The time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself. Douglas Coupland
Everyone seems to have one day in their life where life just … stops. It could be the day your partner tells you they want a divorce. The day you find out you have cancer. The day someone really close to you dies. How we respond to the day life stops is up to us – the difficulty is sometimes we just don’t have the steps to move us out of there, so we get stuck.
I’m going to talk about the day my life stopped. Anyone who knows me right now knows how I feel about police, our systems surrounding domestic violence and most of my story – which I don’t cover up anymore and I’m certainly not protecting my abuser anymore. Anyone who knows me, would tell you I’m respectful of everyone I meet – but believe me, if you work for NSW Police Force right now – you don’t want to meet me because you get a different side to that story and here’s why:
It was 31 December 2013.
I was getting ready to go out with friends to celebrate New Years Eve.
I didn’t have a care in the world. My music was playing.
For the first time all year, I felt happy.
Four weeks before I had left an abusive relationship. During that next four weeks there was torment and more abuse and push and pull like you wouldn’t believe. I was involved with a narcissist but because of the constant lies, deception and manipulation – I couldn’t see it. And I didn’t realise how dangerous that was to me … until this day. The day my life stopped. So here’s what happened…
I’m sitting there naked in front of my full length mirror getting ready.
I’ve just put some foundation on – no other make up.
My intercom buzzes.
There’s two police waiting to talk to me with some “paper work”.
And I look back at that moment and I think wow! How’s that for desperation? He stopped me going out with friends all year. He ruined every happy event to the point of exhaustion. And now this? Well I knew I couldn’t be dreaming – because it was right in line with everything else he’d done, including filing for divorce on his wife’s birthday. What I still have difficulty accepting is that the police supported his abuse! The AVO was “non-urgent” so why wouldn’t they stop for just one moment and go “It’s New Years Eve, this is non-urgent … she’s complained about him three times already, it’s an ongoing dispute … really, it can probably wait – I’m sure he’ll survive another day if she lifts his wiper blades again.”
Clearly the fact an abusive partner WOULD target New Years Eve in a bid to crush my plans and stop me going out, just didn’t come into the equation at all.
Well … to my stalker (yup, still subscribed twice there, I see, still have your fake Facebook profile … good on you, you loser!) and you were the ultimate kill-joy: I just want you to know it didn’t stop me. I still went out.
And I had fun!
In fact, in one night, I had more fun than I’d had all year.
I had more fun than I EVER had with him!
And then at midnight, I declared the year of Awesome.
So if you think the day life stopped, and the day my soul shattered into a billion pieces that I changed from the life-loving person I am, you’re wrong.
So here lies my frustration with the day my life stopped:
The “paperwork” called him a “defacto”.
But he never lived with me – and I never lived with him.
And I wouldn’t call it a relationship when I thought we were in it and he deceived me and his wife so badly for an entire year. That’s not a relationship.
So … where was the evidence?
The paperwork said I asked about his “ex wife”.
But they never divorced.
In fact, they never even separated which is what I was questioning about!
And the police then ask me on the phone if he’s back with her… what the fuck? Is this a test??
Where was the evidence at the time that he WASN’T with her?
So I complained – because the majority of their reasons for serving me were fictionalised beyond recognition. And they said:
“You left nine voicemail messages for him”.
But here’s the thing…
He didn’t have a voicemail. He had a moment of white noise and right to the beep.
Plus, I knew, after a year of being with him that he never listened to his voicemail messages – so why would I leave a message?
And so I asked: “Did you listen to the content of just ONE of those messages?”
Well then WHERE was the evidence?
In the constable’s protest and determination that his manipulated evidence was fact, he continued reading out the alleged times – this is the same man trying to manage my complaint, I suggest he keeps his day job because customer service certainly isn’t a strong point – because as I cried out: “I couldn’t have done that because I was in the basement at that time, I can’t get reception there!”
WHERE WAS THE GOD DAMN EVIDENCE?
We were getting nowhere so I asked why the police didn’t call me before serving me on his behalf.
Back pedal: “The constable thinks he did, but he can’t remember”
Even from his tone I could hear the doubt. He was LYING and he knew it!
At that point I realised I was discussing this with police defending police. I will NEVER trust police for my protection or the protection of others again. EVER!
And don’t get me started on their ridiculous times – I wasn’t even home at the times they alleged: I was out with my parents! Ha! And I have a text exchange verifying all that. But alas, pretty sure the next claim would be that I have a hidden time machine!
I laugh – but my belief that police were there to protect people was shattered.
I can’t begin to express my disappointment in knowing I’m entirely unprotected: by police and our systems.
And now I realise the ugly dangerous world as it really is. This is happening in Australia, what I thought was a safe country. And it’s the scary truth. Particularly for those in domestic violence situations. Now I empathise on a level that not many people can – because not only is it unsafe, but our systems aren’t working to protect anyone.
