Leaving

The first time I left him, it was because he had hit me and called me a whore. I, like any young girl, ran home to my parents. My mother consoled me. My father told me, “you made your bed, now you have to lie in it.” I returned to my husband the next day.

The next time I left, I had my daughter. He would call me and say he was sorry. He told me our place was with him. I returned to him again.

The third time I left him, we had two small children, and I was carrying our third. He was having an affair. When I found out, like any young woman, I was hurt and angry. He beat me so bad that I had to see a doctor. I had a concussion.

After years of mental abuse, I had to leave again.  This time, we had nowhere to go, no money and three children to care for. He told me he didn’t know what he had until he lost it.

The next time I left, was after he was arrested for sexual misconduct with a juvenile. I wanted to believe he wasn’t guilty. I stood by him and defended him. He got away with it. We had our fourth child during this time, but nothing changed.

The fifth time, I told him he had to leave. Again, I had nowhere to go,

no money and three more small children to care for, but he kept coming back. He continued to expect me to take care of his needs and his wants. He was back every day, so I allowed him to come home.

The sixth time I left, I had no choice. He was so messed up with synthetic drugs that he held us prisoner for 3 days and 4 nights. No one was allowed in or out. He wouldn’t let me sleep. He constantly accused me of having sex with little men hiding in our furniture. Furniture, that he would flip over and tear apart to find these so called men.

After another beating I took from him, for allowing our young children out of the house to go to school, I escaped. It was cold. I was in my night clothes, wearing no shoes. Luckily, I had the chance to grab my handbag, which held our car keys. After a week, he started calling me again. This time, I was able to take half our money. I should have taken it all. I thought I was being fair.

After all, he would always tell me that it wasn’t my money. He earned it, I didn’t. Everything I’ve ever done was considered by him as elementary. Even a child could do it. He said he could do it better, but he never tried. I took care of everything and everyone. He contributed a paycheck.

We stayed gone about 3 weeks. He called and asked me to come home to talk. He told me he was off the drugs and that he had sought counseling. He confessed to all of his crimes to everyone he wanted to know. Among them, our young children. This time, when I took him back, a divorce was still in place. It was put on hold for one year. I returned because I felt I had no choice. Our children wanted to go home. They were miserable.

After many years of mental and physical abuse, the use of drugs and the continuous adultery by him, I just no longer cared about me. I just cared about the mental and physical well-being of our children.

I always thought I was doing the right thing by returning. I was wrong. My abuser may be gone, but the abuse still controls my life. When you’ve lived with and loved someone for a very long time, and they repeatedly told you that you were worthless, it’s very hard to find for yourself any worth.

I know if you’ve read this, so far you are probably saying in your mind, why did she stay, or I never would have stayed. As to why, I reference my post…”Why?” And I say to you, as to your leaving, I say maybe, maybe not. I’ve finally parted us for good, realizing we were always headed to this conclusion.

When you are living in an abusive relationship, it becomes your whole world. It is very hard to see any way out of it. I thought my only way out would be with my death. He had complete control over every part of my existence. On average, a woman in an abusive relationship will leave her abuser, sometimes as many as 11 times before its over.

I guess I’m one of those average women.

 

Starting Over

I’ve often wondered about history. Does it have a way of repeating itself in bits and pieces? Do we exist in some kind of parallel universe, or are we in a warped dimension of time and space? Have you ever experienced a moment where you kind of felt like it had happened already? Something about it seems so familiar?

When I was younger, much younger, I was involved in an accident. While I was riding a bike, I was struck by a vehicle. I was shipped to one hospital, but they were unable to help me. I was then shipped to another, far away from home. I was in a coma for 11 days. When I awoke, some of my past was gone, including the events of the accident.

Other events in my life were just gone, like they never happened. I knew who I was, and I knew my family, but everything else was like a patchwork quilt, haphazardly thrown together. So, I guess you can say that my history will always be incomplete. He who shall remain nameless was there. I think I started to love him then.

