I cannot voice these feelings to you because I am too scared. I am scared that you will be angry with me, I am scared that you will retaliate and hurt me, but most of all; I am scared that you will not care. We met on my 18th Birthday, I fell for you pretty quickly and within a week of us getting together, we were inseparable. You were my everything, the sun seemed warmer when you were around, the air sweeter, life was full of light and brightness, and you seemed to chase away the darkness of everyday weariness.
I know we suffered setbacks from really early on in our relationship. I was pregnant after just 4 months of being together, and the problems that were caused when my insides ruptured and I nearly bled to death should have been the end of our relationship, the hospital had to remove various parts of me and our baby so that I would live. You saved my life that night; if you had taken me home so that I could sleep instead of to the hospital, I would have died, and for that I will always be truly grateful.
We never did manage to have children of our own and after several failed attempts at IVF we gave up and decided to concentrate on enjoying our life together. Various other trying times came along, but the worst for me was our fathers dying. I held you up when your father passed away, you held me up when my father was sick and it was only after my father died that things changed for the worse.
It was after my father's death that you started to act in a manner that was so unlike you. I struggled to understand what you wanted from me, from us, from our relationship and I contorted myself in so many different directions so that I could please you and make you happy. But it never seemed to make a difference, you were so unhappy and I seemed to be the cause of this and my self esteem plummeted to an all time low. No longer was I just a failure when it came to being a mother, I was now a failure when it came to being a wife and life partner. You tried your damndest to alienate me from my family and I came close to being a failure as a daughter, granddaughter, sister, aunt, niece and cousin.
You told me that your job was the cause of your unhappiness, and after you had left me and then come home, you gave up your job for the sake of our marriage, you handed in your notice and took some time off. Before you had even finished your holiday time you had retracted your notice and decided that you were going to stay there. You were still miserable, still unhappy and all the while, taking it out on me.
Our intimate moments had dwindled to few and far between. I had tried to spice things up and tried desperately to make you want me, but you never seemed interested. It hurt the amount of times you rejected me, the amount of times you turned your back on me. It had reached the stage when you only ever seemed to want sex with me when you were drunk. This hurt, this hurt me a lot, I'm not unattractive, I get chatted up all the time, but you used to look at me like I was disgusting, and my heart broke every time I wanted a cuddle and you would push me away and move as far away from me as possible. Your kisses in the last few years of our relationship were always beer or wine flavoured, and I was tired of our bed being occupied by ME, YOU and your new best mate STELLA.
It was this that led to the ultimate betrayal in our relationship. I went for a drink with a friend and I was feeling a little bit low as it was my Dad's birthday and when I got home, we talked for a little while then went to bed. Your Stella soaked brain obviously got the better of you and you decided that as I wasn't giving myself freely to you, you would take what you wanted. I woke up to find you taking what you wanted and as I woke up, you were finished. I was bewildered and a little bit confused, but then you pushed me out of the way and lay down, I reached over to you for reassurance and you pushed my hands away and turned your back on me. I was so hurt and still not quite with it, and then it hit me what you had done. I was horrified. I started crying and I felt sick, I ended up hiding in a corner of the bedroom with my dressing gown pulled over me and my knees pulled up to my chest while I tried desperately not to scream again and again and again.
I finally pulled myself together and went downstairs. I sat on the sofa and after several cigarettes and a couple of cups of coffee I managed to drift off back to sleep. You came to find me when you had woken up and couldn't find me in the bed. You reached out to touch me and it made me freak out. I told you not to touch me and to leave me alone. I pulled the blanket around me like a shield and for the rest of the night I sat on the sofa shaking with fear and willing myself to be wrong about what you had done.
I tried to speak to you the next day but you wouldn't talk to me. You wouldn't look at me, and when I did bring up the subject you pretended like it was nothing, like I had imagined it and it just hurt me even more. From that night forward (apart from 3 occasions) I slept in the spare room or on the sofa and our relationship just spiralled further and further down the plug hole and even though I tried to put aside what you had done and I fought to save our relationship you just let it slip through your fingers.
