I should have known my marriage wasn’t going to last when, on the night of our joint hen/stag do, he came home with a ‘love bite’ on his neck, and gave some excuse. I threatened to leave him then, but he persuaded me to stay. The first sign that things weren’t right
When his mum found out I was pregnant a short time after we were married her words were “you just can’t keep it in your trousers”. Perhaps that should have been noticed as another sign.
Before the end of the year I had my first daughter prematurely, and a few months after that, I found out he was having an affair. He left, but it wasn’t for long, and by the time my daughter was 16 months, I fell pregnant with my second daughter.
We moved away for a “fresh start”, and a few months later my daughter was born. Things seemed to be ok. I had postnatal depression and was put on anti-depressants. My health visitor was great and would suggest things like learning to drive so I could get out more. I’ve since learned that several people were aware of what I was going through.
He decided to join the T.A. and would go away at weekends for “training”. On one occasion after he came home, I was doing the washing and found lipstick on his shirt, which he brushed off with another excuse and an apology. Perhaps I just didn’t want to admit what was happening. I kept thinking he’ll change, he said he would. He took on a 2nd job as a taxi driver and was never home.
I was soon beginning to realise he was a compulsive liar.
My life continued to be controlled by his decisions, deceits and lies. He even lied to his parents saying he had quit his job when he was still working… he kept that up for a year, until just before he started a new job. I remained on anti-depressants and had tried to take my own life, simply because I wanted him to give me some attention.
Shortly after starting his new job, he had an accident.
A tree branch that was caught in the tipper of his lorry had catapulted him as he tried to dislodge it; he was rushed to hospital and was in intensive care for weeks. He’d broken his back, had damaged his hand when he tried to protect himself in the fall and had suffered brain damage.
He was in the hospital for months in a coma. I would drive the 50-mile round trip to visit him every day, leaving the kids at home so they didn’t have to see the horrendous sight of all the tubes and machines.
When he came out of his coma he was moved to another hospital that specialised in back injuries. His spinal cord had snapped and he would be permanently in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down. I would have to look after him.
Even when he was there recovering, I discovered phone calls from another woman, but he said it was his boss’s daughter phoning to see how he was. Yes, I was suspicious; his track record had made sure of that. It was a few months after that I found a love letter…
I wanted out!
We lived in a mid-terraced house with an upstairs; he couldn’t get up the stairs, or much else for himself, without help at this point. One night, not long after he came home from the hospital, I was getting him ready for his brother to come to bathe him. I found a letter tucked into the back brace he had to wear, it was from another woman. He made up some excuse as to who it was, but I read the letter and it became clear she was more than just a friend. I said that night that I was leaving; that I wasn’t putting up with it anymore, but then his brother came and had a chat with him. He apologized and said he’d never do it again and persuaded me to stay, telling me he needed me more than ever now.
It was about that time I became bulimic. I thought ‘I can’t be attractive enough and that’s why he keeps cheating on me’.
On more than one occasion, I’d return home from an errand to find him hanging up the phone. He would say it was a wrong number, but it happened far too often and always when I was out, again I grew suspicious. On another occasion, I opened and closed the front door without leaving; he thought I’d left. I went quietly upstairs and sure enough, the phone rang. I let him pick it up then I lifted the other receiver, I listened to their chat about how they missed each other and how they wished they could see each other more… I admit it, I lost it! I shouted down the phone at them, slammed the phone down and went downstairs into the living room where he had already put the phone down. I just turned and left, I had my daughter pick up. I was so upset. How could he, after everything I had been through, and everything I had done for him? He couldn’t move from bed to chair or vice versa on his own. I came home and I phoned his brother. This was it… I was leaving this time! His brother came round and again persuaded me to stay.
When people came to visit, he would put me down in front of them, calling me names and belittling me. I was so embarrassed.
He was like a different person and not in a nice way. He became even more controlling. If I needed money I had to ask him. When we went to the shops together, I had to ask him for money before each shop, and give him the receipts when I came out of the shops.
