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! ❤

The end of a chapter

After 1 busy holiday in Greece I have finally said farewell to the temporary flat hubby and I used there for the last 5 years.

The story of this little flat was a complex one but it was set up by my father as a neutral base for me because I could no longer live under his roof. When I moved back to Greece in 2011, I did it partly because my father said it would give him the strength to divorce his wife. I also did it as a new start for myself, after spending 11 years living in the UK with many failed relationships, heartache and confusion.I was growing closer with my Dad again and the hope that he would finally leave his dysfunctional marriage was really strong. Greece will always be my home, the place I was born and grew up in.

When I first moved back and stayed in the house he shared with his wife and my half brother, there was constant tension, arguing and toxicity. I had arrived to live in the ground floor of his maisonette, which was a separate flat in itself. It had its’ own shower-room, bedroom and a small kitchenette which was also accessible by the rest of the house. His wife was not happy I was back. She had done her best to isolate my father from me for years, to control him and to not allow him to have a relationship with me. My father had also chosen to marry this woman and had chosen to mistreat her, abuse her and cheat on her. Through guilt (apparently) he had then allowed her to bleed him dry by spending ridiculous amounts of money on antique furniture, 50,000 euro cars and the best of everything.Through guilt, he allowed her to control him in the end. Their lives were full of threats and lies and drama.

Where did I fit into all of this? Where did my older brother fit into all of this? And my younger half brother? He is yet another innocent child caught up in a severely dysfunctional home.

After this first week of me moving back home and battling with all the anxiety of moving countries, trying to sort out my bedroom after all my boxes had arrived and trying to deal with the unpleasantness of having my evil Step-mother living upstairs, I returned to England to pick up my cat. He was being looked after by a friend of mine, until all the boxes had been sent off. I was trying to make things as stress free as possible for him, so decided to fly back to Greece with him, after I had unpacked and set up my flat. The morning of my return, my father announced to me that I couldn’t come home. He told me that he had just announced to his wife that he wanted her out of the house with my half-brother… that he was getting a divorce. She had obviously gone absolutely crazy and reacted very badly to my father’s cruel discard. The way he had presented it, made me look really bad. Like it was my fault that he asked her to leave. She went absolutely crazy and smashed my things..What followed after that was a whole summer of arguing, threats and trauma.

Minutes after landing in Athens with my cat, I had to make alternative arrangements to stay somewhere else! My anxiety was through the roof. I couldn’t go home to my new home. I was already extremely unsettled but now I also had my poor cat to think about, who was extremely nervous and confused. Luckily I called the mother of a friend of mine and she let me stay with her.She had let me stay with her once a year in the summer, when I visited my friends and Dad. It was a safe haven in all the chaos of my father’s life. She let me and my cat stay with her and her husband for 2 whole weeks, until I could actually go home (or so I thought).

What followed after these 2 weeks, was a temporary flat my father had found through a fellow architect friend of his. I still couldn’t go home. My cat and I had to go to this temporary flat which was completely empty and had nothing in it. My dad found some really old, filthy furniture from his office and brought it there for me. I at least had a bed, small uncomfortable sofa and a really old fridge that was filled with mould. He gave me a mini oven & hob and a fan to help me cope with the hot summer temperatures. I was on the top floor of a block of flats and it was like a sauna in that flat. The sofabed, was covered in dust, cat piss and cat hairs. It had collected all of this dirt from years and years of being unused in his office storage cellar. This was the best he could give me..

I remember asking for a hoover and never getting one.I only had a broom and dustpan. I remember asking my father to go to his house, so I could at least collect some of my things. This was very difficult to arrange, as his wife was always there and he didn’t want us to be anywhere near each other. I had to go there very quickly for 5 minutes at a time when she wasn’t there and collect as much stuff as I could to bring to the other flat. I also had to do the same whenever I needed to do my laundry. The whole situation was utterly ridiculous looking back on it. I felt like a criminal, like a bad person, when in actuality it was all my father’s fault.

