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The quiet triggers

In the beginning I was violently and aggressively open. In the early days. So full of anger, hurt and overwhelmed by confusion. When I wanted to spew it all out all over the floor- like someone had cut me open and I was bleeding the pain, humiliation and anger all over my social media. It came from so many places.

Predominately I wanted a voice. For so long I had shut myself down. Fawned over him, told him he was right, it was me. Telling friends and family, concerned at the loss of the Claire they knew and loved, that he was amazing, we were amazing. They and I were the problem.

I have a friend who is at this point right now. I’m not judging her, she needs to let it spew out. If that’s what she needs then I hope she finds it cathartic, cleansing, as I did

Another huge part was letting him see. Showing him that I wasn’t taking this. Proving to him, and myself, that he had lost the ultimate prize. And boy did he see, he would screenshot small sections of my posts, often accompanied by a photo of us, and send them to me. “Claire, I love you. We had the things you say you wanted. Look at how happy we were”- in true narcissistic fashion, cherry picking the parts which suited his agenda

Begging me to take him back, to forgive him. And I thought about it, I was so very nearly dragged back in so many times. But something always pulled me back away, catching him in anther lie, listening to him once again admitting to abusing us, but rationalising it. He was able to rationalise his behaviour with such ease that you would start thinking he was right, you did deserve this, it WAS your fault. No wonder he is so good at his sales job.

It’s funny, because I am definitely well out of it now. I’m damaged by it. FUCK I’m damaged. But I’m out. However I still get these random triggers. Last night it was while watching 48 hours in police custody. The behaviour of the guy, who had murdered his 11 week son, was so similar to his. Like how dare the police call his moral compass into question, how dare they accuse him of the things he had blatantly done. The arm throwing, the flouncing. The crocodile tears. The indignation that someone dare be on to him, accuse him of the things he was guilty of.

This blog is written off the back of hearing the words “was it abuse though? Or just a really bad relationship”?

It was abuse. Abuse doesn’t have to be flying fists and hiding bruises. Although actually, although he never hit me I strongly believe that was next- and throwing coffee at your naked girlfriend as she sits in bed? Smashing windows? THAT was physically abusive. But abuse can be so much more, so much more covert, less obvious. Which makes it even harder to walk away from- because of that cognitive dissonance.

There are several pointers of emotional abuse and I want everyone to be able to recognise them, not only in behaviour committed against them, but in the things they themselves may be doing- if you are a victim of a perpetrator of anything which follows please, please get help, because it won’t end well.

CONTROL

Of the many things I experienced this was the scariest. How easily i was influenced and controlled. I went from being this free bird, to double, triple and quadruple doubting every decision. It started fairly early doors, with a text. My failure to reply in a timely fashion led to my first experience of affection withdrawal. I ignored it, thinking it was just a tiny bit of insecurity. I would be more mindful in the future, he was right, I had been selfish and testing him in not replying straight away. Ffs 2020 claire just listen to yourself 😂

Financial- this again was massive. When I lived on my own with my kids and he would stay every night I would feed us all. He had it pretty good really- he would stay the night, go to “work”, come home and have an amazing home cooked meal, I would even wash his clothes for him. How many times did he pick up the food bill in 6 months? Once. One time. How many times did he mention that he had picked up that one food bill? About 5 million. His reckoning was that I was in receipt of universal credit, so he was already contributing…this guy earned 3 times my salary, three times.. which brings me on to the joint account…

When we moved in together, officially, remember I was on the mortgage- I was furloughed. Despite this I paid exactly 50% of al the bills, 85% of my wages went into the joint bank account- the one I wasn’t allowed access to. For when I ordered a PIN number it was mysteriously intercepted.. the next one deleted from the notes form my phone. This guy, who was on 3 times my salary and didn’t have three kids to support, would never think of buying anything for the house with his own cash.. but I was the selfish one, the one who didn’t contribute. The one who couldn’t be trusted. My cat hurt her leg, the vets suggested tests, I refused but He insisted- I however got abused for not being able to pay the bill (tests were all clear) how irresponsible of me.. I took out a credit card… again “irresponsible” of me.

I wanted to buy a car- he didn’t stop me- just told me how selfish it would be, what a poor mother it would make me. I didn’t contribute enough to the relationship, to the house (except the 50% thing obviously 🤷‍♀️).. a few days later his new Santa Cruz bike arrived “oh Claire, I’m sorry if you are jealous (I wasn’t, he could spend his money as he chose as far as I was concerned) but I have worked hard to have all this spare money- maybe you should have made different choices” (condescending Cunt)

He was never out right controlling, it was more mind games. “Oh, are you joining the running club to meet other men?” “I may take That fit girl from insta cycling”, “are you wanting to go to college to meet other men?”, “if you got a job in an office you would be the one all the men wanted to fuck”… “seeing you get in a car with another man reminds me of who you are”.. it simply became too much hassle for me to suggest things I wanted because the result would be silent treatment, nasty comments.. it just really random and odd behaviour..

Degradation

Talking about a woman at work “oh she is so stunning, all the men think she is gorgeous, here is a photo of her.. don’t worry claire, I wouldn’t want a woman as pretty as that…”

“You will need to wash your knickers when you get home because I’ve had a wank in them”

“I had a wank this morning. Don’t worry, I was looking at your picture”… this was after several days of refusing to look at me, or be in the same room as me. Of my crying myself to sleep and him telling me to “shut up or we are over”

“Claire, like a child, if I do this for you, how will you ever learn?” Personal fave. What a cock.

“I have incredibly high standards, don’t be offended of your standards in the house are not as good as mine”- in 18 months of living together he cleaned the bathroom a grand total of 0 times. He did absolutely no cleaning at all- in fact he was a bit grim. Wiping snot on me- or his really disgusting habit of scratching his scrotum and then sniffing his fingers, before wiping them on me. Constantly scratching at his bits and bobs and inhaling the scent. I actually want to vomit at the thought of that.

Invasion of privacy

“Your parents hate me because you have texted things about me”… I had, a few days before I had made him a cup of tea, then gone to wash up. I stood at the sink and he poured the tea into the clean washing up water, the sandwich I made him in the bin.. honestly, without a single word, hot tea into my hands because “I didn’t want a cup of tea made by you”- before walking to the kettle, making himself a fresh cuppa and another sandwich 🤷‍♀️

I had joked about the pettiness of It with my mum.. as well as joking about him shagging his last cleaner. I obviously lied, of course I hadn’t said anything bad about him 😂.. but he went on and on and on- until I opened my phone, read the messages aloud to him- missing some bits out.. “why are your lying claire, that’s not what you said”.. pretty obvious by this point he knew exactly what I had said because he had seen it- going through my phone.. several days of silent treatment ensued.

“I’m not a narcissist claire, or whatever other name you have been googling” said the day after a friend had sent me an article about narcissistic abuse.

