Tag Archives: Domestic violence

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.

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Alcohol Abuse – Alcoholism – Parenting.com

Sam’s alcoholism is such a huge part of…. the problem, the relationship, him (?)…. that I have a hard time separating it from the abuse that he subjected me, and Max, to. Support group friends that I talk to about this – regardless of which support group it is, Alanon or the group for DV survivors – usually respond with “Does it matter if his abusive behavior was because of his drinking or if it’s just the way he is?” They tend to lean towards the it-doesn’t-matter side.

I’m torn. Part of me believes that it doesn’t matter. He was abusive. That’s all that matters and all I need to know. I don’t know why, but there is another part of me that really wants to know: would he have started treating his family the way he did if he didn’t drink? Are they two completely separate issues or two closely entwined issues or part of the same one? I don’t know. I don’t know why I feel I need to understand.

I came across this article today. I’m still amazed how reading accounts like those in the article can bring me right back to those dark little apartments, hiding in the back room, trying to keep Max safe. I have to remind myself as I read: we’re gone from that last apartment; we live in a cozy little home of our own; we are safe from Sam.

Alcohol Abuse – Alcoholism – Parenting.com.

Katie – Violence Unsilenced

I haven’t been around lately. I think a part of it has been because again, I’ve been having a hard time calling the relationship with Sam abusive. However, I came across story on Violence Unsilenced that sounds so much like life with Sam.

Following is a link to Katie’s story on Violence Unsilenced
Katie.

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

2009 Summit on the Intersection of Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic Violence Awareness Month (Photo credit: heraldpost)

I found the following interesting (I started searching after reading Claudine Dombrowski’s blog), mainly because I have felt so… alone, I guess, when trying to get safe visitation arrangements set up for Max and his father.  It didn’t seem like the court really understood what a risk Sam is.  The judge told Sam “This court is afraid you’ll teach your son to treat women like you did,” and then proceeded to laud him for voluntarily giving up legal custody, because “you get you’re not that kind of father.”

The following is from Eric Holder’s address to the National Summit on the Intersection of Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment in June 2009.

I hope you will especially discuss the most difficult issues I know many of you confront in your work:

  • Why are mothers who are the victims of domestic violence losing custody of their children to the courts and to the child protection system?
  • Why are children of color over-represented in the child protection system?
  • Do children need a relationship with their fathers even when their fathers have been abusive to them and their mothers in the past? If so, what does that relationship look like?

I ask that you explore all of these things while always remembering that the needs of children who are exposed to violence are inextricably linked to the needs of mothers who are the victims of domestic violence.

It kind of takes a little pressure off knowing that some one from the Justice system sees the damage that domestic violence does.  At the same time, I’m so sad, because this address was given in 2009, the only strides in change that I’ve seen are TV campaigns against DV…

Feeling so alone

I feel so alone. Why would any one want me after Sam has ruined me? I’m damaged and today it feels like it’s beyond repair. My family loves me; I know, but even they don’t touch me. They don’t offer hugs when I’m feeling down. They do not offer their hands when I desperately need something to hold onto.

If my family can’t bear to touch me after Sam has defiled me, how will any one else ever want to?

Link

Monsters in the Closet

Monsters in the Closet

“MONSTERS” portrays the alarming impact of domestic violence on families and children, as seen through the eyes of a young girl. Studies suggest that between 3.3 million and 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence each year. The video notes that girls who witness abuse are more likely to be abused later in life, and boys are twice as likely to abuse their own partners — “because that’s the world they know.” MONSTERS is produced and funded by the Verizon Foundation and supported by the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Share the MONSTERS video with your friends, family, neighbors and colleagues. It’s a simple action that may have a huge impact. If you or someone you know needs help, get free advice 24×7 at the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-779-7233) or http://www.hotline.org. You don’t have to give your name.

Waiting for the call

Russell Brand put it so well. The entirety of his tribute to Amy Winehouse was incredibly moving, however the first part of it, quoted here, is what has stuck with me today and which has me inspecting what I’m waiting for:

When you love someone who suffers from the disease of addiction you await the phone call. There will be a phone call. The sincere hope is that the call will be from the addict themselves, telling you they’ve had enough, that they’re ready to stop, ready to try something new. Of course though, you fear the other call, the sad nocturnal chime from a friend or relative telling you it’s too late, she’s gone.

Frustratingly it’s not a call you can ever make it must be received. It is impossible to intervene.

(Read the full tribute here: For Amy – by Russell Brand)

So. What am I waiting for? I find that I am waiting for that call – either Sam calling to say he now sees that he has a problem and is ready to seriously stop and to seek help or a call from his sister, should she even remember to call me, to say that Sam’s drinking has caught up with him. Honestly – what I’m really waiting for in this scenario is the call from his family. Sam is still firmly entrenched in the belief that his drinking wasn’t a problem and hasn’t affected him or any one else. Oddly enough, or not too odd, I guess, is that he’s found a perfect enabler in Ingrid, who says only Sam can say if he has a problem and he doesn’t so… yet she believes he relapsed a year ago. Not sure how one can relapse if there’s no problem, but I’m getting off track here.

Spring, Fall and Winter I used to read the local paper every day, because there was always an article about yet one more death (or sometimes more than one) related to alcohol and the cold. I read the description of the victims looking for Sam. Of course this was all before I knew he was breaking his wedding vows and sucking a new enabler into his life. Any way, this was just another version of waiting for the phone call.

The other thing I’m waiting for, which I will NEVER get, I’m sure, is an admittance from Sam that he raped me, that he intimidated me, that he denied my SELF, that he inflicted domestic violence even if he “stopped short of hitting [me].” (As if the rapes weren’t violent. As if I have no reason to fear him just because he “never laid a hand on” me in anger, as if a 6’7″ rugby player towering over 5’4″ me – roughly grabbing my breasts or my… or pushing me back over a boiling pot and hot stove is loving and not violent…) I find I still want and am waiting for that admittance.

Without the blameshifting, the: “Well, she started cleaning during my games and I know she did it on purpose, so….” or the minimizing, the “I might have done it once, but that was before I realized how much it hurt her so I slept on the couch after that.”

IT WASN’T JUST ONCE!!!!! …… IT WASN’T JUST ONCE! Not just once. And it was when he was sleeping on the couch that he’d sneak back to the bedroom, stripping as he walked, to sneak into the bedroom and pin me to the bed. Telling me to be quiet our I’d wake up Max. Don’t wake up Max.

I want him to admit he raped me repeatedly our last few years together. I want him to admit that he used fear and intimidation to keep me in the back room. I want him to admit that he threatened to call the cops on me and I would never see our son again if I continued to push him away from me so I wouldn’t be bent back on top of the hot stove. I want him to admit that Max ran into the house from the front yard to find him doing that. I want him to admit he had no right to treat me that way. I want a sincere apology.

This will never come. Never.