A friend of mine is raising money for a very good cause. The Womens Refuge. Of course I have donated to this. I don’t know where our local Refuge is and that is how it should be. However I have had help and support from one of their Out Reach staff. Back in 2006/7 I was going through a very difficult divorce. We were both living in the same house. I had 4 teenage sons (3 & a pre-teen). I had nowhere to go and couldn’t leave my boys behind.
I had reason to go to the police on a number of occasions. We were registered as a family at risk. Social Services were meant to help my youngest son especially but that didn’t happen. Instead I was given an out reach worker from the Womens Refuge Service. The lady assigned to me was both lovely and supportive. She gave me emotional and practical support even going with me to court.
At the best of times The Refuge doesn’t have enough resources or accommodation to help every woman who need it. During the current pandemic it has been in the news countless times that women at risk at in even greater risk during this time.
I am proud that Avon (for whom I am a Sales Leader) are supporting the Refuge organisation and have donated to the cause.
I bet most people are not aware that Avon support this great cause along with other womens causes like Breast Cancer.
I was talking to my friend about the Refuge and how they helped me. She has also gone through a rough time and I sent her a copy of an article I wrote back in about 2008 or 2009. I sent her a copy of it as I thought it might resonate with her. She said she read it twice and thought I should publish it. My intention when writing it was to be honest about my situation but at the same time keeping it light hearted. Do you think I managed that?
It has been a couple of years now and I don’t have any regrets. Some time ago, I think it was the middle of last summer my mother asked the question.
‘If you had known how hard it was going to be would you still have done it?’
I consider this carefully before replying. I am not sure why as I knew the answer, there was never any doubt in my mind.
‘Yes most definitely, it was the best thing I could have done.’
Indeed it was the only thing I could have done. I had given it my best shot. 19 years of my life I had given to that man. But the day had come when I realised that enough was enough. He couldn’t understand it when I told him I didn’t want to continue living with him. He couldn’t work out what was wrong with me. We had a good marriage didn’t we, we never argued did we?
He was right in a way, as until the last few months we had very rarely had a row. Firstly he was never around to have a row with as he was always either at work, pub or asleep. (the perfect marriage in some ways).
Secondly we never rowed because, when he was around he made me feel so useless and weak that I never dared to argue with him and on the occasions when I tried to vent my anger on him he would turn it around to be my fault. Like the many Saturday mornings when he came home from shopping. (I wasn’t allowed to shop I spent too much, whereas he always bought bargains – you know the deals where if you buy this you get that free or the end of date things). We had a freezer full of things we would never use and a fridge full of things that had to be eaten in one day but nothing for the rest of the week.
He often came in with a mood on, this would make me grumpy, (no one likes to be moaned at for no reason). Because I was now grumpy he would complain about my mood and stomp off to the pub.
During all these years he would tell me that I was
‘fat, ugly, useless with a brain like a sieve’
Now after so many years of being told this it becomes hard to believe otherwise. I believe that if you get married you should try to make the marriage work. I was not going to give up easily. I had to try to make it work. Besides I had nowhere to go and 4 children to consider. Because I had done such a good job of trying to make our marriage work he had no idea that it wasn’t working. The end of our marriage came as a big shock to him. For me it never really was a marriage. I had never been in love with him. We had never courted as such, just fell into a relationship as when we met we were both getting over broken hearts and needed someone to turn to. If I hadn’t got pregnant the marriage would never have happened.
Now, though we are divorced and I have never been happier. Financially we were never really solvent as a couple. Does anyone know a solvent alcoholic? But we did have two wages coming in, his full time wage and my part time wage (part time!! I worked longer hours than he did for half the money).
Now it is just me and the boys, I am the only one bringing any money into the home. It has been a struggle and there are days when we have to keep our coats on because it’s too darn cold and I don’t have any spare cash to buy gas. (Yes I have had to get a key meter for both the gas and electricity). There are days when we have just 2 slices of bread and no milk. But we manage, I have not killed any of them off yet.
Are we better off now? Financially no we are worse off but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, it isn’t going to be like this forever and now that I have a full time job that I enjoy things can only get better.
However we as a family unit are much happier. Gone are the days of dreading the door opening, wondering if he is in one of his soppy drunk moods or in a nasty bad tempered mood that has everyone either cowering behind a cushion or hiding away in the bedrooms. Gone are the days where everyone had to be silent or risk his bellow of
‘Stop that noise’ or ‘be quiet’
In the past two years there has very rarely been a cross word spoke between any of the five of us. It took me a few months to realise that he was never going to be here again chastising me for staying up late or reading when I should be doing something else. I can have friends here if I choose. (visitors were forbidden when he was here).
Our house rings with the sound of music (not always to my taste, teenagers!!) and laughter where before there was only silence broken by shouts of ‘silence’.
There is an air of confidence about us all that was not there before. I have learnt that I am worth so much more than I ever knew. I am happy, I laugh, I joke, I feel sexy, I feel worthy, I have finally come to love the person I am.
I might add that all these years later this husband doesn’t drink any more. He has become a different man. Not everything has changed but we have managed to become friends since the arrival of our first grandchild.