“Home is knowing. Knowing your mind, knowing your heart and knowing your courage.”

An amazing thing is happening to me, I think I am falling in love. I get all the feels, that butterfly feeling in my solar plexus. The warm glow. I get giddy when I think of the object of my affection. I dream of spending long nights with them, of sharing a lifetime of dreams and memories. I dream of waking up with them, nurturing them, watching them blossom.

They make me feel secure and safe, a feeling I have been craving for a lifetime. She wraps her four walls around me and envelopes me in a blanket of security which no one can take away from me- well, as long as I pay a significant amount of money to the bank for the next 25 years that is.

It’s been a slog, it’s something I never thought would happen, but I finally have a place which feels like home, feels like I belong. My inner child feels placated, my adult? Hell, she finally feels like an adult.

Growing up with an alcoholic parent fills one with this constant feeling of impending doom. You never feel completely at ease, always waiting for the next binge to come and interrupt your feelings of safety, of happiness. The alcoholic parent will often create a situation which gives them the excuse to drink, to blame you for their shortcomings. An amazing family day turns into sitting in the snow behind their parked car, the keys hidden in your knickers so as they can’t drive off and kill themselves, kill someone else, lose their licence- take away your security and your home.

You move house, a lot. Your parents embarrassed, for another fresh start. Changing school again. It’s ok though, you’re sociable, you adapt- you make new friends. Although we know that’s not true, the reality is that we become fearful of friendships, knowing how easily they are fractured.

My last relationship was one in which my security was constantly threatened. An amazing day will turn into accusations, protestations that you are not enough for them, that you are holding them back. That without them you wouldn’t have a home, they will take it away if you do not do as they say, or if you question their negative behaviours (we all have them) The pattern of them creating a situation so they had an excuse to act out, to spit venom in your face. Of you doing anything to placate them- allowing them to dictate texts you should send to your parents, tell you over and over again what a terrible person you are, how selfish. How you and only you are the problem.

I would listen as he told me he wanted to physically hurt my children- tell him he was right, that they and I were terrible and must do better. I would send him texts at 3am, hoping he would read my apology before I woke up and maybe, just maybe, that day he wouldn’t tell me to get out of “his” house. Maybe he would even love me that day. The truth is it was him, not me. Him unable to adult, unable to not see me as the enemy, to feel like he always had to defeat me.I would turn back into a little girl- “if I clean the house, bring him lunch, ignore my children, put on a pretty dress and do my hair and make up just as he likes, walk to the shops and back with the ingredients for a new recipe for him and his boys, bake him his favourite cake- become perfect”, hopeful he could see how hard I was trying.

So this is why this feeling my new home gives me is so exciting, it’s so alien to me. Such a new thing. This sense that I belong to her and her to me. I am probably boring people with how excited I am by her, by how much I love my shabby little terrace. They probably think I’m a little bit mad that she gives me this glow. I finally, at the age of 39, wake up feeling secure. It’s epic, it’s beautiful and actually, the stuff I wrote above can bugger right off because it’s becoming more and more irrelevant every morning I wake up and feel like clicking my heels Together.

I’ve even allowed myself to form friendships the hints of new relationships – I still struggle. I still question them, in not so subtle ways as to whether they really do like me, as to why they like spending time with me. I still over analyse everything and everyone’s motives, but I am getting so much better at suppressing that ugliest- better, but by no means perfect. But I am having an amazing time learning to let go- climbing hills, walking dogs, mornings in bed and swimming in rivers

Ding dong the witch is dead, there IS no place like home

A clean sheet, fresh start and all the other cliches you can think of.

I had a session with Dave yesterday, my amazing therapist. The guy who has provided me with space to truly offload, be completely Honest- warts and all- without the need to paint myself as a victim.

Well.. it was half a session. I went in, after a two week break, and told him how excited I was for mine and my children’s futures. I told him how proud I am of my children, or their resilience, their independence and their kindness. I told him how packing up my house didn’t feel like a negative, it felt like this amazing step forward in truly becoming an adult.

My decision to take control of dealings with my solicitors, with my ex. My desperate need to adult. My parents have been amazing, my father has been my absolute rock- but I knew I needed to take back ownership of my actions, my decisions and my future. Regain that ferocious independence, that “I do this my way” which got me in so much trouble as a child, that I see so clearly reflected back at me in my girls. I needed to be her again. The “doer” the “strong one”. Yet another clear reflection of my road to recovery being pretty damn clear now.

