My Journey Parenting Alone
I hate writing about this because none of the memories are easy for me. When my daughter was little, about 1 year old, I left her father. It wasn’t an easy decision to make but I felt that I had to do it for her sake. He had been verbally abusive since before she was born and had started becoming physically violent as well – not hitting me but hitting the walls and making me frightened. I wasn’t allowed to do anything outside of the house without telling him everywhere I was going and everyone I would be seeing.
So one day when he was at work I packed up some clothes and my daughter and left him. He was really angry, as I expected, and he refused to leave the home where we lived. This meant that I ended up living out of our car for 8 weeks with my baby. I wasn’t living ‘in’ the car because I had friends and relations to stay with, but everything we had of our own was in the car.
Eventually he left the house and moved just down the road, and we were able to live there again. But the control didn’t stop. He would come around to the house every night to spend time with his daughter and I would stay in my bedroom. He tried to get full custody of my daughter as well and we ended up sharing custody which meant that half my daughter’s life was in one house and half was in another.
I got lots of counselling during this time and it kept me going, but I wouldn’t say it kept me sane! It was the hardest time of my life. We had very little money and it was a constant struggle. When I got some part time work it was so difficult because I was tired all the time and also struggling with all the emotional stuff. I felt really stupid a lot of the time.
After about 3 years I met another partner and things started to stabilise a bit for me. Just having another person to talk to about things and debrief with, and someone to help out with responsibilities made the difference for me. I really recommend counselling for parents who are on their own. Just having a person who will listen to what is happening with no judgements, and who can also help you identify some of the patterns in your own life that have led to this place, so that hopefully things can be better for your children.
Becoming a single parent
My life was going according to plan; a husband three children and a brand new house. I was a stay at home mum to my children then aged 18 months, 3years and 15 years, and my husband had a good paying job. To the outside world my life was fantastic…that couldn’t be more far from the truth.
It started with control issues moving to psychological abuse then physical abuse. I kept this to myself until it became physical. I didn’t want my family and friends to judge him, after all he was always so sorry and of course he was going to change!
I would put up being treated this way as I didn’t want to be a single parent, who wants to go on a benefit and be judged a failure and spend the next few years struggling just to get by? More importantly I knew if I left him he would make my life a living hell, he did warn me over and over this would happen and yes, he was true to his word.
So I left, not because of his abuse towards me but his abuse started towards the children. Enough was enough, no one treats my children that way, I did not want my children growing up thinking this was normal or okay in anyway.
I obtained a Protection Order immediately and had to use it many times over the next two years. Yes, two years of being threatened and stalked and constantly living in fear. I remember having momentary lapses thinking maybe I should have stayed as he was true to his word – my life was a living hell. But no, I made the right decision not just for myself but for my children.
Being a single parent is not easy, but I know I did the right thing and my children and I are well and happy, if I had stayed who knows where life would have taken us.