Tag Archives: enabling

It’s been a while…

It’s been a long while, over a month.  I’d like to say that I haven’t written because everything has been smooth sailing.  But it hasn’t.  It hasn’t been horrendous, but it hasn’t been exactly easy.

I’ve struggled through the self-defense class that I wrote about in my last post and it was incredibly rewarding.  However, I didn’t participate in the final scenarios as a student.  I couldn’t.  I knew I won’t be able to without freaking out.  I told one of the instructors a very general “I just got out of a very bad relationship, and I do not know how long I’ll be able to stay in class today.”  And he let me volunteer to hold a camera to video the scenarios for the other students so they could see where they did very well; he hoped I’d be able to see that I could handle it and should participate.  That was almost too much.  Because of the structure of the class, students are welcome to repeat the class as often as they like.  I will be doing the class again.

There have been incidents with Sam and Ingrid.  I hesitate to even post most of them here, because they should feel trivial.  Would they BE trivial if they didn’t involve an abusive alcoholic and his enabler?  I don’t know.  Would they be trivial if I were in better control of managing triggers that slide me right back to feeling stuck in the dark, threatening life that Sam kept us in?  I don’t know.  Would they be trivial if it wasn’t a constant barrage?  Most likely.  But they are – or I should say “were” now, more on that later – constant.  Never ending accusations of being a manipulative, b-tchy ex-wife who is taking all of Sam’s money.  Accusations of lying in court, of only wanting Sam back because he is such a good man and father…  I can laugh at them now, but at the time they were flying, not so much.  And the court wouldn’t do anything about it because the cr-p was coming from Ingrid, not Sam, and therefore not a continuation of his verbal assaults.

How does one explain to the court that the words may be coming out of the girlfriend’s mouth, but she was wound up and the words given to her by Sam?  You don’t.  It wouldn’t do any good.  This is the person who was supposed to be the unbiased 3rd party making sure Max is safe while with his father.  This is the ‘unbiased’ 3rd party who was supposed to report to the court if he was drinking or using, or being angry – not just in front of Max, but at all.  Maybe I misunderstood, though, I don’t know.  I don’t see how the court could honestly expect that of her when she has / had a very vested interest in Sam NOT being an alcoholic or abusive rapist or abusive father.  (After all, what would that say about the self-styled “overprotective mama” who let him move in with her the month they met?)

Any way, I think I handled my responses back to Ingrid well, without devolving into the childish name calling that she resorted to.  But am I really a good judge of that? Hmmm…

The night of Saturday, October 29, 2011, Ingrid and Sam both showed up to pick up Max.  (I can’t even remember the last time Sam got off his bottom to help pick up his son.)  I head out to spend the evening with a friend and his son; try to call Max to say good night.  No answer, but at least the phone was on – which wasn’t the case the previous weekend.  Max called back about an hour later and all is cool.

Except that it wasn’t.  Ingrid called my phone twice, left no messages, at least none that came through that night.  Then she called using Max’s phone.  She had left her home and was at a friend’s house because Sam “was in a mood.”  She took Max with her, thank god.  After hanging up the phone, I was shaking, because I know what Sam’s “moods” are like.  My friend was able to calm my panic enough so I could make the long drive back into town; I called my sister and I picked her up before we went to pick up Max.

To Ingrid’s credit, Max did not know why he was at Ingrid’s friend’s house and was asleep by the time we got there.  She kept him shielded from Sam.

On Halloween, after trick-or-treating, I get an e-mail from Sam saying he left Ingrid because of how she treated me (*riiiiiiiigght*).  In the following days, I get e-mails from Ingrid (to me, Francine and Sam Sr.) saying she kicked Sam out.  Had the final melt-down not started when Max was there, it would have been funny.  Ingrid’s e-mails pointed out that Sam is a liar, that she’s never known any one who can lie like Sam can.  That the reason she kicked him out had nothing to do with me, which is what she’s certain Sam is telling every one.  She laid it all out like it was a news flash.  Breaking news: Sam’s a liar! Don’t believe anything he says! Don’t be swayed!  (*insert warning beep noises here*)

Oh_my_goodness. Say it ain’t so! Never! Sam lie? Pfffft!  (I’m being completely facetious here.  Maybe hard to hear through text, so I thought I’d just be clear.)

She ended the e-mail saying he’s a lost cause – she can’t help him.  Next e-mail was asking us to never mention her to Sam again, because she has enough fear in her life.

