In the Abyss of my Abuse Stood Love

Welcome back!

In this weeks blog, I would like to address the other side to abuse that often gets lost in the trauma and is left behind with no recognition. I would like my readers to know that there is another side to abuse that leaves you very confused. I am guessing that this does not just happen in abusive relationships but in all relationships when they are coming to an end or have already ended. It can be bitter sweet, we loved this human that we now recognise we cannot move forward with. This is heart breaking and can leave us feeling stuck with a lot of unanswered questions.
Why did the abuse happen?
Why didn’t he love me enough to care for me?
Why didn’t he fight for the relationship?
Was this my fault?
Should I have continued to fight for the relationship?
Could I have been a better person?

What I really really struggle with is that you can have a great friendship with someone, share so much time with them and bond with them, build with them and than one day you no longer talk. It is really strange and confusing for me.

In my relationship (as always we use this term ‘relationship’ loosely. I always have to remind myself of this fact because it reminds me that I willingly entered a relationship with no boundaries in place to protect myself. I done that to myself! There is no blame here because I am beginning to understand the reasons why I exposed myself to that).

As I was saying in my relationship, I loved so deeply for close to two decades and I had so many good times. Memories that I will always hold close to my heart. There is a part of me that still loves him and will always love him. This I feel is a really controversial comment to make, because other people may see it as I should not love someone that I also feels has hurt me. However it is not about what other people think is it? It is about me being able to live in my own truth and you in yours too! This is my truth right now, the two things love and abuse went hand in hand for me.
I feel that there must be a pressure on other women to act like they never loved this person or that they cant talk about the good times that they shared with this person. It is difficult enough to have mixed feelings in the first place without the added pressure of not being able to express your feelings. Well I am here to say that it is okay to still have feelings of love.
When I was with Mr Man I had something to call my own, when we were together it was as if we were the only two people in the world. The very few people that got to watch us together would say they could see how much we cared for each other, maybe too much? Maybe not enough?
But let me share with you some of my special moments, as I said I keep them close to my heart so this is just a few.
The man I fell in love with was so family orientated.
It was important that we ate together, so meal times where a very special time and whenever we could along with his extended family who became my extended family, we would always eat together. ‘The family that eats together stays together’ was his motto.
Time was also important so believe it or not we spent a lot of time together and if we were not physically together we were on the phone together. Our favourite thing to do, from the day we met was talk, We would talk all night if we could, and it never got boring. These are the things that I miss.

I remember spending the night at his moms house, it was one of many days where we had all got together and instead of going home we all crashed there.
At this particular time because she had to accommodate so many of us, she had her room set up so there was a single bed behind the wardrobes and a TV. Everyone had put their head down somewhere already so that single bed was the only spot left for us to sleep. We did not complain that his bed had been taken by the kids we took the single bed. Two adults in a single bed is not easy, but it was perfect it felt like a little adventure. We had no choice but to lie so close to each other we were practically on top of one another. That suited me because I always found myself on his side of the bed anyway. We lay so close that night it reminded me of that Bob Marley song Is This Love and he sings ‘We’ll be together, with a roof right over our heads We’ll share the shelter, of my single bed’.
In that moment I felt so loved, accepted and apart of him. He did not complain that my body temperature was too hot and I was making him hot.(I get really hot at night guys! which is good on a cold night he could warm himself up, but when you are hot it s not the best). Everything just flowed easily that night. We fell asleep after talking in quiet voices and watching some Kung Fu DVD that we both loved. Not many girls enjoy Kung Fu but as a child I would watch them with my dad, he done the same with his own dad so it became a common interest for us both and one of my favourite things for us to do together. (right now I am unable to watch any of those films).

There were so many times that I felt like the only girl in his world. I felt like the love that he had for me was unique and special and I am sure that you can all recall those good times, you had in your own relationships. The good times cast a shadow of doubt on the bad times and vice versa. I am often left wondering what is really real? is it the good or the bad? was anything true?

So how do we handle this difficult and confusing time, I must let you guys know that I am still struggling with this, however what I am learning is that at the end of the relationship you defiantly go through the grieving process.
The feeling of loss for me is huge, at times I actually get physical pain in my heart for this loss.
This process is really hard and confusing and takes time, to get your head around it. This week a bus driver who does not know me noticed my loss written all over my face. The driver said to me ‘Are you okay, you look really confused?’ (He summed it up perfectly because I am so saddened and confused), I told him I was okay but as I walked of the bus really large tears that I could not control just fell down my face.

I would like you to know however that it is okay to feel whatever emotion it is that you feel. There are array of emotions that will come into play from nostalgia to anger. It is fine for you to remember the good parts of your relationship and accept that those things happened too. It was not all bad, all the time but recognise that the decision that you have made is because it is healthy for your overall well being, and that is what matters.

It is easy to fall into convincing yourself that because you had good times you should have stayed in that situation or you have made a mistake. This is not necessarily true.