After half a session Dave said “Claire, I am fucking proud of you. ( I like Dave, he swears a lot), you have got there, and you have got there on your own. You have an amazing brain, please go forth and use it- this is the end of our journey for a while. We could dig and dig, but actually you know yourself, you know why you do the things you do- you have the power to stop doing them. Now is the time for 6 months of just finding your space to be you” he then gave me a huge, fatherly hug, and sent me skipping away.

I have had a right old shit time of late, but in the grand scheme of things it’s a few months- a few months of hard and valuable life lessons. I am most definitely NOT going to be defined by this. I’m not going to be the Claire who was in an abusive relationship, I’m not going to be the Claire who’s father was an alcoholic and who was used as a pawn by both parents to hurt the other, I’m not going to be the Claire who was locked in a room for 4 hours and repeatedly raped. That’s not me. These are things which happened to me, they shaped me. But I am not these things

I am bloody funny. I am bloody kind. Chaotic and slightly mad. I’m lewd and loud. I take up space and will not be remembered as a woman who kept her mouth shut. I have an amazing capacity for empathy, for love and for learning. I am great company, artistic, enjoy wine and food and chatting about farts and sex. I love singing and dancing, both terribly. I’m a mum, not an amazing, nurturing, regular one- but one who has raised three children who are kind and empathetic, have amazing work ethics and who will be able to head off in the world and hold their own.

I’ve archived all but a few of my previous blog posts. They don’t embarrass me, they were real and honest and I will look at them from time to time to see just how far I have come. But I don’t need them out there any more, I don’t need to be “THAT” Claire. That victim.

I have this huge, blank sheet of paper in front of me, my children and anyone I chose to spend my time and energy on. And I’m grabbing this chance by the balls and enjoying the rest of my amazing life- all thanks to the lessons I have learned from the last 2 years.

So for the shit times? Thank you! Thank you 500 times over. You led me back to myself and I will be forever grateful

Back to running :)

Windswept and interesting 😂

I’ve a confession, I’ve not been running. I’ve spent hours in bed on my days off, not engaging with anyone. I think in part because I am worn out but also a bit peopled out. My job means talking for 12 hours a day, telling people about my break up over and over again. It makes it real, but sometimes reality is impossible

My Instagram came to be when my ex suggested that if I started talking about my running, became a run focused page I could get loads of followers and maybe get some rep- it would give me something to focus on while furloughed. Apparently I’m an “attractive woman” and would get “loads of attention”. It always struck me as odd that someone so possessive and prone to jealousy would say this- but it soon became apparent that it was something else to weaponise against me. But will save this for another day- this post is not about him..

I became “good at Instagram”. At first it was a positive force in my running. Posting about my runs forced me to push myself further, longer and tougher trails, getting faster. And yep, I loved the validation when I was told I was pretty or stunning- what woman heading towards 40 wouldn’t 🤷‍♀️

But as I slipped further and further into this well of anxiety Insta became a negative- if my run was slower than usual I would find myself apologising to me “fans”(my daughters words 😂), making up excuses as to why I had underperformed. I felt guilty if I didn’t run that day, like I was letting people down. Like I had to explain myself. I stopped pushing for fear of failure

Instagram was such a negative thing in my relationship too. He would, as I mentioned, use it against me in various ways- but the reality is that your relationship is never healthy if you both have your heads in your phones double clicking a strangers photos while your relationship crumbles around you. I think it makes you dissatisfied with your own life- it’s hard to view your partner, who you see warts and all, who lives in smelly Lycra, no make up. Who has hairy bits and rolls and imperfections, as the perfect person for you- when you are constantly comparing her (or him) to airbrushed perfection. You want what they have (he has).

Today I used insta for good, I’ve been chatting to lots of different people on there over the last few weeks and believe I have made some genuine friends. Andy (Yorkshire Runner) came over this morning and ran up Sharphaw with me. And despite me buggering off ahead it was lovely to have company.

I love Sharphaw, but since M left I have attempted it 2/3 times in my own and given up before I even reached the bottom, overwhelmed with this random anxiety at the climb ahead- but today I powered up, probably because I only ran 50 miles in April compared to 120-30 the previous months. I felt like I had a new spring in my step. Andy said I was a natural runner- something I’m used to hearing but always struggle to accept.

