Archive for the domestic violence Category

Today I won’t blow your socks off- honest (but it’s not going to be about fluffy kittens either…)

Posted in 40th birthday, alcohol abuse, alcoholism, birthday, blogging, child kidnapping, Child Protection, creative / writing, Divorce, domestic violence, european union, family law, France, hague convention, Human Rights, international divorce, international family law, legal aid, london, me and my world, Misbah Rana, Mizbah Rana, Molly Campbell, morecambe, pagan, work/life balance on July 10, 2007 by Khlari

OK…thanks everyone for the comments on my last post, which was a tad on the serious side, I know. That might be because I’ve been bottling it up through a mixture of shame, embarrassment, worry about what anyone will think, panic re the legal case…..and many other reasons.

(This is as near to cute fluffy kittens as you’re getting….)

Yep, it was a bolt from the blue very meaningful post, which you don’t often find on here I know, with this blog’s mindblowing overall impression of a mad old goth-mummy waffling on about stuff she just happens to like, things she might have done, and stuff that happens to her in no particular order and with no rhyme or reason whatsoever.

The only way I can really write about that kind of thing is in a very sparse and factual way, otherwise I’d just go even more mad whilst writing about it and thinking about it.

That said, it is undeniably part of me. I can’t just put it in a box and sing la la la and make it all go away to avoid any possible trauma to self and others caught in the crossfire. It happened. It’s not a period of my life I am particularly proud of (mainly because I cannot believe my own naivete and idiocy in hindsight).

It does make me the person I am today- I was very different before life decided to heap all of that upon me. There are sequels of cource- I am now less trusting than I was-now that’s a surprise. I am also more scared of things than I was, and have irrational fears of quite a few things, which are really difficult to explain to anyone who doesn’t know the full story. Not many people until now did know the full story, I just had to be ready to tell it in my own time.

I do this analysing thing, where I sit in a corner for a few years trying to make sense in my addled brain of whatever appalling shit life decided to throw at me this time. Then and only then am I ready to talk about it. There are still people who I may never tell the whole truth to. My parents for instance. That’s for their own protection and not mine, I wouldn’t want my father to spend the rest of his days languishing in a French jail, which is where he would be f he did what he would do if I told him, if you get my drift.

But this blog is largely about warts and all honesty, so that’s what you got- I hope I didn’t upset anyone. Just had to say it, that’s all. That’s just the way I am at the moment….Maybe it’s because I’ve started to go to counselling, that I am beginning to share with you, darlings! (Don’t worry- I’m not about to start dressing in pastels and hugging things/trees just yet though…)

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Oh um…something really important I just completely forgot to mention…..!

Posted in 40th birthday, alcohol abuse, alcoholism, birthday, blogging, child kidnapping, Child Protection, creative / writing, Divorce, domestic violence, european union, family law, France, hague convention, Human Rights, international divorce, international family law, legal aid, london, me and my world, migraines, Misbah Rana, Mizbah Rana, Molly Campbell, morecambe, pagan on July 6, 2007 by Khlari

The death of my brain, and the death of my marriage (though it had been a zombie for some time).

This is documentary proof of what a ditz I am. You remember I had a migraine that lasted for eleven days…well, this is proof of the brainache it caused. I completely and utterly forgot to mention to you, dear mad readers, that at last, after many ( well, 4 1/2) years of teeth gnashing, custody cases across Europe, subpoenas being served lengthily through French and English courts and still not working, abusive phone calls from my ex, eventually having to take out a £5000 loan for legal fees in France (MEP got back to me only after the case with details of legal help…) which will take me five years to pay back…

I HAVE A DIVORCE!!!!!!!!

Yes, with the head hurting as much as it did, I completely neglected to mention that as of 23 June 2007 (what a 40th Birthday present), I have a divorce. A lovley crisp Decree Absolute arrived in the post the morning before my birthday. I didn’t really manage to summon up any major enthusiasm for it at the time…even reading it was a little painful, and it seemed like a little bit of an anticlimax after the enormous struggle to get it.

I’m now putting in a spoiler-if you are easily upset, it might not be an idea to carry on reading…..

I got married on 21 July 2001, to a deranged Frenchman who glories in the middle name of Marcel (now, surely that should have told me something). I don’t know why I am bothering to disguise him, he wouldn’t know how to use the internet if it rose up and bit him in the arse. I’ll call him D_____, to spare his blushes, maybe. I was putting a lot of trust in him…considering he was a supposedly recovering alcoholic.

We met in 1996- I went for the weekend, and ended up staying for 7 years….which all sounds gloriously romantic, cue Edith Piaf singing and chocolate box scenes of joyful couple running through the streets of Paris hand in hand, a la Robert Doisneau. But it wasn’t like that at all. Think more of Emanuelle Beart in miserable drudgery in Manon des Sources, or a scene from Les Diaboliques….

