I felt devastated and despondent. I didn’t know if I could get through this.

I was a single mum with 2 children from my previous marriage which ended quite suddenly after my husband had an affair and within 4 weeks ; I had lost my husband to another woman, given away my beloved dog, sold our family home and moved into a rental with my children. I also had time for a mental breakdown and hospital stay where fortunately I could have my baby with me.

I thought this was the worst moment in my life.

I thought how am I ever going to survive this and recover.

Little did I know what was coming next and this was a walk in the park in comparison.

Fast forward a 5 year road to get back on my feet, raising my children ready for school, completing a course and ending up in part time employment and all the self help books you can read. There may have been a few trips to a clairvoyant, one needs hope after all!

It was my neighbours that introduced, vouched for, encouraged and eventually after 2 years succeeding in match making me to a man they thought was perfect from me. So I let my guard down, and I trusted my dear friends. Surely if they have known him since childhood they know him very well. I let myself be pursued, wooed, charmed and finally fell in love.

He would go on to become my second husband, father two children with me and become my abuser.

I was in a long distance relationship with this “perfect man” but I had already decided to relocate and simplify my life by moving to a small community ,I couldn’t wait to start my new life.

After 8 months my partner moved to a new posting so that he could live with us. I refer to this as the “honeymoon period“ where we did all the introductions to my family and friends, his friends, and my children adored him too – Happy Days. It was going to work out after all, finally after all this time of feeling like a failure with my first marriage, Here HE was – My happy ending.

He didn’t have children of his own, and it wasn’t long before I was expecting his first. We were all overjoyed, although I remember my family being a little subdued at the time with their reactions. (Later I would recognise this was a big no-no and my family had just put the first mark against their name).

It wasn’t long before I began to struggle trying to keep my blended family happy; everyone in it safe, loved and treated with respect. Everything revolved around him and second to that was ‘his’ baby, any efforts on my part to suggest considering anyone else in the house ( I didn’t even get to me ) was met with stony silence, or impatience or yelled at for just existing (verbal and emotional abuse is what I would later learn to recognise and name as his behaviour).

Yet I still believed I could turn him around and make this work. I was wrong.

I was only married to my abuser for 18 months, but we were together for 7 plus years.

My #3 step was Grief
I had to grieve something that had been toxic and deeply hurtful, but it was all I had known for 7-8 years. The type of life I’d been in a ‘living hell’ was about to end , yet I was still so sad. Because I put my whole
heart into it , constantly sacrificing and striving for so long ,but I didn’t see the other person moving the goal posts further away so I’d never actually succeed. I knew I had done everything I could do to make it work, I would be able to hold my head high and keep my integrity. That didn’t save the heartache I felt for me and my children. It comes in waves even now years later. I didn’t want to end up being alone again, but this time it was my choice. And there is power in being able to make a our own choice.

But the guilt and shame I felt were just the tip of the iceberg, let alone my fears about everything else.

Why do us women think and feel so poorly of ourselves, when all we are doing is prioritising our health and happiness and that of our children?

It took me a long time to accept the relationship I thought I’d been in hadn’t been real.

I return here more frequently than I’d like to admit, and the only healer I’m aware of is TIME AND SUPPORT.

We are here to help guide you YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Privacy Policy: All personal details are strictly confidential , names have been changed to protect the identity of victims and their families.

What is “Finding Me”?

The “Finding Me” support group is a facilitated recovery based program. Our upcoming program will be running for 12 weeks. “Finding Me” aims to support women to recover from domestic violence by providing a safe, non-judgmental and inclusive environment where women can access information, support and connection.

What does “Free to be Me” aim to achieve?

  • A therapeutic environment in which survivors of domestic and family violence work through a 12 week program led by supportive facilitators.
  • Mutual support and respect amongst the group.
  • An awareness and knowledge of women’s basic rights.
  • Self-education that provides knowledge to reduce the risk of engaging in future toxic relationships.
  • A safe and supportive space that encourages participants to share their personal experiences.
  • A sense of connection to others who have had similar domestic/family experiences.
  • An opportunity to have existing beliefs about relationships challenged and reframed.
  • Increase in self-esteem, self-determination and empowerment of participants.

To find out more about our Recovery programs, email us at wollumbinfsi@gmail.com