People With Depression.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression People With Depression.

It recently dawned on me that I’m part of an exclusive club. I don’t wear a badge or carry a membership card. But it requires a certain feature to be a member. Not many of my friends or family know of my membership, and I would rather it stayed that way (I’m not a Mason either, before you jump to conclusions). Although, when I say it’s exclusive – it isn’t really, because it transpires that there actually millions of us.

This exclusive club is depression.

Let me try and make this a little clearer. I learnt to drive when I was 17 and at 45 I’ve never been without a car. I’ve had some fantastic cars, and some real shockers. But I’ve always had a car of some sort.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression People With Depression.

Since having a driving licence I have always adored ‘Bentley’s’. They are such beautiful cars. The curves are such that I want to run my hands over them. The interior is such that I would happily sit inside for hours on end. And as for the engine, the roar is like an untamed beast insisting on liberation. What is there not to like about such a thing? But, if I had all the money in the world I would never buy one. Why? One may ask. Well the answer is simple. I wouldn’t want the attention. It would fill me with horror to think that people are looking at me.

So, I’m happy with my VW Golf. It does what I want (except the boot is too small). It gets me from A to B and no one gives me a second look when I drive into town. It can absorb itself into its surroundings and can be easily forgotten by people who see it. It just doesn’t shout out “look at me”.

So, what has this to do with depression?

This is complicated to answer but I hope that you, the reader, will be able to understand.

I am proud to have survived this illness although I have had it all my life. Yet I would rather the people who knew me didn’t know about it. I don’t want to be judged I want them to know me for the persona I am allowing them to see. I am happy to disappear in a crowd.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression People With Depression.

But this is an exclusive club to be in because some of the nicest people I have ever known have depression. And we are quiet about it. Perhaps because we don’t want to draw attention to something we have been made to feel ashamed about. We don’t want people pointing and judging.

Characters

Since setting up this website I have often taken steps to see how other people with depression get through life. I have found many depressive types. For ease, I have broken them down into three different categories;

  1. People who think they have depression – but don’t. These are tragic types. They shout from the highest peaks telling everyone how much they deserve attention and how life has been ‘so hard’ for them. These types get over depression as soon as they become occupied – or get the attention they think they deserve.
  2. People who know they have depression and are willing to talk about it only if they feel they have too. They cope with life on a secret basis based on techniques they have developed but don’t have the energy anymore to hide it as well as they used to.
  3. People who have depression and take measures to hide it. They struggle with the suffocating pain but don’t wish to make a fuss in-case it creates greater problems. They have created a persona that fits with how they think they should be seen. These depressives are tired but still holding on.

For this blog I want to completely dismiss type 1 depressive. They give depression a bad name and only suffer with their own vanity.

What I have discovered about people with depression.

Some of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting suffer with depression. Recently, I have been able to identify those types who try to hide it. When you are one it takes one to know one. But there are features I want us all to recognise.

Sympathy

People with depression can identify someone’s pain from a distance. What is worth knowing is that they can feel the pain others are experiencing. Even if it isn’t depression. Depressives don’t want to feel pain and as such feel the agony in others, yet know there is little they can do about it.

I can think of people I know with depression and I have spoken to a couple of them. The relief on their face when I share my feelings and thoughts is immeasurable. They are relieved that someone understands. Yet I have only ever told them privately. It’s just easier that way for everyone involved.

What surprises me is that many of these people had no idea I was a sufferer. Well, that’s simple, I perfected the art of hiding it but I found I had sympathy for those of whom had not mastered the art of camouflage.

A depressive will always understand a true sufferer and will have sympathy for how they are.

Do not judge

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression People With Depression.

Many depressives have had a lifetime of judgements and so do not want to judge others. I for one, do not wish to be seen as judgmental. We have all reached this point in our lives based on actions we have experienced. Who are we to judge others when we feel so little about ourselves?

A depressive will always love you for who you really are, not how you want to be seen. I adore all of my friends but especially love my depressive friends because they are genuine and will do anything to protect others within their circle. That takes a special kind of person of which non-depressives can appreciate.

Ability to listen

From my own experiences, I have found that when talking to a depressive you don’t have to say much. Listening is an art. Depressives don’t want sound bites and certainly not sympathy. They just want to say things and not for you to hear but to listen – and of course know they are not going to be judged.

Throughout my time with depression I have found that everyone thinks they are an expert and are keen to offer their advice (which is often wrong). I don’t need advice, I had a life time of that. We just want someone to listen and offer an alternative view – which is not advice. We just want to know you are there. Demands are not being made on anyone and there is no duress to make you stay. They just want to either listen or to be listened too.

Considerate

I have found that meeting other people with depression come from a range of backgrounds. Their journey to realisation has come from many sources and causes. As such people with depression are for more considerate of others than any other section of society. Our experiences are far and wide.

I know that people find different ways of dealing with their suffering. As a result, I would never make direct suggestions to them as that would be inconsiderate. What works for me works for me. Therefore, I appreciate other people systems they have in place. If it works then well done them.

Friendly

A depressive will never intentionally hurt anyone. I know I have hurt people and this has become a heavy burden of which I carry. I have said “sorry” so many times and undoubtedly will continue to do so. Equally, I am always happy to welcome back into my arms those of whom hurt me – although I may remain cautious.

I consider depressives as (generally) to be friendly. I know I try and appreciate the best in everyone. Equally, I try and offer the best I can to anyone. Is this a friendly characteristic? I hope so.

