A Life Worth Living. Chapter Twenty Three
My core belief was that I was unlovable. I held on to abusive relationships when I should have walked away. My behaviour stemmed from my beliefs which fuelled by the false belief that I was unlovable. I perpetuated the belief by focusing on the belief and repeating the belief to myself.
I found writing these chapter difficult because I find it absolutely incredible, looking back, that I was that person that took that step and married Andrew, a violent man, knowing there was every chance that he would abuse me even though I hoped he would not. He had promised he would never hit me again and I wanted to believe him. Part of me wants to laugh of how incredible it seems that I ever had the experiences in the first place. Proof that people can be unknowingly stuck in negative beliefs is shown to me by looking back at my own life. I had been abused all my life and at the age of twenty six, I was still allowing myself to be abused. I was aware of the shame I felt and other feelings like self disgust, anger, self loathing, I was a battered and abused woman, my brain was battered from the beatings and I had never heard of the battered woman syndrome. Like many others experiencing domestic violence, I did not know how to make it stop. I did not understand that I was repeating my negative beliefs to myself and creating more negative experiences. I believed I was not worthy of being respected and loved. I did not know how to have respect for myself and walk away. I understand why women find it difficult to leave their violent partners. I stayed even though I was knocked unconscious, sustained broken ribs, broken nose, broken finger, broken cheek bone and had my face battered to a pulp.
Abuse Is Not Love.
Andrew controlled every aspect of my life, telling what I could or could not wear, who I could speak to and even what I could read. For a long time, all I was allowed to read was the bible. He would wear me down by pouring buckets of cold water over me when I least expected it. I was not allowed to sleep unless he said I could sleep, If I did fall asleep he would slam two pan lids together to wake me up. I was deprived of sleep for days on end and was mentally and physically exhausted. Looking back I feel that I was brain washed and allowed Andrew to take total control of my life. I can hear him now, 'You are so stupid!'. Like my partner before him and my parents, Andrew was verbally and psychologically abusive. He reinforced my belief that I was stupid to the point that I could not function properly. I laugh now when I think back because I believed I loved Andrew and needed to keep trying to prove that I loved him. I felt sorry that he had a bad past and I tried to love him so that he would love me. I know now that there is no love where there is abuse, abuse is not love. I found that I allowed myself to be abused because of beliefs and lack of knowledge about them.
One night after another beating, I picked up a knife from the kitchen, to try and defend myself from further punches. Andrew was determined to do me serious harm and I could not have taken any more. Screaming was not bringing the help that I needed. The threat of the knife scared Andrew and he stopped beating me. I cannot say whether I would have harmed him or not, but was grateful not to be tested. He told me he would phone the police and get me arrested for threatening to kill him with the knife. 'You will be locked up and you will never see her again', he said, as he pointed upwards towards the bedroom, where I hoped against all hope, my daughter was asleep and oblivious to what was going on. I thought it was all over. I feared that I would go to prison and my daughter would end up in care. In a moment of madness, I slit my wrist with the knife. Blood pumped from a severed artery and before long I was sat in a pool of blood. The next I remember, was being at the hospital getting stitched up. I could have lost it all in a moment. Like other women who have hit back, I could have gone to prison. I came close to killing my violent husband and that would have been wrong. I would have been charged with murder and I would have been found guilty. I came close to killing myself when I should have walked away but I didn't walk. I did not have the courage to leave him or the belief that I could leave him. When I got out of hospital, I just felt like a zombie. I remember feeling confused and trapped and I did not want to be near Andrew.
When Enough Is Enough
My self esteem was as low as a slug's belly and I did not think possible to feel any worse than I did. Life was too difficult and I was struggling not to fall apart. I often prayed for insanity so that the pain and suffering would stop. I was ashamed knowing that I had created my life but did not know how to change it. I made bad choices that led to the situation I was in and could not blame anyone but myself. I had negative beliefs and lived through those beliefs. I was deeply ashamed that I could not put an end to all the madness in my life and either kill myself, or, leave Andrew. It finally started to come to an end when I saw a slug in the road. I walked through a little path that led from my home to the local shop and on the floor, I saw a slug. The back end of the slug had been squashed and flattened into the concrete path, the other end, the head, was still alive. Half dead is how I felt too. When I saw that poor little slug in that state I just broke down and cried. How could someone be so cruel? Why would someone be so cruel as to leave a living thing in a terrible state, half dead. I did not have it in me to kill the slug and put it out of its misery. I sat on the floor at the side of the slug and sobbed. I felt that the slug, had a right to a safe enjoyable life without having to put up with as much cruelty as that slug endured. Something in me was changing as I watched the slug that day. I wanted to find the strength to walk away from my abusive life and use my time reaching out to others in similar situations. I decided in those moments that I wanted to put my energies into helping others understand why they stayed in abusive relationships, but first I had to find out for myself. I felt a wave of emotions over come me and overwhelmed by a feeling of grief and pain. I remember thinking that I was going insane. By the time I got to the shop, which was about two hundred yards from the slug, I was in bits and could not control the tears that were flowing. People were looking at me like I was a drunk. I knew I needed help before I lost my mind completely. I felt like I was in a dreamy state but got to the phone box outside the shop, I rang Social Services and told them I needed help. I was blubbering on about a slug in the road about my dad abusing me and other memories that flooded back as I spoke. I must have sounded like I looked, a drunk, ranting and wailing down the phone. I was able to talk about what had been happening to me and the lady at the other end of the phone listened. I was offered support which enabled me to release pent up emotions and I cried buckets of tears.
