Northern Irish writer Beau Marshall has written a painfully honest open letter to her ex and the father of her child. We are incredibly grateful to her that she has given us permission to share it here in full. Please read with care. (stock image © Laura Dodsworth)
You pretended to be my friend.
You literally took a wrecking ball to my life. When I look back, I realise you knew exactly what you were doing. You pretended to be my friend to lure me into a false sense of security. When I was at a point in my life that all I could see was darkness you gave me a fake glimmer of light. You were my shoulder to cry on. I trusted you with my deepest secret and you used it to abuse me.
When I look back I see you so differently. And I see myself so differently too. I was in pain. I hated myself and you pretended to love me. In a short period of time I felt like I would never cope without you. You made me believe this too.
Instead of helping me through my dark time you used it to chip away at me. In every single way. You made me feel ugly inside and out. You told me I was useless. You told me I was stupid. You told me nobody else would ever want me. You made me believe this.
Somebody that loves you will build you up, not knock you down.
I lost who I was. I was your version of me. The version you needed me to be so you could control and manipulate me.
I got so ill I couldn’t see a way forward. I had nowhere to turn and you knew how much I was hurting. You then pretended to be surprised, pretended to be unaware of my pain and again fooled me into thinking it was all my fault and that you were the good guy who was my rock. You just added this experience to the list of things you would use against me and abuse me with.
At times I wished you would lift your fist to me. I used to think bruises on the flesh would heal faster than the wounds you put on my heart and soul. But none of it would ever be acceptable.
I tried to get away from you. I did things to try and make sure we could never get back together. But you always got to me and I always ended up back there. Time after time.
Nobody could understand how I kept getting back with you. How could they possibly understand, they didn’t understand the extent of the damage you had done. My spirit was broken.
You had this way of always making me believe what you said. When you called me names and made me feel worthless I listened to it. I believed all of it. When you’d later say sorry for the things you did I listened to that too. I was so caught up in the cycle of abuse I couldn’t see reality anymore.
I stopped telling my friends and family anything that went on. I was too ashamed. I had no idea what was normal anymore.
Then I found out I was expecting a baby with you. I was overcome with emotions. I’d always wanted to be a mother. I believed you when you told me it would all be OK. If it had been up to you I wouldn’t be OK now.
The birth of our son gave me the ability to find a strength that was buried deep down inside me. I had to change for him and for me. And he had to have his best chance. I never wanted to be a single mother but it was for the best. You lost your power over me the day I became a mother but it didn’t stop you trying to control me. You tried many different angles. Verbal, emotional, financial abuse and even blackmail. Our son quickly became a pawn in your sick games.
Even when you had moved on and met the girl you would marry you still spent time and energy trying to destroy me.
The only thing you destroyed was the relationship with your son. He should have idolised you but he feared you. At 6 years old he could see you for the bully you are. I never bad mouthed you. In fact I made excuse after excuse for you hoping out little boy would hurt less.
You broke my spirit but worst of all you hurt our innocent child. I hope the child you’ve gone on to have since never experiences the pain I’ve seen your ability to cause.
I stayed single for years, not because nobody wanted me as you liked me to believe but because I was cleaning up your mess. I was being Mum and Dad, I was trying to heal myself from your years of abuse and I was working really hard to provide a beautiful life for our son. Everything he has is down to me. Your last bit of control you thought you had over me was financial and to be brutally honest you’re welcome to keep your money. We do great without your help.
And now that I’ve met someone that I may find the time and the faith to have some feelings for I continue to battle the demons you left me with. I’ve healed as much as I can. I’ve worked hard to heal. And still there are some days I have to remind myself that he is not you and it’s OK to let love in…
At Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline we won’t put pressure on you, or tell you what to do. We know it isn’t always easy to pick up the phone. When you call the helpline, your call will be answered by fully trained call handlers who have lots of experience supporting people affected by domestic abuse and forced marriage.
You don’t need to know what to say, just know that we believe you, and we are here for you.
Call: 0800 027 1234 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Website: www.sdafmh.org.uk