|February 21, 2000;
updated August 8, 2000
That is another story all together, but Miss sex problems can and should get a protective order. Her narrative shown to a judge will obtain one for her in a heartbeat. She must face that she fears for her well being and her sense of security. I have come out of the darkness and made peace with myself for allowing my values and principles to erode with my ex husband. That was not easy. But the term "seduced away from my inner-self” answered the question "how could I have?" that was haunting me. The court systems here have been my protector. My children have a court appointed supervisor with them on their visits. It is such a relief, there can be no discussion whatsoever about me and the marriage during the visits.
Revised March 23, 3000
I am going to attach my narrative as it
The early childhood:
My early childhood is a collage of snapshot
memories. A babysitter where my finger was smashed in the door while
playing hide and seek, a fireman coming to find the trapped cat under the
house. Getting bathed in the
large kitchen sink. Having
terrible stomachaches. A
teenage son of one of mother's friends molesting me. I don’t remember any fear, just
delight at the attention. An ambulance for my mother after a fight with my father. Riding on my dad's lap in the car,
the thrill of him allowing me to steer. Flying with him in the small
airplane my daddy had built. Going
for a ride on his motorcycle through sun-dappled woods. Having coffee with him in the
mornings. He would put a
splash of coffee in my milk so I could be a "big girl" and have
coffee. There is only warmth
to these memories of my father. I
have no sense of fearing him, although I know he was a strict
disciplinarian. Jumping off
the carport roof when I had figured out how to climb up there, but I
didn't know how to get down. Spending
hours by myself outside playing, stubbing my toes on the exposed aggregate
of the rural southern roads of the neighborhood where I spent my youngest
I remember us living in a small house after
my parents divorced. I must have been four.
In that house I cracked my wrist when my older brother in play
launched me into the air catapult style from the seat he made with his
feet while laying on his back on the living room floor. And those Alabama bugs that
terrified me. The palmetto
bugs were as big as my little hand! The
panic I felt when I lit a pile of cardboard boxes on fire playing with
matches. I didn't want to cry
fire, afraid of the trouble I would be in.
So I cried, "smoke! Smoke!" I remember tagging along with my
sisters. They were three
years apart, and so grown. Debit
was 14 when I was born and Pammy was 11. I would dutifully reply to Pam’s urging of "Whose baby
are you?" "Pammy's
baby" was my gleeful reply.
After I found out I was pregnant in 1987, I never
touched cocaine again. As
would soon be a pattern, I remember hearing him raging in the alley below
the apartment because I had gone to a meeting of worship. I had been scared of his reaction
when I decided to go. I knew
it would throw him into a rage. But
I sucked up the courage to go, anyway. I left him a note, telling him where I had gone. He always had to know where I was. His friend was trying to tell him
that he really did not want to kick my a**.
But, of course, he did when he came inside anyway. It took me a long time to get the
courage to go again, and the place of worship was just across the alley
and down a few apartment buildings.
He threatened to kill my family, go to my
little niece’s school, that she would "disappear" if I ever left him. He said he knew where
to find them, even if I hid from him.
As it was, I could never visit my family without his permission,
and he rarely gave it when I asked. For
a while I was able to see them somewhat regularly because my sister paid
me for helping her with a project she had undertaken. He would give permission if I was
earning money. Mostly he did
not interfere with my going to work, but I had to come straight home
afterwards. He said it
was because he worried for my safety.
He could come and go as he pleased, without sharing his plans. He would become angry if I
developed any friendships at work.
If I spontaneously did something without his permission, I couldn't
relax; a sick feeling would come over me.
I knew that I would pay for the supposed wrong. He had to know where I was at all
times. For a couple of years
I fantasized about killing myself, getting away from that misery. At least that way no one else
would get hurt. He
slapped me around and shoved me, often, so often, wresting me around by
grabbing my hair, close to the scalp.
He would yank me wherever he wanted, up against a wall, making me
sit down, etc. And even
though many times he screamed at me to get the f*** out, he would snatch
me back down by my hair if I tried to get to the door. After a battering I would run my
hand through my hair, wincing at the tenderness of my scalp. Fistfuls of hair would fill my
Soon after the first baby, we had to move again. This
time all I could manage to find was a slum type shack. We didn't even have the money for
the second month's rent on that dump.