“You have a list on your phone of all the stuff I’ve done to you”.. yep, yes I did

“You tell your friends I bully you”.. yes, I had

It was like a game- he would say something which made me sure he had been through my phone- I actually think he had installed spyware as he was insistent that when I was due to upgrade my phone it would be “selfish of me”. But if I called him out on it then the arm flailing indignation would return. “How dare you! How could you accuse me of such things! Why would I want to be with such a disgusting person as you claire, someone who could say these awful things about me” absolute dick head, those crocodile tears 😂

This really is just such a tiny snapshot of This sort of thing, by September 2020 this behaviour had become daily. Protocol, I no longer woke up with this notion that the day would be a happy one, i knew there would be some level of crazy at some point.

He would down play my achievements- a great one was when one day he declared “I want to travel the world. You hold me back. I want to sell this house in 18 months and disappear around the world. You are not adventurous enough for me claire, your children stop you being the person I need. In fact, for you, a ten mile run is all you are ever capable of achieving- not like me” Bloody Christopher Columbus over there, implying that I had somehow fooled him into a relationship with me, like my three kids had come as a shock to him😂

Then there was the really sociopathic stuff. The sexual stuff- not rape or sexual abuse, everything was consensual- but using it to manipulate me. The absolutely disgusting manipulation, degradation. Frankly? Fucking frightening shite. His behaviour was escalating at an alarming rate. I laugh about isolated incidences because actually, now I’m out of it some of them are funny. Taking light bulbs out, throwing shoes in the bin. Sobbing because my kids ate the last Penguins (which I had bought from my money by the way), literally crying big fat tears because of their disrespect. A 46 year old grown man crying over a chocolate covered biscuit.

The big things are the ones which still make my voice catch in my throat when I talk to my trauma counselling lady about them. They are the things I can’t laugh off of downplay. They are the things which still wake me up with a start. They are the things which make me run a million miles from the thought of being in another relationship. (I have started laying my cards out on that one when I meet people. “I’m not going to be the person for you if you want straight forward and commitment. Im scared of being in a relationship and so will shut down on you the second I feel any sort of pressure”- seems to do the trick with dispelling any romantic notions 😳)

The scariest thing was his ability to rationalise it. Like the affection withdrawal, anger, petty gaslighting was all perfectly rational. You would walk away from it thinking you were insane, that he was right. You would write him these cloying, sickening apologies. Cling to him, beg him not to leave you. And he would smirk. Honestly, Emmie called it his “half smile”.

One particular night my kids had run away to their dads, it was that bad, he had threatened to harm them, to harm me. He filmed me crying and upset- and he rationalised it. He made me feel guilty! I wrote him an apology. Begged him to stay… and the next day?

The next day I went running with Linda, I told her everything. I rang my parents- told them every last bit. I messaged my childrens father, begged him to have the children a few more days. Three days after this, he threatened to “smash my childrens faces in”- “I want to take your children by the heads and smash their faces in “. It was so practiced, the way he said it. Cold, calm and calculating. The day after that was the day I packed his stuff, the day he smashed the windows…

But still- I nearly went back. Still I have days I blame myself, doubt it. It’s these days which have given me empathy, understanding. This need to learn more about trauma bonds, co dependance- why people stay for years and years. How someone can sit and watch their children being abused and murdered and still declare “but I love him” be so completely blind to what is right in front of them.

I’m not being defined by this, it’s been one of the hardest and most testing times in my life- but I genuinely believe that it was almost for the greater good. Because of these experiences with this toxic entity, I am able to see clearly the path I want to take. The career i want to forge, the things I will and won’t tolerate in relationships. It’s helped me see incredibly clearly who Claire is, was and will be.

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“Don’t you know who I am?”

I don’t know. I genuinely haven’t got a clue. Just a month ago someone said to me “you don’t know who you are” and I wrote a big old fuck you blog, refuting their words! How dare they! I know exactly who I am!

I can now, without a hint of apology now state that I agree with them. I’m lost. I’m stuck. I’m on a hamster wheel of emotion. Going round and round the same ones. “Hurt”, “confused”, “victim”… I have become so consumed by these emotions that they have become me.

Sunday funday

I know I am more than this. But by admitting my current identity-less state I am owning it. Only by owning it can I take action.

This ISN’T about him and the abuse. This now has to come back to me. I’ve been reading so much about narcissistic abuse, the impact it has- I don’t need to learn any more, I’m living it, I don’t need to read about it. What I need to learn is how to anchor myself in the present and move beyond it.

Kitty Norths beautiful art work

What do I want from my life? How do I want my future to look?

I want to be happy. It’s that simple. I want a house with a tiny bit of land for a couple of goats and some chickens. I want a battered old car to get me from a to b. I want grandchildren to come and stay. (Izzy, please note- not yet!)

I’m not bothered by a big house, fancy holidays, designer clothes. I’m not interested in the £60,000 leased Mercedes on the drive. I want enough money that it’s not a worry, that’s all. Not £1000s in the bank. I’m not actually interested in the Botox and boob jobs I joke about. I just want happy

I want to disappear into the hills, running, walking and exploring. On my own and with someone by my side.

I want red wine with friends over roast dinners.

I don’t want to skip from drama to drama! I need to stop inviting it in!

I want someone who buys me my favourite chocolate bar when they nip to the garage for fuel.

What are my core values? Core beliefs? Are they truly my own?

Kindness. That simple, kindness.

I don’t care what your beliefs are- I got passionate about Brexit.. wanna know the truth? I didn’t fully understand it, I didn’t give That much of a shit🤷‍♀️

Just so long as you are kind.

I’m kind. I’m warm. I love ferociously. I want the same In return

What small changes can I make to make myself feel better?

I need to be home more with my children. That is probably one of the biggest things I can do. I either need to change my hours at work or get a new- 9-5 job. I will sacrifice salary, just to get another night where I can eat dinner with my kids. I’m missing them growing up. They are missing my being present for them.

This is a small change which I can make really easily but will make an absolutely crazy difference to our lives.

What do I love doing? What keeps me grounded?

Running! I know that sometimes I have to force it. I’m naturally a lazy cow! But running it’s genuinely the perfect head clearer. But not just running, I adore being outside. I need to be outside. Snow, wind, rain. There is no such thing as bad weather , just bad clothes

But I need to change how I view running- if I run with a friend it’s not a race. It’s an opportunity to spend time with people I care about, doing something we both enjoy. If I fuck off it’s demoralising for them- I hate it when people do it to me 🤷‍♀️ I need to enjoy the process

Reading! God I used to read! Nick, the kids dad, would constantly buy me books, and I would plough through them in 48 hours. This brain fog I’ve had has stopped me truly being able to absorb anything. I think that the way forward is to pick up one of the classics- Tess or Jude- something I’ve read a thousand times before.

Drawing! Art. Not just doing it, but being surrounded by it. I lost my “draw” when the brain fog came in- I’m hopeful that it will come back- I know I will have to go through a shit stage, but if I love it enough it will come back.

