I want to warn you up front that this was supposed to be a post where I open up about my life. This writing is long overdue on my part as I had a feeling that I haven't taken the time for this in a very long time. The vibration that I feel in every cell in my body, the knowledge that writing is the only way to heal my traumas, is now too big to ignore. It's been bothering me ever since I got triggered by a tv show and got thrown back in time. I ended up writing much more than I intended, it turned out a very long read. You may find out some things you didn't know about me or you may discover that you already knew some things after all. I'm not writing this for anyone else but myself, as it's my life, and my medicine is writing.
~@ThisIsMyLife, December 2021
The things a TV show can trigger
Sometimes I browse Netflix to find a new tv show to watch and accidentally discover a show or movie that comes so close to my own life experiences, that it feels as if (part of) the story is about me. I was just looking for something with a few episodes to kill the time for when I'm bored or not inspired to do anything else. What I found this time was a tv show that kicked me back in time and got every cell in my body vibrating. It doesn't happen too often that I have the feeling that I need to write, and I need to do it now. Usually, I write because I feel inspired in some way, but I don't feel this intense as I did now.
The show that triggered this feeling was the tv show "Maid" on Netflix. From the first episode, moments from the past flashed through my mind, I instantly felt empathic for the main character in the show, who tried to keep her daughter safe after an incident at home with her boyfriend (the child's father). I was her once, I walked in her shoes, and although my story is different in many ways, yet we also have so many similarities and are so much alike. I wasn't planning on writing a review on the tv show in this post, if you are curious, please go and watch the show yourself.
Writing is the medicine that's always available
Ever since I have been exposed to severe traumas, writing became my medicine. While writing, I usually get very emotional, like a heavyweight is slowly falling off my shoulders. Sometimes it would make me so emotional that I would cry for days. But the relief is always there at some point, that's when I can breathe again and know part of the hurt has been washed away by my tears.
When this young mother in the tv show arrives at the domestic abuse shelter with her three-year-old girl, the lady from the shelter is waiting for her and first says: "You can breathe now, breathe baby girl." Seeing this, I remember how scared I felt arriving at a women's shelter years ago with two children under 4, to comfort and not knowing what was ahead of us.
Constant survival mode
I felt so scared and I was in constant survival mode. I see that in her too, totally blown away by what's happening to her after she leaves the house in the middle of the night. Only trying to stay safe, because her partner has a bad drunk and gets violent. He wasn't directly beating her (yet) but punched a hole in the wall right next to her head. Later on, she had to scrape out the glass out of her daughter's hair. She felt unsafe, and I get it. On top of that, if at some point one person is living in fear, while the other is in control, you can't speak of a healthy relationship anymore. Therefore I only applaud her for trying to get out of the situation. It was also agreed by many that when I walked in her shoes, I should leave the house immediately as the house wasn't a safe place anymore. I can see that now, it hadn't been a safe place for a long time by the time I was brave enough to step up and leave.
My inner circle all agreed
They all said that I had to leave the father of my kids when he beat me up pretty bad. I could barely walk that's how much he had beaten and kicked my leg that night. But I think the emotional abuse and control he had been doing to me was the worst thing for me personally. I was scared to death from that moment. It was a toxic and unsafe environment for me and the children. My two lovely kids, those that I had (until then) taken care of mostly by myself because daddy dear was too busy partying, drinking and cheating. He even wanted me to get an abortion when the second was on the way after we both chose to try if we could give our daughter a sibling. That pregnancy was a choice we made together. The day that I told him I was pregnant, it was bad timing as he was about to tell me that we should postpone that plan. He already had a new girlfriend at that time, so I found out later. Only a few weeks later, he even told me that he didn't want to get the parental rights of our second child either. He already had parental rights of our firstborn, our daughter.
The abuse was a returning pattern
The abuse wasn't an incident at all, it was just that I didn't feel comfortable sharing it with others until the last time that it happened. When he beat me up again after other occasions, like when I was pregnant with our daughter and he threw me on the bed trying to choke me, I was alarmed, but still kept believing that there was something good in him. My best friend back then warned me many times, be careful with him, he will not change. I wish I listened to her, her father even offered me a free place to stay in his house where he never was until I got everything sorted out. That was probably the dumbest idea to decline his help. I was blind, blindly believing that we could be a "happily-ever-after-family". It wasn't until that Thursday night when things truly got out of hand that I saw the light and knew, it had to end here and it was going to end NOW. I wasn't going to be able to feel safe in the house anymore with him around, and I had to take action to change the situation. He sure wasn't going to change, that was clear now, so I had to change the things that I was in control of, namely, the change of environment.
