Was I dating yet another narcissist?

My abusive relationships with narcissistic men

Black and white image of a persons head seemingly going backwards and forwards - confused
Psychosis can feel like this

This is the 14th in a series of “My journey through anxiety, panic disorder, depression and psychosis.” You’ll also read about me and my abusive relationships with narcissists, and how I always ended up dating them over a period of many years.

You can read parts IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXI, XII and XIII for the backstory. It might make more sense.

I started writing about my journey six months ago and I only ever intended to write it in four posts. However, it’s become clear that my journey was longer and more painful than I remembered. That’s made it difficult to get the words down on paper at times. I’ve taken many breaks and written lots of other posts in between. I’ve had time to reflect and bounce back a bit stronger each time.

A year later.. Narcissists attract Empaths

Coloured image of messy room
Mark’s unlivable sitting room

Mark, an abusive narcissist I had been dating, had recently moved into a new rented flat and he hadn’t bothered to do much to it. The bathroom, kitchen and bedroom were liveable spaces but the living room was devoid of curtains and furniture. The room was just stuffed full of black bin liners of all his things.

One Friday I’d gone shopping for an outfit for a work party that night, and when I called him, Mark was acting like a petulant child. He thought I should have been helping him sort out his flat instead of preening myself for tonight. Never mind I’d moved a few months back and he hadn’t helped me. He said he would have, if I paid him the £250 he’d lose by taking a day off work. Tutting and eyes rolling, he was so full of his own bloody importance.

Mark came to the party but he made it clear wasn’t enjoying it, or the attention I was getting — from colleagues for Christ sake. He left and said for me to go back to his after the party as he lived round the corner from the venue.

The party was great despite my friends suggesting that Mark had ignored them and seemed very possessive. I hadn’t noticed it previously or, perhaps I’d ignored it. But now I felt embarrassed, and I really didn’t want to go back to Mark’s flat when the party ended. However, it was gone 2am and to avoid another argument, I thought it best just to walk to Mark’s flat.

Way before the ALS ice bucket challenge was popular

Emptying a bucket with water over the head of a typical male narcissist
Ice bucket challenge – Image from Unsplash.com

Yay! He was asleep when I let myself in so I just snuck into bed, on my side, by the wall. But he woke, he sat bolt upright, and he yelled “You’re taking the p*ss. It’s 2.30am. Where the hell have you been?”

I stayed still and whispered “Ssshh, sorry. Go back to sleep,” hoping that would be it.

“Don’t f*cking ‘ssshh’ me. F*ck off and leave.”

“Mark. Please. Let’s just sleep and I’ll drive home in the morning?” I argued. He shot out of bed suddenly, still cursing, and I just curled myself into the far corner of the bed so as not to disturb him further. I heard him running the tap to get a drink and I heard his bare feet thud into back into the bedroom. I felt the heaviness as he got on the bed then, WTF?

He was standing above me on the bed, pouring a bucket of cold water all over me, and I froze.

It seemed like only seconds later when Mark tipped a second bucket of water over me. I started giggling hysterically and thought How ridiculous is this? But I’m soaked now, so I might as well just lie here. He left the bedroom and returned with a third and maybe a fourth (I was in shock) bucket of cold water, and threw it over me. “Now, f*cking leave. Get out. Now,” Mark screamed. I couldn’t call for a taxi because he didn’t have a great signal in this flat, and he damn well knew this.

Don’t let my son see me like this – why was I dating a narcissist!

girl crying at window
Image from Pixabay.com

There was no way I was going anywhere, when I was wet from head to toe, so I raced to his living room and blocked the door so he couldn’t get in. I dragged bags of clothing and sheets together and threw myself on top of them, shivering with cold.

Fortunately, my hair and clothes were semi-dry when I woke so I walked out to find a cab to get home before my son woke and saw me. Why the hell did I put up with this crap? Why was I dating a narcissist? What’s wrong with me? My son would be furious if he knew what Mark was doing to me, but he’d also be disappointed in me. He didn’t know and I wasn’t going to tell him.

