How it began...

I started on the Freedom Programme early in 2013 after there was an incident between myself & my then partner, he was the father of my youngest son who was 2 at the time my 1st child was 12.

I had to have one to one for the Freedom programme as it wasn’t running when I needed it but Social Services thought it was important for me to have (which I definitely agree with now).

I’m not sure if you feel the same about how I used to feel about Social Services! They just take your kids away; I think everybody has heard the rumours of how bad they are. I don’t think or feel that way anymore, they helped me and my family and they was protecting my children, when I wasn’t strong enough to do it. They didn’t take my kids away from me, they helped me, because I said “I need help” that didn’t happen straight away, I didn’t trust anybody, I was very confused/scared/suicidal/ and I blamed myself for everything. I felt that it was my fault that my 12 year old son saw the things he did, It was my fault that all the bad things kept happening. It wasn’t but if I didn’t have the Freedom & the Phoenix Programme I probably wouldn’t be here today, fact. They saved my life.

My ex was very controlling, violent, cruel, and nasty but he was also very smart, he knew what he was doing to me from the beginning. I used to be such a strong independent person. He made me a weak vulnerable mess who didn’t know my left from right, I felt shit about myself all of the time, he called me names constantly, he liked slag and that was the one used most regular, telling me I was useless, I was a shit mother, he even said to me one day that I was a shit mother because I was still with him when I shouldn’t have been!! He would always smash up my home, accuse me of cheating, I wouldn’t buy myself anything as I knew it would just get broken, I had to hide my phone in an argument or pretend I didn’t know where it was as he’d just smash it, he would ask me to send him my location on my phone so he knew where I was, I was made to feel guilty if I did spend money and he used to make me feel terrible because I went to work and earned my money, he used to say he couldn’t get a job because he’d been to jail, he said women had it easy as they were provided with benefits and a house and “men” got nothing. He would spit in my face, constantly threaten violence, which was the worst, the constant threats, the worst threat was: “I’m going to take my son and he will live with me” or “I’m going to burn down the house” as well as many other disturbing things like hurting my family.

He took my son when he was 2 months old, I took him round to his flat as I was going shopping with my eldest for school uniform, I didn’t even get to the end of the road, he text me saying, “He lives with me now”. I swung the car around and banged on his door, he wouldn’t let me in and I was crying my eyes out talking through a letter box, I was still breast feeding and he said he was going to give him powdered milk as he wasn’t going to give him back,  My then 10 year old watched all of this! My ex eventually let us in and all he could say was “now you know how it feels”. He was such a nasty person, he would never except responsibility for his actions, it was always someone else’s fault, he would get into rages if things didn’t go his way or he felt wronged, he would wind himself up and then tell me it was my fault, my fault if he didn’t have weed, my fault if he didn’t have money. I started to just agree and take the blame, I thought it was easier than arguing all of the time, that stopped working as he would keep me up all night going over the argument and why I was apologising and why had I done a certain thing to get on his nerves or cause the original argument, he did this all day and all night quite a few times, so I would get home from work, he would be in a rage as I’d either not left him any money or he didn’t have any weed to smoke or some other ridiculous reason, he would then smash up the house, threaten more violence or just hit me, after a while I would apologise and accept responsibility for whatever had annoyed him, he would then go over & over why he was angry but when I apologised he would expect the reasons as to why I was sorry and what I had done, this would go on all night, he wouldn’t let me sleep and I would have to leave to go to work (if he let me leave) sometimes I would be late. This also happened when I was heavily pregnant. I was so very tired and emotionally drained.