Friday, October 6, 2017

I'm Not There Anymore



It’s 6:30am. My husband just left for work, and the kids are sleeping. It’s been raining on and off, so it’s still dark out, and the cars driving on the road outside, are making a whizzing noise on the wet pavement as people rush off to work. A chill hangs in the air and fog has settled so thick outside, that I can’t see the cornfields right outside my front door. It’s exactly the kind of morning where you pull the covers up under your chin and relish the last few minutes you have before your alarm goes off, but I can’t sleep.

It actually feels a lot like the night several years ago when I found myself in bed, opening my laptop, and starting this blog.

I woke up this morning crying, and I’m not sure why. Tears clung to my cheeks as the pillowcase clung to my face, and my nose was running. Maybe I had been dreaming, but the more likely scenario is that even in sleep, I’m still decompressing from the events of yesterday.

I hate PTSD.

On Wednesday, I was waiting for a call from Mr. Attorney Man, to discuss and go over everything for the hearing yesterday morning. We had stacks of children’s bills that I had sent my ex, and an even larger stack of messages where my ex said he wasn’t going to pay them, or never answered at all. Our case was pretty solid, and after months of wrestling with the decision on whether to go back to court again or not, I finally felt at peace with my choice to move forward.

But instead of the phone call I was expecting, I got one saying that Mr. Attorney Man had just spoken with my ex’s attorney, and he concedes that my ex has no case. “He owes the money, we both know that he owes it, so we’d like to skip the hearing and move right to agreeing on a repayment plan.”

I was caught off guard.

My initial reaction was “no. I don’t trust him, I don’t trust his attorney, and I don’t want to change the plan now.”

But I also don’t trust myself.


I know that when it comes to my ex, I don’t always think clearly. I know that years of abuse have so warped my brain that PTSD doesn’t always allow me to separate the emotions of here and now, with the emotions of my past.

I don’t want to be crazy.


So I listened to Mr. Attorney Man, and although he firmly left the choice up to me, I knew that he thought skipping the hearing was a better idea. “It’s the end result we wanted, without having to put you on the stand.”

I didn’t want to agree, but I didn’t have a good reason as to why not. Logically, it all made more sense to skip the hearing and jump right to him being at fault, but my emotions said “no. You planned on something already, something that you worked towards for months, something that your husband, and your attorney, all told you was a good idea, and now here comes your ex at the very last minute and wants a new plan and you’re supposed to just jump on board because he wants it a different way! No!!”

But who wants to be crazy?

And crazy would be digging your feet into the ground for no other reason than you don’t want to be logically adaptable.

So I agreed, with the caveat that my ex still appear in court, and that we don’t leave without an agreement.

I wanted it over.

I spent two hours later that night, pouring over numbers. Bills owed, financial affidavits that him and his wife had filled out, tax returns, everything. I even called my Board Member Friend who is an accountant, and asked her to look at a few numbers for me and tell me what someone’s take home pay would be based on my ex's salary, after taxes, so that I knew how much money my ex had to live on.

And then I figured out how much I thought he could pay me per month to work off his debt, and I took 40% off the top just to give him a fighting chance, since I’m a nicer person than he is. I wanted to have some number in mind, so that when I went to court the next morning, that I wouldn’t be blindsided with numbers and figures and things that I have a difficult time processing when I’m in court and freaking out.

I didn’t want to feel crazy.

The next morning, yesterday, we showed up our 9am court call. Ten minutes, twenty minutes, forty-five minutes later, my ex’s attorney was late.

Our case was passed by several times, and eventually the other attorney showed up. Him and Mr. Attorney Man, along with the judge, went to the back to have a discussion that we couldn’t hear, and when they came out, the two attorneys went out in the hall to continue their private discussion.

I absolutely hate it when they do that; discuss my life, without me.

My ex and I were left in a nearly empty room, where he made it a point to direct his attention at my swollen belly, and laugh at the child I am about to bring into the world; making his disgust and disappointment known.

Laughing at the womb that carried his two children; children that he doesn’t seem to think are human.

Thankfully I had a friend there with me, but it didn’t help the walls from feeling like they were closing in. I rushed off to the bathroom and splashed some water on my neck. I felt like I was going to pass out, but I didn’t want anyone to know.

Mr. Attorney Man was waiting for me when I got back, and pulled me into a small conference room.

The room was freezing, and it made the whole situation seem more sterile. We weren’t talking about a father taking care of his kids, we were in court, discussing a man who was doing his best to pretend his children don't exist.

