Raising a Mentally Stable Child with an Unstable Parent

Raising a mentally stable child with an unstable Parent isn’t easy. I

Raising a mentally stable child with an unstable parent.
Raising a mentally stable child with an unstable parent.

was working on my blog one day when Avery (6 ½ years old) was doing her homeschooling. She asked me what I was doing. I just told her I was writing a paper to try to help other kids like her deal with divorce issues. She doesn’t know about my secret blog, of course. That would be too risky and probably inappropriate, but she immediately wanted to help out. I’ve included our conversation below.

Avery says:

“Just go along with everything he says. You might have to fib to him a little bit but it’s okay because it’s the only way he’ll be nice and won’t say you’re doing anything bad, and call you a fibber. It’s kind of hard because you know that fibbing isn’t right.

What if he gets mad?

“Then just… if he just walks away from you, sit there until a while later until you think he forgot, then just walk to where he is. The kitchen, for example, just say “Hi daddy.” The perfect time is half of a half-an-hour later.

If you cry?

He says, ”why are you crying?”

I make up some reason. Not the truth. Sometimes I do, but I sometimes get called a fibber if I tell the truth… if I say the truth when I go back.

What days does he seem to be worse? “Right when I come back. Thursday and Friday (She goes back on Thursday”

Why? “I don’t know.”

How do we get our children to understand that it is not okay to lie when one parent is delusional? I think when he hears something he doesn’t like to hear, that his child loves her mother, for example, something that is perfectly natural and healthy, it is so far from his reality that he just can’t accept it. He can’t understand that his own daughter is an individual and has her own likes/dislikes but sees her as an extension of himself instead.

I explain to her that it is not okay to lie but in her situation with Daddy, if she feels she has to lie, I can understand. I want her to know it is not right but I understand why she is doing it. I myself have been in her shoes. I can’t say that I didn’t lie under the same circumstances at times for my own safety. She has an innate sense that she is not safe with him. She has said many times that he will kill her. I don’t think this is ever anything he’s told her but she’s scared. It’s definitely not anything I’ve said to anyone. However, I can certainly understand her fears. I once thought he might try to kill me. But, of course, the court won’t understand her concerns. It’s not like I can just not send her or she will likely be taken away from me. Then what chance do we have? And for a child to have such fear in their lives (especially coming from their own father) is heartbreaking. And what can I do!? It is so frustrating! I can’t do anything until he’s done something. Call me crazy but, in my opinion, by then it’s too late!

I don’t have the answers. I wish I could find some book for kids in this situation! Opinions? Anyone else have anything that they’ve tried?

 

 

March 19, 2016

spring
Hope. Never lose it!

It’s early here. I’m waiting for Avery to wake up. She had a bellyache last night. She didn’t quit talking though, so I don’t know if she just needed attention, dreaded going to Daddy’s, or really was sick.

It’s been 4 years since we separated and sending her back over there has never gotten easy. Now, she’s old enough to be away from me, though it causes her a lot of stress. However, now she’s old enough to have an opinion, and that KILLS him. Worst of all, it kills her! She can’t express her true self. She has to be his little puppet. It is so sad and I hate it. She will only wear certain clothes back. They can’t have glitter, Hello Kitty, be anything that may have been her cousin’s, or a series of other imagined infractions. She just wears back what she wore here. It’s easiest, even if they are too small. He’s thrown away her prized clothes right in front of her if they don’t meet his stringent requirements (he gets her clothes from Goodwill, very used). She can’t have her nails painted or he’ll scrape the polish off with a toothpick (then pick his teeth with it, as Avery says). She can’t wear shoes with a heel, “summer” socks (he thinks they are too small), shoes with glitter of course, or sandals. No open toes or flip flops. He says they aren’t safe. I guess that’s for

I’m still waiting for the next court case to pop up. It’s been about a month since we heard about the Supreme Court case. (He lost, by the way.)

“Family” Photo Shoot

family photo shoot
Family Photo Shoot

I ran in to an old acquaintance (we’ll call him “Jason”) a few days ago. He said, “I have something you’re going to like!”

“What’s that?” I said.

He went on to tell me the story.

A few weeks prior, a co-worker’s wife was going to start working at a local office. Turns out, it was my ex, John. Jason warned his co-worker what my ex is like but the man brushed it off with, “there’s two sides to every story.”

