug of the shoulders before he would say this. So after the second time he did that when I asked him, I decided on that we have a year break, in which I told him I think you better have a good think about what you want. He asked if we would ever get back together and I said, unlike him, I don’t make promises I don’t keep. But I could promise that if he had the balls to ask me to go back with him in our year break, the answer would be no. I wanted to make sure he had thought out about what he exactly wanted, because like this, there was another situation he could not give an answer to. I asked him that one again while I was at it, warning him I wanted a straight answer, but he could not do it. I got the same response as before when I asked him.
In the end, after our year break, I broke off with him, but I was willing to be his friend still, even though it would hurt. He said he would like to be friends too, but in the end, he was crap at that as well before the year was out, so I had nothing more to do with him.

All of the 6 years I was going out with him, I felt our relationship was part-time. When I was ill, I would tell him. When he was ill, I would not know until he was back at work, or when he had been ill by half of way through the week.

I always thought when he could not commit and the other situation he could not give me a straight answer to, that he would not commit because he lived where he had lived for too long. But in the end, now I know about this, this was why. He knew he was not good enough for me and as my family and friends learnt of his true colours, they thought thank god I wasn’t with him.

I look at the man in the police photograph, (before I even knew what he had done) and he looks like a crim. He does not look like the person I knew. I felt I was in a nightmare when I first discovered and I still feel I am in a nightmare.

When I first learnt about what he was through that news article, I was distressed and I found it difficult. All sorts of emotions were running through me. (These I wrote out in a sharpie drawing, which you will see below.) These emotions to start with were repetitive.

Sharpie drawing of words I felt when discovering about my ex

I have still been relying heavily on colouring since this disgusting discovery, as well as my family bereavement I am going through.

I now question, what was I to him?

He knew about the time I was raped in another relationship and how it affected me.
I even had a situation when I was 9 years old, where I felt vulnerable, that he knew about.
I have been in situations where I have been around a man on more than one occasion that I would not care to be around, because of the vibe I felt; feeling really uncomfortable, or giving me the creeps. So I have got away. But I never picked up anything like that with him.
There were times when we were together at his we would see the news on TV where some bloke had harmed a child and how long he got. Both agreeing that he deserves to be locked up and how he will get it once inside, because no one in prison likes a person who has harmed a child. Yet he was one!

I will never be intimate with a man again

After I had spilt up in a much earlier relationship, (before I knew him,) I was never interested in about another relationship again, because ever since I was raped, I have never been bothered about sex since. Now I have learnt about this sick secret of my last ex, I will NEVER be in another relationship.

People that I have disclosed this to, have said don’t let him ruin a loving relationship with another man.
Or they say, not all men are like this.
But when I went out with this one, he was my third relationship and the longest I have been in. But another that has not turned out well.
I am sick with learning about what he is and it’s like I have been raped again. But I know I haven’t. It is my past triggers that have set this off because of him. It’s sick knowing he has been intimate with me, knowing what he is. I don’t want another man to touch me sexually again.
I feel that I have wasted 6 years of my life, when being with him and I am not wasting anymore. This is why I don’t intend to be in another relationship and I shall carry on living on my own and doing the things I want. I know all men are not like him, but I just don’t want to be in an intimate relationship again.
I can be a very faithful friend to a man I trust and when I trust that man, I can hug them, (I could not do this one time and knowing about my ex could have easily have set me back. But it hasn’t.) I can have laughs and time out with them, look out for them and help them. But I will never be more than just friends.
I want my time, my space and to do my own things. But as I have learnt last year, to allow friends in a little bit more, which I know is still a work-in-progress, but I have allowed friends to be there more than I used to.

I will leave with my final words of thank you to all my friends, that have helped me through a difficult year towards the end of last year, whether you be a blogger friend, a long distant friend, close friend, or family.

Thank you, with all my heart. x

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A trigger that can still catch me out

A trigger that can still catch me out, is when I am accused of something I have not done, that is of a serious nature. I can quickly show my anger as the response I feel brewing inside of me is so strong. This is because of when I was a child, I was once accused by a close family member of taking money from a particular place that she had. Looking back on my very earlier blog posts where I talked about my childhood, I thought I had raised this there, but I don’t seemed to have. I can see why I chosen not to do it, to protect the person. I still am, hence using the word ‘close family member.’ But that person, knows how to this day that accusation has affected me. Who ever I shop for, it doesn’t matter, I will still always come back with a receipt. It’s my protection.

