Something that has been said to me time and time again is how brave and how honest I am. And its true, I’m sometimes honest to a fault but there’s something I haven’t discussed with you all yet, something that only a close few people know and this isn’t going to be an easy blog to write.
It’s not that I’ve been intentionally avoiding the subject; I guess I just didn’t really see the relevance to my blog but I can’t get it out of my head, so here it goes.
I think a lot of you will change your impression of me after reading this and it may not necessarily be for the better. I’ve touched on briefly how I never used to have any confidence and honestly, that was possibly the biggest understatement i’ve ever made.
I’ve always been shy and found solace in the internet. It’s easy making friends online, I can be me without fear of being judged and although I’ve encountered a few weirdos the majority are lovely people, some of whom i’m still friends with today. One thing I never imagined would happen when I joined a particular message board would be that I would “meet” my first love. Perhaps the most shocking (to 17-year-old me anyway) was that she was a girl. Oh that and this girl lived almost 11,000 miles away from me and was 14 years my senior.
It started off slowly, we talked occasionally in a group, she gained my trust but before I knew it I was no more than a fly caught in her web of lies, I just wish I could have seen it sooner.
I think it was her voice I really fell in love with, it was kind and sweet and she seemed to genuinely care. Maybe she did. I’m not sure what to believe any more, you kind of lose all trust for the person that wrecked your life. She was clever, she tore me down to a shell of myself just so she could build me back up the way she wanted me. At her mercy and well and truly under her control.
As the months went on I fell deeper under her spell. She was so good at controlling me and was so far inside my head that I wouldn’t even buy certain items of clothing because she wouldn’t approve. I don’t even mean short skirts or low-cut tops. Just for example I once saw a dress and fell in love with it but as soon as I spotted a butterfly on it I refused to even try it on. How could I? She hated butterflies, I must not do anything to upset her.
I really should have spotted the warning signs, but I was in love and never having been in love before how was I to know this wasn’t what it was about. Oh how I wish I could go back and give myself a shake.
Eventually we talked all day every day and spent every waking moment together. We talked on Skype, chatted on MSN (God remember that!?) we had our own songs and she would send me flowers to school. Yes, I was still in school. I’ll just let that sink in…
Before I knew it my plans for university were abandoned and I was intent on taking a Gap Year to go to Australia. My parents were distraught, and understandably so. It killed them to watch me go and i’ll never be able to apologise enough to them for what I put them through. To begin with I went out to Sydney on a 3 month tourist visa. Usually I follow my instincts and I’m a big believer in the universe sending you signs but for whatever reason I ignored each and every one that happened that day.
Things went wrong straight off the bat, the systems crashed in Belfast, my bag got lost in London and I missed my connecting flight to Malaysia. My parents begged me to just come home but i couldn’t, as much as I wanted to I felt like i owed her. She would hate me forever if i didn’t go to her and i don’t know why that mattered to me but it did. After a 14 hour delay in London I boarded the plane to Malaysia where we were given another 9 hour delay once we landed. The universe was screaming at me to turn around and go home but i wouldn’t listen. Eventually after 3 days of travelling and still no bag I landed in Sydney. Those 3 months were brilliant, she spoiled me. We went on trips, went to concerts, she made me feel like Sydney was where I was supposed to be. She made it feel like home. So much so that by the time I went back to Ireland I was already planning my way back to her.
After months of working and saving I was ready to travel back but this time was going to be a lot different. I was to be there for a whole year. This wasn’t a holiday, this was real life, and it was about to hit me up the face.
My parents, begged and pleaded with me not to go but i ignored them. It makes me seem so heartless but I think part of me was. I was so numb from any feelings and so completely brainwashed that I couldn’t see what was happening.
I arrived back in Sydney a year later than my first visit but obviously no wiser. She had changed though. Almost immediately there seemed to be a shift in our dynamic or maybe I just got better at seeing what was really happening. In my first few weeks there a part of me realised what a mistake I had made. The rest of me had no clue.