I need to find out who I am, get to “that amazing place”- then I can stop to consider the things I want and need from a partner- that’s a bloody long way off though. I’m not ready to even contemplate it. Yep, I miss sex, I miss being held, having my hair stroked, neck kissed, but not enough to let anyone into my life or to devalue what intimacy means to me by getting myself a “fuck buddy”.

So for now I will have to settle on falling in love with myself, stroking my own (ahem) hair and telling myself how amazing and pretty I am.

My Brave year

Pleas note- further to this post I have been threatened with legal action. He has accused me of crazy stuff, I’m not worried though. I can disprove all of it.

It’s been a year. I have written this blog 5/6 times now and not hit the “publish” button. It just didn’t feel right. They were too full of hurt and anger, of me trying to prove something, validate my feelings and experience.

I don’t need to do that. I don’t need to list all twisted, manipulative and evil things he did, not only to myself and my children, but to my dad, the women before me, the ones who have followed. I don’t need to continue to tell that tale of woe. My story is one of bravery, strength and determination, not damage, broken-heartedness and victimisation.

The text above was my moment of clarity after 8 months of being belittled, bullied, cheated on. It was the moment I said “no fucking more, it isn’t me, it’s him”. That’s not to say it was a simple, trajectory to where I now find myself. That that text had me kicking that man to the kerb while Beyoncé played single ladies- god no! The smashed windows were just the start of an incredibly messy, complicated and difficult journey out of the grips of a narcissist.

Leaving a narc is never simple. They are charming, intelligent. They learn your old wounds early on and pick pick pick them open. Only they are also the saviour, the one who offers the sticking plaster. They know exactly which scabs to knock off, and at what time, to illicit a reaction. They know exactly what to say to reel you back in.

I never understood why people stay. Until I became the person who did. It’s two fold. First of all you love this person, well, you love the person they presented themselves as, the person they show you when they are love bombing you. When they are trying to win you around AFTER abusing you. Secondly, it’s this crazy, psychological thing called a “Trauma bond”. Boy, can I clearly see that now!

“Trauma, fear and abandonment actually increase feelings of attachment. The more you have been hurt by him, the more intensely attached you will be. Trauma bonds are hard to break but even harder to live with.” https://broxtowewomensproject.org.uk/trauma-bonding.

He very quickly figured out that I needed security. I needed to feel grounded and on solid footing. I grew up in a rather shouty house, my father an alcoholic, I had a constant feeling of impending doom, even during the good times a binge and a blow out often felt like it was just around the corner. His behaviour replicated that of a binge drinker, except his “fix” wasn’t alcohol, it was drama, attention and fawning.

When we first spoke about my dropping out of the house I was buying on my own and buying a place together I told him that my biggest fear was that I wouldn’t feel like it was “mine”. I look back now and see how he used that fear to control and manipulate me. It was always “his” house. If I ever tried to tell him how I felt about anything he would threaten to sell the house. This would send me into a complete, “him” pleasing, tail spin. I would write him letters apologising for making his life hell. I would tell him what a bad mother I was, how awful my children are. Texts, letters, words which he now uses to “prove” what a victim he was to anyone who will listen. Especially women. He needs women in order to thrive.

It’s funny though, how easily I was broken. It was my bloody house too! I paid 50% of everything. I provided the majority of the kitchen stuff, paid for the new bathroom, the furniture. I cleaned it, not him, he rarely lifted a finger in that respect. I decorated it, paid for the paint. Spent hours stripping wallpaper while he was out cycling. If my children needed anything it was me who provided it, this included food for their packed lunches- for they were not allowed food from “his” draw, despite it being paid for with my money, and his “boys” (grown arse men) however, could help themselves.

This is coercive control. This is abuse. To use someone’s biggest fears to get them to do what you want. It’s not a flying fist, or a hot coffee in the face (although I had one of those too) but it’s incredibly important, especially for those who work in roles where identifying abuse can literally save a life, a midwife or nurse for example, to understand just how damaging this can be. Emotional abuse is not just a toxic relationship, I can have on heart say that I did nothing wrong. Absolutely nothing. I was 100% a victim of abuse. Dismissing me because he didn’t physically hurt me is incredibly dangerous. It WOULD have escalated, he has a history of it doing so, he threatened me often enough for me to be scared of him. To feel like I needed to escape. To keep a record of everything.

He also knew I was a rape victim. I’ve not written about the most disgusting thing he did to me, because I think it will be incredibly triggering for other rape survivors to read- which is exactly why he did it, it was planned, it was evil and it was designed to downplay and degrade my rape. To use it against. I left that encounter confused as to what had just happened. The reality is that he is just a sick fuck who used one of the most painful events in my life to hurt me. May he rot in hell for that. He needs to be locked up for even thinking that up. Evil, twisted bastard. He weaponised intimacy as standard, but this was whole other level narc shit.

Edit to above . Trigger warning. we were in bed. I started touching him sexually, he said “I’m going to make a mess of your hands if you carry on”. I took this very much as consent. I straddled him. As I lent down to kiss him he kept moving his head away from me- making a big show of it. Refusing to touch me. I went to get off, to stop the interaction. He grabbed hold of my hips, hard, thrusted and came. I got off and he rolled over and turned his back on me. I lay crying all night. He said “stop that noise or we are done”. The next morning he was making coffee downstairs. I went into the kitchen and he said “how hard did I come in you last night”. I became upset and said how I had found the encounter weird. He replied “I didn’t want to have sex with you last night and you made me. Of course I was going up get something out of it”. I felt degraded, like he wanted to make me feel like a rapist. Like my previous experience had been used against me. It was sociopathic. The most evil, manipulative thing I have ever experienced. I have decided to report this, and the other stuff, to the police. A man who does this is not normal- and actually, consent was very clearly withdrawn. Maybe that’s why it plays on my mind so much? Because of that?

So anyway- a year ago today I discovered so much. The lies, the cheating, the abuse became apparent. But it didn’t end that day. Then we had the post coercive control. Thousands and thousands of phone calls- in both directions. Thousands of texts. Always the same. Promising to change, declaring how much he loved me, my children. I was so consumed by it, by him. I should have just hit block, but he was telling me the things I wanted to hear. I felt almost powerful, like after months of me feeling like I had to change for him, beg him to love me- the boot was on the other foot. I held the cards. It was of course just part of his plan, of the act. It was actually just more manipulative bullshit from a master manipulator.

I met him for coffee, I sat on his knee in the pub and kissed him. I let him comfort me as I cried from the impacts of the abuse. He sent me hundreds of begging texts, 100s, saying I was the only woman he wanted, apologising “

I am sorry I abused you”

The punchline to these texts? The ones telling me that if I dated anyone else, dare have a man in the house, even a friend? Then he would drop out of buying my share of the house, losing the home I had my heart set on for my children? The texts telling me he couldn’t handle the idea of ever being with another women? Even begging me to marry him? The absolute hilarious punch line? He was already very much in a relationship with someone else 😂 yep. He began a relationship with S on the 20th of April. I’ve spoken to her. Her opinion of him is probably about in par with mine (seeing a theme here, we can’t ALL be mad 🤪) he was in Edinburgh on holiday with her while begging me to marry him.

