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When Jon and I arrived in England, I felt that finally, at last, we could be together. The only thing standing in our way, Kim, was just a bad memory. Now that Kim was out of the picture, we could get married, have a family and live happily ever after. That was my plan, anyway.

The day after I arrived, Christmas Eve, Glennys decided to go to Midnight Mass, and Jon and I decided that we would open our gifts because we couldnít wait until Christmas day.

When Jon handed me the gift from his mother, I was in a total state of shock. She had taken two balls of bubble bath and had wrapped them in used aluminium foil. I honestly would have preferred to receive nothing at all. To add insult to injury, Glennys hadnít even bothered to use new foil, but had used any old thing that had been laying around the house. I considered what Glennys had done to be a total slap in the face Ė an expression of just how little regard she had for me. I said nothing to Jon about how I was feeling and politely put my Ďgiftí to one side.

What Glennys did brought back all of the feelings of inadequacy when living with my family that I had managed to hold at bay. It has never been easy, being an unwanted child. I had always tried to make the best of a bad situation and fit in with a dysfunctional family what considered me to be nothing more than a burden.

Glennysíes lack of thought for me so totally resembled that of my own mother, who habitually forgot birthdays, Christmas and any other holidays that might come along. She always bought me really cheap presents that simply couldnít compare with the presents that she had bought for herself. Although my mother claimed that she loved all of her children equally, the appalling way that she treated me spoke much more loudly than words.

I pushed back the emotions that erupted from Glennysíes tactless gift in the same way that I did with my mother. I told myself that it didnít matter, but it did.

Aside from Glennysíes rather callous gift to me, Christmas came and went without a hitch. Jon told me that he had spent somewhere in the neighbourhood of £500 for food and other things, and I believed him because I had no reason not to.

On Christmas day, Jon began making rules that we were all supposed to live by:-

Rule #1. Rinse dishes with cold water so the hot water will not be used.

Rule #2. Take dishes from the bottom of the stack so that they do not fade as quickly.

Eventually we had so many rules that they were not worth counting, but I had the house rules ingrained in my mind because I wanted desperately to be with Jon in his house.

One evening, shortly after Christmas, I stayed up talking to Glennys while she spoke to me about her favourite person, herself.

ĎI hope that you see some of the nice sights before you leave here.í Glennys commented to me.

Leave? I had no intention of leaving. I was there to stay. I said nothing and let Glennysíes reMarc pass. I would let countless other malicious comments that came out of her so-called Christian mouth go without acknowledgement.

Glennys had developed that habit of talking around me, or speaking to everyone in the room except me. Although I found her lack of manners to be quite hurtful, I said nothing about it because I didnít want to cause problems in the house. In addition, Glennys had taken to badmouthing me to anyone and everyone who would listen. She even went so far as to speak ill of me to Jonís friends, who relayed her words onto him.

After a while, Glennys didnít even try to conceal her contempt for me. One evening when we were watching a television programme that I wasnít interested in, I asked Jon if we could change the channel.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, Glennys hurled, ĎYou! We are not going to change the channel for you!í with all of the venom that she could muster.

Jon said nothing about her outburst and I said nothing about the actions about both of the people in the room. As far as I was aware, I had done nothing to provoke Glennys into such a violent verbal outburst.

Because Jon demanded that I stay slim, trim and beautiful if I wanted to be with him, I bought an exercise video to work out to while Glennys was at church. Glennys wasnít happy about that and complained that she wanted to be able to use the living room while I was working out to the video. One morning I showed Jon some photos of me that were taken during a modelling session. The photos were so good that the photographer had even won a competition.

When I showed them to Glennys, her only reply before she stormed out of the room was, ĎIs that all youíre good for, sitting around and looking pretty?

Finally, even Jon had to take some action because Glennysíes belligerence was clearly getting out of hand. If ineffectual Jon was forced to say something, things must have really been bad.

ĎMum, have you got a problem?í Jon asked, without a great deal of conviction in his faltering voice.

ĎNo, no,í was Glennysíes only reply. She knew that she had been caught out and decided to take the tried and tested Ďinnocentí approach that her son had honed so well.

I was pleased that finally Jon was doing something to minimise the hostility that was brewing.

It is worth noting, however, that the magazine that I showed to Glennys and Jon has since come up missing and I have no idea on earth what could have become of it.

One evening when Jon was showing Glennys the designs for the new bathroom that he wanted to create, I joked to Glennys that she could stay with her friend, who lived across the road, a few days while it was being completed.

Glennys immediately took offence at this and replied in the sternest fashion that she could come up with, ĎIím not leaving this house. Iím not going anywhere.í

As usual, Jon did nothing to try to diffuse the situation because his mother had free reign to speak and act as she wished. After that incident, the whole atmosphere of the evening was ruined and naturally, Jon took no action with regard to his motherís increasingly hostile behaviour.

A few days later, Glennys decided that she was going to criticise me in front of Jon for exercising to try to stay slim for him. At this point I was completely at the end of my tether because Glennys had made so many hateful comments, one after the other, in an attempt to hurt me. At this point I just exploded at her and told her that I was tired of her comments and wished that they would stop.