1)Do not beat yourself up about the emotions that you have.
2)Ride these emotions and do not fall into the trap of avoiding them as they will reappear or impact your future decisions. (I have the right to cry wherever and whenever I need too)
3) If you need to talk do so with people that are not emotionally invested in your hurt but are able to listen non judgmentally.
4) Accept that you may have questions that you will never get answers to. This is also true of an apology that you feel you deserve or recognition from your ex partner that they hurt you. (This one can be really hard and I am working on it.
5) Forgive yourself for whatever guilt you have and try to let that go.

I want everyone to have a balanced and realistic view of what happens in this process. I don’t want to represent the illusion that you end the relationship and all your feelings just disappear because they do not!!!!!!! There was some love there!
We all heal and recover at different rates so also do not put pressure on yourself to be over it within any specific time.

Well that is it from me this week folks, keep taking care of yourself and be kind to yourself. I will try to do the same for me too.

P.S
Another lesson to take on board from this is that your truth can change, and this is not a negative thing it is okay to change your mind. Growth is change.

Thank you for joining me on my journey of healing. Let me know your thoughts any stories you all have and please follow me for future blogs.

Advertisements

My Cinderella Syndrome

Hey Readers, hope you are all well this week! I have had a great week and I really am beginning to see some of the fruits that living in and sharing my truth brings. The feedback that I have had from all of my posts this week has been fantastic and has given me further motivation to keep writing and sharing. So I thank you guys for reading, commenting and following, and I urge you to continue to follow and share as you just don’t know who we may help along the way.

So the title of this week’s blog came to me whilst I was in the bath, one of my favourite places to spend time with myself. I was just thinking about how I was always giving to others and the term popped into my head.
(I must share this with you guys before I go on. Whilst I was in the bath, the term Cinderella Syndrome came into my head I thought, wow I am so amazing how did I come up with that? So half way through writing the blog it occurred to me that I might not have made this term up maybe I had read it somewhere and I just pulled it out of my memory vault. So I thought as you do, let me google this, and I was right this is already a theory originally developed by a lady called Collette Dowling (1989) who called it the Cinderella Complex. There was me thinking I had come up with a fantastic term, well I have defiantly lived this complex/syndrome but I did not come up with the theory as I thought I did. I do however give myself full appreciation though, for the fact that I am well read and I retained it in my memory vault! Every cloud has a silver lining. Let’s continue you with the subject;

Once upon a time there was a young girl called Sadia she lived with her mother and two sisters, one older and one younger. As a middle child she never quite felt good enough. Sadia was not first born and was not the baby so always felt like she needed to work for her attention…. (Only joking ,I am not telling a fairy tale).

On a serious note though, as I have explored a little before I did feel inadequate as a child. I did not feel like I was loved as much as my siblings and I carried that through my life up until recently. It is a very heavy and silent burden to carry around when you have that feeling. As a child you do not have the words to articulate and express what you are feeling to yourself or to others. It is silently there in the background and grows and grows before you know it, it turns into Cinderella Syndrome.
Cinderella Syndrome for me was feeling like I needed to be perfect, to be loved that in order to receive love I had to perform in a certain way. I needed to be useful to be accepted and to receive praise from my parents. I learnt that they liked me more for what I could do (well that was my childhood interpretation of the love I received).
I can remember always wanting to make my mom happy, so when she would go out shopping or out for the day with her friends, I would think to myself what can I do to surprise her and show her that I am a good daughter. Show her that I deserve to be there and to be loved also to get praised which would make me feel like I have a purpose and role within my family unit. That role was to be good and supportive. I would clean the whole house while she was gone, or change the living room around I would not just do the hovering or the washing up. I would clean the windows, the doors the skirting boards everything would be gleaming by the time she came back. It would actually make me feel really excited about what her reaction would be. The idea of pleasing her made me feel that I was there for a reason. My mother’s response to me would be positive and then she would talk about me to others in a positive light. My aunts and uncles saw be as good and responsible, I kept that role up until I went to prison.
When I came home to my mom’s house upon leaving prison one of the things they said my aunt, mom and sister was ‘the house will be clean and tidy’.
It is funny actually because as a child my aunt would always call me first to do the cleaning jobs, and my little cousin would say to me ‘do a bad job and she won’t call you, that’s what I do’
I also remember wanting to buy my friends really cool gifts, I had my mom give me money to buy my best friend a gold ring when I was in senior school, I thought it would make her appreciate me more.
My younger sister will tell you that I thought I was her mom, I would want only the best for her, I always made a massive fuss of her on her birthday, balloons, parties, sleepovers, cakes, and the best presents whatever she wanted. I never wanted her to feel unloved, but I also wanted her to think I was the best big sister in the world.

