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! ❤

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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 ♥

The calm before the storm

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As I predicted, my father’s reply letter arrived today, even though I said I no longer wanted contact.

Last night I went to bed full of anxiety and today I asked my husband to check the mailbox, as I wanted nothing to do with it.

I knew that if I had his letter in my hand, it would be too difficult to not open the envelope and read it.

Luckily, we folded the letter and put it into another envelope and my husband posted it back. I asked him to write the address as well.

I feel sick to my stomach again from all the fluctuating emotions and utterly exhausted from the tension.

I worry that things are going to get worse from now on and that the next letter will be from his lawyer.

I need to find out what my rights are, for taking my dad’s money from our shared account. After his suicide attempt, he scared the shit out of me. I immediately envisioned a future with even more stress from his gold-digging wife. My therapist also warned me that financially things wouldn’t be good, as narcissists and particularly my father are controlling and irresponsible with their money. She said that I have to be prepared for chaos. This is why I took a portion of this money from our account. I also took this money cos I could see how careless he was being towards himself and his health. I wanted to have some money aside to help him in the future, when he had nothing left.

This of course, will no longer be necessary. Now, I am just protecting myself.

Due to the fact that I live with CPTSD, I have never been able to work full time for very long. My chronic exhaustion, bad memory and general bad mental health has made it very hard to even start considering saving money for the future. Most people in their mid 30’s have already started saving for their retirement. I haven’t been able to do this and this scares me.I also know that it isn’t my husband’s responsibility to pay for me, or to pay for any future expenses that I have because of my irresponsible father.

Now that I didn’t read my father’s reply letter and successfuly sent it back, I will crawl into bed and sleep. I will sleep so I don’t have to think about it anymore and I will sleep cos I feel exhausted.

His words will no longer poison my mind..

His desperation will no longer affect me..

His shaming will no longer hurt me..

I have already suffered enough..

Now is my time to focus solely on myself..♥♥

Return to sender

It will be a week tomorrow since I posted my last letter to my father. Although I have no idea when and if my letter to him arrived, his secretary who is also a friend, told me he has already sent me a reply.

I promised myself last week that if I received another letter from him, I would send it back unopened.

In all honesty I am contemplating reading it..

Just to see what crazy stuff he has come up with this time..

Or to see his reaction to my farewell letter…

or to see if he is making any threats about lawyers (which I am worried about).

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I am fully aware that by reading his letter again, I will be affected mentally and physically..

That it won’t give me closure and that I can’t trust anything he says as the truth..

That he won’t say anything remotely empathetic or loving and that I will once again be crushed..

So why do it to myself? Why cause myself more pain? Haven’t I had enough already?

It’s going to take a lot of strength to not open it, as I keep wondering whether I will regret it if I don’t read it..

The reality however is that I can’t unread a letter..Once I read it, the words get stuck in my head..

So returning it unopened and unread sends a powerful message..Even more so than asking him not to contact me again..

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Family photos don’t show the truth

Trigger alert *****

Last night I had a gruesome nightmare..I felt incredibly guilty because I took part in covering up a murder of a young woman and knowing that her body was dismembered.I have no idea how she died and why. My father was also in the dream although I don’t remember the details of why he was in it either. All I remember vividly is that I was on the run and was trying to stay hidden and safe..I felt scared and I felt guilty..

It was a very dark and unsettling dream..I am pretty sure it is symbolic of what I am going through right now, with the projected guilt I am feeling of cutting ties with him..

I hope I can stay strong and protect myself..

I just want it to finally be over..

Love Athina ♥

The desperation of a father who never learnt from his mistakes

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My half brother and my Dad playing at his home

My Dad always enjoyed spending time with his children. We softened up his heart..He told my mother once that he always had trouble feeling genuine love for anyone but with us children, he could feel it more..

We did all sorts of nice things such as playing ball, going to the park, fishing, going to the funfair and he always brought endless kittens home to us over the years, which were found in the various building sites he would visit when his architecture business was still booming.

He laughed at a lot..He made jokes a lot..

That side of him started disappearing a long time ago unfortunately..

I have a lot of good memories with my Dad when I was younger.He tried to give me more attention when I was still in primary school, because my mother always gave my brother 90% of her attention, due to his epilepsy and learning difficulties. The older I got however, the less attention I had and the lonelier and emptier I felt.

