There are many things that people might think are the worst things about the kind of relationship I’m in. Maybe they think it’s the shouting and screaming or they may believe it’s the actual words that get said. They may see it as the manipulation that’s the hardest thing to bear or the constant worry that the verbal and emotional abuse could become violent. They might even think that the worst thing is the fear that no-one would ever believe that this man, this funny, warm, kind man they all see, can actually be a controlling and abusive bastard. But none of those things are the worst thing.

The very worst thing about being in an abusive, controlling and manipulative relationship is losing yourself, losing your identity. I no longer know who I am. I got lost somewhere along the way and so today I decided to reacquaint myself with myself, or at least as much as I can remember about me. It’s somewhere to start in finding myself once more.

I am thirty-six years and nine days old. I have been married and divorced once. I live with my partner, Tom and my children, Josh, Alice, Katie and Annie. Tom is the father of Annie. Alice and Katie’s father is Greg. Josh’s father is Danny. I have three sisters; Millie, Izzy and Sasha . I am an auntie to eight nephews, four nieces and another due in June next year, gender unknown. Both my parents are alive but have divorced. My mum is now remarried. My Dad, although he did remarry, is now divorced. I believe it is my job to be there for my children and not send them to childcare and so I only work when Tom can look after them which isn’t very often. I have always felt this way so other than a little evening work when desperate for money, I have stayed home with the children. Those evenings I had to work, Greg looked after the children.

I had my first child at the age of seventeen. Josh was planned and very much wanted and loved. Josh’s dad, Dan, cheated on me and left me when Josh was one and so I became a single parent. I met Greg three months after Dan left although we didn’t live together or marry until eight years later. We had Alice and Katie in that time, two girls that completed our family. Nine years after meeting, Greg and I married. Two years later, I left him and later divorced him. Four months after leaving Greg I met Tom. We moved in together three years ago and decided to have a child together. Annie, my final child.

I love many things in life. First and foremost, and for always, my four beautiful, wonderful children. I love music, I love to sing and to dance. I can play the piano. I used to be able to play the violin and cello. I have had singing lessons and I belong to a choir. I love photographs and photography. I’ve always loved photography, capturing moments forever in time. I sometimes take photos for other people, some people even pay me. I’m unsure at this moment in time whether to pursue this as a business opportunity.  I love genealogy. I started to trace my family tree about a year ago. I have discovered many facts along the way and only wish that I’d had something of each person to look back at now; a photo, a journal, anything.

As I write this today, it is 9.35pm. I am in my bed with Annie asleep beside me in her purple pyjamas. We will cuddle up all night and in the morning she’ll wake me with a kiss. Josh is in bed ready for a 7am start at work, he is training to be a baker. I am very proud of my son. Alice and Katie are at their Dad’s house. They went there Christmas night and will be back on Wednesday night. I can’t wait, I’ve missed them terribly.

Tom is downstairs probably watching telly and drinking beer. Our relationship is hanging on by a thread and although we will see the end of this year in as a couple, I don’t think we’ll last till much into next year.

I am just about sane but I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to say that if I don’t leave soon.

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