Category Archives: Secret Stories

Secret Story No.13

A foreword from Hermia:
As some of you may have noticed, I closed submissions for Secret Stories a few weeks ago.
This will be the last entry of the series.
It’s been a wonderful experience and reading your stories has been such an eye-opener for me, but I feel it’s time to bring the project to a close.
It was never meant to last forever and while I worry that I might be cutting off a source of relief for some people with problems, I do think it’s the right thing to do.
I want to thank everyone who sudmitted a story and everyone who took the time to read them and offer support and advice.
So here is the last entry in the anonymous Secret Stories series…

It was happening from as early as I remember.
He would lose his temper, she would get the blame and take it willingly.

As I was growing up, it didn’t affect me as much as it has during the last few years.
Every family fought, right?
Every child was hit and shouted at and belittled.
That was the punishment they all got when they did something wrong.
Every mother was treated in the same way.

You could sense it coming, almost like a storm and then BAM, that explosion of anger.
Everything you’d told him was used against you during the tirade.
“No wonder you’re bullied in school”
Pushed up against wall, pressing yourself against the stippling wondering when the next slap would come.

What had set it off this time?
I didn’t understand my maths.
I wanted to go out and play with my friends.
I couldn’t sleep with my bedroom door open and I closed it partially over when I was ordered not to.

I was a good child.
Did well in school, didn’t sneak around, didn’t start smoking or drinking or doing drugs.
I didn’t curse at them or shout.
I was responsible.
Not an angel.
I didn’t like injustice or being told what to do when it was just because of a power trip and tried to stand up for myself.
But, I had an ‘attitude’.
I’d made a ‘face’.
I was just like my mother who “always wound the situation up”.

Afterwards, I was supposed to understand.
He had a hard childhood and made such an effort to keep his temper, but I made it so hard.
She was afraid and wouldn’t leave for our sake.
She wanted her children to grow up in a proper family.
Those mind games were the worst.
Being convinced the whole ordeal was reasonable.
I’d deserved it.
I hadn’t seen him hit her, and shouting and banging and tears and limping wasn’t proof.

I did my best to get out of it by getting away from them through college and friends and jobs.
Away from his insane need to control everyone in our ‘family’.
And I pushed it to the back of my mind like it didn’t exist.

When it became blatantly obvious it did exist, that’s when the depression set in.
She loved him more than us.
That’s why she never left.
Anyone could see it wasn’t a good enviroment for children.
Providing food and clothing is NOT enough to make up for all that anger, all those hours spent terrified, the night I slept with a scissors under my pillow.
I was made feel guilty for not being grateful.
I spent years and years trying to understand WHY they did it (bad childhood, stress, frustration) and thinking that as the daughter I was supposed to forgive them.
That that was the right and good thing to do.

There was an internal struggle: I felt I was supposed to forgive them but I was so hurt and messed up that I felt I couldn’t.
But they wouldn’t let up on me.
They kept saying how hard I  was making it on them.
How hard I was making it on them.

It’s destroyed me and has put me in therapy.
I can hardly bear thinking about them.
But I know the guilt will get to me and I’ll go back.
Because they say I’m hurting them by keeping a distance and not being ‘ok’ with everything.
I’ll have to change to appease them.
I’ll have to pretend there’s no problem.
That they haven’t done anything wrong.

And all so they’ll feel better.
When they never did the same for me.

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Secret Story No.12

This is the next installment in our anonymous Secret Stories series.

My story starts, really, about four years ago, when I was sixteen. Or, really, the experiences that I’m going through now were properly seeded at that time, but my whole life has really been leading towards this point.

I was bullied for years in school, felt like a bad person and an ugly girl, and had an eating disorder (which I only realised later) from when I was about twelve to when I was seventeen or so. I still use food to punish myself sometimes, so I don’t let myself think about it. But that’s not the point, although it does explain some of my actions.

When I was about sixteen I had a traumatising experience that I never really accepted; I was away from home and had some inappropriate contact forced on me – not that I was raped or anything, but this was my first experience of sexuality, and needless to say it was damaging. On top of a very rocky relationship with my father and a destructive relationship with my first boyfriend, it shaped my ideas of men to be fairly unhealthy and damaging ones. Then I met Sam.

