Friday, May 22, 2015

He Is Still Hurting Me

I pulled into her driveway and waited for her to come out of the house. She did, slowly, and as she sunk into the passenger seat I could tell she had been crying. White knuckles gripping her purse as she whispered out a forced “hello” and then turned her head to stare out the window, clearly avoiding all conversation. I knew this was going to happen, I was prepared for it. I’ve seen it over and over again— same situation, different girl.


She’s scared, she has so many things running through her brain, so many things she needs to say, all burying her under the weight of the fear they bring.

So we don’t talk.

Now is not the time. She doesn’t need to talk right now, right now, she just needs to breathe. So she sits there, staring out the window, and I apologize for my singing before launching into a pre-selected playlist.

I’m sure she knows what I’m up to, just as so many before her have, but she doesn’t care, just like all the ones before her haven’t.

I make it through two songs, singing at the top of my lungs, all by my lonesome:

First up is “Brave” by Sara Barielles:

“You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up

Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
When they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
And since your history of silence
Won’t do you any good,
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave.”

After that comes, “Fight Song” by Rachel Platton

“And all those things I didn't say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I'm alright song
My power's turned on
Starting right now I'll be strong
I'll play my fight song
And I don't really care if nobody else believes
Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me”

And right on cue, two songs in, just like each and every time before her, she starts to speak. Maybe she just wants to shut me up, maybe the humor of it all has finally cracked the ice, I don’t know and I don’t care, because she is talking.

We chit chat about everything and anything except about where we are going. I offer her a granola bar, certain she probably hasn’t eaten yet that morning, and I ask some random dude at a stop light for his number; more to get her to laugh rather than the fact that I actually want to date a 63 year old trucker from South Carolina.

By the time we get there, she is all smiles, and I’m excited for her.

We walk through the courthouse doors and as I sit there and watch her speak before a judge, I feel nothing but pride for her; pride for how far she has come, and pride for how far I know she is going to go.

As I drop her back off at her house a few hours later, she pauses halfway up her driveway, turns around, and comes back.

“Hey, thanks for driving me this morning. I really wasn’t sure I was even going to show up today, and if I actually drove there, I’m not sure I could have gone in.”

“I know” I chuckle at her, “that’s why I drove you.”

And that’s the truth. Because I knew how she was most likely going to feel, I wanted to be there for her.

I know the feeling of getting in the car and feeling as though you are driving to your execution, to the place where you will come face to face with the person who murdered your soul— and almost murdered your body.

I know that with ever mile that passes under the wheels of the car, the louder my brain will scream at me to turn around.

I know the feeling of the car closing in on me, that even with the windows open it starts to feel like you are suffocating, completely engulfed in the silence of your thoughts.

I know how it feels to finally arrive at the courthouse and feel as though I have already lost the battle, and feel so distraught that I just know I am going to lose the war. I don’t need to wait to be defeated by him, I've already been defeated by myself.

And so I took half a day off of work, spent my time sitting through a court case that had nothing to do with me, and I wouldn’t have changed it for the world because it’s what she needed.

It’s what I always wish someone would do for me.


I’ve been having a lot of dreams lately.

Typically I don’t dream, which is kind of nice because I can’t imagine that very many of my dreams would be pleasant. Lately though, I have been dreaming and lo and behold, every single one of them has involved my ex.

Thankfully they haven’t been of the rape-ish and abusive nature that I fear may one day creep up over my sleep, but nonetheless I’ve woken up crying a few times in the last week, and that, that I do not like.

Every single dream is the same; I’m sitting in Mr. Attorney Man’s conference room with him and my ex. The two of them are talking, agreeing to terms, signing documents, and although I’m talking, no one hears me. They don’t see me, acknowledge me, or give me the slightest impression that they are even remotely aware of my presence.

In the dream the plans that they are making are nothing that I want to agree to, but I can’t stop it, it’s happening anyway, because no one is paying attention to me.


I know exactly what this is about.

My ex has fallen another $1800 behind in his child support obligations (on top of the thousands upon thousands that he already owes me), and as I am legally required to do, I send him an email telling him what he owes me. I attach the bills and then I hit “send,” knowing full well that I am never going to hear from him.

That is so extremely, utterly, absurdly, infuriatingly, frustrating.

This guy really just does whatever the hell he wants too, and for the most part, he has had almost zero repercussions, and I have gone way beyond my limits of remaining calm at this point. But, since I’m not one to freak out, throw a fit, and go running around screaming my head off, I stuff it down and apparently dream about it instead.