I told Callum the following week in the pub and I laughed at the ridiculousness of Mark’s behaviour. Callum wasn’t impressed and he wasn’t laughing. He wasn’t joking either when he said that if it was his boyfriend he’d have put rotten fish in the hem of his curtains and itching powder in all his pants.

Callum and I were still laughing when Mark sent a text saying “Missed you at cricket on Sunday. Want to meet up later?” Callum took my phone from me and I watched as his nimble fingers tapped out a speedy reply, “Two words, one finger,” and we laughed some more.

Coping with the narcissist I had been dating

Empath after being bullied by a narcissist.
Stressed and exhausted – Pixabay.com

You might wonder why I had been dating a narcissist, and nope, it’s not easy. It wasn’t easy. I was well aware that Mark’s behaviour was inappropriate and cruel but I still loved him and missed him? However, on hindsight, I realised how many times I’d desperately attempted to appease him — trying to avoid the arguments that would surely follow. I was so stressed, and exhausted, always trying to keep him happy.

I thought back to early on in our relationship, when we had fun and passion and we laughed a lot. But I don’t remember his complimenting me or taking me out anywhere other than the local bar. And looking back, while he never bought me gifts, he often asked if I’d got him anything while I was out shopping. He’d strop like a spoiled little boy who didn’t get what he wanted at Christmas when I didn’t buy him anything.

Of course it hadn’t happened overnight, it was like he was slowly drip-feeding me, making unpleasant comments about how selfish I was, or how little I cared about him. I later learned that trying to please someone like Mark was futile because, for narcissists, nothing is ever enough.

So, what is a narcissist

A narcissist talking to God and experiencing delusions of grandeur.
Man in his fantasy world – Pixabay.com

According to Helpguide.org. the signs and symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder include

  • Grandiose sense of self-importance. …
  • Frequently demeans, intimidates, bullies, or belittles others
  • Lives in a fantasy world that supports their delusions of grandeur. …
  • Needs constant praise and admiration. …
  • Sense of entitlement. …
  • Exploits others without guilt or shame

Narcissistic personalities effectively mask a deep and unconscious self-loathing. To counter feelings of shame, narcissists will project their own issues on to everybody else. They blame others, insist it’s everybody else’s fault, portray themselves as victims and rarely apologise or take responsibility for themselves or their actions (Mail & Guardian, 2019).

Be careful because being subjected to narcissistic abuse can, over time, seriously affect your mental health.

We’ll look at How to leave a narcissist in my next post. But in the meantime, if you are in or think you’re in an abusive relationship with a narcissist, you might want to read Know the signs of emotional abuse here and Let’s talk about domestic violence here.

If you are, or someone you know is in a relationship with a narcissist, then seek support from people you can trust — friends, family, peer support groups and, if necessary, a professional.

Over to you

What do you think?

I’d love to know your thoughts on Mark, his narcissism and me putting up with it and dating him. Does it make me look weak? In what ways would narcissism affect your mental well-being? As always, I look forward to your comments and any questions.

Related: Just a reminder, narcissism (1). Warning: 7 signs you’ve become a verbal narcissist (2).

I always dated abusive men

All my relationships were with abusive men

Colour image of model head with 3 cogs - psychotic depression
Image from Dreamstime

Read about how I’ve always dated abusive men. This is the 13th in a series of “My journey through anxiety, panic disorder, depression and psychosis. Read parts I, II, III, IV, V , VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI and XII for the backstory. It might make more sense.

Part XII saw the end of my emotionally abusive one year marriage with Ian, a narcissistic and insecure bully who constantly put me down. I’d told him how I dated abusive men in the past, making it easier for him to behave the same!

His biggest dig was always about me flirting with everyone. This included my teenage son’s best friend, my step dad and my best female friend. He finally left our home and the shared workplace he followed me to, he met someone else and left me alone.

Moving on after dating abusive men

I have always dated abusive men, now it's time for me to move on.
Moving on — Image by pixabay

Divorce is the second most stressful life event, and I thought I’d got off lightly, with just anxiety. However, this was followed by a bout of severe depression, which drained my energy, leaving me feeling fatigued and empty.

