Tag Archive | Family

Goals

goals

It has been close to 30 years since I was first struck by the man who would become my husband. After numerous brutal beatings, three children, non-stop threats of murder if I dare leave, in addition to my own prayers for my life to end so I could be free of the abuse…somehow, I survived.

The depth of my fear, fueled by my hate, gave me a pinpointed focus to raise my children and upon the last turning 18… get the hell out! Well, that time is upon me.

I’ve been counting down the days for way longer than I can remember.  Once they became a realistic number, I thought to myself… this is about to get real.  FAST!  Then before I knew it, the days went from 365 to less than half of that number, to within the same calender year and now… mere weeks.  Now, mental preparation.

There is still so much to get done before I go.  Loose ends to tie up.  People I want to explain my inevitable absence to.  And then there is my family.  I allowed my sister and mother to enter into my secret life and read my blog.  When they had a full understanding of my life thus far they seemed genuinely distressed over what I had been through.  My parents had only known about one episode early on but I did a good enough job hiding the life I endured that they had no idea it continued, most especially not for 25+ years.

Since absorbing that I most definitely do intend to go through with my exit plan, my mother and sister seem (to me) to be more concerned about what they need to do to protect themselves than they are about anything I will be going though.  The words, “how can we help” have yet to be spoken.  As these last days are closing in, these words, or lack thereof, have shaken me.  Although I do have friends that have offered their help, I can’t help but feel very much alone.  I’ve been taken back to a mental state where I need to fend for myself, and fear has kicked in.  Worst of all, every specific I had planned for this exit, I now feel unsure about.  I’m second guessing, feeling anxious and deciding whether or not I need to make changes.

On another note, I work from home.  I guess that being helpful or hurtful is up for debate but the point is, I work.  And I do so for many hours a day.  Yet, like many, many others, I live from check to check.  I have been able to put some money to the side for this event.  However, I did not start doing so until the end date was too close for comfort realizing I was broke.  So yeah, my resolution…save something…anything!  I am very much aware that is not nearly enough.  This has added panic on to every other emotion I’m feeling.

How the hell, where the hell, what the hell…am I going to do?  I do not like borrowing.  I’ve had to in the past and it’s just so uneasy for me.  I know I’m not the only one that feels that way.  Unrelated to financial issues, when asking for help – on any level – I’ve been let down more often than not.  So even being here right now, asking, begging, is surreal.  This is so uncomfortable and I apologize for even attempting to have the audacity to think anyone….everyone… doesn’t have a million other things more important to donate money to than me.

I am not even close to a special case.  There are so many of us.  Abuse victims.  And although I haven’t felt like a “victim” for a long time – due to my abuser’s very painful rheumatoid arthritis (lucky me) – Now, I am just a victim of my own poor financial planning.  I don’t even know where to start in asking people to donate, or what an appropriate amount is to ask for.  All I can think of is that if I can afford to pay rent for at least six months, then maybe I can be less stressed about the initial “hiding” period.  My son will be with me and I am not going to be ready for either one of us to be out and about, at least not for the first month or so.  I need to make sure we are completely safe.

This is going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever pulled off.  If there is just one aspect of it that I don’t have to worry over, I would be beyond appreciative.  Once I am fully free, paying it forward will be in using my voice and being as loud as possible for those of us that are still in hiding.  It has been 30 years since I was abused by someone who claimed to love me, and it is clear that this epidemic is far from over.  It’s not even close to ending with me; there are so many others out there.  Every anonymous account needs a voice.  A new fight I look forward to getting into head on.

For those of you who find it in your heart to donate anything to me… I thank you in advance and will be forever grateful.  If you are unable to donate, please share this on your social media.  XOXO

Click here to read my full story.

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Meanwhile…

…back at the ranch.

This seems like as good a time as any to update y’all on what’s been going on.  Before you get too excited, my address hasn’t changed.  Rest assured, when that day arrives the accompanying blog post title will be straight to the point with something like…I’ve Moved or My New Address Is or more appropriately…It’s Finally Over! Nevertheless, there are a few things that have been happening in between all of the poetry sessions and lack of [this is my life] blogging.