“True”, my friend said.

The woman worked there for two weeks. One week while John was there, and one week when he wasn’t. (He works only every other week.) She quit because she was tired of getting yelled at because she didn’t wash his cup good enough (this was a common complaint of his). However, before she left, he asked her to go get family pictures with him and his daughter. When Jason told me this, I assumed that he meant that he wanted the woman to go along and help him watch our daughter, who is now 6. That was stupid enough, but, no, his reasoning was something even more bizarre. He wanted her to go along to stand in as his wife! (Mind you, he has not even dated to my knowledge since we divorced) And the kicker was, Jason said that the woman resembled me quite a bit.

Why? I can’t figure it out. What’s he trying to pull? Our daughter brought up a lady’s name a few days ago and she said she was the lady that takes their family pictures. I took the opportunity to ask her if they’d had family pictures taken lately. They hadn’t… guess he’s still waiting to find another stand-in.

50 Shades of Crazy! -Part 3

50 Shades of Crazy! -Part 3

My friend texted and asked how things with “him” were going. I filled her in on a little of what was happening. She’d been friends of the ex until recently, having remained “neutral” in the divorce. She’d

50 Shades of Crazy! -Part 350 Shades of Crazy! -Part 3
50 Shades of Crazy! -Part 3

recently discovered what a cheat and liar he is. When I told her what my daughter had said, she had some interesting recollections to share.

She said that he had told her some time back (at least 8-9 months ago) that I had been sexually abused by my father! That is nowhere NEAR the truth! My father never did anything of the sort! I had a great childhood, not that we didn’t have our usual problems. My ex has also been telling people that I underwent years of therapy but am

still bipolar because of the abuse and that he’s worried it’ll happen to out daughter. That is also not true. I have no mental disorders, thankfully, after all this.

Well, long story short, child services continued their investigation. I had filed the protective order to keep our daughter so as not to get in trouble with child services as well. The judge however threw it out because of the Supreme Court Appeal. He said our local court no longer has jurisdiction to hear anything because of the Supreme Court Appeal. So, no contempt, no nothing! This concerned me a bit. What if he runs off with her as he’s threatened to do and has told our daughter he’s doing? How will I fight it if he runs off? According to the judge, I can’t.

So, I talked to my lawyer later that day. He had talked to the judge and had decided that I should just not send our daughter! I was thrilled! This eased all of my concerns, though I felt very guilty for not sending her to her father’s. I felt awful for her not getting to see him. But, ultimately, I had to do what I thought was right by her. She would not do well if she never got to see me again, or even if he kept her until this Supreme Court case was over. I figured if I kept her, he would also be forced to close that case so that he could get her back. Our

lawyers emailed back and forth on this issue, so he was well aware of what he needed to do to get her back. However, he chose not to see her so that he could continue his futile case (in my opinion and every other lawyer I’ve talked to).

So, months have passed and I still have her. We continue to call her dad nearly every day. He continues to chastise us on proper bedtime and how I don’t care about her because I don’t have her to bed when HE does. More on this later. He is also trying to get all of my records from pre-school, mini league, dance, and gymnastics to prove parent alienation. I have texts and emails to prove that he knew about it, just didn’t bother to attend. Good luck with that! He’s still grasping at straws.

I have much to add to this story. Seems time has been a problem lately! Hope to get caught up very soon!

 

50 Shades of Crazy!!!-Part 2

50 Shades of Crazy
50 Shades of Crazy

The plot thickens… So I got the emergency protective order for our daughter. They were to serve it to him at the pick-up location. I felt bad for him. He comes to see his daughter only to find out that he doesn’t get visitation this time. Even this psychopath doesn’t deserve it to go down like this. I feel bad for him.

At the same time, I’m relieved. Our daughter is thrilled! She gives me a hug and says “Thanks Mommy!” We couldn’t even call because of the protective order. She hasn’t wet her pants once in all this time, as of now it’s been a month since she’s seen him. (She’s been wetting her pants 3 times the first day back, two the next day, and one the third day back pretty consistently for months. I didn’t notice the pattern for a while, sadly but I’m sure it was going on longer than I realized with such a strong pattern) I don’ t know what the wet pants means, other than a sign of stress or SOMETHING not being right. She says she wets her pants a LOT at Daddy’s. She says he doesn’t get mad at her though, which I’m thankful for.