Glennysíes true colours then shone forth. She told me that she didnít like me and that I had never, ever encountered a more formidable foe than she. She hurled all kinds of abuse at me, lashing out insult after insult, while Jon watch on, doing nothing as usual.

During the next two days, Glennys threatened to leave and stormed out of the house. I tried my best to make amends and even phoned Glennys and asked her to come home. When Glennys stormed out of the house, she no doubt triggered some major trauma that Jon had suffered long ago because he was powerless to take any type of positive action to restore equilibrium. Perhaps Jon was reliving his childhood, where Glennys would storm out of the house and leave it up to him and his brother to explain to an irritated father why his mother was nowhere to be found.

In retrospect, the proper course of action would have been to do nothing and allow Glennys to come home when she had calmed down. By phoning her and begging her, and trying to placate her, we were just playing into her hands. Glennys knew just how to manipulate Jon.

Glennys told Jon that she didnít like the fact that I looked in the mirror all of the time. The reason why I looked in the mirror was because I had lost so much weight that I could not believe the person who I was looking at was really me. Glennys told Jon that she didnít like my Enya CDs because they were Satanic. The fact is that I had never even listened to Enya while I was in that house, so Glennys must have gone through my personal belongings to find the CDs. In addition, I later discovered that one of my Enya CDs was missing and can only assume that Glennys took it for some reason known only to her.

One morning Glennys came home from church, or wherever it was that she had run off to, and said that she would never accept me. Sadly, so much hatred and venom spewed out of her so-called ChristJon mouth, that anyone who had ever listened to her would honestly not have known that she pretended to be a Christian. Glennys also never took into consideration the fact that I would never forget all of the hateful, evil things that she said and done.

I typical example of how hateful and spiteful Glennys could be was during the 1994 winter Olympics. When Torville and Dean, the ice skating team representing the UK did not win, Glennys spat, ĎBitch!í, at the woman who had won the gold medal.

Glennys would make all kinds sweeping statements, such as telling me that she would never go to a woman doctor and women should not be allowed in the ministry. She commented to Jon I was a different race than she was, which was another excuse that she gave for not liking me.

I had hoped that once Kim was out of our lives, we could begin to enjoy live our lives, but I found that it simply wasnít the case. It would take me a very long time to realise that Kim was merely a symptom of a much bigger problem.

While all of this business with Glennys was going on, Jon had persuaded me to lend him yet more money. He wanted to buy a cabinet for the living room and to redecorate his bathroom. The money that I lent Jon nearly depleted my savings. Although Jon had assured me that he would give me back the money that he had borrowed from me, I didnít trust him.

Jon told me that it would take a weekend at the most to refurbish the bathroom. That weekend stretched out to six long weeks. Six weeks where I had to wash out of a bucket. Six weeks where I wasnít able to use the toilet. Instead of paying a professional to do the job properly, Jon decided to do it himself.

Jon was allowed to get out of the Army at the end of January, but instead of being grateful that he had been spared a prison sentence, he called Kim every name in the book because he had lost a couple of hundred pounds of his redundancy payout. Since he was going to be getting £60,000 plus a pension for the rest of his life, I didnít understand what all of the fuss was about. Jon very well couldnít have been given anything at all after he had admitted to having anal sex, but I suppose that he didnít see it that way.

In addition to Jon being angry because he didnít get all of the money that he felt was owing to him, he plain and simply refused to discuss Kim with me. He spoke with such vehemence about not wanting to discuss it that I decided not to push the issue.

Finally, at the end of January, Jon was given his money. When he received it, he wrote me a cheque for the money that he had borrowed. I didnít ask for interest and he didnít give it. I felt that asking for interest was too crass and businesslike for the man that I loved. Little did I know that as far as Jon was concerned, his whole affiliation with me was strictly business. He only saw me as one big money making machine.

Before Jon was given his money, however, he had made a lot of financial commitments that he didnít have the wherewithal to keep. He had promised Glennys that he would pay for her to go on a holiday to the Holy Land with her church, but he didnít have the money for the deposit. Therefore, despite all of the evil, wicked, spiteful things that Glennys said and did to hurt me, I paid the deposit for the holiday that she had been so looking so forward to.

Jon also didnít have the money to buy food and pay the bills around the house. Therefore, even though I was living off of my savings, I bought food and paid the bills. Jon took as much money that he could get out of me and never ever once thanked me.

It was really an amusing sight to watch Jon take money from me because he would do it as discretely as possible, sliding the bills under his hand and slipping them into his wallet, probably in the same way that a pickpocket would. He never once acknowledged my contribution to the household and tried to minimise the role I played. Even then, Jon knew that it was wrong to take money, but he never allowed the moralities of milking every penny that he could get out of me get in the way of what he wanted out of life.

As usual, Jon had an obsession with my body, which was why I was working out to exercise videos and going to aerobics classes. Several times a day I was subjected to the following scenario:- ĎKrystal,í Jon would say to me out of the blue.

