Dachshund or returning to UK

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Hubby and I have been talking more and more over the last few days about how our life will continue when his work contract comes to an end next year..Do we leave our comfortable home and life for a life back in the uncertain post brexit future of the UK or do we stay for the long haul and I just have to continue learning the language?!

My number one choice has always been the UK, mainly because I never wanted to leave in the first place. We only left because hubby wasn’t happy in his job in Bournemouth and he only had a short window to find work elsewhere until our money ran out. Germany was the quickest offer he got, so although I had many reservations, we did it anyway..

After the first few months passed of us settling into our new life in Germany, we decided to get married. Things were going downhill in Greece with my father’s depression and I just had this bad feeling. I knew that if I ever wanted to get married with both my parents there, it would have to be that year. We went through with it in October 2014, 7 months into living in Germany. Although it wasn’t the easiest or smoothest wedding day due to stress and family drama, we at least committed to each other and created a new family unit. Both hubby and I always needed to feel a sense of belogning in our life and we finally managed to find it in each other.

Unfortunately, 2 months after we got married I confronted my mother about her dismissal of my feelings most of my life and 7 months later my father attempted suicide. My first year of marriage was utter shite and I had to go back on anti-depressants just to get through that year!Looking back on it now, I am happy it is over! The only thing that made that year a little better was celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary in New York! I had always wanted to go to America and I finally made it there for our special day!

All in all, Germany ended up being a safe haven for me, so I could work through my feelings of grief and disappointment. Although I was out of my comfort zone, Germany became my best friend. The fact that I wasn’t working for the first 2 years of my life here was a blessing in disguise. I was able to develop myself personally, set boundaries, progress heaps and bounds in therapy and even qualify as a life coach.

I finally said goodbye to my father after all the abuse & trauma and managed to slowly  re-create a civil relationship with my mother again, although only through acceptance of her limitations. Although I know life isn’t ever going to be the same again, since acquiring all this new wisdom & knowledge about my abusive parents, I am finally closer to making peace with the family I am left with.

The cutest thing about life here in Germany has been the constant appearance of the ‘Rauhaardackel’! :-)I completely fell in love with these beautiful little wirehaired dachshunds (sausage dogs) and we have been wanting to get one for the last couple of years. In this last month, hubby sent out emails to separate breeders and we came so very close to getting one this summer. We have so much love to give a dog and are also looking forward to the unconditional love that a dog gives back. Germany has at times been lonely, due to lack of friends or family and we know that this little dog would give us so much joy and friendship.

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Over the last weekend, we had numerous chats about moving back to England. On Friday, hubby just announced that we have to move back no matter what! He admitted that he is fed up travelling to work & back 2 hours each day, being the only one who earns enough to support our family and that he would much prefer it if we both worked average jobs full time rather than him doing a stressful job on his own. This is also something I have been wanting for the last 3 years, as I have missed earning a full time wage but have also been wanting to further develop myself in the area of mental health, through work and studies. I have felt like my desire to work in areas that interest me in the UK, has been on hold the last couple of years.

The hardest thing about living abroad is that you discover that there are so many things that are better than in your country. Renting in Germany is like owning a home. You have more freedom to do whatever you want and the rent is only increased once every 10 years. The health-care system is also very good. I have had great support here for both my mental and physical health. We were also able to buy a brand new car with hubby’s savings and we now only purchase food and cosmetics from Organic sources. There are a lot of things that we have grown accustomed to, so another big move again means that we will have to give up a lot of what we currently have.

It also means that we have to give up on our dream of getting our little sausage dog 😦 Moving back to the UK and finding a property to rent that will also accept a small dog, would be a huge challenge. Landlords don’t usually accept pets, so if we were to actually get a dog, it would limit our choice by 80%. This breaks my heart as I desperately want a dog, especially because we have decided we are not having kids.

This is the way it will have to be however. If we want to move back to the UK for my own emotional wellbeing, then having a puppy will just have to wait..

I admitted to hubby that I am so very tired of being around German speaking people..I am genuinely fed up of feeling uncomfortable and like a fish out of water..I usually enjoy getting to know people but my ability to do this here has obviously been hard. Especially now that I have started this new part time job, I always feel on edge when people talk to me and I know I have to reply in German. I never realised how much I would miss speaking English until I moved here!

