Monday, September 5, 2016
D Day…a day that will live in infamy….
Our D Day came on a Monday afternoon. I had come home from work, gotten ready to go for a run and a friend called. As I listened to her….I felt like I had been punched in the gut.
I got off the phone and went upstairs. I entered our bedroom and closed the door. My wasband was napping prior to going to work. I thought the house was empty and we were alone but I closed the door anyway.
I confronted him about what I knew. I told him that he could not sleep with another woman and remain married to me. Well…that sounds pretty, doesn’t it? The truth is I said, “Seriously? You think you can Fuck someone else and get away with it? You think you can fuck someone else and still sleep in the same bed with me?”
The wasband rolled over and calmly said, “I will Fuck whoever I want and there is nothing you can do about it….now get the fuck out of the room. I have to get ready for work soon.” and he rolled back over.
I went down to the kitchen….stunned. About 45 minutes later, one of my teen daughters came into the room, put her arms on me and said, ” I know everything, mom.”
“How? What are you talking about?” as I played dumb.
“My sister was outside the door and heard everything……she messaged all us girls.”
I have 4 daughters. The oldest was a gift. She is my step daughter but neither one of us like that term that term and so she is my bonus daughter. All 4 girls are so different but sisters in every sense. I also have a son. He is my baby. My “happy accident” and he knows it. I have said from the day he was conceived that he had a special purpose….every day I am reminded of how special he is to me. But I digress…..
So now my girls knew…..oh no…..my goal now was to keep this from my son….he was too young to understand.
I tried to steer clear of the wasband the rest of the afternoon and let him leave for work.
The rest of the night was a blur…..
I remember sitting on the couch waiting for him to come home. When he arrived home in the early morning hours of the next day, I tried to talk to him. Actually I didn’t talk…I cried, I begged, I pleaded, I debased myself to the point of embarrassment. He was stoic and seemed even more angry. He “shushed’ me more than once as I cried but it was not the sweet, caring “There, There, sweetie….” kind of shush. It was “Shut the fuck up. The kids will hear you. Just shut up….” He pushed past me into the guest room where I had moved his things….phone charger, sleep machine, etc. At that point, his rage came to the surface….and I cowered. He looked at the bed and realized I had not put fresh sheets on the bed nor had I swept up around and under the bed……He called me lazy and snarled “You should have taken care of this crap….what the fuck were you thinking…”
I was scared and cowered as he slammed the door.
He…yes…the man in charge….had decided the conversation was over for the night. I retreated to my room and locked the door. I didn’t sleep that night (or many other nights) but that is another story for another day.
Thinking back on it now….It was like an out of body experience….the days and weeks that followed were all like that. I asked him to tell me it was not true….I asked him to tell me he loved me and it was just a mistake. I wanted it to be like the movies….I wanted him to come home begging for forgiveness and for me to take him back. Boy, nothing could have been further from the truth.
Looking back on it now? I am so glad I finally took a stand. It’s not easy or fun now but it is so worth it. I am worth better.
Here’s to soaring again…..
Tag: mental abuse
Monday, August 15, 2016
Divorce. That was not a word that was used in my family. It was a dirty word. A word that was whispered. A word that was for others. A word that was like a scarlet ‘D’ on the chest of those “other people”.
I was born and raised Catholic. I went to Catholic school and even Catholic College. I devoted my life to teaching my faith to children, other children and my own. I was taught, at home and through my faith, that we do not divorce. We pray. We talk to the priest. We go to Mass. We say the Rosary….we DO NOT divorce. Divorce is a sin.
My family does not “do” divorce. No one got divorced. No one talked about problems either. People stayed married in my family. That is what I wanted when I got married. I was made to believe that divorce was for quitters. People that did not do the work before or during marriage were the ones that got divorced. So I planned to do everything right. I was going to pick a man that was ready to do the same.
I dated lots of guys but when I found “my Guy”, I looked at his family. Everyone was married and no one divorced. Yea….good role models.
When I got married I was in it for the long haul. I was dedicated to my husband and would soon start family. As the family started to grow, my dedication and activity level grew too. I was “that” mom. I took the kids everywhere. We went to zoos, museums, sports, dance….you name it…I had my kids doing it. What I didn’t realize was …it was just me. I was the one doing it all. I excused it all because my wasband was working. He was always working (Or so I thought).