I met him when I had just broken up with my previous boyfriend, who emotionally manipulated me the whole year we were together and tried to for a long time after. For the first couple of months, Sam was everything I could have hoped for: funny, intelligent, generous, loving. I can’t really pinpoint the date that it started to change, but I still see him as that affectionate boy even now.

Sam started to get really impatient with me when we had been together about six months; there was some trouble with friends of mine who were bitching about me to him behind my back, and instead of questioning him about why they thought it was okay to do it, I abandoned my friends (though they were never very supportive or inclusive to begin with).

I began to feel like an outsider, and the depression I had been suffering from for years began to get worse and worse. Sam used it as a tool to manipulate me with; my fear that he would leave me, and that I would be alone, was so obvious that he knew I would do whatever he wanted.

I think on a level he enjoyed making me suffer. He must have some insecurity issues of his own, I understand now, but at the time I just felt guilty and inadequate. He was very close friends with a girl he knew from college and would often tell me, “If you weren’t so great I’d break up with you to go out with Sadhbh.”

All in all, it was a period of chronic insecurity and instability on my part, and when we eventually did break up (after him asking me to move in with him) I was heartbroken and could barely function. I stopped eating, leaving the house, socialising. It got worse when I found out he had been cheating on me with Sadhbh before we broke up, and that they were together afterward. For months he lied to me about his relationship with her, and to her about his relationship with me, and would keep getting with the pair of us while we both continued to love him unconditionally.

I haven’t the faintest idea what motivated him other than sincere confusion, or insecurity, but both of us girls ended up the worse for it, feeling inadequate and bitter. I don’t think he really cared about the damage he caused by comparing us to each other, or by telling me it was my fault we’d broken up because I was depressed, or by other acts of needless cruelty and blatant indifference to both of our emotions; although he’s changed a lot since then. I tried to leave it behind, and this is where it gets tricky.

Instead of becoming a healthy, fully-functional adult, I threw myself into college and work, got drunk whenever the opportunity arose, and slept with near strangers. I tried to have a relationship with someone else once or twice, but in the back of my mind ran the refrain, “If you go out with (blank), you can’t go out with Sam, and Sadhbh will have him, and he’ll forget about you,” on top of my fear that any relationship will inevitably end in pain and anguish.

Most recently, I met an amazing guy who I do really care about, who I love despite not being in love with him, and I freaked out the same as usual. I cheated on him with Sam, and then with another person who I’ve known for a long time. I broke it off with him by explaining what is really the truth about my fear of relationships. He doesn’t know about the cheating, and I hope he never finds out, because he thinks the reason we broke up is that he isn’t good enough for me.

He blames himself and I’m worried he’ll get depressed about it (he has a history of it) and feel miserable, and knowing that I was with someone else could only make it worse. He won’t talk to me now. I want to apologise to him, and to the younger, more innocent version of myself for allowing myself to become so desensitised and cruel. I can’t tell him what happened because it’s all over now, and it would cause him such needless hurt, but selfishly I suppose I want to get it off my chest, because I feel so guilty and sad for the person I’ve become, so here it is.

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Secret Story No.11

A foreword from Hermia: Anyone that doubts the benefits of Secret Stories should read this email I just received:

Hi Hermia,
I posted to you about my friend Leo? After seeing all the lovely comments people left I just thought you might like to know that Leo and I have since started talking again, & are currently in persuit of a disability lawyer to help get him out of his abusive house. I really appreciate all the support from you & your readers & would like to thank you for your great idea of secret stories. It really helped by letting me de-stress & get my thoughts together & hear some outside views.

And now for today’s Secret Story entry…

Okay, so Im still not sure I should be doing this, but since thats the story of my life right now I might as well continue, & hopefully you’ll be able to give me some advice when Im through.

So.. theres this guy. He’s gorgous and funny and sweet, and he’s my boyfriend. I like him being my boyfriend. But he wants us to get married, and no matter how many times I tell him “No, that Im not ready and might never BE ready,” he still keeps asking.

He’s even gotten the ring.

