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The LIFE EMBRACERS are:

  • a tribe of like-minded women connecting across the globe
  • a community of women committed to learning to love themselves and each other
  • an emotionally and mentally supportive and nourishing space
  • a sisterhood – a powerful force of women empowering each other, building each other up
  • encouraging, nurturing and inspiring friendships
  • friendships that “make (you) stronger, smarter, braver”  – Jane Fonda

You Are NOT Alone.

So many women have experienced things they could have never imagined.

I was the wife of a police officer, for 13 years, ten of which he struggled with progressively worsening PTSD, which eventually advanced into Borderline Personality Disorder. (I compare it to living in extremely unpredictable weather, and I didn’t know from one minute to the next if it was going to be rainy, clear skies, thunderstorms with torrential downpour, sunny and warm, or a f#*king tornado!)

I, and the girls, were expected to live the “facade” of perfect family. Always look our best, always act our best. Two of us did this exceptionally well (one of our daughters, did not), and unfortunately fooled nearly everyone in our small town, and our families, even those closest to us, until my late husbands’ final year (at which time, we were separated, but living together … still a facade).  Why would you live together if separated? Why would you stay together and subject your children to his “unpredictable weather” caused by his mental illness?

The simple answer: there is no simple answer.

I was also a mom. To two daughters. I now have one. See, one of our daughters was adopted, and she suffered trauma prior to her adoption, so although she was “picture perfect” which suited him fine, her behaviours didn’t fit the mold, so my husband treated her differently, which added to her trauma.

The briefest possible answer, without a book:

Our courts do NOT protect children from parents who cannot look after them on their own. I spent many years trying to protect one child (my youngest), and knew she would be alone with him if we separated and lived apart.  My older daughter would then feel it was her responsibility to protect her. Unfortunately, my youngest also had Reactive Attachment Disorder, PTSD and was eventually found to have some psychopathic tendencies (at age 8). She was not kind to my oldest daughter, to put it mildly, or any of us, but I loved her with all my heart, as none of this was her fault.  My husband was a police officer, in a small town, I trusted no one.  I resorted to legal advice and researching on my own how I could potentially disappear with my girls to protect them, leave everything and everyone I loved, and I told no one.  I nodded and smiled empathetically when other women complained about their husbands leaving the toilet seat up. I felt like a fraud. No one knew me.

Eventually, after my husband stole alot of money from my savings, involved my parents and told them I was a drug addict and alcoholic and required immediate inpatient rehabilitation (ummm… not true, and the worst day of my parents’ lives), or I would harm the girls, as well as a few other bold moves, even involving the police (who apologized to me at his funeral), and my friends, he moved out.

Of course, there were lawyers involved and he had access to the girls, but he also was very cooperative with finances (he wasn’t a bad guy, mental illness aside). Within 2 months, only visits with the girls, I believe, I got a call from my oldest daughter, 11 years old at the time, “Come get us now!”  “He’s going to kill her!” “MOM!” Then I could hear smashing and screaming in the background, the phone smashed and went dead.  Then she phoned from another phone, “MOM, COME NOW!! PLEASE!!” Again, the phone smashed and went dead.

I went… too scared to involve his co-workers, the police. He did intend to kill my youngest and he attempted to kill himself that night. I got a court order for three months protecting all three of us. He died by suicide two days later.

As an aside, I had been vomitting for years, with unknown cause.  I had been through every medical diagnostic test… I haven’t vomitted since 2012, the year my husband died. Stress, anxiety, helplessness, hopelessness, living in fear,… these emotions take an unbelievable toll on our bodies.

My youngest daughter…

Despite leaving my job to fully invest my time into her intensive therapy, she never recovered from everything. I do believe despite her attachment disorder, that she really did love me, and maybe still does.  I still love her with all my heart.

She attempted to stab my oldest with a steak knife approximately two years after their dad’s death, she was 8. She was hospitalized and institutionalized. We faced many difficult decisions. Living in a home with siblings and/or pets was not going to be a favourable option for her in the future. I had to say the hardest goodbye of my entire life in hopes that my youngest could work on her recovery without constant reminders of her dad, and have the hope of a future family with no siblings.

I have had to be vulnerable and honest to build up my self-esteem, and rebuild my confidence

 

 

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