Sustainably Single Parenting

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

Powerless October 8, 2012

Every month, every hearing I lose one week’s worth of sleep. From the days preceding the hearing to the days following I am incapable of focusing on anything but the fate of my husband. I worry for him, I wonder what will happen, I wind through a range of emotions. Fear is ever-present; an abundance of anxiety and tension. I try to relax by accepting that there is nothing I can do. There is no way to hurry through these stagnant periods to find out what the future holds.

The system will run its course, the lawyers will do their dances, the D.A. will push our case back to the depths of ItCanWait because of its insignificance to the community. And so I wait. Frantic, helpless, but hoping that this hearing will mean something different, that this one will possibly end my monthly torment, that something will come of it, or that they will dismiss it once and for all.

I will be steadfast and strong, but my determination to persevere does not quell the discomfort of being temporarily powerless.

I have no choices left but to wait patiently or to wait impatiently. I long to know something…anything. I cannot plan for my future. I do not understand the system’s structure and processes. I cannot find peace. The most I can do to get through this is to keep my mind off of it, but that feels like an injustice to my husband. I am still compelled to protect him, to put his importance ahead of my own. But I cannot protect him any longer. I do not know where he is or what he is doing or who he has replaced me with. I cannot determine whether he misses me or wants me dead. I do not know if he will ever speak to me again, and it kills me.

I am incapable of controlling this aspect of my life. I wear the weight from day-to-day and fight insomnia at night. I wait…constantly battling inside. I suffer…but I survive.

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Mama’s Got A Brand New Ring September 21, 2012

I hate jewelry.

I haven’t worn anything besides my wedding ring in the past six years. I chose the ring myself (with much persuasion by my husband to not get the ring I really wanted). I figured it would be a good ring for having children around, no risk of scratching their pretty faces with my giant rock, no fear of being mugged because of the attention I’d be attracting. My wedding ring is a simple band of white gold with twelve small diamonds across the top. The diamonds tend to face downward because they are heavy and my finger has changed sizes throughout the past six years so it isn’t sized to keep from spinning.  Most people do not take the ring as a sure sign that I am married because it is so small and thin and plain.

My Wedding Ring

I have stopped wearing my wedding ring.

I put it back in its box a few weeks after The Big Incident. I felt like wearing that band these past six years had just added to the lies I was trying to convince myself of: that we were a united front, that we were one, that since I was his wife that meant he had to love me, that this would mean we could make it through anything, ‘til death do us part. But I am far from dying, and I am not going back into that abusive relationship. I figured the sooner I start both mentally and physically committing to this difficult adjustment, the better.

But for months now, when I’m driving, or eating, or picking up one of my children, or doing my hair, or blogging, or taking a shower, or folding laundry, or pretty much anything that involves being conscious of your hands, I miss my ring. I feel a gap between my fingers which used to be rubbing at the band constantly. For six years I have hardly ever taken off my ring, and now my fingers mourn their familiar fit and feeling. It feels different when I make a fist, tap my fingers, and pop my knuckles. I’m missing a routine by not having to turn the band upwards to see the diamonds shine.

I knew that I was mourning my marriage, the death of a childhood dream, but it didn’t seem like taking off my ring would mean so much to me. My mother and sister have tried for years to purchase jewelry that I would enjoy wearing. My sister got me a silver watch a few years back and I liked it, but the links were too long and I didn’t ever bother taking it to a shop to have some removed. My mother has gotten me bracelets and necklaces and other things here and there but I just don’t typically like them and choose not to wear them.

Close to my new ring (mine has more diamonds)

Well, on my birthday, in addition to The Birthday Surprise, my mother gave me a beautiful ring with diamonds and a sapphire in it. It is the same style of ring that I’d wanted for my wedding ring before my husband convinced me to buy something more plain (less expensive). I instantly loved it. I thought to wear it on my ring finger in place of my wedding ring because of that intense void that I’ve been feeling, but after a day of this it felt too strange to have something take its place. I am wearing my new ring on my right hand ring finger. It fits perfectly.

I still miss not having anything on my left hand, but I know that I will get through this period of loss and loneliness. I will not jump to have another take its place because it feels better than emptiness. I will not fill myself with the false hope that a new left hand ring finger band would give me. I will mourn the ring entirely, wholeheartedly, and when I am alright again it will feel better to know that I did not just go out and take the first sparkly thing someone gave me to replace it. I’ll have waited. I’ll have been patient with my sadness, and I will know when (…if ever…) the time should be right again.

 

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.

 

Mourning My Marriage July 27, 2012

You might think that any woman who has been abused will be elated once her abuser has been removed from her life.  I used to think that way. It seemed so simple. I would scream at the women on my television screen who’d continuously profess their undying love for men who were clearly undeserving.  Why doesn’t she just leave? What is she thinking? I thought they were fools. I thought they were weak. I swore it wouldn’t happen to me.

Movies don’t really prepare you for modern abuse. It looks different in real life, and it may be harder to recognize when it’s happening to you. I spent so much of my relationship in denial; justifying his behavior, striving to be a better partner, trying to prevent his wrath. Lately I look back and find it hard to believe that I really put up with so much crap, but it didn’t always seem unreasonable.

I fell in love with an amazing man. He had so much potential. He was sexy and intelligent and a little bit of an asshole, he had all the makings of being the alpha male of my dreams. He had a past filled with problems, but now he had me, and together we could do anything. We would rule the world. Or, at least that’s the way it seemed that things could be in the beginning, and intermittently throughout the next eight years.

When you haven’t been in an abusive relationship it’s difficult to empathize with victims. When you haven’t had your perfect love take a nose dive into domestic violence, then try to recuperate from its depths, it is almost impossible to understand why anyone would risk it happening again. Abuse can be very complex; for me it was interwoven with times of peace, understanding, reconnecting, and revisiting the dream of being the perfect team, the perfect family, an enduring example of unity.

I have since learned more about abuse, and I realize that these periodic “good times” were just a part of the cycle. Before, I thought that they were signs of hope.  I look at the wheel of power and control given to me by my counselor and feel ignorant to not have realized the truth earlier on.

I had refused to see myself as a battered woman. I didn’t want to leave and become a single mom. It was embarrassing to admit how I was treated, and I’d told no one the full truth in so long that I was terrified no one would believe me. I also had hardly anyone I could tell, because I’d lost most of my support system when I fell under his spell. Even still, I didn’t want to give up on my husband, so I continuously convinced myself that things were not so bad. I desperately clung to the idea that we could make anything better together.

Now I am mourning the loss of my dream. It’s difficult to realize that I never would have succeeded, no matter how much I suffered, how hard I tried, how much he meant to me. I am finally removed from the relationship, but I will always love him, and I will always wish that things could have worked out differently. Just like those impossible women on my television screen I couldn’t relate with long ago.