Through the next week, more comes out. The initial concerns of our daughter’s: Daddy showering with her (at almost 6 yoa) and Daddy wiping her without toilet paper grew into a little more of a puzzle. While I don’t believe he is intentionally sexually abusing her, his inability to see her as a person, a growing girl, has obviously made her uncomfortable enough to sense that something isn’t right.

A few weeks before all of this, she had said something out of the blue. She said “I wish grandpa would get a gun and shoot Daddy!” That blew me away! Here’s my innocent, sweet little girl expressing such a strong, disturbing statement. I was hesitant to tell anyone, as I was afraid they’d think there was something wrong with her. I did tell her therapist. She was just happy that our daughter was finally expressing herself. She said it didn’t sound like her. I agreed. It was at this point that she mentioned that usually our daughter wouldn’t say ANYTHING negative about her Daddy, even the usual stuff kids say. Everyday stuff, like “Daddy makes me go to bed early.” or, “Daddy doesn’t let me eat enough candy.”After that session, I decided to once again try to find a different therapist. That’s what led me to talk to the therapist that ultimately reported to CPS.

During the following week, I decided I must tell his family. I was a little afraid to. I was afraid they’d think I’d accused him of this and reported it, but they know me better than that. I also hated to tell his mother. That’s a pretty awful thing to hear about your son. But, I told them. His mother stood by her original belief that her son should have supervised visits only. She asked me to get to the bottom of it and have our daughter talk to someone. I reassured her that I had and would continue to do so.

About this time, I’d told a friend what was going on. She shed interesting news that would make me rethink the whole situation!… (See Part 3 of 50 Shades of Crazy)

50 Shades of Crazy!

50 Shades of Crazy!

50 Shades of Crazy
50 Shades of Crazy

It’s 7 minutes to pickup time. I’m not sending her. When you read the following, I’m betting you’d make the same decision. Since last posting, a lot has happened. First of all, I got a new lawyer, which I believe was the right move. The last call to my previous lawyer, telling him my concerns about homeschooling with this person, and how my N-ex wouldn’t allow our daughter to participate in pre-school, ball, gymnastics, etc. on “his” time, and before I could even get out anything after “pre-school” he cut me off, saying “Well, preschool is different than school!” He was defending my ex! Well, that was the final straw! I”m not going to pay someone big bucks that is such a narcissist himself, he can’t see how raising a child with someone like this, nonetheless homeschooling with them, may be detrimental to a child!

So, after much searching, and calling, I finally found a new lawyer. I was immediately impressed that he actually seemed to listen to me and didn’t put me down. Sad that this seems to be the norm in law! My new lawyer listed some of my concerns in our modification for custody for school. I’m already impressed. He actually agrees that behavior like my ex’s isn’t normal.

We hadn’t even gotten a chance to serve the papers to my ex yet when our daughter said that Daddy touches her private area with his hand. It sounded like it was just for wiping and cleaning but she’s 5. I think it’s inappropriate. He still showers with her. He does cover up with a washcloth, but I don’t know how well that works! Our daughter says she’s seen under the washcloth before. I don’t THINK he’s doing anything with sexual intentions, but I called a therapist to talk to her, just to be sure.

Her regular therapist has mentioned recently that she can’t get anything out of our daughter, that she won’t say anything negative about her dad, even the usual stuff kids say. I figure, why not try someone new who may be able to get a little more out of her as to what’s bothering her, etc. and who may be able to help her a little more. So, I called my family therapist who recommended a few people to me. I called a few. Some were either not taking new clients or couldn’t see her without his permission. I asked him to call one, but he never did (as I figured). While I was talking to one of them who couldn’t see her, she was very concerned with the things our daughter was saying. She said she’d have to report it, unless I got right on it. I DID. But he didn’t call in to approve it. I’m assuming she’s the one who called it in to child protective services (CPS).

A few days later, I got a call from CPS in the county that I had sought out therapy for her. She asked me where I lived. She said a CPS worker from my county would be calling me. Sure enough, an hour or two later, the other CPS worker called. She asked if I had our daughter. I said, yes, until tomorrow, when she goes back. She asked if I could bring her in. I took her over right away as it was almost closing time.

