I got home for lunch and Sean’s girlfriend’s car was in their driveway again. I liked it better when he was just gone. After seeing him the other day with his girlfriend over there, I noticed that his truck was back for a little bit that evening. Then today he was outside again. He really has lost weight. I recognized the jeans he was wearing and they aren’t hugging his butt like they used to. I hate that my heart breaks all over again when I see him.
I got back to work and started walking across the parking lot. I work for a large company and always end up parking toward the back of the lot. As I was walking in today, I noticed a man matching steps with me. I looked over at him and we started talking. We talked the entire way across the parking lot. Finally, I said, “My name is Hope.” He introduced himself with just his first name. Duh! Had I said my last name, he might have given his. Instead I told him where I worked and when he veered off to walk in another direction, I got bold enough to ask where he worked. He is in a completely different area of the company.
When I got back into my office, I told two of the ladies and they told me to look him up on the company directory. Since I had a few minutes left of my lunch break, I did just that. I found him! He is so handsome! I wish I could’ve seen his left hand to get an idea of whether he is married or not. I still can’t believe that I talked to an unknown man and enjoyed it! That still just amazes me that I no longer shrink and try to hide myself from men.
While I was home for lunch, I decided to check out the dating website. I found a new man on there and his profile totally blew me away! He knows what Love Languages are!!! Everything he wants in a relationship is what I’ve been looking for. I emailed him a quick hello and said I’d write more after work. Not only is his profile wonderful, he’s rather easy on the eyes. He is definitely swoon-worthy!
I got home from work and emailed him again like I said I would. I really hope he responds. I would love to get to know him.
Getting over Sean is hard but I’m enjoying meeting new people. I am praying that I find my other half, the man I’m meant to be with. I might not be totally on board with marriage yet, but I definitely want a relationship with someone. I want someone to come home to in the evenings. I want someone to love.
I really do hope this man emails back. Right now I’m trying not to obsessively check the site. It really isn’t working.
Sean has been gone for a week now. I strongly suspect he moved in with his girlfriend. As much as I’ve talked to Rose in the past week, I haven’t asked her and I won’t. I don’t want it getting back to Sean that I’ve asked about him.
Today, as I was cooking dinner, Serenity looked out the window and said, “He’s back! His girlfriend’s car just pulled in and they’re both getting out.” I, of course, had to run over to the window for a glimpse of him. BIG MISTAKE! He looks good. He’s lost weight. I watched him walk into the house, turned around, and realized that all I wanted to do was go have a good cry. I miss him so much that I ache.
I got through dinner and got Shane to bed. Steve and I were supposed to talk but he said his son wasn’t feeling well so they were just going to go to bed. I sat with Shane long after he’d fallen asleep, wondering how I was going to get through the night without completely breaking down. I just don’t want to shed any more tears over Sean.
I was typing to Endellion, trying to make sense of why I’m so hurt by this and we discovered some more Bad Laws that are written in me.
Bad Law #8: I’m not worthy of sex. Sean turned down my FWB proposal yet he’s apparently living with his girlfriend. Dollars to doughnuts, they’re having sex. I asked Endellion,”Is he giving to her what he refused to give to me?” Lie.
Truth -I’m worthy of MORE than FWB with someone and Sean recognized that. I’m a woman of worth therefore, to Sean, it wouldn’t have been just sex, it would’ve been making love. He told me that directly. He wanted ALL of me, not just my body. If he is having sex with his girlfriend, it is because he doesn’t require the same level from her that he wanted from me.
Bad Law #9: I’m not supposed to hurt. We weren’t in a relationship so I shouldn’t hurt. Lie.
Truth -Whatever it was, Sean and I were in a relationship and now that relationship is gone. I am supposed to hurt because the ending of any relationship hurts. I think this is tied in to a previous Bad Law because again, I’m not supposed to feel what I feel.
Bad Law #10: Women shouldn’t want sex. If a woman wants sex and asks for it, she is low class and a slut. Lie.
Truth -Wanting sex, needing sex, is a human drive. I am a human and I desire sex and relationship. It is normal to want to connect with another human on that level.
Bad Law #11: I’m not desirable. I’m short, therefore, all I will ever be is “cute.” Lie. (This one is going to be really hard to rewrite.)
