Saturday, May 16, 2015

Our Story (10): Face To Face With The Lion

"Poisonous relationships can alter our perception. You can spend many years
thinking you're worthless... but you're not worthless, you're unappreciated."
- Steve Maraboli -

(continuing from last time...)

When I hung up on my ex after informing him that I was pulling the plug on the car arrangement, I left with my kids to take my older daughter to her Beaver Scouts meeting, which lasted about an hour or so. When we returned home, my ex was waiting for us outside. He had parked his car in the driveway, blocking my access to the garage, which is where I always put my car; something he knew.

I parked on the street; my heart pounding so hard, I could barely breathe. I hadn’t expected him and I knew that his being here so soon after that phone call was a very bad sign. I got the girls out of the car, and with the baby in my arms and my older child by my side, I walked quickly to the house, never once looking at my ex. My older daughter kept repeating “daddy’s here” and I whispered to her as I pushed her along “When we go inside, I want you to go straight to your room, close the door and do not come out until I tell you to. Do you understand?

My hands were shaking so badly, I had trouble unlocking the door. I stepped in and instructed my daughter to get to her room right now as I turned around to shut the door with my baby still in my arms. But my ex had followed us up the stairs and was now standing in the doorway. I told him to go home but he wouldn’t leave. Instead, he waved a cheque at me and said angrily “Here’s your fucking money.” I didn’t take it. “I don’t want money.” I said. “I want you to find someone else to register the car to. You have until the end of the month.
Despite having witnessed one too many things
in her primary years, my older daughter grew into
a strong, well-balanced and beautiful young woman.

Take the fucking cheque” He shoved it at me. I refused. Told him once again to go home. That he had no business here. He didn’t live here. We weren’t together anymore. I wasn’t going to cater to him anymore. And I certainly wasn’t going to have him driving around without a license in a car that was registered and insured under my name. “Find someone else.

And the bomb went off. Enraged and shouting like a maniac with hatred in his eyes, he called me every name in the book, telling me what a fucking bitch I was. How I intentionally pissed him off. Did all these things on purpose. “You fucking bitch. You stupid, crazy FUCKING BITCH. I can’t fucking stand you. You make me sick.” On and on he went as I kept telling him to stop, go home, our children are here. “Don’t tell me what to fucking do, you bitch. YOU FUCKING BITCH. You always have to be so FUCKING difficult.” His anger kept escalating and then suddenly he lifted his hand into the air, made a fist, aimed it towards my face and through gritted teeth said “Nothing would give me more pleasure right now than to punch you in the fucking face.

Time stood still as my ex held that fist up, face red with rage and body shaking. A foot taller and 100 pounds heavier, a punch from him, something he’d never done, would cause serious damage. In all the years I’d known him he broke things and punched holes in walls because, he said, “If I don’t do that, it’ll be my fist your face instead.” Exactly in those words. But he’d never hit me.

And thankfully he didn’t hit me that evening. Instead, he pushed me, I fell against the wall and the baby I'd been holding all this time bumped her head. My ex raced into the house and down the stairs into the basement where he unplugged the computer I was using for school. “If you’re not nice to me, I won’t be nice to you.” He yelled and started running out of the house with the computer in his arms.

In the meantime, I'd grabbed the phone and dialed 911. I explained what was going on and when asked where he was headed, I gave the route and described the car my ex was driving. And while still on the phone, the dispatcher said to me “They got him. It’s okay now; the police got him.

Relieved, I sobbed as I kept repeating “Why can’t he just leave me alone? Why can’t he just leave me alone?

Two officers showed up at my home within a minute. I told them the story, wrote up a statement, pressed charges, agreed to the ‘suggested’ restraining order against my ex and gave them permission to speak to my older daughter who confirmed that “daddy pushed mommy and ran in the house and took the computer”. Despite my firm instructions, she had come out of her room and witnessed the whole thing.

Later that night, a detective called from the police station to give me an update. He explained that my ex had been arrested and charged with a few things. And because he was driving without a license, the car had been impounded for 30 days. In addition, it was decided that my ex would be kept in jail overnight because he was absolutely livid and there was concern for my safety.

He asked me to tell my story and listened patiently as I did; from the period before the separation till that moment. Sighing, he said “Smart guy, eh? Expects his wife that he’s separated from to keep a car in her name because he has no license, so he can drive his girlfriend around. A real smart guy.” When he asked why the computer was taken, I told him that he was punishing me for not doing as I was told. Because I had young kids, I couldn’t stay after class to do lab work. I did my assignments at home after my children went to bed. Without it, I would fall behind in school.

We spoke for awhile longer, he thanked me for my time and told me he’d be in touch again. “Get some sleep.” he said. “We will keep him here until he calms down. You’re safe."

I don’t think I slept a wink that night. Or for several nights afterward. Looking back now, I realize that it could have gone much worse. When I told this story to the most amazing man in the world, he said “You are so lucky. He might have snapped and really hurt, even killed you.” He's right. Engaging with someone like him and in that state was actually foolish. And dangerous.

And did my ex learn anything from this experience? Like assuming responsibility for his actions? Being accountable? Regret? Remorse? No. The next time my 6-year-old daughter returned from a visit with my ex, she said “Daddy said it’s hard to see me now because you took his car away. Why did you do that mommy? Why are you so mean to daddy?” In my ex’s mind, he was the constant victim and everything was always someone else’s fault. And in this case, but for my calling the police, the car wouldn’t have been seized. The fact that he was driving without a license had nothing to do with it.

Two weeks later, riddled with guilt for who knows what reason for the millionth time, I headed to the police station to drop the charges. And the officer I spoke to pointed me in a new direction that would eventually change my life.

