Category Archives: Abuse

I’m not Intending to Ignore this Blog

Things have been hectic. I haven’t shared with you all yet, but I really should have.

I decided to go back to school full time. I am intelligent enough to succeed. Time management has proven challenging, however.

I have also found another job. I’m still underemployed; I’m just underemployed in two locations, with two commutes, and two tiny paychecks now. See time management.

One of my children has fallen into a significant depression following a situation with the ex. This is, by far, the most important thing on my mind at this time. I am working with all of the appropriate professionals, but this situation won’t just evaporate. It’s going to take time and work. I’ve already decided that second job is optional if the extra time away proves to be too much. I can’t undo what he did or the depth of the scars he has caused, but I can skip meals if I have to in order to be there for my child.

I’ve learned some things over the last few weeks. One is that I need this blog. It’s a release. I’ve been losing my damned mind without it. Another is that I can take some credit it when it’s due. I AM a single mother with all the duties of an 1800s housewife (all food from scratch, lack of major appliances – seriously bread making is a much bigger chore when you have to hand wash all of your dishes after you’ve invested a couple of hours into making the bread), school, two jobs, and the emotional needs of children who have been traumatized by circumstance (well, circumstance and a very large asshole). I balance more on my plate in one day than most people deal with in a week or a month and that is big.

Rather than hating on myself when I pass out with a sink full of dishes,  an overflowing trash can, or the fact that my lazy ass didn’t get bread made on a given day, I’ve learned to appreciate what I did accomplish. Getting everyone to class, finishing homework, making sure nobody had to walk home, hand washing favorite t-shirts because I didn’t have the money to go to the laundromat, cobbling 2-3 meals together from my pantry and freezer, meaningful conversations with each kid, washing *most* of the dishes we used that day, putting in 0-12 hours between one or both jobs, and making sure the kitties got some quality petting and scratching. Maybe what I didn’t finish doesn’t make me a failure – maybe it just makes me human. And, maybe, just maybe, what I did manage to do makes me a worthy human. I’m always searching for ways to improve, to be better, to be worthy, to be more efficient, just to improve. I think I’m learning that my drive to improve at everything doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m a failure at everything when, in reality, I’m managing to almost hold my own against nearly impossible odds. Fuck feeling like a failure; I don’t have a minute to waste feeling anything that isn’t contributing to improving our circumstances.

6 Things I Wish I Had Done Before Leaving My Abuser

Abuser. It’s still so weird to type that word out. It took me years to come to terms with what really happened. I wouldn’t say it. I struggled with thinking it. I defended him.

Abuser is the right word. It’s his identity. I never wanted the victim identity though. I wanted so badly to not be a victim that I whitewashed who he was.

Years wasted on semantics and denial. Years I could have spent saving my family. There are some things I really wish I had spent those years doing instead of trying to please someone who refused to be pleased. In no particular order, six of them are:

Kept Working

Giving up my career had a devastating effect on me. I lost my financial independence and my earning power. Becoming dependent upon him helped me become voiceless. It was a specter over me every time I kept my silence. How could I speak up if he could just send us to the streets in a snit?

Maintained Independent Relationships

When I left work, I lost contact with my peers and friends. Slowly, I found myself restricted to spending time with the friends he chose for me and select members of his family. When I attempted to nurture new friendships, he always found a way to discourage or sabotage them.

Rented a Storage Locker

THIS would have been amazing! If I had thought to acquire a safe place to stockpile essentials and protect our valuables, you can be damned sure I would have. Toilet tissue, laundry detergent, non-perishables, clothing, cash, etc. If I had a place he didn’t know about, I would have been able to protect some of what he destroyed and keep some of what he took.

Stowed Cash

This isn’t about legal advice; it’s about what I wish I would have done. Any sane lawyer will tell you not to do this. Even so, I wish I would have had access to enough money to pay a retainer or make regular payments. Or to buy groceries. Or fix the car. Or see the doctor.

Started Standing up for Myself

This is so much harder to learn when you’re leaving. Seriously. You’ve just pissed off someone who hurts you when he loves you and NOW you’re going to try to stand up for yourself? Oh yeah, he’s gonna get right on respecting you and your boundaries. Also, water is dry and unicorns are real.

Felt What Was Going On

Becoming emotionally numb is a remarkable coping mechanism. It helps you to navigate trauma and manage your survival without getting knocked off balance by pain or anger. When you spend enough time numbing yourself, you can agree with your abuser that it really wasn’t that bad. Honestly, if (s)he was that awful, you probably would have felt something. But you didn’t because you learned long ago that your feelings were wrong and had no place in your relationship.

I didn’t do any of those things. As a result, I slid deeper and deeper into his web. Like a twisted spider, he fed off of me for years. It wasn’t until I was a drained, weakened shell that I tried to escape. The fat, cruel spider fought aggressively. Even today, my very survival is an affront to his existence.

Had I managed to hold onto something – my career, my friendships, my self-worth, my feelings – things would not have gone as far as they did. And I wouldn’t still consider myself in recovery. And my children would not continue to suffer.

 

Angry Ex on the Loose

I wish I could warn his girlfriend; she’s going to get caught in the crossfire. Sure, it’s all going to start off with “Unnie is an evil bitch and she’s completely fucking me over!” and the poor thing is going to believe it. She will try to soothe his tattered ego, but she will fail. Short of showing up at my house and assaulting me, she won’t be able to heal this wound. Then he’ll unleash his wrath on her. It won’t be her fault; she will simply be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He didn’t get his way with something, I didn’t move the Earth and stars to fetch it for him, and she (Pick one: made the wrong dinner, asked the wrong question, disrespected him, didn’t realize he needed a blow job, etc). Woe be unto her if she stands up for herself. She’ll end up blaming me for setting him off and herself for not being sensitive enough to his victimization. She’ll hate me for being so cruel and she’ll try harder next time to understand what he’s going through.

I feel for her. I really wish I could warn her. What I won’t do, however, is acquiesce and give in to his commands to protect her – or anyone else in his path today. That is who I used to be. The person who took responsibility for everyone and everything. No more. I am only responsible for my family and myself. I can’t give him this one because we will get hurt. This action, these commands, they are about us and I can only consider us in my response. It sucks, but it is the only way. I can’t teach my children to stand for themselves if I won’t stand for them first.

Sometimes I Wonder if I’m Really a Survivor

I have found my voice, but that doesn’t mean it gets heard.

I have learned to put up boundaries, but that doesn’t mean they get respected.

I have convinced myself to operate in his world for my children’s sake, but that doesn’t make it reality.

I have chosen to play nice to protect them, but that doesn’t mean that he won’t use them just to show me he’s still the king.

Days like today, when he’s suffering from not getting his way, all he can do is attack. If I won’t give in willingly, then, goddamnit, he’ll make me give in by force. No matter what, he will have his way. It’s usually over some stupid fucking thing that I would probably give him without blinking if he would just treat the children nicely, or simply ask instead of taking.

I’m probably going to give in anyway to mediate his next rage. To protect our children. I have to choose my battles and this one won’t be worth fighting. I have to put up the boundary and pretend I’m going to enforce it, but, eventually, I’m just going to give in because I don’t have the resources for a war.

Please don’t ask me today why I’m not going to fight this one. Ask him, or someone like him, why my only options are take his abuse lying down or take his abuse standing up.

Fuck him and fuck every control freak out there that has to hurt people. Fuck them all.