You then moved on to all the other forms of domestic abuse you could and I couldn't do a thing right. Your drinking spiralled out of control and every night was a living hell, you would get angry at me, you would shout at me, your sniping and unnecessary comments about me were cruel and spiteful. Your mind games and pretend niceness one minute then barely veiled threats the next were just as effective, if not more so than any kind of beating you could have given me. You knew you couldn't just hit me, as you knew that if any of my family caught sight of the fact that you had hit me, it would have gone straight to my uncles and then all hell would have been let loose. I couldn't tell anyone about the sexual abuse as I was too ashamed. I managed to tell my closest friend and she wanted me to tell the police but I couldn't, I didn't think it would make any difference other than to cause you to hate me even more.
This destructive path continued for the next 6 months and your control over me reached epic levels and I was a virtual prisoner in my own home but my jailor was silent and only ever showed me anger or impatience. I pleaded with you constantly to talk to me, to try and save our marriage and to stop hating me and then one day I snapped. After yet another round of you shouting and throwing abuse in my direction, and a complete lack of adult communication, I walked out. I packed some stuff and even though I was petrified, I walked down the stairs and past you in the living room to leave. I was crying and shaking with terror and you asked "where the f*!k do you think you're going?" I very bravely replied "I'm going to find someone to talk to. You won't talk to me, so I'm going to find someone that will". And I left; I jumped in my car, locked the doors and drove off. I ended up at my friend's house, crying so hard I could barely see and a nervous wreck. He sat with me and gave me coffee, cigarettes and advice in equal quantities. He was mad at me for not going to him sooner for help but believe it or not, his understanding of the situation and no nonsense approach was exactly what I needed. I went home the next morning and asked you again to try and sort out our marriage. You ignored my pleas, you got drunk and abusive and would go from spite to silence in seconds and then occasionally just to really play with my head you would be as nice as you were when we first met and you would be everything that I remembered and longed for. This set up a pattern that would last until December when I moved out. You would come home from work and be angry with me, I would hide upstairs, you would start drinking and being abusive, I would pack my bags and leave for the night. I stayed with so many friends during that period and I owe so many of them for their kindness but I have no way of paying them back.
I got sick last October, I had a huge lump that had to be removed in an emergency operation and I called you at work, and you told me in not so many words to get on with it. You couldn't leave work and even though I had to go back to the hospital within the hour they had already said that I would have the op that night and would be kept in, you just said you would see me later.
I phoned you when I came round from the op and the last thing I remember telling you through my drug fogged haze was that I love you. It flowed so easily and automatically you responded saying you loved me too. I managed to sleep well and I called you the next morning to ask if you could come and pick me up. We got home and you dumped me on my sister before disappearing to your mother's house for the weekend. You did phone once that weekend and you sent me a text message to check I was ok. I was dropped back off at home and for a day or two things were alright, but then you started to go quiet on me again and although you seemed pleased that I was stuck at home, you started to pick on me again, so although I was in pain and I had a two inch hole in me where I didn't want one, I packed up my stuff every night you were drunk and left to stay with friends and family.
After about 5 months of this, I managed to get out for a drink with a friend of mine. She only lived down the road from us but hadn't seen me for so long and was worried about me, so she insisted on us meeting. I met her in the pub and tried to put on a brave front. She just handed me some leaflets on domestic violence and abuse and told me that if I couldn't tell her, I needed to call these people and arrange to speak to someone about what she knew was going on in my house.
I laughed at first because I wasn't one of those women... my husband wasn't one of those men...
I read those leaflets just to make her happy and after I had ticked all the boxes in the little questionnaire about ‘is your partner abusive?' I realised that I was married to a man that was dishing out domestic abusive in my direction and I was taking it. I was making excuses for your behaviour, I was blaming myself, I deserved it. I was a bad person, I drove you to it. I was horrified. I was a victim, I had allowed you to bully me and abuse me until everyone but me could see what you were doing. I also realised that you had someone else. You were even more secretive, you mobile was glued to you at all times, you would leave the house for the stupidest of reasons and your behaviour towards me got worse. The drinking got heavier the anger more intense and you ground me down until I felt worthless.
