Warning: Life is not ‘Set in Stone’.

In June 2018 I will have lived in the capital city of Australia called Canberra for two years. I had grown up in Canberra since a five month old baby. Had completed school in Canberra, gotten married and had four of my five children. Back in 1997 we moved to Sydney followed with more relocations  which eventually had me living in Brisbane for 8 years. Canberra was a city I visited to spend time with my family.

Due to my visits to Canberra being fairly brief I never got a chance to see all the various suburbs to take much notice of all the changes that had happened in over 20 years.

20 Years is a long time!

The changes that I have noticed living back here in Canberra continue to amaze me.

The area I grew up in Canberra is called Belconnen. In Belconnen there is a shopping mall which I frequently walked through as I was heading to work as a young person brave enough to wear high heels every day!

I caught the bus from the suburb I grew up heading to the Belconnen Bus Interchange. The interchange looked like a big tunnel that was built high above the roads. I would walk that tunnel back and forth each day particularly when I worked in data entry as the office was at the other end of where the shopping mall was situated.

The tunnel was looking very old and worn over the years until it was eventually removed and the bus interchange had a major make over. It doesn’t look anything like it used too.

Then there are the suburbs that have grown dramatically filled with houses left, right and centre. Developers building and expanding the suburbs over the years  catering for the population growth.

Growth equals change.

Updates happen every day. Old buildings are pulled down and erected new. Roads are widened, highways are built. Even the playgrounds my kids enjoyed have been modernised. Speaking about modernised it was fairly recently that I was having an afternoon at Lake Burley Griffin. What surprised me was the public toilet!!! I felt as though I was walking into a space ship. It was so modern that you waved your hand over buttons to get things to turn on. As you walked in music started playing! I don’t know if there are other toilets like this around Canberra however a great example of how far things have come.

These changes we see around us are only a reflection of how much our lives change over time, nothing is ever ‘set in stone’.

Our children grow up and begin exploring the world creating their own families. We are constantly facing change and having to adapt to them.

The minute you settle thinking life couldn’t possibly change the smooth sailing lasts only a moment until something turns up to rock the boat!

Amidst these changes we must adapt to our new situations. Much the same way as the areas we live in are updated to adapt to the population growth or to being modernised, we will find ourselves having to change the way we have previously done things.

The person I was twenty years ago is not the same person I am today. A lot has changed. My circumstances have changed COMPLETELY.

When I was younger I didn’t give much thought to my decision making. I went with the flow, whatever felt right at the time. 20 years on I take my time and give a lot more thought to my decisions as experience has taught me that I’m best not to make decisions based solely on feelings. A good feeling doesn’t guarantee a good decision!

As a young person I ignored the facts and lived by my feelings. I have learnt to put my feelings aside and take a good hard look at the facts before I jump into anything too seriously. Feelings change however ‘facts’ don’t change.

My decision making process has evolved due to life lessons which have been my teacher. This is just one example of a personal change or rather a growth area of mine.

As life changes from moment to moment we need to change the way we do things. After all the various changes I have had over the years if I were to continue making decisions based on feelings as I did when I was younger I would find myself repeating the same mistakes.

As you get older you no longer have the energy to make the same mistakes. Mistakes are costly and we all make them. It is apart of the learning process of growing up.

We become smarter and wiser!

Much like old structures which over time start falling apart requiring a make over we too need a make over. If we think we can keep doing things the same way and never change or grow we will find ourselves stuck. You cant move forward when you are stuck.

There comes a time when you have to accept the facts!

If I were to continue living in the past remembering what it was like being a mum to five children wishing I was still there I would never move forward. The facts are that my children are no longer young. Four of them are adults. They don’t need me the same way they used to my level of care has changed. I’m here as a support whenever they need me!

BE encouraged, life will always be changing and you will find yourself needing to adapt and grow. Growth is good! Its healthy! Don’t stay stuck in the past as there is always something new and wonderful to look forward in the future.

At what point do you let go?

Agonising is the word that comes to mind when I relive that moment I was confronted with making a decision to stay or walk away. I had considered walking away several times before and was unable to commit to the process. It is a process to leave. The process often involves children and a good hard look at the finances.