Which was weird.  I think.  Just saying.  Because if I was fortunate enough to NEVER have to deal with Sam again, I’d have no fear in my life.  Worries, yes.  Fear, no.  But whatever.

Short side of that long story is: Ingrid is gone – out of the picture – no longer spewing Sam’s hateful diatribes at me.

Sometimes I am so happy about that fact that I feel like dancing.  And other times, I’m crushed, because it means we’ll back to Sam no-showing and failures to comply with the schedules and Max will be crushed.

By the way, I think it’s just sick that I’m sad that Ingrid will no longer be around to make sure Sam sees his son and by extension, will no longer be around to manage / deflect some of Sam’s abuse.


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.

The Realization

Looking for or accepting help for myself can be so hard.  The first counselor I went to I was actually asking how to communicate with Sam, because, I’d heard it so often from him, the problem with our relationship was that I didn’t try hard enough to talk with him, or be with him or, anticipate what he wanted enough.  After the first session with her, the first counselor would gently suggest Al-Anon; we’d talk about addictions for a little bit then she kept changing the subject back to me and how I felt.  Honestly, I was a bit PO’d and really confused.  I didn’t know how I felt!  Why would she even ask that? It wasn’t relevant.  I wasn’t relevant.  I needed to be taught how to communicate clearly with Sam. She wasn’t helping me learn to do that.

It took quite a while before I realized that learning to communicate with Sam wasn’t really what I needed to do. But I did/do need help re-learning that what I think and and how I feel matter. I actually needed help seeing that I was not in touch with my feelings at all, but with how to deal with Sam and his moods.

For the longest time, my “feelings” were directly dependent on how Sam was that day. Was he drinking? Was he in a mellow mood (i.e. would he leave me and our son alone while he sat on the couch in the dark and drank until he passed out)? Or would he drink just enough to get belligerent and start in on me for some perceived slight?

The most two common ones (but by no means the only ones) were: if I was reading, he would come into the room and growl at me that I was showing off – that I was reading to make him feel stupid. Or he’d yell from the front living room at me in the back bedroom to turn the f-ing vacuum cleaner off so he could hear the f-ing game, and that I was being rude on purpose. On days like that, God forbid I should actually leave the back bedroom to get food because that was me being rude and interrupting his game with my “racket” in the kitchen.

As I tried to speak to my first counselor more about my need to be able to communicate with Sam, I explained to her more and more ways I thought that I had been unclear, or how I had made Sam mad without realizing that what I was saying was wrong. No matter what I said to Sam or how I said it, I was wrong. One day, when I explained yet another way I had failed to clearly communicate with Sam and his reaction, she suggested that I contact the local women’s aid shelter, AWAIC, or rape counselors, STAR. I was stunned. I was SURE that she was giving me those contacts because she wanted me to see just how bad other women had it. I thought that she wanted me to see what ‘real’ abuse or rape was. I thought she was trying to ‘teach me a lesson,’ along the same lines that Sam would, about how normal my relationship with Sam was and prove that I had nothing to complain about.

(Does any one else see how twisted that was for me to think that way? Probably. I’m probably the only one surprised by the realization.)

Now, when I look back at life with Sam, I can’t believe what I lived through and that I thought it was normal. I can’t believe how surprised I was when I went to AWAIC and spoke with a counselor and instead of her telling me that I didn’t need to be there, she told me that what I had lived through was abuse. She asked me to think about contacting STAR.

As I’ve been dealing with my issues around Sam and our relationship, I can see that I’d been dealing with depression for a very large portion of my relationship with Sam. Maybe not BECAUSE of Sam, but definitely connected to that relationship.  I went back through an old journal and found entries where I begged to no longer feel anything – no matter how that came about.  Looking back, I am astounded that I’m still here.

And still for a while, I refused help on actually dealing with the depression.  I refused to acknowledge that the relationship was abusive; that when Sam ignored my telling him “No”, even though I was his wife, it was still rape.

The realization that I did nothing to warrant being treated the way Sam did and that even as a wife, I had every right to expect my “No” to mean no, has been hard to get my head around. There are days when I KNOW that without a doubt, without a whisper of denial. Then there are days, when that whisper shows up “But he was your husband. You have no right to be upset about how your husband used you or treated you.” That whisper can be so hard to ignore.