I went to see the domestic abuse people and sat with a counsellor and talked about the abuse, we talked about the incident in May and when she called it spousal rape I shrank back from her and could not acknowledge that you had done that.
I spoke to a solicitor to get some free advice and she asked me outright if you would leave the house, I knew you wouldn't so I told her as much. She then told me plainly that I should leave for my safety and sanity and did I have anywhere I could go and stay. She also told me to go and get myself a solicitor and to go through my options properly.
So I did all that she had suggested. I phoned my best friend and asked if I could stay at hers for a while until I could get myself sorted out. I arranged for the dog to be taken care of and I moved out with what I could carry. You pretended to be nice to me, and you belittled me when I was crying. And while you left me to pack up our lives you were talking to your new girlfriend in another room and then you went out for an hour and a half to get some milk and bread.
I was heartbroken and all I wanted you to do was to love me and cuddle me and tell me that everything would be ok but you had someone else now and my feelings were irrelevant.
We sat in the house the night before I left for good to talk through a few things and when I asked you about the new girlfriend you tried to convince me that she was just a friend, but I knew different, I had read things and I had found things that had confirmed to me that she was more than just a friend. And I told you that I was heartbroken and that all I wanted was for you to love me and cuddle me and tell me things were going to ok, and then you spun me that famous line.... I love you, but I'm not IN LOVE with you anymore. This you later changed to ‘I haven't felt love for you for quite some time'.
I went to see a solicitor to get some advice, I told her that you wanted me to wait for two years so we could get a divorce without either of us being to blame, and I explained your other reasons for this to the solicitor and as soon as I had spoken them out loud I realised I had become an insurance policy for you. If it didn't work out with new woman, you could always fall back on me and it wouldn't have cost you anything. I was doing it again, I was letting you bully me again!! I spent an hour and a half in that initial consultation with my solicitor and I cried throughout most of that interview because I didn't want to divorce you but couldn't see what other options I had left open to me. I had taken back control of my finances by this time and was living in a box room and the only reason I actually had somewhere to live was because of MY friends selfless act of kindness and charity. She had taken me in and pledged to me that she would not let you bully me as long as she was around (bless her). You still managed though didn't you? You insisted on me paying half of the mortgage and half of your credit cards you even wanted me to pay half of your car loan didn't you? I refused when it came to the car loan but I paid the others, even though you earn at least 50% more than I do. So while I was scrimping and saving and having to use my half of the savings to pay, mortgage, rent, bills, excessive petrol bills, food bills, deposit on a flat, rent more rent and more mortgage and my bills and my petrol and my food and costs for keeping the dog in food and to pay for damage he had caused, you sat in OUR castle, entertaining various women, allowing me to pay for everything, squirreling away money and hiding things, going out, enjoying yourself and generally being a single man with no worries or cares.
I told you I wanted to meet just before Christmas; you went bragging to our friends that I was going to beg you to come back to me. You sat in the pub looking so pleased with yourself and so sure about what was to come. You have no idea of the power you hold over me do you. You have no idea that YES I really did want to beg you to come back to me, I wanted to beg you to make everything right again but I also knew that our relationship was over. I knew that the lines you had crossed had turned me (in your eyes) into an object. I was no longer an equal, I was no longer your partner, I was no longer your wife, I was no longer loveable. I was there for you to use and abuse, and you no longer saw me through loving eyes.
I gathered what little inner strength I did have and I told you the facts, I told you I was filing for divorce, I told you that the house would have to go up for sale, I laid it all in black and white for you and then you began to hate me even more.
Christmas was heartbreaking for me, I still got you a present, and I found you the nicest card. I couldn't buy you one of those "to my lovely husband at Christmas" cards, it would not have been right. So I found you a card that told you that I did love you, regardless of everything that had happened, I DID LOVE YOU!! The present I knew you had wanted for some time, and when I gave them to you, you seemed genuinely happy if a little embarrassed because you had got me something, but you had left it at home and you said you wanted to get me something else because what you had got for me didn't seem enough. I ended up with a bottle of vodka (that you owed me anyway) and one of a multipack of Christmas cards with no nice words in it. Just - To....... From.........
