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How I Escaped From a Killer Marriage Despite Being At Rock Bottom
The usual barriers to change are lack of: money, time, self confidence, opportunity, energy, trust in the flow of life and in the power of the Universe.
When ‘positive’ writers bang on about how you can take certain steps and everything will come right for you it sounds great, but just try doing it when your life feels as if it’s gone as wrong as it possibly can and you are at rock bottom.
Or as I said to someone who tried to take me down a peg or two “If you’re going to do that you’re going to need a spade to dig me up first because this so called self confidence you see is currently below rock bottom and you’re looking at a person just trying to keep going”.
The stubbornly keeping going nearly came to an end a few short weeks later when my normally happy mind flirted with the idea that a bottle of painkillers might actually kill the pain once and for all. Cue immediatetrip to the doctors for support and guidance – but no tablets! I’d seen what Valium could do and the further problems it caused and I wasn’t going there.
Once I’d faced up to the truth that there was nothing in my life that was right I felt completely daunted by the scale of the mess.
I was in a poorly paid dead-end job because my parents had put a stop to my education before I took any meaningful “she has a brain” style exams. This was in the mid 1980’s in the UK and believe me when I tell you that if you didn’t have money you didn’t have squat at the time, or the opportunity to develop squat!
I was in the marriage from hell with a man I shouldn’t have dated for more than 6 weeks and yet I did the whole white wedding trip down the aisle thing whilst thinking “what the hell am I doing?”
I lived in a house owned by him and his mother to which I had contributed my fair share of money for improvements etc., but was advised by a solicitor that the most I could claim would be 1/4 of the value of the house and that and more would go in solicitor’s fees. So in the 1980’s I would have committed 17 years of my life to a meaningless relationship; my hard earned pennies to a house I didn’t own; my entire career to a dead-end, underpaid, undervalued job; and my self confidence to a person who it turned out was more than a bit screwed up.
My parents were totally focussed on my brother and hated my husband’s wife, my husband thought less than nothing of my parent’s daughter, my in-laws weren’t impressed by either of those people and wanted something different, and my colleagues didn’t like any of those 3. My brother didn’t like me and his then wife made our lives a misery. My friends wondered who I was and what I’d done with Debbie (yes I was called Debbie in those days), and really didn’t like the look-alike in my place. And I hated all those me’s with a vengeance. It was not a healthy situation.
Speaking of health, years and years of stress and anxiety were beginning to take their toll and I never felt well mentally or physically. I finally found myself under the hospital for a below the waistband condition that had never really bothered me, with the problem that had bothered me getting worse due to the stress, and totally freaked out by being out of control and ignored.
I was getting a lot of support from one branch of my family, but that really meant that I was moaning to them a lot and no one was asking “what are you going to do about it?”
What would have been the point though? No money to pay a mortgage, no self confidence to believe I could achieve more than doing my hair every morning, a low-paid, dead-end job, feeling unhealthy all the time, and no energy whatsoever to do more than lie on the sofa watching TV and try not to get into any more trouble with anyone – like thatwas ever going to work, I was always wrong for everyone. As fast as I pleased one person three disgruntled people took their place.
Added to that the career I was in was so unique and ‘weird’ in the words of one interviewer that companies said they couldn’t understand what I was talking about so couldn’t employ me.
You can probably see why I thought there was no way out for me and nothing I could do to save myself. However, that wasn’t true.
I was speaking to my doctor one day and after saying that she’d like to borrow my husband to find out whether another patient really was on the edge of a nervous breakdown because if anyone could push someone over the edge he could, she gave me what she saw as my three options in life… and you may be a bit shocked here but remember that she knew me very well indeed.
1. Commit suicide (but you won’t do that because you’re too strong).
2. Walk away from your husband and family (but you can’t do that because you’re too weak).
3. Stay put, build your strength, learn not to let any of them affect you, and then walk away (and you will do that because of who you are).
I went away and gave it some real thought, and I realised that deep inside me there was an enraged Spiritual being who knew that I hadn’t deserved what had happened and most definitely didn’t deserve what was going on. For the first time ever I discovered that my rock bottom was a f**k it trampoline!
I apologise for the allusion to bad language but that’s what happens. I get close to rock bottom and then I think “That’s IT, no one treats me like this!” and I hit that trampoline and start bouncing back up. I’m sure that if you look inside yourself that deep-down you will find your outraged younger self ready to bounce your butt back out of the mire.
So having discovered that there was a stubborn part of me that was not going to give up – no one was going to ruin my life for me because no one else was worth that – I started to think about what I could do, and here are the steps I took:
1. I had regular hypnotherapy to help me calm down, think clearly, and discover my inner truth. Admitting that I didn’t love my husband and never had was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. The idea of leaving him terrified me but I knew that one day I had to do it and the hypnosis helped me to cope with and build on the idea.
2. I battered at the doors of job agencies until I found one ready to help me, and through her an employer ready to give me a chance. I knew that my husband could afford to pay a mortgage so I knew I had to out earn him. I did so within 2 years.
3. I worked on myself. I learned to isolate my self-image from that of others, and to decide for myself whether or not I was in the wrong. It wasn’t easy to recognise the person that I had become because I wasn’t impressed by her but I did discover that she wasn’t always wrong and to blame, and actually she was a pretty decent person living amongst people no better than her very human self.
4. I embraced Spirituality and Spiritual thinking, and realised that as a Spiritual being I could create the person that I wanted to be and raise her myself. I saw myself as a small child and I ‘raised her’ the way I would have wanted to be raised into the person I would have wanted my child to be, and it worked. I like me.
It took me 6 years, which might sound like forever to you, but it was 6 years well spent because it built the foundations for my future. Even though I was still in the marriage it was a great place to start being discerning about what I believed and what I didn’t.
I used that difficult marriage to its best advantage and from that bad space I built my future. I used every relationship and experience, every job and hobby, every conversation and difficult situation to rebuild myself, and every day got easier and easier.
Finally in 1991 I walked out taking my two cats with me and dumping my clothes and jewellery at a charity shop on the way. Then the really bad time began.
I had met my current husband and soul mate of 22 years and counting and everything should then have been perfect. Except that after 17 years of telling me I was an idiot to stay with him my entire family and all but 2 of my friends sided with him completely and cut me adrift. I was made redundant when my company closed the London office, I couldn’t get a mortgage because I had no job, and I was homeless with 2 cats.
The only upside was that my first husband had looked after me financially, which was an amazing thing until he ruined it by telling me it was hush money. The problem was that I had confided in my family and they of course told him everything.
Even though my husband and I are soul mates we had a very lonely and difficult start to our relationship with no support during times of trouble, he was 13,000 miles from his family by his own choice – a very hard choice – and had no support anywhere. He had left his home country hurt and in desperation to escape the life he was leading, I was distraught because I’d lost my entire life not just an unhappy marriage, and neither of us could cope.
I landed up at yet another doctor who didn’t give me tablets he gave me support, and it took 6 months to sort out that latest load of stress. However, he told me something I have never forgotten, and this is what I want to share with you for three reasons, firstly to show you that when you see me saying that something canbe done you will know that I have done it; secondly to show you that someone who has been as low as you are could fight back; but most importantly to share this message:
If you are as low as it is possible to be and yet you are still battling on you are not weak you are strong. Weak people burst into tears when they break a fingernail and someone comes immediately to rescue them. Whereas anyone who hits rock bottom does so because they are so strong they took too much for too long before they finally cracked.
A person that strong can come back and create the life of their dreams given time and determination, and you clearly have both.
Don’t give up!
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