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Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Love and Life, Love and Life...

fairy Pictures, Images and Photos

Please forgive so morose a post so close to fabulous Christmas, friends... This is the time of year when we are pressed close to loved ones, suffering from cabin fever with long hours indoors, squabbling over turkey remnants and over-heated mince pies. This is a time of stress for so many people, scumbled together with family members they can only tolerate at the best of times, forced to feel like they're being something they're not, dissembling their true natures. and straining against the leash of 'must-dos ', 'must-haves', and 'Oh, just put up with its...'

On Friday last week, I was at my office's Christmas get-together. Traditionally, they're called a 'Tamasha...'

It was an opportunity to see friends who'd left the office for good this year, as our service continues to down-size to the size of a Kylie. Almost without exception, everyone looked ten years younger, thinner, more fit and more tanned... My bestest friend, Pamlette, was there and looked gorgeous, in spite of struggling with a horrible chest infection for weeks since before she left work, a very early retiree.

And we linked arms companionably to walk up the steep, slippery hill to the pub, and we caught up with gossip, and we laughed, and we flirted, (well mainly Pamlette flirted because she's so pretty!), and I was rude to men I don't respect who fancy themselves something rotten (so Fhina, non?!), and we drank (just a smidgen), and it snowed, and we hugged close a dear, darling friend who is recovering from breast cancer and who was actually due to retire properly in January 2010...

Christmas Fairy Pictures, Images and Photos

...And later, we found ourselves comforting a colleague, a friend whose husband is abusing her.

This is her third marriage, so she has a lot of pride riding on it. He's a man from the Middle East, who may or may not have married her to gain his right to stay. He's a younger man. Full of himself. So, I think you know the rest, non?! And, to be fair, we've also been there with my sister-in-law, (all of which is still ongoing and will go on for years bitterly as they share a daughter whom he fails to support), so forgive me for removing my rose-coloured spectacles on this occasion?

...And I had my arm around her waist, as her eyes glistened with fear, self-loathing and sadness... She'd recently uncovered that he's been flirting with another woman online, that things might have gone further, and he'd helpfully left her a list, detailing where she was to blame for their foundering, failing relationship.

christmas fairy Pictures, Images and Photos

He'd said:

You're not blonde
You're not a size 10
You bite your nails
You sometimes pick your nose
You're loud and you're heavy-handed about the house
You clash the cupboards about and things in the kitchen
You're big and you're not lady-like...

And she looked at me like a puppy, with her wide, sad eyes and her new acrylic nails and her freshly botoxed lines. I hugged her diminishing waist to my heaving, (and I hoped comforting), bulk and said the words I felt she needed to hear and what I believe is truth:

That this is all his doing, and not hers... That he is no good if he can treat her badly like this and destroy her self-esteem in this way; I said that she needed to kick him to the kerb and get on with building her life again with her children and without him... I believe that he isn't good enough for her... And that she'll never be good enough for him, because he is imprinting all his problems, all his failings, on her. I believe that he's used her and he's abusing her. And she'd rather cling to the ship-wreck of her third marriage, than be on her own again.

And I feel for her, I really do. But I wish, just for once, that sometimes women (and men) who love too much, who don't love themselves enough, would listen to advice and choose themselves, and stop themselves being abused by others... Because abuse rarely goes away, it usually escalates into violence, breaking hearts and minds... Please see Mentalhelp.net and Domestic Violence Helpline (UK) and the US.

That's my Christmas wish, mes bloggy Tree-Faeries. Mwah!

christmas fairy Pictures, Images and Photos


Cynthia L. H. said...

Heart-wrenching. Gut-wrenching. Been there done that and I understand SO very completely. Everything you said was right. The issue is...I hope she heard it. I read all of the books, saw all of the red flags, yet didn't really "see" them. For 22 years!!! Finally, thank goodness, the lights went on! ;^)
As hellish as it was to untangle myself from it all, it was SO very worth it! I can breathe again...and life is good. The ones with the broken wings need the bold ones like you.
Thank you.

lakeviewer said...

Great post, Fhina, thoughtful and heartfelt.
Enjoy the holidays.

French Fancy said...

I do admire your true life posts because we get to see the real you underneath the AWONI persona (although I wish I knew what your real name was, Fhina

Your poor poor friend married to the man from a different culture - I don't think any of these unions work properly and equally in the long term. She'd be better off getting out of the marriage but I suppose she loves him.

What's Tamasha come from?

Julie xxx

slommler said...

Such a sweet and poignant post! So many at this time of year are sadden by loss, abuse and loneliness. So wonderful that you were able to minister to your friends. Hope they will listen and improve their lot in life. Leaving is scary; but, it is the best!!
Hugs and Merry Christmas

Z said...

Oh yes, you put it so well. It's so hard to watch, but it is only she who can do anything to help herself.

Peace and joy to you too.

Derrick said...

Hi Fhina,

Glad you liked my snowy and red pics, thanks. You are so warm, understanding and supportive to all your friends. I hope she does really take your advice because, as Z says, only she can change things. Have a very Merry Christmas, surrounded by people you love.

Suldog said...

"... I wish, just for once, that sometimes women (and men) who love too much, who don't love themselves enough, would listen to advice and choose themselves, and stop themselves being abused by others..."

Amen, sister! If it isn't right, get out. You do no one any favors - least of all yourself - by staying in a situation with no true love present.

King of New York Hacks said...

Wow...stirring and very poignant as someone already pointed out...brave words to write from the heart..you are gifted..Sending you good tidings and some very loud Christmas Honks from Times Square NYC !! MERRY CHRISTMAS !!!!!

MadameSmokinGun said...

Reading down the list of your friend's 'faults' ..... she sounds like my kinda girl. I am the mother of all loud non-blonde nose-picking cupboard slamming nail-biting unladylike non-sylphs. Yeah baby!

He sounds like a twat. Her only actual 'fault' appears to be a propensity for getting married in the first (or second, or third) place. The only reason I could imagine doing something so daft again would be to satisfy an addiction to gold rings and cake- introduce her to QVC and Mr Kipling.

This may sound easy for me to say as I am still on my first husband (as I like to introduce him) but past wobbles have convinced me that weddings are an expensive scene for a lot of very silly words. Marriage is quite another thing! A piece of paper and some photos mean nothing.

Get her to write her own list of her most fabulous traits. She could start with his list actually. I still think they are quite a strong selling point.

Happy Xmas!

Anonymous said...

Such a heart felt and VERY wise post, Fhina my dear girl. With friends like you who needs an abusive husband?

I wish you and your houseful a non abrasive, calm and happy Christmas.

LadyFi said...

It's a terrible and complicated situation - especially where children are involved...

I wish you joy where you find it, dear Fhina.

Margo said...

Wonderful, honest... seriously the best wish for Christmas I've heard so far this year. Merry Christmas!

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

lovely, true heartfelt post, with sage advice and kind words for friends everywhere...

lots of love Saz x

Suburbia said...

Great post, I hope she finds strength, she is lucky to have you.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Well said, AWONI! One of my new year's resolutions is to come and visit you blogwise more often. Come and nag me if I don't? Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year! Hadriana xx

Clippy Mat said...

you are the kind of friend all women want.
and need.
good on ye.

Something I wrote earlier...

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