I spent Christmas with the only single friend I have. Watching TV and DVD's and getting drunk.
Things have dragged on in pretty much the same way since I left our home. I have continued to try and do things nicely, all the while knowing that you are doing your utmost to make my life hell. You have objected and you have argued. You have had temper tantrums in my face and you have shouted at me, you have denied me access to my home because ONE of your new girlfriends was there. You have withheld information from the solicitors; you have left me to deal with all aspects of the house sale. You have spread rumours and gossip about me to our friends, you have played with the emotions of OUR nephews. You have continued to intimidate and bully me. And even though now, I stand up to you, I refuse to allow you to dominate me; I am still terrified of you.
During our recent back and forth with the solicitors due to you throwing all of your toys out of the pram because I won't agree to a 70/30 split in your favour, I had agreed the facts with my solicitor and we sent you an epic letter asking you to explain numerous things included in your financial disclosure. I knew the time scale on when you would receive this letter and since then I have gone backwards.
I spent the Friday at work terrified. I received a text message and I actually felt physically sick at the thought of picking up my mobile to read it. JUST in case it was you. I have now reverted to checking out of my windows at home constantly because I am afraid you will come round. I had moved so far forward and I'm sure you don't realise just how much damage you did to me in the last few years we were together. You ground me down because you didn't want me to leave you. If I had allowed you to leave me then I'm sure it would have all been different, but you didn't, you left everything up to me so that you would look good. It has been me that has done everything. It has been me that has arranged everything and all because you are not man enough to stand up and do something yourself.
I wish you could see just for one moment the panic that courses through my entire body and causes me palpitations, nausea, stomach ache, the shakes, sleepless nights, headaches etc etc. I wish you could have been there on Saturday morning when I turned into a nervous wreck over something my boyfriend said to me, and why he had to pick me up from the corner of the room where I was hiding with my hands over my head, terrified and sure that I would die because my heart was pounding so hard in fear. He hadn't done anything, he just said something that sounded just like you and because I've been living in fear of your reaction to me standing up for myself, I reacted as if he was you. He spent two hours sitting in stunned disbelief that underneath the smiley exterior and outgoing personality, I live in fear of what you will do next. I had to explain to him in detail all of the things you have done over the years. I had to relive the shame of every abusive moment to explain to him WHY I was freaking out at something he said. Luckily he understands, but now you see, he is so mad at you for treating me like that. He never realised that every time I told him that I would be ok and that I could deal with having to see you I was lying. He wants to protect me; he is a gentle man and doesn't believe in using bullying and fear to get your own way.
He held me and cuddled me and let me cry and knowing that I was safe I could finally sleep, I am exhausted and he now holds me and comforts me until I drift off, because we both know that If I can sleep, even if it's only for half an hour, then I will wake up and be able to look at the situation rationally.
I can't help but be scared, the mind games and the emotional and psychological abuse have left me doubting everything. I doubt myself, I doubt my friends and family, I doubt everything and all because of you. I have worked so hard to get over this and you know, when you leave me alone and don't insist on being a part of my life I can do this, I am happy, my life seems to have purpose and meaning and the sun shines on me again.
You insist on being involved in my life through our dog and even though I have asked nicely to stop contacting me and I have told you to leave me alone, you still insist on harassing me where the dog is concerned. And if you can't get your own way, you start up the contact with my family again. Why can't you leave me alone?
I don't know what I hoped to achieve with this letter, I just suppose I wanted you to see it from my point of view, but I guess you never will. You have turned this all around so that you are the victim and you are only doing what you are doing out of self preservation. I would love for you to have lived my life in the last two years. I would be grateful if just for one moment you could see the impact your actions have on me. You don't live in constant fear of me; you don't spend day and night wondering if you will be able to afford to pay your bills, you don't spend a week living on cupboard scraps because you can't afford to buy food do you? You don't lay awake at night listening to every last noise wondering who or what is coming to get you do you. When was the last time you woke up crying because in your dream you can feel hot breath on your neck and the sickly smell of stale beer on breath as you are pinned to the bed?