Still, I threw myself into my newish job at the Day Hospital (DH) and enjoyed spending quality time with patients. I also spent my days off with those close to me and slowly, my mood improved.

I’d started to use the gym at the DH and a few of the girls were talking about running the Race for life 5K for cancer, so I joined them. Within a few short months, the Race was upon us; we had the kit, our back labels and sponsorship forms to be signed on completion.

On Race day, off we went; two staff and two patients and a small following of family and friends to cheer us on.

Huh! The three others raced ahead, leaving me cursing in pain and breathlessness at only 1K. Okay, I was the eldest at forty seven but I wasn’t going to be outdone.

Down to the last 500 meters, I saw my mum smiling and waving so I mustered every last ounce of energy I possessed. Guess who managed to catch up and run past them into the last 200 meters? And with the crowds all cheering me on, I did it — in 34 minutes, my best (and last) time ever.

How I met another abusive man

That was such a happy day and my happiness levels were increasing each week. Me and Callum would hit the local bars one evening a week after work, where we laughed and chatted and occasionally bumped into colleagues. Most people in the bars thought we were a couple and as a rule, we were left alone, with no crude attempts at being chatted up.

Grayscale image of back of young couple holding drinks
Dating again — Image from Pixabay.com

One evening, this guy was going to the bar when he tripped and stumbled, stopping just short of our drinks. Nonetheless, the drinks spilled ever-so-slightly. Callum raced to the gents to dry his jeans and this guy offered to replace me and my boyfriend’s drink. “Oh, we’re not a couple,” I laughed happily, cos Callum was twelve years younger than me.

I didn’t turn him down when he asked for my number. Now dating, I discovered Mark was laugh out loud funny, often making me giggle at the simplest things. He was a listener, kind and caring, always asking about me, my family, my life and past relationships. I felt happy and relaxed in our relationship and I was falling in love. If I only knew I would be dating another abusive man.

How I spend Christmas with the abuse men I dated

A year in and Christmas arrived. Mark knew I’d be spending Christmas Day with my sons, my family and friends. It was still too early to introduce him to the boys but I said I’d pop into his on Boxing Day. I was looking forward to seeing him and I got to his around 3ish.

He let me in but was cool towards me and he got into a strop because he’d been on his own all day. “The family had you all day Christmas, it would have been nice if you wanted to spend today with me,” he whined

We hadn’t agreed on a specific time and I hadn’t realised there’d be a problem, ffs, but I apologised anyway. “I’m here now, so let’s enjoy what’s left of the day,” I mumbled, holding back the tears that were threatening.

More abuse: “Stupid is as stupid does.” – Forrest Gump

Colour image of Forrest Gump sitting on a bench with a suitcase by his side and a box of chocolates on his lap
Forrest Gump — Image from Wallpaperaccess.com

Drama over, we tucked into Christmas goodies, including the champagne I’d taken as a gift, and settled down to watch dvds. Oops, between films, he dropped the popcorn bowl, which bounced sending popcorn up and out, landing everywhere.

“Hey Forrest,” I giggled, grabbing handfuls of popcorns and throwing it at him. He turned to me and huffed “Why did you get me a ‘Forrest Gump’ dvd? Do you think I’m stupid?”

Ignoring his ‘stupid’ comment, “Mmmm, it’s newly released and I just thought you’d like a film to watch on your new dvd player (that I’d got him).”

“You could have got me a different movie,” he muttered, “Anyway, I’m going to bed now so you best leave.”


“Just f*cking leave!” He yelled and pulled at the hem of my jeans, dragging me off the sofa and onto the floor.

“Stop it, what are you doing? I can’t drive home now, we’ve been drinking. Please.”

Still he tugged at my jeans and they eventually came off in his hands, leaving me sitting on the floor in my knickers. “Get up and f*cking leave.” So I did and I left the sack of unopened presents he’d bought for me.

I cried at work next day, hurt and humiliated, and alone again. Callum was like “Huh, I’d be round there putting poo through his letter box! The dumb b*stard.” I didn’t hear from Mark and I didn’t contact him.