So. In the proper order, last month, my blog turned 2 years old. What?  How have I been blogging for two years?  How have I been talking about this Godforsaken subject for two years?  And how the hell have I still been here for two years?  I know.  Except what I see is… oh man, those two years FLEW by and I can smell the finish line!  I know it’s hard to really fathom how and why I’m still here but I’ve discussed that already.  And in all honesty, the violence is no longer there and there are minimal to no verbal outbursts at this point in time. So it’s really like sitting in a waiting room watching the clock with the stereotypical grumpy elderly folk we see on television who complain about everything.  In fact, funnily enough, while I’m doing the necessary legwork for my exit, he seems to be in a nesting phase for the future of “growing old together”.  It’s really pathetically entertaining because I already know how the show ends.

Something else new and exciting (NOT) that has happened is that I turned 45 this month.  I know, how joyous.  It’s all good because I still feel super young.  Probably younger than I should which must be a good thing, right?  For longevity and all that.  And even though I consider myself pretty keen already, I’m really starting to get into the endless possibilities that the future holds.  It’s not just about living my life, this life, free from drama.  Now it’s more like…what else is there?  What have I been holding myself back from that I may have not even realized.  Even the smallest nuance of change will be a big thing.  And with each little thing will be an ever evolving me.  A friend of mine always says he’s a work in progress. Now I get it.

Okay, now hold on to your seats because this one is a biggie.  If you’ve been following me since the beginning or have read my story in full or are just happening upon this blog for the first time…you’ll get it.  Look at the title of my blog.  I just turned 45.  This has been my life for the last 28 years. I knew the time was approaching.  I could feel it coming.  I wasn’t sure how the hell I was going to do it or what I was going to say but… I told my mother.

I know.  You’re like…she totally already knew.  Yes and no.  She knew of an incident that happened in the past.  She knew I left to go to the shelter a million years ago.  And she knew he was an a-hole.  But she had no idea to what extreme. And she sure didn’t know it’s been going on this long.  I was concerned about telling her because I didn’t know how she’d react to some of the things I discussed about my past.  People have a funny way of interpreting the written word.  I didn’t want anything I wrote to sound as if I was blaming anyone else, especially her, for my predicament.

The day after my birthday, I spoke to my mother on the phone.  I told her that I had a secret.  I reassured her that I was not ill and I figured I’d lighten the mood and told her not to worry that I wasn’t going to “become Bruce”.  With that, I explained how no one ever knew that I liked to write and that I’ve been writing since I was a teenager.  I told her that I started blogging a couple of years ago and that I felt like now was the appropriate time to share it with her.  I didn’t mention the topic.  I had shared the blog with my sister a few months ago and she was with my mother so she was there as a sort of buffer.  Then I waited three long days until she read it in it’s entirety.

My sister seemed optimistic when I told her I was ready to share it. She was glad I was ready.  I was nervous but hopeful.  After writing about it for the past two years, I feel somewhat detached from it now.  Like, this is more of a story to me than the reality of it being my life.  So when my mother called, I was almost more concerned about the writing critique than about the overall horror of this breaking news.  I knew it was going to impact her.  I kept checking with my sister to see if my mother was okay while she was reading it.  Being a mother myself, it’s almost more painful knowing after the fact that your child went through something so unimaginable and even though you were right there you had no idea of their despair.  So I knew her emotions would take her all over the place.

You can all breathe a sigh of relief.  I’m not really sure what negativity I anticipated but her response was anything but.  We live in different states so it’s hard to really discuss this openly  now without being interrupted by people on both ends walking in and out of the rooms we’re in.  I’m thinking a more in depth face to face conversation is in the near future.  All and all it was a positive response. Another huge bolder has been lifted off of my chest. Another person knows and I’m still breathing. Another person who knows ME knows.  The wall is getting lower.  That’s almost as scary as the actual departure!

Now that I am older and wiser (not THAT much older – or wiser), I can see a lot of the err of my ways.  The biggest is… I chose to stay silent.  If you don’t act as if you need help, how can anyone know it should be offered?  I was a pro at covering up mental and physical warfare.  So for anyone that may have known of even one incident or suspected any future incidents, I tried my hardest to keep it hidden so that I would never be confronted by anyone. Either for fear of having to admit it and be embarrassed that it was happening or for fear that they’d try to help me leave and then all hell would break loose.  The same hell that I had been trying to keep from happening since day one.  So I slowly removed the possibility of anyone finding out by just removing mostly everyone from my life.  I kept it down to the bare minimal and the further the better.

