From the Sky down

How did the world get so full of information 

every minute of every day reality tv and 24 hour news

and who thought it would be a good idea 

to fit it all right here in the back pocket of my jeans

all the information and the miss information 

and all the truth is out there but it’s hidden buried beneath the propaganda and the curated lies 

don’t get me wrong sometimes it is the good

but it’s mostly just the bad and the ugly with a filter slapped on that’s supposed to convince us that we want it

and everyone has an opinion on everything hiding behind their keyboard with the belief they’ve earned the right to share it

and no one is brave enough anymore to just admit when they don’t know

because what does it mean if the whole world fits inside your phone and it’s smaller than you are but you’re still not big enough to contain it

So we shrink ourselves down trying to make ourselves bigger

because it all so conveniently fits inside the palm of our hand as we loose time we can never get back scrolling on the device we built for connection that’s causing all this separation

while they tell us over and over again that if we would only keep on striving to do everything they said

while they sell us this dream that if we just invest enough hope and we sacrifice our mental health we can get lucky enough to go viral and catch a break or two that will turn this life around

and if that happens someday we could maybe have an Instagram feed that makes us look like we’re the one that’s normal

if we start again from the ground up maybe we could could be enough to fit inside their mould and that would make them proud

and I tried for a while I really really tried 

to shrink to conform to fit to fit in but fitting in just made it clear I didn’t have anywhere I belong

when it all came down to it I wasn’t built for this and it was a little late in the day I’ll admit but I realised I’m a bird

and I couldn’t spend my life swimming inside their fishbowl

and if those of us that are born to fly really want to change the world if we want to overcome

We have to be far too busy building something beautiful from the sky down to ever stop and listen to the voices that want to cage us.

– Louise Alexandra Erskine

When the beginning isn’t at the start

when the beginning isn't at the start

There’s an argument to be made that our stories begin at birth, as we enter the world outside the womb and gasp for our first breath. There’s an argument to be made that maybe it’s even earlier, maybe our story begins with our conception, if procedural traumatic memories can be traced back as early as the second trimester of pregnancy that certainly seems to support the idea that birth isn’t the beginning. I’ve heard an impassioned speech or two suggest life begins at 40 or 50 or 60… I would say there’s also a fairly solid argument to be made that mine began at 2 years old when I should have died but God saved me and set me apart but I’m not going with any of those, no, my story or at least the one i’m living now began at 31, sitting wedged in a tiny space on the floor between my bed and the wardrobe hiding from my husband, broken to the point I didn’t know how to survive another day, desperate and Googling, normally I’ll admit that’s a bad combination but just this once God saw my need and used Google to save me rather than convince me I was dying of some obscure disease to which there was no cure – seriously never google the symptoms of anything!

I had not long given birth to my third baby, my second son and a honker of a surprise, God I’m fairly sure sent him to save me and give me the strength he new I’d need to leave, because I certainly wasn’t planning on bringing another human being into the mess that I was living in. At first two kids under two, no sleep in two years, a 7 year old that also seemed to be slowly loosing himself and no one to help me navigate what was going on, or why it was we all seemed to be spiralling was a little overwhelming and more than I could bare. I want to say my husband at the time in question was slowly loosing his battle with drinking – I’m not sure why I want to say that I guess I want it to be like it was outside his control and that he couldn’t help it, because for a lot of people that is true alcoholism is a disease it was for my dad and for my grandad and it really takes the sting out of it when that’s the case, but the truth is it wasn’t a battle, he wasn’t fighting it and he wasn’t loosing it he was chasing it, as hard and as fast as he could, the reasons for this choice are long and complex and ultimately his is not my story to tell. 

The truth is it hurt so much to watch because it wounded my pride, its like when you see people on the news and they always just say ” I know it happens but I didn’t think it would ever happen to me” I’ve always known that children of alcoholics are more likely to be in relationships with alcoholics, it’s something about finding security in the familiar and knowing it won’t kill you because you’ve already survived it. My grandfather was a mean drunk the war messed him up and there was no ptsd support back then so he tried his best to drink the demons quiet but only ever made them scream louder. My dad on the other hand had a big kind heart you’d have to be made of stone not to fall for but he too had his demons and tried to escape them in a bottle that ended the day as empty as he felt.

I knew all of this and foolishly thought knowing it would protect me somehow from becoming the statistic. It didn’t. I wound up repeating history and learning the hard way that if my children weren’t going to loose their lives to the same generational curse I was I’d have to be the one to break the chain. 

So here I was starting my story at the end hiding behind the bed like a scared little girl hoping my husband wouldn’t find me and reading a blog on how to survive being married to an alcoholic, I didn’t even realise I was being abused at this point I just knew I hurt and I couldn’t figure out why, like I was drowning and couldn’t find where the water was coming from. No mater what I did how fast I scooped up the buckets, or how many holes I found and tried to plug the water just kept on coming until it crashed over me and just kept knocking all the air from my lungs.

So here I was reading her story thinking it was just the drinking that needed fixing and everything would be okay that maybe if I changed something or did something or was something different it would all be enough to go back to how things used to be, to when I was enough and not too much, when we had something good that made him happy and that somehow the white picket fence family dream I was sold wasn’t dead. I related to her story and was glad I read and found the 12 steps helpful but honestly I don’t suppose it would have made much difference in my life if it weren’t for one thing, a little grey box about halfway down that read

You intended it to harm me but God intended it for good what is now being done the saving of many lives.

