Last updated August 5th, 2016 | Annie | 5 Comments From January 2015 until the weekend of September 18th I was planning and preparing to leave a relationship of many decades that sadly was neither loving nor respectful. I was aided in my escape by many friends who offered their love support and practical assistance which enabled me to escape safely to a new home in Stafford. Due to this pivotal, life changing, experience I have discovered that I am brave, courageous, resourceful, compassionate, and far more capable and accomplished than I could ever have imagined. Background – gas lighting My leaving my husband was a shock to many people, as I was making the best of the situation I was in. I covered up and hid what was domestic abuse. Many saw my husband taking me and collecting me from all the venues that I needed to visit as part of my work. Most people saw this as an act of generosity and kindness whereas, what I’ve come to realise is that it was simply more manipulation, more control and his jealousy that was firing up this behaviour. He was in fact simply checking up where I was and who I was with at every point of the day. He would call me incessantly throughout the day and I would have to explain what I had been doing and why I hadn’t picked up his call. Again, on the surface of this behaviour, it would seem that he was just being kind and considerate and checking up on me. This was controlling, manipulative and I have lately discovered that this was a technique called “gas lighting”. Over the years there has been extreme violence. I tried to leave when my children were six and five years old unsuccessfully, as we were caught as we were leaving. The repercussions of this would dreadful. There were so many occasions when he would shout at me, put me down, privately and publicly – but usually privately. If I dared to challenge him about this behaviour later he would tell me that I was mad. He would tell me I was making it up and that he hadn’t said that, he hadn’t done that, he hadn’t pushed me, I was just clumsy. Whenever we were alone I was living literally with the enemy. His behaviour, his demeanour and his language would be kind and loving whenever there was an audience. By the time I was leaving -his behaviour was intolerable. Over the years the most contentious times to be with him where evenings, weekends, and holidays. It got to the point that I dreaded evenings and weekends so much as his behaviour would be so aggressive and controlling. As a coping mechanism I started asking some of my patients to reschedule from weekdays to either evenings or weekends as whenever there was an audience he would be well-behaved, kind and well mannered. On many occasions he would have been shouting obscenities at me and accusing me of the most dreadful behaviours. Someone would walk-in and he would change in a millisecond to the public face of Terry. He refused to have treatments for many years, to address his anger that was really about a lack of self-love and when he did eventually agree and arrange to have treatments he refused to talk to the therapists. This meant that it was almost impossible to help and support him. The final straw for me was to discover that he hadn’t been having regular treatments and that the reason that many therapists had “sacked him”as a patient was, that he was unwilling to let go of the past, move forward and to start healing instead of blaming others. Escape! My escape was planned and executed like an SAS operation. With every single aspect of my future life being planned and prepared for so that on the day that I chosen to leave (whilst he was away on a camp), as this was the only safe time for me to do this; everything was in place so that by 10:30 on the Friday night everything was packed that belonged to Heaven scent bliss or to myself. I am more grateful than words can express to all the amazing people and wonderful friends, who stored things for me, who turned up on the night to help me to pack up my life and get ready for my bright future. I had lived at our Penkridge address since 1984 and although this was a wrench it had also come to be a war zone for me. On the Saturday morning the man with a van came and took away my furniture to my new home – along with some amazing supporters who literally unpacked me so that by the Sunday afternoon everything was unpacked and I had a working practice. My flat in Corporation Street is rented from the amazing Mandy Hunt and Louis Toth who are brother and sister known as Mandolyns properties. They have been the most supportive, kind, Angels that I could’ve ever wished for. They gave me safe parking inside their beautiful garden centre and I lived in my little flat that I loved for just over six months. At this point Mandy and Louis told me that they had got a house that would shortly be available for rental. This is my new home at 3 Priory Gardens Corporation Street Stafford ST16 3PR. I cannot tell you how happy I am to be living in such an exquisitely beautiful setting. I’m literally surrounded by beautiful stoneware, wonderful trees, superb plants and shrubs and my home is also a haven of tranquillity, peace and beauty. Loving and Letting Go I appreciate that this was a huge shock for some of my closest family and friends. As I had done a very good job of hiding the reality of our relationship from the public eye. This was partly that I was for many years unable to acknowledge what was really happening. I wanted the fairytale ending to our marriage. I wanted to believe that things would get better. I wanted to believe that the vows I had made until death do us part that I would be his wife. That this became an impossible dream was not due to a lack of effort, creative thinking, and many different strategies to heal our relationship on my part. The change in my behaviour and attitude came about primarily because I learned to love myself unconditionally. I learned to take charge of my own destiny. I learned to love the amazing person that I really am and to say I have tried my very best in this marriage but enough is enough. For that last 12 months before I departed it was necessary for me to grieve and mourn for the loss of my marriage. It was important for me to honour our two children which were a product of this marriage and I could not be more proud of them and the men they have become. I spent so many nights crying because I could no longer pretend. I eventually moved into my treatment room so that at least I could then have a good night sleep-as his snoring became worse and worse. It was with the greatest sadness that I typed up the letter to leave for him on the Saturday morning explaining why at this point in my life I could no longer sustain a marriage that was so lacking in love and respect. I thought long and hard about the impact this would have on him. I chose to be as compassionate, kind and loving as possible throughout not only the preparations to leave, but since in the way I’ve handled the divorce. I regret nothing that has happened in my life, not even all the heartbreak, the gut wrenching, frightening, many times traumatic events that have taken place within this marriage, as I fully appreciate that without all of these experiences I would not be the incredible woman I am today. I have also cried hot, salty, tears for all the good things that happened in our marriage. For all the joy and pleasure that our marriage once used to bring to me. I have appreciated from the bottom of my heart my family, friends, colleagues : support, love, practical solutions and for always making me laugh and look on the bright side of life. Future It is in these pivotal, life changing moments in life that we come to realise how extraordinarily gifted we are. My life is richer, my future brighter, and my self-esteem higher than it has ever been, in any point of my life previously. So, to many women and men who read this, and who are in a similar situation I will lend you my advice which may help you in the future. Learn to love yourself unconditionally. Look in the mirror every day, look deep into your eyes – the windows to your soul and say sincerely I love you I really love you over and over again until you believe it within every cell of your extraordinary body and mind. My future is bright, secure, and happy and I am really looking forward to all the fun pleasure love and laughter that the universe has to offer. If you would like to speak to me about anything that I have disclosed within this blog then please do call me on (07869) 123065 or email me on Annie@heavenscentbliss.co.uk Love and sparkling blessings from Annie xx Heaven Scent Bliss Regulars If you come to Heaven Scent Bliss often and recommend us to others, we would Like to reward you. We have two cards to offer you that is a way of us saying “thank you” for your loyalty. Click here to find out how we appreciate your custom.