It’s what the narcissist does. There is always new fuel waiting in the wings. I wonder how he would have explained that? Had I said “ok, I love you. Let’s try again”. How would he have explained that he had been seeing another woman while begging for forgiveness? He had told her I was mentally ill- slitting my wrists, just like he told me his ex wife was abusive that his ex girlfriend was needy, controlling and insecure. Another was mental.. how long before he realises that he is the common denominator? I genuinely think he lies that much that he has no idea what the actual truth is.

When I finally did hit “block”, after I left the house, moved into my own. I genuinely thought I would magically be fixed. I was seeing someone I liked, enjoyed spending time with, but I could feel them pulling away. I became increasingly anxious. I found I was trying too hard to be something which did not feel genuine. I felt constantly under attack and judged.

I would wake up crying, my insomnia came back with a vengeance. I was overwhelmed with grief and this heaviness. I stopped enjoying things I previously loved- running, reading, writing. I had a work thing in Manchester, something I would usually have relished throwing myself into- but it was this big huge negative.

Vegan Stephen, whom I absolutely idolised, probably in an incredibly unhealthy way, became so distanced from me- increasing my anxiety ten fold- I knew it wasn’t right. We had this new thing and it was dominated by my stuff. He would ring me up for a chat and I would be sobbing for absolutely no apparent reason. I wasn’t in a healthy place, I had no business being in a relationship- but I was too scared to admit this to myself and to others, especially him. I had feelings for him, genuine feelings.

I now know of course that the reason was that after months of holding everything together, of appearing strong, I had broken. The enormity of how traumatic the last part of my life was hit me. My relationship with myself was awful, my children even worse. I worried that everyone around me had lost all respect for me and saw me only as a victim who needed looking after. After months of being controlled I was suddenly having to make these huge, scary life decisions on my own. My dog had to be rehomed, I couldn’t give her the life she deserved. I dreaded going to work because I knew the women behind would be sending me aggressive messages with in hours.

Vegan Stephen had a choice, and he chose to end it. It was the right thing for him and the right thing for me. He could also have chosen to be kind to me- instead he aggressively withdrew affection and contact. Something which triggered those awful feelings of desperation I had had when “He” had frequently done the same. Vegan Stephen wasn’t enough for me, and that’s fine. But he could have chosen empathy and kindness, that’s on him.

I think I hit rock bottom in the October. The tears dominated every waking moment. I felt constantly triggered and anxious. I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere.

I’m not sure what changed in me. I guess I realised I couldn’t live like that anymore, with this negativity dominating my every thought. Desperately seeking out answers to how I ended up in that situation, to why someone would chose to treat the person they loved that way. It made no sense to me. I convinced myself of all sorts, that I was a horrible person. That he was right, I was mad, I was mentally ill. I was broken, completely incapable of loving anyone or being loved. I googled “what if I’m not capable of love”? “Can someone live a life without feelings”. I had completely shut down. It was almost worse than the tears, than the anger and feelings of being overwhelmed.

But something changed. It wasn’t a switch or an epiphany, it was gradual. Subtle. The tears gradually slowed. My confidence, my self belief, gradually started to re-emerge. Yes, I’m lucky. My friends and my family are amazing. Yes they have been supportive. But I’m not giving them the credit for this. This was all me.

I’m an incredibly different woman to the one I was a year ago. My friends are no longer worried about me, I am no longer worried about me. I’m starting something new, it’s lovely, he is lovely. His mother set us up so I’m mum approved 😂 I still get moments, little triggers. But I’m adept at figuring out of its past crap or crap I need to worry about. Im able to see the good in him, I’m not searching out red flags. I have told him a little about what He did, it’s fair, he needs to be aware so that he isn’t going in blind. He treats me with kindness and patience, doesn’t try to drag it all of me so as to use it as ammo, I am, without a shadow of a doubt ready and open to this, and yet not reliant on it- I don’t need it, I want it.

It’s been a hot minute.

Yep. I love the sound of my own words. It’s amazing to be free after being batted down and made to feel insignificant, worthless.

Hence the English Lit degree. Words are my thing! (I won’t, however, subject you to my wank poetry 😂- make you want to slit your wrists- something I have never done, contrary to the rumours, or any other method of shuttling off to my mortal coil, other than accidentally chocking on a cashew nut or falling over a kitten)

Not everyone is going to be ready to listen, ready to believe. I was once that person. Manipulated, spun a tale. Taken in. Blinkered, not prepared to see the evidence so clearly presented to them. I hope these people do not learn the hard way. I genuinely do. I wish them nothing but love and safety xx

It brings me absolutely No pleasure when I hear of another person feeling the way my children and I did. No pleasure at all. I also ALWAYS believe genuine victims of abuse. I, unlike some, would never use that abuse to hurt and manipulate or for personal gains: I would never lie about being abused to excuse being a violent bully. And I would never use my abuse as an excuse for being an evil bastard. That’s just not cricket.

I don’t pretend to be perfect. I’m an utter filth bag with potty mouth, a sharp tongue and a dark sense of humour. I’m just my own cuppa tea, and I love it.

I have owned my shit. It’s an amazing feeling and more people should do it. I’m not perfect. My actions have been self serving at times, I haven’t always put the right people first. This isn’t because I am “damaged” or a “victim” it’s because I’m a human, and humans, even good ones, do cunty things.

Anyway… away from that negative, draining crap. (I tried, I would advise using Claire’s law before being so quick to dismiss, I’m literally telling you that you SHOULD call the police and speak to them)

I turned a corner. A huge corner. I am running again- which is amazing- I’ve stopped giving myself a hard time. Buckden Pike, Sharphaw, my quick little road routes. Hill sprints up the huge hill outside my house- I’m feeling strong and pretty injury free.

I’ve taken a back step from social media. I keep my toe dipped in. Posting about my runs. I’ve always loved the running community for its support. I adore how these relationships have evolved. Fiona (little Fi runs) and I are now “besties”. We chat for hours, share the same sense of humour, “get” each other.

I was worried about our friendship once, meeting at such a negative drama filled time in my life. She gave me some pretty harsh talkings to, but also showered me with love and support. Her grit, determination and lack of fear absolutely rock my world every single day.

She cried the other day, recounting how powerless my situation had made her feel, how scared. One of my flaws was failing to account for how my situation, my meeting my abuser, talking about taking him back. Was causing them so much worry- glad I didn’t as while begging me to forgive him he was in a relationship with another woman- who he subsequently abused and cheated on ( shock horror)

Oh he cheated again? Didn’t see that coming 😂

Work is great 🙂 I’m rebuilding. Gosh, I was the worlds most depressing hairdresser for a while there. I’m doing some of the staff training, utilising my colour degree. It’s ace 🙂

Out out

I also stopped dating. After a series of incredibly strange encounters I realised that the problem was that I’m quite happy in my little world- my beautiful children, my quaint little home, my lack of drama. I have friends I go dancing with, running friends, friends from the village who pop in for brews and then get lost in hours of conversation. Calvin, my funny friend who rings me at 3am- but I forgive him (this time). My parents are regulars at my Gaff too. My sister and I have tentatively reconnected.