Having emotional difficulties is already challenging enough to live with..Battling ill mental health is tough enough with all the limitations that come with it. When you already suffer with CPTSD, pushing yourself even further out of your comfort zone is a struggle..I really feel like I have done the best I could do under the circumstances..

To end this long, babbling blog post, I wanted to say that hubby is much closer to accepting that we will be moving back to the UK next year. We have made plans to save as much money as we can so we are comfortable when we move back and we have decided that we will really try to downsize from a 2 bedroom flat to a 1 bedroom in the UK, so we can save even more money for a future deposit on a forever home. I will have to give away or sell most of my unneccesary possessions (dvd collections/art/home decor etc), to make room for a sensible future life in the UK again.

In all honesty, I cannot wait! 🙂

Thanks for reading! ❤

Why you must stop obsessing over the narcissist

When your relationship with the narcissist in your life comes to an end, you will go through a very tumultuous recovery period. You will feel like your world has been turned upside down and your mind and body will be going through withdrawal.

Being in a relationship with a narcissist is like being addicted to a drug. They take over your life completely and when the relationship ends, the recovery process becomes an endless battle of fighting the obsessive thoughts and questions you are left with. The trauma bond created is excruciatingly hard to break.

In most cases there is no real closure, as you aren’t ending a relationship with a healthy person. When you are not understood and validated and your feelings are dismissed with guilt-tripping, controlling and manipulating behaviour, it is extremely diffucult for your mind and heart to feel peace.

Eventually however, and after you have spent a long time recovering from this toxic sort of ‘break-up’, there comes a point where the obsessing must come to an end. The introspection and deep inner work must begin. The grieving must take a different direction.

This video is about the importance of reaching that point in your healing.

It is of course, far more complicated if you were unlucky enough to also have a narcissistic family but in general the process is the same.

Realisation →Grief→Obsessing→Trying to make sense of their behaviour→Understanding & Acceptance→Grief→Introspection→Grief→Moving on

Love Athina ♥

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10 Damaging Ways Narcissistic Parents Emotionally Harm Their Children ~ Lilly Hope Lucario

Another great post by Lilly! ❤

Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD

Surviving narcissistic parents, is literally all about survival. Narcissistic parents treat their children like extensions of themselves. The child is there entirely for the needs of the parent(s). The child learns to navigate issues, they are never meant to endure.

A childhood being raised by narcissistic parents, is far from normal. Narcissistic parents are toxic and selfish to the core. They have no regard for the needs of their children. They have no consideration for the harm they cause.

Everything, is ‘all about the narcissistic parent’.

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This article highlights 10 ways narcissistic parents can harm their children.

1. The child is never ‘good enough’.

No matter how hard a child tries, they will never be ‘good enough’. This is shown in words and actions modelled. This often leads to a child having poor self esteem and self loathing, which continue on into adulthood.  The child learns they are only valued for what they do, and not…

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Identifying Selfish People vs Narcissists

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These days, it seems like narcissists are pretty much everywhere.  Yet, many people don’t understand there are differences between selfish people & narcissists.  Selfish people are called narcissists, when the simple fact is, they aren’t narcissistic- they’re just selfish.  And, narcissists are called selfish when in fact, they’re something much darker & more evil- narcissists.

Since selfishness is one of the main giveaways that someone is a narcissist, how does one discern a narcissist from someone selfish?  It can be done..

Here are 10 ways that can help you to discern selfish people from the narcissistic people.

  1. Selfish people are annoying, yes, but narcissists go beyond annoying with their selfishness.  Every single tiny thing can be turned back to them.  Selfish people will discuss topics other than themselves from time to time.
  2. Selfish people are capable of empathy.  Narcissists are not.
  3. Selfish people may not consider your feelings all the…

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Beauty in music

In one of my old posts, I wrote about how much music kept me sane when I was neglected as a teenager..Lyrics have always been very important to me in combination with piano or acoustic guitar..They touch me deep inside and I get chills when I can relate to the song completely-cognitively, emotionally and acoustically..

I also wrote so many poems as a coping mechanism..A lot of them expressed the anger I had to swallow in those difficult years, when I wasn’t allowed to have a voice..They expressed escaping from the pain I was in and being free of the constant invalidation..