I recorded the complete fight
I was warned by his phone call that hours before he arrived home that he'd be on a warpath that night, and when he arrived home, I made sure my phone was recording everything for several hours. He kept shouting and humiliating me and was on a killing spree. I can still recall all the things that he said that night, that's how big the impact was of his explosive behaviour that night. He spat it all out, and probably more than he intended to because that night he gave away clues that would help me figure out some parts of the puzzle that was a complete mystery at some point. I just didn't get it, could not wrap my head around the what, how and why that was happening constantly coming from his corner.
This wasn't going to end well
The moment that he told me that I already lost the children and that I had no idea who I was dealing with, he said several times that already had the children. Coming from a father that was barely there to raise them that sounded like a joke to me the first few times he said it. But then I saw the look in his eyes, this was no joke, although, for a few moments, I took it as one. He made it very clear to me using body language that he meant business. I was shaking constantly and he made me sleep on the couch with my baby that just turned 1, as he wouldn't allow me in the bed. My poor baby boy was crying the complete night, he felt my fear and when I went upstairs to get his pacifier from the bedroom, he pulled my boy out of my arms and pushed me out, closing the door in front of me.
I knew this had to end. I was so relieved when the next morning arrived and he finally left to work. I could now start thinking about a game plan as I had been on high alert constantly until he left. I asked for advice from several people, everyone said the same thing: "call a women's shelter, you are a mother, they will help you." I can still hear the words flash through my head. It all seemed like solid advice to me, and what other options did I have left at that point anyway?
The events that followed have been traumatizing
I have felt left behind by the social workers many times when they said they had my back, and saw that I wasn't like the average girl there. Not to be cocky, but it was the truth, I was nothing like 99% of these girls and women there. Most of them were already numb and could not even find any strength anymore but to comply with the situation they found themselves in. I did not give up on my dreams and was determined to prove everyone wrong. At first, it truly felt they were there for us and had the best interest of the children at heart. Like they should, working in a women's shelter, so you'd think. It was my new boyfriend (the one that's still by my side today) that opened my eyes,. It took way too long before the glasses I had on were shattered.
I lost control & woke up on a rollercoaster of madness
It was already too late, behind the scenes and without my knowledge, things had already been set into motion and I had no power to stop it anymore. I had no idea what would hit me soon, and I was definitely not prepared for it either. I can safely say that many people would commit suicide for less traumatic events. And yes, I've been there as well, thinking that this was the only option I had left. I can now totally see how people that dealt with an abusive partner like that would end up in a mental institution, or lose everything they have and never be able to crawl up again because on paper you have everything against you. That's what hurt me a lot, having all the evidence that this was his thing, projecting things on me which were actually his actions, and nobody that even cared to check the evidence.
And yet, I was one of the lucky ones, that's incredibly painful to say as it has cost me everything I loved, years of my life and my dignity (not even counting my belongings or home), but at least I got out because I had a partner beside me that always had my back and kept believing in me where I already lost faith in humanity, myself included. I realize all too well, that many of us aren't that lucky.
I was on my own
It was like a huge domino effect, I could not stop it anymore. At some point, we (my boyfriend and I) were going to be evicted because we were left without financial assistance (that we were actually entitled to) and I had to make one of the most impossible decisions ever. I could either hand over the children voluntarily to the father's side of the family (mine was left out due to his interference I discovered once the damage was done) or CPS (Child Protective Services) would just take them from me with a court order.
As a loving mom who knows what kind of a beast their father is, it was too much to hand them over to him, so CPS thought of this middle ground: his mom. At the time, I still had trust in her best intentions, so I agreed. It was a game well played. They (he & his new girlfriend) both sat there with a smug, telling them that they agree that the children need to grow up with their mother. They even promised me that as soon as I would have a new house, I'd be getting them back. This was all in agreement and temporarily, I should have known better. Heck, I was even going to see my son during the school hours of my daughter so that I could take care of him instead of a babysitter or other family members, as he was still so young. These were all lies.