We were now practically living separate lives; I would drive him to meet his girlfriend. I know, how crazy is that??? I started to make friends with someone else and we went out a couple of times, surely if it was ok for him, it was ok for me. Not… that’s when he first hit me, he discovered I’d been chatting to this guy and didn’t like it.
I was all ready to go to work, the kids were ready for school and he flipped, shouting all sorts of abuse at me, and calling names. He threw a wooden magazine rack across the room aiming for me and just missed my daughter. I saw red, I wasn’t having any of that, so I started to shout at him, he grabbed me and started hitting me in front of the kids.
Although he couldn’t move his legs the strength in his upper body had improved. He backed me into a corner and kept hitting me while I screamed for the kids to get out. He stopped when the phone rang, it was my neighbour wondering what had happened. He proudly shouted in the background, “I’ve just hit her”. I told her I was coming through.
I went to her house after the kids had gone to a friend before school, repaired my ripped clothes, fixed my make up and went to work as if nothing had happened.
After the first time he hit me, I felt I had to stay because of what he’d been through and because I thought I had to keep the family together, that’s what marriage was about, wasn’t it? I had to stay for the sake of the kids, how many times have we heard or even said that?
I would live upstairs in the house, as he now had a new, purpose-built extension. It was difficult trying to explain to a 5 & 3-year-old what was happening.
At first, I made it a fun thing for the kids, having picnics in the bedroom. I applied for a council house, citing domestic abuse as the reason, so I had to play a waiting game and carry on living there with my kids.
I can’t remember how long it was after that when he went for me again, or what the reason was, but I had decided that was once too many times. I’d decided I didn’t want to live that way, a way that was filled with lies and deceit, with his constant philandering, the arguments and me being on anti-depressants most of the time. Things my kids didn’t need to know. I phoned my mum and asked her if I could move in with the kids, she didn’t have the room but said yes. I moved out that day.
The very next day I received a letter telling me that I had been offered a house, it was a sign I’d made the right choice. I viewed it and decided just to take it. It needed work done on it so I’d stay with mum until it was complete.
I’d also been to my lawyer to file for separation. He still wanted control, so made me list everything I wanted from the house on the separation papers, my main concern was getting everything I needed for the kids.
On the day of the move, I remember my mum helping and asking if I was taking something, can’t remember what, but he said “no it’s not on her list”. I left there without a bed for myself and only the money from my part-time job to keep my kids and me.
I slept with my oldest until I had saved enough to buy myself a bed.
I struggled but I did the best I could. He still didn’t make things easy, he had access to the kids, but they would come home upset after visiting him. This went on for a year or so.
During the time he was seeing the kids, he’d had several different girlfriends. The day after I moved out, I walked in on him with another woman. There was another one who took my youngest into his house and refused to let her go, so we had to involve the police. The girls decided then that they wanted their surname’s names changed, as they didn’t want to be associated with his step-kids, who had changed their names to his. It seemed every time he took on a woman with kids, he showed them more attention than his own and would say things to hurt them like “these are my new kids” or “I’m their dad”.
After a few other incidents with different girlfriends, they made the decision not to see him anymore, my youngest went on her own for a while but it was way too upsetting for her so she too decided she didn’t want to go back.
I was looking for someone to love me and I kept looking in the wrong places, finding similar types of guys. When I did find a good one, I had trust issues, once bitten, as they say.
Things got quite bad for me. I tried another suicide attempt, but my love for my kids saved me. That’s when I started to self-harm looking for release and was back on anti-depressants with a referral to a psychiatrist
After a few years, I’d had a few failed relationships, and I would constantly pour my heart out into a work colleague. He had been my shoulder to cry on many times.
Until one day he just grabbed me and kissed me, it was like a scene from a movie. That’s when our relationship changed.
To hear how my story ends and how I’m now able to help people who are going through something similar, please follow our blog or visit www.nlptransformations.org.uk