ĎWhat,í I would look at him inquisitively, wondering what it was that he wanted.

Jon would look back at me and sweetly reply, ĎSuckie, suckie.í

The term was an expression that he had made up to mean that I was supposed to suck my stomach in. Although I was very upset about the fact that Jon didnít like my body, I would accede to his wishes and walk around the house with my stomach sucked in. In addition to the fact that the practice was adversely affecting my posture, it had a detrimental affect on my breathing and, not to mention my self-esteem.

Shortly after Glennysíes animosity towards me became public knowledge, Jon took me to see Stuart and Anida, his brother and sister-in-law. I was in such an emotional state that I tried to tell Anida all of the things that Glennys had done while Jon sat back and did nothing, as usual.

Anida wasnít very sympathetic and told me that I had better get myself together or I would lose Jon. I simply couldnít believe what I was hearing. No one was interested in the least about how hurt I was. They were only interested in Glennys and Jonís feelings. My feelings didnít matter. But did they ever?

I thought that Anida of all people would be sympathetic to what I was going through. It wasnít all that long ago that Stuart, Anida and their child, having no place to go, had moved in with Glennys and her deceased husband. By this time the elderly couple had been sleeping in separate bedrooms and Glennys wasnít thrilled with the prospect of having to go back to having to share a bed with her husband.

Jonís father, therefore, at the insistence of Glennys, told Stuart and Anida that they were not welcome in the home and had to leave. Because Stuart and Anida had nowhere to go, they had to stay in a bed and breakfast, thereby depleting their savings, until they were given a council house.

Anida even admitted to me that she didnít think that Stuart had ever forgiven his mother for committing such a dispicable act. Anida, it seems, bore no malice towards Glennys for what she did. I personally feel that Anidaís forgiveness of Glennys had less to do with a ChristJon spirit than the fact that she really isnít an intellectual dynamo. I doubt very seriously that she had any idea just how intense Glennysíes rejection was. Anida was in such a state of denial that even though Glennys had turned her back on her when she was in need, she was still willing to take her side in any disputes that might arise.

Even though I had been the one who had been wronged, there was nothing I could do; nothing I could say. No one was interested in the least about my feelings, which apparently didnít matter.

One evening Jon took me to the car park at Sainsburyís and told me that ever since I had come to England, every day had been a bad day. Jon had sent me a clear message that I had better shape up and do what he wanted, or I was out.

Understandably, with all of the emotional turmoil, I wanted to reach out to someone who I thought cared about me. One day, during one of our rows I phoned my brother. I was in tears, trying to tell him of my anguish.

Even though I was sobbing and distraught, trying to tell my brother of my despair, he stopped me in mid sentence and said, ĎIíve got to go to work.í

ĎWell, okay, I guess that I will let you go then,í was all that I could say. I couldnít very well keep my brother from his work, could I.

Even in my darkest hour, when I really needed someone the most, my brother wasnít interested. I understood that he had to go to work, but he could have at least taken a number where I could have been reached and phoned me later. My brother couldnít even be bothered to spend a few minutes out of his life to speak to me and console me in what was one of the most traumatic times in my life. The only explanation that I can come up with for his heartless response is that his upbringing and life experiences have numbed him just as much, if not more so, as me.

I canít say that I expected anything less from my brother. He has never, ever been there for me. My brother has never taken even the slightest interest in me; he has never sent me a birthday card and was always tattling on me and trying to get me in trouble when I was a child. Why, oh why, did I ever even bother to ring my brother in the first place when I knew fully well that he had never been there for me in the past and he would in all likelihood not be there for me in the future. I suppose that is just a reflection of how desperate I was, phoning someone who had never given me any indication that he had ever the slightest bit of interest in me.

* * *

Although I have had very few positive experiences with my brother, that is not the impression my mother has given me. According my mother, my brother just loved my sister and me so much so that he called us his baby twins. I, in contrast, can never remember any occasions whatsoever when my brother showed even the slightest glimmer of brotherly love towards me, so I can only assume that something really awful must have happened to all of us as children to turn the three of us into such numb, dysfunctional adults.

* * *

One day, in desperation, I phoned my mother to tell her what I was going through. My mother was so uninterested in my plight that she actually handed the phone over to her girlfriend to speak to me. I suppose that I was so used to rejection that the fact that my own mother couldnít even be asked to speak to me just went right past me. I therefore spoke to Janet, my motherís girlfriend, in earnest about what I was experiencing at the hands of Jon and Glennys.

Janet listened to what I had to say for a few minutes and frankly told me, ĎIf you donít calm yourself down you are going to lose Jon.í

Surprised that Janet would say such a thing in defence about the man who was causing me so much trauma in my life, I responded by telling Janet, ĎWell, quite frankly, that after all of the things that Jon had done, Iím not sure if I want him anywayí.