You guys, I’m so frustrated

In this life, I was dealt what I was dealt, and not to overuse the word, but I dealt with it. I figured out how to cope with it and I moved on. I took what I was given and I used it in any way that I could to pursue a better life, because the alternative – falling apart – seemed worse. I had to learn be ok with the fact that I will never see justice for what my ex put me through. I had to finally accept the fact that I have no idea where he is or exactly why he left, and let me tell you that was no small feat.

Having someone just not come home one day, someone that you spent 10 years with and created two human beings with, to have them literally disappear off the face of the earth, those are the things that keep you awake at night. Those are the mysteries that claw tiny little holes in your brain where the questions multiply and echo off your skull. It really is a situation that drives people to insanity.

Grasping the realization that I really will be raising these kids fatherless, maybe forever, has been a terrifying reality to finally claim as my own, but I did it, because I had no choice.

But the hitting of “send” and the never ending wait for a reply, it’s wearing on me.

A lot.

It’s wearing on me because I know what will happen next. I know that at some point I’ll have to deal with all the stress and financial burden that comes along with hauling his ass into court, only to have him agree to a bunch of terms that he knows he will never abide by, and then I will get to watch him walk out the door and once again pretend that none of us exist.

I feel like I’m about two emails away from losing my fucking mind.

I try to help everyone, probably to a fault as Mr. Attorney Man regularly points out, but I can’t help it because I feel like everyone has so much worth and so much potential that I’m happy to be able to lend a hand wherever is needed. I’m by no means perfect, I’m far from a saint, but I do my best, and above and beyond that, even when I can’t help, I do my best to avoid causing stress to the people around me.

Yet my ex, a man that I held together for ten years and birthed two children by, he doesn’t even care that I exist. He is so far past caring about my existence, that I’m not even worth a two second email reply, even if it’s “I can’t pay this month.”

And trust me, I’ve tried. I’ve played nice and said “hey, if you pay me half I’ll write the other half off,” I’ve sent a breakdown of how much it will cost if we have to go to court and asked if he would please at least update me as to what his situation was, and nothing.

NOTHING.


Three years of this crap and I just can’t deal with it anymore.

You know, when he first left, I had no idea where he went. It wasn’t like him to just never come home. Although he had a habit of disappearing, he would eventually always come home, and while I can understand that most of you won’t be able to understand what I’m about to say next, I’ll say it anyways.

I was worried about him.

I didn’t love him, I didn’t even like him, but due to the sheer fact that he is a human being, I worried about him.

I spent days and hours calling every place that I had ever known him to have been. I tracked down old colleagues and long gone family members, and nothing. Not a word. When the reality of the entire situation came to light and I realized that he had left on purpose, that hurt in a way that I hope none of you will EVER be able to understand.

In hurt in the way that after ten years of being beaten, raped, used, and abused, hurts when you realize you aren’t even worth being hit anymore.

It hurts like that.

And that hurt has never gone away.

It grew two years ago when my son was in intensive care and the doctors needed our family medical history, and I called and begged and pleaded and prayed for him to call me back, but with each voicemail I left, I was met with nothing but the silent phone I clutched in my hand.

It grew when I did what The Girl Child’s grief therapist recommended I do, and allow her to call her father. I knew full well that he would never call back, but the therapist thought that my daughter needed to understand that I was not blocking access to him.

So I let her call. 

I watched her sit there, phone clutched to her tearful little cheeks, and I watched her cry into the phone “daddy, don’t you love me anymore? Don’t you want to see me? I love you, please call me, because I love you so much” and he never called back.

It grew last week when I emailed, practically begging for his family medical history, something that I desperately needed to give to The Boy Child's surgeon, and as usual he didn't email back.

And for three years I’ve been dealing with the silence of his absence, knowing that his leaving was the best thing for us, but never quite healing from the fact that we are no longer wanted.

But how can I move past it, when I’m still forced to deal with it on a regular basis? I feel like after 3 years and a lifetime of pain that I of all people should have gotten used to his complete and utter disregard for anyone but himself, but I haven't, and I can't.

Because I’m a person!

I have feelings!

I deserve better than this!

My kids, they deserve better than this!

I’m here, working twice and three times as hard as I should be, because I’m doing all of his work. I’m taking care of the people that he left behind, and not only am I doing that, but I’m stuck dealing with everything he still refuses to take care of, such as child support. And even on top of that, I’m fucking paying for it all, because he doesn’t pay any of the legal fees.

When doing the math, I realized that in dragging his ass into court, I have paid over a year’s worth of my salary chasing him down. I have woken up and gone to work every single day for a year, just to cover my legal bills. And that doesn’t even include the fact that I was the one who paid off all our martial debt when we divorced. Also, after an 8 year marriage I walked away getting nothing in maintenance (alimony), which was doubly hard on me because I never got the college education that I really needed for a situation like this, because of him.