Friends and family at arms length worked best for me.  Over the phone relationships were even better.  That way, I was able to breathe.  No sudden pop ins.  No expected dinner and drinks at my house.  In living that way for so long it became normal.  So much so that people would joke with me that they were going to pull a drop in.  I would laugh.  It was all funny ha ha but I would be physically panicking.  What if they were serous?  For years my abuser wouldn’t care about arguing in front of other people.  of course nothing insane.  Just him having an a-hole opinion about one thing or another to show how he was a big mouth.  So to avoid the possibility of that, I would just shut it all down.  Lights out.  Television off.  Everyone in one room.  No one goes near the door.  Don’t even open the refrigerator so the light doesn’t go on.

Nowadays, I think about how it will be living on my own.  Mostly, I look forward to the silence and in all honesty, being alone.  I’ll probably be like that for a while.  However, once the dust settles, I think it will be easy to merge back into “society” so to speak.  Life on the other side of 45, seems to be bright and shiny.  I’ve got a lot of catching up to do…God help society.  🙂

This Guy I Know

There’s this guy I know who has been a part of my life since we were about 8 years old. We went to school together all the way through high school and then lost touch. He went off to college and I became a mother. We didn’t see or speak to each other again until 20 years later, and there was no one I was more excited to see than him.

You know how when you’re a little kid, and you have your bestest friend ever or someone you will call on to come play outside or confide all your secrets to – well, that wasn’t him. However, if you were to make a list of friends from your childhood of kids you always thought were in your “circle” that you never minded if they were around or part of the group or just in eyeshot…he was always on that list. I guess there was just an air about him that I picked up on back then. Something that I would never be able to explain as a child, or a teenager – just an innate sense that there was something.

Over the years, I often wondered about him. If he was still in the same area, whether or not he got married, had a family, moved out of state. You may recall, before all the social networks, there was a website called “Classmates”. It allowed you to put your name in a database according to the school you went to and the year you graduated. I believe you had the option to make your information public in case people wanted to get in touch with you or you could click on the names of registered people and the website would send them an email letting them know so and so is looking for you. When I signed up on that site, he was one of the first people I looked for.

It’s now been just about 7 years since our renewed friendship and I would never have been able to predict just how important he’s become to me. I can’t imagine going any significant amount of time without speaking to him – which is mostly via text because he is always working. Even when he’s on vacation with his family for only a week, I am losing my mind waiting for him to get back so I can tell him whatever funny or dramatic story happened while he was inaccessible.

He has without a doubt become my bestest friend ever. He probably doesn’t believe me when I tell him that he is the only person on Earth that knows 99.9% of everything about me. There’s just some sort of connection that made me so comfortable in confiding things to him that I would not tell anyone else. In short, he’s become my confidant, my listening ear, my guru, my therapist, my consigliere, and more importantly – my family.  Whatever the topic may be, there’s always some piece of sound advice that he gives that just makes more sense in the way he says it than if I were to have thought of it myself.

Now, I’d like to say I am all this and more to him, I’m sure on some level I am. After all, he’s a man and men don’t always pour out their feelings and emotions the way women do. But when he does, I appreciate the fact that he is letting me see a side to him that I’m sure he keeps out of view from others. It’s rare that you really get a glimpse into what a man feels and thinks, and it’s actually very endearing.  And it makes me feel extra special when he let’s his guard down with me.

The hard part about this friendship is that we live in different states and so I don’t get to see him often. He doesn’t get time for too many phone calls because his job is beyond ridiculous and he’s basically always working. Plus, being in my current situation, I can’t really just pick up the phone and talk to another man without it causing some type of fallout – unless of course it’s a relative. Also, probably as a result of being in my situation, I feel a certain level of consideration for his wife’s feelings because I wouldn’t want her to think there was anything more than a sincere friendship, so I don’t bother him when he’s on family time. Not to mention, from a woman’s viewpoint, I don’t know that I’d be so comfortable with my man (of the future) being on the phone with another woman, even if I knew her and was friends with her, no matter how innocent.