This continued in my ‘relationship’ with Mr Man, at one point he had his own place and whilst he was on holidays, most likely with one of his real women, I would make sure that his flat was pristinely cleaned for when he got back. I would clean every corner and crevice, knowing that it would please him to come home to a perfectly clean and tidy house. I can remember him once touching the top of the door frame to check there was no dust, that I had not missed a spot. He would praise me and tell me that no one, but his mother could clean like me, special ad unique. I was desperate to be the number one chick. This extended as far as when I went to prison, I did not feel angry, I felt like the cat that got the cream because surely no other woman had gone to jail for him.
I know that this does not sound good and I may be labelled as crazy and stupid, but I truly felt that I had won him, that I was defiantly going to become his wife! (That my friends is a whole other book to be read but it is my truth) On with the story….
To make it worse he would probably spend a good few hours with me the day of his return from his romantic getaways (if I was lucky the night, if I was really lucky the weekend), but in actual fact I was cleaning the flat in order that he could entertain other women too. I must be honest with you and myself, I also would pack his suitcase for him, do a lot of the shopping for his holiday clothes and organising insurance or dropping him to the airport. If he ever allowed another woman to do those job of packing his suitcase, organising him and so on. I would become angry and upset with him never mind the fact he was of on holiday with someone else my concern was my warped sense of love.
I needed to feel useful because being useful to him meant that I was loved by him, and that he would not get rid of me.

During therapy I learnt that as I child, I did not get my emotional needs met in the way that I needed them met. I learnt that we are all different and we all have different level of emotional need. My Mom and family loved me in the way that they knew how but that does not mean that there way was compatible with my need.
I learnt that my experience as a child taught me how to respond to the world, so in order to receive love I thought I had to fulfil that Cinderella role and put everyone else’s needs before my own.
Gaining an understanding of what your needs are is extremely important part of establishing self-love and healthy relationships.
I do not blame myself for entering an abusive relationship and nor should anyone else, because abuse is not acceptable please understand that.
What I do take responsibility for is establishing what made me think that this was acceptable because I did for seventeen years. I felt like what I was receiving was love.
I needed to understand what was happening inside of me as to why I felt other people’s needs where more important than mine. Along the line I learnt that I was not important. I developed my Cinderella Syndrome, the funny thing is people would actually refer to me as Cinderella too as I said I liked it. I thought Cinderella put in all the work and she accepted everyone’s crap but at the end she got her reward. I stayed in an abusive relationship because I learnt that love was based on what I done rather than who I was, and that if I kept keeping people happy and accepting their crap than I would get my reward. I would get my Happy ever after, but I was wrong.
Guys that is not how it works you don’t get back what you give out, well actually that’s not true you do but you need to be clear about what you are giving out. I will continue to say that how you treat yourself (what you give out), sets the example for how others will learn to treat you (what you receive. Let me repeat it for you how you treat yourself set the example for how others will learn to treat you.

Now for the lessons, learn to love yourself! This is a big one. ‘How do I do that?’ I said to my therapist, she said ‘everything you want to do for others do unto yourself’. I kept going back to her week after week and saying ‘it does not feel the same, I don’t feel loved if I don’t have anyone to please, I said I don’t get any feedback or praise from myself’ she said ‘well give you feedback and praise you’. ‘Oh’ was my response.
I kept on trying it, and I can do it now above if you noticed, I praised myself for holding knowledgeable information in my memory vault. I see the good in myself and I tell myself about that good.
I set boundaries in my relationships. If I feel my needs are not being met in my friendships or family relationships I express this.
I say No when what is been asked of me is going to take from me, for example my time.
Loving myself is hard and I find it really difficult to cook just for myself and clean up just for myself, because I have always done that for other people my mom, my baby sister, big sister, my nieces, my nephews, my partner,(using the term loosely because he never actually claimed me but as my dad said men will trick you but if it was sexual relationship than it was a relationship), but I am practicing every day to treat myself as I would others.

Practice loving yourself:
1) Establish what your needs are, I found that this required spending time with myself and formulating lists about what I needed. I also as I always do looked back at my childhood and thought what would I want to give to my younger self? (Inner child), what did she miss out on?
2) Praise yourself, focus on the positives and not the negatives, and don’t think it is selfish or big headed.
3) Thank yourself for all that you give to yourself, all that you are and all that you are working to become.
4) Set Boundaries in your relationships, this needs to be with your children, your partner, your friends, family and work. If others can they will make more withdrawals from you than deposits. You are important too!
5) Do not let the way society is built up fool you. Everyone I know will tell you, I love Disney films, all of them especially the classics such as Cinderella and Beauty and the beast. Along with other media sources, music, films, the news, families and schools etc. will lead us to believe that someone is going to come and rescue you, if you just behave in the right way or if you just give all of yourself to others you will be rewarded but don’t let those things lead you. You are responsible and in control of your own happiness. Do not put you power into the hands of others!

I hope you realise that there are so many levels and dimensions to low self-esteem and low self-worth it is very deep rooted and it is not easy to overcome. I am still in therapy and I feel that it is a continuous learning curve.

Until next week guys, keep growing and Keep Shining!

Getting Back in the Driving Seat of My Life!