I got fucked.

This will be my life for the next 15 years until both of my kids are 18. I’m going to spend the next 15 years of my life chasing him down while he runs away.

That’s pretty daunting.


When you add in his random episodes of stalking and rape, it’s enough to drive a person to the brink of insanity, because you know at that point that you are lower than nothing, you are near extermination.

I’m not exactly sure how to deal with that because I can’t imagine ever doing that to someone, let alone someone I once supposedly loved.

But as I said earlier in this post, I have to deal with it because my only other option is to fall apart, and I can’t do that because then I would be him.

So if there’s anything I’ve learned from this, it’s that I am not, and never will be him, or my mother, or my father, or the long line of people who have failed me in life. I will never be them, because they taught me to be better.

They, in all their twisted ways, taught me how to love people.

I thought I only had two choices, deal with it, or fall apart, but I was wrong.

I took the third choice; I grew.

Sometimes life gives us things that we don’t want. Gifts that we want to stomp on, rip up, and shove back down the senders throat. I say “gifts,” because that’s what they are, whether we recognize them as that or not.

Everything that has been done for you, or to you, carries a lesson in it. Oftentimes we have no say in what life hands us, but what we do with what we are given, that is where we have the control.

I have no control over what my ex does, just as I had no control over much of what he did to me before he left. I had no control over him staying and I had no control over him leaving.

I also have no control over what he is doing to me now, but as I said, what I do have control over, is how I choose to react to it.

So yes, I’ll still email him, and yea, I’m sure I’ll still hold out hope for a response, but while I’m waiting, I’m learning.

I’m learning to do for others what I wish someone would do for me. I’m learning how far feeling cared for goes, and at the end of the day, hopefully what I bring to the table because of what I've learned, will more than make up for everything my ex never gave me, and everything he is taking from me now.

A loss is only a loss, when you never find the gain. Through pain comes growth and through growth comes change.

Change stems from a makeover of something that went wrong.

I don't like what is happening to me now. This wasn't supposed to be my story, this wasn't what I signed up for. I can't escape it and I can't make it stop, but I am learning from it.

You can't always escape the negatives in your life. Sometimes they happen and you move on, and other times you're forced to hang around them for a while. The key to surviving them is in remembering that although you feel stuck, you don't  actually have to remain still.

I can't walk away from my situation, but I also don't have to lay down and die.

I can't get out of it, but I refuse to go down with it.

I've got 15 years left in dealing with my ex. Fifteen years that I'm sure will bring a lot of frustration, pain, tears, and some really amazing lessons.

If I have to stay here, I might as well take in the scenery.

I’m choosing to grow in it.

Life doesn't always give us what we want, but that doesn't mean we can't turn it into something that we love.



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16 comments:

  1. Mushrooms thrive in shit. You have become a mushroom; a beautiful mushroom!

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  2. Oh my gosh Eden, STOP MAKING ME CRY!!

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  3. I understand. Believe me, I do. It doesn't go away. I wish I had an answer that could take it away now. We will bear these scars until He heals us completely. By His stripes we are healed.

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  4. I don't think I'll ever understand the mentality of guys like your ex. What's the thought process/logic behind his actions? Makes zero sense to me.

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    1. I don't think sane people can understand irrationality.

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    2. Only answer I can give: Meth is a hell of a drug.

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  5. I completely understand. I feel exactly that kind of fear. Mine is a never ending battle of a divorce. The constant court appearances that get you no where and take so much out of you that your lucky you can even stand up. The verbal abuse and constant harrassment as I fight to hold on to the only good thing that came from this marriage, my children. I constantly feel defeated as he uses the kids against me and fills their heads with so many lies. Its a constant struggle just to get through a day never knowing what he will do now to hurt me. I'm not sorry I left, I just wish I would I documented the actions that lead me to a divorce. The daily fear of going "home" has been replaced with a different fear and amazement of how much he can do and have no consequences for his actions.

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    Replies
    1. I'm so sorry you are struggling as well :( It's definitely not a fun place to be in. I wish I had some great words of advice, but all I can offer is an understanding ear and a big hug.

      You'll get there, and your kids are so very lucky to have you fighting for them.

      *hugs*

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    2. I gave up on the court dates and have stopped being angry that this is not fair. Took many years but was totally worth it.

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    3. That's definitely not a bad idea!

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  6. I hate to say it but I think it would be better for all involved if he were dead. At least you'd know and there would not be any of the wishing or wondering, etc. Of course, even better would be if somehow he actually cleaned up and became a normal person and was in the lives of his children but I think we know that the chances of that are slim and none.
    I'm sorry you and your children have to go through this. I can't imagine being in your shoes.

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