Monday, May 30, 2011

Getting out- The story I haven't told.

I just realized that I never really told my story, like at all. I live in a small town. My parents are divorced and my dad is re-married to my step-mom (who is a great step-mom, thank you). I have lived in the same little town my whole life. I was a bright enough kid (was always labeled the "smart kid" in school and was tested and placed in the gifted program when I was in 4th grade). I did some pretty dumb stuff as a teenager though. I took the advanced classes, sure, but I didn't apply myself, not really. That person that everyone hates because they got an A in Trig without studying- yeah that was me.
I could have done so much more,  but I was dumb and I thought the guy I was dating was great-- yeah really dumb. I did get good grades and I took the ACT once, I even started college (was in the ADN program) but I dropped out. I got married to the guy I had thought was the only guy that would ever like me. I didn't think of myself as being attractive. I was the mediocre friend of a hot girl. I was a little heavy- more curvy than fat, but I didn't see it that way. I lost touch with a lot of friends because he kept me away from them. He tried to do the same with my family.
Then things started getting even worse. I struggled with depression off and on. He continually told me that I was fat, that I was stupid, and that no one else would have me and he was the best thing that ever happened to me (On a side note, If anyone EVER says those things - run, run far far away they are NO GOOD and you do deserve better!). Things continued to spiral out of control. He'd be just absolutely awful to me then apologize and do something nice and promise me that it would never happen again.
He started to get mad at me for things he dreamed I did. That's right I hadn't even done them and he'd fly off the handle. One of those is something that still scares me, He said dreamed that I had gotten pregnant using artificial insemination and that in the dream he killed me and my offensive child because he'd never let me have someone else's baby. He'd kill me and my child if it ever happened. At the time I didn't worry because I wasn't planning on going anywhere and I didn't have any children, just pets, and besides, he apologized and tried to be really nice to me that morning.
He continued to get worse. During one fight I was getting ready to leave. Not just leave him leave the area, the entire part of the world that I was comfortable with and knew. I was going to hitchhike, or get a bus ticket, or whatever it took, but I was going to go to New York where a friend of mine was for school and start over. I didn't even know how I'd find her once I got there. I really hadn't planned anything, but I started to write a note for my parents so that they wouldn't freak too badly. He grabbed my piece of paper and ripped it in half. He said "you aren't taking the cowards' way out so just forget it". I guess he thought I was going to kill myself and was writing the suicide note. Then he hit me.
Once that had happened my trust was completely shattered. It was bad enough the things he'd tried to convince me to do. He wanted some things in the bedroom that made me uncomfortable or I found humiliating and I'm not an unadventurous person. I still don't know why I stayed as long as I did. I had second thoughts before the wedding and a friend of mine told me then that if I was not 100% completely sure that this was what I wanted then I didn't have to go through with it, but I did it anyway.  Then he came back from a "fishing trip" with a friend and asked me what I thought of him experimenting with his friend. I told him I didn't like the idea of him cheating on me with anyone, man or woman. Other things he had done that made me uncomfortable included showing people intimate pictures, and his porn addiction. His porn collection, as I discovered too late to do anything about it included naked pictures of children, and beastiality.  It sickened me. I didn't want him to touch me. He told me that if we ever had children and specifically a girl that he wanted to take pictures of her naked every year. to watch her development. I also found out that when he was 7 he molested a younger cousin- he admitted that to me. He had also tried to stab his sister. That was probably the roots of the big fight.
The big fight ended with me curled up in a ball on the bed and him screaming at me. He was holding his gun- an SKS that his parents had bought for him from someone who used to be his friend. I heard him load the gun then he told me to look at him. He said he wouldn't shoot me in the back and that I had to look at him. I couldn't do it. I wouldn't do it. I still don't know what stopped him or why I didn't go to the police. I was terrified. I lived in terror and started trying to get myself out of there, but was afraid to leave. I was afraid to ask for help. I worried that it meant I was weak. I worried about what would happen- would he kill me? would he harm my family?
