God Bless My Broken Road

I sit today to write with a burning question in my heart.  I write not because I have the answers and I want to share my knowledge…but because I don’t.

I have been abused.  I have been emotionally abused.  I have been verbally abused. I have been physically abused.  I have been sexually abused.

I have not been abused by strangers, but men I chose to be with…and chose to stay with.

That’s a hard pill for me to swallow.

I am talking about it…and I encourage others too, as well.

Recent happenings have had the dust kicked up and has me self-reflecting, more than usual anyway.  My first husband, father to my oldest child, was arrested last week…for domestic assault, no less…and highlighted in the local news pages.  This man has been MIA for over a decade.  And even then it was a one-time encounter after many years of no contact.  He abandoned his child, physically and financially.

His arrest, and him surfacing, has me recounting the details of our past history.  My son has no recall of any events while we were married (Thank God) being that he was just over a year old when we separated.  And when I say separated…I mean that there was the final and scary act of violence.  Leaving me with some haunting memories that I haven’t visited in quite some time.  There were a few violent encounters in our relationship…the last one involving a lot of bruising, weapons, police lights at our house in the middle of the night and restraining orders…not unlike my last relationship finale.

This has me asking…how the hell…why the hell…have I had myself in relationships with people like this!!??  I find myself to be somewhat intelligent.  Emotionally grounded.  Rational.  And I wasn’t stuck.  I read a lot of articles of women who are afraid to leave.  That wasn’t me.  I was NOT afraid…I was pissed off and hurt (Well, in the moment of violence…I was afraid…but when the dust settled and I was no longer being dominated…I held my ground!).  I demanded a solution.  For them to fix the problem.

And they agreed.  I have been to more couples counseling than I would care to have…and seen people go to on their own.  Regardless of the help that was being sought…the result has been the same.

The cycle of violence that’s published on the internet is a real thing.  Even if I don’t have the answer as to how I got into those relationships yet, I understand why I stayed.  For a time anyway.  The honeymoon phase.  I remember in one relationship that was going through the intense and rocky phase…that I would just wish for it to blow-up and for the fall-out to happen so we could get to the point where he would be sorry and doting.  Totally messed up.  However, I know I am not alone.  At least I don’t think I am.

I can thankfully say that I am now in a non-violent nor abusive in any manner relationship.  It’s not perfect, nor should it be.  Two personalities coming together is bound to have some conflict and growing pains, but it’s calm and respectful and loving.  Hallelujah.

I speak openly in my relationship about my past and my hurts and questions about my decisions.  I am still trying to sift through how I got into the situations I was in…but if not for anything…I am glad my path was the way it was (I was reminded of this over the past few days by both my oldest child and my boyfriend).  I have four beautiful children (and the wisdom gained) that are the result of my road traveled.

So, while I haven’t answered my question as to why I chose some men like I did (please note…not all were abusive…my longest relationship to date, albeit high conflict at the end with husband number two, was not abusive)…I know this was the journey I was meant to have.  And I am more than okay with the family that was the product of that journey.

God bless this broken road.

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I urge those in these types of relationships to speak up, get help and get out.  Just get out.  In my experience…it gets no better.  Progressively, it gets worse.  I am lucky enough to be here to talk about it and no further damage or injury was experienced. Speak up.  Get out. ❤

 

 

 

Time to Heal…My Own Way.

Healing is a process.  It doesn’t look the same for any two people.  There are “stages” that are outlined for how people usually deal with loss…and I agree with that.  But it’s not an even flow from one to the next.  And sometimes you get stuck in a stage.

I feel like that I am genuinely happy…but even still, I am stuck in the anger.  I am very angry about the closing, and content, of my last relationship.  Not with every waking breath, but it’s there.  I can easily feel pleasure and I smile almost all the time.  That doesn’t mean that right under the surface I am not enraged.