I initially felt that Janet, who had never been married or in any long-term relationship with a man, couldnít understand what I was going through. It dawned on me much later, however, that Janet wanted to keep me just where I was, on another continent separated by a large body of water. The message was clear. I wasnít welcome at home so I had better make the best of it where I was. At no time ever was I told that if I wasnít happy in England, I could come home. Although no one in my family went right out and said it, the fact was that they didnít want me hanging around, cramping their style. Having nowhere to go, I stayed where I was.

It should come as no surprise that I started having debilitating migraine headaches. All I could do was lay on the couch or bed and hope that the pain would go away. I have since discovered that I am allergic to dogs, cats, smoke, dust, toner, chemicals, fumes, gases, and just about anything else. Glennys therefore, had an extra hand in my deteriorating state of health because it was her mangy dogs that were making me so ill.

Because I was new to England and didnít understand how the English governmental system worked, I suffered in silence, not knowing that I could have gone to see a doctor any time that I wanted to. Glennys, in true ChristJon spirit, was delighted in seeing me so unwell and made a point of telling me that it was such a shame that I wasnít allowed to see a doctor. Jon, thinking only of himself, never stopped to think that I may need medical attention even though I was practically bedridden for much of the time. He never once even suggest that I should see a doctor. Just as long as Jon and Glennys were okay, that was all that mattered.

* * *

The fact that no one bothered to take me to a doctor was reminiscent of my childhood experiences. In America, if one wants to see a doctor, one has to pay for it, as opposed to the United Kingdom, where medical attention is free. My grandparents and grandparents, not wanting to waste their valuable money on their offspring, would not take me to see a doctor unless it was pretty much a medical emergency. Even then, they exercised extreme caution and found the cheapest practitioner they could.

When I was a child, if I wasnít feeling well, I would be made to go to bed and stay there until my guardians thought I was fine. I wasnít allowed to watch TV, listen to music or read, and therefore regarded it more as a prison sentence than convalescence.

After a while, I stopped telling my guardians when I didnít feel well because just about anything was preferable to being stuck in bed. I can only assume that because I had such an aversion to staying in bed, some unpleasant incident must have happened while I was in bed. For as long as I can remember, I have been plagued by a sleep disorders and have forced myself out of bed at the crack of dawn regardless of how tired I might be.

I can recall occasions when I felt deathly ill and would find a quiet corner in the garden so that I could just be sick on my own and not have to worry about being made to go to bed. For some reason, known only to my unconscious, I felt that being made to go to bed was far worse than being sick, and therefore went to just about any lengths to hide any illness from my guardJons. I didnít have to worry about them noticing that I was off colour, though, because they were too wrapped up in themselves to worry about me.

While my mother pretty much ignored any ailments in me, except to exile me to the bedroom, my grandmother was more humane. My grandmother, therefore, subjected me to a litany of home remedies. I will never know whether all those home made remedies were more hindrance than help, but somehow, by the grace of God, I got out of Arkansas alive.

When I was a child and cut my finger to the bone, instead of taking me to a doctor, my grandmother wrapped it up in kerosene. I cannot even begin to describe the pain that I was in because the kerosene was actually more excruciating that the wound itself. I was in so much agony that I told my grandmother that the kerosene wasnít doing me any good, and she angrily told me that if I didnít like it that I could just take it off. After I took the kerosene off my, my finger healed of its own accord. I never forgot that incident and considered my grandmotherís actions tantamount to child abuse. Years later, however, I was to learn that kerosene does kills germs and does aide in the healing process.

When I was afflicted with ringworm, my grandmother took a walnut, cut it in half, and rubbed the juice of the walnut onto the afflicted area, which was supposed to kill the parasite. One day when my brother was attacked by a swarm of bees while cutting the grass, my grandparents wrapped him in a wet sheet and left him in a room all by himself. Thankfully, he survived the ordeal, but what would they have done if he hadnít?

To be completely honest, based on the rather haphazard supervision that I was afforded, I am totally amazed that I made past my childhood years. I grew into adulthood despite my family, not because of them. There is absolutely no question in my mind that a feral animal would have received more love and attention than I did.

Having said that, however, when I was a child I would witness my cousins abusing the young puppies on the farm where I lived with my grandparents. It hurt me greatly to see my cousins abuse the young dogs and I didnít understand the implications of such practices. It is now widely accepted that children who abuse animals are very considered to be very disturbed individuals. I may very well have seemed weird to my family and peers, which was merely a neurotic reaction to the conditions I was living in, but I can honestly say that I have never, ever harmed an animal in my life, which is more than I can say for many so-called Ďnormalí people.

Although I hadnít realised it, when I got tangled up with Jon and Glennys, I had unwittingly selected a family that would enable me to re-enact my old childhood dramas almost to perfection. Although my birth family harmed me out of ignorance, neglect, and possibly mental instability, the new family that I had come into contained nothing but sheer malice. With this new family, I would have every opportunity to relieve all of the scenarios that made my own childhood so appalling.

* * *

By this time Glennys was intent on getting me out of her life any way she could. Even though she was a ChristJon, she wasnít too good to do something immoral or unethical if it meant that I was gone forever. I was therefore quite amazed one day to find that Glennys had gone through my personal belongings to get the name and address of my father. Written in her handwriting was my fatherís name and address, and the word Ďinternational enquiriesí.

