Hi, it’s Ruth here!
Life is a journey
If your life is in a place of despair right now, this message is for you!
Let me tell you my story…
I grew up knowing a great deal about the things I was not good at. I had a really good understanding that there was nothing special about me. I believed that, if I could do something, it meant everyone else could too – because the messages that I had grown up with led me to think I had no particular skills or talents. I also believed that I wasn’t very interesting and, consequently that I probably didn’t have anything interesting to say.
I must stress that I was loved and well cared for but, in their determination to ensure I did not become a ‘big-head,’ my parents inadvertently created the situation in which I grew up with low self-esteem and virtually no self-confidence. Looking back on it, I realise that I instinctively adopted certain strategies which probably gave me a semblance of coping.
But I also remember that, even as a young adult, it was hard for me even to drink a cup of tea in front of other people because, in my state of crippling self-consciousness, my hand would shake so much, I was afraid I would spill the drink all over me.
No breakthrough moment to report!
I wish I could tell you that I discovered some marvellous secret method to overcome my shyness and boost my self-image. But, the truth is, at that time I knew nothing about personal development. I had nothing to rely on, except me! So my journey to overcome my confidence issues was more a case of muddling through and trusting my instincts. Sorry! That doesn’t exactly have the sparkle of ‘WOW!’ about it, does it! But that’s how it was…
But somehow I didn’t do too badly.
I trained as a teacher working in primary education. At the pinnacle of my career I worked for 10 years as the Headteacher of a challenging inner-city primary school. So, to a watching world, it would appear that I had completely conquered my issues of self-confidence. My working life involved supporting those within the school community – children, parents and staff – to overcome any imiting beliefs about themselves; to operate in ways that would more effectively give them the outcomes they desired; to use behaviours that worked; to explore value systems and develop personal integrity; how to use powerful thinking! Etc., etc… (I knew a lot about self-development by now) It was highly demanding but very rewarding work. And if my life had gone according to my plan, I would still be there! So I’ll explain to you in a short while why I’m not…
For now I’ll continue my story
I had married at quite a young age. I have two wonderful children, a daughter and a son (and very recently a little grandson). So, I am very blessed. Although the marriage didn’t work out, my husband and I divorced amicably. Then I met someone else. Shortly after I started seeing him, his ex-wife left their three very young children with him. It hadn’t been part of my plan to go through motherhood again but I felt, if that was the hand life had dealt me, then I would just get on with it and do the best I could.
So it took a while to realise that something wasn’t right!
Yes, it happened to me!
The manipulation, abuse and control crept slowly into the relationship. At first I thought it was because he was under so much stress. So I tried harder and harder to ease his burden. But nothing I did made any difference and his abusive behaviour, his unreasonable expectations became worse and worse. It was erratic, illogical and seemingly so pointless! He made me feel so bad about myself that I didn’t want to be alive any more…! And here I was, being the best mum I could to his children and the Headteacher of a very demanding school!
This endured for 7 years. Once the relationship ended, his bullying actually increased in ferocity once he no longer felt he had control of me! I stayed in touch with him because I was so worried about the children and the maelstrom into which their lives had been hurled. But the strain took a severe toll on me. It didn’t take long before I became very ill.
I started 2010 in a hospital bed and I realised I would need to make some radical decisions about the way I was living my life. I left hospital so weakened I could barely walk. I almost had to learn how to eat again – it would take me half the morning to try and finish a small bowl of breakfast cereal! Emotionally, I was broken.
I had a long recovery in front of me in every way. So it was with great reluctance that I gave up my osition as Headteacher and changed the direction of my life.
Here’s the breakthrough moment!
It was while I was recuperating that friends said to me, “Ruth, how could you let this happen to you?”
And I realised they were right. It was a waste of time believing that I had somehow been a victim here. This had happened to me because I had let it happen!
This was a powerful realisation.
I had spent years learning about personal development and helping others. I had qualified as a Life Coach and used my training to help many people with a range of complicated issues. I was an empathetic, kind, caring person.
But I realised I had not done enough to look after myself. I realised that the strategies I had used to build my belief in myself were not strong enough. So what was it about me that had made it so easy for me to accept the negative images of myself that my abusive partner had pushed in my face?
I looked deeper into what I needed to do to understand and rebuild myself, and put myself in a place of empowerment so that this would never happen to me again.
And I also realised that, if an abusive relationship could happen to me, it could happen to anyone!
You see, it doesn’t matter who you are or what successes you have achieved. Being subjected to a manipulative, abusive and controlling relationship is not an exclusive club. It can happen to anyone.
It’s horrifyingly commonplace though most of us hide it. And it’s devastating!
But whether at this stage, you realise it or not, it is possible to overcome it. You can learn how to recover from it. And you can learn the strategies of empowerment that will protect you from ever being in that place again!
And that’s why I’m here!
The plan was there all the time!
I now realise that everything that has happened to me through my life has led me to this place. The journey of my life has given me the experience, the skills and the knowledge to lead others down this path.
This is why I am here at this time, in this place, right now to lead you to recovery and empowerment in spite of your abusive relationship.
I’m here because I know what it’s like and I know exactly what to do about it!