Many years later, our son was also involved in an accident. Here is where, in a way, history repeats itself in those bits and pieces. We were both hit by a truck, driven by drunk drivers. Neither of us sustained broken bones. I was leaving a friend’s house. He was at a friend’s house.

He too was sent to a hospital first that was unable to help him, then sent to another far from home. We both lost bits and pieces of ourselves, but I think I was a little luckier than him. We were both in the hospital for a month, and he who shall remain nameless was their again.

This time, my love for him ended. I had to start over after my accident, but I didn’t feel like I had lost anyone in my life. Once again, I’m starting over after our son’s accident. This time, I’ve lost a lot of people.

I kind of feel like a baby learning to walk for the first time. I’m feeling a bit wobbly and off balance in my life. I am hoping by going through my past memories, that I will be able to become steady on my feet once again. While in no way do I think our accidents were of the same degree of suffering, I can’t help but wonder, is the universe trying to tell me something?

I know I can’t change my past history, but I’m hoping my future holds happier comparisons. I know my future is out there somewhere in time. It’s waiting for me to arrive in every new day. I know this because every day is starting over.

Someday

These past two years have been filled with a lot of uncertainties. If the sky was blue, all I could see was gray and cloudy. The wind may have blown a gentle breeze, but I felt I was in a tornado. I have been a part of a circle that felt empty and endless. My world became a jumbled mass of nerves and sadness.

I’ve had to pretend to be stronger than I actually felt. I have been told that I must start putting myself first. Everything and everyone comes after. This is going to be really hard for me. For such a long time now, my life has been always putting everything and everyone else’s everything first. I was always last, if I placed at all.

Most of the time, it was just easier to forget about me. My feelings were always being put through the ringer, and I was hung out to dry (so to speak). I was always tested and found a failure. I’m not feeling sorry for myself, I’m saying that at times, I’ve come to the understanding that nothing in my life has been flexible or fixable. Especially me.

All I’ve been focused on is my past pain. It’s now time for me to try to clean out all of the negativity in my life. Even though, it seems to have buried me alive, I need to start digging myself out from under it. Only I can’t seem to find the proverbial shovel needed to do it.

My days have been hard. My nights even harder. I used to welcome the darkness. It was a good hiding place for me. I could ignore my troubles and fears there for a little while. I can no longer do so. Nightmares haunt me there. Everyday, I awake telling myself, its the last one, and I sincerely hope it’s true each time.

By day, my mind is continuously turning. It’s like a reel of film playing out scenes of ways to change or fix my life for the better. The only problem is, I still don’t play the leading role and nothing seems to fit. I’ve come to realize that I haven’t conquered my darkness yet.

I need to overcome my fears and uncertainties. As long as I’m just an observer, I’ll never take the lead. Sometimes I wish I could rewind my life to a happier time. A time when my young heart was still unbroken, and it was filled with love and laughter. The time before, when I didn’t know how dreadfully empty it would one day feel.

Back to the time in my life when love was a free commodity that was never in short supply. Instead, today I find myself reaching, searching and wandering around, trying to recapture that time.

Over the years, I’ve tried to teach my children to never rely on anyone else to make them happy. I would tell them that they needed to find happiness for themselves, and only then could they share that happiness with someone else. I did this because I had looked for it in someone else, but he never allowed me to find my happiness. I became his burden.

He always left the strain of making us happy completely up to me, but I was made to feel a failure. Now, I must practice what I’ve preached. I have to find my own happiness in myself. It’s really been hard just being me. It’s so much easier to just exist. Deep down I know to find my happiness, I have to start handling me better.

I know in my heart I want it. I know my soul needs it. I’m looking for it now, and if I’m lucky, I will eventually find it someday.

Chapter 4: Finding Me

Win or Lose

Life is not a game. If it were, mine would be like a card game. I would think of it as the hand that I was dealt. In this game, the rules are constantly changing. When I started to play, I was part of a full house. Then I became a single card with no face value. To improve my worth, I drew another card and became a pair.

As the game progressed, I continued to draw from the deck until once again, I was a full house. Over the years, my cards began to age. I watched as my hand fell apart. In the game, sometimes the bets I took were just too high. I often wanted to just fold and take the loss.