(I had my wedding reception here…)

I went for a conference on European Youth Exchanges…I was working in Bradford at the time, and I was the only person who could speak any French that they could find at short notice…..So they rang me on the Thursday night, and I was there by Friday. I met him at a social evening, where we spent 6 hours arguing passionately about young people, and another 2 or 3 snogging (sad, teenage, I know…and I was 29 at the time).

He came to see me off, we swapped phone numbers and addresses….we started writing, and phoning, and visiting. My ex was a major liar. It was at this point that D______ chose to tell me that he had Leukaemia. I’m telling everyone now, because I can, but for years that has made me feel such an idiot. That I believed him. Everything began to take on an air of snatched urgency, so little time and so much to do. Every time we separated it was worse. I made the decision in the end. I threw in my dream job I’d waited 10 years to get (Community Arts Officer for the Bradford Foyer in progress), the training they were paying for me to do, packed my bags, and moved to France. Work even offered to keep my post open for 3 months, in case I changed my mind. I didn’t ask him, I just did it. If you have principles, it’s important for me to live by them. If we had so little time left, at least we would have it together.

I didn’t question the fact that he drank quite a lot. Growing up in London, most of my friends were work hard, play hard, it didn’t seem that strange. But when I moved there, I realised that the Pastis started even before he got out of bed. When I questioned it, I was told that as he was dying anyway, it wasn’t a problem. How naive was my 29 year old self, with the benefit of hindsight.

I finally found myself a job, but it was becoming evident that whatever I did, it was all subsumed in a tide of Pastis. I can’t even smell aniseed now without feeling sick to the bottom of my stomach. I no longer had a home to go back to- my flatmates, I found out after a call from the landlord, had spent the rent money I’d left, sold or stolen half of my possessions, abused the cheques I’d left for the bills, and the landlord was keeping the rest against the money owed, or he had already put in a skip.. Everything I owned except what I had in my suitcase, gone.

I did love him. Deeply, it was only that that kept me going. It got worse, and worse. I succeeded in getting him a referral for detox, but after getting him to the hospital, they said they no longer had a bed. It’s hard getting anyone to detoix, they have to want to go, and if when they get there, that happens, you have lost your chance. Finally his job intervened, and he was taken to the Clinic attached to the ministry for which he worked. He stayed there for 2 months. When he came out, promising never to do it again, and telling me that now he had me with him he wouldn’t, everything was good. He wanted a life, he wanted a family, he wanted normality. Within a month of him coming out, I was pregnant, and overjoyed. I started preparing for the baby, fessed up some of the truth to my family, and carried on. But I then had a blood test which told me that I had a risk of Downs Syndrome, and I was asked whether I wanted an amniocentesis, to be sure. My mother had had one, so I saw no problem. Also, how was his problem going to affect a child?

It was excruciating, and I didn’t remember my mother telling me that. Two days later, I was assaulted on the RER, and was admittted to hospital, bleeding. By midnight I was calling for the nurse, I was in pain, I was told to shut up, and I had my still-born child alone in a hospital bed before anyone bothered to come. The nurse arrived after the event, and they wouldn’t even ring D______. I was very depressed, even more so after they left me in the maternity ward alone, having shown me the baby in a plastic bucket.

Within another month, I was pregnant again, with M_____. All went well, until July, when I met some people I knew from work in Bradford in the street (they were on a course)- when I invited one of them, Nick, back for a coffee, D_____ gave him a black eye, and knocked me unconscious for three hours, while he went out and left me. October, when his daughter from his first marriage visited for Hallowe’en, D_____ started drinking again with a vengeance. It got worse and worse, I had made my bed so I had to lie in it. I didn’t even have enough money left for the medical treatment most of the time.

M_____ was born in 1999, and no-one knew what was happening behind the smiles. The next year and a half I didn’t know what I would find when I got home from work, lied to friends, family, educational psychiatrists alike. To all intents and purposes we were a sweet little perfect little multi-cultural nuclear family.

