Brave? Strong? How does someone be defined as this?
People keep telling me “You’re so brave you got out. You’re so strong!” Every time I am told this it stops me in my tracks. Because the truth is, I didn’t leave because I was strong and brave. I left because I was scared. Scared for my life and scared for my babies. I didn’t make an active planned choice to leave the night I left. We had a fight that night and I was scared. Luckily I had one of my best friends there that I had called for support. If she wasn’t there I am not sure I would be here to tell the tale. It was late at night, about 11pm and Ex had taken off in a moment to blow off steam. I took a chance and ran with it! Little did I know at the time that, that was good bye for me and my babies. I called my Mum and Brother, we gathered my sleeping kids, I grabbed my work bag and clothes for the next day and that’s it. At the time I thought it was just another one of our fights that we would work out the next day and I would return…
But that’s not what happened. Ex was not happy that I left, through his eyes I was a S*** a W****. I had done wrong and was hiding. But that’s the thing when one is that messed up from drugs, he was in a psychotic state and there was no reasoning with that man. And me leaving and taking my babies, well that just added to the fire. When a narcissist loses their possession, they start losing control, of me and himself.
When I sit here and think back on that night and the next few days, I see that there were three main problems. One, remember what I said in the manipulation blog, he had convinced and brainwashed me. He had me thinking I was wrong, that it was all my fault, that I really was a S*** and a w****. When he slammed me against the bricks and squeezed my head, even though I knew it was wrong, I thought I deserved it. So the messed up thing is that I was finding myself saying sorry over and over. Second, I had hidden the abuse from my family, so until this night they didn’t know what was happening and the gravity of the situation. Third, at this stage I didn’t know about the drugs. I didn’t know he was high on ice! I didn’t know he was out of his mind. I thought he was going through a mental health problem, like bipolar (which is another reason why I stayed so long and was trying to help him).
So there is two things I wish I could have changed about that night. One, I wish I had have called the police. But I didn’t because before he left he said “you better not call the police” and “when I call you later, you better answer”. The other reason was because in my head this behaviour was normal and how could I call the police on my husband and the father of my children? But if I had of, I could have got myself, him and my babies help a lot quicker and maybe wouldn’t have left us homeless for three months. Second, I would have got more belongings, my kid’s toys and clothes. When I left I couldn’t go back, I left with nothing. Before Ex left in his rage I asked for my bank card and my car keys, he said no and left.
The next day, week and month were no better. And continued to spiral out of control! But when I think about it, it was the beginning of me getting me back. But what I want to make a point of for this blog is where I went wrong and how others can learn from my mistakes! Because everything that happened since the day I left my ex, was not easy and unfortunately not very fair. Every choice I had to make was an implication made from the choices and position my ex put me through. But I feel and I hope there is more options and a better way out for others.
See me and my babies were homeless for three months. My mum took me and my kid’s in. We slept top to tail on mattresses. We had no money, no car, no clothes or belongings. When I asked Ex for our things, he would say that I needed to man up, go home alone and face what I had done. What an ironic statement and request to make. “Man up”? And that right there is what is wrong with men that commit domestic violence. Because clearly his definition of a man is clearly wrong! It took me two weeks to get new back cards and my pay changed to a new account. I relied on borrowing money off people and was blessed that one of my best friends took me to buy some essentials and clothes for my kids.
Even when we managed to go to court when I applied for the IVO, he still refused to let me back in the house to get my belongings. The only option he allowed was for me to write a list of my personal belongings and it would be placed on the nature strip of my father’s home. Now I want you to all to sit back and have a think, can you imagine having to leave your home because you’re scared… then not be able to take anything with you, and the only way to get your personal belongings back is to write a list of every single thing you wanted? Think of all the things you use day to day around your house, all your keepsakes and memories, all your private possessions, and having to write all of this down to hope that he will give it back. And this as I am writing this blog for you is how I see reason! This is how it helps me heal, an epiphany! Because what husband and father, scares the family out of their home, makes a conscious decision to leave them with no belongings and no money and then flat out refuses them to return.
So this is how I want to help! It’s about acknowledging the red flags in your own relationship, it’s about understanding where and how to get help and the services available to you in your area. It’s about talking and opening up to friends and family. And it’s about planning an escape before it’s too late. See although Ex did a great job at making me feel like it was all more fault and I was bad; I could see that I was very un-happy. The January before I left, I remember in the august I had told a friend that I was giving him 12 months, and if life was still the way it was, I would find a way to leave. But life was spiralling out of control quicker than I could have anticipated. I needed to get out. I had been seeing a mental health nurse through my GP and by the start of August I had finally realised that when I needed to leave the only way I would be able to get out was with an escape plan. But I knew that I wasn’t ready yet and definitely wasn’t strong enough. But the truth is, I don’t think I would have ever been strong enough to actively leave. And I see reason in what my sister said to me, “maybe things had to get this bad, so bad and so far wrong, because maybe I would have never been able to leave”. I have to believe that everything happens for a reason, I have to believe that what happens now and all the pain is the fight for the good!
Lastly I leave this blog with thanks to my lucky stars for looking out for me that night! Not many people know, the day before the end I was standing in the kitchen making lunch for my family, my husband and his friend. I remember standing there in pain, sharp aching pain; you know that stabbing pain deep within? I was weak and fighting back my tears and remember stopping and looking up, and saying, please whoever is out there looking out for me, please help me, please either heal my husband and my marriage or find me a way to get me out and get me help.
If you, or someone you know is in a similar situation, please know you don’t have to be. There are plenty of places to get help and support. I hope that somewhere deep inside you, you will find the strength to reach out and ask for help. It’s not easy, but I can tell you it will all be worth it. I’m not on the other side yet, but some days I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I already know that the life I put up with for years is not what I deserved. It’s not what my children deserved. It’s also not what you deserve. The hardest part is reaching out, there may be a mountain to climb after that – but every little step gets us closer to happiness and safety, and the life we deserve.
A few services where you can get help:
Locally in Victoria
- Emma House, Warrnambool ph: 5561 1934
- Bethany, Geelong ph: 5278 8122
- WRISC Family Violence Support, Ballarat ph: 5333 3666
- Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre ph: 1800 015 188
- In touch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence ph: 1800 755 988
- Child Protection 131 278