It didn’t seem like much at first, she would sulk and go into a bad mood for no reason, leaving me guessing what I had done and apologising for no reason. She would make large portions of food and get annoyed at me if I didn’t finish it all. I ended up putting on 3 stone in a year. It was hell. I think now part of her was worried about me leaving her so as well as controlling me, she tried to fatten me up so that no one else would want me. She was an incredibly jealous person. She was smart about how she would manipulate me, she would plant little seeds in my head and watch them grow. I remember once i commented on how i thought Kat Von D was pretty, she retaliated with “Oh please she’s way out of your league”. Ouch. I wasn’t looking to sleep with her! I was just making a passing comment, but she used it as ammunition. She frequently told me if i ever left her she would hack all of my online accounts and delete everything, but then hacking me wasn’t something she was a stranger to. She would sign into my online banking and transfer near enough all my money to her account leaving me with just enough to get to work and back. And once, she got physical. Only once, but this should have been enough to send me running. It didn’t, but it should have. We were carrying on and pretending to wrestle on the sofa when she pinned me over the side of it and held my arms down, as she did this she whispered menacingly in my ear, “Don’t you ever forget I’m stronger than you”
I wanted to run. But she made it clear I wouldn’t get far before she found me and with her having full control of my finances how could I? I remember lying awake at night looking at my suitcase and plotting my escape. But I couldn’t do it. Part of me felt like I owed her. She saved me from a lifetime of being alone, no one else would want me, I wasn’t worthy of love and she was doing me a favour by even speaking to me. I was worthless.
Things only got worse, I think she could sense I was getting unhappy so she regularly checked my phone and went through my texts. She would claim she was tired when my parents would want to Skype so she would be in the same room when I was talking to them and be unable to tell them what was going on.
One of the cruelest things i think she ever did to me and one of the sickest mind games she ever played was about us having children. She told me from the start she never wanted babies and obviously anyone who knows me will know that’s all I’ve ever wanted! But what can i say, she was good. I swore that didn’t matter and i didn’t need to have kids to make me happy, i just needed her. But every now and then, when she felt me slip away she would say “Oh maybe we could have them some day” and then as soon as she felt I was back under her control she would deny ever having said it. This happened a lot. She was the queen of mind fucks.
It was the longest year of my life but finally it was time to go home. Of course she tried to hold on to every ounce of control she had. She forced me to leave some of my favourite possessions at her house, because of course I would be coming back soon and wouldn’t need to take it all with me. I could hardly argue with her, then she would know something was up. So I took what I could, said our goodbyes at the airport with the promise I would come back as soon as I could. I turned and walked through those departure gates and I’m so happy to say I never went back.
It took a while to end things with her. She had a knack for sensing my feelings and not long after I was back she called me to say she was in a really deep depression since I left, she was in a lot of debt (think tens of thousands) and of course this was my fault, because I forced her to spend her money on me. So i promised to give her my tax refund as soon as it came through. I was due to get a few thousand dollars from the Australian Government and she already knew my bank details so she could access it when she wanted. A week passed and eventually I couldn’t take it any more. I hated the control she had over me and I needed to be free. So I ended it, nicely. I told her she could still take the money, I didn’t want to see her stuck and I was sorry it had come to this but I just felt like it was too hard being apart and I was sorry for hurting her. We tried to stay friends but her true colours came out. I found that she had been bashing me online, making herself out to be the victim and that I had broken her heart. She made Facebook comment something along the lines that I was just “A little brat trying to play house” and she couldn’t wait to have a bonfire with all my stuff.
Is she fucking kidding me?? I had never said one bad word against her, I was willing to stay her friend after all the shit she put me through and give her thousands of dollars purely out of the goodness of my heart. That was it, i cut all ties with her. Locked my banked account and got the money sent out to me as a cheque. No more Mrs nice girl. I was done playing her sick little games; I needed to focus on me. She didn’t own me any more. The best revenge was to enjoy my life and live it for me.
I went back to school, got qualified and started my dream job. Met some amazing friends, the love of my life and now we have our gorgeous daughter. I wish I could tell 17-year-old me that it was going to be ok, that the pain and heartache would be worth it. But i’ve come to learn that’s life, how can we really experience the highs if we haven’t gone through the lows?
I realise this has been a ramble of a post and it probably doesn’t make much sense. But its something I wanted you all to know and something I needed to finally be free of.
So there it is; the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.