So I did what good moms do….I “mommed”. I worked and I “mommed”. I lived for the nights my wasband was home for dinner with the family or nights he would treat me like a queen by taking me out to dinner.
Years passed and the kids grew.
People always say that the wife is the last to know….that is so far from the truth. The wife is the FIRST to know. She is usually the last to admit it to herself and others. That was me. I knew. I knew the first time it happened and I listened to the excuses from my wasband. I let it go and thought that it was a one time thing.
The second time it happened….I let it go hoping it would go away…and it did.
The third time? Well..that was enough. I had had enough. My kids were older and other people knew about this affair. I knew about the affair. What I didn’t know then was that this was not number 3. This was, well, let’s just say a number more than number 3.
I knew for over a year before I was ready to admit it to myself. I knew. I knew and I knew I was done living like this.I knew and I knew both my kids and I deserved better. I knew and I knew that I needed find the courage and strength to leave this toxic marriage. I knew…And soon it was time to let my wasband know what I already knew…..D Day was upon us.
Here’s to soaring again…..
In the June of 2015 I filed for divorce. That was the beginning of what would become a long, drawn out, high conflict divorce from an abusive narcissist. The divorce was final 2 years later on August 9, 2017. That was not the and and there are battles being fought but those battles are few and far between now.
I digress. Prior to the divorce I was seeing a therapist. I continued to see her throughout the divorce and long afterwards. Those visits were, and still are, a sanity saver for me. She encouraged me to write it all down to hep me process my feelings. I kept a paper journal and still do. In 2016, about year into the process, she suggested a blog. Her suggestion was to keep it as a private blog until I was ready and strong enough to share my story. I needed to heal a lot more before I could open up to others.
I recently got a notification that the blog was going to be archived. So I went back and read some of the entries. I was triggered all over….but in a different way. I no longer was overcome with fear and anxiety. I didn’t start to hyperventilate. I smiled. I realized that that woman no longer exists. I have come so far in my healing process that the trigger is pride. That is not an emotion I am used to or comfortable with in my life. But I am getting used to it! So, I decided that it is time to publish those blog entries and some of my journal entries. Why? I didn’t know what I know now and didn’t have anyone to talk to about what I was experiencing. I thought that what I was experiencing was ‘normal’. I thought I was alone. What I have come to realize is that my experience was not normal and I was not alone. It was just that no one wanted to talk about it.
If even one person is inspired by my story and chooses a life of freedom, then it will have been worth it.
The next few entries will be dated and posted exactly as I wrote them in 2016
6 years ago I attended a benefit event at the Drake Hotel for Girls on the Run. I would be presented with the Superstar Award for Outstanding Coach at the event. What I did not know is that it would be a night that would change my life forever….just as Girls on the Run has changed the lives of countless girls.
Several weeks prior I had bought a dress on sale. The dress was a total splurge….even on sale for $30! At that time, I never bought things for myself much less a fancy dress! I was not allowed to spend money of “frivolous” things. I felt so good in that dress, so beautiful and powerful. That dress still hangs in my closet waiting to be worn again.
I did my own hair and then my daughter and I drove into the city to Barney’s to visit one of my best friends. My friend is a makeup artist and had never done my makeup before, heck, I had never had anyone do my makeup before! When she was finished, I felt so beautiful!
She also did makeup for my 16 year old daughter, who was my date for the evening. My daughter, who was my first girl on the run and the reason I started coaching the program. My daughter who deserved a fancy night out with her momma.
We arrived at the Drake greeted by valet parking and cocktail hour. I felt so special….and out of place.
I felt like I didn’t belong. I was instantly transported back to the grade school girl who never fit in and was always teased. The girl in high school that struggled with her looks and never felt like an “insider.” The college girl that drank to forget feeling left out.
I took a deep breath and, like a gut punch, it hit me. I was everything I was teaching girls NOT to be…….. I was a woman married to an unfaithful, abusive man.
I went to the bathroom to catch my breath and fix my makeup. I put on my new lipstick, plastered a smile on my face and headed in the the event to join my daughter. I was going to make the best of this night, celebrate Girls on the Run and this accomplishment.