I love this song..It is beautiful in so many ways…

Love Athina ♥

First day of new mini-job

So as you may have guessed, my new job started well. Although my German is limited, the owner of the ‘Rheinland Elfen’ was understanding about my need to speak in English, as I wasnt able to understand her ‘fast German’!

On Monday I met the owner and signed the contract for the job and today I had my first hour at work from 7am-8am. I was working with the Operations Manager today and with my limited German and her limited English we managed to communicate just fine 🙂  The work is based inside a 4 storey building, in which they hold seminars in various rooms. My job is to check the list every day and see which rooms need preparing for the various seminars taking place. Today there was only 1 room, so I only needed to work for an hour. The lovely Maria showed me what needed to be done and where everything was stocked and it all went very smoothly.

My job is so much easier than I thought.

All I have to do is tidy 4 kitchens by:

-putting away clean dishes and loading the dishwasher with dirty ones

-re-stocking the fridge with drinks

-making tea and coffee

-wiping surfaces clean

Then I have to prepare a trolley with the right amount of cups, saucers & glasses for the number of people attending each seminar and place them in each room.Coffee & Hot water flasks must also be prepared, along with a sufficient amount of other refreshments.

Next Tuesday, I will be doing my first morning working with my friend and we will have 6 conference rooms to prepare, so we will probably work 2-2.5 hours.

Although the work is repetitive, I really don’t mind it. It already feels good to have paid work again, especially in a foreign country. It is also a lot easier than working 12 hour shifts in an ‘End of Life’ care home, which is what I did in my last job in the UK, before we moved to Germany.

So I am now officially a ‘Rheinland Elfen’ (Elfen=female Elf and Rheinland is the area of Germany I live in)! Since green is my favourite colour, I am pretty thrilled with my laid back Uniform T-shirt 🙂

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Thanks for reading

Love Athina ♥

Out of my comfort zone

A friend of mine who works in an office building cleaning, has asked me if I want to work with her in the mornings. They are understaffed and she has been doing too much within a 3 hour timeframe. She also said that her boss is looking for someone to work in the evenings too, which is something I will also have to do.

Since I haven’t had a proper job here in Germany, due to my lack of German language skills, I have said yes to the job offer. The offices are a 10 min walk from home which is ideal and working alongside her in the morning will be a nice way to start as she will show me all the ropes.

The thing I am most nervous about however is meeting her boss on Monday, so I can give her all the necessary paperwork and sign any forms that state I will be starting to work for them. This has to be done with my limited German and in all honesty I am very uneasy about this. I havent really practiced much German since finishing my course in February and understanding is still a huge challenge. I can only do short sentences and when I am nervous I can’t think clearly or remember everything that I have learnt. People get impatient with you easily if you can’t speak the language and I always feel incredibly self-conscious.

Nevertheless, I am feeling the fear and doing it anyway as I want my own job. Hubby and I will still definetely be in Germany for another year and 8 months until his contract comes to an end, so It would be great for me to put some money aside.

I have spent the morning so far looking over my German language notes and have researched all the words and sentences I can find related to the tasks of this new job.

My friend didn’t tell her boss I only have basic German skills, so I hope she is understanding on Monday. It is only a cleaning job after all! How demanding are they going to be!?

My friend gave me a good bollocking this morning when I mentioned I haven’t practiced my German and feeling very scared about speaking. She said I have to leave my comfort zone and just do it! I know she is right in so many ways however I am still looking forward to moving back to the UK and finally being back in my comfort zone of being able to express myself fluently & fully understand what is being said to me. As much as I have enjoyed our life and all the other amazing opportunities that Germany has offered me in regards to physical & mental health, having a car and hubby’s good job,  learning German was and still is something I hugely dislike. I hated it at school and I still hate it now, even after 3 years of living here. Even the successful completion of the A1 Deutsch course didn’t convince me to continuing learning.

I guess if your heart really isn’t in something then I guess it will always be a challenge.

