Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Knowing Your True Worth

When my husband and I went for our pre-wedding chats with the vicar, the one thing we were told that stuck in both of our minds was ‘to cherish’. 

I’ve just looked up the dictionary definition and it says:

To tend lovingly, keep in one’s heart.  To cling to.

I think it’s such a lovely word for any relationship but, in particular, a partnership.

We’ve been through tough times in our marriage - redundancy and financial hardship have hit us hard - but throughout it all I have been cherished and I have cherished.

My husband completes me - we are two halves of a whole and he supports me in everything I do.  He values me and my opinion.

Sadly, not all relationships are like this and today I hand my blog over to a Twitter friend, Ness, @baggiesbabe69 who felt it was time to talk honestly about her abusive marriage.

She tells the story in her own words.


'Do I know mine? I can't give a positive yes but I'm a hell of a lot better than I was.
When did it start? How did it start? Why did I let it happen? I can't answer any of these questions as it seemed to just manifest itself thanks to my ex husband.
People have said to me, since I left my ex, that they could see how unhappy I was, but no-one ever spoke to me about it.  I guess I wouldn't have told them the truth even if they did as I was in denial about everything for so long.

This is my story.                                                                                                                                       
I was only 17 when I met my ex & I felt flattered as he was 5 years older than me. Even looking back he started to control me then, not in a major way but just little things - checking on where I was, who I was with, when I'd be home.   I just thought it was him being concerned about me.
He’d had problems with his ex-girlfriend lying to him so I guess he would be cautious.
I'm sure it started from pretty early on but I didn't realise it, name calling, constantly putting me down, telling me I was worthless & if I ever left no-one would look twice at me.
Verbal abuse isn't widely recognised as a form of abuse & it certainly wasn't 20+ years ago when it all started, but it's actually worse than physical abuse as no-one can see the internal scars that are being caused by the constant put downs that are hurled at you. It's invisible to the naked eye but kills you from the inside.
You start to believe everything they tell you, you believe that you are worthless & useless. They manage to control you by getting in your head. I know it was a very lonely time ‘being me’.
I was responsible for 2 dogs & 2 employees & loved my family & couldn't bear the hurt, pain & shame I would cause by doing anything about it.
He was a drinker & eventually a drug user (only smoking stuff) but that didn't help with his bad side.
He would come home drunk & always wanted to pick a fight with me.  If I didn't respond he'd throw things, if I did respond he'd throw things so it was a no win situation. The walls & doors in my house were full of holes where ashtrays had been thrown at them. Even the dogs used to go & hide when he came home.
He stole from me constantly, from my purse from the till, even blowing nearly a £5000 home improvement loan in 2 months on drink, drugs & scratch-cards.
He had at least 2 affairs that I know of & in the 3 years before I left him I hadn't slept in the same room with him. We didn't have a marriage anymore. He'd seen to that.
But what could I do?   I was trapped. 
He had alienated me from my friends over the 13 years we were together & any I did speak to I had to do it secretly. I was timed when I went shopping. My mum ended up doing most of my clothes & food shopping for me, I just said I hadn't got time to go but it was because of him I couldn't .............. or should that be daren't?
We hadn't got children & I eventually went for tests, which even to this day I don't know why as we'd been apart for so long. Anyway I found out that I couldn't have children & that tipped him over the edge & 1 day I arrived home & he was waiting for me with a baseball bat, he was drunk & drugged.   He beat me up, smashed up the salon even his motorbike got trashed, he accused me of sleeping with all his friends as I knew I wouldn't get caught out by getting pregnant! ............. A friend of his was with me & even he couldn't control him, but told me I had to leave or my ex would kill me.
The police weren't interested, they did give me a number for victim support, which I rang & left a message.  They never called me back! I made a formal complaint about the attack & it took them 6 months to finally chase the case up! But then they couldn't promise my new address wouldn't be given out in court!
Even after I left him he kept ringing me, my parents & sister had to change their phone numbers to stop his calls. He would follow me.  He left messages at my parent’s house saying he hoped I'd had a good day the day before & would state the place I had been to. 
My dad picked me up the next day & took me straight to a solicitor at my request & I filed for a divorce. It was hard telling them all the things that had happened as it was the 1st time I had openly admitted to the size of the problem. The only thing my dad ever said to me & no it wasn't "I told you so" it was "I told you we could turn left" which is what he told me on the way to the church when we got married! 
Within a week he had been served the divorce papers.
These are the reasons listed for the divorce:-
1) Verbal & physical abuse resulting in police statements being taken. Kicking, pushing, punching, bruising & house smashed up.
2) Constant verbal abuse resulting in mental cruelty over numerous years.
3) Threatening myself & my family. Police called & took recordings of all the messages.
4) Threatening myself & my property 3 weeks before with a pickaxe handle.
5) Numerous dents & holes in walls & doors due to items  being thrown at them.
6) Constant jealousy & name calling regardless of being sober or drunk.
7) Damage to my car
8) Split personality.
He did stall in signing the papers but I was eventually divorced within 8 months & nearly 8 years to the day we got married!
My family were amazing & would never have got through it without them.
I lost everything, I had left with the clothes on my back & that was all I had. 
But that was the beginning of my new life.   I moved to a different city & began to re-build my life. Although on the outside I was ok on the inside I was still very insecure.   I'm a lot better now but  I still have the odd wobble &  tend to put myself down as I feel it's better for me to put myself down before anyone else does!
I am now married to a fantastic guy who treats me like a human being, he's shown me not all men are complete b****rds, that there are men who actually care about other people.'

