Tag Archives: domestic abuse

It’s late…

and I can’t sleep.  That’s not really anything new.  I’m sitting here listening to the wind rattle my home, shaking it… Up to 50 mph tonight. Windy nights are my favorite.  If it was just me, I’d be walking in it, along paths through the woods, just to feel it rush along, to hear it push through the trees… But it’s not just me and Max is sick. Just a cold, but he’s mumbling and tossing in his sleep. So I sit here, not asleep, and just listen.

I find it amazing that being this long away from Sam I still wait. When will the other shoe drop? What will he do next that will have ramifications for Max and I? Is that why I’m up tonight? Habit? It winter, cold and dark this far north. This time of year life with Sam became more unpredictable. I remember lying awake at night listening for him walking back and forth to the fridge for another beer or glass of vodka, or listening for him to stumble back to the bedroom late, late at night. I remember that if i did doze off, waking up in a panic because I heard him stumbling his way back to the bedroom. Would he be coming back to pass out? Or to pick a fight over something I’d done, or not done, during the day, the week, the year? Did I put away his clean clothes or had I forgotten them in the dryer? Was I about to be harassed for ‘being frigid’ or for the affairs he imagined I was having? If I pretended to be asleep, would he decide the discussion could wait or would it make him madder?

It’s taking a lot of conscious thought to remember that I’m not back in that apartment, in that room tonight.

We, Max and I, haven’t heard from Sam since the end of July when he called Max. Max hasn’t seen Sam since the middle of April when he (Max) called me crying and in a panic saying he didnt feel good, please come get him, NOW, get him now. It’s not fair to Max that that’s the memory he has of his most recent visit with his father….

I filed a motion with the court in June. Asking that Sam’s visits be changed to a supervised dinner every other week, because of the last visit and because he was back to his pattern of no-showing for his visits with Max. After I filed, Ingrid kicked him out, again, and secured a protective order against Sam. Sam didn’t show for that hearing, or for the hearing on the custody modification. The court approved my proposed change and further ordered that Sam not see Max at all until he talks to the court to explain what steps he’s taken to address his addiction and compliance with the order to attend counseling for his abusive behaviors.

I don’t think we’ll hear from him. Not for a long time. And I think that when we do, it won’t be in compliance with the court’s orders. Because I don’t see him ever admitting his behavior towards me was wrong or agreeing to counseling, and he’d have to do that before filing anything with the court.

In October, the state sent a notice to Sam requesting the status of health care coverage for Max through his work. At the beginning of November, I received confirmation from Sam’s employer that Max is covered. At the end of November I received notice that Max is no longer covered. So Sam’s annual job shuffle has begun. One year, it was 3 jobs between Thanksgiving and Christmas. (The year I filed for divorce, it was 8 jobs in… 7 (?) months. And according to Ingrid at our divorce hearing, that was my fault.)

I have no idea where Sam is living. I’m not sure I care. I hope we’re too far from town for Sam to bother driving out to our home. I hope that it’s been too long since he knew he could take out his…. disappointments, anger, frustrations, on me, that he forgets that he can try to do so.

Have we been gone long enough to be safe? I want to believe so. I really do. I’m waiting to see if it’s true.

No Way Out But One – trailer clip

Link to the No Way Out But One documentary trailer

No Way Out But One – 13 minute trailer

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.

Introducing the new enabler….

20110704-111855.jpgI am seriously sick of dealing with Sam and his girlfriend, ah, let’s call her Ingrid.

I’m sick of what I think is going on and my lawyer saying there’s no proof. The last few pick up times I’m greeted with a crying little boy who is shying away from his father’s touch. Of hearing from friend’s that Max says he can’t go to birthday parties because it takes away from his Daddy’s time. (The parties his friends were talking about being on my time, actually.)

For the past month there has been issues with the stuff Max came home with or failed to come home with – every weekend. Snarky text messages from Ingrid saying Max took her son’s hoodie, when it was Sam who threw it into Max’s chest saying it was his. His sunglasses were lost, or wait here they are, come back and get them, oh, never mind, I’ll leave them in your mail box, please send the clothes back that Max wore home…

At pick up after Max’s visit yesterday, she swore up and down to both Max and I that Max did not bring his emergency cell phone. OK…. I fall for it and as we drive I play the pick up time over and over checking to see if I remembered wrong…. so we drive off, look at home, no dice, not here. So I called her and told her it’s not here and that I’m pretty sure I handed it to Max and she took it from him after taking his coat, and asked her to look again. Oh, it’s in the car. I offered to swing by and pick it up and she said she’d bring it by. Then texted me twice last night to say the same thing in two different ways: She’s out with her friends and will drop off Max’s emergency phone tomorrow while we (my Mom, Max and I) are gone by leaving it in the mailbox.

So, my options are to deal with the abusive Sam who scares the s— out of me or his enabling, manipulative girlfriend, Ingrid. I treat dealing with them as a business appointment, respond to texts only if there is a question directly related to Max…. But I’m not sure how much more of them I can take every weekend.