But this time, with a new baby, I pushed for us to go back to his
parents, where I would get some help with the baby.
We stayed with his parents for six months. He didn't really try to save to
get our own place, but there was an issue that developed with him and his
sister that made him mad enough to find our own place within days. I found us a small, clean trailer
to rent. It was furnished and
had a place for a washer for me to launder.
My second daughter was born healthy.
During the next few years, I relied on my maker and drew strength from my faith and the friendships I was able to develop though the congregation. My mother-in-law became more like a mother than I had ever known. I was able to deepen my knowledge of the bible and comfort myself with the hopes it offers.
The screaming and verbal abuse was a spectacle to my
neighbors. One late friend
expressed how she longed to be able to come in and take the babies out of
the house, away from the ugliness. With
no air conditioning in a hot climate, the windows were all open and he
didn't give a f*** what the neighbors heard (his words). And the pot smoking was very, very
heavy. Intermittently, I
would be tempted and partake. It
was an ongoing struggle to keep myself free from it, he refused to even
consider stopping. I worked in the evenings so I could take care of my kids
during the day. He was home
at nights, but constantly had friends of his over drinking beer and
getting high. He didn't put
much priority on taking care of my girls.
When I first started working, feeling good about making some decent
money, he wanted to know what was in it for him to baby-sit the kids. So I made arrangements to pay him
$20 a night so he would watch his own kids.
I would come home, tired, and he would be passed out drunk in front
of the television, naked in the summer heat. Repulsed, I would lay the $20 on
his body and leave him on the sofa. At
some point he began staying out drinking late, again, on the nights I
didn't work. I woke up one
morning and was floored by the sight of our car sitting in the driveway,
running! I was furious. He had been so drunk when he drove home early that morning
that he did not bother to turn off the car.
He told me I didn't know what I was talking about when I woke him
and told him that I had just turned off the car. Over the years I tried every line
of reasoning to get him to cut down on the drinking. To no avail. He refused to even consider his
drinking a problem.
My daughters were such good girls. They bathed themselves when he
told them to, played in their
room for hours and hours, put themselves to bed. I now resent that he always had
money for his habits, but I had to come up with the money to take care of
the children's needs and try to pay the bills. I could never rely on him
giving me money from his paycheck. He
would defensively tell me he had his own bills to pay. He never even considered
budgeting for their dental needs. My
mother paid for the youngest's extensive dental care. Thank god that they were healthy
Money was never, ever, allowed to be
budgeted together. He relinquished varying amounts to me for bill paying, always
begrudgingly. When I tried to
talk about finances, it was never that I paid the family bills with the
money, it was just that he gave his money to me. Like I benefited from it by
myself. And he would never
let me see a paycheck or stub. While
pregnant I had to get payroll records from his main office in order to
keep the public assistance that was necessary for me to take care of the
babies' needs. I had to
humiliate myself month after month obtaining the paperwork, unable to
explain why he would not give me the pay stubs himself. Later, every purchase he
made, a car, a truck, and the house that I spilt blood and sweat making
into a home for us, all got repossessed or foreclosed upon. He swore he made the
payments, but couldn't produce receipts.
For years I had heard him tell me how that little house was his,
that it was never my house, his name was on it. If it ever came up that I wanted a
divorce, and it did come up in fights, him hurling it at me in accusation,
he emphatically would tell me I would have to leave. That he would never leave, that his name was on the house. For years I struggled to scrape up
the money to pay the bills, the utilities being turned off again and
again. I paid out of my money
and his money only supplemented my money.
But I finally after years could take it no more. I told him that I would no longer
be called a bitch and a nag for trying to get bill money from him. "Don’t worry about
it", rings in my head. It
was his standard dismissal of the subject of bills whenever I tried to
discuss what needed to be paid. Well,
my refusing to take that verbal and emotional abuse anymore resulted in
his losing his truck, and the house.
