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Sunday, August 3, 2014

I challenged the Fear

Exactly two years ago, on August 2nd, 2012, I boarded a plane, headed towards freedom. With me were my three children and nowhere near enough baggage. I knew my destination, but I was also aware that the new life waiting for me wouldn’t be an easy one.
That fear didn’t stop me. I was determined and ready. It was all done secretly with the help of my sister and boss and the support of my wonderful friends, Jodi and Pat.

I was emotionally drained, in physical pain too. I didn’t know my body was suffering that much. I didn’t know the abuse and stress were causing that much damage. I was worried and scared; in fact, I was terrified…
….until I boarded the second plane in Heathrow. On that plane, I could breathe. I was in safe territory. On that plane, he had no power. We were free.

The first few weeks were the holidays I never had. We had fun. I relaxed. I was relieved and wasn’t ready yet to tell anyone, not even my children that we are here to stay. I didn’t even want to remind myself of that. I just wanted to enjoy the moment and give myself a break.

It didn’t last long. One day, everyone had to face the truth and I had to face the consequences of my decision. The abuse didn’t stop. Threats of death, brainwashing, promises, yelling, humiliation, and love… yes, even love. I think it was the only thing that really worked in the past. He could always convince me that he loved me and I was happy to believe him.

I lived a different fear and a huge loss. I felt like I had lost everything: my past, my life, myself. It was hard at that point to realize I was just finding myself, the real me.

I had 2 years of ups and downs. It’s not easy to control rebellious children who didn’t choose this new life. They had to adapt to a new school, new friends. They have lost a family, a father, a home and their childhood. I struggled with family who couldn’t quite believe the intensity of the abuse because I had hidden it so well for so long.

I had health issues and money problems while we were gradually settling down and adapting to our new life in Canada. I had so many disappointments. I looked for support and got great help from 2 marvellous counselors, but I needed more. I think I wasn’t really looking for help as much as I was starving for validation and love. I needed a friend, I desperately need to feel I have someone I can call a friend. Loneliness is my nightmare. It has always been.

FINALLY I found a job. I like it very much. It is very interesting but what is best about it is that it gives me a purpose, a reason to get out of bed every morning. It helps me re-build myself and find again my strength and abilities. I am not useless. I am not stupid. I am not “nothing and invisible” as I believed for so many years.

The kids are moving on in their schooling. I am not divorced yet but slowly 'moving along the track'. I know that I’m not well yet. I still have so much to do. Last week was a very painful one as I learned that the time has come for me to stop therapy. Therapy, for me, was more like an opportunity to examine my life in the company of two really good, confidential and understanding friends. The realization that I was losing those two good friends came as an almost physical shock. I was devastated but I think it was the “slap on the face” I needed to realize it was time to move on …. 
Looking into tomorrow (it’s too early for me to talk about “future” yet), with a renewed hope and wearing a big smile.