I wrote this post back in June, published it, then unpublished it after a moment of panic that people would think I was oversharing or that my past situation made them feel uncomfortable. Except I've come to realise that those are my issues and the uncomfortable feeling is mine. A feeling that I will appear vulnerable when I am (mostly) fixed. A feeling that people reading might lose respect for me because of the situation I allowed myself to be in.
A blogger friend of mine asked on Facebook what song makes you feel emotional? It was easy for me to answer the question but my response may have seemed odd and a little vague so I thought I’d explain the reasons behind the song that has such a profound effect on me. My answer to Hannah’s question was that this particular song, the one that evoked such emotion, is the song that changed my life...
Years ago back when I was 20 I was in a very bad relationship. So dreadful in fact it was completely toxic. Each day that went by I lost another piece of myself. The person I was with was devious and dark and treated me appallingly. I lost my confidence, my self-worth, my personality. All of it stolen away bit, by bit, by bit.
It wasn’t unusual for me to be alone in the evenings once the children were in bed and this particular night I had a film to watch. The film was Moulin Rouge and the song, my song, is ‘Come What May’
I had never seen a film quite like it; quirky and unusually shot with an incredible musical score. What I fell for the most was the utter devotion between the main characters Satine and Christian, that all-consuming, powerful and tangible love.
The sort of love that you learn about as you get older.
Heady, intoxicating makes you swoon kind of love. Something I had certainly never felt before and wouldn’t for a few years to come.
When they sang that song to one another I thought to myself who is going to love ME like that until MY dying day?
Certainly not him, the one who’s name even now after all these years I can not even bear to speak aloud.
The one who's voice still rings in my ears as I sleep.
The one who's breath I can still feel too close to my face.
And this song, it stopped me right there in my tracks.
My defining moment.
Of course to any normal person this might sound completely insane but I promise you it is the truth. I was so moved by the music and the emotion of the film. I made up my mind right there and then.
I had been burnt, beaten, left in a crumpled soggy pile on the floor. Spat at, urinated on and humiliated. What the hell am I doing? Get out and get out now.
And so I did.
It seems so ludicrously simple and even writing this I feel so ashamed, I may not even be brave enough to hit publish. I am ashamed that I let this person stay in my life for even a single moment longer than when the first alarm bells started ringing. Devastated for my children but eternally thankful that they were too young to remember all the ways in which their young lives were wronged and corrupted by violence.
It almost sounds ridiculous that Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman singing a love song in a fictitious film was what it took to give me the impetus to stand up for myself, but there you have it and that’s the truth.
That’s my song, part of the musical score of my life.
If you are in a situation similar to mine I hope from somewhere you find the courage to leave. Talk to someone and if you have nobody, you have me. I promise you I am here to be your confidante if you need me.
I know what it's like to have to pretend to be someone you are not.
I know how hard it is to walk away.
I know you are afraid.
I want you to see that life doesn’t have to be that way, that there is light at the end of your tunnel too.
You will learn to accept yourself. You can be happy. You can dream and have ambition and live a full life.
Please find the strength from somewhere within like I did.
Come what may...
National domestic violence helpline
Beautifully written Amy, and I'm so proud of how our lives are now. From heaps on the floor that were made to feel worthless to celebrated wives who chose husbands that will teach our sons to be real men. I'm so glad I've met you and I'm so proud you posted this. Like the £20 note crumpled and trodden on in the muddy water we had never lost our value we just needed someone to pick us up, dust us off and let us shine xxx love you
Oh darling Alexandra, it was reading your post that made me publish this. I can't believe there are so many of us that were once so broken. Thank you so much. Love you loads xxx
Ps. I know I've probably told you before but 'Moulin Rouge' is my all time favourite film and it's also because of that song and their love xxx mwa
Yes you have and I wouldn't expect anything else. Peas in a pod xxx
Katie / Pouting In Heels
So proud of you Amy for writing this, and so beautifully too. But my darling you should never be ashamed. You were young, you were vulnerable, you were doing your best to get by. And, AND, you walked away. Goodness me, you should be so proud of THAT!