Behind the scenes it was only the Prozac, the Xanax, and the Stilnox that kept me halfway sane. As a ‘jeune mere’ you have to smile infinitely, isn’t it wonderful, isn’t it lovely……when behind the scenes your heart is breaking. I had no money to pay the creche, to buy nappies, to buy baby food, to eat lunch even. The whole motherhood and family thing for me was such a sham, I had to seem happy because everyone expected me to be, but in reality it was one of the worst periods of my life. I woke up each day dreading the day ahead. Oh, and how my friends were jealous of my pretty storybook life, the handsome Frenchman, the little family. It was nearer to the original fairystories, of darkness, suffering, and death than the sanitised Disney, Irma-la-Douce type fantasies of my friends

We were even taken as an example of wonderful multi-cultural living by the anglophile town we lived in- invited to premieres where I had to prop him up in corners, that kind of thing. The European Union in action…

I couldn’t even find solace in my usual eccentricities. The longer we were together the more he took exception to everything I did, wore, said. Reading in English was a subversive action, along with having friends and dressing strangely. If I had a phone call I had to have the speaker on and do simultaneous translation….His paranoia reached such levels that I couldn’t go to the supermarket without being accused of torrid affairs. It wasn’t until M_____ was nearly 2 that I finally achieved him getting detox again. For that, I had to threaten the psychiatrist that I was going to self-harm and admit myself instead. He had kept asking me to marry him, in the good times. I told him I would if he would go. It took his boss, three work colleagues, and an alcohol-induced epileptic fit that went on for 45 minutes.

My friends begged me not to do it. But I had promised. So we married in July. One of my friends, C________ even took me aside just as I was about to go into the town hall to beg me not to go through with it. I haven’t seen him since, he was so upset he went off to Algeria never to return.

All was well for a little while- then I was made reundant. I decided to study for my CAPES, French secondary teaching certificate with the money. I was at home for the year. The paranoia was again rising. I couldn’t go to the library or talk to a friend without accusations. Even so, amazingly, I had friends like Cathy, Linda, Kyriaki, who put up with his rudeness and abuse. By June he was drinking again, he started on my birthday. he made an enormous scene at my friend Cathy’s party (we share a birthday), and was so drunk driving home that he couldn’t find the way home from Rueil-Malmaison- where he used to live.

We had decided to make a new start. he had applied for a transfer back to home, to Brittany. We ended up in the Vendee instead (which isn’t so far). Any excuse. This is where he really started being slap-happy. I became his punchbag. It was evident he’d had practice, it was never where it would show.

We went on holiday to Biscarrosse. It was the worst time of my entire life. Fourteen days trapped in the middle of nowhere with a paranoid alcoholic, what fun. I poured every bit of alcohol away. He just beat me up and found more. It came to a head when his brother came to join us. After we had all been out, he knocked me unconscious, left me for dead, and left me. His brother left after he had beaten him up as well. I woke to find M_____ asking me if I was dead. I told his mother, showed her the bruise, and she told me to ‘deal with my own shit’. The day we moved to Sables d’Olonne, he was stopping on the motorway to drink.

It got worse and worse. The beatings were becoming standard, and I was very alone. My parents came for Christmas- a veneer of normality. The day they left, he beat me to a pulp, and I awoke to find him raping me. That’s when I knew, I had to go. I’d tried before- but he wouldn’t let me take M_____. I am five feet two, he is six foot. I had to plot carefully. Finally, he was again admitted for detox (the seventh since I’d known him). I rang my parents, admitted all (the hardest phone call of my life), waited for the money they had wired me to arrive, packed my bags, took M_____ out of bed at 4am, and raced to the border- he was leaving hospital earlier than expected. I raced to Paris, onto the Eurostar to London, and there the phone rang, just after I had cleared customs, and the doors were closing on the train. I went back to my parents, with nothing.

He couldn’t believe I had done it. I was getting 20+ phone calls a day from him and his family. He refused to accept the divorce petition- I have been trying for this since 2003- and tried to get M_____ back. Everything was a lie. He lied about the leukaemia, lied about his job, lied about his first marriage, lied about his past, and I could take no more. It had been a seven year, painful sham. He still wouldn’t accept it was over. he even rang me on July 7 two years ago to see if I was alive after the bombs. I coudn’t resist asking him if he had hoped I wasn’t. Legally, the whole divorce was an expensive minefield, no-one could ever tell whose subpoenas were valid, whose law applied as he was French and I was English…

It took me a long while to put myself back together again. My friends helped- Matt, Peggy, Catherine, Martin, Mia, Martha, Jack…….without them I could never have got myself back.

Despite knowing all of this, last year HWCBN viciously tried to put me back to where I had started again. Thanks to AD and TNO, Spicy and D, Beaut1ful, Dam and Woo, for being there when I needed you. I have Mr A to thank for saving my sanity, and even for de-demonising the past for me when we had to go back to Sables d’Olonne in February.

I still have problems with my head and my back from the beatings. I still have nightmares where I wake up in bed next to him. But at last, it is over once and for all. The chapter is closed. It took long enough. I was married for six years- of which, I only spent 1 1/2 years living with my husband. I wasted 7 years in total on the relationship, and the only positive outcome is M_______. I can now close that book, and put it away once and for all.

Mr A says I have now spoiled his fun though. He was enjoying living with an adultress……