So it was a hollow victory to stand up to him about making me seem
to be the money witch.
One of the most prevalent reasons for his tantrums was the house never being clean enough. My god, I worked most of the time, waitressing in a very high volume restaurant. I ran my butt off at work. Then I cared for the girls, volunteered at their school often. I was the only spiritual guidance for them. We went to meetings every week, did volunteer community work in association with the congregation. I fixed the cars when they broke down. I did the repairs around the house. I learned how to fix plumbing, appliances, electrical, painted, etc. I don't think he picked up a paintbrush once in the nine years that we owned that house. The first year in the house a hot water pipe broke. My babies and I went without hot water all summer long, waiting on him to take care of the repairs. I finally rented a tool. He helped use the tool to cut through the concrete slab where I had isolated the leak upon the advice of a kind old neighbor. Then I executed the repair to the pipe and later to the slab. I bought and put in some window air conditioners so that we could be more comfortable in the intense tropical humidity. I improved and maintained the yard. I collected grass clippings from neighbors and sprigged my own yard with the clippings. I installed a sprinkler system, dug my own well with the help of a girlfriend. Installed the lawn pump. Our leaking roof was repaired by a large group of my friends from the congregation. They provided all of the labor to strip and recover the roof. I did all of the pest control, making myself sick until I found the right chemicals to use for the roaches. The house was so infested that the roaches literally crawled right over you at night. There was never any money to hire out some of this work. All of this and I continually struggled with the depression induced by overfunctoning in my marriage. I shouldn't leave out that I fulfilled his sexual fantasies to my own detriment during all of this. Paradoxically, he always complained if I did housework when he was home. He didn't like the noise, it disturbed him. "do you have to do that now?" he would angrily ask. He demanded that I sit at his side while he watched the TV., spend time with him. Never mind that I didn't care to watch TV. Very much. It was all about his wants and needs.
He started considering finding work elsewhere, he was not getting anywhere in the job he was in. We began looking at his working on a fishing boat in Alaska. I was able to convince him that we could all move to Seattle and him explore that. I had some issues that I knew would not resolve by staying there in Florida any longer. We planned on moving early in 1997. Some months before that he stopped paying the mortgage, albeit he lied to me and said he was making the payments. I was stunned to receive the notice of foreclosure. I had been remodeling the kitchen in preparation to renting the house out. By renting it out I thought that we could catch up on the mortgage and have a home to come back to eventually. There seemed no point in changing our plans to move to Seattle. The house that I had worked so hard on was most likely lost anyway. The best chance of stopping the foreclosure was if we both found good paying work in Seattle. But there was no way I was going sight unseen, not and take my little girls. We already had permission to use my mother's old RV. To live in. But it was in southern California. I insisted on going ahead by bus and driving the RV. Up to Seattle myself. He would continue working; I was seasonally under-employed at the time. So I rode across country on the bus, made repairs to the roof of the RV., and drove by myself to Seattle. I had to make a few repairs on the road. I lightly said that I was making the trip with a toolbox and a prayer. There was more truth in that than a little bit. It was January and cold, the heater did not work. It was a miserable journey. I got myself and that old Ford into Seattle safely and stayed at the home of a family from the local congregation whom I had contacted from Florida. I found a lovely park to put the RV. In and took the bus back to Florida. It took me three weeks to make it back to my little girls.
We drove together back to Seattle. We packed the most important belongings in the blazer we had, the two girls, the Airedale terrier, my husband and myself. The trip was fraught with tension. I was still hoping to straighten out the "lost" payments on my house and prevent it being foreclosed upon. The grief of losing the house was yet to be faced. I didn't understand his lack of concern about the house. He was very edgy, stressed out. He left off the gas cap a couple of times, the oil cap once. At one gas station he was yelling at us for some reason. In his distress he left the wallet that contained all of our money on the roof of the blazer as we drove off. He called home and got some money wired to us so that we could continue on the journey. The journey came to an end, we made it safely.