The rest of the summer got worse and worse for me. He would visit me, unload all of his stress onto me and then my anxiety and ptsd would deteriorate. I was trying so hard to cope with it all. Eventually I was so ill, I had to see a therapist that my friend recommended for me. She looked after me, did a psychological assessment on me and got me into group therapy. She arranged for my Dad to come in so she could explain to him that I don’t need additional stress, as moving countries was already enough stress for me.I was diagnosed with Complex PTSD. I learned that I will just have to come to terms with the fact that I will always be overly sensitive to stress.

When the temperatures started reaching 37, 38 degrees Celsius, I couldn’t cope anymore. I desperately needed air-con to cope with the heat in that flat.One morning, the anxiety was so bad from the heat when I woke up, that I was vomiting, seeing spots of light and I literally thought I was going crazy. My friend’s mother saved the day once again!

I ended up staying in this flat for 5 months before I could finally return to my Dad’s. In that whole time my Dad was trying to get his wife and my half-brother re-settled into a very expensive apartment. I on the other hand, didn’t even complain for the state I was living in.

After I eventually moved back into my Dad’s house, I enjoyed 7 months of having my Dad to myself, for the first time in 12 years. We even spent Christmas together and when my little brother came home, I try to make it magical for him. The poor kid was so traumatised. He was only 7.

The only silver lining in all of this chaos and unsettlement was the time I spent with my Dad alone, and the fact that I met my now husband. When I met him, I was overwhelmed by his kindness and interest in me. He was so loyal and supportive to me and with the support of my group therapy, it all turned out well. After meeting my husband and realising that we couldn’t stay in Greece anymore due to the financial crisis that was present, I told my father and he was devastated. A week or two later, he told me that he realised that he had made a mistake kicking his wife out and couldn’t afford to pay for her flat anymore. The reality of it was that my Dad couldn’t deal with being on his own. So once again, I had to leave his home before I was ready. I finally moved into my last home in Greece which was this little flat seen in the photos below. This little flat was very well located luckily and my Dad arranged a deal with someone who owed him money, to ‘pretend’ that he was renting it from him for 10 years. He of course wouldn’t pay this guy any rent, but would still have to cover the maintenance costs and bills. I lived there for 3 months before finally leaving Greece when my husband found a job at a university in Cornwall.

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This little flat was a very important one. It was the flat that we always returned to when visiting friends & family. It was the flat that we got ready in for our wedding day and the flat that we slept in for the first time as a married couple.

It was the flat that I stayed in when my father attempted suicide, 7 months after our wedding. The memories were both happy and traumatic. After having no contact with my father for over a year, It didn’t feel the same anymore using this flat. It was in his name, yet he wasn’t paying the maintenance bills or utility bills. Going to Greece was no longer a happy occassion for me.

Last week, we emptied the flat. We sold the washing machine, air-con, cooker, microwave and everything else of sentimental value, we brought home. We left the furniture for my Dad to sort out and tomorrow I will be posting my father a letter to tell him we have vacated the flat and no longer need it, or want to pay for it. A friend of mine will also be dropping off the key at his office and that will be the end of this chapter in our life.

Hubby and I are now free to have holidays on more neutral ground and even though I no longer have a ‘home’ in Greece which has caused me a lot of grief, I have come to the realisation that ever since my parents split up back in 2000, I already didn’t have a ‘home’. This was just the end of another chapter in my life..

Thanks for reading ♥

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

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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.

Hello Anxiety my worried friend..

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I am nearly ready for my trip to London and an unexpected wave of anxiety just hit me, making my hands clammy, my head feel lightheaded and my breathing shallow, as you would naturally expect.

Usually the first thought when anxiety hits us is ‘Oh no!!’, it’s back again…

I won’t lie to you..It’s never fun at the beginning but I know better than to let it overcome me…I know myself..I know my triggers..Travelling (especially flying), leaving my comfort zone (home) and the fact that I will be meeting my mother tomorrow, for the first time since December..Things are generally easier with her, as I no longer miss her or need her..I grieved my losses..I just think of her as visiting a needy, overly-dramatic friend..I know how to set boundaries..I have always managed our conversations over the phone, mostly with ease..Face to face is different however..She is observing me, my sensitivities, my reactions etc..as she always did…seeing whether I will be affected by her manipulations..her drama..We are luckily only meeting for a couple of hours for lunch, after I have seen my brother..He will be escaping the minute she arrives.. 🙂 Good for him!