I no longer feel this constant need to explain myself, validate my existence. I don’t feel like I am in fight or flight mode. The slightest thing doesn’t feel like an attack! I’ve learned that “no” is a complete sentence and does not need explanation or expansion.

Also- it’s true what they say- when you step back and live your life authentically, the things you deserve come to you. He knows who he is and I am incredibly lucky to have met him. Early days but I feel like this could be a thing. Who am I kidding? Two hours on the phone every night? Hangover Sundays on his sofa? First person I think of before bed? When I wake? It’s a “thing”.. I fall too easily but so far, so good, it’s nice to date, to feel wooed and courted. No pressure. We are both happy as we are and the addition of an “us” appears only to enhance who that is ❤️😊❤️

Anyway- off to “get some self respect” think he sells it in the village store:)

A dedication.

This run is an expression of my freedom. My choice to continue to live my life without fear. As yet another woman loses her life at the hands of a man, while she did something I take for granted. She was going for a run.

I have run since Emmie, my youngest child was around 5 months old, finding peace in the gym, getting up at 6am for that golden hour away from my three young children. Pounding out miles on the treadmill. Gradually getting the courage to run outside. Ensuring I kept to well lit routes, removing my headphones when that cold fear clutched at me. Putting my keys in my hand- ALWAYS telling my partner the route I had planned, the distance, approximate time I would be back…

Read that paragraph back, especially the last part. How many of us have the same protocol? That risk assessment ALL women have to do before heading out to do something which we should be able to do without fear.

I’m used to it- the car beeps, the shouts from car windows, the stares, heckling. That awful awful feeling as a car or van (usually a van) slows beside you and the occupants make comments about your arse, your breasts. Whistle at you like a dog. It’s not a compliment, maybe a small minority of women need that validation, but trust me, that vast majority of us hate it. We despise it.

I hate opening my inbox on Insta and seeing a picture of a random persons penis. I hate comments like “I would like to fuck you on that bed”, I HATE when some entitled randomer showers me with abuse because I have failed to engage with him- “news flash dude, I don’t owe you a reply. I didn’t ask you to message me, or even follow me, it was your choice”.

What if I told you this wasn’t a rarity? That this is something I, and a massive proportion of women experience on a daily basis?

How about if I told you that I’ve been followed? That a white van drove slowly behind me, down a narrow country lane. Only disappearing when I stopped to speak to a man who was fishing on a fishing lake? Or the time a group in a work van slowed along side me and pressed a porn mag against the window?

It’s not just confined to running. I was once flashed at while I was in a park. Another man ran and lay on the path in front of me, attempting to look up my skirt. The politician, fully aware of the fact I was 15, moving his hand down to stroke my bottom. Bending over in a nightclub and a man putting his hands between my legs. The boyfriends who just wouldn’t take “no” for what it was. The chef at work who locked me in a cupboard with him, only releasing me when I threatened to tell his wife, the waiter who on my 16th birthday took a handful of ice and forced his hand into my kickers as a room full of men, including my boss, laughed…The man who locked me in a room for three hours and abused me- the man who raped me a few weeks later.

The partner, the man I loved, throwing coffee at me, standing over me shouting while I was naked in the bath, weaponising my previous rape in order to manipulate and control me. smashing windows, frightening myself and mt teen daughter..

I could go on. I could list every whistle, every hand on thigh, every grope- every time a man looked at me and saw something put on this earth for him, an object.

Things are changing. I see it in my son, my daughters. My beautiful, emphatic boy, talking about how women should be respected. My amazing daughters, knowing their worth and taking no shit. My youngest especially is going to change the world, constantly correcting my accidental slips, the misgendering of her trans friend, my sweeping generalisations and ignorance about gender and race equality.

Men, you can help. If your friends make a sexist comment, if they objectify a female work colleague. If they degrade or belittle someone based purely on what they have between their thighs- call them the fuck out! If your son resorts to insulting a woman personal appearance, her relationship status, her dating history, in order to “win” and argument online? Call him out!

Posting a hashtag online is easy. The difficult part is vocalising it, putting it into action. It needs to start changing and it needs to start now.

Most days are good days.

Most days are good days, they are. I would be lying if I said that each day didn’t contain tiny little wobbles, but the huge, vast majority of my time is now good. Positive.

I knew Christmas would be tough. I’ve never had a Christmas alone, not since that one Scott and I spilt up- and that was 17 years ago- I’m pretty sure I was in a casual “relationship” with a chef called Pete- ie I was shagging a chef called Pete, and once Izzy was in bed he came round and helped me forget about my imploding marriage. So I was never actually alone alone..

I finished work at 1.30 today, after a crazy few weeks. My beautiful son met me to finish off his Christmas shopping- together we met my 18 year old daughter for food- a mooch around the shops. Going home and making pavlova (3 actually, my oven doesn’t like me) with Emmie- stuffing my face with Brie (I need to deal with this weight gain no running situation 😳). Then the kids went to their dads..

I poured a Bailies, put on a film (Don’t look up on Netflix- it’s actually really bloody good) and sat wrapping presents.

Then it hit me, this huge wave of self pity. And that’s what it was, plain and simple. It wasn’t hurt or my PTSD playing up- it was self pity.

I always wanted a family. I wanted to be a proper mum, I wanted a man who adored me and whom I adored. Christmas PJs, getting pissed on Xmas eve, complaining that out takeaway is taking too long. I wanted to get up on Christmas Day and do Crumpets with real butter and stealing the kids chocolates- before opening presents and taking our dog for a family Christmas walk. Eating lunch, visiting family…

Here is the snatch, I had ALL of that. Every last bit of it. And I, no one else, chose to walk away from it. I think I’m a great, living example of the grass only being greener on the other side because it’s fertilised with bullshit.

I am not an awful person, I’ve done some really bloody awful things- things which I don’t need to keep apologising for or telling everyone about, I just have to own them and vow not to allow myself to do again.

It all comes down to ego really, ego and how we deal with negativity and trauma.

Any attack on you from a third party is an attack on your ego, you feel affronted, hurt, lonely? That’s your ego talking… you leave your partner of 14 years over a minor infraction for some bloke promising you everything you thought you wanted? Ego.

Looking back, in all my soul searching bullshit, I realised that o have often used sex, or at least flirtation as a mask for damaged ego and hurt. No matter what I’ve been going through there has always been a man (or occasionally woman) to help bolster my nasty little fragile ego.

It is my big ass ego which has put me in this situation and therefore I need to ride this out, and know that I am privileged.

Is my Christmas one I envisioned? Is it bugger! It’s not going to be the hallmark Christmas- the one I am currently remembering through rose tinted (constantly pissed and full of food) glasses. But only I have the power to change that- it’s all about my perception.