Mr. Attorney Man started writing numbers and equations and circling things and bolding them. He was talking and explaining and I just kept watching his pen draw circles around and around the things he was marking as important; as if the darker color would make them mean something more to me.

But nothing meant anything to me. 

I felt like I couldn’t even understand English, and I felt very detached from the whole situation. The other attorney kept popping his head in and I don’t know if it had been an hour or two minutes, but each time he opened the door it felt like he had just closed it.

“My client needs to get to work and he is clamoring to get out of here” he kept saying.

I wanted to scream at him.

“DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG I HAVE WAITED FOR HIM? Do you know how many days... weeks... years, I have waited? The long nights when he never came home, and the years where I had no idea where he went. I have been inconvenienced by him, for over a decade. Now shut the damn door, and give me some time.”

But there wasn’t any time, because the judge was waiting on us, and Mr. Attorney Man was waiting on me, but I wasn’t there anymore.

My counselor has explained this to me before — more times than I care to recollect — but I know what was going on. Years of chronic abuse led me to a place where my brain has the ability to flip off. Breath, blink, react, but don’t process. Don’t understand. Don't comprehend. Don’t feel. Don’t remember. Don’t really be there. Because if it’s not real, then it’s not really happening to you.

You can't be raped if you aren't there. You can't remember if it never happened to you. 

I'm not crazy, and all the other victims who go through this aren't crazy either, but it doesn't make me feel any less crazy knowing that. 99% of the time these days, I’m fine. PTSD seems like a term that I apply to veterans, or the clients of the nonprofit.

It’s not me, because I’ve moved past that.


But in court, when I see my ex, the memories come rushing back. And unlike being anywhere else in the world where I can just breathe through it and and remind myself that I am no longer living in abuse, I can’t go anywhere.

I can’t leave, or stop thinking about my ex, because it’s the only thing I am allowed to focus on. I can’t pretend that none of it ever happened, because I am in court. I can’t tell myself that he isn’t there anymore, because he is. 

He is still there, doing things that he makes sure no one else sees; secrets between him and I, that I don't want to have. 

I have to keep my voice low, act accordingly, look him in the eye, and not tear his fucking face off, just like I did all those years at home, and just like I am required to do in a courtroom.

I can’t understand what Mr. Attorney Man is telling me, because I’ve learned how to survive.

I’m not there anymore.



25 comments:

  1. It's tough, knowing you had everything you wanted to say in front of a judge mostly figured out, it's in your head, you're ready to say things out loud to others, especially in a courtroom. It's another way to cut you off, even if he has to admit to something. It becomes anticlimactic. Feels less than it should. As time goes on you will become more trusting of the power that he no longer holds over you. You will learn to forgive yourself, for the thoughts or feelings that no one else will ever know. The money? It becomes less important over time. Not the expense part, that we have to deal with. The tricky part is not to let yourself feel guilt over taking the money. Take it. Spend it or save it. It's yours. If he needs to get another job, or if she does, so be it. Not your shame, totally his. I admire your hubby's attitude toward the lil ones. My dad was/is the same way. He'll always be dad, even though the bio-father still lives. Hang in there!!

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    1. I got to thinking after posting and started wondering if I'd overstepped. I know how personal this is for those involved. My apologies, if I did. I can relate to this subject much too well and my brain doesn't always behave when I need it to. LOL. I'm betting you have lots of folks praying for you, and more so for your babies. I hope there's comfort in the knowledge. Back to my cubbyhole... 🙏😊

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  2. What a waste of skin!!! There I said it... I hope this waste of skin(cause you can't even call it a man) rots in hell... I really hope karma gets him 😡😡😡

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    1. I agree 100%!!! Not even fit to breathe the same air! I pray karma gets him good!

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  3. He used the element of surprise to throw you off balance and control you again. What a dick.😡
    Hang in honey..... karma is taking longer than you'd like but it's coming

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  4. I know this is easier said than done, but try viewing it from a different perspective. I was in a similar situation, and over the years, I started looking at the person with disgust rather than fear; began seeing myself as the survivor/victor because my life was now good, and in a sense, laughing at him because he was the same loser from before. His critique of my appearance, weight, etc.- I began telling myself that I could lose weight and that he simply couldn't fix ugly. I knew he would never truly be happy because he was such an unhappy person...that is your ex. He laughs and mocks because he is still unhappy and although he has 'moved on', he truly hasn't. From what you have shared, you have a BEAUTIFUL life. Amazing kids, a loving supporting husband....I am sure that eats him up inside that he is no longer keeping you down. Keep your head up and relish what you have survived, what you have accomplished despite, and where you are now. Knowing people like that don't ever change, I am sure he is making his present wife miserable, and if she is helping him neglect his kids, it sounds like she deserves every bit of it! Cheers!! <3