It's hard to explain to people who haven't been in an abusive relationship, how it happens and how you just kind of find yourself in such an awful, frightening and toxic relationship. And it's even harder in a way for us to look back I think years later and think, how on earth did I put it up with it for so long. But as we know, it does happen. Your judgment does get clouded, you do believe the best in people and it possible to love a monster.
I'm so so happy that you have found a peaceful and happier life. As I have too. And i'm sure that this post will help so many so thank you for speaking up. The more of us that do it, the more people will begin to realise how often this happens and how it's not something to be swept under the carpet. Well done.
Proud. Of. You. X
Oh Katie, you are always so uplifting and I thought of you when I wrote this. I am so sorry that you were in a dire situation like mine but you have achieved so much and come out the other side too. You always say exactly the right thing and help uncloud my mind when I feel doubtful and I am so grateful for that and that you are my friend. Thank you xx
Lucy Melissa Smith
Thank you for sharing this with us all Amy and I'm sure that somebody out there reading this who may be in a similar situation will find the strength to reach out and ask for help for them and their children to move on to a better, safer life. And you will have done that for them. You could be their defining moment. And that's something to be ever so proud of!
My little girl's father is my first and only love so I am very lucky but I have been in this situation from a child's point of view, although perhaps not as intense, I don't know I probably missed more than I saw but what I did see what frightening and permanently etched in my mind.
It's bloggers like you, posts like this, that break the silence and really show the true power of blogging and how it can be a lifeline to those in need.
I get so emotional over music it's actually ridiculous. I cry sometimes over the strangest of songs! It is an art form and conjours up all manner of feelings and emotions. I am so glad that it was able to help you in this way. And I must say...I love that song! Take care brave lady, your strength and courage is an inspiration to us all X X
Lucy, thank you so much for aways leaving such beautiful comments. It really means so much to me. I am sorry you went through this as a child, and that it is still on your mind, it is such an awful, awful thing.
I am so emotional over music but I think it can be very healing. Thanks again for your kind words xx
Michelle Reeves (The Joy Chaser)
Darling Amy you are so strong, so amazingly strong for posting this. I can't begin to imagine what you went through but thank you for sharing so that others in the same situation can see that there IS light in the darkness. And how ever small the flicker it's something to cling to and move forwards to the brighter day that they deserve. Much love xxx
Thank you, Michelle for your touching words. I was really nervous to post this but just reading the comments is very healing for me. Thank you xxx
Jenni - Odd Socks and Lollipops
Thank you so much for sharing this, I can completely relate (and it feels so nice to be not alone - at the same time as feeling sadness that you had to experience what you did. I was in a negative relationship - not as horrific as your sounds, but bad enough. And it was actually reading a book that made me have that epiphany moment like yours - it was suddenly things just clicked in to place and I realised that I deserved more and that this was not how I wanted to spend the rest of my life. Like 'Come What May' for you it gave me the strength to make the decision. And I am so very glad I did.