The fact that CPS just told me that this was a matter between the father and me (not with them!) and they wouldn't interfere in this matter, was such a shock that I knew I was on my own. How could they advertise having the children's best interest at heart? How could they sleep at night? Every contact person that I was dealing with that year refrained from listening to my side. I was already judged by the picture my ex painted of me long before I spoke to them. They already followed the previous person's report blindly, and so did the next one, and so on.
At some point, I had to regain control of my life
I had continuously witnessed things falling apart, one by one, ending up from one court hearing to the other. Meeting after meeting with the same bullshit where I was never actually heard but always intimidated by the guy that beat me up and had planned to ruin our lives all along. So if you can't beat any of them anymore, how long will you keep going down that black hole? I already knew where this was going to end, and so I decided at one point, I had to regain control. At first, when it hit me that I had to leave, I wasn't even able to convince myself, let alone others. I kept crying my eyes out and was a hot mess. I felt so weak and ashamed, how would my children feel when I would leave? Even when they weren't allowed to see me for many months now. How would they feel when they'd grow up?
The truth kept hidden
And then it hit me, how do they feel knowing that I'm here and never see or speak to them? He would never tell them the real story anyway as he could not lose face. He'd been lying things together for many years now, he was a pro. They'd never know that he was the one blocking every contact and that nobody bothered to do anything about it to fix this for the sake of the children. The few phone calls we could have long before this moment of realisation, he made sure to make both my children very uncomfortable so that all three of us felt so bad that we all knew we could not freely speak. He also made sure they were distracted at the time I was supposed to call them, it was very painful and afterwards, I could not stop crying that he could not even give me that 15 minutes on the phone with them.
Mandatory lies or punishment by CPS
What would you say when your child asks you why you aren't there during a 15-minute phone call you were so looking forward to as that was the only contact allowed by the father. It became harder and harder to make up reasons and most importantly to not point any fingers at the person that was the actual reason for the situation. I hated lying to the children, but if I was honest or pointed even so much as one finger at the father, they'd punish me for it. I could not think of something that wasn't a lie but also not the truth and make it sound convincing, my daughter was too smart to believe that anyway. It went against all my instincts to keep doing this and it was eating me alive. Now I didn't only feel the fear, anger and guilt for the whole situation that I should have handled differently (taking matters into my own hands instead of the shelter) but also got eaten by guilt for lying to my children about the reason that I was absent. Why would I have to go through hell and back constantly and on top of that also lie to my children? It didn't sit well with me, at all.
A living nightmare
After all, it was all happening for real. Why weren't they demanding him to act like a normal parent and allow us to speak freely instead of making it even harder on us? I had no trust left in the system, these CPS workers, social workers, all judged me by reading the files, that were filled with lies thanks to his preparation. I discovered later how bad it actually was when I asked for insight into the files. They never even gave me the chance to prove that I was speaking the truth instead of him.
He stole our rent money 3 weeks after I gave birth
I decided to give it one last shot after my ex managed to get access to our daughter's bank account, which he never had before. Apparently, he gained access months before this happened, the bank never notified me about this. I had been in the office 6 months before this happened, asking if there was a way he could access this account because I had a feeling this could one day be an issue. The bank told me that he couldn't, assuring me it was safe to use the account as a backup. Every month, I moved our funds for the rent etc to that account, in case another debt collector would block the account's funds for a while, I wanted to avoid not being able to pay the bills, you see. I had learned the hard way that this can happen any day if you have debts. With a newborn, I could not risk this from happening. And then it happened, my second daughter was born (father is my current boyfriend) and when she was just 3 weeks old, my ex emptied the full account with a note saying his first and last name. He took proud of what he did, knowing that a family with a newborn would now have a huge problem and get behind on rent.
Thankfully, my youngest was breastfed and I didn't need formula for her. But those diapers don't come for free either. On top of that, I needed to eat to be able to breastfeed her as well. The sick thought of him enjoying doing this to us showed me what kind of wood he's made of. What kind of father does this to the mother of his children if he isn't having any malicious intentions but is a loving father with the children's best interest at heart? I let you decide on that for yourself.
