Again I come to talk, to share, because it's always been my way. Writing was my first language. It will probably be my last! Writing about personal experiences was how I was originally published in 1984 when I became the first woman in the UK to write about living as a battered wife on a day-to-day basis (writing under Janine Turner). Now writing comes as a natural release, words spilling onto a virgin page waiting to stem the tide of emotion that otherwise threatens to engulf me, carrying me on to the very edge of despair.
There's a saying: 'I stare into the abyss, and the abyss stares back at me'. I know that place well, filled with such darkness and pain. It's an awful hell to be and exactly where I am right now, existing on a moment-by-moment basis. Not knowing what even tomorrow might bring.
Disability. Abuse. Love. Betrayal. Secrets. Lies. Words which speak of a good thriller. Always one the hunter, the other a victim. And the prize? In this case, it turns out to be an 'Italian Job'. No, not the film ... but a lady! If you're keeping up with the plot so far, I was left by my husband and in the cruelest way ... finding out through an email he sent me four weeks ago today, Sunday. It was all my fault, of course, I was to blame, turning the screws on an already intolerable situation. It's the oldest trick in the book - making the victim believe she/he is the one to blame. Guilt-ridden thoughts unbidden ride the tsunami of emotion, blocking the truth, filling her mind with questions about what she did that was so wrong.
Even this morning, four weeks to the day, my husband remains in denial. Another text: '... I am truly sorry about what happened, but every time I came home it was just more of the same old ... and I was getting depressed about it.' What does he expect - an apology, or a medal! And the one day in the week we actually got to spend together because he was working in London, couldn't he at least have tried to make it special ... take me out for a meal, spend the day somewhere, go out on the town to the Theatre followed by a meal, flowers ... chocolates ... treats? Since being accepted for the contract in London in March, London became his home more and more, to the extent that he was there except for Saturdays which he spent with me, his wife, waiting at home in the north. I became his 'Lady in Waiting' ... waiting, waiting, always waiting until he had time for me, feeling more like something he picked up and put down at will, with seemingly no feelings of my own.
But now, finally I know the truth. It makes sense of everything that has gone before. He told me himself, so it has to be true. Early this year he met an Italian lady in London and is even considering going to Italy with her for the future, making it his home. Quite how or where he met her I have no idea ... on the internet? Always a possibility. But despite all his protestations ... there IS another woman involved in this affair! His growing unsettlement, depression and subsequent abandonment of the little village in the north where we lived together as husband and wife, had no value to him any more when London, the City, beckoned, together with a new woman to boost his aging self.
Does this sound bitter?
Do I have a right to be bitter ... resentful even ... especially as, because of London and this woman, he has relinquished all responsibility to me, his wife, who gave everything to support him, especially during our beginnings when he was out of work. He owes me BIG TIME!
All I want for myself right now in practical terms is the right to manage my home, my life, without the threat of losing it because he continues to be in control, holding the purse strings, as well as having directed all the bills of this house to remain in his name at his new abode.
Emotionally, I am broken.
There are days I don't want to live.
I've had enough.
This is the third time someone has walked away ... the first I was married to for eleven years and he totally disappeared off the face of the earth leaving me with a young child. He left for another woman and we lost everything, our home included. The second man I was with I never married, but years on, he went out and never returned ... leaving for a younger woman in London.
What is it about London?
Are its streets really paved with gold?
I even suggested to my present husband that if London was to be his place of work for the next few years, perhaps we should move down there, to be closer, to revive our ailing quality time together. It seems it was the suggestion that started this whole scenario. Or rather, was it his fear that I would 'jump on a train' and go to London to somehow find him with this new woman ... 'The Italian Job'?
Sounds plausible and more than likely, hence the hurried email, followed by a text three weeks on, saying he wants his freedom and a divorce. So much simpler to say 'I'm divorced', than owning to being separated and still married, don't you think?!?
I can't switch off Love. But slowly, he's nibbling it away, bit by painful bit, by his actions .. the things he says and does, the secrets, the lies, the deliberate confusing trail he lays to hide the truth, and continuous denial, playing the 'blame game'. I gave myself to this man completely in trust, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, until death do us part ... I meant every word, every emotion. Now he is a stranger to me. Gretna Green where we married almost two years ago; a far distant memory. Our only holiday in over five years at La Rochelle where we spent our honeymoon; the kind of picture painting I've had to bury along with the rest of our happy memories shared, each too painful to remember.
I am left with the phrase: 'Second second second-hand Rose' and the feeling I'm not worth anything at all. I don't know who I am, never mind how to be, what to say, what to do with the agony of betrayal. I just want to do the right thing ... FOR ME! I can't be a victim any more!! But what does that mean for the future?
This is me being honest and open with the world. It isn't by any means a case of the 'poor me's', but rather a reality check. I forget the last time I found laughter and love, wide open arms embracing me, a face to trust, an evening dressed for a special occasion. Some people find it easy to simply walk away and build a new life without looking back, no thought for what they're leaving behind. It doesn't matter to them who they crucify in the process.
Next time, to prove this isn't simply the ramblings of a hurt and betrayed woman, I will share the blessings which have come because of it ... sparkling stars, treasures spilling into an otherwise ocean of darkness.
Dear world, keep smiling back at me offering Hope. Never forget to tell those who wait for you at home that you love them. Never take them for granted. One day, you may find the words coming out of your mouth are your last ... so make them special ... always.