Sustainably Single Parenting

Making the most of life's journey alongside my three!!!

Still I Wonder…About Him March 29, 2013

I tried to convince myself not to worry about him months ago. I tried reminding myself of the bad times. I tried focusing on the felony charges, the reason for my restraining order, the pain and embarrassment of the entire situation. I tried telling myself that I was only feeding into his narcissistic desires if I spent my time and energy on him. I tried to reason with myself that with my heavy load I didn’t have strength left to carry the burden of continuing to worry about him. To wonder about him. To wish it were different.

But still I do. I was conditioned to put his needs ahead of my own, and even though I have not seen or spoken to him in ten months it’s terribly difficult for me to let my worries go. I still wonder what he’s thinking about me, about everything, and lately especially about our newborn baby. Does he blame me? Of course he blames me. What is he telling everybody? How has he framed things? I’m sure they all think I’m a monstrous psychotic manipulative bitch. It pains me. I miss his family, but they will never love me again.

I wonder if he still loves me. He never loved me. I know that he never really loved me and I still wonder if he still does simultaneously. QuestionMarksMaybe I am crazy. I wonder if he’s with somebody. What is he telling her? Are they the same things he told me about the mother of his first baby who he never sees? Is he convincing her that really I’m the abuser? That I caused all the hardship? That’s I’m insane? Of course he’s telling her that; he’ll never take responsibility for anything.

So why do I worry about whether or not he’s eating alright? Why do I care if he’s losing weight? Why do I brood over his ability to sleep at night? I spent the majority of my pregnancy an insomniac. I have no money to pay our bills in New England, but still I’ve made EVERY mortgage payment on our Illinois home since he left though he’s probably living in it. I have our three children, our three daughters ages five weeks to five years and I’m getting nothing from him.

So why the hell am I worried about him? Quite obviously he’s being well taken care of. He has more than likely convinced his family members of his innocence. He has probably started training a new woman. He is making calculated decisions regarding his legal proceedings. He doesn’t give a shit about me. Maybe that’s what bothers me? That I’ll always care for him even though he wronged me and it’s so easy for him to let go of me, of all of us.

It’s our second daughter’s fourth birthday tomorrow. Is he thinking of her? He never cared much for our second daughter. Maybe he’s happy to not be here. I have no idea. The not knowing anything is so hard. I think he knows that the not knowing is hard for me. He is probably loving every minute of my misery. I want to stop myself from wondering, from worrying, but some part of me might always be focusing on him. In spite of everything a huge part of me wants him to be alright, wants him to love me, wants him to care about our family. That part of me may be unwilling to allow myself to let go of the fantasy. The fantasy is better than constantly thinking he’s plotting to kill me…though him wishing me dead is probably closer to reality.

Still…I wonder.

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Deliver Me January 14, 2013

I am 36 weeks along today. Full term in one week with Baby #3.  I keep thinking that maybe if I say it enough, maybe if it’s written, maybe if it’s published it will seem more believable.

But this still feels like a dream. At times it has been a nightmare.

Somehow it was nearly eight full months ago that The Big Incident occurred. I found out that I was pregnant just over two weeks later. Being pregnant throughout this transition has made all the difference in the world.

The pregnancy has given me the strength to focus on something other than my feelings for him. Through it all, I still love him. I still miss the parts of him that weren’t abusive. I still wish there was some way it could have worked. Especially now, four weeks away from the birth of our third baby.

Every other pregnancy brought me back to him, but I knew that I could not allow myself to submit this time. I knew that I could not go through another pregnancy praying that this baby might help him to treat me better. Maybe if the baby were a boy? Maybe then he would think I was worthy?

The pregnancy kept me from going into a stupor. I could not let myself slip away. I could not bury my feelings in alcohol or illegal substances. I’ve had to face my situation without anything to numb the pain. I’ve had to continue eating, although I wanted to mentally and physically fade away.

This pregnancy has kept me focused. I remember vividly the feelings that I carried throughout my previous pregnancies. The constant wishing that we would be more unified by the baby. The contrasting resentment over being pregnant, being trapped with him again, because I knew deep down that things weren’t ever going to change.

Every pregnancy made me want more, but every baby born or lost led to worse treatment.

