Dear America

Your law changes reinforced the idea that if I lived in your country, my life does not matter.

The first issue is the changes to gun laws. Have you considered the statistics for domestic violence homicide as to how many perpetrators had a previous record? Domestic violence victims often don’t report their abusers, we are often manipulated that everything will change. Police often aren’t involved until it’s too late. Please stop sending the message that these “gun control” measures will make a big change. Your law changes attempt to protect women but will only protect a small group. Of course, this is better than nothing but your gun control laws remain problematic.

If I was going through my hell with Brent in many American states with the laws as they are today, I’d probably be dead soon. I had never reported him. He had a gun licence approved just after I left him. If I didn’t have access to safe abortion, it’s likely that I would have stayed in that volatile relationship to attempt to raise the child with its father. He would have continued to manipulate and isolate me. Your law changes force many women to live in fear, fear that they may never escape an abusive partner.

The changes to your laws protect men. The overturning of Roe V Wade tells domestic violence victims that their lives do not matter.

I don’t remember doing that

This morning, I was feeling nostalgic, scrolling through some old Facebook profile pictures of my own. I noticed there were a few weeks where I had a new profile picture every few days. Then I remembered, those photos, I only have because of something I can’t remember doing.

Apparently, I emailed a lot of photos to a friend for safe keeping. Brent made me delete all evidence of modelling photos and photos from any event that another man may have come within ten feet of me. As though the day I met him was the day my life began, as though I didn’t have a past.

The day that friend came to me and asked if I wanted all my photos, I didn’t even know what they were talking about. It was at least a few months after I’d left him. I had blocked so much of his control from my mind that I didn’t realise my fight response had kicked in so early in my life with him.

Covid-19 bringing so much back

2019 felt like my last hurdle. By Christmas, I had recovered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I knew that the last time I had a PTSD related anxiety attack was April 2017 and was in a really good head space. Finally, I felt like it was my time. However, 2020 had other ideas, for all of us.

It would be practically impossible for anyone, no matter where they are in the world, to not know about COVID-19. This global pandemic has much of the world’s population on lockdown. How strict that lockdown is depends where you live. Where I live, the state police force are issuing fines for all non-essential travel.

Most of my posts have been about the aftermath of my relationship with Brent. I’ve written very little about my life with him, only really the night that I left.

My family and majority of my friends live a minimum of two hours drive from me. Travelling to see them would very unlikely be considered ‘essential travel’. Whilst I can talk to them over the phone and in video calls, this social distancing experience has brought back so many negative memories that I had all but forgotten.

As I write this, I am realising why I don’t write much about my actual life with Brent. I am constantly reminding myself to breathe, telling myself aloud “we’re ok”, there are tears running down my face and my body feels overly tense.

Every day, Brent would come home from work, take my phone and check my browser history, my text messages and my call logs. There was no social media for him to check, as he’d already made me deactivate all platforms. If he could see I’d phoned a family member, he’d interrogate me until I recited every word from the conversation.

I had already lost most of my friends. The male friends, because Brent had an insane jealousy towards them, he’d even made me change my phone number to ensure they couldn’t contact me. The female friends, looking back, it’s quite hurtful that their solution to my trauma was to pretend it wasn’t happening. After I’d left him, I recall a then close friend saying “I was walking past your street, I thought I heard you screaming ‘stop’…but I didn’t know what to do”. That there is the issue. Domestic Violence is too faux pas to many and so, they do nothing.

Eight years ago…

Eight years ago today, I confirmed to my sister that what she had feared, was happening. I was in a domestic violent relationship. I highly doubt that I said those those exact words, but what I did say, was enough for her.

Brent had lost it at me about something. I can’t recall what it was as so many things were trivial, I suppose the reasons he would find to be angry at me is a blog for another day. He did what he’d always do when he was angry; tear out the driveway and ignore my contact for as long as he wanted whilst texting me and making me believe I was at fault.

Earlier that day, whilst Brent was at work, my sister dropped by. She lived a little over an hour away back then and was in town for dinner with some old friends. I had known the ladies she was with that night since I was five. I suppose that’s why I was a little less fearful contacting her to ask if she was still around. They invited me to join them for dessert and I obliged.

I sat fairly quietly in that restaurant. The conversation seemed to continue as it was before I’d arrived. Some of these women had seen domestic violence in their own lives. Perhaps they knew there was no point pushing me and that some normal life experience was what I needed at that time. Some of my life was spoken about, it was suggested that I stay with my sister that night.

I don’t know why, I chose to go home to Brent that night.