Now recently, another same situation cropped up at work. (Not to do with money, but instead a key.) It wasn’t aimed directly at me, just the department I work for which I will call A. The people throwing this accusation were where I get the key from, which I will call B. It was B’s fault, because from the week before when it was signed back in, at some point it went missing and they did not have anything to show in their book who had it. No one in A had it at the start of the week and it is not needed by us at the weekend. But no, like before, B like to blame A.

Now although I know it was not aimed directly at me, my response and how I felt inside was the same as it would have been, had I been accused. Like they did when this happened before. They decided it was someones fault I found later, from our department, but that person never had that key, because he wasn’t given that one and this person has the proof. But because I knew they were throwing the same trick as they did to me, it got me angry and pent-up. I let my department know what was going off and they were not happy to hear of this happening. (I hope they have done something about it.)
From telling them, I thought that as well as letting them know what was going on, that also it would undo all the pent-up anger I had inside me. Did it heck.

When I was home I focused on my cat, did mindfulness drinking of my tea and lit a scented candle, which after doing this, I was 90% better. I then decided to go to bed early, to switch off, but when I got up the next morning, my body was telling me about it from how I was the day before; painful joints, feeling tired and a little tense.
I went out to focus on my studies and I drank my latte mindfully. Eventually, I was mindfully better, but I still had to contend with my pains and tiredness for the rest of the day.

I know, through the help of my counselling I had that time, that I am now aware that these feelings I have when I hear of accusations like this, whether directly at me, or at A, are the same emotions I felt from my childhood. This, along with the injustice of it all.
My response has reminded me, that there are still times when I have some work to do, to try to ease these emotions less.
I have to remind myself that whether against me, or others in A, that for my own health, I have to try and keep this stress minimal as I can. By doing so, I won’t have the side effects afterwards in my body, where I am tired and having joint pain. But this is going to be hard, I know.

If you can relate and you have tips to share, that are different from what I am practising, then please share.

Childhood retreat

When ‘Beauty and the Beast’ aired on British TV, I absolutely loved it, when I was a kid. Staring Ron Perlman, as Vincent and Linda Hamilton, as Catherine, watching it was an escape from the world of bullies and things that sometimes went on at home. The trouble was, it was only on one day a week, which wasn’t enough for me. I would escape into my own world, when it was time for bed and imagine being there with them, giving myself a new name and creating new stories. It was my safe world, because this was a safe world for all the different characters that lived there, below the city streets. Each of them with a past story, before they came to live there, where they felt safe and loved. Having a purpose.
I watched every single one, except for the very last one, or the one also before that. I was absolutely gutted I missed the ending, which I recorded and did not catch the end. It obviously started late, because I always used to put an extra ten minutes past the finishing time. I kept looking in the papers each week, wondering why it was not on and wondering when it would be on again, not realising it had completely finished altogether. It wasn’t until I was an adult and having access to the internet and Googling it, that I had learnt it had completely finished and how it ended.
For some years now, (but I don’t know how long exactly,) I own the whole episodes on DVD’s. As a late-deafened adult, I totally rely on subtitles to watch anything, so when I ordered the DVD set from Amazon which the DVD’s are import, I made sure it said that they had subtitles. Which it did. But when it came to playing them on my all-region DVD player, I only found that the subtitles were only on the extras, not on the series itself. I was disappointed, but because I needed the escape again, I kept them and watched them all. But watching only, as I could not follow the conversations and the character, Vincent is not a person you can even lip-read for a start.

Fast forward to the present, I bought a second external CD/DVD player for my laptop of a different model, so I could just play my American import DVD’s. Not only do I have ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ I have ‘Sue Thomas FBEye’ complete series too. (No problem with Sue Thomas though, the subs were available when watching them on my old DVD player.) When I played a ‘Beauty and the Beast’ DVD, to check it worked on this new external player ok, I could see there was an options for closed captions and so I clicked on it and before my eyes I seen subtitles pop up to what was being said at the time. (Theme music that starts at the beginning and the words of Vincent.) So I am expecting this will happen on every one now. I was so happy to see this and cried with tears of joy. This TV series means so much to me and I can’t see I will ever get bored with it. It’s my escape still, when I watch them, but the only difference is I won’t be creating new scenes and jump into that world when I go to bed at night, as I did when I was a kid.

