Here’s the thing. I have a bit of a track record for falling in love with abusive men.
I’m vulnerable, sure.
An easy target and “primed for abuse”, as they say.
What makes me so vulnerable?
I’m pretty fucking sure a messed up upbringing might have something to do with it.
My upbringing was profoundly oppressive – thanks to both parents – and living in the Middle East.
I am the only daughter to an Iranian man and a Scottish woman.
My father is the typical “Middle Eastern Father” stereotype, moody, unable to show affection, over protective, controlling and impossible to please.
The only time my father made eye contact with me was when he was lashing out at me.
He is a complex man. All the ways he primed me for abuse is a struggle for me to put it into words at the moment.
So for now I’ll say that he taught me to accept the “darker” side of masculinity.
The result of having a father like him is that I am mainly attracted to men that really, fucking scare me.
My mother was brought up by her militant, catholic grandmother.
She is neurotic, self-loathing, completely oblivious to her own internalised misogyny. The head-fuckery which she was proud to pass on to me as her “teachings” – so that one day I might become a good wife.
My mother has all kinds of mental illnesses that moulded me to who I am today.
The stories about her are disturbing and I am building up the courage to share them one day.
Some of the things she taught me were things like – all men are evil and that woman-hood is nothing but suffering.
As a result of having a mother like her I feel worthless, ugly, fat, unlovable and a failure as a woman.
As well as being controlled and abused by both parents, I grew up as a second class citizen.
I lived in the Islamic Republic of Iran for 7 years, from the age of 12 to 19 years old and the experience for me, a teenage girl was totally unbearable.
I could write endlessly about the injustices for women and girls living in Iran, and I will get round to it…
(Spoiler: I ran away from home, got back to to the UK and was homeless for a while)
I know there are people who are far worse off than me…but looking at the shitty cards I was dealt, it’s obvious that I never stood a chance in love and relationships.
Over the last few weeks I have spent most evenings under the influence of alcohol. I haven’t been able to sleep without it.
It all started when I got some news about changes at work, which was isn’t the end of the world but destabilising – so I started using alcohol as a coping mechanism
I hate myself for it.
I am a social drinker and alcohol was never a coping mechanism for me in the past.
I come from a family of alcoholics on my mums side, so my relationship with alcohol is messed up. I actually hate it and I hate myself for needing it to cope right now.
Part of the distress I am going through is feeling that I’m not in control and at the same time my brain trying to rationalise WHY I have I started using it now.
I normally drink craft beer or pale ale and now I’m on the Gin & Tonic of all things. I don’t even really like Gin but this fancy flavoured stuff is so damn strong at 40% alc.vol – it gets me where I need to be in a *very* short space of time.
I’m trying to justify it to myself – like, I am struggling to sleep and alcohol makes me sleepy quite quickly, and I feel a million times better if I’ve had a proper nights sleep.
How the fuck has piece of news like this sent me spiralling again?
It’s because I’m still very fragile.
I mean, I know that a big change at work is destabilising for anyone – and of course something like this will cause me a bit of an autistic meltdown.
Is my fragility (PTSD) an explanation for taking alcohol as a coping mechanism?
I’m thinking back to my relationship with my abuser and how his drug and alcohol addiction affected me.
He would drink every night and I ended up drinking with him. I was only having a couple of beers but I was drinking just because he was. I was able to nip it in the bud.
But I’m also remembering the drug addiction part. Like, how he would torment me and then administer Xanax to calm me down. Xanax isn’t prescribed in the UK and he bought them illegally from the dark web.
Needless to say, I was dependent on his supply and this was one of the ways he had control over me.
The physical withdrawals coming off the Xanax were insane. The only thing that got me through it was knowing that for as long as I was dependent on the Xanax then I wouldn’t be able to leave him.
Anyways, back to now…I was doing so well but I’m back in that place struggling to sleep without alcohol or drugs.
I wanted a break off the booze so the last couple of nights I drugged myself to sleep with a cocktail of diazepam, phenegram and propranolol.
Believe it or not, the drug cocktail has made the whites of my eyes really white, which is amazing.
I feel so rested but I need to keep the drugs for emergencies.