Welcome back my avid followers, and welcome to all of you that have just joined this journey of self reflection, self development, loving yourself flaws and all, accepting the past, embracing the future, living in the now and everything that comes with digging deep inside and finding who you truly are. I am happy you are here with me following my Journey so far and thank you for taking the time out of your day to read my blog.

Before I start, I want to remind you all that this is a blog that Journeys some of my experiences, even though we all walk our own very different journeys, there are some things that I talk about that may resonate deeply with you. It may trigger memories or bring uncomfortable thoughts and emotions to the surface. I can only say that you must prepare yourself for this and if any such thoughts or feelings come up try to deal with them in a way that is most suitable to you. I would urge you to explore these feelings further, in a safe place as sitting with your feelings is the best way to understand them and to get through them. Your safe place maybe at home alone, with somebody you trust or in a professional setting.
One of the first steps in healing is to establish a safe environment where you can start exploring your thoughts and feelings.
Understanding your feelings will help you to regulate them. Thoughts dictate our feelings and our feelings dictate our actions.

It is also important to remember that wherever you are on this journey that it is okay because, the journey belongs to you and none of us are the same we will all heal at different, times rates and places in our lives.
The healing process is not a linear one and there will be good days and bad days, so do not punish yourself when your negative thoughts start telling you that you should be further along the road than you are. One of the habits I developed over the years was constantly comparing my life to others, it appeared on the surface that their life was always better than my own. They were pretty, happy, had a exciting social life etc.I now choose to live my life at my own pace because after all this is my life and I am in the driving seat, as are you in the journey of your life.
I remind you of these things because, although this Blog is only three weeks in, it has brought up many difficult emotions that I was not expecting to feel. As I took one of my many bus rides this week (gone are my luxury car driving days). I considered the fact that this may impact my readers in the same way it has impacted me. I must say that all of our feelings and emotions are valid and require our attention, exploration and our action. We make time to socialise with our friends and family, earn money, go shopping feed ourselves, fix other peoples problems EVERYTHING BUT making time to look inwards at ourselves. This is important work and as I have said to you before, when it came to looking after me, that was never even on the agenda.

This week I struggled with the reality that I was abused, mentally and emotionally abused. I could not connect with the fact that this was actually my life and that I was actually that naïve. I knew this but something about writing last weeks blog and getting feed back brought to my attention that the abuse was real and that this really was my life. Although I know that it is my life, I had detached myself from the depth of this abuse. The reality was I had handed control of my life to Mr Man, he was defiantly in the driving seat! I was riding in the boot of the car just like the disposable bags we all carry in our boots until they no longer serve us a purpose. As I said to you all from the moment I met this man I did not want to let him go, as long as he was by my side I was worthy (at least that was what I thought) This weeks revelation prompted me to look at what kept me in this situation, what made me stay, instead of saying enough is enough. Some people end relationships prematurely, however others like me stay in relationships even if they are damaging to us.
There are different vulnerabilities that I had before I met Mr Man, I realised that my beliefs systems where developed in my childhood long before he came along.

As young child I feel initially I was a pretty confident child. I can remember one particular summer when I was around seven or eight years old. It was a really hot day and I was outside playing. Where we lived there was a real community feel , all the kids on our street knew one another, and our parents all communicated. There was always some one to play outside with and people coming and going up and down the street. People would play music out of their cars or bedroom windows through the speakers. The summers where hot back than and I remember being with everyone on the street outside the front of my aunts house. This particular day someone had suggested having a dancing competition. I was only small but my older sister used to go to dance class and I would watch her and learn the dance routines she made up with her two friends. I was in actual fact in awe of my big sister (I don’t know if she knew this) she could do anything, when I say anything I mean anything she was strong always the person to go too when the coke bottle lid was screwed on too tightly. She was protective if anyone even looked at me sideways she was there to defend me, she was smart and artistic if I ever needed Micky or Minnie mouse drawing she could do it, she could walk on the walls and ceiling ( later found out this was not true) she was beautiful everyone said so and she had the best style ever wearing Dr Martins, thick socks and short skirts to school! On the whole she was just so cool and she was my hero!!!!! I wanted to grow up to be just like her. Now don’t get this twisted when she was ready to be mean to me she would be mean (this did not in any way change the way I felt about her, outside of my mother, father and younger sister she is the person that loves me unconditionally). I can remember she would say to me quietly and firmly so as mom did not hear ‘don’t dare ask mommy to come with me because your not coming!!’, she would at times laugh at me with those two friends of hers. They were actually the first people I can remember calling me skinny, ‘blacky’ or pointing out that my nose was big. These as you will note are some of the things that developed into big insecurities for me.
Lets get back on track with the story at hand, as I said someone suggested we have a dancing competition and the confident child I was meant I was up front and centre in this competition . My sister had taught me how to do the shuffle, running man and a dance she called the basketball (I don’t know if anyone else is familiar with this dance). I had a large crowd around me and I was not shy at all. I had no thoughts in my head about how I looked, my complexion or my nose. I had no doubt in my mind about the fact that I was going to win this competition hands down. So I done a few dances and the crowd where cheering me on as they do ‘Gooo Sadia Gooo Sadia is all I could hear, on my last dance I pulled the basketball out of the bag! None of the other kids my age where doing that dance and the crowd went wild ‘ohhhhhh ohhhhh, Gooo Sadia Goooo Sadia Goooo Sadia. I loved it!!! I kid you not as I am writing this I am right back there in the hot sun with a big smile on my face. My confidence was soaring, and that makes me warm inside and brings that great big smile back to my face today.