When the bets would be lowered enough for me to stay in, I stayed. I was hoping to win it all, eventually. I never did. I didn’t realize the first card I had drawn had never really been mine. That card was my opponent all along. My opponent wanted all the cards in his hand. The problem was, he was never satisfied and discarded often.

He continuously drew new ones. Then he would change his mind and want the old ones back once again. I held onto mine with everything I had in me. The cards I played were the cards of love, fidelity and trust. My opponent’s were hatefulness, deceit and jealousy. Our cards didn’t play well together.

At one time, I had thought that I would get lucky and draw the king and queen of hearts. They would rule the outcome of our game, allowing us both to win. Instead, I drew the joker. This card had no real value for me. After many years of consideration, I finally decided to discard.

I’ve come to the understanding that as long as I play my game with him, I would always continue to lose. I’m okay with my decision. I’ve decided I’m worth more than nothing. I will have to learn to play this game differently now, and that’s okay. I get to make the rules this time.

So, even if I just play solitaire for the rest of my life, so what? That’s what I’ve done for most of the game anyway. I think I have a better chance of winning now. Win or lose, I’ve played fairly. What is that old saying, cheaters never prosper? Well, I guess we shall see when all the cards are played in this game we call life.

Like I was always told, it’s not if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.

 

My Tomorrow

I look to my tomorrow in fear.
I know not where I’ll go from here.
My life has been filled with pain.
I feel I have nothing left to gain.

I’ve watched as my world fell apart.
I felt helpless and alone from the start.
Tears should never fall from my eyes.
I have no more time to cry.

Sleep eludes me every night.
I simply lay waiting for the day to light.
If life is meant to be a trial, I have been convicted.
Of what crimes my mind is so conflicted.

What wrongs did I do?
Was I just too strong for you?
I did bend, but never did I break.
I had to stay sane for our children’s sake.

I can breathe more freely now,
but I know not how.Each day continues same as the one before.
Sometimes I want to just stop and shout, no more!

Please, I beg of you.
Release me from this tragedy I call life.
The pain at times has cut me like a knife.
There has to be another way, a better place for me.
I guess I will just have to continue to wait and see.

-MLQ

Truth or Fiction?

I went to the doctor’s office with my son. As we sat patiently waiting for his appointment, I picked up a magazine to read. As I started to skim through it, what should happen to be the first thing I see, an article on domestic abuse. This time its about celebrities.

As I mentioned in my blog post “Causes,”if its about a celebrity, its in the news. When I started to read it, I wondered, is this true? Is it real? I felt instantly ashamed of myself for thinking like this. Knowing personally what was said about the celebrity is in fact signs of abuse. Who am I to think that just because they are famous that I should doubt it.

Then I start to wonder, as I read more of the article, how many of the people that have been reading my blog have doubted me? Like her, do people think its all a made up lie. The people that the writer of this article interviewed are his family, friends and coworkers. They praised him and proclaimed him innocent. They stated, “I know him.”

Even though he has been arrested in the past for drugs, alcohol and violent acts, she stated that she has proof and a witness. They still say she is lying. I ask, how do they know? If you are not living every day with this person, you don’t get to see all of his faces. You will only ever see the ones he chooses to show. Like in my post, “Do You Know Him.”

Why is it so easy to make judgements about the accuser, yet so hard to believe that the accused may not be the person you thought you knew. Its not like they wear a sign that says, “I am an abuser.” They always seem to know just what to say and how to act perfectly for others.

The victim of abuse may never feel safe enough to be that way. Usually, we limit ourselves to just what we feel safe saying or doing. Sometimes, even that comes back to bite us when we return to our secluded world with the abuser.

So unless you were there, unless you lived it, might I suggest that just because you think you know them, you may be wrong. So don’t say you know what’s true if its only your truth.

As for me, I’ve learned another lesson. Just because you enjoy their acting, it doesn’t mean they did or didn’t do it. After all, it could just be another roll. Who’s to know for sure. Only the victim and the abuser.