At the risk of pissing off a few people…I am choosing to write about it.  I am getting more and more angry as the days go by instead of it dissipating.  While I am settling into a very amazing new relationship, I am still reeling about the former one.  It’s not keeping me from enjoying one ounce of romance and excitement…but in those quiet moments…I slip to where I just came from.

The letter came in the mail this week dictating to me the outcome of the hearing from the County House of Corrections from last month…the last incident.   The sentence he should have served is suspended with two years good behavior, but the fact that there’s Domestic Violence charges read loud and clear to me and just resonates.  It has snapped me into a bad place.

Shhhhh…..

Right?  I am not supposed to talk about it?

I am supposed to move on and heal…but just don’t say out loud what happened.  It’s not fair to him.  He was wronged growing up.  He’s not a monster.

Guess what?  I think differently.

I think I let a man into my life hesitantly.  One who gave, gave, gave.  “Too good to be true” is what I kept saying about the way my needs were tended to.  Of course, the immaturity here and there and what I considered obnoxiousness at times were smoothed over with the constant doting…for me and the family.  I always worried, though, about the wolf in sheep’s clothing.  Sadly, I was correct.

I gave him me.  An already wounded me.  And the biggest part of me.  My family.

My family was treated well by him.  No denying that.   I gave him this family that has been through a ton.  Kids that have lost their father figure.  A little boy that lost his one and only father.  That looked to this guy as his potential Step-Dad.  The only living Dad he would have.  I gave him that.

I am so unbelievably angry that he was so careless with this gift.  That because he had a crappy upbringing, he used that to excuse his violent outbursts.  He used that to excuse laying his hands on me.  Slamming me into the dashboard of his truck. He used that to excuse biting…yes, biting me…like an animal in a fit of rage.  I am still marked from that incident…from over a year and a half ago.

Shhhhh…

It’s not fair to speak of these things.  It’s not fair to him.  He’s not a monster.

Guess what?  I still think differently.

If those things were okay to do to me at the time, I feel they are okay to speak of today.

Why the hell do people think it’s better for me to keep it quiet to protect him?  Protect his feelings.  His honor.  Where the hell were you at two a.m. when he was in a rage and I was doing everything I could to de-escalate a situation that I had no idea how the outcome would be…fearing the worse.   The last one ultimately damaging a lot of people.

Just SHHHHHH!

Right?  I should just be silent and deal with it quietly?  We don’t want to embarrass anyone?

I am not trying to piss anyone off, but I am the one that is pissed off now.  Pissed off and hurt.  Pissed off and trying to heal…

I speak in hopes to heal some of this resentment.  I refuse to purse my lips to protect those that were so careless with me and mine.  I speak to let some of you that are stuck in a shitty situation, whether like the one I speak of or something different…that although there’s this process to go through…and sometimes you get stuck in for a bit…there’s another side to that life.  A decent one. A happy one.

I am holding tight to the hope that this is another step in my healing and I release some of this hostility by opening up more.  I honestly hope that the person that caused me this anger is finding their own way of healing to help them get healthy so they don’t do this to another family, and themselves, again.  I hope his family finds their way to forgiving him for doing and me for sharing.  I hope that if you are reading and you relate and you hurt…you find your path to safety and mending.

Bring on the next stage…

 

 

 

 

 

Learning to Breathe Again…

Breathing. taking air in and expelling it.  An involuntary action that sustains life.

Sometimes this process, in the figurative sense, gets suppressed. And it kills you on the inside.  For me, this time, it wasn’t until I felt I was breathing again, that I noticed I had been being suffocated for some time.

From an outsider’s point of view, my just under two year relationship seemed fairytale-like.  And it was in some form.  I was swept off my feet.  I was grieving and had no intention of sugar-coating that when it started.  I fully intended to keep my grieving process going…both with Matt passing 4 months before…and Mike 3 years prior.  He seemed to respect that and allowed me to weep, reminisce and pay tribute to them when I needed.  He anticipated every need I had…even before I recognized my own needs.