Had I no shame?

Girls who like to party are more likely to date abusive men
NYE party— Image by amy-kate @ unsplash.com

New Year’s eve I got a text “Fancy a party tonight? I miss you and I’m really sorry.” Everyone else appeared to be going out somewhere nice that evening, why shouldn’t I? So, high heels and party dress on, off I went to meet Mark. He told me how great I looked, how nice it was to see me and how sorry he was. He wouldn’t act out like that again. And he didn’t.

Well, not until about another year later………

In hindsight – dating abusive men

I’ve since learned that there’s such a thing as narcissistic rage,

What distinguishes narcissistic rage from normal anger is that it is usually unreasonable, disproportional, and cuttingly aggressive (or intensely passive-aggressive), all because the narcissists’ wants and wishes are not being catered to, Psychology today, 2018.

I believe this is what happened with Mark because his rage was always completely disproportionate to any slights from me i.e. I was late = his wishes (unbeknown to me) and needs weren’t met.

Over to you

What do you think?

Hang on in there please, I’ll finish this post in a day or two. I might even eventually finish writing about my own personal journey and why I dated abusive men. I’d like you to stay with me til the end. You might just see a different me. However, in the meantime, I’d love to hear your comments and I’m open to answering any questions. Or you might want to guess what happens next with Mark 😉

If you are in or think you are in an abusive relationship, you might want to read Know the signs of emotional abuse here and Let’s talk about domestic violence here.

Related: Are you dating an abuser (1). 7 Types of abusive men: a psychological analysis (2).

Abusive relationships and me

Why did I tolerate abusive relationships?

Coloured characters with words written on them like selfish, no good, careless, ugly - feelings in abusive relationships
Feelings in abusive relationships — Image by Pixabay.com

This is the 12th in a series of “My journey through anxiety, panic disorder, depression and psychosis. Read parts I, II, III, IV, V , VI, VII, VIII, IX, X and XI for the backstory. It might make more sense. You’ll read about me and my abusive relationships over a period of many years.

For those of you who don’t know, I started writing about my journey six months ago. I only ever intended to write it in four posts. However, it’s become clear that my journey was longer and more painful than I remembered. That’s made it difficult to get the words down on paper at times. I’ve taken many breaks and written lots of other posts in between. I’ve had time to reflect and bounce back a bit stronger each time.

Part XI ………. we hugged and cried, but this time we cried with laughter. Ian was calling across the road “Can you get us a taxi?”

Moving on from an abusive relationship

Black and white image of legs wrapped in barbed wire - moving on through abusive relationships
Moving on — through abusive

Despite the fact that I could laugh in that instance, once the boys went off to bed I was left reeling. Everything had happened so quickly. I felt blindsided once again, and p’d off with myself for getting into yet another abusive relationship. But please, before you judge me, “walk a mile in my shoes“. You know my name but you don’t know the whole story yet.

I’d been separated from an angry and violent man (father of my adorable sons), married to another insecure and passive-aggressive neanderthal within a year, and separated the following year.

Is it any wonder my mental health took a nosedive? I constantly felt disconnected to everything around me and that I had no control over anything. Anxiety and panic hit me in waves, overwhelming me at times, and I struggled to remain connected. The panic attacks tended to reach their peak after about ten minutes and took half an hour or so to subside. That’s an extremely long ten to thirty minutes when you’re drowning in quicksand.

What is panic disorder and what to do

Young female, hands over her face, panic attack in a public place
Panic attack in a public place
Tero Vesalainen – Dreamstime.com

If you didn’t already know, panic disorder is an anxiety disorder where you regularly have sudden attacks of panic or fear. Everyone experiences feelings of anxiety and panic at certain times. It’s a natural response to stressful or dangerous situations, NHS, UK.

But for someone with panic disorder, feelings of anxiety, stress and panic occur regularly and at any time, often for no apparent reason. A panic episode leaves you feeling temporarily exhausted and drained.

Having a panic attack doesn’t necessarily mean you have panic disorder. Panic disorder is when you have repeated panic attacks that severely disrupt your life. You can read more about anxiety and panic attacks on the NHS website here. Or you read my post on How to manage panic attacks here.

