This is likely to be the hardest and longest blog I’ve written to date! This is a story, a real story of my journey from being a shattered version of myself, to the strong, determined and confident woman I am today. I have spoken briefly of the things I have been through in my life, a little at a time, as I have become more at peace with the past and the person I’ve become.
Most of my friends had had boyfriends long before I ever did, I was bubbly, but very shy when it came to talking to boys and I didn’t really have the confidence in myself and the way I looked either, I had been bullied throughout childhood for having afro hair, finding pencils and all sorts hidden in it, you can imagine what that does to a child’s esteem. I was always very overly critical of myself, my hair, my non-existent chest, the list could really go on! I had one boyfriend before I met who I thought was the love of my life, I was so naïve when it came to boys, I really didn’t have a clue. The one thing I did know with a certainty, was that I would NEVER! let any boy treat me badly, the way I had seen others treated growing up, or so I told myself at the time.
I met someone who just swept me off my feet and knocked me on my butt, he was fun, outgoing and had that bad boy persona young girls find cute, I really wish I could go back and slap my young self upside the head, it wasn’t cute, it was a warning of things to come, that I was just too young and too infatuated to see. All that mattered to me at the time was him, I was turning 18 and I finally felt I’d found my happiness, someone who actually liked me for me, it felt amazing. Mum took an instant dislike to him, which made me dig my heels in even more, typical stubborn teenager, turning up for our first date with cans of special brew in his pocket, really should have set alarm bells ringing, but no, I ignored that too.
The first 6 months were amazing, I felt like I was the luckiest girl in the world, that’s when the wheels started to come off, he lost his job, he started smoking more and more cannabis and when his money ran out, wanted me to pay for it, when I didn’t, well that’s when his true colours came out. For a while I just did it, I was so scared of losing him, being by myself again, even at such a young age, that I went against everything inside me, I hated drugs, even told him I couldn’t be with someone who had to depend on illegal substances, still I stayed, still I gave him money I was earning from my first job to get his weed. If it wasn’t drugs, it was booze, the very first time I said to him that I didn’t want to be in pubs all the time, was the first time he laid hands on me, it’s all happened so fast! He grabbed me by the collar of his winter coat I was wearing and shoved me back into the brick wall behind me, I hit the back of my neck and just froze! I was in the street, no one around and the boy I loved had changed into this angry, vile person. I remember shaking, sliding down the wall struggling to breathe, in the midst of what I now know was the start of panic attacks, all the while, he is shouting at me to get up, laughing at the state I was in, then he dragged me back up to my feet and suddenly he was that boy I cared so much about again, apologising, telling me how sorry he was, that it would never happen again!
I should have left then, in fact I said I was going to, but he had the charm and I didn’t leave, the abuse I suffered from him over the 4 years we were together, it was mostly mental and emotional torment, it was a while after that first time, that he ever put his hands on me again. Thankfully for me his mum was in the house, because still to this day I do not know what would have happened to me, had she not have dragged him off of me and taken me home, I used to think about the what ifs a lot, now I’m just grateful I’m happy and alive, for a while there, during those darks days, I really thought it would be easier to not be around anymore.
I stayed away from him for 6 months, I definitely wasn’t the girl I was before I met him, he had changed something in me, stole a part of me I could never get back and I let him, then I found some things that belonged to him and I stupidly called him and we got back together, only for the cycle to repeat. He called me names whenever I didn’t do what he wanted, buy his drugs, go with him to his dealers, I hated that side of his life and I no longer wanted to be involved in it. He would call me ugly, a slag, that I was damaged goods and no one would ever want me now I’m soiled, no one would love me the way he did and I stupidly believed him, once again I started to lose myself, I was isolated from family, always making excuses for his behaviour, I just sank deeper and deeper into myself and literally beat myself up mentally all the time, it was so dark and twisted, I thought I’d be trapped in that life forever, I literally felt like I was suffocating, trapped in this negative, volatile bubble!