Jobs came easily in the thriving economy in Seattle, so things smoothed out some with out the chronic stresses of finances. I kept my anguish over losing the house to myself for the most part. I finally accepted that he had deliberately lied to me about making the payments. But I forgave him, without telling him that I knew he had lied. I loved the northwest, awed by the sheer beauty of mountain and lake, fir and ferns.
He got a job at a nightclub making decent money. Not long after he began there he began staying out late drinking again. This time I told him that I could not tolerate that from him. The only way that I could not let it bother me is if I forced myself to not care. The same familiar calls to the police and hospitals began again. I couldn't believe that he was just disregarding my feelings and not letting me know when he wasn't coming home for hours after he got off work. It all culminated in November 1998, on a night that his mother was in town visiting us. I had bought her a plane ticket so that she could come visit her granddaughters. We had gone out to his work to listen to the band for a while. He unexpectedly said that he had to take us home, that he must have a "meeting" with the owner. Then his story changed to him getting a ride home, but we had to leave. He didn't come home an hour after us like he said he would. I tried to sleep, but an hour after he was supposed to be home I woke up and was furious. I waited two more hours for the car to pull up to drop him off. I went outside and snatched open the passenger door and leaned over to tell the guy that was supposed to give him a ride to not drop him off, cause I didn't want him in my house. It was not the man I expected. It was the young girl that had started working with my husband and whose brush I had found in our car a few days earlier. I found the brush when I was replacing the brakes on the car. He had the balls to be dropped off at my house at 4 in the morning by a woman that I already suspected him of having an affair with. I had never experienced rage like I did at that time. The girl looked at me shocked, and drove off when he told her to. I flailed at him, saying how could he do that, and that he had to get the f*** out of my house. I landed a pretty good blow on his nose, causing him to bleed. He agreed that he would move out after his mother left a few days later.
So he moved out and I got a roommate. He was smug about the girl
he had been with not being his girlfriend, but probably would be soon. I had divorce papers drawn up and
we both signed them. But
within a few weeks of his moving out he called me and asked me to say
goodbye to the girls. He had
borrowed a gun and was going to use it on himself. I talked with him and convinced
him I would give him a chance to be the kind of man that I needed. He agreed to not use the gun.
I found a nicer home to rent. My roommate and our kids moved
into it and made a home
together. My mother moved in
with me at this time. I
helped her in every way that I knew to.
But in the end I realized that my mother's illness went far too
deep for her to be helped other than by a professional. I was so incredibly tired
all of the time that I sought help from a doctor. I began taking an antidepressant
for the "anxiety". I
hesitated, not wanting to be treated for depression. My doctor is a kind woman, and
encouraged me to at least give it a try.
I also read the postings and handouts at the clinic about domestic
violence. In particular, I noticed the power and control wheel that
describes the dynamics of an abusers behavior. At first I just thought that it
described the abuse that had occurred early in the relationship. It fascinated me how accurate the
information was. I was also learning from my roommate’s frustrations with
her past abusive relationships. She
was as passionate and emotional as I was stoic. I transferred job locations and
began making twice as much as I had been.
All of this had a cumulative affect on me. My self-awareness and self-worth
increased. But we had
reconciled and were planning on him moving in with the family after my
roommate got on her feet and found her own place. So we once more began the cycle of
me fulfilling his sexual needs. That
was the primary purpose of any visit he made to my house, and it was
expected any time I visited his apartment.
He had a school buddy of his visit from Florida for a week. During that time I spent a great
deal of time with them. And
there was some behaviors my husband displayed that screamed of control and
coercion. I made some poor
choices for myself and hit the breaking point. I had to get out of that marriage.
November 20th, 1999, after one year of separation, I insisted on divorce. I was at his apartment. He placed me under illegal house arrest, physically restraining me. He forced my to sit, pushing me down onto the sofa, to "talk things out". He had my car keys and removed the phone from me when I tried to call a cab, when I tried to call 911. When I refused to talk about it, his whole demeanor changed and he told me he could get nasty. The most horrendous look came over his face and with venom dripping from his words, he told me to "get out, you ugly f***ing c**t". Then he became calm again and told me he could be acting that way, but he wasn't. My only recourse was to remain calm and ride out his badgering. It ended up in his bedroom, him insisting we "make love one last time". I told him that I did not want to. He, of course, dismissed my wishes. I practiced defensive acquiescence for the last time as the sun was coming up. After the sex, I was able to leave.