But when I think of people I know with depression they will always stop to say “hello” and ask how I am. Even though I will always tell them that I am “ok”.

We say we are “ok” because we don’t want to be a burden to others when we know they may have problems of their own. Yes this is being friendly, but it also overlaps into consideration.

Survivors

This is something people with depression very rarely recognise. If you have followed my blogs I have openly talked about ending it in the past. Having survived these periods, I can now call myself (today) a survivor. As previously stated, when I made my mind up to go I was ready to end it. It was only circumstances or coincidences that stopped me.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression People With Depression.

It takes a strong personality to stop doing something that you have drive and conviction to do. So, any survivors out there I personally congratulate you. We have all made it this far and this is something people without depression will never be able to appreciate.

Surviving in a hostile world is a daily struggle and getting through each day is far more than a simple achievement. It’s an accomplishment.

When writing this…

I have sat for about a week or so prior to writing this. I have tried to get a grip on who I am aiming it at. Am I aiming it at the depressive, the non-depressive or those of whom know a depressive?

Well, on reflection, it doesn’t matter. From the depressive point of view, I want to congratulate you for being a survivor and being the good person that you are. It is we who are in the exclusive club of which we don’t want people to know about.

But I am proud of my association with other depressives and my illness. I think it has made me into a good, caring man. And my associates are just lovely people – it’s just that you don’t know it yet. Or, perhaps like myself, I refuse to accept it.

For those of whom care for a depressive I want you to recognise these qualities that your loved one has. Let them know it. If needs be get them to read this blog. We know we can’t be easy to live with and we know that. But I feel a depressive has a lot to offer you. Its just that you need to be patient with us.

Common denominator

I will end as I began. Depression is an exclusive club. Only kind, considerate and loveable members can join. It just that we don’t see it in ourselves. Oh yes, it so happens we also have depression.

 

 

 

A Letter To My Older Self

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression A Letter To My Older Self

Time goes so quickly

When somebody mentions the 1990’s it feels like 5 years ago, but it isn’t, its nearly 30 years ago. And I find this a shocking revelation. I can still recall the songs played on the radio and I probably still own a few shirts from back then buried deep in my wardrobe. Time has passed so quickly, too quickly in fact. It almost seems unfair to think about the time I have wasted or the positive things I could have done.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression A Letter To My Older Self

I probably won’t have another 30 years left (who knows). But I want to take the time to talk to my future self. I want to be able to, one day, look back and read this letter and say “oh yeah, I remember that”. Or “that problem seemed so massive at the time”. Better still, I hope to say the following; “I survived it all” and “I’m happy now.”.

So much to say

This letter has taken a while to consider. Undoubtedly, I have probably left some important things out, but that’s ok. I can always write another. A part 2 if you like.

But below is my letter addressed to my older self. I want to be in my mid 60s when I read this letter. I can picture myself now. Balder, thinner (I hope). But I want to remain gentle and loving. I want to be warm with a wealth of knowledge to share and appreciate. But most of all I want to be content with who I became and I want to have buried the evils that have plagued my life at present. Did the abuse turn me into a better man than I could ever have envisaged or did it finally take a hold of me of which could not be shaken?

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression A Letter To My Older Self

I want to live and be strong. I have a whole lot of love to give in its many forms. Perhaps I just want to know that I eventually had the opportunity to reach my full potential.

Anyway, here is my letter to myself…

My Letter To Myself

Hello

I’m glad you’ve taken the time to read this letter. It has been a long time in the making, but was very hard to submit into words. After all, how do you talk to yourself in an unknown situation, at an unknown time?  Of course, you are older now and I hope that you are well.

Firstly, if you are reading this I want to congratulate you. I’m pleased that you never took your life. I know the depression was hard and although you didn’t want to give in to it, the option of ‘ending it all’ was always there, over hanging your every thought and action. If you recall you never feared dying and that was always admirable. But it never stopped the pain of your past and present.

Fear

Yet this has been my biggest fear. When I was ready to die, I really was ready to go. But it’s all about what came next. Would I have scored an own goal and missed out on the best years of my life yet to come? Would the pain of those left behind been too heavy a price to pay for my weakness? Perhaps it’s easy to suggest, as an alternative, that I may not even have been missed. Do you recall the months of planning and researching the best way to go? If you remember you did indeed discover the painless way and you were happy to keep it a secret for years. I just hope that you put those thoughts down and picked up new revelations. Things that had a bigger and better meaning. Will I see them too, soon? I am trying to seek them out, just need a bit of direction at the moment.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression A Letter To My Older Self

I just hope the future was brighter and gave you everything you ever desired.

Monetary wealth is not riches

I know you never hunted for financial riches, but you spent all your life searching for other riches in life such as acceptance, warmth and love. Please tell me you found them? Are you happier now? If so do you measure your happiness in a different way to how I do it now? Most importantly though, did you learn anything from those awful years?  I keep telling myself that within these grey clouds a silver lining must be found. I must admit, it is only now that I do see glimmer of hope and it’s a warm feeling to know it is there. It’s a happy feeling and I hope to feel its full embrace very soon.

Pets

Do you remember how much you loved animals and how you would go out of your way to show them affection. Animals for you gave you the unconditional love that you had always wanted. You knew it was easier to love animals than people at times. I just hope that your affection for animals remained and that you have a loving dog curled up around your feet as you are reading this. Next to a warm fire with the lights down low. I know that would make you happy.