He refused to sleep in our bed. I had done something wrong and ‘disgusted’ him. He slept in the spare bedroom. That week, I was in the middle of painting the living room, so, the lounge was in the spare room as well. I’ll likely never remember what was going through my mind, however, after pleading with him to come to our bed, him physically stopping me from laying in the spare bed with him and stopping me from sleeping on the couch, I slept on the floor that night.

The next day, I had a planned spa day with my sister, mother and grandmother. Ironically, vouchers for the best spa in town were a Christmas gift from Brent, something he’d purchased for me before he’d turned into the monster I’d come to know. After a few hours at the spa, we had lunch in a local restaurant with the most amazing views over a valley. There is a photo of the four of us from that lunch. I had not slept a wink. I had cried and pleaded to Brent for what had felt like all night long. Every time I see that photo, I want to shake that girl, what stopped her from leaving him that night?

Those who know me, know that I bruise easily and rarely can I explain how I end up with my limbs covered in bruises. However, back then, I knew what “that hand shape looking bruise” was but made excuses to mum every single time she saw one and asked. I had excuses for everything he did, for every friend I didn’t speak to, for every social occasion I’d missed, for every text message I deleted and pretended I never received. My life was focused on keeping Brent in a calm state. There wasn’t any room in my life for what I wanted.

It wasn’t until July, 3 months later, that I finally left him. Brent had applied for a firearms license some time in June. I know that my family lived in fear every single day that they could lose me to his violence. Reflecting now, even through these involuntary tears, I just said out aloud to myself “what the hell was I thinking?”

The smell on the pillow

It was only a day or so after the dramatic and traumatic night that I left Brent. Dealing with the internal conflict between what I wanted and what I needed. I had no idea that the decisions I would need to make were soon to become a lot more complicated.

What I needed was to be safe. I needed to be with people who loved me. People who would never hurt me and would protect me with their entire being.

What I wanted was to be in Brent’s arms. He had been sending me loving messages of how much he loved and needed me.

I was curled up in a sofa chair, crying my eyes out, looking like I’d been doing so for weeks. My three and a half year old nephew was playing in the same room. He walked over to me and placed his gentle little hand on me and said “Aunty, why are you crying? Is it because you miss Brent?” all I could say was  “Yeah buddy”.

What were these tears specifically about? I was so mad that my sister had washed the last thing I had that smelled like Brent. My pillow from our bed. I had been hysterically crying and yelling at her, so angry that she’d taken a choice away from me.

Reflecting on my life, I truly hope that my family and friends know, that even though I resisted much of their love and support, that I am so grateful and so very thankful that they pushed me to get through those first few months.

More often than I should…

Do you ever find yourself completely stuck in your head, anxious because you’re unable to escape your thoughts? Or worse, having your mind constantly occupied with thoughts of someone you know you should be pushing out?

Recently, I found out that he’s a father, Brent has a child. I can’t help but wonder, is his wife safe? I hope that she has never seen the side of him that I saw. I wonder, was she ready to be a mum or was it simply because he didn’t  “…want to be 40 and not fit enough to play football with” his child? Why am I even giving him time to occupy in my mind?

My last relationship ended four years ago. It was during that time that PTSD symptoms began. Our breakup was amicable, we still speak fairly often as friends.  However, a month or so ago, my head was sending me back to our happy times, wanting him back. I would think, he know’s the worst of me, it’s easier to be with him than have to show my scars to someone new. If something has failed before, it’s bound to fail again, right?

There’s the man I spent two years with, more as companions as neither of us were in love with the other. I occasionally find myself wondering how he’s going. Why do I care? Yes, he was a big support to me through a personally challenging time. He’s moved on, and it’s not as though I’m “hung up” on him, so why do I want to know how he is? Perhaps it’s because I lost another male friend to a woman who felt threatened by our friendship?

Then there’s that one man who somehow, within a very short time last year, made his way in to my heart. It frustrates me so much that even though it’s been well over a year, he still randomly comes in to my head. He made a point of breaking through my wall but as quickly as he entered my life, he exited. He had to move back to the other side of the country, he was gone. He’s out of my heart now but frustratingly, not gone from my mind.

I find myself questioning, why do I think of these men more often than I should? What is wrong with me? Why can’t I just let go of them all completely and move on? Each of them has changed me or helped me grow. None of them was right for me then and they’re not right for me now, so why am I letting them hold me back from letting someone else in? I guess, perhaps I’m keeping my wall up, even though I promised myself I would stop building it.  I tell the world that I don’t suffer PTSD anymore but is that truthful? The truth is, I don’t know, I guess that now I just know how to get through it.

I’m ok

Today, I was walking through the city with a friends 5 year old daughter. She was telling me about her favourite foods, what she’d been doing at pre-school recently and generally being a joyful little spark. Almost every person that walked by us smiled at her.