I really like him, when Im around him I have good fun and smile and laugh a lot, and he fits the list I made of my dream guy as a kid to a T, & in a lot of ways I do love him, but Im just not ready for marriage and he doesn’t seem to understand that.

We’re almost at the point where he asks me like every week, and then he gets all upset when my answer doesn’t change, and I get all stressed out because honesty is all I can give and I…I just don’t know what to do. I cant see why he cant just be happy with things the way they are I suppose.

One would think thats surely enough drama, but wait, there’s more… enter my best friend.

We’ve been insanely close for years, he can practically read my mind, which given that he currently lives in New York is REALLY impressive. He wanted to be with me a while ago, but I couldn’t leave my boyfriend for a long list of reason, his ill-health being one: that I do care about him being another. Just I don’t think that leaving one relationship for another is anything but bad news, no matter how much you care. Because someday, the row will come where you’ll wonder “What if” and then someday the fight will arrive where that wonder turns to resentment.

So Im thoroughly stuck, and almost always miserable, because no matter who Im talking with, my boyfriend or my best friend, I feel guilty about the other. Not because Im doing something wrong, but because I feel like I am. I care about them both in completely different ways, and for different reasons, and even though I’ve tried to take action, I still wind up in the same spot. ..Hopelessly in love and hating myself for it.

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Secret Story No.10

This is the next installment in our anonymous Secret Stories series.

Ok, Im not used to doing this.. I dont really have the strength for negitive feedback, so I guess Im looking more to vent and have support than advice..
So there’s this guy. I’m going to call him Leo.

I love Leo. And he loved me.
We’ve been the closest of people for almost four years, there’s nobody in the world who knows me like he does, and nobody who matters as much to me.

Now here’s the first weird thing.. Leo and I have never actually met. No, I’m not crazy, and he’s not imaginary, he just lives in New York and I live here in lovely Ireland – we met through MySpace.
Leo changed my life.
I was in a seriously bad relationship 5 years ago, there was a lot of abuse, and I got some nasty mental scars from it, particularly abandonment issues. After it I started down a very bad path, I’d try anything, just to get out of my own head for a bit.

But then I met this guy online, Leo, he was four years older than me, and just so different from my ex it was like night and day. Even though it was just talking online, he made me stop in my tracks, and realise that if I kept on the route I was on, my ex would still be ruining my life, even though he wasn’t there to do it.

So Leo, no exaggeration, saved my life. Unfortunately my family didn’t like me talking to someone that much, and stopped us talking, then after I started collage a year later, I contacted Leo. Unfortunately his life had gotten a lot worse in that year, his guardian had died, and he was back in his parents’ house, where even as a child the abuse had been crippling.  When I spoke to him, Leo was litterly starving to death.

I couldn’t think of anyway to help him, all the obvious options like getting a job and welfare were all not possible, he has a physical disability and it would limit him from any non qualified job – but on top of that he also doesn’t have a car or access to public transport, he’s trapped.
As for the welfare idea, well he doesn’t have  a birthcert or a bank account, and his family are not exactly the kind of people who would drive him to their office anyway.

I was working my way through college at the time, but I just couldn’t leave Leo like that (now is probably a good time to add that he lives in the states, so I couldn’t take him in either) so I quit smoking and went out less and basically saved like a mad yoke, and sent him some money to get food.

Continue reading

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Secret Story No.9

This is something that’s been bugging me recently and I just really need to talk to someone about it before it drives me insane.

So, there’s this girl I know who I’ve kind of liked for years, but she was in a relationship most of the time I knew her. That ended a few months ago. For the past few weeks we spent a lot of time hanging out. We had all kinds of in-jokes and stuff and just generally seemed to click.

People started telling me that it was obvious that she liked me and that I should try to make a move. I’m not very outgoing so I thought I should start small and just asked her to come out with a small group of my friends. Anyway, she said yes and everything seemed great.

Things seemed to be going great for the next while. We hung out casually a bit and (in my opinion anyway) seemed to get along great. Then, the day before we were meant to go out with my friends, things just got really weird.

I ran into her in the morning and everything was great. She seemed in a brilliant mood, we joked around as usual, and when she had to leave for a few hours we agreed to meet up afterwards. Then, when she came back, something was just different. She just sort of wandered past, said hi, and then ran off to hang out with her other friends. She didn’t even acknowledge our plans from earlier.