Over the next few weeks, I attempted to be very diplomatic, avoiding disagreements as best I could while maintaining my stand on divorcing. It took me a while to recognize that he was violating my sense of self. I had some books on recovery that he would pick up and look at when he was at my house. His body language screamed disapproval. He tore out pages of my address book, obviously going into my purse to find it. He took the perfume he had bought me. He stole a copy of a poem I had written and threatened to publish it, haughty about it not having a copyright. I told him that he could pick the kids up and drop them off if I was gone, but he under no circumstances was to be in my home when I was not there. That very night I came home from work to find him asleep on my sofa. His excuse was that he only came in for a minute and fell asleep watching the TV. With the girls. I was calm but very upset. I explained that he was not to have been in my house at all. "only for a moment" was a complete disregard of my wishes. It became obvious that he would show any boundaries I established no consideration whatsoever.
On December 17th, 1999 he came over uninvited. I was surprised by him putting his head around the corner of my room and looking at me in the bathroom. I was talking on the phone to my best friend, not dressed. I ended the conversation immediately. "What are you doing?" I asked. The kids had let him in the front door. He said he had knocked on my bedroom door before he came in. I told him that no answer (if he even knocked) is not permission to come into my bedroom. He proceeded to follow me around the house, forcing a discussion about the girls schooling. I exercised as much patience as I could and then told him he needed to leave. For twenty minutes he said he would leave in just a minute, he wanted to talk this out. The last straw for me was when he put his hand on my buttocks. I turned on him and told him don't ever touch me again. He smugly said he just wanted to see my reaction. I reached for the phone to call 911 at that point. He had been refusing to leave when I asked him for at least 30 minutes. He hung the phone up on me, but 911 called back. I had started yelling at him to get out after he fondled me. The kids were upset by my yelling. One of the girls hung up the phone again, they called back again. I continued telling 911 the situation while he was still saying he was leaving. For at least five more minutes he stood there saying he was leaving, but he wasn't actually walking out. A lady officer came to my home and kindly listened to me tell her the circumstances while I sat in the back of her car. He had called the house and was talking to the girls on the phone as soon as I had gone outside. Of course he was capitalizing on my being upset and yelling. And the girls believed his distortions and blamed me for the problems. The officer encouraged me applying for a protective order. I did so immediately. I spent over and hour in the office of the domestic violence advocate writing my statement. He called me incessantly while I was there in her office. I would end each call on my cell without answering, but was watching for the kids to call, so didn't turn the phone off.
So, when I refused to be controlled by him, he called
harassing me. I would love to
have his cell phone billing viewed by the court to prove his obsessive
calling. And he was very cocky about the protective order not
having merit since he had not been formally served. I called the police countless
times in an effort to establish his pattern of harassment. He told me he would only give me
the child support in person, refusing to mail the money. Refusing to mail a check because
he wants a receipt, refusing to deposit the money in my bank that is only
blocks away from his job. He
last paid me in November 1999.
Before I obtained the protective order, he insisted
we had to be friends. I told him I wanted us to be friendly, but I did not
want to be friends. Then
he said he is disgusted with himself that he was with me. He was trying to be the
perfect father, apologizing to them, promising to make up for all the
years he didn't show them caring.
He threatened my roommate and was manipulating the youngest
daughter. I have a voice mail
that he inadvertently left on my phone.
It reveals his true attitude.
In it he states that he will not give any money for their care to
me. In it he is getting
stoned, I recognize the typical coughing when he takes a hit. He is blatantly bragging about his
refusing certified mail service of the protective order, bragging about
how they aren't going to get him to serve him in person, etc. When I first told him about the
protective order, he said he would rather go to prison than live like
that. Even though the worst
of the physical abuse is chronologically removed, he or I never received
therapy. I am convinced there
is a probability of him snapping and deciding that if he can't have me, no
one else will, either. He is
a very real threat to anyone's well being with the martial skills he
possesses. But he is very
capable of presenting himself and charming and endearing. That is a very real hazard to my
I do not want to ever see him again, and I do not
want him to be around my daughters unless there is proof that he has
gotten psychological help and is free of addiction. When I refused to continue
being his confidant, he began talking to the younger daughter for hours,
calling as soon as I had left for work.
