Abuse, more than meets the eye

Psychological abuse is invisible, but the scars go deep and the pain permeates your soul. You feel scared, vulnerable and wonder if you are not slowly going mad.

I’m a victim of psychological abuse and while I have shared this information with some of my closest friends and family members, I’ve never written about it till now. But I can’t be silent any longer or pretend it’s not happening, because it is and I refuse to let it destroy me.

I don’t pretend to understand why someone wants to psychologically destroy another human, but I do know it’s much more an issue they have, than anything the victim has done.

I often wonder how I allowed myself to let this happen to me. I always considered myself a strong, independent woman who knew her mind, spoke her feelings with conviction and never let anyone manipulate me. But I suppose it was over many years and was so subtle that I was totally consumed by it without even being fully aware.

My reasons for writing about this now, are that events with my tormentor have kind of reached critical mass. I can’t really go into too much detail, for reasons I will hopefully be able to share one day. But it has been bad, very bad.

However that is what these abusers want, to isolate their victim. Make them feel alone. Questioning their sanity. I can’t allow that to happen. For my sake, but also for the sake of my 16 year old son, who has also suffered abuse by this man as well. For him it’s been more abandonment and complete emotional detachment. E. doesn’t vocalise his feelings, but I see firsthand the damage this has done to him. I hear the stories from his teachers, that he is becoming ever more withdrawn.

I finally went today to the Scottish Women’s Aid (it’s a drop in support centre for women who have experienced abuse, physical and psychological, from someone in their life). I was really nervous, but they put me right at ease. It actually felt empowering to share my story with someone else who has had a similar experience. I suddenly felt much less isolated and scared.

And so I say screw it. I’m tired of pretending that everything is fine. Perhaps I’m not British enough to just keep my stiff lip up, but hey that’s me. So at nearly 9pm on Monday, the 3rd of April I decided it was time to write down my feelings.

I’m Melissa and I am now becoming a survivor of psychological abuse.

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Trumpeters and the UK

 

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I woke up very early Wednesday morning to a country I didn’t recognise, my country, the USA. I sat in stunned silence and watched the final states turn red, and I felt physically ill. I wasn’t quite sure if I was still asleep. Sadly, I wasn’t.

I spent most of the day glued to the internet, while CNN played in the background on my television, which was on all day. I was trying to understand, to make sense of it. But I still just felt shock.

However, this piece isn’t so much about what happened in my native land as it is about what I subsequently witnessed happening here in Scotland, as a result of the Trump victory.

Politicians, journalists, and the anonymous, cowardly keyboard warriors had taken to social media en masse to proclaim how much those Trumpeters were like our cybernats (of which I had been labelled a few years ago). At first I ignored it, as I was far too wrapped up in what was unfolding in the USA. But by this morning, I realised it become almost normalised by those who feel they represent the status qou. I was livid.

First of all, I have yet to see any proof that open minded folk who worked tirelessly for an independent Scotland were in any way similar to a person who voted for Trump. Did we have endorsements from the KKK? No, in fact the sister organisation to the KKK here in Scotland, is the Orange Order. Any guesses of which side of the Scottish independence referendum they were on. Bingo, they were staunch NO supporters.

Second, let’s seriously look at the party which most YES folk support. The SNP. Who’s leader is Nicola Sturgeon. Is this woman, who embraces diversity and inclusion, in any way like Donald Trump? No. If you can remotely even entertain that idea, sorry but you’re either delusional or just not very bright.

The leader who most embodies the views of Trump, is the ex-UKIP leader, Nigel Farage. In fact he went over to the USA and campaigned for Trump. I think they have a “special relationship”. But again, remind me which side of the independence referendum, he was on. That’s correct, another staunch unionist. Who felt we were better together.

Then there’s the UK Tory party. Their current leader recently made a speech at the last Tory conference, in which she proclaimed. “If you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere.” In fact Nigel Farage, praised her speech as one he could have given. (Yes, that Nigel Farage).

Again which side of the independence debate were the Tories on? You got it, the unionists side. They were all working diligently for Better Together.

And finally, I come to the UK Labour party. A party which is actually in a bit of a mess at the moment and most people have no idea what they even stand for. But during the last General Election they did produce a campaign mug. It was red, and emblazoned with the words, Controls on Immigration. Vote Labour. I can’t help but think Donald Trump would be proud to drink his coffee out of one of those mugs.

