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I was just a child. A ten-year old child with two younger sisters. I didn’t know it at the time but Mum and Dad did it tough. Dad worked really long hours in a paid job and Mum was at home caring for us. One day my sisters and I were sat down and were told that Mum and Dad were going to be living apart. I remember a feeling of confusion wash over me. I didn’t understand it. I had never heard them argue, why was this happening?
April 6, 2018
Very soon after this Dad moved into a caravan park not far from our home. We would go and stay overnight with Dad and eat tinned tomato soup and sausages. I felt sad every time I said goodbye to Mum before we went and to Dad when it was time to go home. I can recall a feeling of being small, fragile.
Our family home was sold and by this stage both Mum and Dad had partners. I lived with Mum and my Dad was about half an hour away. We would see Dad every Wednesday night for dinner and every second weekend. Quite suddenly, when I had just started secondary school, Mum announced that she wanted to move to a small fishing town about 3 hours away from Dad. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to change schools and be so far away from Dad. I told Mum that I wanted to go and live with Dad. My memory of the time was that Mum was upset. Upset that her eldest daughter would not be living with her and also that the three sisters would not be growing up in the same household.
So, I moved in with my grandparents temporarily whilst Dad and his partner organised a home closer to my school. I started having my period and I had to confide in Dad. He went off to the local supermarket for me and bought the sanitary items I needed. All my friends at school couldn’t believe that I had to get my Dad to get that stuff for me.
My Dad’s partner didn’t really want me around. I don’t think she had planned to have a 13 year old living with her. She made it pretty clear that I wasn’t wanted. I had started getting attention from boys at school and I loved it. It made me feel wanted. I had many so-called boyfriends in a short period of time. When I was about 14 and a half I met a boy that would be in my life until I was 21. I didn’t know who I was. I felt like everyone else dragged me around.
I would go and visit Mum about once a month. I felt distant from her and my sisters. Mums relationship with her partner was dysfunctional. They would argue constantly and violence was threatened regularly. I remember lying in bed at night feeling so frightened and confused. Oh how my life had changed in a short period of time.
And life went on. I still feel that a distance exists between my Mum, sisters and myself. I am on the outer. Now, I am almost 40 years old with my own family. My family unit is so important to me and I do everything in my power to keep it together.
The one event. Family breakdown. That was the catalyst for the events that unfolded for me.