With all of the above being said, this post is being written as part of #BeWoW which stands for Be Wonderful on Wednesday. In which we are asked to share something inspirational, motivational, encouraging or something that just brings a feeling of wonderful to our lives. This friendship is all of that to me and so much more, and although I try to sneak that in there every once in a while, I’m not sure he gets it. So, why not post for the world to see?

I’m letting you know, ever so publicly, that you truly mean the world to me and I am so grateful to God for reconnecting us. There has not been one day that has passed that I am not aware that there is a reason and purpose for you being such a strong presence in my life – and I am beyond blessed for that. You are a wonderful human being, a wonderful man, son, brother, husband, father and friend.  I hope you know and believe that.  It’s something you should be told often and by many.  I am also fully aware that you are gonna have at me with this, telling me how sensitive I am – that’s fine – I can take it. 🙂

For everyone else who reads this, my advice to you is to let the wonderful people in your life know what they mean to you – whether it be a friend or family or someone you only know on social media. If they make you feel wonderful…let them know and reciprocate.

Have a Wonderful Wednesday!

Disconnected Reconnection

Domestic violence is a disgusting epidemic and I’m in awe of how many people are telling their stories.  It’s almost as if the stigma has been lifted.  Even though I know there are still multitudes that are living in silence, I pray their day to speak will come.  It is by far the most important part of our journey.  If you are one of the silent ones reading this…please, find someone you can trust…and tell them.  Even if it’s the only thing you can do at this moment – tell someone.

I had that chance.  And I stumbled.

I recently reconnected with my cousin who I hadn’t seen or spoken to in (too many) years.  I found her on Facebook and “friended” her to test the waters.  She had many issues over the years and I was a little unsure of just how reconnected I actually wanted to get.  We kept it strictly FB friendly over the next year or so and then she gave me her phone number and asked me to call.  I hesitated.  Actually, I ignored it.  I just wasn’t ready to talk to her, yet.

This was the cousin that had been molested alongside of me in our childhood by our grandfather (Aftermath of Abuse).  I didn’t know if she remembered and I wasn’t sure I was ready to speak about it with her.  She had a rough life riddled with everything from drug abuse to rape.  If she didn’t remember the molestation, I didn’t want to be the one to send her into a tailspin.  And honestly, I was not mentally ready myself.  If I allowed myself to go there with her, I didn’t know what else would follow.  Eventually though, I made the call.

I always believe everything happens for a reason.  You don’t have to be religious to believe that.  However, if you believe in God, at some point in your life you accept the fact that you are put in a certain place and time for a purpose that you are unaware of and have no control over.  There is a higher entity that brings you to this place in life.  At least, that’s how I look at it.

For me, it came after a strange trigger episode.  I had been listening to music from my childhood (music that directly related to my grandfather) and not for any specific reason.  It was just music that had not been heard in a long time and it was – a sound for sore ears.  After a few days of listening, I was in my dining room and caught a distinct whiff of my grandfather’s cologne.  It was at a time when no food was cooking, no candles were on, no one different was in the house.  No one was even in the dining room nor had they been for hours.  And the odor was in one spot.  If I turned my head to the left it was not there and if I turned the right, nothing.  It was very odd.

This not only came after days of listening to this music but also of me spending time with an aunt and cousins from that side of the family I don’t see often. Actually, almost never, and it was also after promising to call my cousin who I had been talking to on FB but still hadn’t done so.  It became overwhelming for me.  Too much all at once.  Everything just came together in such a way that I realized … now is the time.

So the next day, I called her.  We spoke.  We caught up.  Finally there was a lull in the conversation and I outright discussed what I remembered and asked her if she had any memory of it.  She said she didn’t but she was also unable to talk because her husband was nearby and she sounded a little frazzled, either at the conversation or whatever thoughts were going through her mind.  She hesitated for a moment and then said she’d been “messed up” (on drugs) for so long she probably wouldn’t be able to remember.

So I left it at that.  We spoke several times since that initial conversation and caught up on the insanity of her life and how she was in a good place now.  Clean and sober for five years.  I believed her.  I knew that the likelihood of a real 5 years straight – for her – was probably not a full 1826 days of sobriety but I didn’t judge.  I was never a drug user so I can’t begin to understand the difficulties of kicking the habit for good.