Oh and Labour, they too stood proudly on the side of the Union. In fact they campaigned side by side with the Tories. The very party which took us out of the EU and has made us a much more insular place.

So for anyone who deals in reality instead of fantasy, the facts speak for themselves. The pro-union, Better Together, NO supporters have far more in common with Donald Tump and his supporters.

Ergo, Trumpeters equal UK unionists.

 

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Egg on their face…

I don’t know about you, but I have had it. Enough already!

This constant moaning by the staunch unionist supporters that this current EU referendum is bad and divisive, but nothing like as dire as the vile Scottish independence referendum, where some nasty nationalist threw an actual egg (and it was raw) at Jim Murphy. Gasp! I know, how did he carry on? I mean what if he didn’t have a clean shirt with him. And that raw egg can leave a nasty stain if not washed off immediately. Where were the police? Why were there no arrests? Oh the horror.

Now let’s for a moment contrast that with the unthinkable tragedy of last week, where a young MP was shot, stabbed and killed. Ok, perhaps we can’t be 100% sure her murderer was motivated by the EU referendum. But he did give his name in court as “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain”. We can make a fair assumption what may have been his motivation.
A young woman was killed. She had a husband and two young children, who will now grow up without their mother. It’s so unspeakably sad, and it touched an entire nation. Oh the horror.

So you’d think at every level there would be such disgust at the hatred and anger stirred up by this EU referendum that there would be mass condemnation throughout these Isles. But not in Scotland. Oh no. Up here we have a press which have been determined to make the point that while the EU referendum has gotten ugly, it pales in comparison to our 2 year independence referendum. At first I was mildly annoyed by the analogy. But as the days wore on and another and another article was published, my mild annoyance turned into quite strong anger. Enough!

Unionists may not like what the Scottish independence referendum instilled in so many. A sense of pride and excitement. As someone who worked passionately for the YES side, it was like watching a young bud bloom into a beautiful rose. It was quite an extraordinary time, and I was privileged to be a part of it. In fact the only anger I ever experienced was near the end of the campaign, a young gentleman approached our YES stall and was incensed that I as an American could vote in the referendum. I pointed out I had dual nationality, but I’m not sure he heard me through all the shouting just 2 inches from face. It’s not a story I share often, because it was one incident in my 2 years of campaigning. I was shaken up, but I wasn’t hurt.

So yes, those of us who worked tirelessly in the Scottish independence referendum over 2 years may have had an unpleasant experience, or two.  But overall, it was a professional campaign, which stirred up passions on all sides. That’s what happens during campaigns. It’s called democracy.

It did not stir up any sense of racism or xenophobia. Immigration was never used as a tool to incite fear and loathing. And more importantly, no one was killed, and two young children never had to grow up without their mother…

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SNP is Bad…

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First of all, this wasn’t a blog I ever thought I would write, but I felt like someone needed to do it. I can’t promise I will offer the best or most intelligent alternatives, but I will provide my own challenge to the SNP.

Admission time, I am a paid up, card carrying member of the SNP. I have attended their conferences and I have a vote for my constituency representatives. Of all the political parties not just in Scotland, but in the UK, the majority of their policies most resemble my own political views.

However that doesn’t mean they aren’t above criticism. I personally have some issues with some of their policies. I know many will disagree with me, but as this is my blog, these are my views.

Council tax freeze- abolish it. However, make it far more progressive than it currently is. Provide a gradual increase in proportion to the various Bands. For example, Band A has a 5% increase, while giving Band H a 25% increase. (Also I’d re-evaluate the Band vales as they seem very outdated). Okay, so you think this may chase away some middle class voters?Perhaps but I was under the impression most of these folk voted Labour or Tory anyway.

Of course along with increasing council tax, I would also like a caveat that local councils must use this extra money to improve services for everyone, not spending it on vanity projects, like the Edinburgh Trams.

Private schools charity status- Abolish it. Seriously if there is one policy in this country I completely don’t understand it is why fee paying schools are given charity status. Where did this even come from? Why on earth should expensive schools be exempt from the same taxes as state schools. Its a ludicrous policy. Something which appears orginated in the 19th C.

Fracking- Ban it completely in Scotland. As an American I have seen and read about the vast devastation it has caused in my country. 20 years you could drink the water in rural Pennsylvania. And Oklahoma never used to be a hotbed of earthquake activity. Let’s not even entertain the idea. Let’s stop it stone dead.