Now, that the reporters have had their say, and they’ve done their interviews, it’s just a wait and see. A court gets to decide who they feel is telling the truth. I’ve been there. It’s not something I ever wanted to go through. Having a court determine my life for me. I’ve gone from being controlled by an abuser to being under the control of the legal system.

Although I’m freer now than I’ve ever been, I’m still just waiting for my turn to just be me.

A New Angel

Heaven has gotten a new angel. Thank you God for allowing us the privilege to be with her here on earth. She was the most loving, caring, and selfless person I’ve ever known. She was never unkind and never had an unkind word to say to anyone. Meanness just wasn’t in her.

She always strove to do good and to teach us to be good too. She never interfered in our life’s choices, but was always there to pick us up when we fell. She never complained, no matter the circumstances. She was a strong shoulder to cry on. She was a warm embrace when we needed one.

She was always there for everyone with no judgement. She helped us with our young. She cared for the old and the sick. No one suffered in her presence. Just knowing she was there seemed to ease their pain. She had a gentle touch that seemed to reach your soul. A smile that made you want to smile.

She always loved no matter how tired she was or how hard it got for her. She was a devoted wife to her husband til his death and beyond. She was a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

She was and forever will be my mother. I will miss her presence, but she will never be forgotten. Through the grace of God, she will continue through time forever in us, in our children and our children’s children. Rest now, you’ve earned it.

Mom, you are my good memory. Thank you and I love you.

mom

A Moment In Time

For a very long time now, I’ve been living in a veil of his evil. I’ve been drowning in the murky depths of despair. I’ve come to realize that by building my wall of defense, I not only protected my sanity, I’ve also saved up all the bad moments of my life. They were so bad at times, they seemed to have smothered all of the good ones.

As I search my past memories, I can see scenes of them. They are all clouded in the ugliness of our time together. As I try to find the ability to survive, I know that I have to find good moments, or as a good friend has told me, my “ahah” moment.

Instead of the ugliness that seems to flow from my pen, I want to be able to write something good. I put down my pen and take a deep breath. In this moment, I realize that I am having a good moment. Just to be sure, I took that deep breath again. Yep, that breath I just took was no longer painful.

I also noticed that the pinched feeling in my heart that I’ve carried around for so long is gone too. It seems to be just beating the normal rhythm of life now. As I contemplate this, my thoughts flow on to other things, like I may be walking alone now, but I am walking.

Even though I’m heading into the unknown, I’ll eventually know where I am. If I get afraid when my roads get bumpy, well that’s okay too. I’m making plenty of changes in my life, and although it’s taking a long time, it is changing.

When my world sometimes seems to turn sideways on me, I look away no more. Where ever I go, or whatever I end up doing with my life, it’s my choice. My life without him has become filled with wishes and dreams of happy moments, and I realize now I’ve had a few.

Once again, I find myself hoping for a brighter tomorrow with peace and acceptance. I can feel the first fizzles of it starting deep down inside of me. I no longer want to settle for a lesser life. I too deserve more.

All around me, I see colors and flavors splashing around. I want to be a part of that. I want to feel more colors than just blue. I want to taste more flavors than just the bitter reminisce of us. I am trying one thing new everyday. I may not like the flavor, but it’s my choice.

I walk in the sunlight again, and sometimes I can feel it seeping back into my soul. I am discovering me and all that it entails. If I’m liked or loved by others, that’s their choice. My liking and loving is mine. I decide that. So what if he thinks I’m not either of those things. What is he to me now anyway?

He’s no more than a piece of dirt on the bottom of my shoe that will one day be nothing but a speck of dust that will fall free from me. I will be able to sweep him away completely. This is a good day.

A great day for me would be not to think of him at all. It’s too late today, maybe tomorrow. Any tomorrow will do because they are all my tomorrows. Mine, filled with my new memories of my new moments to replace the old. Isn’t that what life’s about, making memories that are but a moment in time.

No Judgement

I’ve been told by someone that I shouldn’t be posting the things I’ve written. That’s okay. They are entitled to their opinion. No judgement.