Hopefully this is a huge step in my recovery- I’ve also had an offer accepted on a house- which is even bigger but I’m struggling to write about it as it feels somewhat bittersweet- I’m so in love with my home now, it’s going to be hard to lose it- but I need the space and sanctuary of a fresh start.

Sometimes, the best views follow the hardest climbs.

Out out… kinda

Last night I made huge progress. I went out. I put make up on, did my hair- hell, I even shaved my legs! I felt nice. My friend came up to the house, her partner disappeared with my dog, and we went “into town”..

It was so odd, we managed to get a table at the Albion and ordered some beers- before my teen, in a tiny dress, joined us. The Albion was where him and I used to spend many an illicit half hour after work. We stopped there a few times for a beer after cycling or walking- and I was proud that this didn’t send me into a tail spin. In fact, it felt fine.

We wandered up to two sisters at 8, in search of food- there are rumours they do amazing pizza- unfortunately they stop serving at 6.30 so we settled on Rocky road and brownie 😂 Fi was meant to be joining us after work at 9.30 but it was bloody freezing! Everyone else was drunk and we were hungry and cold- the decision was made to get some pizzas- Fi’s husband owns a takeaway- and all go back to mine.

It was lovely. The 5 of us sat round, drinking, eating delicious food, and putting the world to rights- I got a few cold hard slaps of reality in the face, which I definitely needed. My daughter told me she had planned to move in with a friend had M and I not ended, my son was going to live with his dad- so upset he was at hearing me cry all the time. My daughter also told me conversations she had had with Ms sons, where they had said they felt uncomfortable in the house, like there was always a competition between my kids and his, who were better- a horrible atmosphere, they hated how M took everything out on me. This sense of competition was something I had related to him on several occasions but was dismissed, like most of my worries, so it was actually good to hear that his boys had felt it too

I admitted that I was still in fairly regular contact with him, that I was struggling to break the bond. It’s always hard ending a relationship with someone you love, especially when there has been a trauma bond develop, I definitely relied on him to give me self worth, my life revolved around him- I’ve realised, that if I don’t cut contact then I’m still in a relationship with him, I’m never going to be able to move on, find happiness and potentially a healthy loving relationship with someone worthy of me. There is this corner in my mind where I’m hopeful he can change, that acknowledges he is damaged, mentally ill. That actually acknowledges the anger issues as something which he was dealing with- but that doesn’t explain the cheating, the lying, the manipulation.

He is never going to be capable of being faithful, and I am never going to be able to turn a blind eye to infidelity.

I actually recorded him ranting at me on the phone, before the “I’m so sorry I can change” stuff started. I listen to him, telling me that yes he had been a shit to me, but that actually it was my fault, or his exes fault- anyone but his own. When I get those pangs of loss at he lack of contact from him, I listen to him telling me he was justified in throwing coffee because it was next to me, not at me. That he was within his rights to threaten to break my arms because I had not let him leave the room- I admit I didn’t, I stood in his way and tried to hold him, because I was scared at his irrationality, the fact he had been drinking and was going to go off in his car. I listen to these videos and remember how I would shrink in on myself, tell him how I would do better- apologise for my short comings, just to appease him for whatever minor offence had set him off.

I was so frightened of him, that sounds crazy because he never actually hit me, and often he would make me feel so safe and protected. But his sudden shifts in mood were so unpredictable. Leaving me feeling like the eg was pulled from underneath my feet but that it was somehow my fault for falling.

So the lack of contact and communication is jarring, I’m feeling bereaved once more- but it’s what I have to do for me, my children and also him. While I’m his focus, his infatuation, while his goal is us, he isn’t actually going to address his issues, and if there IS any hope for him, he needs help .

Every runners worse nightmare..

After 8 days of feeling like death warmed up on these anti “slit my wrists” pills I finally started feeling a bit brighter today. I decided I was going put my running gear on, stop making excuses and run..

All was going well until I hit the canal- all of a sudden I felt it, that cramping sensation which says “all is not well…”.. I obviously ignored it, like any self respecting runner, hoping it would just disappear.. it didn’t! Luckily my mum lives on my running route, so I managed to dive in and save myself the embarrassment of waddling home three miles, butt cheeks clenched. Maybe my “on toast”, made up of predominantly beans, diet is to blame, but my money is on the pills I’m taking just to get me through the day.

Hello lollipop head.. and very white legs..