Children

Your children grew into lovely people I’m sure. Did you maintain a good relationship with them? I know that your parents (in all guises) let you down. I am also aware that their style of parenting shaped yours. You never intentionally hurt them and always told them you loved them – this was a characteristic I liked about myself. I was always keen to let them know that parental love was important. And I always grabbed the opportunity for a hug.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression A Letter To My Older Self

If you recall, you have recently become a grandfather. We both know that he would be a good father. You will have to let me know how his parenting skills were. He often called or text with messages on what to do in certain situations. This gave you comfort because it showed he cared for his son. Perhaps I had done right by him. After all he has the makings of a good father – that was all you wanted from him.

Country living

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression A Letter To My Older Self

I was always drawn to the countryside. The early years were spent living in the city and the first opportunity I had to leave I grabbed it with both hands. Living in the countryside was a liberating experience. I would spend hours walking through fields and down remote country lanes. The air was always so much better and the smells made me feel complete in the knowledge I felt at home. I really hope that you did finally find your little ‘bolt-hole’ deep in the country side. As far away from other people as you wanted. Do you remember that time telling your careers teacher that you wanted to be a hermit in response to his question “what do you want to be when you’re older”? I always thought this was a funny response.

I suppose by the time you read this there have been advancements in photographic technology, and you have taken full advantage on your country walks. It would be nice to know that the love for photography never wavered.

Those aims and ambitions

Contrary to what you are probably thinking right now, I did not have any massive demands of me, or false expectations or goals that I might have failed to meet. I was just happy to get through each day. I’m also glad that I broke down my own barriers to accept the help when it was required. I did it for my benefit really, because I wanted me to grow old surrounded by the important things in my life. Those were the simple goals. One day at a time. Not a big house or a massive car. But self-contentment and self-value.  We both know it was difficult to find when the timing was tough but I’m glad we saw it through. Did I achieve those things? Did I achieve any of it?

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression A Letter To My Older Self

If you are not who I imagine now, I’m ok with it, I’ll support you. Because maybe who I’m imagining is someone else, and you are—well you’re not someone else, you’re me. And what you are now is the product of the decisions I have made today.

For me, at this moment, the biggest lesson I have learnt is the idea of allowing myself to be whoever I am. I am also looking forward to making plans for who I should become. And that for this present moment, is more than enough.

Laying to rest those ghosts

Was there ever a time that you were able to lay the ghosts of abuse to rest? I accept that you may not have ever let your younger years go. They were after all your formative years. But what about the failed romantic relationships? I really hope you have now got to the point whereby you struggle to remember her name. I was always adamant that I would never forgive her but only feel pity. Was this option the best to take or did anger and hate consume me further before I could let it go?

My advice now

Before I go, I want you to heed my words. I want you to love your children even as they are now fully-grown adults. You sacrificed so much for them and they were ultimately your reason for holding on. Really love the woman you may have now. Although you know you could survive on your own, sharing these years with someone special is all that you had desired throughout your life. Let it be. Enjoy her and be what you want to be with her.

I hope you are happy

Love

Keith

 

Forgive – Why should you?

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Forgive - Why should you?

Religion preaches forgiveness

Let’s make this clear from the start. I am not religious. I was brought up as a Methodist but gradually turned my back on formal religion as I grew older. There are many reasons for this but far too many to include in this blog. Not being religious does not make me a bad person. Far from it. I’m more at peace than most of the religious people I know.

Today I attended a funeral. I always enter a funeral with an open mind. When it comes to religion I have a level of respect for people who can have a belief in something that has questionable ‘facts’. I’m not having a ‘pop’ at religion. As I see it, it offers relief and support to those of whom require it. That must, therefore, be a good thing. Anyway, one vein I have found with most religions is its attempt to ‘forgive’. This is a massive request to ask of most people. Especially people who have been hurt or are hurting right now.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Forgive - Why should you?
Religion

From my own perspective, I have experienced hatred (I’ve possibly been hated too). But I have found my hate turn to resentment then pity, and finally apathy. But why is forgiveness not the answer to all the hurt and pain we feel? I know (deep, deep down) that is probably the best thing to do. But I don’t think ‘forgiveness is the ‘be all – end all’ to the pain of abuse.

Does forgiveness deny the pain you have been subjected to?

I am trying so hard to forgive my ex for the things she has said and done. I refuse to excuse the reasons for her behaviours as she is responsible, as an adult, for those actions. And ultimately the consequences, to both herself and I.

I just feel at the moment, a sense of pity. Pity because she has no idea of what she has done, the problems that this has caused and the damage it has done. Furthermore, I feel pity for her as she will one day wonder why she is alone. She cannot depend on her looks for ever. They fade. But real beauty is based on character and personality. And hers, ladies and gentlemen is ugly. I feel pity for all of those things. Yet I still find it hard to forgive.

What are the benefits of forgiving someone?

I have seen it said in many self-help books that forgiveness can lead to:

  • Healthier relationships
  • Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
  • Less anxiety, stress and hostility
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Fewer symptoms of depression
  • Stronger immune system
  • Improved heart health
  • Higher self-esteem

Yet, she was the cause of all these problems. I have been proud of my physical health in general. I have never attended hospital although I do have a history of depression. I’ve never even had a filling. But the abuse I suffered left me with a greater level of anxiety, a greater level of depression and PTSD. And little, if any self-esteem.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Forgive - Why should you?

Yet I still feel pity for her, because I know I will get better. Her life is based on denial and bitterness. Her problems cannot be treated with medication alone. So I don’t need to forgive. I just have pity for her.

Forgiveness isn’t always a good idea.