During the day and into the evening, my wasband was texting me. He anger and jealousy was palpable. I was not “effectively managing” my children by going out for the evening, leaving my oldest daughter (18 at the time)in charge. He had been invited but had refused to take the night off work. Seeing me get an award was just too much for him to handle. And, looking back, I am so grateful he was not there.
My daughter and I had a wonderful dinner and I was able to teach her how a live auction works! She tried mightily to get me to bid on things that were well out of our price range but a girl can dream, right?!
After the auction, it was time for the presentation of awards. When my name was called, I walked to the stage, feeling weak in the knees. I straightened my spine, smiled, and stepped up to accept the award, graciously thanking the presenter. As I walked back to my seat I made a decision. It was a decision that would change the course of my future and the future of my children. I made a choice to be done.
I wanted out but didn’t know how to get out. I wanted to leave my marriage but didn’t know how or when it would happen. I was sad and lonely and in pain. I really was done.
I wanted to find a way out and that night showed me that I needed to find a way. I could not preach self love and empowerment to others all while living a lie of abuse and self hate.
I went through the motions in my marriage for a few more months. Soon enough, the lie I was living exploded. I mustered the courage to confront my wasband. I asked him to make a choice….our family and marriage or his “other life.” He wanted both. I knew that would never work so after a few weeks, I secretly met with a lawyer and filed for divorce.
Don’t get me wrong, I did the “pick me” dance for weeks, begging him to give us a second chance. I waited up all night for him to come home night after night only for him to ignore me or fight with me when he finally arrived. His contempt and indifference was something I will never forget. He taunted me repeatedly with, “I will never agree to a divorce…”, “You will never go through with it….you don’t have the guts….”, “Shut up! You will wake the kids….” and “Think about others would you?! She has small kids! Keep your mouth shut….” Over and over…..night after night….until he was served.
For years, every week I taught my Girls on the Run teams lessons in empowerment and self-esteem. What I failed to realize was that I was the one that needed those messages. I was the one that needed to learn to love myself and have confidence in myself. I needed to find the woman I had stuffed down deep inside me. I needed to be my own outstanding coach.
We never know what will turn the tide in our life. We never know when we will be faced with a moment of truth. We never know what moment will be the defining tipping point. However, when that moment does arrive, we need to be brave enough to face an uncertain future and be prepared to ride the waves of change. We have it in us! We just need to dig deep and find it!
We need to be our own SuperStar…..Our Own Outstanding Coach!
It is a word to which I feel connected. It is a word that is all over my home and how I sign my emails and posts. It is a place and feeling I have been searching for for a long time.
It was not until the gift of the pandemic that I realized I have arrived into peace. It is a strange feeling.
When you live your life in hyper-vigilance and trauma for so long you forget when it feels like to really breathe, slowly and intentionally. I was talking to a friend the other day and said it is strange not to have to explain why I want to do nothing but knit or read. Why choosing to do nothing, or everything, in a day is liberating. Why sitting still feels so strange.
For years I killed myself in my home, as a mom and in my career. I was exhausted and made to believe that I was still not doing enough. “Why are you so tired?” (after teaching all day, driving kids all over, coaching, cooking dinner and doing other work) “What did you do all day?” (after keeping kids alive and out of the er, fed and happy all day plus house chores) “Why is (insert anything) not done yet?” (after doing all the things and fixing all the things and cooking all the things) I was conditioned to believe that I was not enough, I was not doing enough, and I was “lazy”. Yes, conditioned to believe those lies because I am a people pleaser (more on that trauma response later). I did not want to disappoint anyone. I did not want anyone to be angry with me so I killed myself….slowly and deliberately …. For the happiness of others.
What I failed to realize at the time is that I could NEVER make them happy. The more I gave, the more they demanded. I had no boundaries. Over the past 6 years, I have learned boundaries. I have learned balance. I have learned to honor myself.
It took a global pandemic to drive home the “slow down” message. I learned that slowing down to sit and knit, watch a whole movie, read a book or go for a long walk is ok. I am not “lazy” when I do those things. I am at peace. I do not have to be constantly moving. I do not have to give all of me in the name of the happiness of others. I do not have to explain my activity(or lack thereof) to anyone. I still want to make others happy (remember…people pleaser!) but I want to do it on my terms. It is not easy but I know what it feels like now to be at peace…..and I like it.