Faking a Serious Illness

20110628-023743.jpg

So, what is it? Is it that he’s an abusive a-hat? Is it that he’s an alcoholic who refuses to admit that he has a problem? Is it just that he’s a flippin’ idiot? Some combination of all of the above and/or more? ….

It’s stuck in my head today, and I do not know why. Maybe it’s because I heard from my cousin who’s mom actually died from pancreatic cancer. Or maybe it’s because HER ex-husband also claimed he had a terminal illness and wouldn’t be able to help her and their child… (So, folks there is more than one of these sick ‘men’ out there. Who’d have imagined it?) Those are probably the two big factors in the ride today.

Any way, it’s stuck in my head and just wants front stage for a little bit, so here we are. As Ani DiFranco sings
it’s gonna be sudden
it’s gonna be strange
i’m gonna turn on a dime
give you five cents change
it’s gonna be long overdue
it’s all gonna come out
outta me, on to you

Sam pretended to have testicular cancer in what I assume was a bid to get me to let him back in my home and to get me to take care of him again. It was also a ploy to get a pity-me-fondle…. Seriously. What kind of man does that? Lies about having cancer to try to get a hand job?

He went so far as to tell me that it was the same type of cancer that a certain cycling great had, but the doctors weren’t sure of his chances. It doesn’t stop there. A couple months later, he tells me that the doctors found spots in his lymph ‘noids’, in his shoulder and near his lungs. Apparently I wasn’t sufficiently moved by the testicular cancer and he needed to add more fuel.

Factor into this story the fact that he was drinking vodka like it was water. Literally. And had been for a while. Every time I saw him, which wasn’t too often by this time, he was shaking like an old man with palsy. Probably weighed less than 150 lbs (at 6’7″ that’s skeletal) because he drank his meals.

That little voice of doubt that Sam worked so hard to create and cultivate in my psyche, wanted to believe him. I’d lost 2 aunts to breast cancer and 1 to pancreatic cancer; I knew what cancer looks like. I KNEW about Sam’s drinking problem. I never saw any explanation of benefits from the health insurance that showed any cancer diagnosis or treatment. (Yes, I still carried and paid for health insurance coverage for him even though I’d left him.) I had even asked him why I never saw any. (His response: I didn’t want to worry you. My question now: then why tell me about it at all?) And still I believed him, kind of, a little, maybe it was true. After all who would lie about that?

What kind of man uses this fake illness to get out of sitting with his wife and child as his child is prepped for surgery? Sam had me drop him off at the hospital the morning of Max’s surgery saying he had a radiation treatment, but would show up at Max’s appointment later. Which of course, since he doesn’t have cancer was a crock of s-.

So, you might ask: Did Sam finally come clean about the lie? No. So, how did you find out? I spoke to his sister while Sam was in rehab out-of-state (a last ditch effort on his part to not lose the best job he’d had in years) and asked if the doctors at rehab would be able to continue to treat his cancer. Umm, Sam doesn’t have cancer. He’d had something removed from his testicle, but it wasn’t cancer.

(Turns out he hadn’t even had that done before he went to rehab. It was done 5 months after he got back.)

Do I have a point in relaying all this information? Not really, no. Venting. Nothing beyond getting it out there. To acknowledge to some one – even if no one else ever reads this – that Sam did this. Sam lied about having a terminal illness.

Why would some one do that? Is it his abusive, controlling nature? or his addiction? Does it matter? He still did it.

Soul Mates (*gag*)

The term “soul mate” makes me want to hurl, but that’s a (relatively) recent development. I personally think it contributes a lot to the whole trying-to-keep-a-death-grip-thing on relationships even if they’re unhealthy. It’s the whole Hollywood story thing: true love will prevail. Or maybe Cinderella: some day my prince will come.

For the recent development part: I completely sucked myself into 2 very unhealthy relationships believing they were “the One”.

The first time I thought I’d found the One, there was an instant, visceral reaction the first time I saw him. I literally got weak in the knees and I think I forgot to breathe for a few seconds; he was so charismatic, confident, sexy. It was about the time the movie “The Butcher’s Wife” came out… (sorry, gag reflex kicked in again). He would tell me I was his soul mate, his split apart (… okay, back again). When he asked me to marry him, I was on cloud nine. The belief that he was the One lasted until he started very adamantly refusing to let me transfer to the private college where I’d won a merit scholarship. It’s amazing how quickly I decided that my soul mate would not refuse to let me study at one of the best universities in the West.

This did nothing to sway my conviction that there was a soul mate out there; I convinced myself that I had simply been wrong about the guy. Enter stage right: Sam.

Again, he was gorgeous, and while his good looks weren’t a slam to the solar plexus, he was very easy to admire. Not only gorgeous, but athletic; he knew so much about sports, sports medicine, seemed to be a steady kind of fellow…. (I say this knowing the first time I met him, he was sh-t-faced drunk. Ha.) He was nothing like my first fiancé. He was quiet, didn’t seem quite confident of his appearance and how he affected the girls around him.