The Brie? My friend bought me that, along with crackers and home made chilli jam- she dropped it into work for me 🙂 My other friend went out of her way on Xmas eve to deliver a lovely gift to my work. I’ve had cards galore from my clients. One read “please Claire, never change. Your smile brings me more joy than you will ever know.”

Tomorrow I get to wake up with my children, well, two of them, the eldest is working. I have invited their dad to open their modest presents with us. We may not have our dog any more, but that’s not to stop us going for a walk- forgot to buy crumpets but toast will do. I’m going to go for a run, as I do every Christmas Day- yep, last two years those runs were a Certain route for a kiss at a certain bridge- but this year will be a different route, just for me.

I’m going to my parents, who have shown they bloody love me, flaws n all, one hell of a lot lately. I will eat too much and then the kids are going to their dads..

Will I feel lonely and a bit sorry for myself on my own Xmas day evening? Probs, but it’s a choice I’m making. Could I call one of the random blokes who have spotted an opening in my knickers and break up the loneliness? Probably- but that would involve sex, and for the first time since I was 15, I’ve realised I am more than that, I don’t have to use that for attention and validation. I’ve not had sex since Vegan Stephen dropped my stuff off, again, a choice I’ve made, not for lack of opportunity- I just don’t want shit sex with a stranger or some random pawing at my body- when I’m working so hard to reclaim myself. (Now is a really good time to invest in shares with Duracell by the way, my sucky thing has been worth every bloody penny)..

40s not so bad.. even minus my Botox 😂

I’m probably going to wobble on my birthday too- but last years (without going into it, because we all know he was simply a cunt) was so awful, that ANYTHING would be an improvement. It’s a Monday.. but my growing group of friends have made a real effort to make it special. Plus a PT Client today complimented me on my lovely, strong arms- ego boost

January is busy- I have Rocky Horror, my Graduation in London- 96% credit folks 😉 marathon training MUST commence! My hours change so I can join the running club- I feel ready to start dating- although that comes and goes in waves, ask me again tomorrow 😂 February is my driving test, my degree.. March race season..

So yep, Christmas is going to have shitty moments- my birthday is probably going to have the occasional “ahhh feck! This isn’t where I expected to be at 40!” Moment. But we, my children and I, have so much going for us. I owe it to all of us to pull my (increasingly large) big girls panties up and ride it all out with positive energy only

Merry Christmas folks 🙂

To the Claire of a year ago

“Look at me, see me! Look at what you have! Love me”

I promised that I would not write about him again, and actually I’m kinda not, this isn’t about him- in fact, very little of the last 8 months has been- in reality this whole thing has actually been very much about me, my relationship with my past, my present and my future self.

The 15th of December will mark the day I knew I needed to get out. The day I knew that my mental and physical well-being was in danger. That I was at risk of losing my children and the last few crumbs of myself which remained.

It had started a few days before- with a huge, out of the blue blow up. Followed by the usual silent treatment- me sobbing, not sleeping, wrapping myself up in knots. Him making a point of not touching me, even looking at me. I wouldn’t be acknowledged In any way shape or form. Dehumanised, devalued and demeaned.

It culminated in my children running away to their dads and refusing to come home- which meant he could escalate it (children, I am sorry, I am genuinely sorry you had to witness that, that I used you as a shield)- culminated in him threatening to break my arms, him filming me being upset and threatening to post it on Social media to “prove how mad you are”. Throwing coffee at me- my going to work in this state of nothingness- like it had all happened to someone else- before telling my boss at the end of the day that I was scared to go home..

This was the moment I decided to start telling the truth. Writing it down. It was the first time I discovered the words “narcissistic abuse”, “coercive control”, “gas lighting”- then he threw the curve ball “claire, I was abused and your behaviour has made me remember. It’s all your fault I am the way I am”. Clever, manipulative bastard.

I would run, looking for joy in the world around me as I had so little in me

So I tried. I managed until Boxing Day evening- after an absolutely fantastic day with our children, celebrating Christmas a day late, we got into bed and he turned on me again, I couldn’t even tell you what about, but I woke up the next day, my birthday, feeling like I had died again. I have never been as lonely.

Those months, between my birthday and March were honestly the worse months of my life. I lost myself. I just disappeared. I was suicidal. I thought several times about ways to kill myself and make it look accidental.

That wasn’t about him, that wasn’t because I was filled with this great sadness at the thought of losing my relationship, my home- I hated that bloody house, by that point I hated him- It was about me, about this person I had become. Needy, co dependant, I would agree with every single one of his assertions about me- “yes Sir, you’re right, I am a terrible mum/slut/slag, I DO need to change”- and I went along with it, because that was genuinely what I felt about myself.

Claire from December 2020- that’s not who you are, you are not that person and you do not need to live under her shadow any more.

Seriously, look at you now. Yes, 2020 was fecking awful! But look at where you are ending it! Look at all the epic shit you have done! Look at the lessons it has taught you!

You stood strong, you didn’t go back- which, let’s face it you were tempted by. You stood bloody firm in your belief that you deserved better!

You bought your own house! You didn’t crumble and walk with nothing, as you were so tempted to do. You took what you deserved. Not out of revenge, but to ensure your children had a real home, one which belongs to you.

You fell in love. And it was love, that feeling you had. Still maybe have a bit. Nope, it didn’t work out, but you proved that your soul wasn’t closed off, that you were not dead to the idea of letting someone in- shame they weren’t, that they were insecure and full of demons too , but that’s their loss because you Claire are freaking epic! If only they had hung around to see it- they don’t deserve you now though. What’s that saying? “If you can’t stand me at my worse, you don’t deserve me at my best” 🤷‍♀️

You and your children are closer than ever. You are a lovely little team. Sure, you have to come down hard ass line manager sometimes, but they are amazing and a true credit to both yourself and their fathers.

You have started making new friends. You are brave, you recognised that you needed to put yourself out there and you did- and have several new people in your life who you think will probably be friends for life.

You, mid breakdown, when your doctor wanted to sign you off and medicate you. When your parents were on suicide watch, pulled your big girl knickers up, chucked off your victim cloak and rocked your Loreal colour degree! Earning a credit and an extremely amazing 96%!

You have met men, and been firm in your boundaries. Not been afraid to tell them when their behaviour is wankery and unacceptable to you, hit “delete and block”. You are listening to that voice, the one which you shut down for so long!

You are dancing and singing, both terribly.

Your wit and humour is once again having friends and clients laughing. I imagine I’m much more pleasant to be around now I’m not a bloody permanent sad sack.

You have passed your theory Test and have your proper test booked. Before you know it you will be living your dream of buggering off all over the place- running up hills, taking the kids to the coast. Hell! You can even start going food shopping on your own 😂

You are finally going up university. You are excited for it!

Claire, you are doing Epic shit, on your own! You are rocking it! You were not “broken” at all. Slightly dented, a bit bent out of shape- but you are an amazing, whole person! And your life is going to be full of that bloody joy you so desperately struggled to look for in 2020, because YOU are going to make it.