Truth -According to Endellion, I have a dynamic energy, I can put on a flirty skirt and my stilettos and I am sexy. I am sexy because I bake and cook. Then she said, “Look at the two big cats who live in you! Cats are sex symbols. It says a lot that you picked cats.” The thing is, though, that I didn’t pick Fluffy and Purity. They were just there. They just showed up, having lived in me without my knowledge or consent. Endellion said that is what makes it even more telling. My subconscious picked cats, so somewhere deep in me, I do see myself as sexy.
I have a lot of rewriting to do. I simply can’t see that Sean wanted me or could miss me now. Endellion tried to tell me that he wouldn’t have been in my bed if he didn’t want me. She also said that him losing weight shows a lot. She said happy men don’t lose weight, sad men do. She seems to think he moved right on to the next thing that came along because he knows he messed up and is mourning me as much as I’m mourning him. He just found a rebound to deal with pain.
The fact is that Sean is lost to me forever. Even if he breaks up with her and comes back, I wouldn’t touch him with a 10 foot pole now. I won’t repeat previous mistakes and I won’t trust that he’d all of a sudden be the man I need him to be. There is also this thought in me that what we had is now tainted by her. I deserve more. Once again, I mourn and find a way to move on. I try not to look across the street at the empty parking space is where his truck should be. I don’t run to the window for a glimpse of him the next time he comes around.
I cry. I mourn. I move on.
It seems that lately so many people have been coming to me for advice, counsel, and information about domestic violence and I’ve realized that somewhere along the line I’ve become an inspiration to people. Ok, the only reason I’ve realized this is that all of these people keep telling me that I’m an inspiration.
This morning, a friend told me about a dream she’d had. She was walking in the dark and I was walking behind her, holding an awesome pair of shoes in one hand and a weapon in the other. She said she couldn’t see me but that she knew I was there and she felt comforted by my presence. She said that when she woke up she felt safe and that she views me as a guardian angel type with a lot to give. It totally humbled me and blew me away at the same time.
How did this happen? I didn’t set out to become the Poster Child for Abuse Victims. I didn’t set out to become the Pied Piper who will help lead others out of abuse. The only thing I set out to do was protect myself and my children from Bubba. I decided to document my journey for a group of close friends and for myself. I wanted to keep a journal of where I’d started and how far I’ve come. I wanted to document my struggles and my triumphs so that I could look back on it as I need it and see how strong I’ve become because of what I went through.
The decision to take it public, in the form of this blog, happened almost on a whim. The divorce was final, I was free, and I wanted others to know that there is hope and healing out there for victims. I wanted to share that, just like me, others don’t have to remain victims – they, too, can become survivors! I didn’t think too much about starting this blog. I was talking to Arcadia one day and said, “I think I want to take my story public. Bubba has won so much through this and I got screwed so royally by the family court, that I want my story to be heard.” We talked about it and started brainstorming to find a name and theme for my blog.
I look back now on my first introductory post for this blog and remember thinking, “No one is going to want to read this. But if I have one woman who is helped out of an abusive relationship, it will be worth it.”
Now I have friends and strangers alike telling me that I’m strong, I’m courageous, and that I’m an inspiration. I sit here and wonder, “How did this happen? How did I become the go-to person for people when they need help or advice? I’m just one person who escaped from my abuser. I’m just a normal person. I’m just me.”
And that is when I realized that I’m not just me. I’m Hope. I’m this person who went from being afraid of everything and being paralyzed by that fear to a person who moves forward despite the fear. I’m hope that there is healing. I’m hope that there is freedom. I’m hope that there is a real life awaiting anyone who takes that step of faith and gets out. I chose the name Hope because that is the only thing that got me through when I first left – hope that I was making a better life for myself and my children. For the first time in my entire life, I had hope for a bright future.
That hope somehow transferred to Hope. Somehow I morphed from just a regular girl who did something necessary into a powerful woman who is helping people. I’m struggling with this realization because it feels like I’m being conceited to acknowledge that people are looking up to me. It feels conceited to think, “Yes! I did something good and people now look to me for help because of who I am and what I’ve done.”
I hear the Family of Origin (FOO) voices telling me to get over myself, that I’m not an inspiration and I shouldn’t think that I am. Inside me, though, is a glimmer of pride that I am accomplishing something amazing and helping people. It is a role I didn’t seek out and it sometimes feels a heavy burden for these small shoulders to carry.
I am Hope. And the great news is that you can be Hope too!