I felt much brighter today than yesterday. Yesterday I walked into town with Cole and the dog and became completely overwhelmed. I went home and lay in bed, sobbing, but also trying to watch Line of Duty- I haven’t a clue what’s going on, but I don’t think that’s down to my cotton wool head, just an overly complicated plot- if anyone wishes to write me a comprehensive list of what all the abbreviations mean I would be more than happy 😃

“He” is still begging my forgiveness. Saying he will change, that he is getting help. I still just see a narcissist who has been rejected by the object of his infatuation. It’s not real love. He lost me. He lost my humour, my wit, my passion, my intellect. He lost my softness, something I only bestow on a select few he lost an amazing thing. He is buying me out the house. I would be lying if I said the thought of his next conquest drinking coffee in my bedroom and looking out over my views didn’t make me feel a bit sick, but then I remember how bloody miserable I was at times, how many times I sat looking at the light change over that view while crying, even contemplating ending my life- I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

I keep reminding myself that this will all come out in the wash. Everything happens for a reason. He came into my life for a purpose, to teach me some sort of lesson about myself- it will soon become clear what that was, even if I can’t see it yet.

Deciding to be happy :)

Little reminder:) if I’ve come this far in two weeks, wait till I’ve had a year 🙂

The beloved wants me back apparently. He is prepared to do “anything” and I mean “ANYTHING” to get me- short of a cataclysmic shift in his entire personality I’m not sure there is anything he can do 🤷‍♀️

I’ve had all the “I love you so much”, “you mean so much to me”, “I want us”, all day. I’ve listened to him cry on the phone- I feel? Well, I feel nothing. I feel empty. I feel like I can’t believe a single word he says.

For months I have been begging him to listen to me, begging him to acknowledge the impact his actions have had on me- and that before I found out about the lies, cheating and manipulation. That was when I was still feeling like something was wrong with me, like I was going a bit crazy- I mean, why couldn’t I believe he loved me? Why couldn’t I trust him? He hadn’t given me any reason not too- I was gaslighted to hell.

Every conversation we had where I told him how I was feeling led down one of three paths. 1. He would flip it back On me, I was being needy/irrational/selfish/Imagining things (delete as appropriate) 2. He would flip it back on him- HE was struggling, I wasn’t thinking about HIM, couldn’t I see the impact it was having on HIS life c. I would get stone walled, his back would get turned on me. Affection withdrawn-this could last hours, or days.

I would end up apologising! Promising to change. Desperately begging him to touch me, or talk to me- even acknowledge my existence. I would sob for hours, I started suffering panic attacks and dizzy spells. I felt permanently confused. His favourite thing to say was “I will hold you if that’s what you need”- and I would grasp this opportunity to experience a tiny moment of love. No matter how begrudgingly gifted

He has offered to come off social media, leave his phone at home, let me have full access to it. Pay all his money into our joint account, go to therapy and CBT- but who wants a relationship like that? Who wants that level of mistrust? I’ve known the passcode for his phone for 18 months, not once did I feel the need or desire to look through it- what an invasion of privacy that would be! He even offered to buy me a car- I never wanted him to buy me anything- just not tell me I couldn’t buy it myself, with my money. I’ve never wanted to be kept, just loved, respected and supported

I know why he is trying to get me back. Not because he loves me- he is incapable of love so that’s on him- I’m bloody lovely and incredibly lovable- he doesn’t want to lose. He hates losing. He hates not being the best, the winner. Im just a commodity to him. I am part of the image. The nice house (mortgaged up to the hilt), the Mercedes (lease car), the Tagg watches- bought on credit cards and sent back, the girlfriend? Oh I will wheel her out when it suits me and she is ok for a shag and for looking pretty on my arm, but heaven forbid she wants to be loved and respected, treated with kindness. She must be always compliant or I will look elsewhere.

I’ve decided to stop being so sad. Stop dwelling and looking for answers. There are none, none that he can give me for sure. I can be stressed- and boy I’m stressed- but I’m going to do what I always do when I’m low. I’m going to start looking for the joy in the mundane.

I danced while cleaning my kitchen today. I ran with my dog. I made a silly sex toy unboxing video for my friend- my daughter says if I ever post it she is sending me to the adoption agency. I’ve flirted and chatted to people, they have made me smile. My 11 year old read to me while I snoozed with my head in her lap. I went to work and cut hair- had mine cut. He liked my hair long, I was going to chop it off short but actually, that’s cutting my nose off to spite my face- it’s better long for running.