On each occasion that I had considered walking away it was the thought of the children that had me stay.

I stayed in the relationship for the children. 

I was unable to comprehend how the children would cope with parents living apart, a family no longer one unit.

To leave involves taking into account finances. Finances were always an issue for me as I was a full-time mum for decades.

How does one leave a relationship with little to no finances of their own?

Children and finances locked me into the marriage equally as much as my commitment of ’till death do us part’.

When I nervously uttered the words, I do, on our wedding day, I was committed. I had made a pact with myself that I would never give up on marriage. I firmly held onto the idea that as adults we would communicate and resolve disputes or disagreements on every occasion and endeavour to maintain a healthy relationship to see us through right to the end.

“Healthy Relationship”.

A relationships foundation needs to be healthy from the start if it is to succeed all the difficult times. I was blind, unaware that I had committed myself to a very unhealthy relationship from the start.

I cant stress enough that some marriages or relationships are extremely harmful.

Harmful to you and everything you hold true.

You are not doing yourself any favours holding onto a person that chooses to hurt you. Holding on will lead to a life filled with contradictions, as you will be forced to neglect your needs and pretend your values aren’t important, all the while knowing deep in your core that something feels really wrong.

Abuse comes in several forms. Physical, verbal or emotional. It took me years to work out that I was living with emotional abuse.

I was in denial for years.

By nature I am a very compassionate and caring individual so to accept that I was married to someone who was emotionally abusing me was one of the hardest facts to face. The more I opened myself up to the truth, I started to realise I married this man out of sympathy. I cared about him as a person and felt sorry for how he had been raised. Each time he talked about his childhood I felt sad. I noticed that people often talked about him behind his back, and what they said was rarely positive. I thought I was helping him by loving him. I believed that if I loved this man enough he would change and others would learn to love him too. 

I was so wrong.

It didn’t seem possible that someone I trusted could mistreat me. I often excused his behaviour as a bad day he was having. Or perhaps I hadn’t been trying hard enough to be the wife I was destined to be. We grow up believing that significant people in our lives will protect and love us, sadly, this is not always the case. Some people are abusive.

Abuse is damage to your spirit, heart and mind.

As I struggled in denial, my heart and mind would exchange in conversation with each other. In desperation my heart would whisper statements of hope to my mind attempting to convince it into believing that one day this man would change and stop all the hurt/abuse. My mind would answer back pleading with my heart to wake up to all the mistreatment and hurt, begging me to leave. All my heart knew to do was give this man another chance to prove they had changed and did in fact love me.

I had these repeated conversations for 27 years.

How long should people keep trying?

How far do you allow damage to continue?

In the process of endless chances damage takes place. The heart shuts down. The individual has lost their voice. The person you once were is now lost.

In order to continue in an abusive relationship you master the ability to ignore your own cries for help. Forgotten are all the red flags that were waving at you from the very beginning signalling caution and yet here you are recognising that the same behaviours continue, nothing has changed.

Its as though you become a martyr.

You were not designed to be walked on, used, abused or treated as though your needs don’t matter. You may have held a long standing belief that you deserve bad treatment. It could be the bad treatment connects with a lie you’ve held onto about yourself for years, which has sold you a story, headlining; “your not valuable”, ” your unworthy” or “you don’t deserve anything better”.

The longer you ignore the mistreatment and hold onto the relationship the more broken and shattered you become. When feelings are ignored on a regular basis you become empty and numb, as its not safe to be yourself anymore. Slowly but surely you begin to shutdown. Anxiety becomes your best friend and you start living on high alert. The moment you think its ok to relax convinced the relationship is improving the cycle starts again. That is false hope, temporary pain relief. Good moments are short lived and outnumbered by the hurtful treatment that continues with no end in sight.

Should you choose to stay you will only arrive at this same place again and again.

It is heart breaking to accept and let go of the dream that your relationship will change.

From experience I can confidently say that if you are with a partner who has no intention of taking responsibility of their mistreatment of you, you have enlisted into a never-ending battle. You will find yourself empty, broken and desperate.

I also know how extremely difficult it is to let go.