I suddenly realised, you’d be not much older than she. This could have been my every day.

It’s been almost seven years since my internal battle to let you go. Unlike other times, I didn’t mourn you. I wasn’t sad, but ok.

I am ok that you’re not here.

I’m not ok that your father made me into a woman who cannot let anyone into her heart.

I’m not ok that because of him, I have so much baggage that people probably think I need a luggage trolley instead of a handbag.

I’m not ok that I sometimes get anxious about the most insignificant tasks because he is subliminally still in my mind telling me I don’t have his permission or that I’m not good enough.

I’m not ok that at thirty, I still can’t tell people what I want to do with my career. The answer from the time I was 7 was always teaching. A person cannot teach high school if they can’t handle someone raising their voice.

Life must go on, so when someone asks how I am, I won’t tell them all of that, pity is not an emotion I want directed toward me. The answer is always, I’m ok.

I didn’t lose you, did I?

Today is International Bereaved Mother’s Day. I saw a friend, who’s lost two infants in tragic circumstances, post to her social media, ‘love and support to all bereaved mothers‘. Then I thought to myself have I lost a child, am I a bereaved mother?

Yesterday, completely randomly, someone asked me “What’s your opinion on abortion?”. I couldn’t lie. So I answered straight out “I’ve had one”. Perhaps this blunt honesty was inspired by the I had one too movement. The person who asked seemed as though they really didn’t know how to react. I explained a little in about 15 seconds but then the conversation was dropped. I kind of wished I’d asked their opinion before I’d answered, then I’d have known the point of the conversation. Instead, I felt a little judged.

With yesterday’s conversation in mind and knowing that it’s International Bereaved Mother’s Day. The question I find myself asking is whether I have a right to grieve the child that could have been. I, not without considering my situation, chose to terminate my pregnancy. I chose to go through with the abortion. I chose to not have my six year old child walking beside me today. I also chose to not be trapped in a life with a controlling, physically, sexually and emotionally abusive partner.

Someone very close to me has had more miscarriages than I think I could ever bear. She, I expect, grieves those children. She had her rainbow baby but I’m sure those children that could have been are never forgotten.

This year, you’d be in first grade. Other than knowing that, I don’t know if I have the right to imagine who you could have been. Because I didn’t lose you, I chose to let you go, didn’t I?

Diamonds have emotions

I have a ring, it was purchased by my grandfather for my mother when she was a teenager. He had passed not too long before Brent and I had met. Back then, I wore it every day.

Recently, I was on the road and I drove past the turn off to the town where Brent was born. It’s six hours from where I live, so not somewhere I pass often. I was thankful that I wasn’t wearing that ring as it was the catalyst on the night I finally left him. Still to this day, it triggers the memory. Diamonds do have emotions, jewellery holds emotions.

It was the middle of winter and we were sitting in the lounge room. He started saying “that ring means more to you than I do”. It all happened so quickly, small snippets of memories come back and I piece together that night. After he’d thrown the ring across the room and I had picked it back up, I was crying and he kept screaming the same words at me. It ended up with him pinning me to the ground so I couldn’t move. I could barely breathe as he held me down. I was using all of my strength to keep my fist closed as he was using all of his to take the ring from my finger, it felt like the struggle whilst I was pinned to those cold hard tiles went for hours.

Eventually, he pried it from my finger and put it in his pocket. For what felt like hours again, I begged him to not leave it in his pocket as he was leaving the house to go to the gym. I begged, and he eventually obliged but didn’t give it back to me. He walked in to our bedroom, I heard a drawer close and then he left.

Brent was strong, but he wasn’t intelligent. After he had torn out of the driveway in his V8 (side note, I judge myself for dating a man who drove that car), I went in to the bedroom to find my ring. I was always so anxious that everything had an exact place, as if things were perfect then just maybe he’d be sweet and thankful. I knew when I opened his sock drawer that one pair was out of place. I picked up that pair and just inside it was my ring.

With my ring back on my finger, I picked up my phone and called my mother. My family had known for almost three months of the abuse I was suffering. Mum had told me her roster and I knew she was off work the following Tuesday. She answered, I told her that I was ready and that wanted her help to move me out on Tuesday. As we spoke and she calmed me down I told her what had transpired before I had phoned. Of course, almost everything I said was through tears.

I heard his car roar down the driveway. He stormed inside and began screaming. I hung up the phone. He kicked the TV, screaming insults at me but that part of the night still remains a blur.

I don’t recall how long it was before he left again. However, when he did, I began packing things in to my car. I couldn’t be there a moment longer. Whilst I was packing, Dad turned up. He tried to tell me to leave right away but there were precious vases and family heirlooms that I knew Brent would smash from the moment I walked out the door. Dad gave up trying to convince me and he started to help me pack a few more things.