My life is going to be so full of love. Not romantic love right now, But one day. Hell, I may even find someone mad enough to marry me before I have to walk down the aisle on my Zimmer frame 😆

He lost. Ultimately, he lost.

The things I learned from loving you.

I’m an insomniac. Any level of stress or excitement will have me up all night- having conversations in my head with people who left my life many years ago, replaying scenarios long since past- writing full novels in my head, none of which I remember upon waking, bleary eyed and exhausted.

One such 5am pondering had me coming up with a concept, the idea that loving someone- not just romantic love but maternal love, the love we have for our friends, or that random person you share a fleeting glance with and feel that spark of recognition- teaches us a lesson. I loved the idea of taking a fragment of pure emotion and putting it down on paper, dissecting what that love taught us, how it had changed us. Shaped who we were to become.

Loving him has taught me that, at the age of 39, I still don’t know who I really am. I thought I did, I was so self assured. Anyone who knew me would have described me as feisty, prickly, takes no shit and the life and soul of a party. Meeting him showed me that actually these things I thought I possessed, this persona I put out there, could be so easily stripped away, that is was just superficial, that behind it all I am still that little girl, scared of rejection, scared of confrontation. Scared of failure. I am still the 17 year old, raped and bullied, desperately seeking out someone to rescue and love her. Fill that void left by a chaotic, dysfunctional family life, where love was not always forthcoming.

My relationship with him was short, but boy has it been intense. Moments where I have been so full of love and adoration of this man that I have felt like I could combust. Quiet moments, where he would be stroking my hair, breathing me in, where I felt so content I could have stayed forever followed by Moments where I would be laying in bed, sobbing, broken, telling him his actions made me want to hurt myself, that the hatred radiating off him made me feel unloved, unworthy. Yes still he would continue to throw hatred at me- often under the assertion that it was for my own good, he was “being supportive”.

Loving him taught me that I am one of “those women”, the women I had so little respect for. The ones who would ignore red flags, make excuses, tell their friends how unhappy their partner is making them but fail to walk away. So low was my self esteem by the end that I would tell him it was all my fault, that i would change. Cry and beg him to love me. I was so desperate to get out of the situation I considered self harm, I considered giving him the house just so I could escape. I would say anything just to get the loving him back- the hair strokes, the holding me in his arms, the sex.

He taught me that I could be weak. That I would be so full of love, so eager to please him, to avoid confrontation, that I would allow him to break down my boundaries. I allowed him to intimidate me, threaten me, make me feel like my home wasn’t my own, like I had to apologise for mine and my children’s very existence. I allowed him to read text messages I had sent to my friends and family- hoping to appease him- only for him to shout and scream at me that my replies were not good enough.

I stayed. I stayed with a man who made me feel of no value. A man I suspected was going through my phone. A man I would dread leaving my children with or dread going home to. All the while desperately trying to keep him. Desperately trying to get him to love me. Long letters, text messages, tears and promises, begging him to stay, even after I had made the decision to leave.

I discovered after he had been removed from our home that he was cheating on me. That he was in marriage counselling with his wife, in a relationship with another woman and seeing me, all at the same time. I discovered that he had a police caution on record for harassment of his ex- that the day him and I kissed for the first time, he had gone to her house and had to be removed by the police. While he was messaging me about how much he wanted to be with him, while we were organising to sleep together for the first time, he had been concerning himself that she was seeing someone else. I discovered he was already setting up new relationships, arranging to meet women from online. He had reconnected with ex wives and girlfriends. All the while gaslighting me into believing my fears and worries that he was doing these things made me needy, jeopardised our relationship. I even told him my behaviour was controlling, that I was ashamed of myself!

The really scary thing about him is that he is able to rationalise every single one of his actions. I never thought I would be the woman who didn’t see straight through the smoothness and the charm. I thought I was savvy, immune to bullshit- it would appear not. He targeted me when I was vulnerable, scooped me up and showered me with love and compliments when I had discovered my ex cheating. Told me he would never do that, that I was amazing, I was worthy. Every word of it was crap

I was just a fish in a barrel. He has a ready supply of women just like me. A bit broken, slightly dented. He will already be reeling the next woman in. Telling her, like he did me, that he was the victim. I was manipulative, controlling. He will tell her that he has never felt such a draw to someone before, that he “knew” he needed her in his life. The sex will be intense, even that is a big old act to him, like being in stage. Full of drama and like an 80s porn movie. He will tell her that the sex is the best he has ever had, he has never experienced anything like it with anyone before. She, like I, and his ex, and all the other women before us, will fall for it.