She spilled her guts to that CPS worker. I was outside the door but could hear a lot of what she said. She told her all her grievances to that lady. She finally opened up! She told how he threatened her on Thanksgiving for saying that she wanted to be with me. He’d threatened to get rid of her kitten, fish and stuffed animals and toys and to tell them that she didn’t love them because I’d sent a text saying that she was excited to see her cousins on Thanksgiving.

The CPS worker was also concerned. Probably more-so than I was. As pickup was the next day, I debated over what to do. She told me the usual story: that if I sent her and something happened, I could be held accountable too. So, I debated, and debated. Finally, the next day, I decided to file the emergency protective order. I felt horrible, but what else could I do? This is my 50 shades of crazy-life.

See the next post http://torn-whybatteredwomenstay.com/?p=458

The Restraining Order

NarcissistA few weeks ago, my fiance went with me to pick up my daughter, as he has for the past several months. He usually sits in the car and checks email on his phone. This day, however, he looked out the window at my daughter who was getting ready to get out of the car. As I walked over to get my daughter from her Dad’s car, I saw my ex staring at me in my peripheral vision. As I got closer, I finally looked. He wasn’t staring at me. He was staring past my at my fiance. He yelled loudly, “You got a problem?!” My fiance got out of the car and said “Yeah, I do, but I’m not going to do anything about it in front of

your daughter” He stayed by his car the whole time. Meanwhile, I was signaling to my ex that our daughter was sitting right there. (She shouldn’t see this.) He stopped. He got her out and said goodbye. As I was walking over to our car, my ex yelled, “I’m calling 911!” My fiance said, “Okay” and got back in the car. My ex was sitting there on the phone when we left. I figured he was trying to start something for some particular reason, as is his way. A few weeks later, my fiance got a call from a cop friend from where he used to live that my ex was trying to have him served with a restraining order. We still haven’t received it. My ex probably can’t find out my fiance’s address. I’m really curious to see what he’s claiming. He told our daughter in the last few weeks that someone tried to kill him. I don’t know if that is a recent attempt or in the past, but WHY would you tell your 5-year-old daughter that!? I’m thinking he’s trying to say that his life was threatened on the day that he called 911 (supposedly). This is just an example of the kinds of things that malignant narcissists will try to get a rise out of you (or for whatever reason).

Trouble to Come

I don’t mean to be a pessimist here, but having known this particular narcissist for 10 years now, I know that things aren’t over. There’s always trouble to come. He was nice a few days ago. I sent a reminder by text that I would be picking up our daughter at 5 on Thursday for the Easter holiday. Usually this would evoke anger in him. He’d usually ignore it by text, maybe saying a little remark at pick-up, but this time, he actually replied back, “Thanks. Our schedule is confusing”. Knowing him, when he’s nice, something is up. Mark my words. He’s got SOMETHING in the works. Either he is going to appeal his previous appeal to the state supreme court, he has filed another restraining order against one of us (ok, I just realized I didn’t post about that yet. I will soon), or he has something else up his sleeve. Not to mention, he’s REALLY going to be livid when he finds out that my fiance and I are getting married soon. I’ll keep you posted!

There is HOPE!
There is HOPE!

The Un-divorce

Un-Divorce
Un-Divorce

I thought it was over. When I divorced my ex over a year and a half ago, I assumed that it was for good. However, while heading on a family outing with my now-fiance, his daughter, and mine, I got a call from my mom, who had just received a letter in the mail from the courthouse in the city in which my ex lives. I asked her to open it. He was trying to claim that our divorce should have been done in the state in which he now lives, instead of the state in which we lived at the time. Obviously, this is ridiculous. Surely this will never go anywhere, right?! I mean, a divorce is final. You can’t go back a year later can you?! Well, you might be surprised!

(I’m purposely leaving the states names out, for anonymity, though my story is so bizarre, if someone who knows me were to read this blog, they’d KNOW it would have to be me. How many people have gone through an attempted un-divorce and re-divorce, as I call it. I apologize that this must be made harder to read than it has to be.)

