My husband couldn't stand me getting too close to anyone.
Updated: Mar 8
My husband couldn't stand me getting too close to anyone. The few times I did get closer to a couple of other girls my own age I was never allowed to go shopping with them or do anything fun because as he always said "Why should you have fun when I'm stuck at work."
Ailsa Schlaudraff, from Germany, describes herself as kind and generous and would do anything for anyone. She is naturally a reserved person and doesn't find it easy to come out of her shell but if you can manage to get past all her walls and earn her trust she'll be your friend for life!
But before she escaped the cult she grew up in, just 12 months ago, she felt she says she was pretty much a weak spineless jellyfish who was scared of her own shadow.
"I felt I was a bad wife, a bad mother and a bad Christian because this is what I was told on a daily basis. I had no real close friends the whole of my married life (17 years). I was far too much in my own shell because my husband couldn't stand me getting too close to anyone. The few times I did get closer to a couple of other girls my own age I was never allowed to go shopping with them or do anything fun because as h always said "Why should you have fun when I'm stuck at work." so it always fizzled out pretty quickly.
What is the one thing in life you’re so happy you did? (other than escaping)
The best thing I've ever done is to give birth to my daughter.
What would you tell your younger self?
The best piece of advice I was ever given was one that I, unfortunately, paid no heed to. I long to be able to go back and tell my younger self to listen! The advice was that 'if you want to know how a man will treat you once you are his wife, watch carefully how he treats his mother’.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt since starting your new life?
That I am capable of looking after myself, I am not the irresponsible, immature leech that I was led to believe I was.
What are you most passionate about being able to do now as a woman that you couldn’t do before?
I am passionate about being able to choose my company and my friends. If I don't enjoy someone's company, I don't just have to put up with it. Also bringing my daughter up to be able to discern between good and bad company for herself and not having to rely on others to tell her who she has to socialise with.
What is most important for your mental health?
The most important thing for my mental health is my 'down time' In whatever form...watching a movie, hot bath and a glass of wine or just curling up with a good book etc.
What in your life gave you courage?
My family have given me courage all my life. They're the ones I have always turned to, specifically my brother and my sister who also lives in Germany.
What ignites your sense of injustice?
Nothing ignites my sense of injustice like the mistreating of women by selfish, chauvinistic and sexist men. It drives me wild.
What’s the greatest gift we can give ourselves?
The greatest gift we can give ourselves is self-confidence and belief in ourselves.
What’s the greatest gift we can give each other?
The greatest gift we can give to each other is understanding and not judgment.
Ailsa Schlaudraff has been through more than many will ever know, myself included and I applaud her for finding her voice despite this.