He taught me that there are people out there who will lie, manipulate, abuse. That no one is immune to it- I’ve met two of his exes, and like me they are bright, vivacious, confident women. He gets a kick out of destroying them. Replacing the strength with weakness.

He taught me that some people are completely devoid of emotion, only ever feel sympathy for themselves.

He taught me not to trust anyone. Ever.

The End. Full stop

My new mantra

Of the few people who follow me on here most would have come from my Instagram running page and will therefore know that the last few months have been a real struggle for me. They will have read between the lines and seen that, despite the happy, smiley and often attention seeking posts, I have been miserable.

I am having to be really careful what I write on here and stick only to things I can prove are fact, and I can prove that at the weekend my partner, who I have been loving, faithful and supportive of, was removed from our home by the police. He decided that throwing a Boulder through our kitchen window, smashing the glass hob, damaging the work surface- all the while verbally assaulting my beautiful 18 year old daughter was a sure fire way to show what a “loving and supportive partner” he is, what a “cracking dad”.

This final act of violence, his first actual physical act, wasn’t actually what put the final nail in the coffin of our relationship. It was me, sitting on our bed listening to him pull my 18 year old daughter to bits because she hadn’t picked up some washing, because at 18 she had committed the mortal sin of leaving some clothes on the floor in her bedroom. As he sat there, telling her how disgusting she was, how disrespectful- I said nothing. In that moment I hated myself, my daughter looked at me like “are you going to help me” and I said nothing. I just thought to myself- that’s it, now this has to stop. I have been ground down, made to feel worthless, and now my daughter is beginning to feel the same- my beautiful, funny, loud, obnoxious, but wonderfully kind daughter.

I actually love that my children are not doormats, I love that they do not do everything every adult asks of them without question. I am proud that they push boundaries. I would rather that, then ending up being the sort who always walk the straight line of compliance at detriment to their own sense of self. I am a bloody good mother, I have failed them in the last 18 months, putting a relationship based on lies first, putting all my time and energy into trying to have a relationship with a man who just wanted to have me as the next pretty thing on his arm- like a Tag watch or the latest iPhone. As soon as I showed real emotional need he was looking to upgrade. As soon as his behaviour and whether it was reasonable (who removes lightbulbs from kids rooms to teach them a lesson? Who does that?) was called into question he checked out. Emotionally, physically and any which way he could.

I was made to feel guilty for loving them, when I was permanently told how terrible they were, how their disrespect was damaging his mental health. I am so regretful of that- they didn’t deserve it. I am now showering them with love. They deserve better then what I gave them.

I have discovered since he left that actually the entire relationship was built on a foundation of bull crap. This has caused me to question exactly who I am, I never thought I would be this woman, the woman crying on her friends, being told to leave him- and yet muttering those immortal words “but I love him” with wide eyed wonder. I never thought I would be the woman blaming herself for someone else’s failings. I feel pathetic, angry with myself. Mortally embarrassed. Exposed.

In the last few months of our relationship I became embarrassingly needy. Desperate for any glimmer of affection- I had a feeling he was back in contact with his ex wife and so constantly questioned him on it. I was determined he was meeting women off Instagram and would spend hours pouring over his followers. I would hate myself for this, blame my own insecurities, my parents, my children- everyone except the one person for whom the blame laid firmly with- him. My insecurity and angst was eating me up inside- why was I like this? This wasn’t me!

He was master at love bombing, drawing you in, making you feel like you were the most amazing woman in the world. The sex? Best he had ever had. The way he felt? Never felt so connected- you were his everything. His reason for being. But he was also master at emotional withdrawal- which would come from nowhere. You would go from being adored to being made to feel worthless. It made me feel physically dizzy. This massive void where the love and affection had been just moments before was instead filled with anxiety- what had I done? How could I get the love back? Why was I so unlovable. I would beg with him, plead, write him notes and long rambling texts promising to change, promising to be better, do better, be the Person he wanted.

Getting love from him became my reason for living. I would wake up and wait to see if his arms would come around me- if they did I would be relieved- I had been a good girl and earned his affection. If they didn’t I would spend the day micro analysing every move he made, text he sent, every interaction. It was so bloody exhausting. Soul destroying. A stroke of my hair could make or break my day. There is a reason withdrawal of affection is actually classed as abuse, it makes you feel physically pained.

