I didn’t leave because he was hurting me…

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.

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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?

Conversational Poetry

” its been a long time”

he said,

“the years have changed you”

” I like it, I really like it”

then he pulled me close,

brushed the hair from my eyes

& kissed me till I knew how much.

Louise Alexandra Erskine

“if you were just a little closer”

he said

“I’d fall for you so hard”

“then its just as well I’m here”

I replied

“because if I was meant for you

you’d love me exactly where I am”

Louise Alexandra Erskine

standing awkwardly beside him

tension building in the air

making small talk & failing miserably

until I asked

“when are you going to stop wasting these stars and kiss me?”

he responded softly

first with his lips

then with his tongue,

communication was never a problem after that.

Louise Alexandra Erskine

Captured

It was all there

I could see it in his eyes

standing so close

I was art

as he painted me with his lens

every eyelash, every freckle

the light dancing in my eyes

a fire burning in his

he pulled the beauty from my darkness

andI stood before him

not just photographed,

captured.

Louise Alexandra Erskine

Butterfly Resurrection

honestly she wasn’t sure how she felt

or was she was ready for

but when she walked beside him

she felt a quiet gentle fluttering in her stomach

as though, just maybe

not all the butterflies were dead

Louise Alexandra Erskine

those little flecks of golden light

shining in your eyes

they are enough to illuminate

even my darkest places

Louise Alexandra Erskine

without ever knowing it

he had taught her heart to beat again

Louise Alexandra Erskine

he took her to bed

and for the first time

she knew

how the sun feels each morning

as it rises in the sky

Louise Alexandra Erskine

it wasn’t the climb she was afraid of

it was the fall

Louise Alexandra Erskine

the walls were high

and time moved slowly

but brick by brick

he stayed long enough to take them down

and what he found there

took his breath away

Louise Alexandra Erskine

You and I

I had never believed two souls could be one

then there was you

Louise Alexandra Erskine

and his feet

danced

to the rhythm of her

heart

Louise Alexandra Erskine

just a broken girl searching for all of her pieces

that’s how I found you

how I understood your soul

and why it still hurts

watching you search for your own broken fragments

in all the wrong places

finding nothing

travelling so far in the wrong direction

you can’t even hear me

calling to you

it’s safer if we search together

Louise Alexandra Erskine

he looked at her

and as their eyes met

her troubles fell into the sea

Louise Alexandra Erskine

the sea, the sky

the way my heart feels when you are near

some things

are too beautiful

to be destroyed with understanding

Louise Alexandra Erskine

Without change there would be no butterflies

Without the dark we would never see the stars

Without you I didn’t fall apart

Louise Alexandra Erskine

The Storm Inside

She was powerless

standing in the face of the storm

so she simply surrendered

watched it roll on in

& loved him till it passed

Louise Alexandra Erskine

you & I

two of the darkest thunder clouds to find their way together

feeding of each others pain

energy filled particles colliding

there was always going to be one hell of a storm

but

my God the lightening we made was spectacular

Louise Alexandra Erskine

The thunder may never have hurt anyone

but beware

the lightning that follows burns like hell

Louise Alexandra Erskine

Sipping whisky in the moonlight with him

calming the storm in her

Louise Alexandra Erskine

There are two ways to survive a storm

batten down the hatches, remain beneath it

and wait for it to pass in its own time

or

rise above it where the skies are clear

Louise Alexandra Erskine

I didn’t see it at the time

I was too lost inside the storm

but you were my lighthouse

illuminating those thundering skies

shining

keeping me safe

&

leading me home

Louise Alexandra Erskine

All of the Ocean

poetry collection

He was all of the Ocean

and she was drowning in a single drop

Louise Alexandra Erskine

Take me beyond the break water

let me dive beneath the surface

swimming through your ocean

until exhausted

I wash upon the sand

Louise Alexandra Erskine

She was alone

Lost out at sea

&

broken by the storm

But

As each wave battered her

It bought her closer to the shore

Louise Alexandra Erskine

He was her Ocean

She was his Moon

&

Together they changed the Tide

Louise Alexandra Erskine

Meet me at the shoreline

let the ocean kiss our feet

Take me by the hand

& lead me

My naked soul

Cleansed in the water with you

Louise Alexandra Erskine

Safe in your harbour

I forgot

A ship belongs on the ocean

Louise Alexandra Erskine