I have literally found tonnes of literature stating that forgiveness can improve your mental and physical health. It also focuses on the idea of easing anxiety and depression.  Letting go of a grudge, it seems, may be up there with exercising and getting enough sleep as one of the best things you can do for yourself. But I believe that refusing to forgive is a healthy frame of mind that protects you against further damage. It further stops you from being someone else’s ‘door mat’. What’s wrong with that? From my point of view, nothing. I’m more than happy to promote self protection.

I think it is wrong and a fallacy to suggest to anyone that they cannot move on without forgiveness. To even suggest that this is the only way out of unhappiness is a cruel suggestion, especially when no one else has walked in your shoes. Let’s make it clear, it’s not anybody’s place to tell you when to forgive or not. It is your decision when, and only when, the time is right. Whether that is today, next year or never.

Forgiveness isn’t the only way to move on.

I have found that wanting to move away from the damage and hurt (isn’t that what we are trying to do?), does not require you to say “I forgive you”. You can get the same relief and escape from your pains by taking a new approach to problems.

Previously, my approach usually meant rolling over and accepting her poisons. However, my new approach involves; counselling, medication, keeping a journal and so on. I’ve not forgiven, yet I’m feeling pretty good. I think this is mainly down to the fact that it wasn’t me, it was all her. What is there to forgive when she would never change anyway. Forgiveness would be an utter waste of time. I have no anger, just pity for a lost soul. A soul who think’s its ok to abuse in all of it ugly forms.

Forgiveness gives licence to the abuser to remain blind

There is enough pressure already to try and rebuild our lives without the added pressure of not forgiving.  Especially to those who abused. And by the people who had no idea.

Undoubtably, I will probably get a long line of people criticising what I have said. That is perfectly fine. We are all entitled to our opinions and this is mine (I make no apology for it). But from my point of view if I forgave she would not see the damage she had done. because I had seemed to forgive so easily. I want her to know she has done wrong. Deep down I want her to stop for her own well-being. That does not require forgiveness. It requires pity.

In the kingdom of the blind, the one eyed is king

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Forgive - Why should you?
In the kingdom of the blind

But, I firmly believe that you should not be carrying the burden of not forgiving. No one can point the finger at you and condemn you for feeling pain and distress caused by others. After all, would our abusers condemn us for standing up for ourselves. Mine didn’t condemn, she just dug herself in even deeper and I walked away. Therefore, I have no reason to forgive someone who continues to damage everything around her and will continue to do so. I just pity her.


Forgiveness Is wrong

 

Men Are Idiots – But Not All Idiots Are Men

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Men Are Idiots - But Not All Idiots Are Men

Men are simple creatures

I have had this conversation so many times with female friends who have tried to work men out. The answer is simple – we are just not as complicated as women. All we want is the quiet life. Men just like the simple things. We like a routine that we can recognise and plod on with. Men don’t like complicated things that women seem to enjoy. We can be showered and dressed in a matter of minutes whereas women take hours. Women like lots choices which can over complicate things. Men just like ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. I can go into a shop and purchase a single item, whereas women can spend all day visiting every shop in the town to buy the first blouse they found 8 hours previously. Women can bitch for hours about other women. Men either ignore them or have a fight and its over with.

Men and women are so different it is amazing that we get along at all. However, this difference is killing men and yet we fail to recognise it. And why is that? It’s because it’s easier not to admit there is a problem than to address the problems head-on.

Middle men

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Men Are Idiots - But Not All Idiots Are Men

I don’t know when it happened but men seemed to have lost their way. I have previously mentioned, in earlier blogs, that my father acted in a way expected of his generation. Whereas, my son acts in his. The two are very opposite but they seem to be equally as happy about it. But somehow, my generation have found itself squeezed into the middle. I am 45 and its seems that my generation are stuck between the stiff upper lip, hard and unemotional view of my father and the more liberal open mindedness of my son. So, what do we do? Well it appears that men of my age group just sit there and do nothing because we don’t actually know what to do – and it’s the easier option than making a fuss.

Men are rubbish

My observations have found that men are rubbish at; taking medications and rubbish at admitting any form of medical conditions (especially depression and anxiety – men are not allowed to have depression vis-à-vis to be seen as weak). Furthermore, men are also rubbish at admitting problems at home and even worse at realising that we are victims of domestic abuse.

There are two sides to what I have just said. Firstly, as stated, men fail to either admit or recognise when they are the victims of domestic abuse. But equally, I have met men who also fail to admit when they are the abusers. Both stances are dangerous and toxic.

It is no surprise, therefore, that there is a lack of male refuges or support for men because, it appears, (because of our lack of admittance) that the problem does not exist. I’m telling you now it does exist and it is as real as that experienced by our women folk. When I was planning to escape I initially found no-where local that was willing to take me because I was a male victim of domestic abuse.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Men Are Idiots - But Not All Idiots Are Men
Speak up

Perhaps men need to speak up about the abuse we experience at the hands of a violent partner. We equally need to accept that there is no shame with suffering depression. Yes, it is a mental health problem but I would have no problem admitting to you if I had broken my arm. As a man I have no shame telling you I was a victim of domestic abuse by my female partner. And yes, I have depression and PTSD. However, I would never had admitted that 12 months ago. But I have, and it feels good to share it with you.

Doris Lessing

“I FIND myself increasingly shocked at the unthinking and automatic rubbishing of men which is now so part of our culture that it is hardly even noticed,” declared Doris Lessing, whose novels turned her into a feminist icon in the 1960s, in a speech earlier this year. “Men seem to be so cowed,” she continued, “that they can’t fight back, and it is time they did.”