Brent’s car roared down the driveway again. Dad walked outside, I was so afraid of what Brent might do. I was afraid that perhaps Dad wouldn’t stay calm. I heard Dad speak sternly but with restraint “Don’t you touch my daughter.” Brent came inside, he shut the doors and the blinds.

Again, the next part of the night is a bit of a blur. I told him I was leaving, that my car was already packed. He sat there on the lounge with me, pleading that I stay. He cried and kept saying “I beg you, I beg you”.

A loud knock on the front door “police”. I answered the door and let them in. I told them I was leaving and that their presence really wasn’t necessary. They had already spoken to Dad outside. I refused to make a statement, to this day I know that my life could be so very different if I had made that statement. Police still had to take our details, they believed that I was leaving and they knew that Dad was there to support me, or perhaps that he was going to make sure I did leave.

After the police left, as Brent sat crying, I packed a few more things in the car, and I left.

In the months after I left him, I had a few friends tell me that they had been in nearby streets and thought they’d heard me pleading him to stop on multiple occasions. They’d heard a bang and wondered if it was him throwing me against the wall again with his hands around my throat. They couldn’t answer why they hadn’t told me when it had happened. They could only tell me that that’s why they stopped just popping in. Brent had tried to lock me in a castle and to take everyone away who mattered to me and he almost succeeded.

My mother always says “diamonds don’t have emotions”. I feel very differently, jewellery is sentimental, it triggers memories. A ring may not be an emotion but it holds emotions.


Last year, somehow, a man woke me up to the fact I have feelings. I’ve suppressed them for so long and played the role of object to men that I was almost content with it. Never allowing myself to commit to a relationship. I know I’ve covered contentment before but fulfilment, it’s different.

With the man that awoke me gone, I guess I began to fall in to my old ways. Not exposing myself to the possibility of having feelings, avoids the possibility of being hurt. Perhaps this is a PTSD thing but looking at the wider world, I think it’s simply just a product of modern dating.

Modern dating. It’s no longer faux pas for someone to share that they met their partner on a dating app or website. Sure, we all want to be able to say that we dropped our compendium in the middle of the street, that papers were flying everywhere and there he was rescuing us and that the rest is history. That’s not reality though, that’s Hollywood.

I wonder, if I meet someone but the ‘spark’ isn’t instantly there, do I settle because they can make me laugh? Do we simply just settle because we don’t have confidence in modern dating? Do we settle because the sex is satisfactory? Do we settle because we have decided that ‘this one will do’ even though they don’t completely fulfil us?

Food for thought, what is it in a relationship, be it friends or a partner, that truly makes us feel fulfilled?


I was speaking to my ex boyfriend recently. He had broken up with his girlfriend, a girl who just a few months ago he told me was the first person he’d had feelings for the way he had me. He and I broke up over three years ago.

He told me that she was aggressive, insulting, needed constant validation and was volatile. I stated to him that he had an ex who had PTSD surface during the relationship but he sounded to me as though this girl was worse and he responded “yep”.

As we were generally chatting away, I can’t recall the exact words he used but basically, what I heard was that he still wonders why things didn’t work with us. I’ve said to him a few times before, that it was the timing, PTSD began to surface in me just before I met him. He was the one who would hold my hand just a little too tight or say a phrase that triggered something and I’d be hysterically rocking back and forward in the corner of the kitchen, hidden by the cupboards. He’d always ask me just to tell him not to say or do things so that he didn’t upset me again. It clearly tore him apart believing he’d caused me to break down. The thing with PTSD is, you don’t know what’s going to trigger the anxiety attacks until they actually happen.

After that conversation this week I’ve been thinking, ever since Brent, have I actually really given anyone a proper chance? The ex I mentioned in this blog, told me that he bought his recent ex flowers every other week. He bought me flowers a couple of times but I’d practically brushed him off for it. Now I wonder, why? I used to joke that chocolate would stay with me longer (on my hips) but thinking about it, Brent would buy flowers for me frequently in the days he still treated me ‘normally’.

Do I subconsciously expect that a man who showers me with gifts or love is going to turn in to an abusive man somewhere down the track?

I try to insist that any guy I date let’s me pay for things from the start. My go to ‘pick up line’, whilst in a bar, ever since I was in my teens, is “Can I buy you a drink?”. No man has ever refused. However, I’ve also never seriously dated a man that I ‘picked up in a bar’.

It’s been almost seven years since Brent was in my life. It’s time. Time that I realised that my need to control every moment of my life is probably something that’s held me back. Time to actually give people a chance to break through my wall. Time to trust men again.