Which brings me to Renewables. Let’s move Scotland forward into better investment of our renewable energy. Yes, I realise Westminster has removed the subsidies for renewables, but it doesn’t have to stop Scotland from doing all we can to grow our renewables sector. I know I sound a bit “Green” here, but as a nation Scotland should get away from fossil fuel reliance. Why couldn’t Aberdeen morph into the Renewable Energy capital of not just Europe, but the world?

Education- give every young Scot the ability to stay in school through S6. I believe 16 is too young to leave formal education. I feel every young person should stay on until 17. Obviously there would be much additional funding needed to add a mandatory extra year to education, but this could be covered by increase in council tax and abolishing charity status from private schools.

These are just a few of my own challenges I would present to the SNP government. I suspect many people in the party will disagree with some or all of my ideas. But hey like I said before, this is my blog, so these are my positions.

I welcome your comments and own ideas.

Thank you for reading.

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Narcissism and parenting

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I write this blog to help me figure things out. Whether it be political events or my personal life. If one other person reads what I write and it clicks, it feels like it has all been worthwhile.

I married a narcissist. There’s no more trying to avoid this fact any longer. Were there early signs of the narcissism? I suppose there were. But I guess I chose to ignore them. Why? I was in love. I felt on top of the world. And I suppose on many levels I thought I would never be the victim of said narcissist’s abuse. (I mean obviously he loved me too much to ever hurt me, right?) So I moved from year to year ignoring the many signs. Convincing myself that a little distrust in a relationship is natural. That I was actually in a perfectly normal marriage. But no I was not.

I am not going to pick apart every single betrayal and lie. For one thing that’s something for a whole book, not just a single blog. I know I should have done things differently, and I didn’t. But I am tired of blaming myself. The past is over and I need to focus on the future. For my son’s sake.

You see as the parent of a child with special needs, having a narcissist as the other parent presents a whole other host of challenges (that’s an understatement). Now if my son was neuro-typical (I do hate that term, but I use it to denote the difference in the mind of an autistic person), I could sit down and discuss the reality of the situation about his father. He’s nearly 15 years old, and most 15 year olds would be able to understand that this behaviour wasn’t their fault and that they did nothing wrong. But with my son, it’s completely different. He trusts unconditionally. He loves unconditionally. And when I say E. wouldn’t hurt a fly, I mean that quite literally. So how do I navigate this roller coaster of emotions with my son?

Basically, this narcissistic parent is non-existent in his son’s life. That seems on many levels like this should be a positive scenario. And if E. was NT*, it may well be. But with E. it’s not. He misses his father. And truth be told, when his father was around, he wasn’t a bad dad. He just was more focussed on himself and his “other” life. E. was just a small part of his existence. One which means virtually nothing to him now.

So what should I do? How do you answer the questions? Why doesn’t my dad love me any longer? He, does E. (lie #1, how can a parent love a child and fully abandon them). Why is my dad never around? He works far away E. (lie #2, as he hasn’t worked in 5 months and when he was it was rotational and he had much time off).

I have read tons about narcissistic personality disorder. Trying to make sense of it, to help with my own healing process. I now have the coping mechanisms to deal with the life I was wrapped up in for 15 years. But I still feel deeply unable to help my son. He is getting older. I don’t want him to feel negativity towards his father. But equally how do you keep plugging that void in his life? There’s much written about children of narcissistic parents. But very little written about children with special needs and a narcissistic parent. Of course I can deduce from my own education on the subject that said parent is embarrassed by his autistic son. Let’s face it, autism is much easier to hide in an adorable little blue-eyed boy. Much more difficult when that cute kid becomes a slightly odd teen. Nevermind, what adulthood will bring.

I have the facts. I have the knowledge. But now I have the reality of trying to figure out how to raise my son without his father, and how to explain this to him as he grows into a man. I don’t pretend to have the answers. There isn’t a day which passes when I don’t question if I am doing what is best for E. But everyday, I hug my son. I tell him I love him more than anything. And he knows he has a secure parent in me, who will never leave him. Is this enough? I don’t know. But it’s the best I can do at this time.

I love you E., to the moon and back.

*NT- neuro-typical

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Did you know…Scotland is NOT too poor

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As most pro-independence supporters do, I grow ever more tired of unionists in Scotland clamouring over themselves to tell us how poor Scotland is. Without our great big neighbours to the south, we’d be a country akin to Haiti.

So I did a little digging this morning and found some facts about Scotland’s economy. After you read them, you decide if Scotland would be not only okay, but probably better off without the UK government absorbing our revenue.

