It has been a minute…I know! Whilst at the back of my mind and perhaps heart too, I missed this space. Blogging was my outlet as it always made me feel better. There has just been so much happening this year and I have not made effort to blog. That is a huge problem, well to me anyway because I know and truly believe in doing more of the things that make you feel better.
So…too many things happening does not mean that being compulsively busy is a good or productive thing. In my personal life, I know that I have lacked focus in some areas of my life. So, me writing this blog post is a step in the right direction to work toward fixing that by making a conscious attempt to rid myself of such distractions.
People are busy with many different things that can waste their time and effort. I want to share my top 10 Emotional Time Wasters with you in a series of posts, with this one being the first and a very long one: Worrying about past mistakes. I suggest you grab yourself a snack and something to drink:
1. Worrying about past mistakes
Although I know I should not do this, I have spent some time worrying about past mistakes, more than I should. I have had some triggers through the news and social media posts which took me back to some of these phases in my life where I not only felt but was truly broken. To add some context, let me share an example:
I revisited images in my head of where my nose bled, or I had marks on my body which was a result of being in an abusive relationship, not just physically. I remember the tears, I remember the pain, almost like it was just yesterday even though that was many years ago.
I’ve seen headlines in the news recently about a young girl who committed suicide, some argue whether it was suicide or not. Some blame it on drugs. Some say she had mental health problems. Some say that the person she was engaged to had a history of abusing women. I don’t know the truth of what went on there.
What I do know, is that it took me back to a very dark time in my life.
There are many incidents of this abusive relationship I remember but I will share a few.
I remember one day, a work colleague asked about the mark on my back, she asked with concern “Nixx, what’s that mark on your back?” which could be seen through the open-back top I had on that day.
“I got hurt,” I made up yet another excuse for him and for myself. I was too embarrassed. No one could know.
I was at work when it happened, we worked at the same place. He had accused me being too friendly to my line manager and I swore that wasn’t the case. But he would not listen. Under the blue denim jacket, I wore a long fitting dress, shades of blues and purples. He came into my office, closed the door and started to “question” me. He pierced that pencil into my back, kept it there, turning it and digging deeper, whilst grabbing my arm. To this day, the mark on my back remains.
Another image that I remember very clearly, is having my head banged on the dashboard of the car as we were on our way to visit my family. He punched my head repeatedly and then he grabbed my hair and banged my head repeatedly on the dashboard. My scalp felt a bit mushy later as it swelled.
Another time, he hit me in the presence of his Mother and sister and when his Mum tried to stop him, he wanted to hit her too. He then dragged me by my hair from their place.
“I remember the bathtub being filled with blood, I use to also suffer nose bleeds but this was not a nosebleed, this was when he hit me so badly that my nose bled and bled…it felt like it was not going to stop.“
I could go on with examples …. but let me not.
I did not fight back except toward the end when I one day left some scratches on his hands when I tried to defend myself. By then I was broken, in every way possible. I had no will to live. I hated myself. I hated what I had become. I hated how he made me feel. I hated how he constantly accused me of things only to find out in the most awful manner ever, that it was him who was being unfaithful. Awful as in walking in on the two of them in bed together, yes, our bed in our home. I sat on the couch thereafter not knowing what to do, waiting for them to get dressed. Had to deal with her coming out of the room with my sweater. After 5 years of being together, you can imagine what this did to me. I think at that point in time, as awful as that was, it was also a sense of relief. My suspicions and my gut feeling proved to be true.
“I was pregnant at the time. I fell in love with this unborn child. “
We were not married but we lived together. During this pregnancy, I cried a lot because even though I didn’t know it at the time, he was cheating on me and the more I questioned him, the more violent he became. He kicked me, he punched me, knowing that I was pregnant. It did not stop him, he even kicked me on my tummy. All I could do was pray that my unborn child was okay. When he didn’t come home for a day and then it turned to weekends, I’d drive around looking for him, worried. He told me he has some issues and needs to deal with it and needs time on his own. I didn’t know what those issues were. I’d fall asleep waiting for him to come “home”, even leave the doors and gate opened. I cried and I cried. It felt like I was going mad to a certain degree. I wished that someone would come into the yard and just kill me. I didn’t want to be alive. I suffered in silence. Yet when I went to work, I put on a smile and I pretended that everything was okay. When I spoke to family, I pretended I was OK. No one knew….not even my best friend at the time.
But at almost four months, I lost the baby. This was one of the most difficult things I have had to deal with in my lifetime. For a full two years later, as I lived on my own, I slept with a set of clothes I had bought for the baby. I was so attached to him and I know it was a him because they had to induce labour and there was some complications and this resulted in me seeing this dead little body that came out of me as I squatted on that hospital bed. This image stayed with me with the years to follow. I could not let go for a very long time. I was angry at why I lost the baby. I could not deal with it. It affected me in every way…for a very, very long time.