I called my lawyer on Monday morning after having faxed him the document. He was stunned. He said it was bizarre and that he had never seen anyone try to do this. He didn’t KNOW what might come of it. He also told me that he couldn’t represent me in that state so I’d have to find another lawyer. After calling several lawyers, only to be denied, I finally received a call back from a lawyer who could take my case. I met with him the next week. I only had a few weeks to respond. He also didn’t know what might happen but he said he had seen that happen before a
time or two. He told me that he thought that the court would throw it out because the new state didn’t have anything to do until the previous state threw it out. So, I paid him my $800 and he filed the appropriate
paperwork. He told me that it should be thrown out. We waited. And waited. And waited. The day of the hearing came and still no news of it being thrown out. Still, the lawyer assured me that I need NOT drive to the new state until I heard from him. Sure enough, about 9:00am, I received a call from my lawyer stating that it had been thrown out that day. Apparently, my ex’s attorney stopped it, the day OF. That is my ex’s MO. The court said that there was nothing they could do until the divorce was nullified from the previous state.

Fast forward a month or two: Sure enough, I received paperwork stating that my ex was trying to appeal the divorce in the state in which the divorce was actually done. I called my former lawyer again. He said he’d represent me. Another $2000. He filed the paperwork and we waited. In a few weeks, we got notice of the hearing. I couldn’t believe they were actually hearing this BS! But they were. Two days before the hearing, my ex hand-delivered a letter to my lawyer’s office. He wanted to postpone the hearing so he could have time to get a lawyer. He said in his request that he couldn’t afford one and needed time to find one. We decided that we didn’t care whether it ever got heard. But, we never did hear from the court.

On the day of the hearing, I was told by my lawyer to gather information proving that we were indeed residents of the state in which we were divorced. I had several bills and court documents showing that he filed for divorce with the address of the state in which we lived and were divorced. He claimed that we had never lived in the state, only in the state in which he now lives. So I gathered my information. I brought a neighbor who knew where we lived and if it appeared that we stayed overnight most nights. I was ready. SURELY this wouldn’t go anywhere, but it HAD gotten this far! Who knows!

I went early. My lawyer was there shortly after. We chatted in another room while we waited. Time came for the hearing. He wasn’t there. We decided to go ahead and have the trial without him since we were already there and he couldn’t come back and try it again if it had already been decided on. We proved sufficiently that we were in fact residents of the state. The judge agreed and gave me $800 I’d asked for in court costs.

A month later, I found out that my ex had APPEALED the decision. He believed that he should have been given the postponement and that he tried to cancel the hearing on the day of the hearing (seeing a pattern here?). So, I was livid. I didn’t want to pay another $2000 to appeal this. I decided to represent myself. It worked out well and I saved $2000. I called a friend who is a lawyer. He doesn’t take cases in family court anymore but he said that divorces have a 30 day appeal time, usually. Sure enough, mine was 30 days. It should have NEVER gone anywhere because my ex tried it over A YEAR AFTER our divorce was final! Two lawyers and a judge didn’t mention this. That was my first argument. They, I refuted all of his claims. His first issue was that he should have been granted the postponement. I attached evidence that he has a history of doing this, both during our divorce and since. His argument #2 was that we were never bonafide residents. I included several attachments that showed that my ex is a liar and contradicted himself on many occasions, including his residence before and during the divorce. His argument #3 was that his motion to dismiss should have been granted. I couldn’t say much to this but questioned whether the motion was made before or after our hearing. I knew that he had taken our daughter to a museum that day instead of showing up at the hearing.

Weeks later, I received good news in the mail! The appealate judge threw out the appeal! They said that if he hadn’t already done so, he should pay me my $800 from before. Of course, I’ve yet to receive that, months later, but him making a fool of himself to the court that will be deciding our REAL issues is payment enough!!

Un-Divorce Update: See Supreme Court Appeal. Ex is now appealing to Supreme Court, leading to me keeping our daughter until it is dropped as NO court currently has jurisdiction over us. It was either me keep her or he keep her until he dropped it. I figured he’d drop it to get her back. He didn’t. It’s not scheduled to be over until the end of September 2015. It is now August. Scary but I’m sure the appeal won’t go anywhere. I don’t THINK the judge can/will find me in contempt but I’m not entirely sure! Very scary but it was that or chance never seeing our daughter again, and I’m NOT going to let that happen!