I was shocked and dismayed that Glennys was trying to contact my family. I had no idea in the world what she thought she was going to say to them. Glennys didnít know, however, that my family didnít give a damn about me, and anything she said about me would just go in one ear and out the other. I had long since given up on trying to get my family to love me and knew fully well that Glennys would get nowhere with them. If anything, my family was happy that I was in England and not cramping their style.

When I showed the piece of paper to Jon, he refused to discuss it. As always, Glennys could say or do anything she wanted and Jon was paralysed. I initially supposed that he hoped that if he ignored the problem then it would go away, but upon reflection I have come to realise that his warped mind fed on the animosity that had been generated.

On another occasion my sister phoned and left a message for me. Glennys, who has never been concerned in the least about anyone but herself, took undo concern about my sister and asked me repeatedly if I had returned my sisterís call. I have no idea in the world why Glennys would have suddenly taken an interest in how I got on with my family, so I can only assume that she must have had something sinister in mind on that occasion as well.

On another occasion, while Glennys was hurling all manner of accusations at me, saying that I was trying to run her out of her own home, she told me that I should be ashamed of myself and that she would love to phone my mother and tell her how horrible I was being. I didnít have the heart to tell Glennys that my mother didnít give a damn about what I did just so long as I didnít invade her space.

Because my mother refused to provide for me, I was forced to get a job when I was 14 and have been gainfully employed since that time, thus being somewhat financially independent. It is for that reason that I had a great deal of difficulty asking Jon for money, not that Jon would have given it to me if I had asked.

Because I wanted to have a job and earn my own money, I joined a network marketing scheme that sold cosmetics. I have always loved cosmetics and really wanted to make a go of it. Because I was technically not allowed to work, Jon signed the paperwork with me as my partner, although I paid for all of the equipment that I needed to start the business.

Jon had to go into the business with me because Glennys made it perfectly clear to Jon that if she found out that I was working, she would turn me into the authorities and have me deported. Glennys neednít have bothered because my self-esteem was so low that I couldnít sell a glass of ice water in hell, much less expensive cosmetics in a poor, working class neighbourhood in England.

My inability to actually sell any cosmetics, however, didnít help my hurt feelings about Glennysíes belligerent attitude toward me and Jonís failure to tell her that if she wanted to continue living under his roof, she had better be a bit more amenable.

If anything, Jon was an unwitting accomplice to Glennys. She would come home with cakes and offer them to Jon but not to me. Although Jon would complain to me about his motherís hateful ways, he was impotent to her and would not say one word to her about her behaviour.

Glennys slandered me to the entire neighbourhood, telling them all kinds of wild stories about me. The people at the church she went to were so alarmed about the stories she made up that one evening a lady from the church came with a typed sheet of paper, which stated that astrology and other forms of occult were against the churchís teachings. Jon and I were both very polite to the woman who called, but we both knew that her actions were directed at me and were a result of the stories that Glennys had been telling about me.

On another occasion, a man from Glennysíes church came to the house because he wanted her to vote for him, as he was running for a low key governmental elected position. While I had no say whatsoever about what went on in the house, Glennys turned to me and demurely asked, ĎIs it okay if he comes into the house?í

I was amazed that Glennys should ask such a thing because she had never bothered to ask permission to do anything since I had known her. Jon may not have cottoned on, but I knew instantly that it was just another one of Glennysíes ploys to paint a picture that simply wasnít true. Glennys wanted to gain sympathy from other people who didnít have to live with her and therefore didnít know what she was really like. Not surprisingly, after the gentleman left, Glennys went back to her old self and told Jon that she wasnít going to vote for the man, when not less than five minutes earlier she had given him her support. As I would realise in time, Jon had learned from his mother to say one thing and mean something all together different.

One morning Glennys came into the living room and struck up a conversation with me, which was highly unusual, considering the fact that the only emotion that she ever showed towards me was animosity. During the conversation, Glennys said, ĎJon is a stranger to me. He is not the son that I brought up. Heís not right in the head.í

In astonishment, when I started to ask Glennys whatever she meant, she stopped me in mid sentence and said, ĎI have said all I have to say in the matter,í and then turned around and left the room, leaving me totally stunned at such a revelation.

The first opportunity that came along, I related the incident to Jon. Not only had the woman blackened my name, but she had blackened her own sonís name, which was an act that I considered to be most bizarre. Most women who I have ever met will defend their sons even when they have been provided with definitive evidence to the contrary. Glennys, on the other hand, it seemed, gleaned almost as much joy out of maligning her son as she did me.

I could never understand the contemptuous feelings that Glennys displayed towards her own children and it is no wonder that both of her sons turned out to be so inadequate in so many ways. Glennys said that Jon wasnít the man that she had raised, but she was wrong. How could Glennys have possibly thought that she could openly live the life of debauchery and deceit that she had, and it not have an effect on her children. For her to decide to get religion at 71 was too late. The damage had already been done.