I was not nearly as forthcoming with stories of what I had been through in my life.  I wanted to be the listening ear for her.  I felt at the moment that was my place and what I needed to do.  It’s what she needed as well.  Our calls were good.  It felt good to reconnect.  She was so grateful that I was non-judgmental.  I was there for her because she was my cousin and she needed someone -family- to hear her.

In November, my cousin was murdered by her husband.  Compression asphyxiation.  She was strangled.  He crushed her windpipe.

When I had gotten the news, this was not yet known.  All I knew is that she never woke up in the morning.  I even called her husband and spoke to him.  He seemed just as one would expect, holding it together for their youngest son.  This was our first encounter and when talking to me he expressed his gratitude that there was someone in the family who gave a damn.  Due to her years of drug use, her mother, my aunt, for the most part disowned her.  None of the family spoke to her mostly because we didn’t know where she was.  Let’s just say, the family is fractured and dysfunction has had its way throughout the years.

Within days, I learned the truth about what really happened.  I was slightly stunned but not really shocked.  There was some part of me that thought something was amiss.  The news resulted in me and another cousin doing a lot of legwork, making phone calls and trying to piece stuff together.  Part of me went to that place in my head that thought if I had mentioned my story to her maybe she would have mentioned hers to me.  Maybe I could’ve helped her in some way and this would not have happened.

Now that a couple of months have passed, I’m able to understand that all of this was somehow meant for me.  Another reminder.  An eye opener.  A catalyst that told me to stay on course.  One that struck too close to home.  This was another reason I was unable to write for the past few months.  Even though people have reached out saying I was brave to tell my story and inspirational, in the days and weeks after my cousin’s death, I felt like a hypocrite hiding behind a screen telling my story to strangers and I couldn’t even help my own flesh and blood.

Truth be told – it bothers me.

The reason it affects me, I think, is because my family was more willing to believe her death was drug related than a “simple” domestic violence murder.  My family was more willing to believe she drowned herself in drugs over the years because she was a pathetic loser than a possible coping mechanism resulting from molestation at the hands of their father.  And still, I have not spoken up.  Not to them.  And I’m not sure why.

In the heat of the moment, I did spew out the details of what happened at the hands of my grandfather.  Something that put me at ease, physically.  I had come to terms with that situation years ago.  It was something that never really weighed on me, at least not consciously.  I had a fine relationship with my grandfather as I got older but those may have been times when what happened at the age of 5 was blocked out.  On his death bed, I forgave him and let go of all of it.  The memories resurfaced when I started this blog.

Lately, I’ve had an overpowering sensation of needing to tell my family.  Not so much those I am closest to, that I speak to on a somewhat daily basis.  But those I don’t speak to as often.  I’m not sure why.  I owe them nothing.  They haven’t been in my life for, well for almost the entire marriage.  Part of it was me pushing everyone out of my life so no one would know but now I feel more of a question as to – why didn’t they try?  Maybe if someone made the effort to be in my life this wouldn’t have gone on for as long?

I don’t really know what I’m feeling.  I can only go with my instincts and when I start getting these pangs of sharing it’s only a matter of time.  It’s been a year since I first shared my story with a few people I know in the real world and I haven’t regretted it.  Maybe I just picked the right people to tell.

When I was talking to my cousin, she had so much anguish bottled up I had told her to start writing.  I told her how healing it was.  That it would be something beneficial and therapeutic for her.  She asked me if I had done that.  Writing.  I told her I did.  I told her it truly soothes the soul.  And I implored her to do the same.  She asked me what I wrote about.  As soon as her words came out I felt sheer panic.  Questioning myself whether or not I should tell her right then and there.  It felt like a 5 minute pause and was probably only 5 seconds.  All I said was – this and that, things that have happened in my life.  She asked if it helped me.  I said … absolutely.  I immediately felt guilty for not telling her.  I thought to myself if she presses me for specifics I’m going to tell her.  But she didn’t.  The conversation continued on and there was no real opportunity to squeeze it in.

We all have a bad habit of thinking there is always tomorrow.  No matter the subject.  No matter the person we want to tell.  No matter the relationships we want to mend.  The truth is … and we all know the truth … tomorrow is not promised.  I will never have the chance to confide in my cousin.  To have her know she could feel safe in confiding in me.  Our reconnection was disconnected before either of us were ready.  Don’t let that happen to you.  Whenever possible …

Tell. Your. Story.