Oh Jenni I am sorry you went through similar. You are right it is comforting to know you're not alone although awful others have experienced similar. It really helps to know that there are people who have come out the other side, doesn't it? I would love to know which book it was? Thanks for sharing and for your words xx
You Baby Me Mummy
Oh huni, this made me cry. I am so sad that you had to go through this and that he didn't see you for the precious gem that you are. I find it so horrifying that you were treated like this and I am so glad you had this moment that made you leave. You are a superstar by love and I am so happy that you found someone to treat you exactly like that. Beautifully written xxxx
Oh babes, I knew it would make you cry. Thank you for always being there to support me. It was a long time ago and I am fine now but just having someone special like you in my life makes me realise how precious it is to be happy. Thank you for being my ray of sunshine every single day and for being my friend, it means the world xxxx
Amy, this is such a beautifully written, heartbreaking and yet positive story. You are very brave to have pressed publish and I hope by doing so, you have reached out to those in the same position as you are. You are such a beautiful woman and I am so glad that life has turned itself around for you xxx
Thank you Lisa, I am so grateful for the way my life turned around. Thanks for your lovely comment xxx
I meant as you were, not as you are! Stupid cold hands!!xx
I knew what you meant! Thanks hun xx
Hi Amy, i found your link on FB group and i clicked on your post. So glad i did...your post is so beautifully written...and it gave me a goosebumps....you are very brave woman and great mama. I have a 5 years old boy and have been through hard time, but i will never give up, glad you didn't too...xxx
Bless you, thank you so much. I am sorry you have had a hard time but you absolutely must go ahead and live your life and be free. Thank you for taking the time for commenting today and for your kind words xxx
Becky at PinksCharming
What a very brave and beautiful post - beautiful because you found the strength to take control back and get out of there. I don't know you but I'm so proud of you and thank you for sharing your story- I hope if can give other people in similar situations the strength to do the same xx
Gosh Becky, thank you that means so much xx
An amazing and brave post. You should be proud of yourself, that you came out of it, that you built a great new life for yourself and your kids, and that you were brave enough to write about it.
Thank you so much Orli x
What a beautiful post. So raw and emotional and honest. I too was in a similar relationship from when I was just 14-19 and it took me so long to see how bad things had got, and how wrong the way he treated me was. I too made a brave choice after a long battle and have never looked back. Wonderful film, wonderful song and I'm so glad you watched it. xx
Oh Lucy, so moved by your comment. You were so young, bless you. I am glad you got out but sorry you suffered. Thank you so much for reading xx
This is a very brave and inspiring post. Do not beat yourself up for being in that situation. When you are in it , it is impossible to see the way out, but please do whoop loudly, jump and down and high five yourself for getting out if it, you are so brave and rock!
Thank you for sharing your experience xxxxxx
Oh wow what a lovely comment, thanks so much xxx
Such a beautifully written post and I'm so glad you posted it, not only for you but for those who find themselves in a similar situation and need that little bit of hope and motivation to help them move on.
I'm lucky that I've never experienced anything similar myself. However I worked with women who had experienced/were experiencing domestic violence when I worked for the police and it opened my eyes to how hard it is to leave. People often think it's very black and white, but it isn't at all and no one knows what they will do until they are in a similar situation themselves, so never let anyone make you feel judged that you didn't leave sooner, or that you should have done something differently, because no one understands what it was like at that moment in your life but you. x
Thank you for your comment. I am so grateful to the police, they got out to me unbelievably quickly one night after I had been badly attacked. The operator on the other end of the phone couldn't believe I was still alive when they got to me because she could hear what was happening as I phoned for help. I will never forget the way the policeman came in and scooped me up off the floor and dried me with a tea towel, I have never felt so relieved in all my life. Thank you for your words x
Amy I am so glad you wrote this as it is nothing to be ashamed of. I've worked with victims of DVA and seen the physical and psychological damage it does both to the victim and children. Your story has raised awareness and I have no doubt you've given one person or twenty the courage to leave. Beautifully written Amy xxx
I am in so many tears and feeling really overwhelmed reading these comments today. Thank you so much, Ali. Gosh I really hope so. Thank you xxx
Such a powerful post. Hard to know what to add to the comments already here, but you should be so proud of where you have come since those dark days. And you should never be ashamed of sharing your story - it will give strength to so many people in similar situations desperately trying to find themselves again. I have never been in a physically abusive relationship, but twice in my twenties got suckered in by men who were so manipulative and damaging that it took me many years to recover. If you're vulnerable, for whatever reason, it is just too easy to find yourself in that sort of situation. And just so difficult to get out. I am very glad you did xx
Thank you Sophie, I have read on your blog about your past controlling relationships, there are all kinds of abuse-not just physical. Situations like that are just as difficult. I am really grateful that you took the time to read and comment today and for your lovely words, thank you xxx
I get this, I wrote my post back in 2012 and it was the best thing I did, not hiding anymore. Because of that post I have spoke to women in need, in the same situ and I feel proud that my story has helped others.
