Category Archives: heal

Update

It’s been a long spring and summer so far and I haven’t kept up on this…

Sam Sr. passed away this spring. Sam sent an e-mail telling me to tell Max that his grandfather died. Nothing else: nothing about if it was peacefully in his sleep, if he’d been ill, when the services were; he didn’t include a “Tell Max I love him” or words of sympathy for our son.

I felt it was important for Max to go to his Grandfather’s funeral, but I also didn’t want to run the risk of taking the focus off of Sam Sr. by attending myself. I was worried that if I went, Sam and Francine might start in on why Max hadn’t seen their family in years. I also didn’t want to have to defend myself and the court’s decision to pull Sam’s visitation rights or explain that just because Sam couldn’t see Max, it didn’t mean Sam Sr. couldn’t. My sister and I talked about the situation and possible complications, and she and her husband agreed to take Max to the funeral.

Max got new slacks, and he got to pick out a new dress shirt and a new tie along with a tie bar. We researched tie knots and how to tie them so we’d get it right. It was the first time he’s pulled together a more formal outfit on his own and he was nervous about making sure he looked nice enough to make Grandpa Sam proud. He did. He would have no matter what, but he did a good job.

The day of the funeral, my sister and her husband arrived and accompanied Max to the funeral and they walked back afterwards so they could talk about anything Max wanted to talk about. Max kept talking about his Grandpa Sam and the funeral when they got back to our apartment. Max found new connections with his Grandpa: “He was a trickster, just like me, Mom.” “You know that one song I like, about the ring of fire? Well, that singer, Johnny Cash, was Grandpa Sam’s favorite.” He also found out new things about his Dad. “He has a new girlfriend. She was more upset about Grandpa being dead that Dad was, or at least, she looked sadder. She cried more.” “She looks like Grandma S,” (my mom). “He looks different and I must look different, Mom.” And then he stopped talking.

I spoke with my sister about a week later while Max was at a friend’s house. It turns out she had to introduce Max to Sam three times before Sam realized Max was his son. That broke my heart more than a lot of the other things Sam has done. I know he hadn’t seen Max in years; I know that Sam’s addictions have probably hurt his memory retention, but I can’t even imagine how much this hurt Max. Three years. Max hasn’t changed THAT much. He generally looks the same at 10 as he did at 7, a little taller, his hair is longer, but he’s still Max. The same coloring, same facial structure, same eyes, same walk. Max.

I guess to be fair, I should also mention that Sam then introduced Max to his aunt, uncle and cousin as if they’d never met before (even though they have and each of them recognized Max right away). He also repeatedly made the mistake of telling Max that his cousin was his Aunt. I don’t know if Sam’s cognitive abilities have declined that much, or if he was on something to get through the funeral, but I’m finding it really hard to forgive Sam for hurting our son this way. I know it’s not rational, my anger and hurt on Max’s behalf, but it’s there.

I think one of the other hard things for me about losing Sam Sr. has been letting go of the guilt over Max not seeing him. When Sam lost visitation rights because of his relapse and events with Ingrid, both Sam Sr. and Francine stopped seeing Max also. I felt like in trying to protect Max from Sam’s addictions and abusive behavior, that I had also robbed Sam Sr. of time with Max, and Max time with his grandfather. I did try: invitations were sent to Sam Sr. for birthdays, Grandparent’s Day’s at Max’s school. Offers that we could arrange time for him to do stuff with Max were extended. Only one offer was accepted: a Grandparent’s Day tea right after Sam lost visitation. I recognize that it wasn’t my choice to keep Max away from Sam Sr., but it’s still easy, sometimes, to forget and let the guilt sneak back in.

Max still doesn’t want to talk about his father, but he will talk about his grandpa. I hope he knows he can talk to me about anything.

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Insomnia

I’m having trouble sleeping again. I’m so tired, but I can’t find the off switch for my mind. I’d have thought that with the recent court hearing on the visitation issue (I probably need to write that out – maybe in the next couple days), that I’d be doing better.