The constable then moved the conversation to directly accuse me of deliberately being misleading in my complaint:
He told me I lied to the ombudsman and I tried to deny all the allegations made.
I looked back at my complaint today – that is INCORRECT. It clearly states my awareness of what I did. There’s not even a slight attempt to cover it up.
I DON’T LIE! But my abuser does. Police do. People do. People lie…
And there is nothing you can do about it.
So at the end of the day: what does evidence matter?
People can happily stop your life even without evidence, without reason, without you “deserving” the pain you are set to experience. That’s how life goes.
What’s weird, in reflection on that final conversation, is that that accusation itself didn’t bother me. People make mistakes. People judge. People are just people.
It was the fact that constable made me doubt myself – just like my abuser did – that bothered me most.
It was like being abused all over again.
I look at the evidence I gathered and it’s so clear to me.
The abuse I didn’t see before is SO clear. The control. The harassment. The threats. THE WHOLE ENTIRE CYCLE IS RIGHT THERE! And it is a cycle.
The being served with an AVO, the intimidation displayed in the court house, the “act normal” for my birthday – just three days later, the smear campaign when I didn’t respond, the attempt to bring me down publicly via my blog. It’s all there in the evidence collected and it’s certainly evident!
It was there all along. Blind Freddy and his blind fucking cousin could see it!
I can’t look over the evidence anymore because I just get angry (clearly). Mostly at myself for being so naive. And beating myself up … that gets me nowhere, because I am the only one who gets it. I was there!
And if they can’t see it – just on the evidence before them, then why are they working on domestic violence cases?
And if they do see it, because it’s so obvious, and they really are just covering it up … then why are they working with victims of domestic violence?
All you see in the media is RESPONSE. People dying from domestic violence.
I haven’t heard one “Thankfully they had an AVO against that person and so they left them alone and they lived happily ever after?” Why not? Because that’s not how it works. Abuse is soul-destroying.
How much counselling has my abuser got – who claims I abused him. I bet none. He got nothing for his mental health and wellbeing. I put my life on it. He’s just a super-victim, right? And that’s how I can clearly see narcissism. Counselling for both people involved should be a mandatory condition of an AVO – sorry taxpayers but it’s true! Because I can promise you – it would’ve stopped him. He hates counselling as narcissists do because it doesn’t bode well for their perfect image.
One thing the constable admitted was it didn’t sound right. Things I was saying were things a victim would say. Of course that in the end was inferred that I’d just done my research to intentionally sound like that, because I want to help people in my situation. I couldn’t possibly have been the victim, despite the evidence in front of them. No words. No words on how this was managed at all.
I hate police now. I’ve never been like this before. I very rarely tar people with the same brush because they resemble something that hurt me. I’ve never said “I hate men” after a break up. But I hate police. Yup, all of them. There: I said it.
Being served with an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order for lifting windscreen wiper blades, is kind of the new form of getting your hands chopped off for stealing a loaf of bread. I can’t imagine this happening to anyone else: how did I get so lucky? :)
And my self talk got dragged down to this:
“No one gets it. No one understands. No one can help me.”
But you know what? That’s how it is when life stops!
THAT doesn’t just happen to me. When life stops – no matter how it stops – that’s what self talk does.
NO ONE does get it!
NO ONE does understand!
Only you because you were there – the whole time.
So my story isolated me just like my abuser planned, targeted and wanted. I can’t believe someone could be so cruel and evil. Let alone someone I loved. Someone I chose to love.
It still shocks me every morning I wake up and my first thoughts are still: “Wow, I’m here, that really happened!” And that overwhelming feeling of betrayal. That’ll fade in time. I can sit with that.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my new place – but the move wasn’t under ideal circumstances.
And no, I wasn’t asked to move, but the day life stopped: I made the decision I should’ve made a long time ago, without waiting for my friends or family’s permission this time. But if I moved a month before, I wouldn’t be in the Safe Haven where I am now… everything happens for a reason.
So lots of people have come to me recently and asked how I got back up.
What was my “secret” – what could they do?
That’s the weird thing. You definitely know the day life stops.
You experience this soul-shattering crunch.
And it’s impossible to prepare for.
But it’s so difficult to know what to do next.
It’s the broken plate, no matter what you do, it’ll never be the same.
Life will never be the same.
So here’s what I did…
The day my life stopped – I stopped.
I stopped dating.
After 14 years of toxic and abusive relationships – I hopped off the dating treadmill with no interest or inclination for getting back on.
I stopped going out.
I go to work, I come home. Repeat.
Once the door closes at either end, that’s where I stay. I won’t even go to the grocery store.
I stopped communicating with people.
I closed Facebook. I stopped blogging. Kept conversations short. I think people find it hard to know what to say to me too. I’m not the same person. I’m broken now. You can see it. I can recognise a shattered soul anywhere now.