When I look at these photos, I see and remember my Dad’s kind side. I see the love for his kids, even if it wasn’t the kind of love that was enough or healthy.

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My Dad and I when I was 3- 1985

Yesterday, my farewell letter to my dad arrived.

The timing was perfect because my friend also dropped off the key to the flat as well. Before I even got round to checking the tracking number, my mobile started ringing. That’s how I knew my Dad had received the letter. He panicked..

In the afternoon when he was in his offce alone, he made 3 phonecalls and left 4 voicemails begging me to talk to him. He told me I was being too harsh to him.

The desperation in his voice was terribly difficult to hear. The empathetic, loving side of me aches with sadness. I can feel his desperation, his disbelief..

The logical, protective side of me knows it was the right thing to do..

The emotional side of me however is struggling..

If only I didn’t feel the emotional pain ..

His secretary told me this morning that he was already writing a reply letter to me. I feel more comfortable receiving a letter rather than speaking on the phone or hearing his voice in the voicemail messages. With his reply I am still in control of whether I respond or not. I have time to react. I have time to reflect.

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My Dad tickling my older brother and his wife (step-mother who is only 5 years older than me)-2006

All I can say right now is that my grief is strong..The longing for the kinder side of my father is strong. I can’t forget all the bad stuff, all the dysfunction however.My love for him isn’t enough when I have been constantly hurt. My kindness and my ‘heart of gold’ as my dad once described, isn’t enough to put up with the constant dissappointment. He didn’t value me enough in the last years.

I was always the one who was there for my Dad emotionally. The sensitive sucker of a daughter, who was easily manipulated, who was told to act differently, who wasn’t welcome anymore in her father’s home, who wasn’t allowed to see her half brother, all because his wife didn’t want me to..He allowed all of it for his own selfish needs.Yet I still longed for the connection with him.

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I treasured this summer evening-Fishing with my Dad and half brother when he was 6 years old)-

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May 2012-My brother’s birthday in Greece with my Dad joking around with him

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Spring 2010-Dad, I and my half brother

The waiting now is going to be uncomfortable but I am prepared..I will keep busy, see friends, use distractions and hold onto the love in my home with my hubby..

He is my best friend and we always talk everything through so well..

I am so lucky to have him in my life, otherwise I probably would never have had the strength to cope with everything in the last couple of years.

Thanks for reading

Love Athina ❤

Intensive language courses can be exhausting

Dear friends and fellow bloggers,

I apologise for being away from the blogging world recently. I am struggling to keep up with my new routine at the moment, so my YouTube videos on my channel have had priority, as well as the important decision to finally start German lessons.

Yes, I finally gave in!! I have signed up to an intensive 7 week course!

Hubby and I were discussing our future in Germany a few weeks ago and I was talking about whether moving back to the UK would be a good idea or not after all.

I still want to do my Art Therapy MA in the future, which I will now have to re-apply for, (as I have lost my unconditional offer after 2,5 years of not starting) however our life here in Germany has been good due to my husband’s job. It has provided security, health insurance & a cosy home. Germany has been extremely kind to me over the last 2,5 years.

Looking back on that time, I have come to realise that I needed these years away from full time work, in order to fully grieve the loss of my parents and in order to continue my healing journey. Grieving the loss of the healthy parents I never had was extremely painful, time consuming but absolutely necessary..Germany gave me that time..My husband’s work gave me that time..

In these 2,5 years I have:

1.grieved extensively

2.dealt with 1 last family drama when my father attempted suicide

3.gone no contact with my father

4.married my husband

5.started the gym

6.studied Cognitive Behavioural Coaching & completed my qualification as seen below 🙂

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7. continued my healing in therapy & achieved a new sense of freedom from this healing

8.grown in confidence

9.met some amazing bloggers which I am lucky enough to also call friends.

10.had EMDR therapy to minimise my emotional flashbacks & nightmares

11.learnt how to make homemade bread, homemade pizza & other vegetarian dishes for my hubby

12.learnt new creative hobbies

13.started blogging & vlogging

and finally 14. started learning German

Now it may seem VERY strange that learning German is the last thing on my list but there were many reasons for this. Firstly, it isn’t a language I particularly like and secondly it is a difficult language to learn.

The main reason for not learning straight away however, is because I was originally only going to stay in Germany for 6 months, whilst hubby settled in to his new job. I was then going to head back to Sheffield to start my Art Therapy MA.