Male health

According to a recent British government report (Dr Clare, the British psychiatrist 2009), men are more likely than women to commit suicide, suffer from coronary heart disease, have a serious accident or drink too much alcohol. But even though we all know that, we are still willing to sit back and do nothing. If I ever visit my doctor it is only because a woman has told me to go. The only reason I am taking anti-depressants is because a female told me to go. Therefore, the only reason I am still alive is undoubtedly because of a woman (and she knows who she is). I therefore, thank women for being what they are. Perhaps us men need to take a leaf out of their book.

“A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do, but women can do anything.”

Females have become proficient at their art. Along with their developing successes in the work place, women have also won social acceptance for their right to reject work in favour of motherhood. In other words, women can hold the briefcase, or the baby. But at least they can choose.

Men are having to be encouraged and bribed into becoming teachers for very young children. Obviously, this is because men fear being suspected of having paedophile tendencies. Yet there is a rise of women being charged with sexual offences against children. But we still see no problem having female teachers in younger years classrooms.

I won custody of my sons (from a previous relationship) when he was very young. One of the first things that was asked of me was how was I going to manage both working and being a single father? The reality was that I had no choice; I had to do both because that was expected of me as a male. I attended ‘mother’ and toddler groups, only to be told that it was for mother’s only!!!. I’m pleased to see that this has changed and that my son (who is now a father) never faces the prejudice I felt.

Emotions

There is nothing new in the idea that men are conditioned to suppress emotions. Generation after generation of men have been taught not to show their feelings. This was expected of me during my period of growing up. I can never recall my father crying, even at his own father’s funeral. Yet, over the last 3 months I have shed buckets full of tears. I was taught to suppress any feeling or emotions as this ‘gave something of my identity away’ and was, therefore, an element of weakness that as a male was unacceptable.  But I am now questioning this self-sacrifice as I had fallen into an abusive relationship and expected it to be ok. This lack of emotion also led (I would argue) to my long history of depression and ultimately self-doubt.

I want my children to be equal but not the same

As a father, I don’t want either of my children (both son’s and daughter) to feel second class as a parent or partner. Equally, I don’t want them to be weak and to become an abuser or abused.  But I also want them to celebrate their differences. I am proud to be a male and equally proud of my female friends.

How Male Bashing is Killing Our Sons

Is It Better For The Children To Stay In An Abusive Relationship?

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Is It Better For The Children To Stay In An Abusive Relationship?

Is it right to stay in a relationship because of the children?

The decision to end a relationship, especially when children are involved, is one of the most difficult decisions you can make. But is it right to stay?

Unfortunately, breakups tend to bring out the worst in people.  If you grieve then so must your children

Following the decision to end a relationship you have to deal with the fact that you no longer have a partner. However, the children have lost a parent. As a result, they may blame themselves for what has happened, they may withdraw and become introverted, and they may become aggressive.

Grief is the normal emotional response after the end of your relationship. Everyone grieves in different ways. Children, like adults, may grieve inconsistently, seeming fine one day, only to be very upset and depressed the next.

The children may:

  • Blame themselves for the breakup
  • Exhibit aggressive or withdrawn behaviour
  • Have regular nightmares or difficulty sleeping – they may want to sleep with you
  • Show out-of-character behaviour, such as temper tantrums
  • Start to have difficulties with school work or not want to go to away from the family
  • Be more fearful than usual
  • Cover up hurt through indifferent or cold behaviour
  • Have physical complaints, such as headaches
  • Blame the parent they are spending the most time with
  • Worry excessively, particularly about family members who are upset
  • Regress to an earlier stage of development – for example, thumb sucking or bedwetting.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Is It Better For The Children To Stay In An Abusive Relationship?

Everyone needs support

Breaking up is an emotionally difficult time. It can be fair to assume that a you can be so wrapped up in your own pain that they are unable to support your child in theirs. Your child may also need professional support and counselling.

Explaining the breakup to the children

Much of this advice will depend upon the age of your child. After trawling the internet a great deal of advice is as follows;

  • If possible, both parents should explain the breakup to the child, particularly when breaking the news.
  • Reassure your child that the breakup is not their fault in any way and that both parents still love them.
  • Allow your child to ask as many questions as they want.
  • Answer truthfully and honestly. It is OK to be upset.
  • Use age-appropriate language.
  • As the child matures, you can explain the separation in more sophisticated ways.
  • Be prepared to explain the separation to the child again and again.

Is the status quo healthy?

Whether you’re the victim of domestic abuse, or you and your partner simply don’t love one another anymore, staying together for the kids is not a healthy decision.

Don’t criticise the other parent

This is important whether the children live with you or not.

The children may feel pressured to disapprove of the other parent in order to secure your ongoing affection. Each parent may have grievances or complaints about the other. It is important that the children do not become involved in these grievances, as this adds further distress for the children.

The children may still love them and deserves an untainted relationship with your ex. Don’t criticise the other parent and never use your children to ‘spy’ on your ex-partner.

Is your relationship the type your children will model for their own?

Whatever kind of relationship you have, is how the children will consider normal. This may become the foundation of their own future relationships, romantic or otherwise.

The behaviours that have been displayed in the home will set a precedence for how your children will behave as adults.  They learn what it means to be in a ‘romantic’ relationships, how to be a husband or wife and how to effectively (or ineffectively) deal with conflict in that relationship.

The Children Will Learn Not To Prioritize Their Own Happiness

When you stay in an unhappy relationship you’re showing them that your happiness and your self-worth are not important things. You’re teaching them that it’s not as important to love yourself as it is to love other people.