When we meet, she will be bringing one of our much loved paintings with her, which I am really looking forward to. Hubby and I bought it when we lived in Cornwall before we moved away..We ended up leaving it with her before moving to Germany, as we didn’t want it to get damaged. Now I will have to figure out a way to bring it home!

 

In general I know how to manage my anxiety..breathe and accept it..don’t fight it..So I talk to it..Like it is a worried friend..I say ‘Hey Anxiety, I see you are back..that’s ok..it makes sense you are here..but we will deal with this together..’

I also know that any bilateral stimulation also helps..Walking, typing whilst I write this blog post..and tapping..

My flight isn’t boarding until 19:15 and I have to get a tram, then bus to the airport..Once I manage the first part of the journey, I will definetely feel more relaxed. I always do.

Then it’s just waiting around..

I am looking forward to seeing my cousin who is in her early twenties and seeing her family’s flat in London, with a beautiful view of the Thames..It’s been so many years!

Since the topic of this post is about anxiety, how do you cope with it?

Do you have soothing skills in place? Do you observe your thinking and try to think more positively? Do you have things with you that comfort you?For me, I always have a bottle of water(for my dry mouth), my mp3 player (to block out noise) and chewing gum.

Lots of love Athina ♥♥

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

 

Run.Rabbit.Run.Ptsd award

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My dearest friend Lottie started this Run.Rabbit.Run.PTSD award

The wonderful https://theblackwallblog.wordpress.com/ nominated me for this award and I am really grateful. Both bloggers are remarkable writers in their own right.

Please check out their blogs as listed above.

Thank you  for considering me for this award, that previously was known as the Blogger Recognition Award.


The rules:

Thank the blog who nominated you, share the link and award on your blog.

Write a brief story on how you started blogging and

any advice you would give to a new blogger.

Select nominees (max 15)

Advise nominees.

I started blogging over a year ago now, as a way to heal from the discovery that both my parents have narcissistic personality disorder. It was a very painful time for me, as my father had just attempted suicide, so I was suffering with really bad ptsd. Since then I have shared my experiences, courage & hope in my journey of grieving the healthy parents I never had and growing in confidence & self-compassion.

I have since qualified as a life coach, specialising in supporting others in their journey of healing from narcissistic abuse and try to be a mental health advocate for Complex PTSD in particular and reducing the stigma associated with recovery.

The advice I would give new bloggers is to give your fellow bloggers a chance. It is mostly a loving & supportive community. Be supportive to others as well as writing your own posts. Take the time to acknowledge what others have written and leave comments when you can. Friendships can be formed through the blogging world and healing is a huge part of it for those with mental illness.

I would like to nominate the following bloggers:

https://dbestmentalhealthblog.wordpress.com/

https://justbreathe826.wordpress.com/

https://thesecretdance.wordpress.com/

https://outloudkaren.com/

They have all had struggles with mental health, so as a mental health advocate I would like to give them the attention they deserve.

Love Athina ♥

 

 

 

Parental narcissism-Maternal narcissism is the deepest wound

The bond between a mother and her child is such a special one, that people wonder how it is possible for a mother to be abusive towards her child.How can a mother want her child to suffer? How can a mother feel so envious of her daughter’s happiness, that she tries to sabotage it? How can a mother dismiss her child’s successes? This is something that unfortunately happens all the time and more and more survivors of maternal narcissistic abuse are coming to terms with the reality of who their mother really was and unfortunately still is.

In this video, I go through the traits of a narcissistic mother which are identified in a very useful book written by Karyl McBride, a renowned psychologist who has extensively researched narcissistic abuse.

Love Athina ♥

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