Had I not gone to the police the night of The Big Incident…had I gone through another honeymoon phase and allowed myself to be wooed again…the cycle would have certainly continued. I was so afraid. How could I leave him? How would I manage three children? How would I finish school? How could I reach my goals if I let him go?

This time the debate wasn’t as difficult. This time he was already gone when the pregnancy was confirmed. This time I could look at my restraining order instead of listening to his voice. This time I had vivid nightmares to remind me of The Big Incident, and a healing body to match the memories. In the weeks after The Big Incident I had no time to brood over everything I missed about him. I had to figure out how I was going to feed my daughters, pay our rent, stay in Massachusetts to finish my education. How could I possibly manage everything? How could I keep us safe from his vengeance?

Being pregnant has made me want to go back to him; I feel so dependent on our family unit when I’m carrying his seed. But how could I take him back after The Big Incident? How could I ignore the history of what occurred during and after my other pregnancies? In the end I knew that allowing him to return after The Big Incident would be allowing him to control me forever.

I had to do things differently this time. I would not allow another child to go through what my other two have already been through. I would not continue to raise them under his reign, trying to be the buffer between his rage and their safety. I would not allow them to grow up thinking that love was supposed to look that way. Things had to change. I did not have the strength to be apologetic to another baby for bringing her into the hell that was our household while he was in it.

Soon I will give birth to my third baby, but I cannot keep from feeling as though she has helped to deliver me.

 

Not Quite Home for the Holidays December 24, 2012

This year Christmas will be just my brood and I. Today we will bake cookies for Santa and leave carrots out for the reindeer. edibleart-beautifulhouseWe’ll gather moths for the gerbils so they can have their Christmas feast. We will watch Christmas movies, and possibly all sleep in my bed. Christmas will be peaceful; there’ll be presents and good cheer, ecstatic sisters, and a house filled with love and laughter. I should not be sad about the things we won’t have this year, but I am.

It’s not the lack of presents. The girls have so many toys already that I’ve stopped keeping most of them in our condo. This year I was able to buy them a few things that they wanted, but we are financially dependent upon my school loans, and as the semester came to an end, so did our living expenses. I was given, once again, a very generous gift from donators to my support group. Clothing and presents were provided for the girls and several gift cards were given to me. Everything will come in handy and I am sincerely appreciative. I am still so new to this idea of accepting things; I am so used to giving. Every time something is given to me I anticipate the day I’m able to give back. I will never forget what these gifts have meant to me. But not even my inability to participate in the cycle of giving has me down this season.

It’s the lack of family. It’s the loss of his family. My mother lives in Illinois, my sister in New Orléans. I already knew that we would not be spending Christmas with my mother and sister. All throughout my marriage spending time with my family was not as essential to our routine as spending time with his. When I entered my marriage I was already feeling at odds with my mother and sister. domestic_violence_400x258I was disconnected from them, and being with my husband gave me the permission to explore myself and my budding adulthood without their influence. I did a lot of the isolation for him; all he had to do was encourage me to not put up with the negativity I felt coming from them.

His family became very important to me. His mother was always comforting, loving, open-minded, and available. She assisted us with our sustainability efforts and treated our children well. His sister became one of my best friends. I felt very close to her and enjoyed the times we got to spend together. I always knew that leaving my husband might also mean that I would be sacrificing my relationships with them. I hated the thought, and on many occasions I chose to stay with him because I could not imagine losing my new family.

His mother and sister were amazing, but also his grandmothers, his cousins, his childhood friends. StabilityHe’d grown up with a security that I’d always envied. For most of his life he’d lived in the same house, with the majority of his family within a 10 mile radius.  Family gatherings were frequent and heavily attended. I hadn’t had that kind of life; my family was far away and slightly deranged dysfunctional. I’d always wanted the type of family life that being a part of his family provided. I wanted to be able to throw a party and have more than three people attend. I wanted to have a family member’s house to hang out at on the weekends. I wanted to be able to stop by unannounced and feel comfortable staying the night. I wanted to have the poker buddies, the fishing company, and the annual camping trips. I’d wanted the community of relatives supporting me unconditionally.