Wish me luck on Monday! I will need it! x

Love Athina ♥

The loss of what should have been

Courage Coaching

When you don’t get certain basic needs met in your childhood, there will come a time in your future where you will eventually become awakened to these unmet needs. Although this isn’t the same for everyone, there is usually one feeling which is most prevalent for most: ”The feeling of being ripped off”

This feeling of being ripped off, because you didn’t have a healthy family or because you no longer have a family to turn to, starts a very real and painful journey of mourning.

A lot of people who grew up with abusive parents, or in one parent families, or in families where their parents were chronically ill, learned to ‘live on autopilot’. They either had to push down their feelings to keep the peace, be a confidant or carer to the sick parent or learned that they had to solely rely on themselves. Even when they were…

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A little bit of drama..

I am back home after my short trip to Scotland and pretty happy to be in the comfort of my own cosy nest.

Last Sunday, hubby drove me to the airport in the morning. Although I was very prepared emotionally for staying at my mother’s home, (after our major fallout 2,5 years ago) my anxiety nevertheless creeped up on me, just as we approached the airport. It actually felt so bad, that I told hubby to keep his mobile on, in case I needed him to come back and get me..

Being around abusive & manipulative individuals will always keep you on guard.  In my mother’s case, because she is a covert narcissist, her abusive behaviours are well concealed..Because I know that she has a tendency to bring up past drama & past hurts, my mind was already in a hypervigilant state.

Luckily I was prepared for the appearance of anxiety, so I took a xanax to at least get me on the plane. Hubby was also flying off to Israel for work, so we would both be away. Separations are always hard.

When I arrived in Edinburgh, it was a lovely sunny day. There were flowers on sale everywhere at the airport and train station for Mother’s Day, and it all felt a little strange.

Although I am mostly over the fact that my Mother is unhealthy, the sadness of not having had a reassuring & unconditionally loving mother is something that I have just had to learn to live with.

When I arrived, my mother picked me up from the station and we went straight to my grandmother’s. It had been 4 years since I had last seen my grandmother, so this was the main reason for my visit. My cousin also turned up with her dog, which made the afternoon feel even more pleasant.

Afterwards, we drove to my mother’s new home and caught up on all things house related that still needed to be finished. It was nice to see her new home, although I have never felt ‘at home’ in any of my mother’s homes in the past 15 years. The normal warmth & deep motherly love have never been a part of my life. There has always been a superficialness in her love towards me, a superficial feeling of empathy and my mother’s hugs have always felt empty, from a very young age. I know it isn’t my mother’s fault, that she has a personality disorder which hurts her children but unfortunately this was the mother I was given.

Over the next few days, we walked around the shops and I stocked up on my favourite Scottish Shortbread, scones and other yummy cakes. We had lunch and dinner with my mum’s older and younger sisters. I spent a lovely afternoon at my aunt’s farm and enjoyed some cuddles with all the lovely animals, including some labrador puppies.

Apart from a little anxiety due to feeling car sick in my mother’s car, I was ok.

In the evening our conversations became deeper and my mother talked about my Dad and how she had tried to take my brother & I away from him when I was only 4. She had seen by that point, how emotionally distant and cruel my father could be and didn’t want to live like that anymore. She had left her most important possessions with British friends in Greece and had prepared for the possibility of not returning. She had asked my Grandparents if they would let her stay with them in Edinburgh, until she figured out what to do next. She told me that they refused to let her go through with her plan. They told her that she had made a choice and had to return to her husband and her life in Greece. That she had a responsibility towards her children.  She admitted to me that she was very hurt at the time by her parents’ lack of support but that she later understood that they were right.

The biggest reason my mother and I had our major fall-out 2,5 years ago was because she had once again dismissed my feelings as being unimportant and had also made excuses as to why she didn’t want me to stay with her for a couple of months, while I worked and earned money for my Masters.

I realised that the lack of unconditional love was generational. If her mother could send her back to a controlling and abusive husband, because she couldn’t deal with the stress of having us, then my mother could do the same to me.

On my last morning in Scotland and 10 min before I was due to catch my train, my mother brought up the past disappointments from 2 years ago, as if she wanted to rub them in my face again. She said that she hoped I understood the reasons why she wasn’t able to have me stay with her. I told her that in my eyes her reasons weren’t that important and that I felt unwanted and that I could never ask her for anything ever again. I also told her that I have accepted that she has limitations and that I should only accept what she can offer me. She seemed to be happy with that last sentence. She said that, if in the future anything awful happened, that of course she would absolutely support me.