When we realised that this would be a little too costly, whilst we were also preparing to get married, I then ended up defering my course and just stayed on in Germany for the full year. After I got married, I was thrown in the deep end in regards to family dramas with my parents, so ended up spending the next year grieving and suffering greatly with my CPTSD & depression. It’s incredible how big a part mental illness can take up in your life sometimes!

Germany has been very kind to me and for this I am grateful…My husband’s insurance covered all my therapy sessions over the last 2 years, which would have otherwise been very expensive or almost non existent if I was in the UK. I have taken baby steps in achieving goals I never thought I could achieve and I am currently in a very good place in regards to my mental health. Although I am still on anti-depressants and fortnightly therapy, I am feeling more at peace with myself as a person and have developed a new sense of self-compassion and confidence I never had before.

My decision to FINALLY start German lessons was because of the discussion of leaving Germany or staying. I thought that the only way to truly know if I could stay in Germany more long term, would be to give the language a try and hopefully get a part-time job.Having a part-time job would enable me to save money for a pension when I am old and wrinkly. At the moment I am not able to do this on a few hours of coaching with my new business.

I promised myself that I would give learning Germany my best try and if after completing the course I still didn’t feel confident in getting a job, then we would move back to the UK and start over.

These 2,5 years have been the longest time hubby and I have lived in one place without moving. Since we met almost 5 years ago, we have lived in many different towns and places. Now that we are nearly in our mid 30’s we would like to settle somewhere for longer and get a dog.

At the moment, Germany and specifically Bonn still feels like home.

I have completed 4 days of my intensive German course and I must admit it is incredibly tiring as there is so much to learn in a short space of time. Unfortunately with my CPTSD, I have problems with my memory so I have to repeat stuff over and over again until I can properly learn it..Although I attend classes every day for 4 hours, I still have to spend 3 hours just doing the homework at the end of each day.Today I have given myself the afternoon off to blog and just relax!

I am so glad it is Friday 🙂

So once again, I am sorry if I have been a bit distant dear friends..This will continue for the next 7 weeks but I will try and catch up each weekend with writing, as well as reading your posts!

Love Athina ♥

Loving parents-Unknown territory..

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Today I was thinking about how lucky people are, who are part of a loving and close family..

The type of family you can turn to when something goes terribly wrong. The type of family you know will feel your pain and will offer to help you even if you don’t ask..The type of family that would always put a roof over your head, even if they didn’t have the space or money.

When I am not keeping myself busy, there are these moments of calm where I sit back and imagine how my life could have been if I was lucky enough to have such a family.

As Christmas quickly approaches, my heart aches once again with this deep feeling of sadness.I’ve had this feeling since I was a child.

I know my parents couldn’t have done more due to their NPD, however that doesn’t change that deep longing for comfort in the arms of a loving parent.

My husband unfortunately also shares this feeling with me, although not in exactly the same way. He luckily had a mentally healthy mother who managed to bring him up with integrity, unconditional love and by always putting his needs first. She unfortunately suffered with an autoimmune disease however and was physically suffering when my husband was only a child. His father was not a part of his life so he also never felt this feeling of safety & security. He had to leave home when he was only 12, so his mother’s illness didn’t affect him more than it already had.This was to prevent codependency, which could have been detrimental in his life otherwise. He went to school abroad and lived with 2 separate host families, who sadly weren’t very comforting. He then moved abroad again to live with his half sister, her Dad and his partner in Greece. He managed to finish school there and create some wonderful memories with friends, however nothing seemed to fill that void of ‘missing out’. His mother died when he was in his early twenties and he didn’t have a choice but to just accept it.

Now we are both in our 30’s and we can’t help but wonder what it would have been like to have family like this to turn to. Even as a mentally stable adult, people still need their parents. For those of us however who missed out on a nurturing and stable family home, this is all the more challenging. My own mother tells me how she doesn’t know how she would cope if her mother died. My grandmother is 92 and my mother is 63. This feels incredibly unfair to me..How the hell am I supposed to feel, when I am only 34 and my mother has never even felt like a mother?! She is still a child in so many ways and I had to grow up fast from a very young age. I was also the scapegoat in my family with my brother being the golden child. He was the one with the disability and his needs did and will always come first.