To be continued... (click here)

31 comments:

  1. What a great caring officer, looking forward to the next installment

    betty

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    1. He was. I met many such people along the way. They all helped me move forward.

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  2. Wow - what an awful experience! You had a lot of courage to do what you did. So glad you are out of that relationship.

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    1. It was courageous but also foolish. Looking back now, I realize how badly things could have gone.

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  3. I'm so glad he didn't beat you, to add physical injury to the emotional harm he was already committing. You were brave to stand up to his abuse.

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    1. Once we were separated, I found it easier to do so, although this may not have been very smart. He could have totally lost control.

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  4. Amazing that a guy like didn't hit you - I kept waiting for him to crack and do it. Thank god he didn't. I am so surprised that after the police were involved that they would have allowed joint custody of the kids? he obviously displayed enough violence to the police that they kept him overnight?

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    1. We never had joint custody. A month after we separated, I made sure we drew up separation papers because I was eager to secure the status of the children. When we were in the lawyer's office, I asked for sole custody. I thought he would argue it, he didn't. From then on I always had primary custody of the kids. He only saw them three weekends a month; the rest of the time they resided with me.

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  5. I didn't comment on the previous post coz I was waiting for this continuation. Wow what an insanity that was. Well, he couldn't stand you because you were fighting him and you won't just give in. He wouldn't be nice you if you weren't to him oh wow I can't believe I'm hearing such reasons. I can't believe that a kind of person lije thst really existed?!!

    well again, glad it's all over now :)

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    1. All this was a long time ago, which is a true blessing. It feels like another lifetime.

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  6. Staying posted for the next instalment, so sorry you and the kids had to go through this.

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    1. I am, too, Christine, mostly for the them. Children don't need this.

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  7. As I said before, trying to deal with the irrational doesn't work. The illness has to be taken care of. Yes you were very lucky. Yes many people drop the charges.

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    1. That's exactly it, Red. You cannot deal with the irrational. You are literally wasting your breath.

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  8. You were quite a bit lucky, though that whole situation didn't sound terribly fun either.

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    1. You have no idea how many times I've thought about that. Yes, I was lucky. And I am grateful. Things could have gone much worse.

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  9. Martha I'm wordless, when you said you were in an explosive relationship, I had no idea. You are one strong lady! Sending you hugs

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    1. Thank you, Richard. That is so kind. Where the hell were you all those years ago when I really needed a hug? Hahaha... I'm just kidding. I appreciate your kindness. And I am so grateful that this is all in the past. Way, way in the past.

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  10. This gives me chills, Martha! I can't even respond right now. You were so brave, and you could have been killed. Thank God the police kept him in prison overnight. And thank goodness your baby only bumped her head! It when women stand up to their abusers that the abusers become most dangerous.

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    1. Oh, I know you totally get it, Louise. There is a fine line between emotional abuse and physical abuse that can be crossed at a time like that. My gosh, you don't know how many times I played that day over and over in my mind afterwards. It wasn't smart for me to step out of the car. I should have driven away with the kids. Thankfully, everything turned out okay.

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    2. In a crisis we don't always make the choice that seems obvious later. You were showing him that you were not going to be a doormat or afraid any more. And on some level, at least it was for me, it's hard to believe that he would really do something horrible, especially with his children there. You made tough choices, but they paid off in the confident, strong women your daughters are!

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    3. Thanks, Louise. I hope the girls have learned good things from me. That is exactly what it came to that day; that I wasn't going to be intimidated by him anymore. Imagine the nerve of this guy. He wouldn't take no for an answer that I didn't want to keep a car in my name that he'd drive around uninsured. After we separated. The fact that he thought this was logical is mind boggling.

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    4. *oops* I meant to say he wanted to drive around the car in my name while he didn't have a license. And we weren't even together anymore. But yet, I still somehow owed him. Such a jerk.

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  11. such intensity, such preciseness, clarity on your part of course.

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  12. Just read this and again, very well-told.

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    1. You know, it's been so long and yet it's all crystal-clear in my mind. The good thing about that is that I can write in detail what I thought and felt at the time. And yet, I feel like I'm writing about another person. So strange.

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    2. That is interesting. And pretty darn cool.

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  13. The advantage I had over you dear Girl, was that I had only one son, when he came through the window, to sleep with my son, I threw him out. My Brother was babysitting but he was asleep. He said I had not right to go out and leave my son alone, that he felt how much he was needed, and I was rotten mother...so I told him out or I'll call the police. He came back the next day my brother wasn't there and I was alone with my son, so when he started screaming at me, and kicking me, I told him to wait. I brought my some to the apt below me, she sometimes babysat, and I told them keep him here, let no one in, if it starts sounding violent please call the cops, well he broke things, called me names kicked me...and that's when he through his legs at my antique mirror desk...I thought that would be enough for them to call the cops...but they didn't, so I dealt trying to appease that rage ...at least until someone helped me out,no one did, but finally he left on his own. The next day he came and brought me a short mustard-coloured leather skirt to make up for the day before. That's when I gave him the separation paper which instead of signing he tore up. I'm lucky that I only had one son and no babies, or i don't how I would have handled it so my heart goes out to you...and all abused wives all over the world, the man that wrote '...you may break my bones, but words will never hurt me' I started to believe then that it was written by a deaf man.....

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    1. Your story sounds very heartbreaking. And I'm glad it all turned out well. Those who have experienced these things totally understand the emotional and psychological aspects involved. And I bet you were/are an amazing mom. Now you have a beautiful granddaughter to add more joy to your life!

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