I could not understand at the time why that happened and even though he cheated on me, which was when I finally walked out, I still loved the baby that never lived. There are not enough words to describe the loss I felt then, which was even greater than the relationship ending. When I look back now, I feel everything has a reason for happening even if we don’t understand it at the time. Now I have a beautiful son and a man I am proud to call husband who accepts and loves me for me and has never judged me by my past circumstances!
I lost the baby around the same time I found that he was cheating on me, and although I had always had suspicions, even with close friends and family telling me, I never wanted to believe it. I had to see it with my own eyes, and I sadly did! But on the other hand, perhaps if I did not right then, the abuse would have gone on longer.
For many years later, I asked myself, what did I do wrong? Why, why, why? Right after all this had happened, I reached an emotional state of depression (assuming). I didn’t get treatment or professional help but if I think back to the thoughts that governed my mind, I probably should have. It’s clear now that those experiences affected my Mental Well-being, they distracted me from many things in my life.
When we first met, it was a beautiful romance, and we were madly and adventurously in love. We shared some amazing experiences and moments in life. But I guess deep down, he had issues that made him do these things to me. I was too young and naive back then to realise that I couldn’t fix him and that it was not my job to.
I thought love had to hurt. I thought I had to be forgiving. I thought I had to prove my love and that it was so strong that I would be patient enough for him to change. I worried about what people would say if they found out.
The changes didn’t happen whilst we were together, it only got worse. Have I forgiven him? Of course yes. There is no remorse toward him whatsoever. I can regret the 5 years we spent together, but how is that going to change or help anything? Like I said, we had some amazing moments with some of the best fun times of my life and I did love him then. He had to of course have some good in him for me to have loved him then.
So today, I share with you glimpses of that relationship with my son in my mind.
When I read about similar stories on the news and social media, I worry about my son. I do not want him to be man who abuses anyone in any way. As awful as the experience was, I have learned from it and it has made me stronger and more resilient – over the years, not right after, cos I sadly did not learn my lesson back then and the next 2 relationships followed a similar pattern of abuse.
I can only hope that they too have changed and are better men who now have families that they love and respect.
But my son is not the only person I worry about. I worry about young girls and women who are now in abusive relationships. I know what it feels like and I know how it gets to a point where you feel so worthless that you even become suicidal or attempt suicide. It’s not worth it. Walk out whilst you can. You don’t need to be with anyone who is abusive. Whether you come from a broken home and just seeking to be loved or whether you were innocently speaking to someone else and got wrongfully accused, there is NO reason or justification of why someone should abuse you! Even if the person is troubled and has suffered abuse themselves, it’s still not validation for abuse!
So even at 42, here I am, happily married and a proud Mother, but I still have memories that are far from pleasant. Yet, I have chosen to grow from such mistakes. I am a good person; I have no doubt about that, and good people make mistakes too. Would we be any good if we did not forgive? You see, the forgiveness is not for them but for you. Resentment does not put you on the path towards goodness, it is just a time, energy, and effort waster.
In life, you will make many mistakes, just move on. Do not let them hold you back. Do not let them rob you of your time. When you do think about it, as you naturally will, be proud of how far you have come since then.
We do not talk about these things often. I know I didn’t. I kept it a secret from many. The more we keep such secrets, the more we learn to live with it. Life is not and should not be about enduring such things. We should live our best lives and that means making great choices towards things and people who make us happy and bring out the best in us. How do we measure success? Is it the car we drive or the size of our house? Is it the heartache and abuse we have overcome? To me, the latter is a far greater success. No man or woman or boss or parent is worth you taking away your life. Being able to overcome matters of the heart is what will allow you to be ready for the world – whether that means travelling the world or climbing up the corporate ladder or being amazing parents, none of that will be easily attainable if you don’t deal with your health – not just physical but Mental Health too!
So whilst I have spent some time worrying about past mistakes in the past, I learned I cannot changed what already happened. I learned it limited me from other things. I have realised that this was a time waster. Whilst it is good to reflect, I know I sometimes I go overboard thinking and wondering too much on how I overcame all of that! When instead, I should spend more time focusing on and thinking of ways to ensure we nurture this young Little Man into someone who will treat people with respect. So I do admit that whilst it took me many years to get over that, it’s because I didn’t let go soon enough at the time and I wasn’t able to move forward.
I hope you enjoyed this read which is just part 1 of my series of posts on time wasters. I do hope you are looking forward to the next post in this series – where I also use my real life experiences to elaborate and add context.