As much love as my husband and I share (which I am incredibly grateful for) this doesn’t make up for the lack of belonging we both feel. It is an emptiness that unfortunately doesn’t go away and all we can do is create a family of our own. We have both decided we don’t want to have children, as we feel a deep sadness about the direction the world is headed in. If we don’t feel safe in it as adults, how the hell are we supposed to protect our children?

We will be hopefully getting a dog next year which we are both extremely happy about and we have agreed that if I ever feel the need in the future to look after and care for a child, then we could consider fostering. I have looked after children for over 8 years and still currently caring for a 4 year old here in Germany who only has his mum. This poor kid is already showing signs of abandonment issues due to his father’s lack of interest in him and he is a wonderful little boy with a brilliant, hard working mum. It gives me immense happiness to care for those in need and I will continue to do so, even without children of my own.

I will leave you with this cute photo of the dog breed we will be getting next year 🙂 Hopefully we can find a rescue dog, as that is always the best thing to do.

Thanks for reading x

Love Athina ♥

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© All blog posts and images are owned by me and My child within. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

Illustrations of mental illness

Although this artist doesn’t depict all types of mental illness, some of these are very accurate and some illnesses I must admit I had never heard of.

I always admire truly talented artists, so had to share this link for all of you to see.

Some are very dark so they might be a little ***triggering*** for some of you, whilst some ilnesses are not included.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Shawn Coss

 

This is the full list of illustrations in the link below:

http://www.boredpanda.com/for-inktober-i-focued-on-mental-illness-and-disorders/

Love Athina ♥

Ritual abuse survivors are heroes

∗∗Possibly triggering ∗∗

Before starting this blog and my own journey of healing from child abuse, I had never come across Ritual abuse..I never knew there was such evil in this world..I knew about psychopaths and narcissists..I knew about some of the awful things that have happened to children who have suffered abuse.I know there are many paedophiles out there who live out their sick fantasies without any care for the long-lasting, life-altering effects on their victims.

The physical, emotional & sexual suffering that a lot of child abuse survivors have endured are known to many. Unfortunately, amongst those many people that have knowledge of this, nothing has been done..This is sad & unfair..

I actually felt guilty that I never knew about ritual abuse..This is something that people need to know about..It is despicable and incomprehensible to me that there are so many sick people out there that cause so much harm. No matter what someone feels or what perversions they may have, they are ultimately the ones that can stop their impulses to harm.

I have met many incredibly brave & awe inspiring survivors of this sort of abuse, who I have the privilege of calling my friends.I will soon be reading their memoirs and although it is very tough to read details of this sort of abuse, it is important to allow these brave survivors to tell their story. It is healing & it is necessary.

For those of you out there, who have experienced this sort of abuse, you are always welcome here. You an inspiration to me.

Much Love Athina ♥♥

 

The orphans of abuse

It took me such a long time through my journey of healing, to realise that I was always an orphan growing up..Yes, I had parents..Yes I was fed and clothed and had a roof over my head..Yes I went on holidays from the age of 3 until I was 16 with my family..Yes I had an education..It is more than most ‘genuine orphans’ had..Those who didn’t have their own home and were abandoned by their parents or lost their parents to death..who didn’t have their basic needs met due to poverty & illness..who were neglected severely..who changed foster homes time and time again..

I don’t claim to compare myself to those children and adult children..

When I talk about orphans of abuse, I mean the orphans who never felt loved by their parents..Who never felt supported or safe in their home..Who were never able to be true to themselves..Who were never able to grow up with confidence and inner stability..Who were never able to express their thoughts or feelings, due to fear of punishment or being ignored..

I talk about the emotional orphan..I am an emotional orphan..

This blog post is dedicated to all you emotional orphans out there, who never felt loved, who still feel that you can’t trust others or be loved..who still struggle with mental health problems..who never got the chance to choose your parents..who never had the opportunity to live without trauma..

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With the appropriate healing & support, you can find that love within yourself..Self-compassion is key to filling that emptiness..Grieving the lack of emotional comfort & love, is also crucial to healing..

Intolerance to vulnerability shows you that there are so many emotionally insensitive or incapable people out there, that refuse to talk about difficult emotions..

This isn’t healthy..It is dysfunctional..

Prevent emotional orphanhood…

Love Athina ♥♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by My child within-Healing from trauma and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.