Memories pop in and out of my head all the time. As if playing a game of tag with my consciousness. Sometimes they fade as quickly as they come in. Other times they linger and make me ponder and replay scenarios over and over. Of course, this never happens at a convenient time. Either I’m in the middle of working and need to concentrate, but my brain has other plans and decides to hijack my thoughts, or I’m exhausted from the day and just want to sleep but can’t because now I’m thinking.
This is what happened last night. So bizarre how our brains work. It’s a never ending game of word association…or actually, thought association. Layer after layer of one thought linking to another. All I wanted to do was sleep when I started thinking about what I have going on this weekend and boom, I’m back there. Not sure why. When they say everything happens for a reason, does it also mean your thoughts too? Is this a post I was supposed to write? In all honesty, I have been meaning to write about this.
As part of my self-healing process, I had began meditating a while ago. Almost immediately, I started becoming very aware of things. Things from the past. Unexpectedly, meditation was cleaning the dirty windows in my mind and I was able to get a good look inside. And here I thought it was going to be all about peace and tranquility. Ha! I remember all of a sudden understanding why I made certain decisions that I did. Just like that, clarity.
In the early days of my situation, while I was still dating my abuser, there had been incidents that happened outside. He usually didn’t do anything in front of a crowd, since obviously his behavior was a secret. Although, that doesn’t necessarily mean people didn’t see what was happening. Could they have been walking by and thought we were just rolling around in the grass lovingly? I guess. Although, being punched and strangled doesn’t fall into the same category, maybe they blinked during the more aggressive and less loving moments. Regardless, I’m sure some people saw and knew just what was happening. Even more so than I did at the time.
I remember telling my Ex once, that if he ever saw anything going on NOT to approach the situation. My abuser always, carried a knife on him. And he was never afraid to use it. In fact, I think using it turned him on just a little. Maybe even a lot. My fear was deep and I was scared to death that if anyone I knew approached him in the heat of battle he would use it on them. Most especially because when he was in a rage, he was no longer there. It was something else within him that took over. Almost like he was fighting his own demons. So imagine being in some blackout state and someone approaches you telling you to stop? No. I was not having him possibly hurt someone I cared about. Not gonna happen. Continue hitting. I got this.
As time went on, after we were married, his threats became more specific. He now was threatening me with harming family members if I ever attempted to leave. Once, he made a threat towards my family members who lived out of state. I laughed. What an idiot. He doesn’t even know where they live or how to get there. Really? He clued me in to the map I had hidden in my drawer that he took and made a copy of, which was now safely tucked in his work locker. So yes, now I believed him. He could get there if he truly wanted to. They never even met him. Why would I contemplate leaving and possibly have him think I was hiding out of state and go there and hurt my innocent family? Not gonna happen. Continue hitting. I got this.
Easier targets were my immediate family that lived locally. He knew were they all lived. He made his threats. Always vicious. Always during a heated battle. Always believable. There was never a reason to brush off what he said as -all talk no action- because he was indeed THAT GUY. He only calmed down from what he was known to be once our first child was born. It’s laughably sad that this life I was living with him, was him…calm. Calmer than what? Hannibal Lecter? Hitler? All I know is, I didn’t want to know. No need to hoist psychotic threats towards my family because no one is leaving. Not gonna happen. Continue hitting. I got this.
Unaware of my own actions at the time, I had started distancing myself from people. My friends, my family. Anyone who he would have the chance to use against me. Plus, in keeping a distance, I could also keep my secret. After all these years, only now have I come to realize that I had made myself into a human shield. In order to protect those I loved, I blocked the threat. Even if they were only words, I believed him. So I did what I thought was necessary. I was young and had never heard someone spew such hateful and vindictive words. Especially to a person who they claimed to love. All I knew was, I could handle it. I could take the pain. Just leave everyone else alone.
I guess…well, actually, I can’t guess what his tactics were. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, his threats worked. I stayed put. He got his punching bag and dinner on the table too. Eventually though, the verbal threats got closer to home. It now stayed within the home. He always threatened to kill me. That was a given. The easy go to. However, on a few occasions, he threatened to kill me and the kids. And of course himself. But who cares about that if we’re all already dead, right? Here’s the strange thing. Although I believed he was capable of these new and improved threats, a mother can’t distance herself from her children. Now that I’m writing about this…this may actually be the turning point in where I became the one he now fears.
I see your threat and I raise you a…go right the fuck ahead.
Reverse psychology. It seriously works. Especially with the weak minded. This guy is out of his ever loving mind if he thinks he’s going to continue this game. So I one up’d him. Guess what loser, if you kill us no one has to hear your mouth ever again! Helloo…bonus! Bet you didn’t think of that one. So I played that card. At this point in time, he was definitely running out of steam. He was getting older. His rheumatoid arthritis was setting in. And I was halfway to the finish line. His words no longer frightened me like they once did. It’s not that he lacked intensity or imagination with what he tossed my way but I was tired of it.
Never did I hold back from speaking my mind over the course of the marriage because it might result in bodily harm. My armor was strengthened with each blow. The more that came my way, the more I survived, the more I could take. Holding my tongue was never an option. In fact, that may be the one thing that has truly kept me alive all of these years. Verbal abuse would now work both ways. It may not be the right thing to do but it got done. An idiot flinging wild threats every which way eventually bounces off of this human shield. Being a knowledgeable and calculating user of words has it’s benefits. Mind games.
Present day. He fears me more than I fear him. My inner Italian Mobster is present daily and he never knows what I’m capable of. I’m partial to the phrase, what goes around comes around and karma is coming to collect. I enjoy the confused look on his face. He has been playing very nice for a while now as I remind him of the choices he made. For example, he might say to me, I love you. And I’ll say, I’m sorry to hear you have that problem. He’ll say how that hurts his feelings and I’ll say, aww it did…now imagine I said that as I punch you in the head with my knuckles. He then puts his head down and walks away.
The good news is, he is fully aware that I’m leaving. I’ve thrown it out there in random conversations almost in a way that seemed as if I misspoke. He too has brought it up in a matter-of-fact sort of way, saying he knows what I have planned. In a very non-aggressive manner. As of late, the bulk of my days have been non-aggressive, thankfully. So I’m leaning toward the belief that this will be a peaceful exit. At least until he realizes there will be no return.
Not gonna happen. Not this time. I got this.