I’ll kill myself if you leave me

Black and white photo - female head shaking violently and pulling hair - abusive relationships feel like this
Abusive relationships can feel like this — Image by Pixabay.com

I was exhausted, jittery and tearful when my phone rang one evening. It was Liz, Ian’s younger sister, calling cos she thought I should know that Ian was in bits. He was crying down the phone to her and threatening to kill himself.

She pleaded with me to give him one last chance, begging me to call him as she lived too far away to help. I stressed that that was Ian’s choice and I would not be emotionally abused this time, or ever again. “Call his friends” I suggested. I was way past caring and unwilling to engage in more emotional intimidation from either of them.

She told me how he’d have to sleep in a phone box because he had nowhere to go. “At least it’ll be familiar cos he’s done that a few times in a drunken stupor,” I laughed. “He’s also threatened to kill himself before, so it won’t wash with me anymore. Sorry Liz, I’ve got to go.”

I had no intention of being in contact with Ian, other than when I had to – at work. The thought of talking to him at all made me feel nauseous. So I seriously couldn’t have stood listening to his pathetic crying or his sad sorries.

Did no one see the red flags?

White background red images of flags and stop signs, listen to your gut - Red flags in abusive relationships
Red flags in abusive relationships

My last related post (If anxiety was a person) garnered comments on social media like “Did you not notice all the red flags?” and “What took you so long?” Let me tell you, I wish I’d seen flags of any colour before I married him. If I’d had one iota of evidence that he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, of course I wouldn’t have married him. I certainly wouldn’t have paid out for the huge wedding either.

I wish I’d known that he’d regularly drunkenly slept in phone boxes that stank of stale ciggies and human pee. It would’ve helped had his work colleagues informed me, tho’ I can’t blame them for his narcissism or for my own foolishness.

If only my own friends or family had noticed something untoward, prior to the wedding. I would have called it all off and put the financial loss down to experience. However, since I had no indication otherwise, I had the big fat wedding, the hundreds of gifts and the honeymoon. I was embarrassed about the whole damn thing, no doubt the reason for me hanging on for a year. I was ashamed and felt guilty that I was putting my sons through the shame of an early divorce too. Hindsight is indeed a very wonderful thing.

Inappropriate laughter at other people’s misfortune

Coloured photo of woman on a giant swing in front of a waterfall
We all deserve peace in our lives — Image by Pexels.com

I thought I’d be able to move on and sleep easy now I was on my own with no one to answer to and nothing to complicate my life. You’d also be forgiven if you thought that after the storm that was my marriage, there’d be peace and tranquility. But it doesn’t work like that. Just because I’d had and ended abusive relationships, it didn’t mean that was the end of my mental illness. It was back to the beginning for me.

I was plagued with generalised anxiety which, tho’ invisible to others, made me scared of everything. I’d jump up at the least little thing, causing other people to jump back in fright. I’d giggle hysterically and inappropriately if friends mentioned any bad news, leaving me embarrassed and them p’d off. It’s a nervous reaction but try telling that to your friend after you’ve laughed uncontrolably because her pet tortoise died.

I needed help

I’d recently accepted a coveted Band 6 post at our Day Hospital, which meant more managing and training junior staff. I wanted to make a good impression and obviously didn’t need any unnecessary stress. Luckily, the Day Hospital had little call for Rapid Response so I wouldn’t bump into Ian as much there either. But still the recurring panic attacks continued to deny me sleep and threatened to spill over into my work.

Coloured picture mixed race lady standing by white board covered in post it notes - delivering training
Staff training — Image by

I needed help, and fast. Fortunately I managed to access six sessions of therapy through our NHS Wellbeing at Work programme. While this wasn’t as helpful as I’d expected, therapy gave me a place to dump my baggage each week. This left brain space, allowing me to prepare and effectively deliver teaching sessions for staff, without choking on my words.