At that time I was holding the first job that he had let me keep. I was working for a sporting goods store that offered me excellent discounts and he liked that. They also offered me advancement opportunity, and a chance to travel to help new stores with grand openings. I was good at my job, and the job was good to me. I made new friends there. I started to feel better about myself. I started to exercise and feel even better about myself and how I looked. I couldn't afford to eat better because I was the sole source of income and he took every spare cent, but I was looking and feeling better. I started to pick up clothes that fit on clearance at work as soon as I'd get paid so he couldn't take the money. I started seeing friends again. One of them I got to see because he had it in his head that since he was a guy it was his friend.
I got stronger. Strong enough to leave. I moved in with a friend until I could get my own place. My parents helped me with my security deposit and I had a beautiful loft apartment in downtown. I was happy for the first time. I was also getting closer to a guy. That friend that my ex had thought was his friend had had a crush on me in high school, and I on him. We started seeing each other. It just felt right. At the time, he was one of the few men in the world I would have let that close. I knew he wouldn't take advantage of my weaknesses and I knew that I wasn't looking for anything serious at the time so his approach of just casually dating, but discussing it if either of us wants to see someone else seemed perfect. I fell for him HARD. He moved away, but I kept visiting him because I knew that if I didn't I'd lose the friendship. We kept seeing each other and he'd come back and stay with me from time to time. When he lost his nerve with staying with a relative and wanted out I offered to let him move in with me. After that he found out he was going to deploy to Kosovo and I found out a month before he left for pre-deployment training that I was pregnant. I was scared. I didn't want my ex to find out. I remembered his threat. I didn't know how the new man in my life would react to the news, but I was thrilled with his reaction. He decided that we'd wait to tell anyone the news until it was confirmed by the blood test from the doctor, but 15 minutes later he was on the phone calling his mom. He was excited. He had been told he only had a 5% chance of ever having a child naturally.
The "perfect" apartment I had was starting to make me ill- literally. There was mold, a leak in the roof that wouldn't stop, and lots of stairs that we both knew would be a problem later on. Not to mention the apartment only had one bedroom. Since I knew my Superman was in it for the long haul and that he'd help me out I found a new place. a small two bedroom that we could make work. Superman was re-injured (he got a purple heart in Iraq and still has shrapnel in his elbow) during training and was sent home. Once he was home we had too much stuff, and a friend of his's mom was losing her place and he decided to help her out, so we moved again-two days before Stinkbug was born (The roommate from hell is another story, that I won't get into, but she now has a job and her own place and is doing well).I'll tell more of this part of my story later on, but I struggled with post-partum depression, then when I got pregnant the second time I asked my doctor for help and was put on Celexa. By the time Turtle-bug was born, things were looking much better to me.
 We've had our ups and downs, but we are stronger now. I am stronger now. I learned that the first step to recovery and to being truly free was learning to love myself again. This is something that I still struggle with. It is possibly why I found myself in that position to begin with. There are still lots of times that I don't think I have what it takes, but I know that I have my boys and I have my Superman and they are my rock. I am in love. I am happy, and learning to love myself is an ongoing process.
For anyone who is in an abusive relationship- mine was not as bad as it could have been. Don't believe when they say that they'll never do it again-without treatment. Don't believe when they say that you are stupid, ugly, fat, or that you deserve what they are doing to you. Don't believe that you are stuck. GET HELP, GET OUT. The rest will sort itself afterwards. Especially if you have children- GET OUT. Find a friend, Find a shelter, GET HELP. I could never have done it without the support of friends and family. Getting out is step 1. Don't stop there. If you don't learn to respect yourself, and find value within you, you may fall into the same trap again. If you don't learn to forgive yourself you may never be able to treat that perfectly decent partner the way he/she deserves to be treated. I don't ask you to forgive the abuser- that is between you and whatever higher power you may believe in. There is no weakness in seeking help, it makes you stronger. The dark part of my life no longer has power over me. My ex can no longer hold me down, he never could. I was holding myself and now I've decided to FLY!

On a side note I found out when I was pregnant with turtle-bug that my ex was engaged to someone whom I believe is related to me distantly. I tried to reach out and tell what I knew him to be. They are now married. I hope that she never sees the monster he was to me.

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