Breaking The Cycle Of Dysfunction

As I’ve mentioned before my hubby and I met while we were travelling. We spent our first two years together flitting back and forth from here, Australia and our beloved Asia. It was during our second year together that I made the decision to cut ties with my family. As you can imagine I was a damaged soul. We were drinking and partying way too much. Things got dark and spiralled out of control. Even the counselling I’d gone through several years earlier wasn’t enough to bring me to my senses. It all came to a head in early 2006 while we were living in Asia. We split up and returned home separately. I will definitely write more on this topic another time. For now I’d just like to set the scene.

I started working as the assistant to the Owner/Director of a group of small recruitment companies and my ex-boss made Meryl Streep look tame in The Devil Wears Prada. He would come in to work the day after watching The Apprentice and re-enact the firing Lord Al had carried out the night before. He was a nasty piece of work, but if you were on his good side then he looked after you and treated you well. I was on his good side for months, and along with a small number of others became part of his inner circle. He dangled the carrot of a six figure salary and I worked my butt off to try and achieve it. It never happened of course, doubt it ever does, but when you’ve had an upbringing like mine you can only dream of earning that type of cash.

Things turned sour between us towards the end of the year and it all kicked off on a trip to Reykjavik. No expense spared weekends away with work colleagues were par for the course. They were the boom days after all, when people had more money than sense. We were all out drinking and I happened to disagree with something he said. He didn’t take kindly to people disagreeing, which I knew, but being hammered didn’t have the good sense to filter my comments. Looking back he did me a massive favour, but at the time I wanted the ground to open and swallow me whole.

It was the morning after this occurred that I hit what alcoholics and drug addicts call rock bottom. Alone in a hotel room in a strange country not knowing how I got to bed, feeling the full effects of the 48 hour bender I had been on. I looked in the mirror and told myself it had to end. No more booze. No more partying. No more getting myself into ridiculous situations. I suppose this was my sliding doors moment, carry on as is or change my wicked ways. I chose to change and break the cycle of dysfunction I had been engrossed in all my life. Needless to say it was the hardest thing I have ever done.

I didn’t have a drink in three months, after which I taught myself how to enjoy a glass of wine and say no to a second. This was something I had never been able to do before. I realised I had thrown my relationship away and that my hubby was the best thing that had ever happened to me. Fortunately he took me back. I am still amazed that he forgave me and has never held a grudge for all I put him through.

As I enter my third pregnancy it has been occurring to me how fortunate I am to have the life I do. Each and every day I thank my lucky stars, and I never take the small stuff for granted. Had my sliding doors moment gone the other way things would have been very different.

The importance of dealing with your demons

It may sound crazy but at 34 I’m grateful for the ‘colourful life’ I’ve had. All the horrendous experiences in my earlier days have made me the person I am and if I had my time over I honestly wouldn’t change a single thing. Unsurprisingly this hasn’t always been the case. The counselling I went through in my early twenties plays a huge part in my ability to function and be normal right now. Without it I’m pretty sure I would still have my family in my life taking me for a ride on a daily basis. I’d more than likely still not have any self respect. And I probably wouldn’t be married to my darling hubby.

I was very fortunate to find a good counsellor at a time in my life where I desperately needed guidance. Nina and I instantly clicked and over the next few years she taught me to love myself. Not in a wishy washy American TV show type way, but she genuinely changed the way I viewed myself and made me realise that I deserved better than I was getting. I saw her frequently for about a year, then less so over the next few years as I was away travelling. Whenever I was in the UK I would make some to see Nina, and got so much out of our sessions I can’t even properly articulate it.

It was Nina that opened my eyes up to how much my mother and co. were taking me for granted. How I was playing the parent role and she was the lost child. In many respects it had always been this way, but after I left home I became a source of financial aid for her as well as emotional. In the first few months that I was seeing Nina I redefined the rules with my mother – taught her that it wasn’t okay to call me up at work and tell me some sob story that ended with me spending half an hour on the phone, then sending her money. That it wasn’t okay to expect me to come running to her rescue all the time. She didn’t like it one bit, but she didn’t have a choice and had to deal with it. Our relationship definitely changed for the better during this time, but other situations forced us apart in the end.

Don’t get me wrong I’ve had wobbly moments, and I didn’t come to terms with my drinking problem until a few years later (detailed post to follow) but ultimately I think Nina saved me. From my family. From my past. From myself. With her help I brought the skeletons out of the cupboard and into the open where they could be properly dealt with and ghosts laid to rest. I was able to accept my past and move forwards without glancing back the whole time. Needless to say most of my early sessions ended with me in floods of tears.

It has always baffled me that folk write off even the idea of seeing a counsellor due to the money. In my opinion mental health is the most important part of your well being. If you’re not happy then your world will not work properly. I shudder to think how damaged I would still be had I not met Nina. I know with certainty I’m only able to be the wife and mum I am today because I dealt with my past way before I started thinking about having a family of my own.

 

Why are new friends always a disappointment?