After he left I discovered that most of our relationship had been a lie- he had been in contact with his ex wife for many many months. Another woman in his life, who he told me was mad and crazy, obsessed with him- told me that actually he had been in a relationship with her for two years when he met me, that even while living with me he had been in a a committed relationship with her, she sent me screenshots of FaceTime chats they had had the same night he was telling me he loved me. Messages he had sent her while sat in my garden. He had reconnected with her also in recent months .. He had been contacting women in Instagram and had actually headed out to meet one the day before he left me, broken hearted (and broken windowed and ovenless 😂). He had a tinder account, a meet up account- photos of women he was wooing hidden on his phone.

I realised, I wasn’t mad. I wasn’t crazy. I had been right in my assertions, every single one of them and more. Still I can’t help but blame myself.

I keep begging him for answers- “why Didn’t you just love me?” Why was I not good enough? Why did you have to do this to me? Was it for kicks? Because he could? I just don’t understand. And how could I, this confident, assertive , attractive woman have fallen for it when the truth was so glaringly obvious? Am I flawed? Am I broken? Will I ever trust anyone ever again.

I am trying to be Billy Big Balls- laughing at his pathetic ness. Giggling with friends in the garden about things he said and did which were so bloody crazy, lies which were so far fetched that looking back now it’s funny I fell for them- but I am grieving. The jar of stuff he wanted to do with me which he made for my first Christmas? His ex wife had done that for him. Italy night? Where we dressed in togas and ate Italian food? Yep, him and his ex. I am grieving the man I thought I had, before we moved in together and he changed so much. I miss the man I thought I had, it’s like he died.

I feel like I will never trust a word anyone says any more. I feel lost. In a daze. Friends and neighbours have bought me flowers, food, cake. The house is going on the market- just as I am starting to love it, now I’m not on tender-hooks all the time, I’m going to miss it. Ironic as I have never felt like I could love this home, not when I was met with the threat it would be taken away all the time- now I am losing it for sure, I am falling in love with it.

Facing up to the fact that the last 18 months of memories- and I did have amazing happy times- were all fake is hard. Beyond hard. I remember though, that even during the happy times I was waiting, waiting for the bad shit- a walk together a few weeks before the end, which I had loved and had reminded me of our early days, turned into a row when we got back- I kissed him in our kitchen and he said “I don’t think you love me”- instantly making me wonder what I could possibly have done to bring this on? What had I said to make him feel that way- the end result of him saying this and my asking him why he said it was a row, and then days of withdrawn affection.

I am grateful for the people who are surrounding me with love- the hard bit will come when the drama dies down, when people go back to their lives, move on to the next person who needs them. When my children are not here and I’m alone in this big house. Although my dog and cat have started sleeping in bed with me again so that helps. That’s when I will miss the guy I never really had. The character he created.

My Lovely grandma

I woke up this morning with a new feed full of Harry and Meghan, well I say woke up this morning, I actually read it all at 2am when once more sleep was elusive. I have no opinion either way but it does make you realise my family issues are small fry by comparison 😂 But nestled amongst the realms and realms of body language experts and psychologists dissecting every word, telling us how the queen will feel, was the need that it’s International Woman’s day. So today felt like a good day to tell you about my gran, Mavis.

Mavis passed away far far too young. The ovarian cancer was too far advanced to do much about by the time she got a diagnosis. Months of going back and fourth to the doctors, living with symptoms were fruitless, it was anything from “women’s issues” to the flu . The Eve appeal, for whom I am working to raise money through my running endeavours, are champions of early detection. They want us to know what to look for, they want to end this taboo around women’s body’s, this shyness we have talking about our body mechanics. Early detection saves lives.

Which reminds me to book my smear…

I was young when Gran died but I really do have the clearest and happiest memories of her. My grandad was (he is still alive but he has very little to do with us) a difficult man. He was controlling, strict, he used to comb the fringes on his Chinese rugs and shout at us if we moved them. I once gave him an angina attack making a fake cat poo and putting it on his bed 😂, he would make us eat a biscuit in the garden so as not to get crumbs in the house. My gran, while towing the line, was feisty and rebellious.

