Tag Archives: surviving

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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Today I came across an article telling part of a young man’s (Trey Malone) story. Not all of it, by any means; there is always so much more to a person than can fit into an article, or even a series of articles. What it details are after-effects of an unthinkable act committed against him and provided a link to his heart-wrenching and very eloquent suicide note.

I’m struck by several things as I read the story (here’s the link) and Trey Malone’s note, published in full at The Good Men Project site (link here) with his family’s permission.

The Huff Post story, while it outlined sexual assault as a contributing factor to Trey Malone’s decision to end his life and cited allegations that the college has failed to adequately respond to and address sexual assaults on their campus, and failed to provide adequate support to victims, provided only a single support resource link at the end of the article: to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. It did not provide any phone numbers or links to support resources for rape and sexual assault survivors. I do hope the oversight will be corrected.

The Malone family, in allowing the note to be published, shows incredible courage in the face of heartbreak. I would like to thank them for allowing the publication and offer my sincere condolences for their loss.

To fellow survivors trying to deal with victim blame, depression, feelings of isolation and / or shame, myself included, I would like to offer the following:

NOTHING you did, or did not do, justified having your will, your sense of safety, your sense of self, shattered and ripped away like it was. You did not “allow” it. You did not “ask for it.” The fault lies not with you. No matter what you may have been told, or how you yourself might feel, you are not weak. Having survived the physical, emotional and psychological effects so far is a sign of strength.

May we find peace, healing and continued strength.

R* and Attachment Parenting

It’s scary sometimes where searches for information on current political events can lead a person. I certainly didn’t expect to find the following link to two topics I never expected to see together in the same post. hisveganmama didn’t even go into the level of detail that other bloggers went into in response to Mr. Akin’s ignorant (to put it politely) statement back in August 2012, but it certainly triggered a strong response in me. I wasn’t looking for information on his statement, and I’m not certain I can re-create the path that got me from the 2012 presidential campaign to hisveganmama‘s post…

Here’s where I ended my search earlier in my lunch hour:

R* and Attachment Parenting

It caught my eye, because, well, because of what I went through with Sam and because I am strongly drawn to the parenting philosophy of attachment parenting. I don’t know why I was so surprised to see the two topics together, because my belief in attachment parenting and desire to raise Max under that philosophy was one of many topics that would result in an hours-long diatribe about my intelligence, suitability as a wife and/or mother, or other unacceptable behavior by Sam towards me.

Her description of what she struggled with as being a rape survivor and a mama is shedding light on issues that I have struggled with, but which I wasn’t even aware enough of to have attributed to being a survivor.

It seems my list of stuff I need to work through keeps growing, but I’m not really sure that I’ve truly addressed any of them, much less healed. I’m not sure that feeling will ever go away, either.

The things we forget for “love”

Oh        My        God .  This morning, I took a look at a copy of my transcript from the local university, where I studied for a couple years before transferring out of state.

Not only did my life with Sam erase nearly every bit of self-worth and self-confidence that I’d had, but I’d actually forgotten which classes I’d taken.  I’d forgotten that I had taken THREE college level math classes in high school that transferred over to credit at the university.  I’d forgotten that I was on the Dean’s List or Chancellor’s List EVERY semester while there. I mean, I remembered that I’d made the lists, but that I’d done it more than once – every semester.  No.  I didn’t remember that.  I was STUNNED when I saw my transcript.

I’d let him convince me that I wasn’t smart, that I was nothing.  I knew that I’d let him tell me that.  I’m recovering from believing him.

What I’m running into now is the idea of just how much I’ve actually forgotten.  Stuff that doesn’t pertain directly to Sam.  And it’s not just which classes I took, my grades.  Friends will reminisce about high school or college, about stuff we did, weekend trips we took.  There are, maybe not many, but a few (so far) that I don’t remember.  I do remember some when they tell the story – I think that’s normal.  Others are just blank.  Completely gone.  Not even an inkling of “oh, yeah, I vaguely remember…”

They’re not joking; they’re not lying; they’re not relaying drunken party stories.  I can understand forgetting some things.  Different events carry more weight for some than others.

For example: Jane may have been thrilled when I offered to drive her up to Portland to go shopping when she was having a terrible week.  It may have been a big deal to a freshman far from home for the first time, having a new friend from the dorm borrowing a truck from another friend to make the drive in an effort to cheer her up.  While for me… meh, it’s just a short trip, an excuse to not study for a few hours.  I didn’t remember it until she brought it up.  But when she brought it up, I did remember it.  “Oh, yeah!  It took me a few minutes to figure out how to put the truck into reverse the first time, because the shift pattern was worn off the gearshift.”

There are stories that sound like they should have made some sort of impression on me; like skipping studying to go to the beach, a car I was riding in nearly crashing during an ice storm, of which I have not even the dimmest glimmer of having experienced.

And the grades, man!  Don’t you think I should remember that I was getting straight A’s or A’s and B’s?  It’s not THAT long ago.  I can recall taking the classes, but I’m still wondering if maybe they sent me the wrong set of grades with my name on the top.

I’m curious.  Does living with an abusive alcoholic do that?  Is it some intense-weird survival mechanism?  Does it happen to quite a few survivors?

Like an unconscious thought process: He says you’re stupid, you know you’re not, but if you’re not, then he’s lying, and he’ll be mad at you for thinking he’s lying or (and) for you being smart, so remember that you’re stupid so he doesn’t get mad, so he doesn’t take it out on you…

So how to explain losing the other stuff?  Overwriting it with “How to Survive Your Alcoholic Abusive Boyfriend / Husband”  ?

Or is it just me?  Is it normal and I’m making mountains out of mole-hills?  (Pfffah. *waves hand dismissively*  You’re just getting old.  You’re not in your twenties any more, you know…)

I’m really curious if it happens to others.  I’ve got an appointment with my counselor tonight and will discuss this with her.  Maybe she can explain it.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.”