Bring on 40! I can’t wait!

What I permit, I promote.

I read something incredibly interesting online today, about how holding in emotions is toxic, humans are designed to express emotion, through any way which serves them. Shouting, screaming, crying, laughing. When we hold in the feels we end up breaking.

THIS is exactly what happened to me a few weeks ago.

I was happy, I felt, as a general rule content. I was seeing a guy I liked, my kids were settled, my job was going well. I had just bought my own home. But for some reason I just couldn’t relax, I felt hyper aware of everything about me, like I was looking for the next “thing” to knock me off my feet.

I would wake up- sometimes at 4am- and just feel overwhelmed with this weight on my chest. I had got into this strange (but apparently common) habit of talking to myself, full on conversations. I would randomly cry- which I would obviously try desperately to suppress. I would get on with my day, push through it. Tell my clients how happy I was, how everything was working out for the best. I was “better”.

Reality was, I was worse. Probably the worse I had been since Smashy Window guy had been outed for what he truly was.

In the days after we split I was surrounded by people- yes, I was broken, completely broken. But I also had a focus- find out as much as I could about just how deep the deceit was- I contacted ex wives, I went on Instagram and reached out to women he followed, I got in touch with his ex girlfriend. I found out who some of the women on his phone were and got in touch with them. I spoke for hours on the phone with him, wheedling out little bits. I was loud! I shouted about everything from the rooftops.

What I didn’t do was take time just to Be with it, to let it all sink in. Let it process. my head was a whirlwind. I also went back to work a week after it all happened, so was focusing on getting through another post lockdown surge.

I met The Yorkshireman- I loved his quiet manner, I loved his life, disappearing up hills surrounded by dogs, I loved his aura. I loved that he challenged my way of thinking.. but I ignored stuff too- stuff which would usually be a hard No for me. The way he spoke about his ex.. the way he made me feel a bit like I needed to change. The fact he thought Donald Trump was great and that Jacob Reece Mogg was the sort of person we wanted in charge. His anger and bitterness at the world- I think, despite everything, that the world is full of absolute joy, amazing people- he thought the opposite. I am pro living your life as you want to live it, sleep with whoever you want, identify yourself as you choose- as long as you are kind- he was judgmental of other lifestyles- toxic masculinity actually.

He ghosted me- he literally ghosted me- and I took the blame- I took it on as mine. He took no ownership of that- in fact, when I think about it he took no ownership for anything. Instead, letting me take it all on. Forcing me to question my worth once more. We slept together, he told me he wouldn’t “reject” me again- then he ghosted me again..

Looking back I’m 99% certain he was beginning something with someone else as we were ending. And when I thought about this possibility a few weeks ago, I think I would probably have taken the blame for that too- I obviously wasn’t “enough” for him- rather than the reality- he wasn’t brave and honest enough for me and was the type of man who would sit back and let me take on the burdens of his weakness on my shoulders…..he quite simply wasn’t bothered by me, he didn’t care- and that’s fine, it’s fine for him to feel that way, not everyone in life is going to love me- but just be honest about it, don’t leave me feeling racked with insecurities and guilt.

Anyway- not about him.. them, anyone with a penis.

I spoke to a trauma counsellor a couple of weeks ago and she told me I needed to express my emotions, the only way I was going to stop the tears, stop the anxiety, was to acknowledge them. Let them happen. She suggested speaking to my GP- who then suggested I take up her offer of a sick note, because I’m quite obviously burned out. (I didn’t- I think staying at home would drive me crazier), however, if things do not change with work in the new year then I al going to have to reevaluate that- I can’t keep working the way I am, not with my head being the place it is.

Not only that but I need to start putting my children first! I have my dads workaholic tendencies- I can easily slip into a “live to work” mentality. But my children are literally begging me to spend more time with them. Begging. “Oh mum, do you have to work again?”. I have a mortgage to pay, but I will take a pay cut just to be more present for my children.

I’ve taken time out from running, until this course is finished (last week next week!), because something had to give temporarily. I’m missing it, I’m also getting fat- none of my jeans fit 😂

So I’ve allowed the emotions. I’ve allowed the anger, the fear, the tears, I’ve allowed them to come. And I feel better- not fixed, not amazing, but better.

I thought I may need a man, but actually what I need is a social life. I have some amazing friends but they are all coupled up. So I’m approaching widening my friendship circle like I would dating. Putting myself out there. I have given my phone number to other women, explaining my Newly single status. Hopefully, if my boss will let me reduce my hours in January, I will be able to join the running club. I’ve joined a gym, I have previously met friends through exercise classes- but failing that I will finally start doing some strength work at last 😂

2020 has definitely been a fucker, I’m not alone in that, but I think it’s just been a huge hill I have had to climb in order to get to the top. What’s that expression? “The hardest climbs have the best views”.

I am proud of me.

I have become queen of the positivity quote 😂

I am proud of me. Simple. Yes I have had struggles lately- yes I have made bad choices, the wrong decisions. Acted impulsively. But fuck me I am proud of myself.

I have come out of an awful situation an absolute mess, but I have pulled my big girl pants up and am working every single day to pull it around. to grow from it.

Thank you Fi xx

The biggest thing has been looking inside myself- really really looking. Turning over every little pebble. It’s been heartbreaking at times, I’m not going to lie. Some days I’ve wanted to bury it all back down- but if if did that, then the last two years would have been pointless.

I’ve identified my Shitty bits- I have loads but I don’t need to keep sharing them, they are mine. And I have made the decision to change them. I won’t be perfect, but who is?

The one thing I am sure as shit about though is that I ain’t no bodies victim any more. As my boss said, right at the start of this all when i was broken “claire, you are stronger than you think”.

Just like I don’t need to keep telling everyone my flaws. I don’t need to keep selling my virtues either. I have plenty of them too. if you can’t see them, or choose to use them against me, then that’s on you.

But I am getting a better idea of who I am, how to get what I want, how to be enough for me. I feel empowered.

I’m feisty, I’m tenacious, I’m strong and I am worth more than I am giving myself credit for.

I can do this. Just watch me.

Shedding the cloak of victimhood

I have been doing so much soul-searching. In all honesty probably too much. It has caused me to go in on myself, this overthinking has at times been torture, it’s quite literally driven me to insanity at time- seriously, I have done so many online quizzes to see if I’m seriously mentally ill! If I am in fact a narcissistic abuser- despite the fact my therapist has been through all of this with me and concluded that I’m having a perfectly rational and normal response to an incredibly stressful situation.

Last week this overthinking got so bad that I seriously thought to myself “I can’t live with the noise of my own voice in my head!” I broke down on my parents. Got in touch with my GP, was given a prescription for happy pills and a referral for trauma counselling. I have taken three days of the pills… but I’ve realised, I’m not depressed. I’m just figuring shit out. I’m going to give myself another 2 weeks, get through my exams, without the added stress of fuzzy mood inhibitors. I am however, going to go for the trauma counselling.