And how I fooled myself with him. Initially, I felt so safe with him. I look back now and it was always his friends, his mates, who did anything to protect me. We’d go out and some drunk a– would take it into his head to follow me around relentlessly. It was his teammates who invariably stepped in and told the guy to get lost; Sam just sat there and drank, maybe he’d grin/smirk as he watched me try to get the guy to get lost.

At the start he was oh, so good at letting me think things were my decision. He didn’t want to drive to the game or to the party, so he’d ask who should drive and then mention casually, that such-and-such needed to be replaced on his car, it seemed like there might be a problem with the brakes…. So of course, I’d drive. That’s just a little example. Minor. Nothing. Constant.

Fast forward: It changed to subtly discouraging or just cutting out the options. This also seems so small, but my favorite pair of boots: tall, black, lace up Dr. Martins (think Abby from NCIS), mysteriously disappeared after I kept getting compliments from guys whenever I worn them. You multiply that and add it to the constant little verbal jabs from Sam intermixed with “loving” endearments, which in retrospect weren’t about me at all, but about him getting his rocks off, and life was so freaking confusing.

At the end, it was h-ll to pay if I did anything that he didn’t think of, and sometimes if he did think of it. I’d get the cold shoulder; would have to deal with him brooding, pouting, ignoring my very presence; he’d pick fights; he’d coerce s-x; he’d force s-x. When he decided that I needed to be ignored, I could stand right in front of him and ask him how his day went and get nothing from him. No response, no eye flick up to my face to even register that he’d heard me. If I stood in front of the TV that he was watching he wouldn’t even shift to the side to be able to see around me, but keep staring “at” the TV through me.

16 years we were together. 16 years…. The first few were great; the middle years were okay; the last 8 – definitely the last 6 – after Max was born – were hell. 8 years. How did I put up with it?

Throughout the relationship with Sam, my favorite saying was by Blaise Pascal “La coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait pas.” (“The heart has its reasons which reason knows not.”) From this side of the verbally and sexually abusive relationship with Sam, IMHO, if you can relate to that quote, and use it to gloss over the cr-p parts of any relationship often, as I did, it’s safe to say it’s not a good relationship to be in.

I really like the definition of “soul mate” that I read on another board: some one who comes into your life to teach you something and then leaves. Makes it a bit easier to swallow that I thought Sam was my soul mate, because I definitely learned a few things during my relationship with him; things I do not care to have to re-learn, thank you very much. Now if he would just leave.

Sleeping with a Hockey Stick

OK, not literally in the bed, but within easy reach, along with my cell phone, a land line, pepper spray and various metal knitting needles. Because I’m afraid of my ex-husband, Sam, still. Do I get that this is not really a normal reaction? Yes. Yes, I do. I gave up the bear spray and baseball bat at least. So, that’s progress, right?

Am I ready to give them up? There_ is_ no_ way_those_are_leaving_my_room_any_time_soon.

Am I really afraid that Sam will fly off the handle and come over to take out his anger on me. Yes.

He still blames me for everything that is going on in his life. He’s only working part time because of me. He’s only able to see our son when his family or girlfriend is there because of me. It’s my fault he has to pay child support. (How DARE I even ask for that!?) He has no money, because I’m taking “it ALL”. It’s my fault he has bills. It’s my fault that he drinks. It’s my fault that we never saw his family when we were married and it’s my fault that he has to see them now. It’s my fault that he didn’t communicate with any one when we were married and it is my fault that he lies to his girlfriend. I can go on and on about the things that Sam feels are my fault. I could fill so many pages with his rants.

Obviously, in his mind, nothing that is going wrong in his life is due to his drinking, lying, addiction, avoidance of responsibility. Nothing whatsoever to do with his being caught in several big lies in court or the fact that he lied about where he lived or the fact that he has raped and initimidated and threatened harm and admitted to that in court.

Maybe if he focused all of that blame and verbal vomit on his girlfriend, or any one else, I wouldn’t feel afraid of him still.

I don’t know.

I read some where about a girl placing carpet tacks at her window to keep her ex from climbing in the window. It’s not normal to read something like that and immediately think “What a frickin’ great idea!! Hmmmm…… where could I put something similar at my ground level windows…”

It’s not normal to consider planting osage orange plants outside the ground level windows because they get “horse-high, bull-strong and hog-tight” (MotherEarth News), and if I was looking at the right pictures, they have some lovely thorns. Problem – I need to be able to get out those same windows in case of emergency….

It’s not normal to sell a lovely little, fairly rare, easily spottable car because it’s easily spottable, in exchange for a model and color that is probably the most popular car in the state. It’s not normal to hope that Sam’s girlfriend doesn’t sell her car because I’ve gotten used to looking out for it when I go to stores or restaurants. (Sam doesn’t have a car of his own.)

So friends ask me “Do you feel safe now?” I tend to reply, “I still sleep with a hockey stick…..” and if they look at me strangely, I add, “I feel safer.”

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.