Childhood memories – positive ones

As you will know if you are a regular reader of my blog, my childhood was tough. Reading on posts at the beginning of this blog and ones where I shared when having counselling will reveal those tough moment and how it affected me. Naturally, I had blocked out the positive stuff too, since I left school. I just did not want to look back. But I had to in the end and my counselling revealed lots about me, as well as hopefully being able to move forward and release the unnecessary guilt I had most of my life that I should not have had.

Recently, out of the blue, I had a few childhood flashbacks, but these ones were positive ones. I started writing them down and I was getting a few more, so I decided to one day to create myself a mind-map and sit down for just 15 minutes and see if anything else came to mind that was a positive thing from my childhood.

This was what I came up with.

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The one that stood back

When I was in Youth Training, (Y.T.) because of my lack of confidence, I’d be the one that stood back. I would be quiet and observing people, while doing whatever work.

The Y.T. scheme I was on, was care work with elderly and children and one of the days at our Y.T. base, we had a Luncheon Club for the elderly. The meals were ready-made and delivered to us, but we made up the gravy and custard. Prior to them arriving, we would cover the tables with a tablecloth, set up the table with appropriate cutlery, cups and, glasses, with a dried flower arrangement made by us in the middle.
The ladies and gents there would chat to one another and also with us and we would put some sort of entertainment on in the afternoon, like bingo for example.

A lovely elderly lady singled me out and got me to come up to her. We got talking and became friends and she was inviting me to her flat, where I would call by a few times a week. Later, I would help her out with a few things like cleaning. I even cooked for her once, not because she required this, but because I wanted to treat her.
The cleaning side of things, she wanted to pay, but I would not accept as i was happy to help. I known her a few years before she passed away and I was friends with her family who made me feel very welcomed. They called round when she passed away, to let me know of her death, but to also bring a few personal things of hers that they did not want and that I could keep if wanted.

Anyway, even after the Y.T. days, I still remained quiet and observing when meeting new people, for years after that. But when did I stop this? I only thought about this when I seen purple butterfly’s post called, “Quiet and Observing.

Although I imagined I stopped doing this because of my confidence improving than my younger years, or because at times I am in my comfort zone, it has reminded me that I think I will get back to being quiet and observing. By no means will his mean my confidence will be taking a step back, but being quiet and observing, you never know what I may discover or learn.

Unseen

(Content warning: childhood trauma, bullying, abuse and rape.)

Behind closed doors, it was unseen to the extent what was happening in my childhood. How it all affected me and how it affected my mum.

People knew what my dad was, like they thought. But they did not know exactly what he was like.
Until the last few months recently, while chatting about it with family members, they also did not know what he was fully like as they thought.

“If I’ll have known,” they said.

What would they have done?

At school I am bullied for my hair colour, for being quiet, and for what I wear. I chose a school where uniform was a must, to be like everyone else I thought. Yet, I was still made to feel different.

They bullied me verbally. If I wasn’t getting some line of verbal abuse already at home from dad at times, or witnessing some verbal abuse of some kind.

Those bullies feeling great in what they are doing, knocking down my self-esteem, but because of the unseen.
Hey, I already had no self-esteem!

Years down the line, I get married.
It should have been bliss.
But no, I found I was at hands of verbal abuse again and one time of rape.
The difference with me at that point, I wasn’t going to stay and put up with it. I already gave two chances when it came to respect, but it would start again after two weeks of bliss.
I left after the rape, which was the first and last time that was going to happen to me.
But again, this is the unseen. No one see’s what is going on what should be a happy marriage.
After a few months of chatting living back with my mum, I talked about the full extent of that relationship I was in and I realised that had I stayed in this relationship, it would have been the same as my mum was with dad.

Damage from that relationship affects me today. But not as it did.

Verbal abuse is just as bad as physical abuse. If someone experiences this and does not share with you, you will not know the unseen, because you are not there.

This post created after seeing the Daily Prompt: Unseen