My big sister and her two friends had no idea that there words would lay the foundations of my low self esteem. I do not place any blame on any person for these insecurities not even myself. I now identify that these experiences were some of the foundations for the negative belief system I developed. Please understand that I could have took this in a completely different way, I could have held onto all the confidence soaring moments such as my dancing competition, but for some reason as human beings we hold onto our negative experiences much tighter than we do our positive experiences. As I got older I would look for evidence to reinforce my negative experiences, for example, boys don’t talk to me because I’m not light skinned enough.

I use this example only for you to understand that our belief systems are developed at a very early age, and that we have to look back at how our belief systems were developed before we can change that system.

When I left prison, I moved into a women’s hostel and really took a look at my belief system along side, Therapists, Support Workers, Life Coaches plus plenty of course for self development (all of which were free). I took all the professional help I could get, but my learning curves came when I sat in my room by myself and really reflected on my life. I asked myself these three essential questions. I worked hard establishing the answers to these questions and I can assure you it is not an overnight job I continue to work on them today.

1) What do I believe about myself, Do I believe that all the negative thoughts about me are true. Is there concrete evidence to back up these negative beliefs? and do I need to continue to hold these negative beliefs about myself? Can I leave some of these beliefs behind and pick up a more positive belief system. This is not always easy to do because as described above I have held these beliefs from early childhood but with practice they can be changed. You can challenge them.

2) What are my Values? I realised that your values are extremely important, these are the standards that we set for ourselves to live by, They are our moral compass and will always keep us guided. I took on someone else’s values and dropped my own, I did not know the weight that our values hold in the decisions we make for our lives.

3) What do I want to stand for and why? when I leave this world what do I want my legacy to be? Is it that I handed my life over to others and allowed them to rule my life? No! This question was a difficult one to answer because I did not feel that I had a purpose. I felt that my purpose was to please others.
This is not the case today, but please don’t get me wrong Mr Man is not completely out of my system, well I should say the effects of that relationship and my childhood experiences are not completely out of my system, but I am a long way away from the girl that I was. Firstly I am back in the driving seat of my life. I am living aligned to my own values and beliefs and I feel liberated enough to tell my truth.
My advice is you sit with yourself and answer the three questions above, even if you feel your values and beliefs are all in order, there is nothing wrong with reviewing this, you do not know what you will find! In addition to this look back to your childhood, to establish what wounds live back there and require healing. Take a look at a time in your life where you felt you were happy confident and just being you. I would hold onto these happy memories and use them to remember what it feels like to be completely happy with yourself. Let these feelings grow inside of you until they become the prominent feelings you hold.
Make time for yourself and enjoy your week xxx

My Toxic Relationship

Hey Everyone, I am so glad that you have come back for the second instalment today and hope that you have enjoyed reading so far, but most importantly I hope that you have gained something from the blog maybe reading it evoked thought, conversation or change. Thanks to all of you that took the time to leave a comment it was heart-warming to say the least.

When I decided to write this blog I had an influx of negative thoughts about why I should not do this. These negative thoughts were so overwhelming that even when I sat down to write about my feelings nothing would come to mind. I guess it was a form of writer’s block. I have always journaled about my experiences and my feelings so I could not understand why this block existed, so before I could start blogging I decided that I needed to get rid of some of these negative thoughts/limiting beliefs. Together with my Life Coach I identified what my most problematic Limiting Belief was and we started there, we identified that at the core of everything was the belief ‘I AM NOT ENOUGH’. I realised that I have carried this belief around with me from a very early age and instead of looking for reasons as to why I was enough I often identified the reasons Why I was not enough for example I am too skinny, I am to fat, My skin is to dark, I am black, I have a big nose, I am boring I have no personality, I don’t have long hair, I have ugly wrinkly hands, The boys don’t fancy me they don’t talk to me they only talk to my friends, I can’t dance, I am not clever, I don’t drink alcohol, I am no fun !!!!! Honestly the list went on and on and on and on, I had to begin to reverse some of these beliefs and what I learnt was that what I tell myself I am, really matters, and that all the ‘I AM’ s that we have are extremely powerful. These ‘I AM’s made up the belief system I held about myself and that belief system governs my actions and behaviour. If I believed I was not good enough, than I accepted not ‘good enough’ and acted in a way that I was not worthy of anything.