Although Jon very rarely went out during the day, except to go to Homebase or B&Q to purchase supplies to fix up his house, he would quite often go out when it was dark. During these walks he would quiz me on my knowledge of the constellations in the sky and ask me if I could find north just by looking at the stars. At first it was a novelty, but eventually I became bored with trying to remember where north was when I really didnít care.

Because Jon only went out with me at night, I didnít have a very good grasp of the layout of the town. Even I eventually got tired of being confined to the house and wanted to venture into the town of Basingstoke. Sometimes I would walk and other times Jon would drop me off, but he very rarely went with me.

On one occasion when Jon and I were at River Island, I tried to speak to him about something that one of the sales assistants said that upset me. Every time I tried to speak to him, he would walk off. He did this repeatedly until even I realised that he was doing it on purpose, and I subsequently became very annoyed with him. We had a heated row where I told Jon how unhappy I was that he would just walk off when I was speaking to him, but in retrospect, I think all my expressions of anguish just went in one ear and out the other. I didnít know it yet, but Jon walked away from me because he enjoyed seeing me in so much emotional pain.

During my walks around Basingstoke, I happened upon the Basingstoke Sports Centre, which was situated in the centre of town. I thought that it would be a good way for me to meet people, get out of the house, and stay in peak physical condition. I wanted it to be something that Jon and I did together as a couple, so I paid the joining fees for both of us. Jon agreed to pay for the monthly instalments because I wasnít allowed to work and therefore had no income. Once we were both members of the gym, Jon rarely, if ever, went with me to work out. Again, I was doing things alone that I thought Jon and I would be doing together.

Even though I was earning little, if any, from my cosmetic business, I kept ordering products and hoping that one day things would pick up and I would actually show a profit. Because Jon had joined the business with me, all of the cheques that came from the company were addressed to the both of us. In order to cash the cheques, it was necessary for us to open a joint account together, which Jon agreed to do.

I was very happy about the fact that the both of us had a joint checking account because I felt that it was one step towards us getting closer together.

* * *

During my first marriage, my ex-husband and I maintained separate cheqing accounts. His money was his and my money was mine. Somehow, though, most of my money was spent on the bills, while most of his money was spent on himself. Therefore, my ex-husband had managed to amass quite a little nest egg while I had almost no savings at all.

I wanted my second marriage to be more of a committed partnership and felt that a joint chequing account would strengthen the bond between the two of us.

Because I didnít have friend in the world to confide in about what was going on in my life, I phoned a psychic hotline, looking for the answers that I couldnít see glaring me in the face. When Jon found out that I had phoned up a psychic hotline, he wasnít amused in the least. He told me in no uncertain terms that he didnít want a girlfriend who rang psychic hotlines. I cold not understand his hostility because he knew that I was interested in the esoteric arts when we started dating. Why then did he object to me ringing psychic hotlines?

In addition to Jon telling me who I could and couldnít telephone, he also critiqued what I read. One day I came home with a womanís weekly magazine. Jon took one look at the magazine and told me that he didnít like me reading those sorts of magazines. He considered them to be really common. I was, however, allowed to read the monthly magazines, such as Cosmopolitan or Marie Claire.

Naturally, with Glennys staying in the bedroom adjacent to ours, carrying a Ďholier than thouí attitude, sex wasnít an issue. It was virtually impossible for us to make love because Glennys had driven a massive wedge between us. Quite often Jon would spend the night downstairs in the living room, and by that time I never bothered to ask him to come up to bed with me.

On one of the rare occasions that we did have sex, it was a very unusual experience, to say the least. But then, just about every experience I had with Jon was unusual. The odd thing was that we had sex downstairs in the living room with all of the lights on. Although I was somewhat concerned that Glennys could walk into the living room any time, I didnít express my reservations to Jon. If Jon had any reservations about having sex in an environment where he could easily be discovered by his mother, he didnít say anything to me. This incident would later come home to me when I was to discover some of his more sinister, illegal activities with regard to the sexual act.

Because Jon spent such an inordinate amount of time downstairs in the living room, I would sometimes sleep downstairs with him. One morning Jon, in a state of high excitement, woke me up because he had received a post card from Kim. The post card stated that she had gone on a skiing holiday and that she had come across some Brits, whom she hated.

For some reason, Jon was still obsessed with Kim. He was convinced that she had been to his house and had seen it, and told Glennys and me so. I thought that he was being paranoid and couldnít understand why she still managed to have so much control over his mind.

Glennys thought that Jon had a highly overrated his sex appeal and told him so. Her response to Jon was, ĎI would imagine that she has forgotten all about you by now.í For reasonís known only to Glennys and Jon, she had an incredibly low opinion of her son.

Months later, however, when I had enough of Jon and Glennys, and had moved out of the house, Glennys told Jon that she would have loved to have had Kim for a daughter-in-law because Kim was social climber, just like her.

Glennys couldnít understand what all the fuss was about because she had never been madly, deeply in love with anyone. All of her relationships had been just as superficial as she was, so when they ended she wasnít overly fussed. She didnít even think about her deceased husband, Jonís father, anymore. As far as she was concerned, it was all in the past.