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To read from the beginning… #MyStory starts here.

No One Ever Told Me

Is it just me or are there a multitude of campaigns out there? You’ve got the CADV – Campaign Against Domestic Violence and there is UNITE to End Violence Against Women. There is also Take Back The Night which raises awareness to end sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and sexual abuse and of course there are your run of the mill Anti-Bullying and Just Say No to drugs movements. Too many to name.

On top of that, we have color coded ribbons. When I was growing up the very first ribbon, at least I think it was the first, was the red ribbon for AIDS awareness. Then Breast Cancer became an epidemic and it’s – as we all know – associated with the pink ribbon. Now, there are not enough colors to go around. Take purple. The purple ribbon is assigned to – ARE YOU READY FOR THIS??? No…you’re not. The purple ribbon stands for awareness on 45 different causes. FOURTY FIVE!!!! Among them are child abuse, domestic violence, anti gay bullying, animal abuse and suicide prevention. That’s only 5 on the list. I chose these five because the rest on the list are mostly health related issues but these FIVE are things that can be prevented. How?? TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN!!!!

Since I’ve been blogging and going from website to website, reading information on shelters and hotlines and following tweets and Facebook pages the number of causes are insurmountable. The more I come across the more it has hit me (no pun intended) that these issues – all of them – are being discussed. Finally. Whatever the topic. But for these things to be so prevelant that one ribbon has 45 topics attached to it – it makes me wonder if enough is being done. It’s made me think back to my own childhood. Would I be where I am now if there was awareness? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not shifting blame. I just wondering if we all had the same – non-existent – talk.

My parents…my mother…my aunts…heck, no relative had any “talk” with me. Whether it be regarding sex, drugs, abuse, bullying. Nothing. There was no conversation about it. My parents were young when they had me. My mother was 17 and my father was 20. And it was the 1970’s. So they were still having sex, doing drugs (smoking pot), my father hit my mother (not excessively but in today’s world abuse is still abuse) and bullying…wasn’t that just the norm? Some kids got bullied and some kids were the bully. The biggest talk there was regarding that was your parents telling you to stick up for yourself. Basically, stop violence with violence.

In thinking back, I was never told about sex or how easy it was to get pregnant. I wasn’t even told about my period. The furthest my mother got with that was taking out a book from the library and leaving it on my bed. I can still remember the day I came home from school and saw it there. What the heck was I supposed to do with that? Everything (I thought) I needed to know was learned from the kids at school. We all had our own rendition of what certain words meant and how many sexual positions there were. Plus we were still at the age where we were amazed that the word bitch was in the dictionary – and that we (thought) we could go around saying it and when we got in trouble for doing so we just shrugged and acted confused….what? It’s a female dog. Look…it’s in the dictionary!

When I started liking boys…and chasing boys…catching and dating boys…there was never a talk on how I was supposed to be treated. Nothing about how he should respect me and never lay a hand on me. There was never a topic on saving myself for marriage or reputations that a girl could get. Oh and that…don’t let anyone ever touch you in your “private” areas talk…yeah, that never happened either.

I’m not even sure what has me bothered. I’m not even sure I am bothered. There are an awful lot of CAPS going on in this post. So I guess something has me twisted. Maybe I’m just hoping that this new wave of Public Service Announcements isn’t a fall back to parents not talking to their kids about the hard topics. Even if you haven’t been a victim of anything other than missing the bus and your life has been sunshine and roses, you should still talk to them about real issues even if you don’t know a single person that has been through anything as traumatic as domestic abuse. It’s not to put fear in their heart but awareness in their minds.

Maybe I am overreacting. It’s possible that these crusades are being lead by the children that were spoken to. That did learn about life not being perfect. In that case…thank you. To whoever took the time to sit their kids down and talk to them, no matter how uncomfortable a topic. It is quite true that knowledge is indeed power and awareness brings freedom.

My rant is over.

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To read from the beginning… my story starts here.