Cakes, the most beautiful cakes you have ever tasted. There was always one in the middle of the table at tea time. She would slice it up, ensuring one slice was bigger than the rest, turning this slice away from my grandad. He would always turn the plate toward him, resulting in hilarious spats where she should call him out on his greediness. He would get flustered and bemoan her language, how uncouth, not the language of a lady. My mum tells me of a time she cut sandwiches for an afternoon tea, and knowing he would eat first, filled the biggest with something disgusting, I wanna say mustard 😂

She was quirky. My gran was the only gran I knew who wore a balaclava, that’s right, a full on bank robber balaclava. Her thriftiness meant that everything was made do or mended. She would darn her tights, replace buttons, picking the ones she liked from her huge button box, irrespective of whether they matched- they fitted. She cut her own hair, now I’ve inherited her hair, it’s thick and dark and unruly, with a widows peak which is the bane of my existence, cutting it short and practical was no mean feat! She was so thrifty that we were not allowed to over use loo roll, torn up newspapers were often in its place but she was very strict on one sheet for a one and two for a two 😳

What little money she did spend was on her home. A huge fan of auctions and car boots, she would buy little trinkets in need of TLC, and make crude repairs. She was a doer, she would spend hours with a sieve removing stones from soil, she would tile a wall, paint..she would dig in and do.

My favourite story about my gran pre dates me. My mum was dating two David’s, one was a biker, leathers and long hair the other a polite, well bought up young man, who always wore a vest and tucked his shirt in. My gran, in meeting the latter, decided that this man would marry one of her daughters, if my mum didn’t want him then her younger sister would. She set David number two up on a date with my mums sister- my mum didn’t like this as actually she quite liked David two- so claimed him for herself. Over 40 years later my mum is still married to David 2, my dad, so gran got her way 🤷‍♀️

Sweet peas, talcum powder, Tupperware, political debates , warmth, love and a wicked sense of humour. Taken far far too soon and leaving a void in my mums life. A cruel disease which took my gran piece by piece. I would have loved for her to have met my children, especially Emmie, who is a mini version of grandma- all thick hair, quirky dress sense and attitude.

Thank you for getting to the end of this, please please please share and if you can donate, to this absolutely amazing charity

. http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=ClaireHarvey24&pageUrl=1

Running for Eve 🏃🏻‍♀️🏃🏻‍♀️🏃🏻‍♀️

I’ve been debating where to start with this for about 2 weeks, amazing ideas for an inviting, fun and interesting Blog which people will read to the end have woken me up at 3am- but when it’s actually come down to it I get complete brain fade and all that comes out is “Hi, my name is Claire and I love running” 😂

We I have been a “runner” for about 10 years, pounding the streets of Melton Mowbray. However My running has taken a whole new direction since moving “oop north”. Gone are my days of flat as a fart, I have had to knuckle down and enjoy the beautiful undulations of Gods country. Fully immersing myself in the religion. While I still love roads, and I do, at nearly 40 (I am a faster road runner then I ever was in my 20s) trails, with their peat bogs, pace destroying rock climbs, ankle twisting descents have really captured my heart. Also, snacks! I can eat pie on a trail run! 🥧🍰

Being outside runs through the veins of almost every Yorkshireman/woman/dog. It’s inevitable, after any amount of time living here that it is going to grab you by the gut and start infiltrating your soul. Firstly, everywhere you look there are tall things- hills, fells, mountains.. the ten minute walk home from work- EVERYTHING requires a level of altitude adjustment! A shock to the system of any die hard flat route fan! No wonder the Yorkshire folk are known for their grit.

2021 has me dipping my toe into the world of ultra trail running, something I vowed NEVER to do- these people who haul themselves over 30-50 or even 100 mile runs must be either mad or drunk- but probably both 😂 however i am joining their ranks, I am doing The Lap in September, a huge challenge in itself- add to this that I also obtained the holy grail of road racing-a ballot place at The London Marathon a mere three weeks later and it’s become apparent I need to do some serious training!

My ballot place means I have no target for fundraising however I have chosen to raise funds for The Eve Appeal, it’s the charity chosen by Saks (where I chop hair when I get the chance) but also one which means the world to me. My gran was only 58 when the silent killer, ovarian cancer,took her life. Eve offers not only support for those diagnosed with female gynaecological cancers, but spreads awareness of the early signs- early diagnosis saves lives.

For more info on The Eve appeal click here

Home

If you fancy throwing a couple of quid my way the link is

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=ClaireHarvey24&pageUrl=1

But also if you see me out running, a friendly smile and a wave can make these Yorkshire hills feel slightly less ghastly 😂