Glennys had also made a point of telling both Jon and me that she had never been dumped and couldnít understand why Kim had reacted in the manner that she had. I had been dumped many times and knew fully well the pain that Kim felt. The difference between Kim and me was that while Kim sought revenge for unrequited love, I just went out and got another boyfriend. At that time I still didnít have a lot of sympathy for Kim because I still saw her as competition and felt that she still had the capability to take the prize away from me. A prize that I had only the most fragile grasp on. A prize that was in reality a booby prize, as I would eventually learn.

I was rather amused that Kim was still sending Jon postcards, filling him in on what was going on in her life and generally making her presence known for reasons known only to her. I personally have never felt the need to keep in touch with my old boyfriends. As far as I was concerned, when a relationship was over, it was over. Instead of hanging on for dear life to a person who quite clearly didnít want me to be a part of his life, I would set my sights on another more deserving individual.

Kim and I were both very dysfunctional creatures. She wasnít able to let go of a relationship that had been dead and buried, and tried to stay in contact even when she knew fully well that the person she was trying to hang onto didnít want her. In many ways, Kim was a gluten for punishment, coming back for more and more rejection. I, on the other hand, soothed my bruised ego by going out and finding another boyfriend as quickly as I possibly could. I never gave myself a chance to reflect on what went wrong in the relationship or try to understand why my former partner wasnít suitable. Therefore, instead of learning from my mistakes, I merely went from one disastrous relationship to another, each one becoming progressively worse.

It wasnít long after I arrived in the UK that I wanted to start making my own money and wanted to advertise my astrological services in magazines to earn an income. Although Jon had originally agreed to this, he wasted no time in changing his tune and told me in no uncertain terms that I wasnít allowed to use his address for any of my business activities. I was totally amazed when Jon told me this because before I came to England he hadnít expressed any reservations whatsoever, and assured me that I would be able to pursue my astrology business.

Since I wasnít allowed to use his address, I effectively had no business at all. It would have been very difficult for me to try to operate a business without an address to work from.

To add insult to injury, Jon told me that he had no intention whatsoever of having his own business because he wanted to get a job and work for a company. This too completely contradicted his earlier declarations to me. Only a few weeks after Jon and I started dating, he told me that he would not be applying for any NATO jobs because he wanted to get a job in business. When he was able to get a job in business by starting his own, he took a completely different tactic and told me that he didnít want to work in business, but get a job in a company.

When I tried to speak to Jon about all of the promises that he had made to me and broken, he was beyond reason. It was an issue that he wasnít prepared to discuss. I was stunned at his ability to change his mind for no apparent reason. It should be noted, however, that although Jon had proclaimed his desire to get a job and start working, he hadnít sent out one CV or made on speculative phone call, thus intensifying my concerns.

A couple of times Jon would get a phone call from one of his old military friends. One such friend was somewhat of a wheeler-dealer who was apparently pretty well off. Jon expressed to me a couple of times that he thought this man was going to want to go into business with him, but he didnít say what kind of business it was. The man, of course, never made any such offers to Jon that I am aware of.

One morning the man rang Jon and they had a long conversation. During the conversation Jon said that he had been offered a job with a company, but he didnít know whether he should accept it. I was completely astonished that Jon could come up with such a bold faced lie and told him so the instant he got off the telephone.

I asked Jon why he was lying to people and telling them that he was being offered jobs when he knew it wasnít true. He hadnít even sent out one CV or made one phone call with regard to employment. Jon did not reply to my questions because I suppose that he didnít think he had done anything wrong. Telling lies had become so engrained in his psyche that he thought everyone lied and couldnít understand what the problem was.

I hadnít realised it, but Jon had built his whole life up around a little white lie here and a little white lie there. Before he knew it, his whole life was one big lie, built up on stories that he had made up to convince himself and everyone around him that he really did have a nice life. Jon had told so many lies that I suspect he really didnít know what the truth was anymore. I had become just another strand in the web of deceit that he had built up around himself so that he would not have to see who he really was.

After Jon finally renovated the bathroom, he decided that he wanted to embark on another project to fix up his house. This time it was the bedroom. Jon contacted a company that specialised in bedrooms and selected a lovely white set. I was very happy with the new bedroom because the old one was in an unacceptable condition. The wardrobe was too small and falling to pieces, and the bed was of such a cheap quality that it was sunk in at various parts. I wanted t new bedroom because I hated having to sleep in such an appalling conditions.

Because I was only living in England on a six-month visitorís visa, it was imperative that Jon and I get married if we were going to stay together. It is for that reason that I put a lot of pressure on him to get married. One day, after a particularly intense fight, which incidentally centred around his mother, Jon said that we could pick out our rings.

We therefore went to a jeweller in Basingstoke and selected an engagement ring and two bands. The rings were ready to be picked up a week later. To my dismay, however, I was told that I would not be allowed to wear the engagement ring because Jon felt that Glennys would be upset if she saw it. I was upset about the fact that my loverís mother had so much power over him that she could control our relationship. It wasnít until several weeks later, after another violent row, that Jon told me that I would be allowed to wear the engagement ring.