After posting my first blog all of those limiting beliefs came flooding back to smack me in my face, I initially felt really positive, brave and excited, I was applauding myself but before I knew it on Tuesday evening I was sat in my towel after a long bath on my bed sobbing. I thought to myself what on earth have you done? Who do you think you are writing a blog? I was physically hurting from the thought of letting my only lover and male friend down. I went from feeling brave to feeling like I was a rubbish friend and that I had given up the most important relationship too me. It felt to me like writing the blog was me putting the last nail in the coffin, and that I had now completely killed that relationship. Any secrets hopes of rekindling this relationship where now well and truly thrown out of the window (I hear you all scream why would you want to rekindle such a relationship?) I wonder even now am I ready for this? I thought about how disappointed he would be if he knew I was writing this, he would probably say ‘Are you a fucking dickhead? Are you all there in the head? You have got to be dumb, than he would probably turn to whoever was present at the time most likely a friend, family member or one of those women I was continuously competing with of his and say ‘Is it just me blood? Because a normal person would not be putting their life out there like this’ than whoever was there would probably agree with him and say that I was the crazy one and that I was in the wrong and showing great disloyalty.

Whilst I was crying I realised that my old habits where starting to creep back in, I realised that the difference between the current me and the old me was that I can now identify negative self-talk and choose to disengage with it. I decided to post on my Instagram page (Sadias Truth34) about how hard it is to let go of Toxic relationship, and  so todays topic about Toxic relationships was born, I would like to share how this Toxic and mentally abusive relationship started , the wounds and scars that are left behind after Toxic or abusive relationships and how I try to change my belief system now.

The wounds and the scars of this Toxic and mentally damaging relationship are still present for me and the still impact the decisions that I make about my life. In my head as I write this I am having a battle with myself, asking myself are you exaggerating these wounds are you over sensitive was the way he treated you really abusive, or was this your fault? Did you imagine all of these things. I continuously second guess myself and  consider what he would think about what I am doing, what his reaction would to me sharing my truth. The truth of the matter is that the damage is real and it runs deep, sometimes in relationships you cannot separate yourself from your partner or friend and you take on their beliefs instead of staying true to your own, you make their life a priority instead of your own. The result of this is confusion, hurt and no real senseof who you are.

We met at a very early age me and Mr Man and I was ecstatic that someone had even approached me showing any real interest. We were both sixteen at the time, now just to give you some background, I had a group of extremely pretty friends and at sixteen years old going on seventeen they had all experienced having at least one boyfriend. I would go with them on their links to meet their boyfriends. I would sit downstairs while they went upstairs to his room or I would tag along as a third wheel on dates. Sometimes these boyfriends would bring a friend but still none of them where interested in me. I was too dark, too skinny I actually at times felt like the angry, ugly black friend that would have to tag along walking 10 steps behind or just standing in the shadows too awkward and boring for anyone to talk to. Mr Man and I had grown up in the same area; he was extremely popular and well known in my area. At the time I told myself I would never go out with one of those guys around my way, they were all after one thing and I was not going to give it up to them. I told myself I had way to much respect for myself to become just a girl they slept with (how ironic that I became just that). Let me be brutally honest, they all cheated on girls they all got in trouble with the police I knew it and I acted like I was not interested in them, I told my friends I wanted better for myself, I was going to go to university meet a nice guy and settle down. On the inside there was something completely different going on consciously I was not aware of it but unconsciously it was there. I was dying for one of those bad boys to pay me some attention; I felt less than all my friends because none of these boys were interested in me. When it finally happened it felt like I had won the Jackpot. I had no idea that it would lead me down a path of further self-loathing and ultimately self-destruction.

That first day he spoke to me we stood outside my house for two hours, I felt so special, he paid so much attention to me in those two hours I was completely smitten. The smile on my face was from ear to ear, when I finally entered my house it actually felt like I was floating on a cloud not walking. He asked about my family what I liked what I did not like; he seemed so interested in me. He gave me his number wow I could not believe I had got my first number. I wanted to tell all my friends about it, that night we spoke on the phone for hours. This was the love and attention I was looking for I finally felt visible and I was not going to let that go for anyone. I now see that my need for attention was part of the reason I lost who I was; to begin with at sixteen years old you have not fully found a sense of self, and you have no idea who you are.

Over the years Mr Man would always say to me, when I met you all you wanted was attention, like all of your friends. He always knew that he would be able to mould me into the women that he needed me to be to serve him. I look back now and see that he told me from the very beginning that he could see my lack of self-worth.

Although we were speaking daily he made it clear from the beginning that I should not tel my friends we speak, he said when friends get involved in relationships, they put their opinions in and it messes things up. Now you guys know that I did not want to mess this up, when was I going to get a chance like this again? It had taken this long to get a boy to notice me so if keeping him meant not telling my friends that is exactly what I would do.

Well I started college and I met other friends who lived outside of my area, I was so excited I thought it cannot do any harm telling one of my new girlfriends I was seeing someone, I mean she did not live around my area so what harm would it be to share this. I wanted to share my experience with someone

I told her all about him, his name what he looked like how we spoke every day and the things that he would say to me. It was great just to share my good news with someone I did not have to hide the fact that I was seeing someone. I could act like all the other girls who had boys they were talking to.