I was greeted, after work surprisingly in my car, with photos of my grandbaby that I had taken that he had printed and framed…because I mentioned when I took it that it was worthy of framing.  My hair dryer broke just before work one day and I found a brand new one in my vehicle after my shift.  It seemed every time I turned around, a want or need was fulfilled.  I can honestly say that it stayed that way until almost nearly the end…at some point he checked out the last few months and I felt myself starting to have needs that were unfulfilled and slowly started to stand on my own two feet.  I hadn’t had to do that in a while.

It happened so gradually and subtly that I did not notice…I no longer had to worry about things.  Rides for kids…trips to the grocery store……laundry…keeping the pool clean. You name it.  If I mentioned it, he made it his job to do it.  I found I had to be careful of thinking out loud of a want because it became a mission for him to fulfill it.

Sounds like a dream come true, right?  I thought so, too.

You feel what you focus on.

This came at a price, though.  There was an anger there.  Not all the time.  And there was no telling when it would surface.  The in-between times were fun, adventurous, romantic, sexy. Nothing is perfect, right?  No one is perfect.  He loses his temper sometimes.  He gets jealous.  He looks through my phone.  He spies on my facebook messenger…at communications long before him.  He hurt me.  Physically.  But I was assertive about these things…I addressed what I felt was wrong and forgave. I demanded resolutions.  Counseling, etc. I focused on the positive and let the shortcomings go.  I was strong, spoke my mind and carried on.  He was to fix what was broken.  And all along there was a plan of action to take care of that.

What I didn’t realize, until removing myself from the situation (at the demand of the local police…which is still in effect) was that I was being controlled by a person that never told me to “Do this” or “You cannot do that”.  I was controlled due to my empathy.  I could see reactions to certain situations.  Going out with friends, talking or texting on the phone…sometimes weren’t met with favorable behaviors.  So, I learned to act in ways that had more favorable outcomes.  Like staying home.  Which was not a punishment for me…I LOVE being home with my family, playing games and such.  It wasn’t a sacrifice to do this.  It’s not until now I realize how isolated I became.  I wasn’t even going to the grocery store anymore…I would start my list and he would insist on getting everything for me.  I could do something for me…nap if I wanted.

The first bit of anger scared me.  It was out of jealousy.  Of a dead person.  It confused me because the reason I opened him into my life was due to his understanding of this part of me.  Slowly, I was stifled of my openness with my grieving.  Pictures even eventually became a problem and I dealt with it the best way I could.  I have picked up where I was in that grieving process and am continuing my journey.

The next bit of anger scared me more…and left me bruised.  This was not my first rodeo with this type of behavior.  I explained I knew how these types of situations escalate.  It’s like building blocks.  Stacking one situation on top of another and it always gets a little more extreme each time.  This relationship was no exception.

I did not just lay down and take it. Well, in the heat of the moment…I did whatever I could to de-escalate the situation. But when heads were clear, I made it known it was unacceptable…demanding he get help…and now I see I tried to see what behaviors I contributed to and tried to not duplicate it.  Even innocent and unassuming actions.  I became hyper-aware of every step I took to not aggravate any situation.  Not fun.  Not easy.  I wasn’t breathing.

I became stifled.  I was walking on eggshells.  I was me and enjoying what I chose to focus on…my beautiful family and the positive sides of a dysfunctional romance.  But, I was left broken on many occasions…physically a few times.  I was left shattered, eventually.  And so remorseful that I subjected my children to another loss.

It’s hindsight that has me shaking my head that even though I was trying to be strong and fix problems when I saw them arise, that I still let the abuse and control continue.

I am beginning to breathe again.  I am no longer having to pull into the drive way not sure what mood I am about to encounter.  I am taking care of me and the children and not worrying about being scrutinized.  I am emerging from my home and meeting with friends and am communicating, innocently, with people I had cut-off, so to make life easier.  I am self reflecting as to how I let myself get to where I was…and how to never return.

I am breathing.  I am healing.  And every day it’s feeling better and better.