I have half a bottle of fancy Gin (43%) in the fridge.
I know I’m sleep walking to addiction if I keep going like this but I don’t know how to break out of it.
Healing and rebuilding my confidence has been slow and things don’t seem to be moving as fast as I need them to.
Emotionally, I still feel like utter shit but my energy levels have been insane. I’m restless, still not sleeping well. I’ve become increasingly confrontational and rebellious. I am running my mouth off and pushing boundaries at work. Still spending money I don’t have.
I am *aware*, which is something – but I am not in control which makes this so frustrating for me. I am trying so so hard to rein myself in.
I wish I had an off button.
The best I can do is to try and channel this reckless energy into productive things.
So, here’s where I am at – I have made a list which I have organised into three categories: started, not started and done:
Remortgage my house,
Redecorate and rebuild hallway and stairs (floors, walls, ceiling and electrics)
Lose lots of weight
Find a boyfriend
Visit my best friend in Scotland for his Birthday
Finally paint something cool on that massive blank canvas
Get quotes for decorating and building works
Go out clubbing and have a nice time (don’t have a panic attack)
Go on a first date and have a nice time (don’t cancel on him)
Redecorate my front patio
Removal of ivy from the side of my house
Garden and driveway maintenance, removal of weeds etc.
I’ve missed loads of stuff off this list but it’s enough to show what I have been up to.
I am surprised myself by the number of projects I am juggling – and this doesn’t include what I do for work. My day job needs it’s own blog post but seriously, fuck that! I’ll end up getting more stressed about work if I write about it.
So yeah, I’m totally on a mission to change everything in my life.
I am mindful that this is all sounding very unhealthy, but I don’t know what else to do with myself right now.
I’m starting to feel more comfortable with intimacy and sexual contact. I discovered this earlier this summer, after a lovely weekend away with a very attractive male friend.
To give you a bit of background about my friend, we met on Tinder a few years back. Our friendship was never platonic but it was never romantic either. One thing is for sure it has been entirely uncomplicated from the beginning.
I like uncomplicated.
There is comfort in knowing we can enjoy each others company, and then go our separate ways. It could be months before we make contact again and this how we like it.
I consider this weekend away, a major milestone in my recovery from domestic abuse, but I have ways to go yet.
I’m still incredibly tetchy around men. So much so that on the drive to meet him I found myself catastrophising and getting anxious, but it was fine. He was an absolute gentleman and we had a lovely time.
But I still have ZERO self-confidence at the moment.
My abusive relationship ended in February, just 6 months ago and it still feels like yesterday. As a result of the abuse I’m struggling with PTSD (chronic anxiety, inability to sleep, etc.), and severe self-esteem issues.
I know I need to cut myself some slack but I feel really shit about myself right now. My old hang ups about things like body image are now tenfold.
I feel utterly undesirable and unlovable.
On top of this I have discovered all kinds of new baggage that I didn’t have before. Baggage that is causing me to arrange a “first date” with someone from a dating site and then cancel it at the very last minute.
Right now I have ZERO faith that I’ll ever be happy in a loving relationship.
I need to be brave now. I’m trying to be brave.
I have identified that I have unhealthy coping and avoidance mechanisms, where I deny myself physical contact.
I’ve taken a bold step and I’m trying not to shut myself away from the world. I’m trying to be more sociable but it’s so hard.
Im finding that spending time with people, even friends – is either boring or emotionally exhausting.
All things considered I know it will be sometime before I can embrace a new relationship – but I can take baby steps.
I am taking baby steps.
My weekend away has shown me that maybe I should start “seeing” someone regularly, BUT there are so many caveats to this.
First of all it would need to be very clear that I would not be looking for anything serious right now.
In my case of being Autistic, having PTSD and recovering from an abusive relationship – I think I’m asking for too much.
He needs to be laid back, reliable and predictable. I need to be in control of the pace and he can’t make and any emotional or sexual demands from me.
So, last weekend was major milestone in my recovery – but I still have ways to go when it comes to intimacy and relationships.
Just a quick update as I haven’t been posting much lately.
