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    After “the big” incident, life kind of changed for me. The years before the robbery were already quite difficult. But the years after would be even more so. I could feel an emotional transition had taken place. I wish it could have been a transition for the better, with all my heart I wish that had been the case. But, alas it was not. In fact during the ages of fourteen and twenty my emotional well being was all out of whack.

    I remember my time at school. Which wasn’t great either. I was a bit of a chubby kid, as I am sure many of you could imagine. Teasing and verbal abuse became common place, and I was a little awkward, socially speaking. I tried to compensate for the difficulties I was having at home and the lack of proper attention and care. Occasionally I would act out. Try to be the centre of attention, but most would see right through this. And overall, I was mostly invisible. Unspectacular. Sort of bland.

    I was the sort of kid that kept most of his emotions inside. I would take the teasing and the occasional bullying on the chin and grin and bear it. Showing the world a smile, whilst really and truly on the inside it was tearing me apart. To this day I can remember how lonely I felt during those years. I did have a saving grace though. My small group of friends were fantastic.

    Even though they had no clue what was going on with me internally, they were just always there. At school, in sporting teams, at the weekend. I was lonely and hollow on the inside, but at least on the outside I had them. I would find any excuse to stay away from home and spend more time with them. Especially my best mate. In many ways, his family felt so much more comfortable to me than my own.

    My mates probably never knew this, but at the time they saved my life. I was in so much pain that had it not been for them I am honestly not sure what would have become of me. On the odd chance that one of those guys is reading this, and you should know who you are, I will forever be in your debt.

    When I think back during this period, in regards to my family, I was in a pretty demanding situation. My elder sister had her own problems and emotions to deal with and flew the coup early. I think she was sixteen when she left home, which would have made me twelve and my younger brother eight. I never blamed her for this. In fact it was the exact opposite. I was happy that she managed to get away from what was a very toxic environment. In reality however, it meant that I was left holding the torch. I was the elder of the two siblings left at home and had to step up and be responsible.

    My mother, for all her faults, worked hard to make sure we at least had all the basics. A roof over our head, food on the table and clothes on our back. We were never wanting in that area. She would sometimes have two jobs at a time just to make ends meet. In many ways she did her best, but that meant my brother and I were left mostly to fend for ourselves. And myself being the elder, I had to take on the responsibility. It was a responsibility that I really didn’t need. I was already having a difficult time myself as it was, but I had no choice but to suck it up and just get on with it.

    One thing that changed dramatically me during this period of time was the development of my temper. I was always a good person deep down. And hated violence. But things started to simmer. I could take a lot of abuse. Whether at home or in public, I would sit there and take it, take it and take it. I would never talk about it, and try not to react. All these negative feelings were just bottled up. I was so ashamed of what was going on in my life, that I just kept quiet all the time. The last thing I wanted to do was to draw attention to myself. But then, on the odd occasion, BOOM. I would explode. I remember many occasions where relatively innocent victims would have to bear the brunt of my temper. Both verbally and physically.

    One example of this, explosion, was during a school rugby match. I played front row, which was a very demanding and physical position. My opposite number was doing everything he could to wind me up. And during the scrums he was starting to get nasty. He would gouge my eyes, scratch my face, stamp on my feet. The works. During one scrum I just snapped. I popped up, and while he was still trapped in the scrum, hit him with five quick fire punches to the face within the space of two seconds.

    And they were not taps either. Full force punches. If I am honest, I still feel guilty today. One of the poor guys team mates came to his rescue and punched me clean in the nose from behind. I broke from the scrum and chased this guy for what seemed like eternity. I swear I must of been foaming at the mouth at the time like a rabid dog. The poor kid ran around screaming for help. Eventually I ran out of steam. My memory of the incident is not clear at all. Much of what I am telling you is from what people who witnessed the account told me. At the time, I pretty much blacked out with rage.

    When I came to my senses I had been sent from the field. My shirt was completely red with blood. I looked like I had been in a war. I got in trouble with the school and in trouble with a couple of sets of parents. It was an incident I look back on with a large sense of regret. Could I have handled the situation a lot better? Absolutely yes. Did I have any ability to control myself at the time? Absolutely no. I just snapped. Upon reflection, it is clear to me now the extent to which my mental health had deteriorated at the time. I needed help, support, guidance. It was not there. And there was no one close enough to really identify what was going on.

    It was not the last time in life that my temper got the better of me…

    To be continued…

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    1. Stephen

      What a difficult time you and your family must have gone through , and how difficult , it must have been for you to share .
      In a different time and place , who knows what might have happened to u and family .
      You are safe now ! A wonderful family , who can look up to you as their partner and dad .
      You have built upon the bad days , and have risen ! You , today are not the same person , you are a better person .

      1. davidoziborg

        That is such a thoughtful and inspiring message, and I thank you so much for writing it. Appreciate it.

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