Then, later that night, we spent some time together in a big group of friends and, while she started out being a bit chatty (though not nearly as much as usual), she eventually seemed to be getting sick of me or something. I’d try to crack one of our regular jokes and she just wouldn’t go for it, and she sat practically with her back to me for most of the evening.

The next day was when we were meant to be going out with my friends. I was really excited, though a bit shaken after what had happened the night before. Then, fifteen minutes before we were meant to meet up, she texted me to cancel. She gave an excuse which I’m not sure I believe given the events of the day before, but I texted back anyway and said I understood and asked her if she’d like to meet up some time during the week, and… nothing. No reply. I waited and then ran into her the next day and she never even mentioned it. Didn’t even ask how the night went or anything.

Now I have no idea what’s going on. Did I do something to offend her? Even if she didn’t like me the way I liked her, I’d have been glad to just hang out as friends. One of my other friends told me it’s probably all just a big coincidence and she’s probably just upset about something completely unrelated to me, but it only seems to be me that her attitude has changed to. To be honest I don’t know what to feel at the moment. On the one hand I feel like an idiot and I don’t want to speak to her, but on the other I just want to know what happened. Things seemed so great just a short while ago.

I’m thinking I should probably just give up and move on. I think it’s pretty clear she’s not attracted to me, and I’m just really annoyed that she wouldn’t just be upfront and tell me if she has a problem with me. Or maybe I’m just reading too much into things.

Anyway, any advice from anyone is appreciated. It just felt really good to vent all this.

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Secret Story No.8

This is the next installment in our anonymous Secret Stories series.
Just a note to anyone who has submitted a piece, I have a backlog right now, and because I’m only featuring two a week, it may take a few weeks for some of your pieces to be featured, so don’t think I’m not using them or have forgotten about them!
To submit your own Secret Story, click HERE

I’ve always been a private person, I’ve never really told any of my friends, even close ones about guys I fancied. I figured crushes and infatuation with guys never last long and there isn’t much use of letting others know of it.

I was 10 years old when I first met M. He was in my class and I slowly started to be infatuated with him. He had boyish good looks and a carefree demeanor, and it helped that he was exceptionally good in art.(Something I was also very interested in.) I was thrilled with every interaction I had with him and this continued on for the next few years until I finished primary school.

I’ve always wondered how he was after that. Where was he studying? How did he look like currently? Did he feel the same way about me as I did about him? I hoped I could just meet him once more, and hopefully he would have grown uglier over time or have some terrible characteristic, just so I could get over whatever I felt for him. I think he gradually morphed into some sort of a Perfect Guy in my mind. In actual fact, I think I hardly knew him at all.

My wish was fulfilled while I was studying to be a designer. I was walking in a corridor at my school one day when I saw him walking past me. I thought that it was just a figment of my imagination until I spotted him again another day. My felt my heart skip a beat the moment I spotted him. He was still as good looking as when he was younger. In fact, he seemed to be the type of guy that I would like.

If you were expecting a story of how a girl finally got together with a long time crush, you are sadly mistaken. I never did have the courage to talk to him again. I have no idea what he was studying at my school or what he is doing now. At times when I’m bored, I would try to Google his name (Yes, I do have his full name memorized). All that had come up was a tiny photo of him in secondary school and a feeling that I’m getting a tad bit stalkerish.

I wonder when I would forget about M. I wonder whether I feel this way because I am still naive about love. I feel this infatuation has long overstayed its welcome. I wonder whether I will see him again.

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Secret Story No.7

This is the next installment in our anonymous Secret Stories series.
Just a note to anyone who has submitted a piece, I have a backlog right now, and because I’m only featuring two a week, it may take a few weeks for some of your pieces to be featured, so don’t think I’m not using them or have forgotten about them!
To submit your own Secret Story, click HERE

Ok. The person this is to (my best friend) only knows a small part of what I’m about to confess…
So sometime around autumn last year, I went out with my best friend ‘L’, her boyfriend ‘T’ and her other best friend ‘P’. We went to see a film and generally frolicked about. It was fun and I enjoyed myself as I usually do. However, when I got home, ten minutes into a conversation on MSN with L, she then said something that I will never forget:

‘I’m uncomfortable with the way you touch T’

I sat there frozen in shock, unblinking, unable to believe what my eyes were telling me. I frantically thought back to how I touched him, and the most I could recall was pinching him hard when he tried to joke slap me in the cinema.
A long time after this incident, L informed me that I had stroked him arm at one point, but what she forgot was that I joke punched him straight after.