Did you know the value of exports from Scotland (excluding oil and gas) was £23.9 billion last year?

Did you know North Sea oil and gas contributed £35 billion to the UK Treasury in 2014?

Did you know Scottish whisky contributes over £4.25 billion to the UK econonmy (and growing)?

Did you know Scottish whisky accounts for a massive 25% of ALL food and drink revenue in the UK?

Did you know Scottish salmon was the BIGGEST food export in the UK in 2014?

Did you know exports of farmed Scottish salmon have tripled in the last decade?

Did you know Scotland produces 28% of Europe’s PCs and 29% of Europe’s notebooks?

I haven’t even touched on the massive amounts of revenue brought in by tourism, textiles, the games industry (based in Dundee and Edinburgh), or the incredible potential for renewables. But I assume most people who digest and read these facts are pretty clever and can dig up even more proof of the inexhaustive list of goods, services and resources this country produces.

I have only used a few sources here, here, and here. But there is a plethora of information out there telling us what a wealth of riches we have here in Scotland.

As much as naysayers would love for us to think we’d all be living in boxes without the “safety” of Westminster to prop us up. In fact, we’d actually be wealthier not paying for things like Trident and English-centric vanity projects (Crossrail and HS2). Not to mention forever trying to financially mitigate massive cuts by a government in London, that Scotland didn’t vote for.

So no, Scotland you aren’t too poor. In fact you have an embarrassment of riches. We will be just fine with full control over ALL revenue. And just think of all the decisions we can make here in Scotland with OUR money. We are actually pretty clever folk.

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Parenthood and careers

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I read an interesting article this morning about how parenthood impacts the careers differently on a mother and a father. Its here, if you are interested. Basically, it isn’t anything most of us (sadly) aren’t aware of, even though the year is 2015. A woman is expected to step back from work pressures to raise her family. A man is expected to provide for the family. His work prospects, if anything, will expand as his family grows. Now I realise there are many examples of women going back to work full time after the baby is born, and many fathers who decide to stay home and raise their kids. But let’s face it, most of us still find this an unusual situation. I have rarely heard it said that a man’s career will stall if he stays at home for a year or two with his kids.

But I believe there’s another layer to all of this as well. And yes admittedly I write from a point of personal experience. The father who fully abandons his child(ren). I’m not talking about the man who never knew his kids or left when they were very young. I mean the “family” man who one day decides his life is just too much and he leaves and never returns. Of course there are all sorts of reasons why this happens. And I fully understand that couples break up (my own parents divorced when I was young). But to completely abandon your kid(s) with little or no further contact is something fortunately not many of us will ever endure (though I have met lots of other mums like me over the years). I have discovered this man actually hurts not just the people he has left behind but his own future career prospects. Let’s face it, we live in a world where men can pretty much have it all. Even in the workplace, a man with a family is revered. ‘Great, aren’t we all “lovely” family men, with our fantastic wives at home raising our kids to be future scientists, doctors, lawyers, etc.’ It’s almost a club, if I can call it that. And I dare say the man at age 45 without kids and a supportive wife, probably is looked at a bit suspiciously in many more conservative professions. Sorry if this all sounds a bit 1950’s, but from my own experience, this is still very much the world we live in.

So after years of the man establishing himself in his chosen career, he just gets up one day and leaves his family. No contact for weeks or months, it’s as if he fell off the face of the earth. How do you think all the professional relationships he has made over the years perceive him? All of a sudden you find that cosy father’s club you were in amongst your peers has shut you out. Who leaves their kids? Not anyone most people want to associate with, as they’re swapping stories of their kid’s weekend football matches and swimming races with their colleagues. All of a sudden this man, who was previously held up on a pedastal for being the great father and family man, is now looked down on. How could he do that? And he finds himself more professionally isolated than he had ever imagined. What kind of an employee could a person be who so easily just abandons their own flesh and blood. If you treated your child(ren) like that, how could we trust you to run our vital operation?

My point is that there are a whole host of complexities in the way society deems men and women, fathers and mothers, in the workplace. I realise I have written this from a largely personal POV, and that it is just one women’s experience. I write largely to make sense of my own life and experience. I don’t profess to imply this scenario applies to all men or families. But if there is one other person out there who reads it and understands my story, then it was worth the time to put it into words.

(I left out the obvious severe emotional trauma the mother and kids who are left behind experience. I have covered that topic in various other blogs I have written)

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