I think it’s a plus that I’m not constantly getting up and checking all the locks and windows, but I’m so tired. And I’m finding it hard to follow my ‘get to sleep routines’. What’s going on? I’m not sure…

Cant Treat Me That Way

LOVE this song today: You Can’t Treat Me That Way – Kate Earl

You’re not the guy I met
And if you are only get
One chance to prove it
Baby make it count

Maybe she let you do that
Maybe some other fool had
Too many problems
To respect herself

You’ve go a woman who knows her worth
And ain’t prepared to compromise it
You better listen you better make it better
But don’t make me say
You’ve go a woman who knows her worth
And ain’t prepared to compromise it
You better listen you better make it better
But don’t make me say
You can’t treat me that way
Ooooh

I hope it’s my mistake
Simple misunderstanding
Trivial bull**** we blew into space
A common lovers rift
Uncommon words thrown like fists
Cause if you meant it
Baby it’s too late

You’ve got a woman who knows her worth
And ain’t prepared to compromise it
You better listen you better make it better
But don’t make me say
You’ve got a woman who knows her worth
And ain’t prepared to compromise it
You better listen you better make it better
But don’t make me say
You can’t treat me that way
Ooooh

You better make it better
You better make it feel right
You better make it feel the way it ought to feel
You better make it better
You better make it feel good
You better do it cause you know that you should

You’ve got a woman who knows her worth
And ain’t prepared to compromise it
You better listen you better make it better
But don’t make me say
You’ve got a woman who knows her worth
And ain’t prepared to compromise it
You better listen you better make it better
But don’t make me say
You can’t treat me that way
Ooooh

Project Unbreakable

A story I found via Pandora’s Project Facebook page from the Guardian: Project Unbreakable

Self-Defense Trigger

I should have realized there would be triggers in the self-defense class I’ve signed up to take.  But other than acknowledging that I want to (NEED to on a very visceral level) take self-defense, I’ve been trying to ignore the fact that the Rs ever happened.

Before I go further, let me say that I understand that’s not the best way to deal with R; I’m just so tired of dealing with it, with the fallout from it, with ME. Because I’m the only one who HAS to deal with it. HE certainly doesn’t; Sam still thinks he did nothing wrong. I’m so tired of dealing with him – every flippin’ weekend he has our son.  So every weekend, I have to deal with pick-up time and seeing the piece of filth that calls himself a man and a father.  I just want to ignore it, but I can’t.  I can’t and I can’t keep doing this.  When do I get to just BE? To be ME, not me-the-R-survivor or me-trying-to-heal-from-R?

Already, I’m off-track.

Last night was just the first night of the class – the fill-out-the-release-form, disclose-any-medical-conditions-that-may-need-to-be-considered night. And apparently go over information about the myths vs. realities of R and the statistics for R in our state.

According to the class instructors, who are or were police officers, our state has had the dubious honor of being No. 1 in the nation for the number of reported Rs per capita– for 23 of the past 30 years.  1 in 4 women in our state will be R’d. In this class, which is only for women, there would be 2 of us.  They also discussed making the decision to fight or submit. That whatever the R survivor decided to do was the right decision; that the important thing is to SURVIVE.  They did a very good job talking about it. Of clarifying submission is not consent.

I’m off track again.  I think I’m going to be talking in circles here, and I’m sorry for that. I really need to get this out and I don’t even really know what ‘this’ is…

I don’t remember how it was tied in, but it was; the instructor stated very clearly, very adamantly that R is a heinous crime. The way he said it, I believed it, I believed him, I believed that he believed that statement.  I understood, at that moment, that just because the judge in my divorce and custody case, and my lawyer, who heard Sam admit to R-ing me in the hearing, put it down to a euphemism and down-played the effect of Sam doing that with Max in the same bed, doesn’t mean that it had no effect on me – or our son. It doesn’t mean that I should, or have to, pretend it didn’t happen – happen repeatedly.

Which I guess is what I’ve been doing…  Pretending, ignoring…

When the instructor started talking about if you were attacked, “whatever you did, you survived.  That’s important.  There is no shame in surviving, no matter what your options were if it was to submit or fight, to press charges or not. You survived.”  It was all I could do to not break out in sobs and run out of the room.  I think I actually started getting out of my chair then and sat back down.

I don’t understand why.  Why does his compassion, his understanding, hurt?  Because it does.  It hurts more than the judge down-playing it.  It hurts more than my lawyer saying that doesn’t matter, we need to talk about his alcoholism more.  It hurts more than my lawyer saying why did you put that much detailed information in your affidavit, these are public and any one can see it: your employer, the public, your son when he’s old enough to ask; that level of detail is usually reserved for criminal investigations.

Max, instead of being asleep by the end of my class, called and asked me when I was coming home.  He told me Auntie told him to go to bed but he couldn’t sleep without me there.  After class, even knowing Max was waiting for me, I sat out in my car and cried and sobbed for a very long time.

Why?

I don’t know. I’m not expecting any answers.

I don’t know if I even want to keep looking at this.  I do…. I don’t.  I want to ignore it, but I can’t, can I?

Where are my rosy glasses?