The biggest thing I have come to realise is that I have dressed myself in a cloak of victimhood. THAT is what is holding me back. THAT is what is making me stuck.

I HAVE been a victim. But that doesn’t have to be who I am now. That’s not a label I have to live my life under.

There are so many times I have had the power to change things in my life but have used my “victim” mentality to avoid it.. the abusive relationship, being taken for granted at work, problems with my teen daughter and her dad, arguments with my parents. The driving instructor thing.

Instead of focusing on the “poor me” I need to flip it. “How is this situation making me feel in the here and now? What do I want out of this situation? How am I going to achieve it? Is there a compromise?”

I need to start this journey of leaving this dead weight of victimhood behind me with honesty. Honesty to myself. To others-.because I don’t want others to see me as a precious little red riding hood either- because all that will attract is wolves.

Martin did NOT coerce me into a relationship with him. Yes, had I known he was still married and seeing several women at the same time I would not have gone near him with someone else’s- but I willingly entered into conversation with him. I did so because my ego was bruised and dented, a little bit for revenge. But I am a grown woman. I KNEW what I was doing.

Martin did not force me to buy a house with him.. sure, he took me to see houses, would send me links on right move, when he knew that I was buying my own place- but he never threatened me, he never bullied me (at that point). It was me that didn’t listen to that screaming voice in my own head, to that of my friends and family. It was me who knew better. and actually, I am in no worse position now then I would have been had I not bought the house with him so does that really matter any more? I don’t want think so.

Yes. He was abusive. I’m not taking any responsibility for that. He was a cunt of the highest order, I’ve never had the displeasure of meeting such an evil bastard in all of my life.. BUT I knew what he was doing to my children was wrong. I knew our relationship was never going to work, but I chose to ignore the voice again. I chose not to put my wants and needs and that of my children at the forefront.

I knew what the driving instructor was doing and saying was wrong. I knew it made me uncomfortable. But again, I chose to listen to the victim in me, rather than asserting myself and telling him to fuck off.

All of the above is completely irrelevant now, it’s the past. It’s done and I refuse to live in it for a moment longer. It’s what I do going forward which counts- and it started today with a call to the vets.

Nelly is 15, she is a lovely little cat. I adore her. A few weeks ago I noticed her eyes had gone black so, fearing the worse, I whisked her to the vets. I was honest with them, told them I had a very limited budget. We agreed to do some tests on her kidneys and give her pain relief and blood pressure tablets.. £280.. the vet told me to bring her back the following week and it would only cost £25 just to check her over.. it was £104 as they did more tests and gave her more pills.. I felt a bit like I had been taken for a ride but I paid it.. over the course of the week she has improved on the medication. I was due to take her back this morning but I have rung them- reiterating that I have already gone over my budget and that I couldn’t spend that amount of money. I told them I didn’t want to bring her in again and instead I would like a prescription for the pills and I would manage it at home.

I feel assertive.

I have several things in my life I need to change, and only getting rid of this “can’t do”, victim mentality is going to get me there.

I need to be home with my kids more. So I am going to ask my boss about reducing my hours, less late nights. I’m going to tell him tomorrow that that’s what I need..he can chose whether to allow this and I can then chose whether I can continue in my job.

My birthday. It’s always a bit shit. The years I’ve spent sulking because no one has organised anything, I spent years with someone who never even bought me a card- but I would say “oh it’s fine” (it wasn’t) “I understand” (I didn’t).. this year I am organising something for me. I’m taking ownership of it. If I want a nice birthday then I have to make it happen, it’s not every other fuckers job to ensure my happiness 🤷‍♀️

I need to run more, do some structured training. I WANT to run this marathon and I NEED to train. Therefore I WILL make it happen. Only me, there is no magic pill. I will have to push myself out of my comfort zone and do it- if I don’t? It’s no one’s fault but my own..

Once I have this down, which may take a while. I WILL slip up. Once I’ve shed this bloody bullshit, life will be easier. It will feel easier. And I can’t wait

I am fucking ace.

My sober sister Meg 🙂

I’m not sure if anyone is familiar with the concept of a “bottomless brunch”? Unfortunately it’s not endless food, but is instead endless Booze. I had my first initiation into one today- and what an initiation it was… especially since I’ve promised myself and my parents to lay off the booze.

I love a good piss up. Honestly, I’m often last woman standing- or attempting to stand at least- I don’t drink on a regular basis, but when I do I make up for it. It’s entertaining for those out with me, when I’m doing something crazy, saying something inappropriate- I once got in a bar fight, made out with a big issue seller, showed my new bosses son my fanny. All fun, games and high jinx…

Or is it?

Actually? The epic hangovers? That last for days? The beer fear about what I may have said or done to upset someone? The regrettable choices? The weeks of depression and anxiety which sometimes follow? Much less fun, much less high jinx.

So today I didn’t drink- I joined in, I had a laugh, I played beer pong- luckily I seem good at it (maybe because I was sober) and didn’t have to do any shots. I could see things starting to get a bit messy at 5.15 and decided to say goodbye. I hope everyone had an amazing time, I can’t wait to see the photos and hear about it. My dad picked me up from the station and I went to his for tea.

I’ve been beating myself up a lot lately. Telling everyone what all my negative qualities are, focusing on them. Telling everyone I need to fix myself, that I am broken- but today I decided to focus on the things which make me amazing- because I am amazing. I don’t need to change who I am at my very core, just unlearn some of the negative behaviours I have picked up- the gremlins.

I’m warm. I have a huge smile and share it freely. I like to make people know I’m pleased to see them, even strangers.

I’m loving. I love ferociously. If I love you then you know about it. Yes, it can be a lot, yes I need to give people space to know me, to love me back. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with loving the way I love.

I like looking after people. I like making them lunch for work, I like baking them cakes. Nursing them.

I am funny. I am. I’m dry and sarcastic. Quick witted. I have a filthy mouth and a filthy sense of humour- you either get it or you don’t, but that’s who I am and I’m not toning it down or moderating it.

I’m clever. I absorb knowledge. I look at both sides of a situation and form my own opinion, while also respecting the opinions of others. As long as your opinion doesn’t come from pure hate, then I will listen.

This last year aside- I am down to earth. Honestly. It may not sound like it but I am honest, real and raw. The last 2 years stripped me of the confidence to be this- but she is coming back.

If I have hurt you, tell me. I WILL listen. I appreciate honesty. I will go out of my way to make it right- sometimes to my detriment, but that’s a whole other issue

I’m kind. Animals, people- treat them with kindness. Maybe I need to include me in this?

I’m sensual and aware of my sexuality. I own it. For the right person it’s a bloody privilege to share that with me- but for now the only person getting access to that is me 😂

So I’m not all fucking bad. So I need to stop telling myself and everyone around me that I’m some broken doll, with absolutely nothing going for her! Because actually, you would be lucky if I opened up and allowed you to see just how epic I am /)

Ps I’m totally banging too 😜