To err is human, to forgive is divine....

I have made some mistakes in my life. On some counts it was sheer naivete on others stubborness and yes on one or two occassions I ahve made mistakes as an attempt to get the better of a situation. However, many have said that without making mistakes we cannot grow.

Big life mistake number one: This was a mistake that I didnt understand and thus repeated, because I refused to recognise the underlying issue. I got married - to a man. The consequences of my first marriage continue to haunt me to this day. Some mistakes we make are simply set aside and we can ride off into the sunset and forget about them. Others will remain with us to our dying day. For me this was one of them.

It was only after I was divorced from my first husband that I realised that my marriage had been cultivated on bedrock, - nothing healthy and arable. I had wanted to escape my mother and felt needy in respect of attracting some attention. I was immature and not ready for a lifelong committment. I also did not know what I was committing to.

The first argument we had he pushed backwards very hard off the bed and I banged my head on a wall. He rolled over and went to sleep. After I regained my bearings, I washed the wall and went to sleep in a safer place. FUnnt how the first argument or violent experience is the one one remembers so clearly. Well as my other half has told me countless times, the first time is usually never the last. When something happens and it is ignored/excused or justified, the thin end of the wedge is in and the violence sets in to develop a pattern.

But the pattern had already been set. I just had'nt realised it yet. It had alreadyt been emotionally violent for a while. The forgetting to do things I asked. The forgetting of my birthday and anniversaries. The alcohol abuse leading to failed committments in the home.......

And so I found myself in a ten year marriage that because I was constantly reminded of my own faults, I blamed myself for my discomfort therein. I blamed myself for its failure and only ended it  because I felt that I would never have been good enough to rescue it. He still balmes me for it but thats his problem.

The marriage produced three children. When we separated I took my children into a refuge for battered women and then proceeded to have a nervous breakdown. The children were taken into care and he capitalised on my "mental illness". He has ever since. The children are now teenagers and tells them frequently that I am retarded because I have a history of "mental illness". For what it's worth my mental illness was depression and one in four people suffer from this severely in their lifetime. But then wife beating is recognised as a trigger for depression.

It is not so much the past that is looked at through the tinted glasses of the observer, but rather the present that and its impact on the future that concerns me now. I dont feel guilty that I ended both my marriages to men and as with time, I move further away from them I am astounded at why I didnt do so sooner. I experience guilt when it is apparent that my mistakes have impacted on the lives of others - in my case, my children.

For ten years, I have been involved in the upbringing of my children, without his support. Not a penny in child support. Nada. Zilch. Zero.Sweet Fanny Adams. During those years he has pranced around the war torn world, as a contracted medic, in places where a telephone is yet to be heard of. Sierra Leone, Uganda, Zimbabwe and several other dark corners of Africa. Now while I am not bothered about his choice of work, he has chosen to blame me for the lack of contact with his children. Yet he was always able to contact us and find us. He seems to think that I should not have moved house because I could not have known when or where he would have exited the african jungle. He has told our children that we moved house without telling him, but failed to mention that we were unable to tell him because he was uncontactable. Rather he chooses to suggest that the house move was deliberate in order to cut him off from them.

Despite not paying a penny toward them - and I really mean not a penny.(He has never given up a pack of cigarettes to afford the cost of sending the children a birthday card!) I took my children to South Africa, provided them with a weeks visit and I thought at the time established a civilised rapport with him - mistake within a mistake.

He tries to justify the failure to send a letter or a birthday card with the exchange rate. From where I'm standing a pack of cigarettes is a pack of cigarettes whether you're in Britain or whether you're in South Africa. Sacrificing a pack of smokes to send your kids a birthday card is not a big deal -or is it?

Following the 2006 visit, I really believed that interacting with him was going to get easier, I didnt realise I was setting myself up for more trouble. And the story would be very funny , if it were'nt so tragic. The next few blogs will cover the story, with the relevant facebook quotes and post identifiers (Many have been removed, but the post identifiers show anyone investigating the archive points for these posts) as well as the emails and the tragedy of how anger and malice hurt children just as seriously as physical violence. In this case how children often do not realise the damage being dome to them until long after the fact......

Ruthie Richards-Hill

Ruth, a free range human being and a middle aged mum of three adult children and very young grandmother to two little girls, is a glass artist, and a digital strategist, She retains the right to change her mind about anything and believes in a compassionate approach to most things, you can contact her using the contact page on this blog.

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