Over the summer, my friend Hannah introduced me to a friend she’d met at college. Danielle is 20 years old and going through some rough times right now. She came out to her family and they, in turn, disowned her. Her relationship with her girlfriend is really rocky as her girlfriend is verbally abusive to her. I’ve opened my home to Danielle whenever she needs a safe place to stay.
Once again, Danielle is crashing on my couch for the weekend. She went out with her girlfriend last night and they ended up at a bonfire. She texted me to let me know that she didn’t know what time she’d be home but it would be late. I told her I’d leave the porch light on and the door unlocked. She then texted, “I’m not even having fun right now.”
I told her to just come home then. She responded with, “Cause I’m not gonna be the one who ruins everything for everyone.” Wow! That brought up some really big feelings for me. How many times during my years have I had that exact same thought? How many times have I known that my discomfort, pain, misery wasn’t as important as everyone else’s happiness?
The first memory that came to mind when I read that was of when Liam was a month old. Bubba’s mother had come to stay with us and help us out when he was born. We had just moved (again!) and I had no family or friends around to help with a very rambunctious three-year-old Serenity and a newborn. Bubba’s mother generously offered to come down to help for a few weeks. Against my better judgment, I agreed. Well, to be more accurate, I acquiesced because I knew there was no other choice. What I understand now but didn’t then was that you NEVER say “no” to an abuser. My ex-mother-in-law sadistically abused Bubba when he was growing up and it didn’t stop when he left home. There was no way for either of us to understand that telling her not to come was even an option.
When Liam was about a month old, she decided we needed to go out to celebrate. The pediatrician had told me not to take Liam out because a nasty virus was going around the entire town yet we had to go out that night because ex-MIL said we had to. I still wasn’t comfortable breast-feeding, let alone doing it in public, but again, that didn’t matter.
We went to a fancy restaurant. I fed Liam before we left, but by the time we drove there and waited for our table, he was hungry again. Our salads had just arrived at the table but I had to feed my baby before feeding myself. I was nervous and I think that transmitted to Liam. He would simply not latch on. I couldn’t get him in a comfortable position, I couldn’t get him to latch on, I was a nervous mess. When Liam started screaming, I decided it would be best to excuse myself and go out to the car to try to feed him.
It was hot so I turned the car on and let the a/c run for a bit. I had no idea how long it would take Bubba to get our food, box it up, and come out to go home. At this point I was in tears because Liam was crying so hard and was so upset that he refused to nurse. I knew that calming myself was essential to calming him. I figured it would be able twenty minutes for them to get the food, box it up, pay the bill, and come out. I could handle twenty minutes. After 25 minutes, I felt guilty about letting the car run that long, so I turned it off and when it started getting stuffy, I rolled the windows down. Liam was finally nursing a bit although he kept unlatching to sniffle and hiccup his displeasure.
As time wore on, we both became increasingly hot and uncomfortable. I kept thinking that surely they’d be out any minute and we could eat once we got home. I waited and waited and waited. Then I waited some more, becoming increasingly uncomfortable and unhappy that I had this brand new baby out in a hot car. Each time I tried to get out of the car to go in and see what was taking so long, Liam would start screaming again. I knew I couldn’t walk into that restaurant with a wailing newborn. I would ruin everyone’s dinner.
After an hour in the car, it finally hit me that Bubba, his mother, and Serenity were in there, enjoying their meal while the baby and I sat in the car in abject misery. It turned out that I sat in the car for about 90 minutes before they finally came out with my box of food. Bubba and his mother were chatting happily, like there was nothing in the world wrong and that Liam and I sitting in the hot car for an hour and a half was no big deal.
I knew that I couldn’t go into that restaurant and ruin Bubba’s and his mother’s dinners. I knew I couldn’t disturb the other patrons. I knew that I had to sit in that car and just deal with the misery that Liam and I were experiencing. Looking back now, I understand that I was afraid to rock the boat. I was afraid of making Bubba mad.
I remember another time that involved my in-laws and eating out. I was pregnant and dealing with morning (and afternoon and evening) sickness for the first time. I hadn’t had it in my previous pregnancies but was suffering every day that time around. My in-laws had other family in town and wanted to go to dinner. I begged Bubba to just let me and Liam stay home and to take Serenity and his parents and go have a good time. He told me it wouldn’t be the same and that I *had* to go. If I wasn’t going to go, none of them would go and it would really upset his parents and the other family members. Against my better judgment, I went along. I had to or the entire dinner party would be cancelled.