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    1. I truly, truly cannot imagine that either of them are happy, you are so very right about that. As Mr. Attorney Man told me, "I'm sure she is living the nightmare right now!" There is no way any woman could call him her dream man. Even if he treats her amazingly (doubt it), he has such an incredible streak of irresponsibility and broken personality, that there is no way he is able to make a happy and secure home/relationship for anyone. No freaking way. The more I think about it, and the more I hear about the kids they have now, the more I realize that she has to be a lot like him :(

      Thank you for your insights!!! And your encouragement :)

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    2. Best comment yet. They truly deserve each other.
      You have made a wonderful life for you and your kids. Living well is the best revenge

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  5. So his attorney shows up late and then applies pressure because the idiot ex has to get to work? This all happens after they drop the other bomb on you the night before? All of that was carefully planned and none of it was by accident. I hope your next post has something good to report. Even if it doesn't, find comfort in the life you have now, which to an outsider, seems to be going very well.

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  6. I hope you actually get the money from him this time. Good for you for not letting him get out payment

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  7. oh no!! i’m so sorry. i wish i could give you big hugs

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  8. This is the old Flaming from the east coast. I am such a doofus I can't find my profile anywhere. lol

    Eden, you did it! You decided to use the courts to make him pay for his children. I am doing a Happy Dance over here on the east coast! I am sorry the process of going to court took you back to a dark place. But, YOU did it! That is why you are Eden STRONG because you are much stronger than you were before. You have been fighting the good fight (mostly alone) for so long and now you have more support than ever - AND you were victorious!!! Give yourself a huge pat on the back and just feel the hugs and support coming to you from the east coast and elsewhere!

    So much has happened in your life since we chatted long ago, I have to catch up! Congratulations on your marriage to a wonderful man and a new baby! I am so excited for you!

    Please don't let the court day bring you down for too long. He is not worth another second of stealing your joy and happiness. You faced the monster, used the process and conquered! Have your cry and let those feelings wash over you and leave your mind, body and spirit. I know this is easier said than done. Do something that makes you feel good (or better). Everything you are going through today is soooo very understandable. Those of us who have been through a nightmare can relate. I think all of us will have bad days - sometimes for no reason other than our own memories which will probably haunt us forever. He is a non-entity - other than a check in your mailbox.

    I can't wait to hear you are feeling better about all that has transpired and find some peace for yourself. There is always tomorrow. It will be a new sunrise and a new day. That is what kept you and us going. It will happen. You will feel stronger than today.

    I have missed reading how you and the children are doing. Looks like so much has changed for the better! Looking forward to reading about everything that has happened!

    Take good care of you! You are worth so very much goodness in this life!

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    1. I'VE MISSED YOU!!!! Glad to see you pop in! Yes, so much has changed!!!!

      You are right :) I did conquer! No matter what comes next, his OWN attorney told him he has no case!!!

      YAAAYYY!!!!

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  9. Have you heard Praying by Kesha? I think it should be your anthem!

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  10. I can't tell you how much it means to me that you share your heart and experiences, even during these difficulties. The man sounds like a narcissistic sociopath. It is a wonder that two exceptional children with humor, kindness, and charm come from that. I wish you didn't have to deal with this, I wish I could take it away, but I sit here in awe of your humanity, beauty, and courage.

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  11. I have a friend going through something very similar and I go to court with her if only to be her support.. both your waste of skin and hers I want to badly hurt.. it kills me ( and ALL of us I’m quite sure) to “see” you have to go through this.. just know you have prayers and support from many people who have you and your family’s back.. 💜💜

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  12. My heart aches for all of you in situations similar to this but, because you have shared your story, Eden, especially you. I wish I had words of comfort to offer but the best I can find are the ones that let you know you're all in my prayers. Best wishes 💗

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  13. Oh my dearest Eden-my thoughts and prayers are with you, your family and sending so many hugs!!

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  14. But you left us hanging! I hope the judge finally served him with a judgment that is fair for you and your sweet kids! (I know it will never be fair, and never make up for anything). Hopeful that you will never have to be in a courtroom with him again!

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  15. I’m sorry, too, that it didn’t go as you hoped. I think we all hoped for the best possible outcome. I hope your friend at least helped distract you.

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  16. You are a very strong woman-and your writing is fantastic.

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