I’d like to thank my friend for offering to talk so openly.  Her blog can be found here and she would be happy to talk to any other women in similar situations - anonymously, of course.   I get the feeling she now knows what it’s like to be cherished.  I truly hope she does.

The usual plug, and on a lighter note, my books are available at Amazon and Lulu.  A grown up Bridget Jones!


  1. Thanks Amanda for letting me bare my soul to you. xx

  2. Ness, more than happy to let you and so glad that you now feel loved - you deserve it xx

  3. What a terrible situation. Ness, So glad you are out and happy and felt you could blog as you for Amanda.

  4. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story Ness, I'm sure it will help many people. Kim xxx

  5. Reading things like this stop me breathing. I have been at the other end of those cruel comments, jibes and put downs and know what it does to your true self worth. I am glad you are now in a wonderful, supportive relationship (reading into 'fantastic')and able to recover. You are not alone in wondering why you put up with so much for so long - none of us knows that - or will probably ever know - but you are safe and happy now and I wish you my very, very best.

  6. Thanks Older Single Mum. Yes, Ness certainly sounds like she's now getting the love she deserves and I think it was very brave of her to speak out.

    1. Yes I agree she has been very brave and it shows how far she has come - to be able to and want to help others now. Posts like this really do help others. Thank you to both of you.

  7. Well done Ness in speaking out. I know how hard it can be to admit to yourself that you've been through such hell, let alone blog it. You see I've experienced it too. In my situation the violence never really became physical so there has never been any evidence of the pain. Those internal scars are the hardest ones. I only see mine at night in the night terrors.

  8. Thank you everyone for your lovely words. My main reason for wanting to tell my story was in the hope that it may help someone out or help others in the same situation who feel they are alone.
    It took me years to sleep more than 30mins a night & I used to get in quite a state when 2nd hubby had a drink incase he turned, but he never did & he taught me to trust men again.
    I still have bad nights & little sleep & will never forget my past, but my past is what's making me a better person today. I can't change what's happened but I can make sure that my future is the best I can possibly have.
    Thank you again Amanda for showing me that being honest with myself could help others. xx

  9. Having been in a similar siutation myself and seen other friends also going through unhappy marriages, I always believe in kmowing both sides of every story before making judgements. I agree that some men are bullies of the worst kind, but I look back now and realise that you should ask yourself what caused the change from the men we married? Why did the change occur? Could it have been avoided? Nobody in these siutations can be completely blameless and it has taken a long time for me to realise that looking back, who knows? Maybe I could have done things differently and my ex-husband wouldn't have treated me as badly as he did. Thank goodness we got out when we did.

  10. You are such a brave and strong woman for walking away from it all. I haven't gone through Domestic Violence myself, but have witnessed it from a very close relative. Unfortunately she won't leave and I'm waiting that day the phone rings to give me the dreaded news I expect to hear.

    Thank you do much for sharing your story xxxx