Sadly, I will never ask for her support again and I don’t have any expectations of her. I let that go in my grieving 2 years ago and have accepted that my relationship with my mother now, will be a different one.

When I eventually arrived back home in Germany, I was relieved and very tired. I slept like a baby for the next few days. Hubby arrived home too, so all was back to normal.

I may not have a father in my life anymore, but a little drama will still be a small part of my life once a year.

Thanks for reading

Love Athina ♥

 

 

The quiet after the storm

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I haven’t written an update in awhile in regards to the situation with my father, so decided to let you know what has been happening whilst I have a lazy day in bed..

So far, so good..No more contact, no more phonecalls and no more letters.

Maybe my father has finally got the message that I no longer want a relationship with him..

This is very good..It’s good for my sanity, it’s good for my healing and it’s good for my grieving..

I am hoping that the current quiet time stays that way..

At the end of the month I am bravely heading to Edinburgh to stay with my mother, after almost 2 years of not visiting her at her home. She has just recently moved there from West Sussex, so I thought it could be a new opportunity to be civil but mostly to see my grandmother and the rest of my family..

Through therapy, I decided that I was strong enough and wise enough to continue a relationship with my narcissistic mother, mainly because I didn’t want to lose contact with the rest of my family, especially my cousins.

With my mother, although things aren’t ideal as she still remains a covert narcissist with histrionic traits, I am better equipped to put up with her dysfunction..I am very good at just observing her and don’t allow what she says anymore to affect me..I don’t need her..I don’t value what she says and I see her as this lost child..I have good boundaries and keep repeating the same words when she starts pushing..

If she were to die tomorrow, I wouldn’t be devastasted..This probably may sound harsh to some of you but I have already spent years grieving the mother I didn’t have..

I have already grieved the lack of a healthy mother and I have already grieved the fact that I wasn’t able to find true comfort & empathy in her.

Through my life, I have found warmth in other older women: great aunts, mothers of certain friends etc. I have felt true warmth and empathy in women I unfortunately don’t see very often, due to circumstance and distance. I have found real empathy and love in my hubby and in my friends..

My mother feels more like a needy acquaintance, like a dysfunctional therapy project, which I observe and just write notes on..When you are dealing with someone who has narcissistic personality disorder, you have to learn to distance yourself emotionally..I have definetely managed to do this very well.

It is sad to say this, but unfortunately it is the reality of how I feel..

My brother on the other hand doesn’t want to see her or speak to her at all..He is happiest away from her..It is more complicated for him to speak to her in a careful way, due to his special needs..He thinks like a child in so many ways but understands very deeply that she is dangerous for him..He hasn’t grieved her, as he doesn’t have the capacity to understand his need to grieve for her. He is mostly just angry and very protective of himself which is ok..

I am grateful I have gone through so much recovery and have come out the other side..

Although things have been tough, I am definetely feeling a lot more comfortable in my life..

When I fly to Edinburgh it is actually on Mother’s day! I had no idea when I booked the flights and it is kinda ironic really!

The good thing when I arrive is that I will go straight to my Grandmother’s house and that makes me feel much more comfortable. I don’t get to see her very often but she definetely bears no resemblance to my mother’s ways. My grandmother is cuddly and affectionate and very giving whenever I am with her..It has always made me wonder how on earth my mother turned out so sick. My Grandmother is 92 this year so it has been on my mind to visit her for awhile.

Now that I will no longer be going to Athens as much, due to the situation with my father, trips to Scotland will hopefully become a little more frequent.

Yesterday was a suprisingly good day for me. I had my first day as a part-time nanny for a Greek/German family that live reasonably close to me and it was such a joy to be helping out a truly wonderful mum. Her empathy & love for her children radiated. Her 3 kids were so well behaved and happy. Her husband was supportive and loving.

A new part-time job is just what I need at the moment, to keep me busy when I am not coaching or making youtube videos..I do love kids and always feel so protective towards them due to my background..Even though hubby and I have said we don’t want kids due to my CPTSD, I will always very much enjoy looking after them and protecting them. Maybe one day we can foster children. That is definetely something that I could see myself doing.

Thanks for reading

Love Athina ♥