Leo is settling in nicely. He’s so affectionate, sleeps beside me at night and follows me around the house. It’s so endearing.
He’s looking really well, much better since he was first rescued. I’ve spent lots of time grooming and pampering him. I had to buy some interesting contraptions that deal with long hair and managed to get all the knots and dreads out. He’s so beautiful.
For some reason he has gone off wet food. I’ve now tried every “high quality” veterinary brand available and he seems to prefer the dry food. Very confusing, but he’s is eating lots, drinking lots of water and looks happy so I’ll try not to obsess about it.
I had a serious wobbler at work on Friday, sent some angry emails, etc. It was not as bad as it could have been but I felt so sad / angry / frustrated that I was close to packing it all in. If you read my last post then this wouldn’t be surprising to you…I was definitely ready to burst.
I’m glad that there was a couple of days build-up and I didn’t just “snap”. I was passive aggressive as fuck which is perversely, preferable in a corporate environment.
What else can I say. I was in a bit of a state but I don’t really want to write about it just now because I’ll get upset again.
I know I need to find a way to address some things that are bothering me, but I probably won’t. Not in a healthy way – it will escalate and I’ll have to be forced before I can have those difficult conversations with people.
For now I’m going to bury my head in the sand and wait to be pushed.
I’m still not feeling particularly sociable moment. I have a select few trusted people that I want to be around. Everyone else seems like hard work at the moment, particularly those who are opinionated or come with their own issues that they want to project on to me. I just don’t have the energy for any kind of toxic bullshit at the moment.
I decided not to go on that “third date” because something didn’t sit right with me. He has since informed me that he’s found my blog, made a weird comment implying I have gender privilege because I can talk about being a victim of domestic abuse.
Having seen a couple of passive aggressive posts and hashtags on Instagram, (presumably because I don’t want to see him again), I think I might have dodged some kind of bullet there.
Not that I’m losing sleep over this but I’m really fucking tetchy right now but if I’m honest, it doesn’t take much for me to feel harassed.
So, I’m not officially dating anyone but I’m getting plenty of affection from the opposite sex. I’ve taken the next step in my recovery and allowed myself some intimacy with a few people that I trust.
I’ve said this before, I’m incredibly lucky for all the lovely gentlemen in my life, for all the ways they have helped me whilst I’ve been at my lowest.
I have amazing bonds with most of my exes and a few of them have been taking care of me since leaving my abusive relationship. For those that are geographically close to me, we’ve been able to spend quality time together…no agenda, a home cooked meal, cuddles and kisses on the sofa. I’ve felt cared for and safe enough to fall asleep in their arms.
I can’t think of anything more tender and healing than this. Exactly what I need right now and I’m so grateful. I’m more than happy with how things are at the moment.
Of course I want nothing more than to fall madly in love with someone amazing…but I’ve accepted that healing from domestic abuse will be a long and painful journey.
I’m in a much better place and I can afford to be patient with myself.
Hobbies n Activities
I’m appreciating my freedom and how I don’t have to ask for persmission to do the things that I love.
I’ve had a action filled bank holiday weekend full of surfing, hiking and managed to squeeze in a bike ride in the forest.
I really can’t complain.
I’m not gaming as much now that the weather has improved but last weekend I did buy the DLC for The Division 2 and spent a whole day gaming (which was amazing).
Health and Well-being
My overall health and well-being is improving. My energy levels are good and with the warmer weather I’m getting outdoors to do lots of fun stuff.
I am still not eating well or cooking proper meals for myself. Unless someone else feeds me I will just resort to microwave meals, cerials, nuts fruit and tinned soup.
It doesn’t sound so bad but the reason it pains me is because I have never lived on microwaves meals before. It’s just not me – I am half Iranian and was brought up to cook my meals from scratch. if I find the motivation to eat well and cook for myself again then I’ll feel more like myself. My routines will be back to where they were before the abuse started. Before my system of living was taken away from me.
To conclude, I’m okay right now, things are “up and down”.
I am still trying to find my way back to normality.
I know there’s some difficult times ahead with work and my PTSD. I’m very much reliant on my support network but I’m feeling hopeful, and that’s the best I can do right now.