We went to a Mexican restaurant and they ordered guacamole for an appetizer. Guacamole is one of my favorite things in the world. I could forget all about the chips and just eat it with a spoon! That evening, I took two bites and knew that if I ate one more bite I would end up in the bathroom, throwing it all back up. I sat there and by sheer force of will, I think, prevented myself from throwing up. I could feel it at the back of my throat, that burning need to purge myself of the food that was so violently disagreeing with me.
Throughout dinner, I fought it. I refused to give in to the sickness because not only did I have to keep everyone else happy, I had two small children to take care of. You see, Bubba didn’t even sit by me and the kids. He sat on the other end of the table, amongst his relatives while I took care of our children by myself. All I wanted to do was stand up, scream, “I am going home NOW, find your own ride home,” and walk out the door. I pictured it in my head. I concentrated on it because it was helping keep those two bites of guacamole down where it belonged.
Cutting the children’s food and helping Liam eat was torture. The last thing I wanted to do was deal with food. Smelling it and looking at it was horrific by that time. To this day, I don’t know how I got through that dinner. I don’t know why not one person in that dinner party didn’t notice how miserable I was and offer to either take me home or at least give me a bit of sympathy. They completely ignored me. I could’ve been hired help for all the attention they gave me as I cared for my children.
I was responsible for everyone’s feelings. I was responsible for not ruining everyone else’s fun. No matter how many times I was in misery, it never mattered. It was my job to bury my misery to ensure everyone else had fun. It was my job to not rock the boat, to not assert that I had needs too.
I’m so glad I see the lie in that now. I’m glad I can see that what I knew to be true then is a Bad Law and that it is a LIE! I know that I will never again be in a position where I, or anyone I’m with, has to suffer in silence to ensure everyone else stays happy. I am trying to teach my children that they do not have suffer for anyone else. It’s taken me too long to realize that I’m valuable and important and worthy of taking care of myself. My children will know that Truth.
My children will know that they are valuable and important and worthy of taking care of themselves.
Endellion has been struggling in the past week with some really Bad Laws that she was taught by her mother and her soon-to-be-ex-husband. Endellion’s and my life parallel each other in many ways and the Bad Laws are another thing we have in common.
The Bad Laws that she spoke to me about today are as follows:
Bad Law #1: I’m socially inappropriate. Lie.
Truth – My therapist, my friends, and men have indicated or said that I AM socially appropriate.
Bad Law #2: My perceptions are untrustworthy. Lie.
Truth -I can trust my perception. I have perceived most things correctly. The people who claimed that were lying about what they had said and done.
Bad Law #3: I can expect to fail at relationship because most people are not healthy. Lie.
Truth -The majority of people are far healthier than I have realized, and the majority of relationships function on a healthy level for an astonishing period of time. Most people want the reciprocity that healthy relationship brings, and will naturally try to work towards that.
To her Bad Laws, I add my own:
Bad Law #4: I am responsible for making and keeping everyone around me happy. Lie.
Truth -It is not my job to make everyone happy. Each person is responsible for his/her own feelings.
Bad Law #5: I have to put everyone else before myself. Lie.
Truth -I am important enough to put myself first – there is a balance. Sometimes my children need to come first, sometimes my friends need to come first, and sometimes, I need to come first.
Bad Law #6: I have no rights to personal boundaries. If I have boundaries, I am cruel. Lie.
Truth -Boundaries are healthy. Boundaries keep us safe. Boundaries are not about being cruel to other people because boundaries are not about controlling others, but ourselves.
Bad Law #7: Being proud of yourself and your accomplishments is conceited and you should always tell people that it was really no big deal. Lie.
Truth -I’ve done some amazing things since I left Bubba that I should feel damn proud of! I got a 4.0 during that semester of college while going through a nasty divorce and being a single-mom to three very traumatized children. I’ve gone from being a stay-at-home-mom to getting an awesome job that allows me to support myself and my kids regardless of whether Bubba does or does not pay child support. I write a blog about my life that inspires people! And I did it all without a husband or blood relatives to help me. I’m blessed to have had amazing friends walk this journey with me but when push came to shove, *I* did it.