RedTelephoneI knew there’d be no easy way to leave him without the possibility of losing his family, but I didn’t think things would end as horribly as they did. Now, with the felony charges and restraining order against him, I have more than likely lost them. They have contacted me only a handful of times since The Big Incident, and all of those times have been extremely brief. The standard, “How are the girls?” and nothing more. Due to the restraining order, they aren’t allowed to ask me about the court cases, and I’d assume they want to avoid talking about my marriage, but how do you avoid those topics? So they avoid contact. I haven’t called them for those same reasons. I feel that it would be almost unfair of me. They must be supporting him, so I am now the enemy. And it’s not as though I don’t understand, but it still saddens me.

I did not want to lose them. I did not want to lose the Christmas’ with them. More than the mounds of presents; I enjoyed the family Christmas gatherings, my daughters’ excitement being with everybody, the chance to feel included in a clan of people who may not have looked like me, but who shared my last name, who would fight for me, who would be there for me and my babies. This Christmas will be the first of…how many? without his family. Will I or my children ever be invited back in?

Xmas2012

Mr.WorryIt pains me to think of this loss. I try to imagine that someday, after the court cases, after some time has passed, I will not have totally lost the relationships I built with them. Maybe he has not told them horrible lies about me. But as he never takes the blame for anything I’m almost certain he has been badmouthing me. Maybe somehow they do not believe the horrible things he is saying. Maybe they would like to contact me, to support me, but they feel like it’d be disloyal to him. Maybe they really believe his side of the story. I really don’t know what they’re thinking, because they don’t talk to me. So I sit 1000 miles away and worry.

This Christmas will be filled with so many good things. My daughters and I are thriving, my pregnancy is going well and is almost at its end, my schooling is three courses shy of being complete, my daughters will have a mini, mama-made feast and they won’t notice the lesser number of presents from Christmas’ past. Our condo is comfortable and safe. We don’t have any money, but I have a plan for ways to make it through until my next school loan check is disbursed. Red-Christmas-decorations-christmasWe’ll be okay.

I don’t know if I should mourn the loss of his family. I’m holding out. I’m hoping I don’t have to let them go. It will be impossible to not think of them on Christmas. To not think of him being with them, enjoying them, being accepted and loved by them as my daughters and I used to be. It will be hard for me, but they are his family, and maybe I never really had them anyway. Maybe they were never really mine. But it felt like they were mine, every time we traveled to see them at Christmastime.

 

Death to the 4.0 December 19, 2012

NoB+I know that I shouldn’t be so incredibly disappointed, but I am. For the first time since graduate school began I received less than an A for my final grade. In one of my courses this semester I got a B+. For me, a B+ isn’t good enough, and I am terribly distraught.

I know that grading isn’t systematic and we’re basically relying on each teacher’s subjectivity; if I’d had a different professor I may have easily gotten an A for the same performance and the same work. That doesn’t really matter at this point, however, as I had the professor that I had and she gave me a B+.

Bummer.

I know. I should be proud of myself just for being in graduate school, trying my best, and attending classes these past 15 weeks while juggling being a single parent, being pregnant, and dealing with the mix of emotions that have surfaced since separating from my abusive husband.

I know. It’s graduate school, and I unless I’m planning on going for my PhD (which I’m contemplating) it won’t really matter what my grades were as long as I get my degree. But getting a 4.0 meant a lot to me. Maybe it’s because I didn’t try my hardest in undergrad? Maybe it was just because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. I like challenging myself.

This feels like failure.

I know that I have excelled at so many things. I suppose the mere fact that I’m keeping my head above water lately, and surviving off of three hours of anxiety-filled sleep each night for the past seven months is…something similar to an accomplishment. But the B+ saddens me.

I know that I will still proudly walk the stage, content that I did the best job I could do in every course I studied. Ten years from now I will not think  about the B+ that I received and how much it tormented me. For the next few days, however, I will be sulking. Death to the 4.0 GPA.

The loss of another dream.

 

Prego Project – Voicing Violence Award December 17, 2012

My dear thanks go out to Prego and the Loon for nominating me for her Prego Project – Voicing Violence Award.

This award was created in support of those affected by domestic violence. Victims are not only the people being abused; friends and family members of the abused suffer as well. pregoprojectpresentedbypregoandtheloonThis award was created to build unity among victims of domestic violence, to shed light on the truth behind closed doors, to give a voice to the pain so often locked in silence and hidden by isolation.