I went to the police to report this
Although I very well knew that they'd probably say "too bad, your loss" and do nothing about it, I decided to report it anyway, for the sake of documentation. When we went there, I was still sitting in a wheelchair, because for 3,5 weeks after the c-section I could not stand up straight. I was pushed by my boyfriend with our daughter in a carrier, I found a lady at the desk that saw through the report I was filing there. She was the very first police officer that I encountered who actually looked beyond what was reported and connected some of the dots. I broke there on the spot, I had hope again. The weeks after, I spent more than fifty hours reporting many events at the police station, at our home and delivering evidence of what was being done to us. It was very emotional, the police officer even gave me her private number, in case something happened. She also sent surveillance during the weekends at night. I truly felt this was finally going towards a changing point, if not endpoint when she explained to me that this was a very big and complicated stalking case she was building against him. She also mentioned that this case was the first one she actually took home with her and could not let go. It was hard for her to see how this was affecting me, I can still remember that all this made me feel a tiny bit safe again. Knowing that soon, this would come to an end and justice would be served.
The green light
The moment that she texted me that this was going to end soon, that there was a warrant to arrest him the following Monday, I will never forget. I thought this is going to change everything. Until Monday arrived, and we were never able to speak to her again. Not once. Not by text, not by email, not at the police station, as if she was a ghost. Until this day, I still have the paper with me where she explains in an official letter for social workers involved at the time, that we are working on a big stalking case so that I had something to show them when I said we're reporting things. She knew that we had all odds against us and she noticed how badly our characters were painted in all files. This was her way of making sure that the current social workers would not take action or not listen to our story when we'd say something big is coming, but we can't speak about it yet. This would stop them from bothering me for a bit so that I could focus on this case we were building.
It was emotionally very hard for me to live my life while having to dig into all the evidence again. When this all ended without knowing what happened, I lost my faith in the police forever. Who was going to protect me when they'd break into our place again? Bullets were placed there and the evidence (the real bullets) were brought to the police station so I didn't have them anymore. Who was going to protect our baby when they'd spike her meds again leaving her in extreme pains. Because yes, that's how far this went. How could I stay there, in this environment while the police didn't have our back either? I knew this was a sign of him showing me that his contacts reach as high as the police ranks where they are able to kill a case. He warned me about that btw, that Thursday night I recorded, he said "I know people as high in ranks as you'll never even know." I never doubted he was behind this, he was alarmed about the case, and he made sure he'd stop it.
The final blow
Weeks later, a very disturbing email arrived in my inbox. It came from the new social worker from CPS. He introduced himself to me and said he was at the court hearing yesterday where my ex filed full custody of our children. Mind you, I never received any document about this hearing from anyone. CPS hid behind the fact that they didn't have my address, while I have written proof they did and they had even visited me at home a few times as well. So there it was: the final blow. My ex got full custody as I wasn't even there to defend myself. That moment when I read that email, I collapsed. I remember feeling like the world had been swept from under my feet and I thought I could never ever overcome this pain. I truly could not believe the many fuck ups that happened (pardon my words) and that this was the country that was supposed to be one of great wealth and with a good social system for their citizens. After the message had sunk in, I had some meetings with that guy over the phone and a few in real life, but the message was very clear this wasn't going to be changed anytime soon and the unbelievable feeling of not having support from any of the people that had the power to change the situation for the children was not one I could overcome anymore. This was the last thing I could handle.
Here's when I started to put a plan into motion to leave the country as soon as possible.
We left a few weeks later
I planned everything knowing what day we'd receive our monthly payment and made sure to immediately book the flights that I picked on a certain date. It was very stressful and I remember us leaving late in the evening all stressed and agitated towards each other, packing like a madman, hoping to not forget anything valuable. We took just a few suitcases and a stroller with us. In my fear of being stopped on the way to the station, I eventually forgot some very important items that were emotionally attaching me to my children, and that still hurts me when I mention it. I have the memories left, but it's just not the same. I can't change that, so I have to live with it.
Just like the fact that I have to live with leaving them behind. Being left with no choice, if I ever wanted to get detached from his control about my life. If it were only my fears and emotions that I had to deal with, I would have not given this any thought. But him showing off his connections in the CPS world, police officers, judges made me believe that I didn't have a chance to get back my life and ever be happy again. I was a shade of myself, I knew that I would have to find back the best version of myself before I could ever be ready to stand in front of him again and fight without being fed with fear for what actions would follow by him towards me for stepping up against him.
After several years of being controlled, harassed, stalked, threatened to death, being beaten up several times, being emotionally abused and seeing my children being mind-controlled, it was time to let go. The moment the plane was in the air was the moment I felt free again. Although still left with a huge trauma, I knew this was the first day of the rest of our lives.