Endellion and I have a lot of rewriting to do. It isn’t a matter of just realizing, “Hey! These are Bad Laws and they don’t apply to me anymore.” It is a matter of rewiring our entire brains. These Bad Laws have been so ingrained in us that, even though we are fighting them tooth and nail, the Ghosts of Abuses Past pop up to whisper in our ears these lies, trying to maintain that they are truth. We’ve had decades of knowing these Bad Laws as truth to fight against. Now that we know Truth, we will fight for it but it sometimes takes ever fiber of who we are to counteract the whisperings.
The thing is, though, that we WILL fight the voices. We WILL rewire our brains. We are strong women. We now know Truth and its light is shining for us. We WILL make life better for our children. We won’t allow the Bad Laws to keep root in their brains. We are actively working to dig the roots out and replace them with Truth.
There is hope for us and even more hope for our children.
I am getting more bold about sending emails. I figure, “What have I got to lose?” I emailed Steve and he emailed back. We exchanged a couple small emails and he said his subscription is running out and gave me his number to call. I asked if he texted since I’d been getting Shane to sleep and couldn’t talk. We spent yesterday evening texting. I told him I couldn’t text between 8am and 5pm while I was at work but I decided to text him during lunch.
Steve earned points right from the beginning when he said he registered his nearly 4 year old son for pre-K and asked me to pray that he got in. We’d only exchanged a few texts at that point and he felt comfortable enough to ask me to pray for him.
Then this afternoon, right as I was leaving work to come home for lunch, he texted and said he knew I couldn’t answer but he wanted to let me know that his son got in and wanted to thank me for praying.
Tonight, in the course of texting, I found out he co-sleeps a lot with his son. Even in text, I can see how much he loves his little boy.
I’m desperately trying to not get excited about this. First, do I really want to get involved with a man who has a not quite 4 year old? I went in to this thinking that I would prefer it if any potential men in my life had grown or nearly grown children. Dating a man with a 4 year old is taking over a 4 year step back in time. If we’d get serious, that would be 4 extra years that I’d have to wait to have an empty nest. Is that something I want to consider? Why even go any further talking to him if it isn’t something I can live with? I’ll have to give this some serious thought. Then again, if he is this caring of his son, would that be a better chance he’d have of understanding Shane?
Complicating matters is his faith. It is marvelous to see, but how is this going to play out? He has listed on his profile that he is a Baptist. That strikes terror into my heart because I was attending a Baptist church and they were the ones telling me that everything wrong with my marriage was my fault for not being a Godly enough wife.
Even with those two things, I’ve really enjoyed texting with Steve. I do want to meet him and see if there are any sparks. I know that I’m going to have to seriously consider his son’s age. I have time to think about that. It is the faith thing that really concerns me. He sounds like he is close to God – that they have a relationship. I just have to find out if there is any legalism in there before I can seriously consider dating him. I can’t go back to Fundy Land. I simply wouldn’t survive another round there.
So far, though, Bachelor #3 has a lot of potential that is going to be worth exploring a bit.
I don’t want to just write him off because of these two things.
I read something from a woman who is questioning whether or not she is being emotionally abused by her husband. The evidence is as clear as the nose on her face that she is but she can’t see it yet. The abused woman canNOT see that she is abused until she is ready. This woman is just now exploring whether or not it is even a remote possibility that she is being abused.
There are so many common traits that abusers have. Women I’ve spoken to who have escaped abuse suspect there is an Abuser’s Handbook that outlines exactly how they should behave because we all share so many experiences. I’ve talked to so many women who’ve woken up, admitted to being abused, and gotten out who have had their exes do almost the exact same things. They did the same things in the marriage and they did the same things when we left them.
One of the common traits is an absolute intolerance for any type of counseling. They don’t believe in it, they believe it is an invasion of privacy, they believe it doesn’t work, and they refuse to participate and find ways to get their wives to not go. You see, a counselor could possibly recognize the power and control being exerted on the wife and could either clue the wife in or she’d realize it on her own as she got healthier and stronger. Either way, counseling is a huge threat to the abuser’s world of power and control he’s created. It is the means to his wife taking her power and control back and that is intolerable to an abuser.
The means an abuser uses to keep his wife out of counseling are varied and can range anywhere from making it financially impossible for her to seek counseling to using guilt and manipulation to using outright threats.