It was the night I felt the least strong that I let go.

I couldn’t hold on anymore it was killing me.

Don’t keep fighting a one sided battle!

Excuses and denial can only go so far.

Don’t wait for the right time, there will never be a right time.

You should let go as soon as you have come out of denial and can accept you are in an abusive relationship.

Your health and safety should not come last, as soon as this is compromised its time to let go.

Each Page opens a new Chapter.

I love writing blogs however reading a book is another story.

My commitment level to reading a book to the end is a personal struggle unless it has to do with my studies. The general routine has me pick up a book with every intent to read it. It begins with enthusiasm as I get through the first few chapters only to find that I lose momentum.  Occasionally a  book can capture my attention that I cant put it down and manage to complete it, OF which I can proudly say that I have read a book from start to finish.

There are endless books to read!

Every book has in common its structure yet the content varies depending on the author and the type of story.

Life can reflect the structure of a book. Our lives have various chapters in different seasons. Within each chapter of our life we experience a variety of life changing moments. Our lives are forever changing. No season remains the same.

The difference between life and books is we cant jump ahead to the ending. We must continue with our story with all the unknowns ahead.

There were times I felt as though I was stuck in the worst chapter of my life. Hurt filled my world repeating itself in cycles. It was UP or it was DOWN.

I recall moments of feeling extremely overwhelmed in hurt and confusion that all I was capable of doing was to huddle myself into a corner or under blankets in a bed crying. I couldn’t imagine a way out. It felt as though it was going to be forever!!!

Battling through a 27 year marriage which consisted of emotional, spiritual and mental abuse/trauma had me living in a dark fog.

I refer to the broken marriage often in my blogs as I am passionate about telling my story hoping that it may help someone one day. It took me years to figure it out. People in my world could see things were not right yet I continued to sweep it under the carpet. It was all too much for me to deal with let alone to confront head on.

To come out of an unhealthy relationship can take years when it involves abuse of any kind. There are stages you go through before you are able to be in a place of strength in order to leave. Self doubt, fear, anxiety, self blame, confusion, insecurity hold you prisoner to the person who is hurting you. They have you believing your the broken one! You spend so much time trying to fix yourself hoping that it will fix the relationship only to be disappointed over and over as you realise no amount of self help changes the situation.

Sorting myself out had its benefits. While I was constantly working on myself it gave me the strength and the understanding of my own value and worth. I grew up! I began standing up for myself!

No one has the right to treat you badly. There are no excuses. When someone is regularly hurting you, you have a god given right to say NOT ACCEPTABLE!!!

In this WAKE UP moment you are faced with a dilemma. You are now at a cross roads. You have voiced your boundaries and said to the one hurting you that you will no longer accept this treatment. When you get to this place things can go from ugly to worse. In my experience things got worse after that point. The stronger I became the worse it got. Once you are aware and have woken up to the fact that the relationship is toxic there is no turning back. You must keep moving forward no matter the cost.

You will pay the price regardless of your decisions. If you stay and continue being abused it will cost you personally in the areas of your emotions, health and overall well being. If you leave it may mean that you will have to start with nothing as I did. There will be times in which you have to confront all of your own self doubts, fears and anxieties.

There will be moments that you will second guess yourself. All your confidence as been eroded over time so now you have to start building your confidence step by step. You will need to start making your own decisions. You will question whether the decisions are the right ones.

As time passes and you begin to see that you are capable of making good decisions your confidence will grow. All the fears, doubts and anxieties which ruled your everyday previously will lose their hold on you. A person who controls your life has you wrapped up in a world that seems impossible to escape from. They have a way of convincing you that you cant do life without them. They are your only source of success. Everyone else is an imposter not to be trusted.

The story of my life began with low self esteem  leading me into a very unhealthy marriage. As each chapter has unfolded I have seen the growth in myself and experienced true freedom.

It may have taken me decades to get this far and experience a new life however I look forward to all the chapters waiting to unfold. Each new day has bought about a new breath of fresh air. Having a new set of beliefs about my own value and worth I am able make an informed decision and choose only that which is healthy. I have learnt to let go of any situation which puts me in a position similar to my previous life.