Following my experience

Following my break up my ex used her children (they were my step children) against me. They had a sense of loyalty to her of which she used to the fullest. The children were encouraged to either give me the ‘silent treatment’ or to treat me in a negative way – of which they were encouraged to do. This, I would argue was a form of abuse to the children. They were encouraged to not only disrespect another person but it would ultimately shape their interpretations of a mature relationship.

I was never allowed to give my point of view to them as they had been tainted by her version of events. They were only encouraged to hear one side. This had also been enforced by their relationship with their natural father of whom they had no respect for. It bothers me further that due to the fact they they were all girls the negative views of men will be perpetuated for generations to come.

My door will always be open to the step children and I do have fond memories of them.  But I realise the relationship with them is (possibly) destroyed due to her mother’s lies and manipulation. When I reflect on it she often took the view that the more people she had on her side the more right she was and using the children proves this. This was typical of her manipulative ways and it would have been foolish to consider it any other way

(see my posts http://www.keithsstory.co.uk/need-to-speak-to-my-family-justify-bad-behaviour/ and .http://www.keithsstory.co.uk/blonde-hair-blue-eyes-fake-persona/)

Ultimately

Unhappy parents tend to raise unhappy children.  And unhealthy relationships that “stay together for the kids” when the relationship is destructive and tend to produce children who have unhealthy relationships as adults.

I consider (and I’m prepared to accept if I am wrong), but it’s not necessarily the break up that determines whether or not your kids will be ok, but rather how each adult behaves during and after the break up.

 


https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/anger-in-the-age-entitlement/201101/emotional-abuse-in-committed-relationships-effects-children

http://www.gulfbend.org/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=8483&cn=2

Living after your relationship breakdown

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Living after your relationship breakdown

The only long term relationship is with yourself

The reality is this; all of the nice things have gone. In fact they probably stopped ages ago and it is only now that you realise this. You have probably lived in hope that things will work out and everything will be fine. But the truth is, things are going to be pretty difficult for a while.

If any of you are going through the same thing, I promise that it’s not the end of the world.

It’s easy to just want to watch TV all day after a difficult breakup. But don’t forget that for you to feel better, you have to move on with your life (KEEPING MYSELF BUSY). Start with small goals first. This is a great time to keep your mind occupied with productive things.

Below are some things you can do to help yourself cope and heal. I’ve tried and tested these for myself and they do help. But you must realise that you need to work at your own pace and not that set by others.

Have time to grieve.

You may feel that what has happened is “worst possible thing that can ever happen.” You may feel that this is an accurate description of how you feel right now. It’s really like all the butterflies died and you feel like you’re being stabbed over and over again and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

I felt I was confused and in denial at what she had done to me. It felt like there was this hole inside of me that was never going to be filled again. I couldn’t believe that the person who once told me things like “I love you” and “Don’t leave me”. She was now the same person telling me she “wishes I was dead” or “I will destroy you at the earliest opportunity”.

I was left feeling weak and broken. I could not eat properly and I had to result to sleeping pills to get some sleep. Sleeping was often plagued by nightmares and flashbacks of what went on behind closed doors. Every little thing seemed to remind me of her from songs to smells and so on.

If you find yourself in the same situation, know that it’s okay to feel the pain. It is inevitable, unavoidable and necessary. No one’s stopping you and it’s better to do so than repress (especially if you are a male – we are well known for this), because you might end up exploding one day and the implications will be worse.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Living after your relationship breakdown
stages of grief

Don’t rush things and let time pass. You’ll eventually get exhausted and run out of tears before you even realize it.

Don’t let the breakup consume you.

My greatest mistake was that I let it consume me for far long than it should have. It is okay to feel the hurt and bitterness, but you have to remember to pick yourself up every time. Don’t let it get the best of you.

I found that writing everything down (including this blog) and attending the gym helped me to recover (possibly quicker than doing nothing about it).

Stop blaming yourself.

It’s not your fault. You had offered them every opportunity to change their ways but their hatred was so deeply ingrained there was nothing more you could do than protect yourself from them. There’s no use dwelling over the things you could have or should have done to save it.

If you continually fought to keep it alive, then you should be proud of yourself. But equally proud that you have now found the strength to walk away. Bear in mind that if the other person isn’t willing to compromise or work it out anymore then there’s no point in staying.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Living after your relationship breakdown
Toxic relationships, nice people, destroying, personaility

Distance yourself from them.

Rose tinted glasses are fake. They show you falsehoods. I strongly advise that it is best to cut all sorts of contact with them after the breakup. She was the source of all my difficulties and once I had left I wanted to be as far away as possible from her.  You must never text them, call them or even stalk them online. She has now become a stranger and will he be able answers the questions of which you feel you are entitled to. She will never admit what she had done was wrong. Why should she when she was able to convince everyone that I was at fault.

It’s okay to be angry

There are various stages of guilt. There will come a point when anger and hatred will replace what was once pain, and it will leave you exhausted. You will wonder how vile and inhumane they became.  You will be thinking “How could she do this?” Don’t let the anger get the best of you. A lot of people who’ve gone through breakups say that one day you’ll wake up and just not care anymore. Wouldn’t it be nice to just feel nothing for the person rather than hate him for a long time? Remember: the opposite of love is not hate, but apathy.

Try looking on the bright side.

I know it’s always easier said than done, but there’s always a silver lining in every grey cloud. The breakup will be a blessing in disguise. The fact remains that you cannot make someone love you who doesn’t.