To stop her financially, he can easily make it impossible because so many abusers control the purse strings in the marriage. Many woman do not have access to accounts and have no idea how much money they truly have. So many abusers make their victims account for every penny that is spent and question things they deem not “necessary.” Counseling would definitely fall in the “not necessary” category. If the couple has children, the wife might simply not have funds to pay for a sitter let alone the counseling. Money matters are just difficult when in an abusive relationship.
Guilt and manipulation are other great tools pulled out by the abuser so that his victim will not seek help. “If you go to counseling and talk about our problems, you will be betraying my trust. Once that trust is gone, you can’t get it back.” He is not only downplaying his role in the problem but he is making it impossible for her to seek counseling because he is telling her that talking to anyone about anything in regards to their marriage is something that will permanently break trust. This is outright control. A healthy person will encourage someone to seek counseling to help better their lives. The man who says the above is afraid of losing his control over his victim, of having the light shine into his darkness, of having his true face come out. There are other things an abuser will say, but they do like to play the Betrayal Card.
Outright threats can happen by him saying, “If you go to counseling, I’ll just divorce you. You think that it is all my problem, so why don’t we just end it here?” I heard this one from Bubba. Most of the time most of our fights ended by him threatening divorce. I was terrified of him divorcing me because I had no means of taking care of myself and my children. He made sure that I understood that “fact.” What I learned after I left was that was a big, fat LIE! I’m doing quite a remarkable job of taking care of myself and my children without him. Playing the I’ll Divorce You Card is a big one with abusers and one that is often played to stop his victim from seeking counseling.
If you find yourself bringing up counseling and he promises to do better by acknowledging to some of his faults, you may be tempted to drop the idea of counseling. Things may get better for a short period of time. Welcome to the Honeymoon Phase of abuse. Without outside help (a specific batterer intervention program) the Honeymoon Phase will eventually end and the emotional (and/or physical) abuse will begin again. It is a vicious cycle and each repetition draws you in deeper and deeper thus making it harder and harder to leave. If you are like me, you will become more desperate to leave with every repetition but will find it ever increasingly difficult to actually do so.
If you find yourself questioning whether or not you are being abused, please seek out women who’ve gotten out of abusive relationships, read Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft, and get in touch with your local Domestic Violence Agency. They can help you navigate how to get healthy, put together a safety plan, and when you are ready, they will be invaluable if you decide to leave.
I’ve found such amazing freedom by leaving Bubba and the abuse behind. I wish I could describe what it feels like to live, on daily basis, not being afraid or thinking that I’m the worst wife/mother/person in the world. My life, while still having its massive ups and downs, is a million times better than it ever was with Bubba.
I am free. I am Hope.
Endellion and I were talking today and we are both leaning heavily on the fatalistic side of life. I’m convinced I’ll never find “the one” and she’s convinced that if she finds “the one,” he will decide her shit is too much to deal with and he’ll leave her. Yes, we are really bad off.
Then one of us said something about what it would be like had we not left our abusers.
Me: I would be helping my children through their third move in under two years. Yet again, I’d be dealing with packing and moving and finding a new place to live while holding crying children. I would be alone to deal with all of their big feelings because they’ve never shared with Bubba how devastating it is for them to move. They know the only answer they’d get would be, “FINE! I’ll quit my job, we’ll move back, and be poor forever!” Then he’d stomp away because they dared insult him. I know this would happen because it happened with every move we ever did.
Endellion: I’d be at least 70 pounds heavier than I am now and I’d possibly be pregnant. There is no way I could’ve lost this weight when I was living with my ex. There is no way I’d not be pregnant because my life was defined for me by him. I was the mother and that meant having babies, even if it killed me.
Me: I would still be overweight, more so than I was before I left because I’d still be comfort eating all the time. I’d still be in intense physical pain. I’d still have migraines 4-5 times a week.
Endellion: Actually, I’d probably be dead by now. His abuse was really escalating at a rapid pace when he finally punched me and I’d left. If I’d gone back to him, he would’ve continued escalating and he would’ve killed me.
Me: I would still be being raped on a regular basis.
Endellion: I wouldn’t be in school right now.
Me: I wouldn’t have had amazing sex with Luke last summer.
Endellion: My kids wouldn’t be in school and getting the help they need.
Me: We’d both still be abused wives.
Endellion: No matter how bad it is for us now, it is STILL better than being married to them was.