 

They say you’re lucky if you have two or three really good friends. Ones you’ll be taking to the grave. Friends that know every detail of your life and would never judge you for any of it. I have eight, which makes me incredibly fortunate. They’re an eclectic bunch that I’ve accumulated over the years. They have each shared important parts of my life; one is the best friend I made throughout school years, three are ex-colleagues, three ex-flatmates and one I met sitting on the stairs at a party.

From an early age I knew I couldn’t rely on my family, so I have always taken friendship more seriously than most. Once I knew who the keepers were I cultivated those relationships and have done my utmost to always be there in their hours of need. I’m not going to lie, it hasn’t been plain sailing. There have been times when distance was needed and periods of not speaking with most of my besties for one reason or another. We always come back to each other though. These eight people are all amazingly remarkable, and each of them have a place in my heart that is so special words alone could not do them justice.

Over the years, I have made hundreds of new ‘friends’. Some were in my life for a while, until the chemistry fizzled out and I made peace quite quickly with the situation, probably always knowing they weren’t going to stick around for long. Others have been people I genuinely considered to be on my page but later discovered they weren’t. These situations always hurt like hell. I’m going through this at the moment with a lady I’ve known for a few years. We were inseparable at one point, and I thought I’d be adding her to my take-to-the-grave list. Something changed between us (no idea what!) and during the course of this year she has become more and more distant. Her priorities have changed. She is moving in circles I’ll never frequent. She’s engrossed in a life she told me she didn’t want. I feel sad for the demise of our friendship but even sadder for her.

I must hold on to the saying that ‘people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime’. I now know which box to put her in, but it still feels a shame that it isn’t the one I thought it would be this time last year.

Coming round to the idea

Although it was a massive shock when I peed on that stick last weekend, it didn’t take long to get used to the idea of becoming a party of five. Rather than get caught up in the potential negatives, I’ve been thinking of all the things that are great about having another baby.

– he or she will born in Feb 2014, the month that also marks mine and hubby’s ten year anniversary of meeting. Pretty special!

– our 16 month old can come out of nursery as soon as I go on mat leave, and not have to go back until she is three. Our nursery only has two rooms: under threes and over threes. Unfortunately the little ones often outgrow the under three room before they are allowed to go into the over three room. We kept our 4yo at nursery one day a week when she was this age and she didn’t particularly enjoy it. I’ve always said if I had my time again I would have pulled her out when I went on mat leave and now I get to do just that

– we were thinking of getting the girls bunk beds and moving them into the same room anyway. Now we can make bunk beds their christmas present and get them excited about the prospect

– although an exact two year age gap might not be ideal in some respects, I think my little one will cope better with having a younger sibling than my big one did at 2y7m

– a few of my other friends have just had their third baby so I will not be alone in the three kid club

– I get to go on mat leave again and have a year off work 🙂

Can you relate to this? I’d love to know what your first thoughts were on discovering a not entirely planned addition to the family…

 

The day I left home

The day I left home started badly. With a punch in the face and almost broken nose to be exact.

One of the many lies I was told throughout my childhood was that my half brother and sister’s father was mine as well. Growing up I just felt there was something amiss, that he didn’t love me quite as much. When I was about 12 I confronted my parents about it and was told a pack of fibs. They said he wasn’t on my birth certificate because he was in prison when I was born. Of course he loved me just as much as the others, what a silly girl I was.

They had an on again off again relationship, he would flit in and out of our lives often going AWOL for big chunks of time. He was an alcoholic and emotional bully but he never (usually) raised his fists. He had an horrendous childhood, was the victim of so much abuse himself it really isn’t any wonder he is who he is. Maybe some day I’ll write a post about the terrible things he went through.

To paint you a picture of that time I was 15, and not enjoying myself. We had recently returned to the UK from living abroad for over a year where they start school later than us Brits. This meant I was repeating things I had already done when we were there and ended up really behind when we got home. It was my eighth school (four primary, four senior) and although I was a fairly bright kid all the moving had taken its toll on my education. I was also being bullied but more on that another time.

He had recently lost his job and was feeling the strain of not working, this meant he was drinking even more in the evenings and was in a vile mood in the mornings. The morning I left home started like any other school day, everyone getting ready and rushing around. We had been arguing about something or other and I called him a fat slob. Admittedly I shouldn’t have done, but before I had time to apologise and realise what was happening he leapt out of his chair and punched me in the face. I had so much blood on my white shirt it looked as if I’d been shot.

After a very emotional day I told my mother she had two options: drive me to London to stay with relatives and still have a daughter or try and make me stay and I’d leave anyway. It wasn’t much of a choice, we left for London that evening.

He said I’d be pregnant and living in a council flat by the time I was 18, I got great satisfaction out of proving him wrong. I can’t imagine she thought it was possible to end up losing me later down the track, and have no-one to blame but herself.

Shortly after this incident they split for good, and she told me the truth. He wasn’t my father after all. She put me in touch with my biological dad, who is currently the only family member I have in my life. It’s a shame his wife doesn’t know I exist but more about that another time.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how important it is to be open and honest with your nearest and dearest. Everything I’ve been through goes to show that secrets and lies cause nothing but heartache and drive families apart.

PoCoLo

All original content on these pages is fingerprinted and certified by Digiprove