Bev Wakefield - ( Mother )
I thought this story would help others, but it actually ended up helping me.
Even to this day, I will never forget how you made me feel when I moved home. I remember the wintery evening that I walked in the door from work and you said to me, "Your washing is done, it's on your bed and I put some winter sheets on for you too."
That small act of kindness bought me to tears. ( I didn't let you see that though. )
This was the moment that I realised just how bad things were. I had forgotten how to look after myself, and what it felt like to be cared for. I had spent so long being on edge, anxious and upset that your kindness honestly stunned me. I didn't know how to accept the way you took care of me without feeling like I owed you something in return.
You were so patient with me Mum. Thank you for looking after me, when I was too weak to do it myself.
I needed you.
You have always had your own way of showing me how much you love me. Some of these things I didn't even realise until I sat down with you to hear the story from your perspective.
The truth is, I thought this story would help others, but it actually ended up helping me.
I'm not sure that I will ever find the words to tell you just how grateful I really am for your ongoing love and support. I am thankful that you never left, that you never said I told you so. You just loved me.
Happy Mothers Day xx
What do you remember about my past relationship?
At first everything seemed to be OK, but over time I noticed that we saw less and less of you and that wasn't normal.
I had to ring you to organise a get together. I'd try and make plans for us to go shopping, do boot camp or go for a walk in the hills. That was the only way I seemed to be able to see you - sometimes out of my comfort zone.
You stopped visiting us at home and if you did come over he seemed to always be in a rush to leave.
I think you tried to put a show on to make it seem like you were OK. I remember some days you would be happy and other days you would be really sad.
When I asked you if you were OK, you wouldn't say much. It was hard and it made me feel frustrated because I felt like I couldn’t help.
When did you know something was wrong?
I noticed people started to interfere in your relationship and that made you unhappy. It was quite frustrating to hear about that, I wanted you to be free to create the relationship for yourselves. It just seemed like you couldn’t do that.
You were always sad and not very talkative. Then the problems started between you and your friends. You seemed to be angry at them and distanced yourself from them a lot because of what was happening.
How would you describe your relationship with me, back then?
It was hard seeing you like that.
I wasn't quite sure whether it was true or not.
You were so sad and unhappy. I tried to talk to you, but you didn't say much to me. I felt like something was wrong but no one would tell me what it was.
I chose to stay in touch with you and keep connected. That way, you knew I was there.
I tried to give you space too; I knew if you were ready, you would come to me.
What did you notice when I decided to leave?
I think the best thing you did was leave him.
There was a change in your attitude. You seemed a lot happier and were going out with your friends again. You didn't seem to be stressed anymore, no expectations to do anything for anyone.
You were free.
You started ringing up and telling us about all the different people you were meeting. You were a lot happier and so excited about work. You started sending little packages home for us with little treats and you started to visit us a lot more as well.
You seemed to be a lot more content in yourself and that made me really happy to see.
How would you describe your relationship with me today?
We stay in touch and that's really nice. I look forward to hearing from you and having you visit more often. I get excited and feel really happy to see you happy.
You are always so positive and excited - especially now that you've changed jobs too.
You're doing something that you love and we get to see you all the time.
What makes you most proud of me?
When I first heard you say you were starting Prepair NZ I thought, WOW.
I always knew what you experienced wasn't physical. There was never any evidence there. I knew you wouldn't have put up with it either, you would have walked. You wouldn't have stayed.
I think that you had that will in you to not take that type of abuse.
When I started to read the stories on the Prepair NZ website. I was thinking WOW.
I was shocked about what some of those girls went through, that they were scared to get out of that relationship. When I saw that you were helping them to share their stories I knew Prepair NZ would be going places.
I've always known you had it in you to succeed.
When I see what you've achieved so far, I am most proud. When we came to watch you pitch the idea of Prepair NZ to an audience. Or, when I hear what you say on the videos that you've made. Even when you did the interview with the radio station. The way you put things across, that's what makes me proud.
I can see Prepair NZ going a long way, especially for the younger generation.
What are your thoughts on self-love?
It's important to love yourself, if you don't then it's hard to have the confidence to be able to get out of certain situations, like unhealthy relationships. Loving someone else is easier and more fulfilling when you love yourself.
What do you think is important in a healthy relationship?
You have to talk to each other and do things together. If think if you don't like what your partner likes doing, it can be hard. You've got to have things in common.
I think its important to help each other out, even around the house with the chores.
And go on dates together. Your father and I still do and we've been married for 28 years now.
I think you're in a healthy relationship now too. You both have a good attitude towards life and you spend lots of time with us as well. You're much happier now and both get to focus on what's important.
What advice would you give to our readers?
Educate yourself. If as a parent you see some of the warning signs in your children ( son or daughter ) have a conversation, talk about it.
Even if you're not going through an abusive relationship, be aware of what it looks like for your friends. You might be able to help you friends or have a conversation with them.
I'd like to see a fathers perspective one day as well.
Thank you Bev for sharing your story with our Prepair NZ community.
All photography was kindly donated in support of Prepair NZ by Alexcia Whaitiri of Capture Life.