This one particular night early hours in the morning Mr Man and I were up talking about everything and anything as we did. He said to me ‘have you told anyone that we talk’? I paused and took a big gulp, the panic set in straight away my hands started shaking and my armpits began to sweet. These physical symptoms are something I would later become familiar with as anytime I felt I had done something to mess up our relationship this is what would happen. I responded with ‘no what would make you ask that’? I was trying to remain calm but it felt like my voice was shaking as I spoke. He kept asking me are you sure; I kept denying it, all the while my heart was in my mouth. After a while he began to shout ‘you’re a fucking liar, I can’t stand liars, I gave you the opportunity to tell me but you continued to lie, I don’t want to speak to you anymore I can’t trust you. He went on to tell me that I can’t trust my little college friends and that she did not give a shit about me but he could never trust me. I tried pleading with him telling him I’m sorry and that it would not happen again but it done no good. He put the phone down on me and refused to answer my calls. It turned out that the girl I had confided in had a friend who was also seeing Mr Man, she had recognised the name and description, and as her loyalties lay with her long term friend she felt it only right that she should tell her.

I was heartbroken; my one opportunity for happiness was taken away from me all because I could not keep my mouth closed. As a I child I was always labelled the one that could not keep her mouth shut. My mom and aunts used to always say don’t say anything around me if you want it to be a secret because it would not stay a secret, now my big mouth was getting me into trouble again.

Well this was the start of the power and control he had over me; I quickly learnt that if I wanted to keep this relationship I would keep it to myself. I would have to play by his rules otherwise I would lose him. All I wanted was to be a “normal” teenage girl who could get a boyfriend and if that meant keeping it a secret than that was what I was going to do. It did not matter that I wanted to share my good news with my loved ones what mattered was pleasing him.

Ina toxic or abusive relationships you are often so invested that it is difficult to see what is best for you. I did not see at sixteen years old that I should have the right to share what was happening in my life with my loved ones. As I did not share the details of this relationship with others from the onset I quickly became isolated and keeping secrets became my norm over the years. He never ever let go of this initial betrayal and would always bring it up to use as a weapon against me.

If you have to change all of who you are just to keep someone in your life than you must question the healthiness of this relationship. Do not stay in relationships because they validate you, when you meet someone they should accept who you are and not try to control you in any way. At the time I felt like he made me one of the “normal” girls but the “normal” girls were able to have a relationship out in the open. In the end this relationship only reinforced my limiting beliefs because I ended up believing that I was not good enough to be claimed. I was still that ugly black girl that had to remain in the shadows. Today I am able to live in the light, I am able to share my story and let others know that they are not alone!

In order to turn my limiting beliefs around, I connect with myself through meditation; I use positive affirmations to change my belief system. I am strong, I am beautiful, I am a women worthy of respect, I am funny, I am intelligent, I am free, I am happy and I can share the details of my life with who I like.

No Self Respect No Self Worth

I guess I would like to start by setting the scene about where I was a few years ago, when I had no idea that I needed to consider myself in anything that I done. I was in a place where I did not exist, I cannot even say that I put myself at the bottom of the list because I was not even on the agenda!

Let me begin, I was at the home of a guy I referred to as my best friend we had an intimate relationship, him being the first and only guy I had slept with. So I guess the best way to describe this relationship was that we where seeing each other. (More than friends but not together)

This was the kind of relationship where I would give him a wake up call every morning, prepare his gym kit daily wash it pack it drop it off, cook his dinner. Pretty much anything that he needed I was there to serve him.

On this particular day I had left work early to visit him for a few hours, I would often do this, book all my work appointments back to back, work through lunch so I could get away early just because I loved spending any minute with him. Upon my arrival we were intimate but that needs no further explanation.

A little later I make him a cup of tea, he loves my tea I stir the sugar in 100 times just the way he likes it. We sit on the sofa with his legs over me as he has been to the gym,I rub his legs just massage them as they are aching from that days gym session. As we sit and enjoy each others company watching something on the TV and chatting,  there is a knock at the door I answer it and find that it is one of his other women yep, that’s right I am one of many. This sounds crazy as I write it down but this really was my truth, my life.

Let me continue…. we all sat in the same room she took the one seater in the corner I sat back in my seat, but as you can imagine he sat upright as if five minutes ago he did not have his legs all over me. The girl clearly was not happy I was there, I was not thrilled to see her either in all honesty. (Intruding on my time with him how dare she ?) The other woman sat with her arms crossed and occasionally giving him dirty looks at some point he asked her what was wrong? But there was no response. As the hours passed I wondered if she was going to leave. My attitude towards this was very much I’m standing my ground, I’m not leaving before she does!!!! I took the stance that I was more important to him than she was. He just acted very cool as if this was all perfectly normal.

