Sunday, 9 August 2015

Was I Made, Or Am I Just A Different Demon?

VICTIM OR MONSTER? I gently opened the bedroom door trying desperately not to startle her. Judging by the sweetness of her smile, the world of dreams had clearly swept her away, and she looked utterly at peace. I was overcome by the sheer beauty of the sleeping goddess, her incredibly long auburn hair flowing over the brilliant white pillow onto the bed The warmth of her body beckoned me; I longed to seek comfort from the howling wind vibrating the window; a constant reminder that winter had not yet passed. The heat from the sun seemed a far distant memory as I shivered, standing naked on the ice cold floor, convinced as I gazed down at her sleeping image that she could provide all I needed to survive. I slipped beneath the billowy white duvet, wrapping my arms around her slender body; I could feel her heart beat as I pressed my chest against hers. Would my intrusion frighten her? Leaning forward, I placed a delicate kiss on her cheek. Her eyes opened, the smile broadening on her lovely face as she welcomed me into her arms and I felt safe. We kissed passionately as she drew me ever deeper into her warm embrace, igniting a fire within me when I realised that I was in love, captured and bound by a spiritual connection which had until this moment eluded me. Without thinking I whispered the words, “I love you.” And then she was gone, and I knew that I would never see her again. Where am I going? What will it be? What is my fate? What’s waiting for me? Is there a purpose? To the pain of the past? What is the reason? How long will it last. Am I a man? Or still just a shell. Will I be loved? Or remain in my hell. Where is my peace? Where is my home? What is a life? That’s destined to roam. There seems to be an overwhelming desire within me to destroy my relationships, the romantic ones are no exception. And I honestly don’t know whether any of my shortcomings are a direct result of my childhood experiences, or if I’m just an obnoxious bastard. I find it impossible to believe anyone can love me. And when I am fortunate enough to find someone, as soon as they begin to get even remotely close, my insecurities take over and I become an unbearable monster to live with, often resorting to verbal, and on a few occasions, physical abuse. From the time I met the mother of my son, to the end of my “short lived” marriage in February of 2009, and all the relationships between the two, the demons residing within in the darkest corners of my mind have always managed to somehow rob me of the love I hunger for. Having witnessed first-hand the love my parents shared, my desire to be in a healthy supportive relationship has always been one of my priorities. But I just don't seem to get it right. I know how women should be treated; my father set an amazing example. I don't remember him raising his voice, much less speaking harshly to my mum. And she adored him, her eyes lighting up with excitement whenever he stepped through the door. At night, while watching television, my dad would sit on the floor next to Mum's chair massaging her feet. It never looked to be a chore; he seemed perfectly content just touching her. I'm not naïve enough to believe the relationship my parents had was perfect, but it was calm, supportive, and filled laughter. Even my antics as a teenager failed to create enough friction to break their bond. It was them against me, which is something I resented at the time, but looking back on it now, I am envious . . . truly envious. And I often find myself wallowing in “self-pity”, true love seems completely unattainable. My demons won't hear of it. Despite my armour, I do manage to find myself in relationships, and they always start out great, but as my feelings grow, I become convinced I'm going to be hurt. It's never a conscious thing; it's almost as if I've been programmed to self destruct. The venom that spills from my mouth is poisonous. I once told my “ex wife” to rot in hell with her dead mother. This is not something I would ever say under normal circumstances, but there's no telling what will set me off once I start feeling threatened. On this particular night, I just blew up, my aggression rising to such an intense level my wife was forced to leave the house, fearing for her safety. She stayed with a work colleague for the evening, only agreeing to return the following day, once I'd promised to leave. Feeling absolutely horrid about what I had done, and acknowledging my need for professional help, I made an appointment to see a counsellor. And being the loving person she is, my wife allowed me to move back into our home. This woman had married me, put up with terrible abuse at my hands, and yet it was still not enough for me to realise she loved me. And it was only a matter of weeks before my next outburst. Finally, in February of 2009, following a heavy drinking session, I hit her. And quite rightly, she decided it was time to go our separate ways. And wanting what was best for her, I reluctantly agreed. We were married less than two years. This is the scenario which has plagued me throughout my adult life. I seem to be incapable of accepting love, to do so feels almost as threatening as being physically attacked. My feelings for a woman seem to unleash the beast within, and no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to control my actions. I’ve drifted through a lonely life; my participation in ill-fated relationships has always been somewhat artificial, in the sense of my inability to return the love that's offered. It truly frightens me to think there's a good chance that I will be growing old alone. Perhaps the numerous scars my assailants left on my heart have rendered me emotionally impotent, and if so . . . then they will have effectively stolen my life, not just my childhood, but my entire fucking life. That being said, there are many people in this world who abuse others and try to excuse their behaviour by blaming the hardships they have endured. And there have been times I have resorted to this copout myself. But I honestly don’t know if my childhood has any bearing on how my personal life has turned out, or if I’m just one of those blokes born to be a bully. Looking in the mirror is sometimes very difficult, and I truly hate myself for the hurt I’ve caused. It pains me to think there’s a whole bunch of women in the world who can only associate bad times when my name is mentioned, each of them having one thought in common; “I wish I’d never met him.” Victim or monster? I just do not know.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Losing the Hate: The Ripple Effect - Coming Very Soon