He was using her as an emotional band-aid. That started scaring me. That is why I included the children
in the protection order. He
brags about knowing herbal therapies to pass urine tests, so I do not
believe that will be an effective measure of his being drug free. I have been professionally advised
to seek counseling for myself and that he should also. The disturbed behaviors he has
displayed over the years will not be remedied in a short period of time. I wish visitation to be monitored
by court order for one year, and him to provide proof of his progress. In the divorce papers I filed, he
is granted three months in the summer. I could not negotiate any better than that with him by
myself. And he has Fridays
from 6p.m. To Saturday at 6p.m.
I beg for the court to impose visitations that will protect my
daughters better. Presently,
there are men coming and staying short term at my husband’s apartment
continually. I do not wish them to stay overnight in an environment like
that. There is pot smoking by
his roommates as well as himself. The
roommates will get high in their bedroom while the girls are there. They have gotten high while I was there, I would go into
another room so I was not involved with it.
This was part of the cumulative frustration that led to my
demanding dissolution. I had
been under the delusion that my husband was not smoking very much and that
he would quit completely before he moved back in with the family. His drinking habits were reverting back to abuse as well. He seemed to always need an open
beer, morning, noon or night. Many
mornings he would take one drink out of a beer and put it back into the
refrigerator. I think that he
may be willing himself into a dry spell, but I strongly believe that he
needs professional help. There
were dozens of times that I struggled with the bills, services being cut
off, but he always had beer. And
he wouldn't drink the cheap beer; it had to be premium beer, $6-10 a
six-pack. Also of
serious concern to me then and now a source of disgust is that he never
hesitated to drive with an open beer.
He disregarded my protests, drinking and driving with his children
in the car many times.
As my recovery progresses, I am experiencing small
revelations. It is not that I
am discovering something new. It
is that I am seeing objectively what I had previously denied. But these small things are having
profound results in my fitting meaning into the pieces of my life. I fixed on the phase "seduced
away from my inner self" to make peace with how I compromised the
values that I had fought for. And
you can have no free choice in a matter if you don't comprehend your
options. I re-read the
bible's definition of love in second Corinthians chapter 13. The exact opposite of love is abuse. These descriptions in converse fit the MO. Of an abuser
precisely. Somewhat more
complex was the realization that my ex had abused his sister when they
were children. Their parents
mistook the time they spent alone in her room as closeness. My ex told me that he never was
close with her, but would spend hours "trying to talk some sense into
her." At various times
during our relationship he was distraught over some poor choices she had
made in her life. During
these times he would interchange her name with mine again and again. So now I understand that we were
both his victims, hence the blurring of our identities. The poor girl got into one abusive relationship after
another, had five babies in less than five years. She has struggled heroically. I hope she can find her own peace
Most perplexing of all is the universality of abuser's and victim's behaviors. I have long known that there is a force at work upon man that is horrendous. There is no other explanation for the atrocities of the holocaust, apartheid, the Cambodian killing fields, etc. But it was unsettling to comprehend that the same kind of evil is at work in domestic violence. Only this evil was sleeping in the same bed as I. Either that, or there is a secret night school for abusers.......
I am stunned. What a difficult life! You never stood a chance. With a sick mom who knew no better, you had no guidance in life. You thought such a life with such a man was "normal." Indeed, for you, it was... Thank God you have gotten yourself out and found your protector in God instead of Tom!
As I said to you before, you are on the right track! You are helping to stop the abuse cycle while your children are young enough. Do get professional help. There is a lot of pain (and anger) you will need to process. When things hurt too much, our psyche protects us by forgetting...
I will open this up for others to respond to you. Thank you for sharing your story.
My thoughts are with you. Dr. Irene
Readers: See Rhoda's next installment, August 2000 .
I'd like to read others' comments