Anyway, I a few minutes later of sitting absolutely still, I blinked and tried to take a deep breath, only to be choked by a rising sob from inside my chest. My fingers shook as I typed out a response. I was so confused.
What was she accusing me of?
Rhetorical question.
I knew what she was trying to say. Unspoken words: she didn’t trust me.

That hurt.
It hurt so, much.
I grinned absurdly as tears ran down my face, my heart hurting, and carried on with my conversation with L.
‘Glad that’s all sorted (:’ she said.
The huge, teeth-showing grin upon my face was quite fake. I just sat there, silently crying with that grin on my face.

And for the next few months, I carried on grinning (metaphorically).
But I was pretending. The love I had for her as my best friend was slowly diminishing. Any little stupid thing she’d say, any slow moment, anything I found annoying about her helped let my anger at her grow. Then sometime around February it had got seriously bad.
I was in a very low mood for about a month. Looking back now, I honestly think that I was depressed. I had been having problems breathing; no matter how deep the breath I took, I still found myself short of air. I went around almost panting for quite some time. There was also my hatred of people in general. I despised being around anyone, especially L. At lunchtimes I would sit quietly in a corner reading and listening to music. This didn’t go unnoticed, as usually I’m jumping around, singing, shouting, laughing and getting into trouble with the rest of my friends. I was also constantly tired. I could go to bed at 7pm and wake up at 6.30am and it would be like I had only had an hours sleep. I could go to bed at 12pm and wake up at 6.20am and it would be like I had only had an hours sleep. It made no difference what time I went to bed or got up at. I was always deathly tired. I was constantly falling asleep in lessons, which did not help at all. Part of this tiredness had to do with my waking up constantly during the night and my inability to go back to sleep once it had happened.
At that horrible part of my life, I used to think how lovely it would be to fall asleep and just never wake up…

Thankfully after about 6 weeks all of that stopped.
I recently tried telling my mum about it but she just laughed and mocked me. I couldn’t tell her WHY I had fallen into that…depression, as she doesn’t like L and T much anyway. But I don’t care to be honest. It’s over and I’m thankful for that.

T is like my brother. We tease each other, we have deep, late night conversations with each other, we give each other advice, we cuss each other, we punch/pinch/slap each other. Our relationship is akin to one of a sibling relationship. It’s honestly like he’s my older brother and he’s often said that he see’s me as his little sister.

A few deep, late night conversations ago, I confessed a lot of this to him and he listened. It felt so good to tell someone. He confessed to me about how much he truly loved L, and how he didn’t ever think their relationship would work, how he didn’t know what he’d do if they were to ever split. But his main thing was that he didn’t think L knew how much he loves her. I tried to comfort him, but silently agreed. She didn’t. She still doesn’t despite him trying to show it on numerous occasions. One of L’s bad traits is that she’s extremely insecure (as you can probably guess now…). The first time he confessed how much he loved her she didn’t believe him and thought he was trying to break up with her. As soon as they went to their own homes, she rang me and asked if it was true that he had told me about this, and if he wasn’t breaking up with her.
It was all true. The previous night he had been on webcam and msn with me and he was pouring his heart out to me and crying.
Yet when I told her, she was still unsure.

I hope one day I will be able to get over what she did (unknowingly) to me or find the courage to tell her what I’ve written out here. I also hope that one day (hopefully soon) she’ll realise how much T loves her and not doubt or question it. I’ve lost a lot of trust in her but despite it all, I still love her like I did before any of this happened.

It feels like such a relief for this to be known. Maybe the readers will understand where I’m coming from? People are constantly saying to me ‘you don’t deserve a friend like L. She’s too good for you’
If only they knew huh?

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