Always be proud of what you have lived, it was not your doing, but you have come out the other side, although it never leaves you, it made you xxx
Gosh Kara, thanks so much it is definitely healing and I just hope that it will help someone in need of it. Thank you xxx
Oh beautiful, this is written so movingly and I'm so glad you published it. My tears are nothing in comparison to what you went through x
You have nothing to be ashamed of at ALL! I've been in situations/relationships that I can look back at, in hindsight and knowingly tell myself how I "should" have it done differently but we wouldn't be who we are now I guess without having experienced some of the painful traumatic times x
Celebrate the fact that you got out my lovely because it really is testament to you xxx
Thank you so much Beth, completely moved by your lovely comment. Means a lot xxx
Angela at Daysinbed
Amy, these are the type of posts that make a difference! It's hard to share and your brave and courageous to do so but it could just help one person to make the leap of faith and get out of an abusive relationship. I appreciate your writing and know how horrid abusive relationships are! An Inspirational post... Angela
Thank you so much Angela
Love you Amy. Your so brave xx
Love you too, thank you xxx
This is such a wonderfully written heartfelt post Amy and you should be so very proud of yourself for having that strength to walk away. By sharing your story I'm sure you will have helped so many others that may be going through something similar. Xxx
Thank you so much Harriet xxx
Amy, isn't life a strange and wondrous thing? We go through so much, make bad decisions, get stuck. Then something happens, it happened to you, it shook you up, changed you. Sometimes things happen to us so we will learn, grow and change. And sometimes things happen so that those looking in will see how we react, and it changes them. We are all just bits and parts, of our own story and someone else's. You words are so brave. You are letting others in, and not only will you be changed, you used your words, gave them the power to help someone else. May you be blessed indeed!
Oh Nikki what a lovely comment thank you so much for what you said I really, really appreciate it x
Hannah Budding Smiles
Amy you should be so proud that you found that strength inside of you, that you turned yours and your gorgeous children's lives around. All I read from your post is strength and courage and I truly believe that your words will reach out to someone, somewhere, in an abusive relationship, who will find their own courage through this post. You're wonderful xxx
Hannah, thank you so much. Your words always lift me up, you are such a lovely friend xxx
You are such a beautiful person and so brave. Please never feel ashamed. You were able to walk away eventually and many women never manage, you protected your children and some women can't do that. You are a listening ear to women in similar situations when nobody would blame you for finding it all too triggering.
I'm proud of you, by the way. And reading this, I really wish that I could give you a hug.
Oh Amber, you make me cry with your beautiful comments. Thank you for being my friend xx
Beth @ Twinderelmo
It's ever so bizarre that at 11.20pm I randomly had to come back & read this post again. But I'm glad I did. And thank you for your lovely DM back. Such a wonderful uplifting inspiring post. Thank you & im so glad you found your happy.
Oh Beth, your message meant so much to me that day I hit publish, it really did and I am glad you found yours too. Much love to you xx
You are so brave. I hadn't read this post before, and it brought (many) tears to my eyes. You are such an inspiration, to publish a post so personal, one that must've been incredibly hard to write, but one that will undoubtedly help so many other women who may be in that position right now. Oh, and never ever blame yourself ❤️
Oh Amy. What a dignified and honest post. Thank you for sharing. Sometimes, the most honest words are the most difficult ones to publish. I too escaped an abusive, soul destroying relationship of ten years when my daughter was eight years old. I felt like a failure and alone. In the end, it was the best decision I ever made and possibly saved my life. Posts like this help others more than you know. Lisa x
Hi Lisa, sorry to only be replying to your lovely comment now-I've been on holiday. Thank you so much for what you wrote, I'm so sorry that you've been through similar. I'm really glad you (and me) got out of it though. Thank you again xx