Silver Anniversary

Last month was my 25th wedding anniversary.  There were so many emotions swirling inside of me that day, actually that entire week, that I was unable to even come here in that time frame and sort them out.  I wanted to.  I kept signing in and staring at the screen.  I knew if there was any place to air my anxiety this was the place.  And even though several weeks have passed since the “special day”, I still feel the need to come and write about it.  As anyone who is a regular reader would know…this was NOT a happy day for me.  It was a less than joyful event.  In the days leading up to it, I started to become angry, depressed, and emotional over everything.  I just wanted to skip past it.  I didn’t want to think about it.  Just get to the days that followed as if it never existed.

For couples who are happily married, when days like this come, they’re excited, especially a big one like this.  Maybe plan a trip or at least a night out, dinner, flowers, maybe a gift.  So the anger started pulsing because even though this is not an exciting time of year for me, as it was getting closer my mind started.  I was feeling ripped off.  We don’t really do gift giving as it is so I was not expecting anything but that started to bother me.  Like, I’ve thrown away 25 years of my life the least I can get is a damn gift.  But then in my heart I knew…I don’t want anything from this man.  I don’t want a gift, a flower or even a piece of chocolate.  Just go away and pretend like this union never even existed.  Now THAT would be a gift!

Then I started picking arguments.  Believe it or not there are days when he is silent.  Days when he does not bother me at all and days my kids and I can get through morning to night without the aggravating sound of his voice.  So on those days, I just picked.  Over stuff that mattered and stuff that didn’t matter.  Like how he can put his dish on the counter next to the sink but not actually inside of the sink.  Why?  Why can’t you stretch your arm out and inch more and put the damn dish in the damn sink?  Whatever could be done to put him in the frame of mind that I was in.  Even if we had to argue.  He should be in a pissed off mood…it obviously wouldn’t pertain to the actual anniversary but who cares.  His day should be ruined – because mine is.  But he wasn’t biting.  It all came to a head later that week (Finally…), which just shows how my frame of mind and emotions were because of this reminiscent day of marriage.

The day came and he was excited.  I was sad and moping around.  There was absolutely nothing special about the day except that he was trying to be nice.  I did get flowers, which is the usual.  (For the men reading this…I’m not downing the giving of flowers…this is solely particular to my own case with this particular person.)  In the big picture, the gesture is kind and appreciated.  Looking through the microscope though, who cares?  They’ll be dead in a few days and he’ll be an asshole again.  No gift, no dinner, nothing special.  I’m perfectly fine with that.  I’d preferred that it was a regular day, without the added title to it.  I cooked, washed the dishes, worked, etc. Normal day.

Over the years, I’ve made friends with the parents of my kids’ closest friends.  Some parents I’d feel closer to than others.  Some that I feel less close with I remained friends with longer.  I’m not really sure if that even makes sense.  But there was one mom who was great to talk to.  She was also a teacher in my daughter’s school so she was also smart and I felt smart when I’d talk to her.  And I felt admired when I’d talk to her because she always was in awe of how great my kids were and how well behaved and how smart they were.  When we had become semi-close she had just started her second marriage and had her second child – the first for her husband – and she always asked about my parenting skills and what did I do, if anything, differently from my first to my second, etc.  Our conversations always did come back around to how I was such an inspiration and how I should be proud of myself because I beat the odds.  The odds being that I was a teenage mother who married her boyfriend also while a teenager and who was able to maintain that status and go on to have two more children and create and sustain a whole family unit.  And for some reason, when she said it to me, I believed it.  I believed I had beat the odds.  I believed that it was this amazing feat that not many others I knew had achieved.

But on this day, my Silver Anniversary, when her words rang in my ear, it wasn’t something that was admirable … it was sad.  Just sad.  I wasn’t doing anything wonderful for people to be astonished by I was sitting still.  Paralyzed with fear.  Scared to leave.  Allowing the days of abuse and duties of being a wife and mother just take over and eclipse my heart and spirit of who I really am.  I never told my friend the secret I was hiding.  I’m not sure if she would have been surprised.  I wonder if her opinion of me would have lessened or been any different.

All of this just boils down to the fact that on this day when I should be happy, I should feel accomplished, I should be celebrating with friends and family and a significant other that I should be in love with….I couldn’t.  For me it was a spotlight on the years that have been wasted.  Time never seemed to make such an impact on me as it did this day.  I can never get back the 25 years that have passed.  What I can do is harness the way this day made me feel to keep myself on track.  So I can easily, and hopefully peacefully, get out and start a new life with a new goal.  Once I press the restart button, I will be counting the next 25 years with peace of mind, happiness and loving life each and every day I’m given.