This was the moment we could start working on ourselves in peace, while figuring out what we would do with our lives, without living in fear of what was going to happen next. We regained control of our lives the moment we set foot in that new country. I remember that everything there looked beautiful, I felt welcome and like a huge weight had fallen off my shoulders. Although I knew hard times would knock around the corner soon, I also felt proud for being brave enough to step up and say "no more". There were no normal options left, we already walked these paths one by one, some of them repeatedly, without any success. I knew that this was what I needed to do to become the best version of myself again. Even though this had come with a great burden of guilt inside, I knew that this was the only way to move forward from these traumas without causing more hurt to the children and ourselves.
If you made it this far
Congrats, you have managed to read almost 5000 words of my story if you are reading this part. I thank you for sticking to the end and taking the time to read this even though the story is tough and not your average light read you would normally pick for some relaxation. I have tried to write it without getting too emotional but still hoping to display the feelings that I've had along the way and that no decision was taken lightly. Yes, I still feel that I have to explain myself for the decision I took, as it goes against all feelings of a mother heart. Every parent will understand those words.
We may have met before!
It's possible that you recognize this story from before, if you did, you may already have figured out that I've been a member on Steemit since 2017, but at some point disappeared from the radar when we already moved to Hive. I want to refrain from putting that name out there, if you recognize me you are welcome to reach out by DM on discord, maybe I will confirm your suspicion of what my old account was. I do want to ask you kindly to not mention that in a comment here because there's a reason that I disappeared from the radar for a longer time and I don't want history to repeat itself now that I've managed to build up my account from the ground again after abandoning the other where I did have quite the following already.
With that being said, I do want to apologise to some people that may have wondered what happened or those that feel that I should have had a different approach. Only a handful of people know that I did this, and I want to thank you for keeping this to yourselves. You should know that I stand by my reasons to do this, and I've already seen confirmation that it was the best decision that I could have made even though my own boyfriend told me I was crazy to start over. I wanted to prove to myself that I would not be let by fear again and take matters into my own hands. I did what I felt was best, and it worked out.
I want to leave this already long read for what it is, and share that story another day as I believe it could be a nice motivational story that you can always start over. This post is one that I could share with my children one day, so I will refrain from going into more detail about my reasons for starting over in this blog.
Thank you word
I'm very pleased that I found back some connections from my previous Steemit/Hive life already, but as I feel so much love and support constantly coming from many angles, I do want to tag some of the people that have changed my life in many ways. If you are listed, you were either an inspiration, a friend, someone to have a laugh with when I needed it so much, someone that pulled me up when I was down, supporting me with upvotes so that I felt recognition and motivation to keep sharing my stories, etc. Some of you have supported me from day one and don't even know I'm the same person. Thank you with all my heart for being part of this life-changing journey so far. In no particular order:
@canadian-coconut @misslasvegas @ocdb @ocd @acidyo @hiddenblade @ecotrain @samstonehill @bluemist @appreciator @curangel @galenkp @familyprotection @curie @qurator @starkerz @theycallmedan @dj123 @idikuci @amirtheawesome1 @diebitch @comedyopenmic @karinxxl @neoxian @bdcommunity @vincentnijman @eco-alex @ackhoo @hetty-rowan @axeman @trucklife-family @ecency @trafalgar @rocky1 @smartsteem @smartvote @leo.voter @onealfa @taskmaster4450 @blocktrades @nathanmars @trumpman @sharkthelion @anomadsoul @minismallholding @naturalmedicine @riverflows @homeedders @tribesteemup @abundance.tribe @steemmonsters @flauwy @jacey.boldart @monster-curator @foodiesunite @creativemary @arrliinn and last, but defo not least @beautifulwreck :)
I forgot many of you, I'm sorry, please don't take it personally as this was a very emotional piece to write for me. I'm glad I got this off my chest today and hoping to renew some of the lost connections from the past, as I missed a bunch of you dearly! If you're curious about what made me stay hidden for so long, stay tuned, I will share that another day!
Trust me when I say that without any of you, I wouldn't be where I am today! Each and every one of you made an impact and changed something in my life for the better. Whatever that may have been.
Thank you for your time, it's highly appreciated <3
If you want to connect, you can give me a follow on my socials. For inquiries, you can send me a direct message on Discord.
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