Some have told me, “I read them, but I won’t show I’ve read them by liking them.” No Judgement.

I’ve written for years, not everyday, but at times when I couldn’t deal with the madness of us anymore. I did it because my pen and paper had become my only friend. I can write things down with no judgement.

Each time, I wrote what described to me, our world. This allowed me a sense of peace. I was able to release it, and sometimes forget about it for a while. I’ve decided to share my words with others now. My words. My choice.

I know I don’t owe an explanation, but I’ll try to give you one anyway. When I pick up my pen, it becomes my weapon of defense. The punches thrown through my words can be avoided. The only kind of blood that I spill is the ink that flows from my pen. With pen and paper, I can present an opinion without it turning into an argument.

I don’t get yelled at when I disagree. My written words are the quietest fight I’ve ever had. The retaliation of this form of defense is criticism. I’ve taken that most of my life, so what’s a little more?

Some have complimented my writing. For that I thank you. My writings have been compared to Edgar Allan Poe. Dark. That’s okay too. No judgement.

I write to dispel my darkness. I mean, after all, what’s not dark about abuse? I guess what I am trying to say is this. If every one of you that is on the other side of my written words read them, understanding that I’m trying to explain away the last 38 years of my life, would just consider this.

Without the written word of so many others, where would we be today? If my words have helped even one person out there to recognize domestic violence and what it feels like to live the life of a victim along with the damage it can cause, I’ve achieved my goal.

If I have touched anyone in any way, good or bad, I’ve gotten you to think about it. I have accomplished what I set out to do. So, until you have walked in my shoes, which I pray you never do, don’t judge me. It’s not just about me. I’m not the only one and neither are you.

Sorry, but I’m not finished yet. So, take it or not. It’s your choice. I’ve made mine. I choose to be a survivor by breaking the silence and putting an end to the violence in the only way I know how. With no judgement.

Don’t Blink

You blink once, and all of a sudden you are five years old. You are starting school, playing with toys and making new relationships with people that you hope last forever. For most kids, this is the easiest part of life. I mean it was for me. I thought my life was perfect. I thought my family was perfect.

You blink twice, and now you are 14. Where did the time go? This is when life got complicated for me. This is the age in which you start to think like a young adult. All you want to do is grow up. Who cares about being young right? You can’t do anything that the adults can do. This is the age where you start to understand everything that is going on. Life makes sense. Mine did not.

Remember when I was five and I thought my life was perfect? Well, I was wrong. I like to block out what happened because you don’t want to think of the people you love this way, even when it is the truth, but I have to face reality eventually.

Personally, this event will live within me forever, and it has shaped me into the person I am now. I was a child in an abusive family, and I am talking about my father. Now, my father never hit me, but he did things to my mother all the time. They were little things like pinching her, or talking down to her. I didn’t realize how wrong that was.

One day, I got off the bus from school and came home to my mother crying. She had found some synthetic drugs that my father had been taking. I noticed he had been acting weird, but I didn’t think anything of it. The truth wasn’t that he was weird, the truth was that my father was abusing drugs. This caused him to go crazy, and it led to the most traumatizing event in my life.

You blink a third time, and it’s your birthday. You’re fifteen now, but its not a happy occasion. You can’t even celebrate at your own home because your father is high on drugs, and it isn’t safe to be around him.

We had gone home one night while staying at my aunt’s house, and I saw my father holding up a gun. He said that he was going to kill my mom and kill himself. He had written basically what I believed to be a suicide note all over my parent’s bedroom walls.

This was too much for me. I ran out of the house. He didn’t kill himself, and he got off the drugs, but he was never the same in my eyes. I noticed all of the wrongs that he committed, and there was nothing I could do about it. I still can’t do anything about it.

I am now 19 years old, and all I know is, that experience taught me that love is rare, it is hard to find, and it is special. I’m not saying that it never existed in my household, but I do call to question how much of it was real.

I will never forget what happened that year, but I will forever learn from it. I was a child in an abusive family, but now I am a survivor.