It is a bittersweet honor for me to accept this award. I never wanted to be seen as a victim of domestic violence. I stayed in denial for so long. After nearly eight years of pretending that I had the perfect marriage while my distance grew between family and friends, and the relationship of my dreams was draining me of all happiness and all hope, I broke the silence.

Speaking out about what happened to me kept me from hiding it from myself. It was so much easier to handle if no one knew. I could almost pretend that nothing had happened if I didn’t tell anyone. No one had to know of the names he called me, of the spit in my face, of being forced down the staircase with my neck in his grasp. But if I’d just stayed silent about it, nothing would’ve change.

Here’s to hope that my voice, my stories, and other victims’ bravery to tell of their experiences with domestic violence, will have a positive effect on the statistics of these incidents occurring.

 

PREGO PROJECT RULES

  1. Kindly thank the person who nominated you, and provide a link back to their blog.
  2. Attach the Prego Project Award presented by Prego and the Loon to your site.
  3. Provide a bit of hope and inspiration for those currently dealing with domestic violence.
  4. Nominate some other bloggers whom you feel deserve this award!

 

I am blogging with a candor that comes intrinsically, but I haven’t told you much about what happened to me.  Telling you everything could jeopardize my safety and the legal proceedings revolving around The Big Incident.

NO_MORE_STACK_RGBI will say this much for now – my husband was indicted last week. The grand jury’s decision to charge him with a felony for what he did to me during The Big Incident came after nearly seven anxiety-filled months of me not knowing how my case would be handled. The waiting has been very hard for me. I have gone through every conceivable emotion regarding this case and someday I will explain more about the specifics of being a victim in a case such as this. I am still terrified that he is going to try to kill me, especially now that he may go to jail for decades if he is convicted. I still do not feel safe, even though he is supposedly living over 1000 miles away.

The restraining order has given me the façade of safety. For the first time out of the many that I attempted to leave him I have the freedom from hearing his voice compelling me to come back. He cannot sway me with his poetry, or guilt me with suicide attempts, or cry his way back into my arms. He cannot tell our children that “Mommy doesn’t want me in your life,” while hugging them and crying, strategically placing the children between our ability to thrive and our victimized lives. He cannot be around me; just feeling his energy and seeing his face make me want to say “to hell with the charges and the past, he is going to change. All he needs is my love. We can make it.”

I am too far past that to really believe it is true. I know now that no matter what I went through, no matter how much I loved him (and still do), no matter how many times I came back and gave him one more “one last chance,” I would have been abused. Every time I came back to him the abuse was more violent. Every time I chose to stay silent about it, the cycle continued.

power-controlOnly after The Big Incident, after an event so scarring and debilitating, where I was stripped of every ounce of control, did I find the strength to start speaking out. I could no longer be in denial. Ignoring my situation was no longer an option; if I didn’t tell someone, if I didn’t go to the police, if I didn’t get a restraining order, if I didn’t find a support system, if I didn’t get away from him once and for all, it would be the end of me.

The thought of living the rest of my life being abused was too much for me. For eight years I’d held out hope, I’d nurtured the illusion of him reaching his potential with my assistance. I’d bowed down and worshiped his entirety. I wanted so badly for him to approve of me. I tried everything to earn his love. After The Big Incident, however, I’d had enough.

At 27 years old I finally stopped denying that the man I had loved since I was a teenager wasn’t ever going to change. He wasn’t ever going to be the man I needed him to be or love me the way I wanted to be loved. He wasn’t ever going to treat our children the way I felt they deserved to be treated. He wasn’t ever going to see me as anything other than his possession.

After The Big Incident I could no longer let it matter to me if he was abusing me on purpose or not; if he knew how badly he’d hurt me; if he acted this way because of his painful youth and negative upbringing; if he couldn’t love me because he couldn’t love himself; if he swore that he needed me, and that we needed one another. He would always abuse me. And I couldn’t keep quiet any longer.

DomesticViolenceRibbonThis is only the beginning of my journey. His influence is still evident in my decision-making, in my views of myself, in my preparation for the future. I still worry about him daily and wonder what he is thinking about me. Our three children, one still growing in my belly, will forever remain a link between us. I will always wish there would’ve been something I could’ve done to have made my marriage work.