However, I made a comment to someone the other day which was "Feel the fear and do it anyway" and that came around and bit me on the arse. So I've acknowledged my fear, I am staring it straight in the eye and I am going to win this battle. I have sat and cried alone, hiding in the corner with my hands covering my head for fear of another onslaught of abuse either emotional or physical, but it doesn't come because you don't live in my little flat with me. The fear is real though and the subtle little mind games you play keep me in a state of nervousness and panic.
But you see, the only power you have over me is the power I give you, so I'm telling you now that I am taking it back. I am scared of you, I fear your anger and I fear your temper. I am really quite a gentle soul and I don't like fighting, I have always shied away from hostility, you know I will always stand up for the underdog, I abhor injustice when I see it directed at those that are weak, well I'm looking in from the outside and I am the weaker person, I am the underdog and I'm going to stand up to you. I have the love and support of so many people and you will not ruin my life anymore. For every time you look at me with contempt and disgust, you will find me and a thousand other frightened people looking back at you with clear, unwavering eyes. Every time you insist on me doing as I am told, it will be my voice joined with a thousand other quiet and fearful voices ringing out a loud and clear NO!! I am not alone, I am not unloved, I am not worthless, I am not useless, I am not ugly, I am not pointless, I am not fat, I am not disgusting, I am NOT your victim any longer. I AM A HUMAN BEING. I AM WORTHY OF LOVE. I AM SPECIAL. I DESERVE TO LIVE IN PEACE AND JOY. You can hate me all you like but I will continue to be loving and kind. I will not try and drag you down, I will not try and ruin you financially, I will continue to quietly but steadfastly ask for 50%. All I want is half of what WE built in 15 years. All I want is a little justice and fairness.
I pity you that you cannot show any love, compassion or respect. I pity you that you are not content with your lot and that your days and nights are filled with restlessness because you feel you must come away with more than everyone else. I pity you because in the time we have been split up, you have had too many girlfriends for me to keep up with, and each and every one of them you have called ‘your soul mate' the ‘love of your life'. I know this is a lie, you know this is a lie. I WAS ‘your soul mate' I WAS the ‘love of your life' and you threw it all away. I pity you that you will never find peace because you have to live with the demons in your head and the guilt and the empty feeling that only I can fill. I only have to forgive you, which I do now, freely. I forgive you for ripping my life in two, I forgive you for trying to crush my spirit. I forgive you for making me homeless. I forgive you for hurting me like nobody in my life has ever done before. I forgive you for being greedy and selfish. I forgive you for every sin you committed against me. I forgive you because once upon a time I LOVED YOU, I loved you completely, heart and soul, body and mind. I forgive you because I have the ability to show compassion and love and care. I forgive you because I have faith that somewhere deep inside you, you realise that you are wrong. It is easy for me to forgive because in doing so it makes it harder for you to prove that your hate and bad behaviour is justified. I wonder though, when will you forgive yourself? Will you ever be happy? I don't think so.
I wish you all the love and luck in the world and I am genuine and sincere when I say that I wish you a good life, one filled with all that you desire, but I know that unless that life is one filled with money, you will never be happy.
I have realised of late that the last six months we spent living in the house have become hazy and foggy and I don't remember anything clearly, all I have is a feeling. I know I was unhappy, I know I was scared and I know I was heartbroken, but the details are blurry now. Because of your actions and the spiteful, hateful things you have done, this is now extending further back. I am losing sight of what we had; the good memories are being replaced by the bad memories of your recent actions. So I just wanted to say Thank you for the good times we had and thank you for the bad times too, I appreciate what I have now because of those bad times. Peace, tranquillity and joy were often missing in our life together, these moments I am finding more frequently in my life because the only turmoil is that which you cause. You cause the turmoil in my heart, mind and soul. So I am cutting you out of the picture now. I am turning my back on you and your games. I no longer wish to play. From this point on you do not have the power to disrupt my life.
Be gentle with yourself and strive to be happy.
Your loving wife
p.s. I will never send you this letter, I just wanted the universe to know that I forgive you.