When Jon said that we could get married, I set about trying to find a suitable date. I used all of my skills in astrology to select one, but one little known fact is that if a marriage is doomed, no amount of astrological expertise can help. I did, however, feel that 11th August 1994 at 11:00am would be a most propitious time to tie the knot.

Even though Jon and I had already set our wedding date, we were still not having an easy time. Our arguments were becoming more and more intense, and were extremely physical in nature. The hatred inside of me was of a magnitude that I had never felt before. During a couple of altercations, if I had been physically capable of killing Jon, I would have. Glennys, of course, savoured every impasse we had and commiserated every reconciliation, thereby making our living arrangements very intense indeed.

Because Glennys had done absolutely everything in her power to drive a wedge between Jon and me, the hatred I felt for her was more than I could possibly bear. Jon had enough money that he could have bought a little flat for Glennys to live in for the rest of her life, but he would not. He had enough money where he could rent a flat that the two of us could stay in together, but he would not do that either. It seemed that I was stuck. If I wanted to be with Jon, I would have to be with Glennys and Jon would do nothing about her hostile and belligerent attitude toward me.

I was so upset with Glennys that I went into her bedroom and saw that it was completely full of religious paraphernalia. Amidst all of the clutter was one picture of her late husband, which Jon told her she must keep because he found her indifference to his father offensive. While I perused the contents of Glennysíes room, I noted that it was cluttered with miniature statues, rosary beads, and little cards that contained various prayers. She also had candles and incense sticks that she used to say her prayers. I had the distinct impression that what Glennys was doing was tantamount to black magic. Although Glennys said that what she was doing was in the name of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, and God, the simple fact that her motives were malefic, her prayers took on a more sinister tone. To be honest, Glennys had such a twisted sense of values that I doubt very seriously that she knew who she was praying to. She would have sold her soul to Satan if it meant that I was out of her life forever, and that is one thing that I knew for sure.

I was so angry with Glennys that I wanted to harm her with all my heart and soul. Therefore, instead of lashing out at her physically, I poured tea on her bed. That was the extent of my maliciousness to the woman. Even that minor act itself was enough for me to realise that I had to get away from her, and fast.

One day we had a visitor. He was an elderly gentleman from the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB). The gentleman came specifically to see Glennys because she had been recommended by a friend to undertake some fundraising. Glennys was quite smug in her reply to this man.

ĎIím afraid I am much too busy to do that sort of thing.í, Glennys smugly recited to the gentleman, ĎI spend all my time in the church.í

The man had come all the way to Mansfield Road only to be turned down by pious Glennys, who had been recommended by one of her friends. I didnít want the gentleman to feel let down, so I told him that I would do it, thereby instigating my career as a fundraiser. All I had to do was to collect donations from the residents of Mansfield Road and Baird Avenue once a year. It didnít take a great deal of my time and I was doing something to help someone other than myself.

After Jon redecorated the bedroom, he decided that the next major project would be double-glazing for the house. To be honest, I didnít even know what double-glazing was because I was raised in a warm climate where double-glazing wasnít an essential household selling point. Jon would take me to the various double-glazing showrooms and I couldnít be less interested. I could think of 1,001 different things that I would rather be doing than traipsing through shops, looking at double-glazing.

Not deterred by my lack of interest, Jon made an appointment to be seen by the local Brackenwood salesman. When the salesman came for his appointment, he was just as nice as pie, taking an interest in our lives. He even took us for a drive and showed us other homes that had Brackenwood windows installed. At the end of the consultation, the salesman said that the new windows would costs £8,000.

Jon asked me, ĎWell, what do you think?í

I turned to the man and asked him, ĎWill we be given a cash discount?í

ĎNo,í was his reply.

At that, I turned to Jon and said, ĎBut I though we were going to get some other estimates.í

ĎHow long is the offer going to last?í, Jon asked the salesman.

The salesman looked Jon directly in the eye and said, ĎYou have to make your decision now because the offer ends today.í

I had never heard of such business practices. When making major purchases I would have expected people to be able to think it over before deciding. I personally wasnít going to be bullied into making a decision for a major purchase then and there.

ĎI donít think you should be spending that kind of money on windows at the moment. I think that you should be concentrating on getting a job firstí. After I said what I had to say, I left the room, thereby allowing Jon to make his apologies.

I was offended that the salesman had come into our home and had asked extortionate prices for windows. Months later I was to discover that people could get double-glazing for a third of what the man was asking, but it was of no consequence to Jon.

After the salesman had left Jon informed me that I had embarrassed him. Jon had been sitting around the house doing nothing constructive whatsoever about finding a job and had focused every bit of his energy on using his ever-dwindling redundancy money on making home improvements on a home that I didnít particularly want to stay in. Instead of looking for a job, Jon phoned all of the double-glazing companies in the area and made appointments for them to come and give quotes. So much for what he thought of me.