I chose to tell only one co-worker about my current anxieties. Callum had also experienced mental illness and had previously been an inpatient on one of our wards. We started working at the Day Hospital on the same day and we soon became great friends. Callum was a gorgeous young gay man and could cut anyone to the quick with his wicked dry sense of humour. He would later tell me that he’d wondered what I’d ever seen in ‘Quasimodo‘, as he’d named Ian.

Should I have warned his new girlfriend?

matchstick image of person holding up a red sketched heart
Image by Nick Fewings – Unsplash.com

About six months on, I was happy to hear that Ian had started dating Olga, a Social Worker colleague. That meant he was leaving me alone, mostly. When I next bumped into Olga at work I asked if there was anything she’d like to know. She responded with an odd look and an emphatic No! I should have explained the red flags but I also understood that no loved up twenty-something wanted to hear from an embittered forty-something ex.

Some four years and two year old twins later, Olga approached me in the local cafe. I wasn’t in the least bit shocked when she asked whether Ian had been jealous and controlling with me. I smiled sympathetically but too bad, I was running late and needed to get back to work. Ian called my office that afternoon, reprimanding me for telling Olga tales and ordering me not to interfere. He then asked how I was — I had to laugh.

I haven’t been too well physically as of late and it’s the early hours of the morning here in the UK. I need some sleep now but I hope you’ll stay with me on My journey through anxiety, panic disorder, depression and psychosis.

Over to you

Large red question mark and small white character lening up against it.

In the meantime, have you or anyone you know ever experienced anxiety or panic attacks? You might want to read my post on How to manage panic attacks here or 19 free Mental Health apps just for you here.

Do you think I should have warned his new girlfriends? Do we (as exes) have a moral obligation to do so? I’m happy to answer any questions and as always, I look forward to reading your comments.

If you or someone you know are experiences mental health problems please seek professional health. It can be extremely beneficial to talk to a professional.

You can read part XIII.

If anxiety was a person I’d punch it right in the face

My journey through anxiety and more – Part XI

This is the 11th in a series of “My journey through Anxiety, panic attacks, depression and psychosis. Please click here for Parts I, II, III, IV, V , VI, VII, VIII, IX, and X if you wish to read the backstory (It might make more sense).

For those of you who don’t know, I started writing about my journey six months ago and only ever intended to write it in four posts. However, it’s become clear that my journey through mental illness was a lot longer and more painful than I remembered. That’s made it difficult to get the words down on paper at times. I’ve taken many breaks and written lots of other posts in between, giving me time to reflect and bounce back a bit stronger each time.

I’d had enough!

……….. I told him to pack his things and leave before I got home from night shift in the morning.

Night shift on a mental health ward

Lady in red dress and white sandals hanging from a rope around her neck
Shocked? You should be! Female patient strangled herself

After our patients had had their night medication, the support nurse went to complete the half hourly observations. This meant checking each bedroom or cubicle to ensure everyone was accounted for and alive.

I was in the office when a roar from the end of the corridor alerted me and I raced towards noise. Oh, Jesus! A female patient had strangled herself with the belt from her robe. Her face was a horrible shade of purple and she appeared not to be breathing. My anxiety levels just shot through the roof and I felt the colour drain from my face.

I helped untangle the belt from round her neck and felt for a pulse, but there was nothing. Jesus, I’d only been a mental health nurse for two months and I was near paralysed with fear. “Get the crash trolley,” I yelled down the ward to Maria the third nurse on duty. Sarah was a favourite of mine and there was no way I’d let her die, not on my watch.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on a mental health ward

Down on my knees now, I fumbled, trying to find the right place to press (the breastbone is pushed down firmly and smoothly, so that the chest is pressed down between 5–6 cm) then started CPR (at a rate of 100 to 120 chest compressions per minute – that’s around 2 per second, British Heart Foundation).

I could feel the sweat dripping down my back and the trembling in my arms as I continued……… 30, for what felt like a lifetime. All the while, I was trying to keep calm, as this was no place for my impending panic attack. Concentrate, concentrate Caz, you can do this, concentrate. Finally Maria arrived with the crash trolley and I asked her to take over while I ran to call the Crash Team.

