TRIGGER WARNING This blog post links to, and contains information about domestic violence, alcoholism, and death which may be triggering to some!
This blog post has taken me a long time to build up the courage to write, after all, how do you pick a single starting point to talk about when the last few decades have been largely dysfunctional. Over the last three years, I came away from social media largely because of mine and my children’s safety (I was forced to relocate due to domestic violence) and because I needed to rebuild my life from the ground up.
Now I am back online, people are surprised to hear what I have been through over the last three years, (let alone the last twelve) because they never saw my life through that lens.
In a world where social media allows us to project our lives through a lens of our choosing, it was easy to create a life that looked full of love and happiness. Creating the perfect “online” life allowed me to escape from my truth, it allowed me to be something I was I wasn’t (but wanted) and allowed me to show people a life that wasn’t mine.
When you have made mistakes and stuck with bad choices it is easier to hide behind the lens (and the lie) than having to tell everyone you have fucked up. This is because not only does it impact your own life, but it affects those around you, especially when you have children.
Being married to a narcissist is exhausting because they have everyone around you fooled. Those who wise up to the fact of their true nature get quickly discarded. When no one else questions your abuser, you start to question yourself “is it me?” “am I asking for it?” “how can I change?” Then you let that person mold you into a person that is unrecognizable in the hope that you will then be worthy of love – honestly, it’s soul destroying (I will go deeper into this next time.)
This brings me to the topic of this post “breaking point”. This was the springboard which changed my life from being stuck in a destructive negative stagnated cycle to being propelled by grief and fear to rebuild my life over from scratch.
Those of you who have followed me on social media over the years know that 3 years ago this month (14 June) I lost my mum (she was only 51) but what most of you wouldn’t know is that my beautiful mum was on a slow suicide mission. She was an alcoholic for 15 years and suffered from debilitating mental health issues. She couldn’t cope with all the pain and suffering going on in the world, and as an empath, she bore the weight of it all on her shoulders. This was to the point that the last few years of her life she became a recluse, barely leaving the house because of her agoraphobia. She just couldn’t cope with people’s “energies being around her”. It’s bittersweet that she craved companionship but felt so detached from the world. Over the years she made it known to us that she so badly wanted to go back to the source, and reunite with her dad, who she lost when only 16 years old (he died at 51 too!)
I will never forget the day I got that phone call. I was on my way to the airport and had to turn the car around and race back home. My mum’s voice was unrecognizable and I knew it in my gut that I needed to get her medical attention. When I got to the house, I raced up the stairs and found her collapsed on the bed. She had yellow skin all over, even the whites of her eyes were yellow. She could barely talk because her brain was intoxicated (which I found out later was caused by her liver failing), and this still haunts me to this day.
My mum feared doctors and hospitals and had not stepped inside one since being sectioned 15 years prior. I knew I had to remain very calm whilst I rang an ambulance. We went straight to A&E with the blue flashing lights. I noticed in the ambulance that mum had lost so much weight in her face and upper body but her stomach was huge like she could have been heavily pregnant with triplets. (later found out that this is caused by ascites). Mum was put straight on a detox drip to help with the alcohol withdrawal which took a couple of days.
Over the next 4 weeks, I went to the hospital every day from 8am until 8pm driving 40 mins each way. Once in the confinement of my car, I would park up, breakdown and sob my heart out. I couldn’t let mum see me this way, I couldn’t let my kids see me this way. So, I did it on my own.
Mum had scans and blood tests, and the doctors told me that she had advanced stage cirrhosis (her liver was only working at 5%). They had found blood clots in her main artery and that she was also in renal failure. We were told that there is no cure for cirrhosis and, at first, the doctors said that if she stayed off the alcohol she could live to see 2 years but I knew they weren’t being straight with me. In the end, I pulled the doctor into a side room, I broke down and told her to be honest with me as I needed to know what we were facing when they discharged her. Finally, the doctor leveled with me and advised that we get in touch with MacMillan palliative care (who were AMAZING) as her life expectancy would only be 6 months at best.
Having to relay that back to my mum was one of the hardest conversations that I have ever had to have. But she knew, she had already accepted it. Her exact words were “I am ready” but my heart was screaming back “I am not”.
We both talked at length about what she wanted to do next, we decided that she wouldn’t spend her last few months in a hospice surrounded by people she didn’t know, instead she came to live with me and would be surrounded by people who loved her and be in her own bed until the very end.
Over the course of the next 5 months, my mum never touched another drop of alcohol. I tell people those 5 months were the worst and the best of my life, and they really were. I got my mummy back, the mummy of my childhood. We talked, we laughed, we did a lot of crying (me more than her). We laid in bed and watched films snuggled up, at night I would lay next to her just watching her breathe for what seemed like hours, as always too scared to fall asleep in case it was the last time I heard them.
Whilst this was all going on, my mum saw for the first time what my marriage and home life were really like. We would stay up talking into the small hours of the morning and I allowed her for the first time to see how deeply unhappy I was. She could see I was drowning and that he held all the floating devices up out of my reach. I broke down to her even though I swore to myself that I never would and she begged me to leave him. She asked me to leave him numerous times over those 5 months – but I didn’t. Instead, I threw myself into my lifestyle blog creating the life that I wanted everyone to see as that was much easier than facing the truth, that my marriage was toxic.
The day that my mum slipped into a coma, I went back to feeling utterly lost and alone. Mum was the only one who questioned my abuser, who had seen a glimpse of his true nature and knew the true reality of what went on in the tight inner circle that he built around us.
Mum was in active dying stage for two days and for those two days I never left her side, my aunt never left mine, and my family were never far away (but he wasn’t anywhere to be seen.) 5 mins before my mum took her last breath, she gained semi conciseness and told us all in turn that she loved us and that she was in no pain. I asked her “are you leaving now mum?” She answered “yes” and then drew her last breath…
That right there was my breaking point.
Although writing this post brought up a lot of raw emotion for me, I hope that it may bring comfort to anyone in a similar position. Please know that you are not alone!.
If you or anyone you know is affected by domestic violence or addiction you can contact the following organizations and of course, feel free to drop me a DM.
Thank you for reading.