Genesis 50.20 

I read it and something in my soul grabbed hold of it and threw itself on board. Maybe just maybe the God of my childhood was still with me, and maybe just maybe he could save me again. This wasn’t just a word it was my life raft in the storm, it was my moment and it became my purpose as I grew into my journey, it wasn’t a big sudden change where Jesus rode in, snapped his fingers and fixed everything, it took a long time learning to keep my head above those waves, and I still don’t always but it’s the reason I’m no longer hiding behind the bed scared out of my mind and praying not to be found but out here bleeding ink for the world to read.

I didn’t leave because he was hurting me…

After my second child (my first in my second marriage) my husband began studying for his degree, as well as working full time. This led to a level of stress with which he simply could not cope, no time for his family and a lot of resentment towards me (everything was always my fault), and the slow unravelling of the twisted web of lies that was our life together.

My husband had always had an addictive personality, but so do many people who manage without great consequence so I didn’t feel any cause for concern. However, as the pressure began to mount without a healthy outlet, he began to depend on alcohol more and more to unwind. What started as a couple of beers after work, before the kids went to bed and he could concentrate, quickly became 6-8 beers and a couple of strong mixers to keep him awake as he sat alone into the night to get his assignments done. As he became more and more dependent on alcohol it became less about study and more about escape. Drinking was his release from the stresses of life. Soon his emotional escape became a physical one, he would return from work dump his bags and off to the pub he would go.

Every day I was left alone and baffled, there I was baby up jumper(Zebby our third had arrived un planned before Lily was even two), house a bomb site, toddler picking leaves of herbs as I tried to include her in cooking a gourmet hello fresh meal, he wouldn’t bother to eat but regardless, and a broken record of a seven-year-old enquiring how much longer it would be playing in the background.

I stood every day just the same, completely at a loss as to how a man that claimed to love his family could walk into this chaos and instead of helping, instead of taking over the dinner for 10 minutes so I could get the baby down, he was angry at me that this was what his life looked like…

That’s the thing I finally Learned about narcissists, they only care about how things LOOK not how they ARE! They would rather impress a stranger than be loved by their own family, and I just wasn’t built for that. So, I broke. One cold, heavy snow day in February we were trapped in the house together and I called time on our relationship.

Shortly after this I began the search for a marriage councillor that could help us find a way through the mess we were in, with the hope that one day with enough work our relationship could be restored. I found one and booked a consultation. I was so filled with hope that we were going together even driving in the same car. I thought this is it we are going to be okay, boy was I wrong! We argued right there in front of the head of the counselling program. He kept niggling me with all those comments narcissists are so skilled at, the ones that sound good to everyone else but are designed to hurt you and make you react so you look like the crazy one. I of course took the bait and was devastated when he then refused to attend counselling together and demanded we see separate councillors until I learned to be reasonable. Needless to say, my husband quit very soon after, but I stayed with my councillor and saw her weekly for several months.


It was during this time that I came to realise I had been abused. It seems ludicrous that I hadn’t known all along but these things start so subtly and you get into the habit of making excuses for their behaviour until in the end you don’t even realise that your hiding it from yourself. It started so small, nothing I said or did was good enough, he would comment on the smallest perceived flaw, and drag up my past as if it’s something I should be ashamed of. Slowly these things become more frequent and I was left feeling constantly wounded, ground down, emotionally beaten and torn, all the while he would swan about like God’s gift and how dare I be so ungrateful! As time went on, I stopped realising that he was violating my boundaries, that he didn’t care about my feelings or have any respect at all for the word NO!

I was left feeling unworthy and ashamed of who I am. Eventually my self esteem was shot and anxiety sparked over the tiniest of things I was a broken shell of a woman.

Narcissists often begin to subtly cross over into other forms of abuse you quickly learn that there’s no point saying no to sex, its far simpler and ultimately hurts less physically and emotionally to just do what they want, but its more than that. Narcissists often intersperse their abuse with periods of kindness, this was how my husband managed to be physically abusive without me even realising. It was when he was saying loving things and being sweet to me that he would also be holding me in a way that was painful and often bruised my arms to the point I was planning to see the doctor and have my blood checked. This is all part of how they condition you so that you become trauma bonded and feel like you need them and their abuse to be happy, so they keep you coming back for more. This went on for almost a year even after I had left my husband and we ended up getting back together for a few short months and you know what the first week was incredible but that’s all there was a week at most before things were nastier than ever culminating in him having a melt down on Christmas day that scared me and which I very much pandered to for the sake of my children but by new year’s day I had the strength I needed to leave again. This time for good.

I received streams of cruel and delusional, abusive messages for a long time afterwards to the point I was advised not to be home alone if he is picking up the kids. Then he would change tact and I’ll get messages saying he’s crying because he misses me – it’s not real – not a single word. Not the good ones or the bad ones, it’s all just part of the manipulation, that’s all there ever is.

I no longer receive these kind of messages very often but that’s because I’ve finally after 3 and a half years learned to identify when he is bating me and not give him what he wants but I still keep a file of evidence on my computer just incase. Even though I know all this and recognise what’s happening I still do what he wants more than I would like, slowly and I’m still not all the way there I am learning to archive his messages and not look at them, over analysing every word (because you can’t just block their number when you have kids together). I’m learning to set boundaries and he is learning to push them a little less. Little by little my confidence is coming back, I see friends more and do what I love, little by little I am growing strong and becoming the kind of woman sons can respect and daughter can look up to, and in all of this mess I am starting to learn how to manage not just my own trauma but how to face the on going issues it causes for my children, because that’s the thing the advice you find on online doesn’t cover how the hell do you break your trauma bonding and still co parent?