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To read from the beginning… my story starts here.

Breaking The Cycle

Not only was I a victim of domestic violence, this unexpected tragic life of pain and suffering, but now on top of that I was about to bring a male child into this world. There was this overwhelming burden of keeping my life a secret from friends and family and now on top of everything, I somehow needed to figure out how to break this cycle…while still living in it. Prior to my son being born, my husband basically laid down the law letting me know HE didn’t want to continue this lifestyle in front of my son. In which case it was MY responsibility to make sure that didn’t happen. Point being…if I don’t provoke him, he won’t have to be an a-hole.

What I love about these warped handouts of kindness is they somehow always paint me as the perpetrator. If I don’t sneeze too loud and make him miss what they just said on the news…he won’t have to go nuts and scream like a lunatic. C’mon, that is totally understandable. Aside from living inside of this tornado that would twist and turn and destroy at the blink of an eye, sometimes it was quite astonishing to witness how this man’s mind worked. He truly believed he was acting the way he did because everyone around him did something to cause these outbursts. And by him “nicely” (psychotically calm) explaining to me how not to speak to him the way that I do (with an attitude) it meant he was doing his part in the marriage by COMMUNICATING with me. Letting me know how he feels.

This is always amusing. At this point in time…about 10 years into the marriage…his physically abusive ways started to dissipate but now the strange psychological games started. He truly, truly believed he was doing his part. Explaining how when he would tell me things and I snapped back at him HE felt “attacked”. Can you imagine? He felt attacked. Amazing. And he TRULY believed what he was saying was reality. Forget about if I rolled my eyes when he tried to speak to me. Big mistake. During pretty much every argument he needed my undivided attention and eye contact at all times. However, the threat of violence did not end. I should not mistake his slowed physical abuse for weakness. He was just giving me a break since we were both getting older and now a third child, etc. Who knows what he may have really been thinking. Maybe that one day soon I may snap and he would be found mangled in the dishwasher? I should’ve researched postpartum depression when I had the chance. Oh well.

So now here we are, my son is born and I can only be perfectly behaved (in his eyes) for so long. Who knows how long it took before things went back to normal (my sense of time is mush at the point). However, it was explained that he tried. He tried to tell me how to act, how to speak, how to do things the right way (his way) and that if I did everything properly (his way) then he wouldn’t have to act the way he did (like an a-hole). Of course, I don’t listen. So we’ll just resume our (abusive) way of life. After all, I must like it since I always want him to act that way. In the big picture I can say “luckily” the kids were never dragged into arguments. The physical stuff never really happened in front of them. My kids are not stupid but you have to give thanks for the little things. My biggest concern was not bringing another abusive man into society.

As the years went on and my son was old enough to know his father was an a-hole, after arguments I would go to him in his room and talk to him. Apologize that his father was the loser that he was. That I did not know this when I met him. And that something is not right with him in his head. I would explain that this is not how you speak to women – in general – and most especially not to your wife, mother, sister, girlfriend, etc. So that when he gets older he knows right from wrong. I would throw in there that if he ever treated a girl the same way his father did that I could not be on his side. That may have been slightly dramatic for me to tell him but in the younger years kids really take to that fear of possibly disappointing their parents. So far, so good. As the years have been passing, my son is a mellow, kindhearted boy. He plays well with others and is respectful to children who are different from him (special needs, etc). I am proud to say he is well on his way to breaking this chain.

Since blogging, I have read stories and people have commented to me on how terrible it is to stay with or for the sake of the children. Believe me, I am well aware of that. I know how much worse my kids could have turned out. Thankfully, I can say thus far, my kids are amazingly strong and resilient. My daughters are also confident and strong minded individuals who are not afraid to use their voice and say how they feel. No matter what has happened over the years my children have flourished. Smart and social people with bright futures. They do not “love” their father in the traditional sense and surprisingly none of them have ever asked me to leave. Strangely, something here was meant to happen for a reason. Lessons for both myself and my husband, who knows. My guess is that these kids were meant to come into this world and be prepped for whatever may come their way. At the very least, I can say that has been done.