Wake Up And Become Aware.
My break down was a turning point in my life. I realised I needed to change because I did not want to live with violence or the threat of it, for the rest of my life. I wanted to live a normal life even though I did not know what normal was. I was beginning to understand I deserve better than what I had been experiencing. We all deserve to have a happy life. Our purpose is to be happy to be the best we can be. No one told me that I was worthy of anything and I felt too unworthy to be entitled too a better existence than I had.
I wanted life to be different, to be enjoyable and happy but I did not know how. I had suppressed so much anger that I felt like I could explode at any moment and lived in fear that I would. I was afraid that I would hurt someone even though I would never want to. I needed to deal with all the pain that I had buried and acknowledge how I truly felt. By the age of twenty eight, I had many many negative experiences like the ones I write about and I was beginning to understand how those experiences were impacting my life. I was beginning to come to terms with what had happened to me as a child. I began to understand that life could be better if I was prepared to face my demons.
I finally made Andrew leave and gave up any idea's that I could change him. He did not go quietly especially when he found out that I was pregnant with my second child. He beat me again when I would not give in to him and tried kicking my unborn baby to death, that was the last time he laid a finger on me. He was desperate to gain control over me again but there was no going back for me. I stopped the pattern that we had followed for many years. I closed the door on him and on abuse and never allowed him back in my life. At that time I made a promised to myself that I would never allow another to lay a finger on me. There was a stirring in me that day because I was waking up to knowing I could change my own life.
Learn To Love Yourself
My life and my relationships mirrored my mam and dad's violent relationship. I realised that I was seeking out similar experiences to what I believed that I should be getting. I could see a family pattern of beliefs being passed on from my parents to me and now I was repeating the pattern. My biggest fear was that my children would grow up and follow the same pattern in their lives an relationships. I did not want them to go through life being miserable and pretending to be happy when they were not happy at all. I wanted my children to have the best life possible. I knew I had to find a way to break the patterns of my family history and stop history repeating itself and I had to learn to be happy so that I could teach my children to be happy.
I went on a mission, gave up drinking, enrolled at college and sought counselling. I read everything I could get my hand on about self development and was facing the future feeling more optimistic than ever. I felt a lift in my heart for the first time in years and I felt strong. The past was over and it was time to move on to a better future.
I know there are children today from abusive backgrounds, struggling to find meaning in life. Their past is reflected in their dysfunctional lives and relationships. I believed my purpose in life was to over come my difficulties so that I could teach others to do the same. I know what it is like to experience such a low self esteem that we feel worthless and undeserving. I know the feeling of not being loved and I also know we can change how we feel and what we believe in.
If I could go back in time, my message to myself would have been, 'Learn To Love Yourself.'
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Chapter twenty four to follow.
- A Life Worth Living. Chapter Twenty Five
My learning of how my negative beliefs from abusive childhood, silently affected every aspect of my life and choices I made. Consequences of negative beliefs as experienced by me. Here I discuss my beliefs and how they affected my relationships.
- A Life Worth Living. Chapter Twenty Four
After my abusive relationships, I had to learn about me and question myself and beliefs. How and why I was in abusive relationships? This is my life journey and experiences of changing my negative beliefs about myself.
- A Life Worth Living. Chapter Twenty Two
My experience of cycle of abuse and negative beliefs in my life. I believe I was not worthy of a loving relationship and my experienced mirrored that belief.
- A Life Worth Living; Chapter One
Born into a violent home, I was given last rites within hours of my birth. My first day of life was a battle to survive and there were more battles of survival to come. This is my journey of survival.