Tag Archives: healing

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.

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?

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.

I’m Angry

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Or maybe a better title would be I’m angry and afraid….

Right now I’m so angry at Sam that I can’t think straight whenever his name enters my thoughts. I feel like a little girl who wants to jump up and down and stamp my foot and yell, “I hate him, I hate him, I hate him!” Can I? For just a little while, a minute or so… Maybe a couple hours…

Reason?

I’ve been having horrid nightmares about the rapes again. I’m almost certain that they’ve been triggered by Max coming home and smelling like Sam. So insomnia kicks back in. I don’t close my eyes until after 1, 3 or 4 am. Eyes wide open again between 3 and 5 am. The best sleep I seem to get is after my alarm goes off at 6 am and I hit snooze until 6:45 am. (Hmmmm, maybe I should set my alarm for 1 am and a 2nd one for 6, maybe then I’ll get at least 5 hours of sleep…)

I get up and check the locks on the doors make sure the windows that are easy to climb in are closed and locked… I’m sure I drive my family crazy if they hear me wandering the house at night.

Every little mention of him brings a white-hot anger to the surface. And it’s so hard to fight and so hard to hide when it’s Max talking about all the fun he had at Daddy’s: they rode their bikes to REI (nice to know Sam can spend money at that expensive toy store while not paying child support or 1/2 of Max’s medical bills….); they played with the neighbor kids; they went to the Park for a picnic… All stuff, of course, that I begged Sam to do with Max and I when we were still together, and which was always denied so Sam could sit on the couch and watch the games and drink. So it’s so hard to smile at Max and tell him I’m glad he had a fun weekend. But I do try. Because I am. Glad that Max had a good weekend. Glad that it was one more weekend where Max didn’t call crying – hopefully safe.

I should be happy that Max seems to be getting the best his father can offer during his visits, even if Sam is just playing and not actually parenting. Sometimes I am. But right now….

GRRRRRRRRRRRR

The only word that comes to mind right now when I hear Sam’s name is RAPIST. Followed closely by the desire to RUN. Just run, run, where can I go, where? And then the anger kicks in. How dare he still intimidate and scare me! How dare I let him have that power over me!

So I guess the question is: Who am I really mad at? Sam? or Myself?

This is years after the rapes, years after the daily emotional abuse, years after being out from under the same roof as Sam. Shouldn’t I be further down the road than this? Shouldn’t I be able to see Sam and not have to fight the urge to turn around and run? In the very literal sense.

My therapist tells me often that I need to stop “shoulding all over” myself. Intellectually, I get that. I can usually, now, stop myself when I realize I’m doing that, but it’s much harder to actually stop before I do it.

Anger and fear. Fear and anger….

And I Fall

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Do you remember the saying/game from childhood Ring Around the Rosies?

Ring around the rosies, a pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes we all fall down

This week, I feel like I’m constantly falling down. Like I’m stuck skipping in circles and falling down over and over. I’m trying so hard to get to where I feel like I can handle work, parenting, finances…. And turn around to another set back. Instead of being circles, it’s a spin with a step forward, one or two to the side and several backwards.

I don’t expect the world to stop while I try to process and deal with the rapes, the abuse and alcoholism that came with the ‘relationship’ with Sam, but d-mn, I’d like to be able to take a breath or 2. not feel like I need to look over my shoulder for Sam.

Sometime? Soon? I don’t think I can keep up with everything at it’s current pace without falling further down than I already am.

It’s not a good sign that I wish I’d never realized that my relationship with Sam was not “normal.” That I wish I could pull the wool back over my eyes.

I think it’s weird to wish that I could just become catatonic. (Does one ‘become’ catatonic? I don’t know.) To not feel anything. Just sit there, stare at nothing, in my own little world… To fall down the well of conciousness, lost to reality?

Sometimes, I just want to fall.

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.

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.”