Crying with relief

I turned to sprint back to the office but stumbled and fell forward with a thud and landing awkwardly. I immediately felt searing pain in my right shoulder. Still, I got up as quickly as I fell and dashed to put a call out “Cardiac arrest on Violet Ward.” This relays a crackly radio message to the Cardiac and Rapid Response Teams. When they get that message, they race from the general side to the Mental Health, side pretty damn quick.

Four doctors dressed in scrubs, running down a corridor
Emergency Crash Team running to
an emergency

I’d all but forgotten my own burning pain as I ran back see what was happening. On my way, I guided any inquizitive patients back to bed and tried to reassure them all was well.

I took over the CPR and rather stupidly, wept with relief when Sarah started showing signs of regaining consciousness. Her eyes were flickering and she was trying to catch her breathe. She now had a pulse, albeit a weak one. Just then, the Crash Team arrived and took control.

Caught wearing a tired grey bra

Male Doctor, white scrubs and stethoscope
Duty Doctor —Image from Freepik

Sarah had survived, but was still taken over to the general side to be observed overnight. The Duty Senior Nurse was in our office making sure we were all okay when someone let on that I’d fallen. The cute young Duty Doctor came to see me and all I could think was “What bra have I got on” when he asked me to undress to assess any damage. Only I could be wearing a comfortable but tatty old bra that looked like I’d washed the floor with it! The shame.

Despite the agony, I didn’t complain too much so the Doctor suggested I go home and return to A&E tomorrow if the pain got worse. It was just past eleven p.m. and I called to let the boys know I’d be on my way home. Only it was Ian who answered, drunk and stoned, so I hung up and got a taxi home.

He should have been gone. Aaarrgghhh……. I sure as hell was in no mood for more of his spiteful crap. Once home, I ignored him and went straight up to our bedroom when I got home. I managed to sleep with some pillows propping up my right arm and woke at dawn, in agony.

A slap in the face

Lady with right arm in a sling
Broken collar bone — Image from Amazon UK

Back to the hospital, where they confirmed that I’d broken my collarbone and torn my rotator cuff tendons (muscles and tendons that attach the arm to shoulder blade). I was put in a sling, given strong painkillers and sent home to rest up. But before I left, I went to see how Sarah was. I got a slap in the face, albeit a light one, cos she was mad that we’d saved her. Of course, I told her, I’d do it again.

My painkillers were starting to kick in and I was feeling kinda woozy so any anxiety I’d had about facing Ian all but disappeared. For f*ck sake! The whiff of beer and cannabis about knocked me out as I opened the front door. It was just two in the afternoon, for crying out loud.

Still, I was delighted to see all his boxes stacked in the hall, “Wakey, wakey, time to go,” I sang cheerfully.

The drunk driver and a mad man

Ladies face with tears of pain
Crying in pain

“Can I borrow the car?” slurred Ian as he staggered towards me, hand out for the keys. It would have been funny if he hadn’t been so serious. “Nope! Get a taxi,” I smiled. With that, he lunged at me and grabbed my wrist viciously. “Aaarrgghhh!” I screeched in pain and anger, hanging onto my arm and cursing under my breath.

At that, I heard “Mama,” and Nic was hurtling down the stairs behind me, “What did he do, did he hurt you Mama?” I hadn’t realised he was home from school. Ian shot out the front door and Nic was charging round the kitchen like a madman, cursing furiously. He yanked the front door open and threw out every one of Ian’s carefully packed boxes. Ian looked on helplessly as glassware, cd cases and electronic equipment crashed down onto the road.

The neighbours were out, wide-eyed at the the scene unfolding and I don’t know what was funniest. Ian’s look of helplessness or Nik holding every last piece of luggage high above his head before throwing it as far as he could. The door thudded shut! Nic was trembling and pale with anger, he turned to me tearfully, whispering “I’m sorry Mama.”

We hugged and cried, but this time we cried with laughter. Ian was calling across the road “Can you get us a taxi?”

Over to you

Big red question mark with little white character leaning against it, pondering

I’ll end here for now and hope you’ll stay with me for the next part. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts and please feel free to ask any questions.

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