Amen!!!! Our lowest lows now are higher than our highest highs were when we were with those men who hurt us. The alternate reality we’d be living in right now had we stayed would be hell on Earth. We lived that hell. We escaped it. I think we lose sight of how bad it was, even as we process all the shit that came out of it. I think we get so focused on what is going on in our lives now, listening to the Ghosts of Abuses Past that we lost sight of how far we’ve come, how much healing we’ve done, and how truly blessed we are to be free now.
It was worth everything we went through to get to where we are now. I’m in a very cynical season right now. I’m tired and discouraged and listening too intently to the Ghosts. Tonight’s game of Alternate Reality has helped.
I think this is a game that Endellion and I are going to have to start playing on a regular basis to remind each other of how far we’ve come.
I’m tired. I’m lonely. More and more, I’m convinced that this is all my life will ever consist of.
I’m angry that once again Bubba seems to be living the high life. He’s moved yet again and now he’s in a place that will make him seeing the kids on any kind of regular basis simply impossible. He was in a place that we could do the long drive and he could see the kids once a month and he chose not to take that. Now that visitation will involve air travel, I fully expect him to drop out of their lives.
My main worry right now is summer vacation. He is supposed to have them for Spring Break this year but is not taking them because well, I don’t know the real reason. I can speculate that it is too much of what he would need to do to get them and he’s selfish enough to not want to go out of his way to get them there. I was looking forward to having a break and now I don’t get it. I’m terrified that he won’t take them for summer either.
I’m really angry that Bubba just up and moved without making an effort to see his kids. It would’ve added 5 hours of driving time to his trip when he moved to come and visit them for a couple of days. Five fucking hours! Instead of making his children a priority, he decided to tell Liam and Shane while driving that he’s moving. He gave them no advance warning, didn’t see them before he moved, then told them there was no way for him to have them for Spring Break. Shane was devastated! He had been looking forward to spending a week with his dad.
Shane’s behavior at school has been steadily deteriorating. I’ve gotten bad reports from his teacher everyday since last week. I emailed her today to see when this round of defiant behavior began. I think that it was right after Bubba told them he moved.
Serenity was downright nasty to me over the weekend. She screamed horrible things at me on Sunday and when we talked about it Monday, she ended up breaking down and sobbing for an hour. She feels totally abandoned by Bubba. As much as she understands what he is like, he still broke her heart moving that far away from her. Like any girl, she just wants her daddy to love her. Over and over again, she gets her hopes up and over and over again, he dashes them. She continually gets her heart broken by that selfish man.
Liam is angrier than ever. He torments Shane mercilessly. His aggression is through the roof. I’m praying that a lot of it is his age and the fact that he is smack in the middle of puberty.
Not only are the behavior problems a huge issue, we lost Medicaid because between what I make and child support, I no longer qualify for the kids to be on Medicaid. Right when they need their counselor the most, the kids can’t see her. Bubba tells me that he’ll have insurance information this week. I’m applying for state health insurance for the kids but don’t know if we’ll qualify.
There is also the issue of child support. Bubba didn’t willingly pay. His wages were garnished by his state. Now that he’s moved I need to call my state to find out what I have to do to get his wages garnished in his new state. I’m looking at another 90 days of not having child support. I’m looking at living in poverty again.
I’m trying not to worry about the future, but if he doesn’t pay child support now, my savings will dwindle. If he doesn’t take them for summer, I’ll have to find full-time care for Shane and that will financially devastate me, especially if my savings is depleted because of lack of child support. I want to be independent and not rely on Bubba for anything. The fact is that I need him to pay child support and I need him to take the kids for the summer.
I’ve been sending out emails on the dating website I’m on and no one has responded. I want a partner, I can see myself opening up to the idea, and I feel supremely unwanted. I just feel like there is no one out there for me. I’m feeling like I’m doomed to be on my own for the rest of my life. In the back of my head, I hear my sister Nancy’s voice telling me this is my punishment for leaving Bubba, for getting a divorce. I hear her saying this is God’s punishment for defying Him and getting a divorce. I hate that I hear her voice in there but I don’t know how to cut it out. I know the God I worship is not the one Nancy worships. I know God is full of grace and mercy and wants to see His children happy. Nancy’s god seems to delight in punishing his children and watching them squirm like worms on hooks. That is not the God of the Bible. That is not the God of love and grace. I just can’t override those voices right now.