The legal proceedings may take years before things are completed, and I may never stop having nightmares. I will, however, continue to speak out about domestic violence. Too many abusers aren’t held accountable for the pain they cause, the fear they inflict, the lives they ruin. Too many victims are voiceless. Too often society imagines domestic violence as a problem of the past. Domestic violence has not gone away, it has adapted. Every victim’s story gives another the strength to speak out. I hope that in some way I have helped.

 

Bloggers I’m Nominating for the Prego Project Award (these bloggers have been affected by domestic violence in some way and/or are advocates for victim education and safety)

  1. Fighting for Autumn and Ivy
  2. Clementine Morrigan
  3. Should I Stay or Should I Leave Him
  4. Combat Babe
  5. Moved By Faith
  6. Bruised Woman’s Blog
  7. Go! Win! Fight! Fly Free!

No one deserves to be abused.

 

The Good Things November 21, 2012

I’ve only been a single mother since late May 2012, but nearly every mother who has gone through a similar situation shares my sentiments:

We were single parenting long before we were actually single.

There are some things that have actually changed though. I may have had little time to myself before leaving him, but at least the children didn’t have to come with me to pap smear appointments. I no longer hold out the hope (though it usually wound up in disappointment and added resentment) that someone will help carry the load. I no longer have anyone to vent to about the children’s behavior on a rough day or the hardships of pregnancy. There is no soft skin to bury my face into, no strong arms to wrap around my waist and hold me tightly until I’m feeling okay.

There isn’t any abuse, but there aren’t any of the good things he brought to our household either. I miss the good things tremendously.

I miss the way he made me laugh. I miss our talks about the country, society, history. I miss him teaching me things. I miss his cooking. I miss his hair. I miss the smell of his skin, and the feel of his large hands. I miss the feeling of being protected from everybody; he was the only one who could truly hurt me. I miss the dream of loving each other eternally. I miss knowing that I had somebody.

I miss saying, “my husband,” in conversations. Now I don’t know what to call him. We are still married, but…

I miss his ears. He always thought they were too big, but his head was big and his ears fit it perfectly. I miss the way that he said my name. I miss watching him play video games that were too complicating for me to see how they could possibly be entertaining.

There were so many good things.

Tomorrow marks six months since The Big Incident, but somehow I’m supposed to smile and host a celebration.

Before The Big Incident, there was energy surrounding his presence. Whether he was raising hell or being peaceful, he was there. Whether he was gainfully employed or gleefully indulging in one of his vices, he was there. Whether he was contributing to my attachment parenting efforts or being a dictator, he was there. Now he is gone, and though there are countless ways things have gotten better, the reality of being alone, truly alone, makes getting things done just a bit harder than ever.

 

Unhealthy Obsessions August 10, 2012

Not a portion of my day goes by without my contemplating, nearly obsessing, about him. I wonder what he’s doing, how he’s feeling, if he’s thinking about me, if he’s eating properly, if he’s sleeping at night, if he misses me, if he’s thinking about our daughters and our unborn baby, if he’s sorry for what happened, if he’s trying to change.

A friend of mine tells me that my constant thinking of him is a way to keep him with me, to keep from being lonely. She tells me that I’ve kept him with me mentally as a way to keep from losing him completely. I think she’s on to something, because no matter how much I try to move past our relationship I find myself questioning: Does he still love me? Would he want me back?

I don’t maintain the fantasy of being a couple, but I still entertain the idea of being friends. I love him. I wonder if he hates me. I wonder what he is telling his family. I wonder if he is plotting to kill me. I miss the way he smells. Although everything I’ve learned from counseling tells me that I should have little hope for him coming to terms with the facts of our relationship admitting to being a batterer, I patiently await the day when we’ll be able to have a conversation.

It’s strange. For eight years before The Big Incident I had heard his voice every day. I had seen his face. I had touched his skin and shared his space. I was being mistreated, but he was with me. I am alone now, though not entirely without him. He possesses me with every motion from our growing baby in my uterus, there is nostalgia in every album, every moment with our daughters is a reminder of what I’d hoped would be, and everything I do is partially influenced by his absence.

I wonder how I’ll carry on without him. I know I’ll never love again. I wonder if he is already looking for a new companion. I’m certain that I no longer want to be with him, still it’s nearly impossible to let him go.