My psychiatrist told me that the more I let my sister and brother-in-law handle the pick ups for Max’s visits with his father, the worse my fear of Sam and general anxiety will get.  Oookaaaay. It kind of makes sense.

So now, I’ve made it a point to go to each one. And yes, the anxiety is kind of abating, (the fear of Sam, not so much) but the little doubt I’ve been trying to get rid of (the one that tells me the abuse wasn’t that bad, he was my husband, maybe I’m crazy…. and other miscellaneous crock of poo) is getting louder and more insistent. So are those my options? Being terrified or thinking I’m crazy? I’ve gotta tell ya, if this is my path to recovery, I’m kind of wishing for a big dose denial and rosy glasses.

Emotions

So.  It’s been a while.  I really need to write more.  This is my journal after all and getting everything out should help me work towards healing…  Right?

Well, the biggest news, I guess, is that I’m getting everything pulled together and think we’ll be heading back to court to revise the visitation arrangements for Sam.  Based on stunts he and the visitation supervisors pulled the weekend of 07/30/11.

I seriously do not understand anything he does.  Why?  Why?  Why would he think that he won’t be caught in his lies?  And they’re not even just to me – so really, he shouldn’t be able to blame it on me, right?  Will there ever be a time when he stops lying?  Have I said it here before, I don’t know: Sam couldn’t tell the truth if it crawled into his mouth and tried to jump out.  I don’t know why I keep forgetting that.  I don’t know why I revert to expecting that he’ll be truthful with some one – any one.  But I don’t think he can…  And here I sit spinning my wheels trying to figure something out that really isn’t logical and probably won’t ever be clear.

What I need to do is just accept that he lies.  Sam lies.  Actually, that reminds me of one of the songs about Joe by Corey in the movie “Say Anything”:  “Joe lies… Joe lies… Joe lies… when he cries.”  Funny.  (snerk) I haven’t thought of that movie in ages and funny, I’d always thought of myself as more like the character Diane Court rather than Corey, but here I am: Sam lies…

OK.  Back to me.  I’ve actually been pretty good so far this week (it’s only Tuesday…) I’ve signed up for a women’s only self-defense class at the local university and I’m looking to see what other evening classes I might want to take.  It’s crazy how excited I am about that.

Actually looking back over the past week, I feel a bit all over the board.  I’m down, I’m up, I’m happy, I’m scared, I’m elated…  It doesn’t feel normal.  But then for years, my feelings weren’t really mine, I guess.  How I felt was determined by how much Sam did or did not drink.  It was determined by if Sam had a really bad day at work and therefore Max and I had to tiptoe around the house – in the dark usually – so that Sam didn’t direct that anger at us.  It was determined by if Sam’s new co-workers or new boss thought he was “God” (according to Sam) (not a god, mind you, God) – because if they did, it was OK to smile and laugh.

So I guess, this is normal?: feeling my own feelings because I actually feel them.  It feels strange.

Random Thoughts Today

20110715-071118.jpgThere’s a lot of water under these bridges and I’m not sure I can swim.

How does a rape survivor heal when she’s forced to 1. send her child to stay overnight with her rapist every week and 2. because of that has to see her rapist every week and the next girl in line for abuse from said rapist?

It is not normal to find myself thinking it would hurt less, or at least differently, if I cut just a little on my arm or leg; it would at least be something under my control. And wondering what kind of patterns blood might make in the water… Not sure which aspect was more appealing…

It is most definitely not normal to wonder if the only reason you’re thinking about law school is that it would take you at least 2000 miles away from the rapist. (I mean, seriously, law school is a HUGE investment in time and money and it’s something I’ve thought about since undergrad. I’m pretty sure it’s not just because I want to get a way from Sam, but then that stupid little voice whispers “but…”….)

I survived

I survived. Or rather: I am surviving. I did that almost by accident. I didn’t see the red flags for what they are, I didn’t see our almost 16 year relationship for what it was, so I’m not sure one can say I survived it by reason of anything I did. Maybe I’ll change my mind as I get further from the end of that relationship. I don’t know.

“I am surviving” because I’m not completely out of the relationship and never will be: I have a young son with my abuser/rapist/(ex)husband. Some days that reality is almost beyond bearing.

This blog is my attempt to make sense out of something that may never make sense, my attempt to see where I need to work on myself to heal, to be whole again, to learn to live again, to learn who I am beyond the many years of darkness, pain and confusion.

This blog is my attempt to speak out. Secrets grow in the darkness and I no longer want to live in the dark with them.

Surviving wasn’t easy, but it truly feels like healing is the hard part.