I stopped blogging like I’m invincible and I started sharing the reality of what I live.
Surprisingly my blogs have become more popular, maybe because they’re real now? That’s great and welcome to every one of my new supporters, I’m so happy to have you here … but it’s also not the world I want to live in … it’s not the reality I once knew. I kind of liked my cocoon. But it’s alright, I’m strong, and I’m happy to share my lessons.
I stopped feeling safe.
Now I watch my back – everywhere I go. For him. For his wife. For his kids. For the police (like a fugitive). For whoever he sends to watch me.
I stopped eating – overnight.
I dropped from size 10 to size 6. I don’t have much of an appetite still to this day. I never regained my weight.
It’s been like a broken bone … I’d say a broken arm but it’s more significant … more like a broken back – without medication to numb the pain.
It’s taken a long time to adjust to the break.
To overcome the trauma. To sleep without nightmares.
To just get on with life.
It’s been hard.
I don’t think I’ve lived a single day since when I haven’t gone over it again and again.
My life stopped completely for six solid months.
I even pushed my family away who offer unconditional love and support.
I’m probably the luckiest person in the world to have my family. They’re not perfect, but they’re perfect when it comes to offering that.
They’ve got no fucking idea how hard this has been for me and how hard it still is. No idea. No one does.
And reconnecting has been really hard. Not just with them and other people, but also with myself.
I don’t trust anyone like I used to. I don’t love like I used to. I’m not attached to anything anymore.
Take everything you want.
Do whatever you want to me.
I’ve numbed out to that now.
Like naturally numbed out.
I went from caring about every little thing, little miss life perfectionist straight to: I DON’T CARE!
It’s like since the day life stopped, a glass force field came down and surrounded me.
I know it’s meant to protect me but it also isolates me. Depends how you look at it, I guess.
The day life stops isn’t necessarily bad though!
And you’re not alone.
As I said, there’s lots of situations that make lots of people’s lives stop.
You’ll find your own way to celebrate it and when you do, you start to thrive.
That day your soul shatters, you start to see what you haven’t seen before, and you can make decisions.
And you’ll take a stand like never before, because somewhere deep in side you have something that triggers and screams: “THIS IS MY LIFE!” No matter how introverted you are.
Since the day life stopped I’ve:
- Cut the addiction to my abusive partner completely (and no one really gets the addiction to the abuser until you’re in it and have experienced it … that was the WORST THING I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED IN MY LIFE. Even beyond the trauma. Because he is a disgusting man in every aspect and logically I knew it but I was so trapped under this spell. I can’t even begin to explain. And my self worth and self esteem were non-existent – that’s why I want to work with people in domestic violence now: because I GET IT! I get that isolation, I get that addiction, I get that pain… I GET IT! And I’m going to use it!)
- Learned to love myself completely
- Forgiven myself and learned to trust myself again (that was the hardest part!)
- Started spending time on my own – because I actually enjoy my own company
- Started studying despite resistance to the field
- Come up with new life goals and a completely new direction
- Made decisions I would’ve been too scared to make
- Started a business – Relationship Free: facebook.com/relationshipfreepage
- I wrote to the magistrate who reluctantly handed down my six month AVO
- Lived for me and only me.
So if your life has stopped right now.
If you’re in that pit of despair where life just dumped you off and forgot about you.
My suggestion to you is: STOP!
- Stop judging yourself
- Stop doubting yourself
- Stop everything you need to
- Forgiving yourself
- Trusting yourself
- Being honest with yourself
Many of you may remember Rihanna got THUGLIFE tattooed on her knuckles at some point.
I never understood that. What a stupid thing to do, right?
And I judged. Just like people judged me when I put it on my Facebook. Testing, testing…
But you see: now I get it.
Now I understand what she means and why she did it – and I have a new respect for Rihanna because she exposed narcissistic abuse in the celebrity limelight in a way that’s never been done before.
The day life stopped: THUGLIFE began.
It means: The Hate You Gave Lives Inside For Ever. Anyone, even the most peaceful of people would understand after surviving this level of abuse.
So go do it!
Get a stupid tattoo that everyone judges you by – you only live once!
If the day life stopped impacts you to make you want to do something impulsive (so long as you’re not hurting anyone or yourself), trust it! Do it! Because it was that urge that lead me to study and respect the life I lost for a year to the man who subjected me to a torture known as narcissistic abuse until I was driven to breaking point.
And finally I want to finish with this. Three things to focus on from the day life stops:
- Reconnecting with yourself
- Figure out what you love, what you’re passionate about, what your purpose really is and do it
- Set new goals and go about achieving them.
On that note – I’m a couple of months off some big changes coming to fruition. I apologise if I miss a blog during this time, but I will be back! I want to thank everyone for following Happiness Weekly and particularly to my supporters (new and old) because it has been a tremendously difficult journey and I couldn’t have got this far without all of you.
Love, respect and acceptance,