I became someone I couldn’t even look at in the mirror anymore, weak, miserable, making stupid decisions, allowing someone to treat me so poorly, after all the times I promised myself it would never happen to me, I tore myself down everyday, just as he did to me! Finally I left and then a few month later found out I was pregnant with my beautiful, lifesaver baby, seriously! I can honestly say, if it hadn’t been for having my precious girl, I wouldn’t be here today, at least not as the woman I am now. Sadly though, I had broken enough promises to myself, about things I wouldn’t let happen, having a child grow up without a father was one I was not going to do, no matter how badly he treated me, I thought a baby would fix him, fix us, I was so wrong! Again!
For a while things were ok and he seemed to grow up, but like most things it really didn’t last, the last few months of my pregnancy I spent back and forth visiting my mum at weekends, she had been working in a pub in Watford and it was a long journey, even more so for a heavily pregnant woman. The arguments this caused with my daughters father were awful, he went through my phone, through my belongings, just to try find proof that I was sleeping with other men, whilst being the size of a house I may add. I remember finding something that proved he had lied to me and I was disgusted by him and I just wanted him gone and this led to him pinning me to the hallway wall by my throat and shoulder to try and stop me getting away from him. I was 8 months pregnant and the only thing I cared about in that moment, was my baby, I hit out at him and split his lip and finally got him to leave. I know I only did what I did to protect our baby, but I felt so angry at myself for letting him once again change who I was, I never lashed out like that, but I was scared for our baby. So I added that on top of the ever growing list of reasons to loathe myself. A few days before I gave birth, he was erratic and paranoid and it was clear he was on something again, after promising not to anymore, I had never felt more let down than in that moment, but I was due to give birth any day and I was young, frightened and tired!
Once I had our daughter, I really hoped she could change him, the way I’d failed to, I still clung on to the hope that he could be different, I didn’t understand that it wasn’t down to me to fix him, his behaviour was not on me, it was on him, he had to want to change, I had suffered for almost 4 years, but I now had this beautiful reason to be strong, even though he loved our daughter, he blamed her for changing everything, he would never see that he was at fault, not ever! The final straw for me came when our daughter was 2 weeks old and he was angry and demanding I hand her to him, I refused, she would sense how riled up he was and it would upset her and I didn’t want that, I went to walk away and he stuck his foot out to trip me up, with our daughter in my arms, I was done, in every way I was done!! I seriously didn’t care about all the things he did to me at the time, but in that moment, he could have hurt our baby and that is something I could never forgive and I finally got the courage to make him leave and it was over!!
I’d love to say that was the end of that, but I allowed him to mentally and verbally torment for 8 years, from calling me an unfit mother, to wishing I died of cancer slowly, I was so weak and didn’t love myself enough anymore to stop him, no matter who I had around me, it was down to me to cut off the power I’d given him over me. Without going into detail, as it’s not just my story to tell, something happened, it was something that gave me the fire and strength I needed to break away for good and cut all ties with him, This was my life, it lasted over 12 years before I finally fought back, the right way!
I never got help after going through all that and I should have done, but I am not someone who thinks about the what ifs anymore, I think about the now, life really is too short to get stuck in the past and allow the demons to haunt you forever. It took a very long time to get to this point and I never believed I would be whole again and although the emotional scars will always be there, I am strong enough now, thanks to my business, support and working on myself everyday with personal development to let it go, I am no longer broken, I no longer feel alone or ugly, I know my worth and you can too!
Final Thought… Personal development and my business gave me the support system I needed, to make positive changes in my life, I worked on myself from the inside out and I have never felt more at peace, more loved and more self loved, happiness starts within, we do not need validation from others to believe in ourselves and we should not allow our past to define us! People often judge others without ever having walked in their shoes, just think for a minute before you do judge someone on their past or their character, because you DON’T know their story, you have no idea what path they have walked, their sorrows, fears, doubts and heartache. Never judge a person by the chapter of their life you just walked in on, so much more came before that, there will always be stories, but that doesn’t make every one you hear true, you have no idea what they feel in their heart, show kindness and compassion, be the one that makes them laugh and smile again. Thank you for reading- Lisa xoxo