Make time for your family and friends who love you unconditionally. Join more organizations, focus on your goals, and make new plans for the future. I have found completely new enjoyment by visiting the library or walking around a supermarket. It sounds simple but that’s all I want, the simple things. I have reflect back on all the things that I used to enjoy doing prior to meeting my ex and I intend to start doing them again!

Love yourself enough to know that you deserve better.

Your ex who just broke you wasn’t the best. You deserve stability; someone who won’t ever take it out on you when things get difficult. You deserve decency at all times. Everyone should to be treated right. We are owed, respect and compassion; otherwise it isn’t love at all.

6 Ways To Recover From The End Of A Toxic Relationship

 

 

 

 

Living with a Nacissist

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Living with a Nacissist

Hindsight is A Wonderful Thing

Living with a narcissist is difficult to identify until you look at it with hindsight.

Narcissists only care about themselves and who stop at nothing to get exactly what they want. As a result, they will always place their own needs, desires, and emotions above anyone else’s, including yours. Furthermore when making decisions they won’t think twice about using people for their own advantage. They constantly pursue personal power and success which is why they’re so manipulative, deceitful, and bad to be around (see my post TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS)

The term originated from Greek mythology, where the young Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water.

Here are 7 ways in which narcissists manipulate and use others to their advantage:

They Play the Victim.

Narcissists constantly play mind games and pretend to be a victim (see WHY I AM DOING THIS). This way they get more attention (see  WHY DOES SHE NEED TO SPEAK TO MY FAMILY?) and pity from others when they lead them to believe they are sick, in trouble, or need help. When you feel sorry for them you’re more likely want to help them out, and that’s exactly what they want. They also use this tactic as a way to justify or excuse their terrible behaviour. Also, by turning your focus away from all the negative, deceitful things they’ve done, they make you less guarded and therefore more open to even more manipulation on their end.

My ex felt it was necessary to constantly be in contact with my family, even after I had left. Unfortunately, my relationship with my father took a nose dive. However, on the flip side a more positive relationship was built with my son.

They Use Aggression and Intimidation.

One thing that all narcissists use is scare tactics. They employ everything from subtle, underhand threats to overt physical violence in order to bully others into giving in and bending to their will. More often than not the intimidation is psychological and emotional in nature. They might keep you from seeing family and friends or always put you down and verbally assault you because it makes them feel dominant and in control.

My ex often threatened to have me disposed of with the help of her ex (who incidentally she tried to have arrest for assaulting her (but it was never proved) – do you see a pattern here?

They Downplay Your Accomplishments.

When you first meet a narcissist they often hide their true colours (see BLOND HAIR). They build you up with positive comments just so they can tear you down later. When that happens it’s as if a switch gets suddenly flipped and all of those kind words go out the door. Once you feel devalued you find that you end up working twice as hard to regain their favour and please them.

They Guilt You Into Thinking Everything is Your Fault.

They blame you for all of their bad behaviour along with all of the trouble and repercussions it brings with it. No matter what the facts or situation may be, it’s inevitably your fault.

I constantly found that I was apologising for things that I had either never said or did. As a result, and over time, I used to thing that perhaps it was my fault. She tried to make me feel grateful for her help in identifying where my faults were. After all, she was quick to identify that I was a poor father and she had had better previously relationships.

They Only Talk About Themselves.

They have nothing good to say about anything else and can drone on endlessly about themselves.

Throughout my relationship with my ex she often reminded me at how she could get any man eating out of her hand and often gloated about her achievements with members of the opposite sex. She made it quite clear that her blonde hair and blue eyes could help her get away with anything.

They Use Triangulation.

This is when a narcissist, you, and one other person are all involved in a triangular mind game. The other person is brought in by the narcissist after they have been led to believe that you are in the wrong or the problem. Basically, by pitting you and a third party against each other the heat is taken off the narcissist, as is any blame, and they get off scot-free. The other person will also stand up for and support them and this feeds right into their need to be liked and perceived as right all the time.

This was her favourite trick. She was very clever at using her daughters against me. She had previously brought them up to be anti-man following the split from their father. Her daughters re-enforced the silent treatments and manipulations that went on at home. In effect, it could be argued that this was abuse of her daughters as they were not allowed to have their own thoughts. Furthermore, her charms had worked on my father. As previously stated, my relationship with my father has, in effect, come to an end because of her lies and manipulation. However, it must be said that I feel my father had a weak character anyway.

They Will Never Change.

Once a narcissist, always a narcissist. They will continue to act shallow, manipulate, and deceitful. Their issues are deep rooted and ingrained in their personalities. Even after you’ve removed them from your life, they will simply move on to their next unsuspecting victim and start ruining their life.

Escape From The Relationship

As often said, hindsight is a wonderful thing. It is wrong to blame yourself for the position that you found yourself in. This is important because their long shadow must come to an end. You were the victim not them. Remember to keep a record of everything that has happened or is happening – this is invaluable

How to spot a narcissist

When depression makes you feel guilty

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression When depression makes you feel guilty

Depression stops you from getting things done

When you are deep in to your depression everything is difficult to do. As a result nothing gets done. These leads to a feeling of worthlessness and guilt.

What is guilt and shame?

Guilt is a feeling of regret or remorse. It could be a result over what you have or have not done in the past. Shame is thought to result from the feeling of being judged by those around you.

These feelings can be normal. But when it comes to depression, these feelings can become magnified and distorted. In many cases depressive guilt and shame can become toxic and threaten our mental health and well being.