I also unfriended Sean on Facebook last night. He’s been gone for a few days and I’m wondering if he’s finally just moved in with his girlfriend. Something of his popped up in my newsfeed last night so he’s accessing FB from somewhere. I had him on my restricted list and popped over to his wall a few days ago to see if he’s added his girlfriend to his relationship status yet. There was a picture of them at a Valentine’s Day function. Then my eye caught a picture of him and his last girlfriend there too. I became very thankful that I wasn’t in that string of pictures. For some reason, having him as a FB friend suddenly became intolerable to me. Impulsively, I unfriended him. Then I went to my room and sobbed. I was hoping to just cry myself to sleep but I was just too upset to sleep after that. Sleep was a long time coming last night. I knew unfriending him was the right thing for me to do, but it broke my heart all over again.
The irony is that I was so convinced that I would be the one who hurt Sean, yet it is me who is pain over losing him. He’s moved on; he has a girlfriend. I miss him horribly.
I’m tired. I’m discouraged. I just want time off and I know I’m not going to get it any time soon.
I just want to go back to bed and cry, yet I know that won’t help.
I really, really hate Bubba today. He has left nothing but destruction in his wake and he doesn’t know or care about it.
A little over a week ago, Bubba called Serenity to let her know he was moving to the other side of the country in TWO days. That is the great warning he gave before he up and left his children. He didn’t tell Liam and Shane until after the fact. Never once did he say anything to me about it. He didn’t email and say, “Hey, I’m moving far enough away that monthly visits will not happen and I’ll probably not be able to see the children except at holidays or extended breaks. Can I come to town and see them this weekend?” Nope. Nothing. He just up and left without saying good-bye to his kids! He didn’t find them to even be important enough to tell in person or in advance.
On Sunday, Serenity got angry at me for inviting Liam to watch a movie with us. Instead of explaining her reasons for being angry, she chose to blow up, and verbally abuse me. She screamed “Bite me!” at me, screamed for me to “get the fuck out of my room!” and a few other lovely expletives. Honestly, it felt like Bubba had taken her over. I’ve seen some major attitude from Serenity in the past but never have I seen her go off the deep end like that.
We tiptoed around each other for the rest of the day and at lunch yesterday. I was still too stunned and angry to want to talk to her. She was still too angry and embarrassed at her behavior to talk to me. When I got home from work yesterday, she asked me if we could talk about what happened once the boys were in bed. I said, “No! We’re going to just ignore each other for a few days then pretend like it never happened. We’re going to bury this so far down that neither of us will ever acknowledge that it happened or that it hurt our relationship.” She just looked at me with a huge smile on her face. She knows this is the MO of my Family of Origin (FOO) and she knew that I was trying to lighten the mood. Then I told her that, of course, we were going to talk about it and that I was just waiting until we both had had enough time to cool down before doing so.
We talked a bit about why she was so angry. We both explained our sides of the argument. I apologized for what I’d done and she apologized for what she’d done. We decided to go ahead and watch our movie together.
Serenity asked to sleep in my room with me. I told her she could. As we were getting all settled in, I told her that it was easy to make up this time but if she chose to act like that toward me again, it would hurt our relationship and we may not be able to get back to where we’d been without massive work. She took that to mean that she is a horrible person and ran out of the room. I heard her sobbing in her room and texted for her to get back in my room. We talked for another hour and so much came out of her that I’d suspected but she hadn’t confirmed yet.
She is deeply angry at Bubba for moving even while she is happy that she doesn’t have to see him again any time soon. She feels a keen sense of abandonment. She is afraid I’m going to leave her too. She desperately wants a dad who loves her.
Serenity feels like everyone leaves her. Since I’ve been working, I haven’t had time to visit with my friends. Arcadia and Hannah rarely come over any more because I’m not here. She misses them as much as I do. She feels like I’ve left her since I work so much and I’ve gone on two dates.
She sobbed and sobbed. The more she spoke the more I think I need to get her into a doctor. I truly suspect that she is depressed. Right now the kids don’t have insurance as I’m waiting for Bubba to let me know about insurance with his new employer. He’s refused to provide insurance for them for nine months now. Between my job and child support (that was finally being garnished), the kids lost Medicaid this month because I make too much money. I’m in the process of applying for state health insurance for them but that is taking time. I need to get Serenity in for an evaluation as soon as I can.
I hate that I have to work full-time. I hate that I can’t be here for my babies as much as they need me to be. I hate that Bubba refused to get help. I hate what he’s done to my children.
Today, I’m giving myself permission to just hate him.