Dinner had been prepared already the previous day so I microwaved this and served it. At some point in the evening. I could tell that whilst I was out of the room the two of them had some crossed words, but I still stood firm in my stance that I was more important and I was the one that would be staying tonight or at the very least I would be the last one leaving.

Time was pushing on and even I was becoming tired I had noticed a few yawns and stretches from him but I stood firm in my resolve.

He turned to me and said “don’t you think it is getting late, I’m tired now”….. well he did not out right say that it was time for me to leave but that is what he was insinuating Im a smart girl or so you would think, there was this look on his face that told me to know my place.

It felt like I had been sucker punched in the stomach, it was as if he had taken a tractor and drove over my body, it was as if he wiped his dirty shoes on my lips as he stepped over my body like the doormat I was. No Self Respect No Self Worth !!!!!!

I had to leave, he was telling me to leave, me the one that had centred my whole day around this man. Me the one that had made him tea, cooked his dinner, rubbed his legs, left my job early and gave to him apart of me that no other human being had ever had.  I held my composure and said “ok” I picked up the dirty gym kit for washing and left to go home alone.

This is one of many similar incidents that I have experienced in that so-called relationship, I can now share this story because I am awakened but for many years I was asleep. My body was present but I had no mind of my own I was sleep walking through my life, I became this mans puppet.  My family describes this as a time I was stolen from them.

As I reflect on this situation I understand that I had no idea that I existed in the world.  I thought that the reason that I was here was to serve others make them happy. As a child I had learnt that if you make other people happy you will be rewarded with love and attention,  and I took that motto and ran with it my entire adult years. What I felt did not matter at all, I do not think I even felt at that point. When I drove myself home that night I did not cry I had become numb to this treatment, it had become my normal. The next morning I woke up extra early so I could drive past his house and check if her car was still there and it was. Don’t ask me why I done this because, I would never have challenged him on the way he treated me that day I accepted it. The thought of rocking the boat and losing the one person that showed me any attention was a thought I could not entertain. I used to think,  one day he will leave all them girls and commit to me, If I can just withstand all this pain and ignore what I feel he will see how much I love him. I still washed his gym kit for him in the misguided hope that he would notice me if I continued to meet his needs, I had that Kit ready for the next day because pleasing him was my mission and my only purpose in life.

This lack of self-worth and self-respect I had for myself was so deep-rooted it still exists now, at times I still find myself trying to figure out what a person in my life needs. This can be family members or friends I have to work hard to stay out of that cycle of ignoring myself, and putting others needs above my own. I have to remind myself to put myself first and not to rely on others to validate my worth. I Ask myself what do I want to do? what do I want to eat? What feeds my soul and makes me feel at peace.

I had this impression that if I considered myself than I was a selfish person. I thought that by placing others in front of myself  they would start to do the same for me they would start to put me first, but this is not how it works. It is as simple as this, individuals will treat you as good as you treat yourself and if you have No self Respect and No Self Worth than nobody will give that to you. You are the only person that can set the standards for how you are to be treated in your life. This is a difficult thing to do and I hope by sharing parts of my story that I can help one person to look at themselves differently.

He never ever would have loved me because I did not love myself. If i did not respect myself than why would he respect me ?

I know that this is a difficulty that many people face how do we learn to love ourselves, how do we learn about our own self-worth and how to respect ourselves. I was stripped of my liberty and incarcerated, I was in prison and I still did not learn to put myself first.

The turning point for me was when I was faced with the reality that when I had nothing left to give, and I no longer served a purpose for this person who just left me. I gave everything that I had and when I was no longer useful, I was left in a heap of emptiness to figure it all out by myself, that  story is another blog in itself.

I would like for anyone reading this to know that YOU matter as much as anyone else does. Do not have your whole life taken away from you, your freedom removed in order to learn this lesson. This lesson has changed my life, I now know that I MATTER TOO!!!!!!!!!

Instead of treating someone else in the way you want to be treated, treat yourself in that way. In my case I started of really small because it felt alien to me to be nice to myself so I began by allowing myself the freedom to just lie in bed without feeling guilty, without feeling like I should be doing something for someone else. This was so uncomfortable, I often got up and walked around the hostel I was staying in at the time so that a member of the staff saw me and did not think I was lazy, but every day I allowed myself to just stay in bed that little bit longer. I also started to paint my toenails, this was a luxury I had never had before because I did not have the time do anything for myself. I also believed that I did not deserve to do nice things for myself because I was not pretty enough to carry it off. These are my Limiting Beliefs and they hinder me every day, as we move forward and I begin to share more of my story I will tell you how I try to overcome such beliefs and how to begin letting such beliefs go.

Try to find a really small way that you can do something you would easily do for someone else, but instead do that for yourself. Buy yourself a gift, flowers chocolate. Give yourself 5 minutes just dedicated to you or allow yourself to just sit and drink that cup of coffee, no interruptions.  These are just a few suggestions but ultimately do something small that makes you happy!!!!!!! As I Publish this blog I am going to celebrate straight away by painting my pretty toes pink 🙂

I hope I inspire you to put yourself first.