Leaving the Void It’s a dark and lonely place, Not a home to be, I cannot see my face, Or any remnants of me. Trapped within the void, Caged by the system, Scared to be annoyed, Stripped of any wisdom. With suicide in mind, I’m left to dine on morphine, My fear and hate entwine, In the NHS indoctrine I’ve often thought of writing another book, but in truth, the overwhelming response I had to “Losing the Hate,” left me somewhat bewildered. To think that people from around the world, thousands of them, literally, took the time to reach out in support, left me dumbfounded. I’m not saying I didn’t receive my share of criticism, but since this was exactly what I’d expected in the first place, it had little effect on me. The positive response, however, changed my life. The validation I received from my readership was completely unexpected, but what surprised me most were the genuine inquiries into my well-being. My readers wanted more, but I was at loss as to what to write about. Nothing would have pleased me more than writing a follow-up book, a “look at me now!” guide, show-casing my many accomplishments, and offering up a list of inspirational resources and reference points to guide my fellow victims of abuse to enlightenment. Unfortunately, on my journey, I chose the road most frequently travelled by victims of abuse, kicking up as much dust as possible along the way. Rather than deal than with my feelings, I repressed them. The ones I couldn’t repress I saturated with alcohol and drugs, allowing my hostility to remain tucked behind a veil of substance abuse. “It wasn’t me, it was the drink!” Even I knew this was a lie, but it was easier than admitting that I’d been triggered, especially, given how little it often took to set me off. Separating my behaviour from my person, and blaming it on an outside source made me, in my own mind at least, appear more reasonable and less responsible for any consequences. I’m not the first to employ this technique, and sometimes it actually works, most especially when the people you’re trying to convince want desperately to believe you. I’m also not the first to experience the long term result of substance abuse, and repressed emotion. If you picked out this book as a self-help alternative, the best I can offer up is an outline of what not to do. Although, in the past few years, I have made some progress, substantial progress in fact, and ironically it’s almost an act of rebellion. Those of you, who read my first book, Losing the Hate, are probably aware that I am rebel. Aging has had little effect on this aspect of my personality. Aging has however, forced me to reconcile with my mortality and my body has become my prison. Before I give you the wrong impression, let me add, my forced slowdown in the form of two heart attacks, has taken me on journeys I would have never expected. When I lost my physical freedom, I had no choice but to reflect on my past and my role in creating my present condition. I’ve also gained some valuable insights concerning both health and spirituality, which I’m happy to share with those of you who continue reading. As I write this introduction, the book of which I speak, has yet to be written, in fact, it has no title at the moment, because in all honesty I have no idea where I’m going with this, I’m literally taking you along for the ride. Since so many of you have expressed an interest in what went on in my life since my writing, “Losing the Hate,” I guess that’s where we begin.

An Act of Aggression (Part Two)

The first few months went swimmingly well. There were no clashes between me and the other five residents, and I’d been allowed to shop for myself following my initial trip with Caz. Even the relationship with my family was back on a fairly even keel. As soon as the time came for me to leave school everything changed. Between what the state paid me and my food allocation, I was receiving £35 a week. After paying £4.50 board and lodging, the rest of the money was my mine to spend. I began to drink heavily and it wasn’t long before I made friends who were keen to sell me as much cannabis as I could afford. As my drug and alcohol abuse grew, the unemployment money was no longer enough to cover the lifestyle I’d become accustomed to, and I became very aggressive towards the staff at Kingfisher. To make my money go further, I started drinking very strong lager with a volume of 9%, only Returning home when I was out of drink or spoiling for a fight. The more the staff tried to understand why my behaviour had taken such a dramatic turn, the more I rebelled against them, threatening to run away or smash up furniture. When my threats centred on violence towards whichever staff member I was arguing with, Bill informed me that they’d been instructed to call the police, telling me my adverse behaviour would no longer be tolerated. The anger inside me continued to escalate and my alcohol consumption remained astronomically high. Feeling unable to release the tension coursing through my veins, I started to self harm in a manner which never happened before; taking kitchen knives to my forearm and really cutting myself in a disturbing way. I’d butcher my arm, hacking rather than cutting, causing gaping wounds that pumped rather than oozed blood. The hatred I’d often shown towards others was now turning inward; and my greatest wish was that death would take me away. Things got so bad I was being taken to the local hospital two or three times a week to be stitched up. The casualty staff demanded an explanation as to why I was being allowed to hurt myself whilst still under the supervision of council care workers. It was decided all the kitchen knives were to be kept under lock and key, and if I needed to peel some spuds or cut some meat, it would be done for me, but short of locking me up, there was pretty much little else they could do. Caz continued to try and help. She was genuinely concerned, but I really didn’t have any interest in sorting things out. The self destruct button in my head was now activated, and there was little anyone could do to help. As well as self harming, I reacquainted myself with sniffing glue only now I no longer did it privately, thinking nothing of sitting in the communal lounge with my “bag,” waiting for a reaction. When none came, I was more than happy to just get high, revisiting the euphoric world which had welcomed me only a few years before. I remember one situation in particular, when I pushed my luck to its limits with the officer in charge. His name was Malcolm, a very experienced social worker, being in the job for over ten years. I’d decided to glue sniff in the lounge, desperate to create an argument with him. Sure enough it was only a matter of minutes before he entered the sitting room, demanding I hand over the bag of Evostick. I told him to fuck off; and he did. Thinking I’d won the battle, I strutted into the kitchen, where another member of the staff was making a hot drink. Proud of my apparent victory, I boasted, “he’s a fuckin’ good social worker aint he? Couldn’t even get the glue off me, wanker.” The residents present looked at me in disbelief, and the staff member, a black guy called Les, smiled at me and simply said, “D’you want to talk about it Simon?” I paced around the dining table, inhaling the bag of glue, laughing hysterically between breaths, knowing I looked insane.