Feelings of guilt for ‘wasting time’

I came across an article today that I wish to share.

The article covers, with great clarity, how it feels to suffer when you don’t want to.

Paragraph of note

A key point she shares is the following;

I already have all these regrets of not doing anything, of thinking about the things I could have accomplished had I not convinced myself it wasn’t worth it and just stayed in bed. The guilt is another physical being that holds me back. I feel bad for not being a “normal” person with a “normal” life. Instead, I just stare at the ceiling as the guilt eats away at me.

My feelings of guilt and shame

I have a mixture of feelings. I felt guilt for allowing the abuse in my relationship to have happened. A feeling of shame that I didn’t stop it or share what was going on with other people. These feelings had left me exhausted and in the early stages I found I was treading water just to keep going.

The Importance of keeping a record

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression The Importance of keeping a record

The Importance Of Keeping a Record

It is typical of men to not want to cause a fuss or to think things will get better. This blog will prove it is vitally important to keep a record of what you have experienced.

My Boss Noticed.

My boss was aware that something was not right. Initially, I was dismissive but after a while I decided to share the events that were unfolding at home.

Record Keeping

My boss kept a formal written record of what I had divulged. This document has become a highly valued record. If it did not exist it would have been my word against hers, and therefore, not have been a solid defence against her allegations.

Solicitors Letter

I received a letter today from my solicitor. I have removed any identifying details but I wish to share the main features.

Dear Sirs

We write regarding the case of Mr xxxxxxxxx which is due before the Court on xxxx August 2017 for trial.

Mr xxxxxxxxx has provided us with 3 statements from defence witnesses which he wishes to adduce at trial and also some evidence regarding his reporting of domestic abuse to his employers. …

With regard to the domestic abuse material, Mr xxxxxxxxxxx would be seeking an agreed fact with the prosecution that he has historically reported his concerns of domestic abuse regarding his partner. The evidence would plainly become relevant if it were suggested that Mr xxxxxxxxxxxxx has only raised this issue following his arrest.

And so on….

A solid piece of evidence

I hope that you can see from this the importance of reporting anything you believe to be wrong. I’m not suggesting that you run to the police at every opportunity. But at least share your information in a formal way. As stated, if I had not done this then i would have no defence against her allegations.

Being a bloke means you can’t take medication

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Being a bloke means you can't take medication

Why don’t men take medications?

I would consider myself to be a ‘blokey bloke’ and as a result taking medication for me, was the equivalent of admitting there was a problem. My policy was not take drugs unless it was a life or death situation.

When I saw how medicine solved problems, I considered that;

  1. It was a sales ploy by the medicines manufacturers.
  2. They (the patient) should not have got themselves into that position in the first place.
  3. There must be other alternatives to medicines.
  4. The miracles of medications are often offset by side effects.
  5. Taking medication could be seen as a failure.
  6. You’re not as strong as the people around you
  7. You will be judged.
  8. There is a stigma to taking medication (especially headmeds).

But when the choice was either dealing with the discomfort or taking medicine, I would always choose the discomfort. After all, it usually sorted itself out after a while anyway.

What’s the difference between taking medications for mental conditions over physical?

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Being a bloke means you can't take medication

I am aware that depression has played a major feature of my life and has, to a degree, shaped my personality. I don’t begrudge this as I am (today that is) reasonably happy with the way I’ve turned out. Of course, we all have our faults but I am happy to accept mine.

Mental Health verses Physical Health

As a paramedic, I often came across patients suffering some kind of physical trauma. It was both reasonable and morally right to administer some kind of pain relief, or a mixture of medications to maintain life. Yet, when it came to mental health it was somewhat different. This was partly due to the failures of the NHS to treat mental health on the same level as physical conditions. But it was also my male pride refusing to accept that I had a problem that could not cure itself.


My relationship with my headmeds

As you recall from my previous blog – My relationship with Sertraline. Is it ok to consider medication? . I was more than happy to welcome the idea of medication into my daily routine. After all, things were bad and I knew it. As stated, I was given a fairly low dose initially. I accept that it was possibly down to the fact to see how they agreed with me, but also to develop a build up into my system.

My dosage was increased after four weeks to double the original amount. Again, I was happy to give this a go.

Male Pride Can Be Our Downfall

I am so pleased that I did not allow my male pride to get in the way. I feel a lot better and I am aware that the medication has played a major role in this. If we consider, for example, that if I was diabetic, it would be acceptable to take insulin. This approach is sensible, correct and supported my recovery.

How do I feel now?

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Being a bloke means you can't take medication

I have had the time to ponder and consider things around me. Firstly, my job was everything to me – it was my identity and it was my purpose in life. Yet, I now see that it was a means to pay the bills. My work often left me exhausted and removed me from thinking about my problems and not facing them head on. I now see that there are other ways of earning a living without the cost of my health.

Secondly, not seeing my daughter has been really difficult. However, I am aware that she is still young (2 years old) and I will be able to build a better relationship with her once this is all over. I won’t have the stress of my ex being present when I’m with her and all of the associated problems that she gave me. I am free of that relationship and I am happy to find out who I am – and I actually like me at the moment.

Listen up – hear what I am saying!!!!

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Being a bloke means you can't take medication

I want you to consider this – don’t be an idiot. Stop being a ‘blokey bloke’. Take the medications. Take the offers of help. You will start to feel better. Don’t get me wrong, I am of the firm belief that you (and I) will never be cured of depression, but it becomes manageable. It wont be a quick fix but if you want to be a ‘blokey bloke’ then you have to stick at it.