The Last Straw-Attempted Kidnapping of Our Daughter

The last straw in our relationship–the decision-making tie-breaker– (attempted kidnapping of our daughter) occurred one day in late winter. My grandmother had let slip to my now-ex, that my mother had said that he was lazy and wouldn’t work and that she now was starting to agree. My ex decided that I was to no longer speak to my mother until she apologized to him. A few days later, he was scrolling through my phone to
his sister’s new phone number” into my phone and found that I had called my mother. He was livid! He’d wanted me to tell her that I wouldn’t talk to her until she apologized. I didn’t. He asked, “Why not?! Why were you hiding it? Because you know it’s WRONG?!” He said he was going to drive to his office 45 minutes away to get some info off of his computer from where I’d left the first time. (Who knows what THAT could help!) When he saw that I didn’t seem to care, he said, “and I’m taking (our daughter) with me!” We moved to the bedroom. He ordered me to get her ready. True to form, I started getting her shoes on, then said, “No! I’m not helping you get ready to take her!” He put her shoes and socks on while saying, “I’m going to take her and there’s nothing you can do to stop me!” I said, “Well, I’ll do everything I can to stop you!” There was NO way I was letting him leave with her, as he had threatened to take her away before and said I’d never see her again. (Real good for your 2 year-old daughter, huh?!) He’d planned on running off to his family’s if CPS was going to take her away from HIM. (They never threatened to take her from ME, as I wasn’t the one being aggressive in front of her). At this point, he left the room and I got out my recorder. He didn’t know I had it out and was recording the altercation. Our daughter was still with me, of course. I wasn’t going to let her out of my sight. When the argument moved into the living room, I laid the recorder on the kitchen counter under some papers so it would be sure to record clearly and so I could have my hands free. He was getting stuff ready to go so I had a little time in between to arrange it. I tried to keep the conversation out of the kitchen, to avoid the looming proximity of knives. He grabbed her from my arms and tried to take her out the front door. I blocked the door. He opened it anyway. He pushed me out of the way. I yelled, “Help!” out the open door. No one was around. We lived in the middle of nowhere with no neighbors near. I grabbed the keys from the key-ring clock, sending it smashing to the ground. I didn’t dare grab for our daughter as I was afraid she’d get hurt and didn’t want her to be in the middle of a tug-of-war match. Then, my recorder malfunctioned (this could only happen to ME!) and started playing back our recorded conversation. We stood there for a moment trying to figure out what had happened. He was livid. He flashed me an evil look. I went for my cell phone which was laying on the counter. He knocked it off onto the floor, away from me. He said, “What are you gonna do, call for help?” I said, “no”. I knew that would be impossible. He said, “Good, because I’d be long gone before anyone got here.” I knew he was right. I reached for our daughter. He was holding her in his left arm. He had a crazy look in his eyes. With his right arm, he grabbed my by the neck, then instead of choking me, like I thought he was going to do, he just pushed me down onto my knees. Our daughter flew away from him from the push and she started crying. He didn’t drop her, but she was flung pretty severely and was pretty shaken up. I think he realized then what he’d done. I think his first instinct was to strangle me, but he couldn’t go through with it. He knew it was wrong and even HE couldn’t do it. (OR was it that he knew the consequences of killing me? or was he afraid he couldn’t physically DO it and I’d kill HIM?) He then said that I had the power to stop this, that if I called my mom and told her that I wouldn’t talk to her, he’d stay. Frankly, I didn’t want HIM to stay, but I wanted to keep him from taking our daughter. I wasn’t scared so much of him physically as I was that he’d take our daughter. He proceeded to tell me that this could all be stopped if I’d just call my mom and tell her that I was not going to talk to her until she apologized. I agreed to do it. He finally handed her to me. She had been crying and reaching for me. My mom knew the call was coming from our conversation a few days before, so she didn’t think anything of it. What she didn’t know was what had happened just prior to the call. I was hoping she’d hear our daughter in the background repeatedly crying to me, “Why did Daddy try to take me?” My mom didn’t hear her. After a brief, awkward, mostly silent conversation, one of us hung up the phone. My N-ex asked, “Do you WANT this to work?” At this point, I had NO desire to make it work, I just wanted to keep us safe, so I said, “There is nothing I want MORE than for this to be the relationship that I want!” That part was true, but I knew it would NEVER work if he didn’t make changes or even SEE that he had a problem. He backed off then. This took place in late morning. We had been having problems getting our gas to stay on. We had to keep going down and fixing it at the valve. Well I say, “we” because he wouldn’t let us out of his sight. I continued to be solely responsible for our daughter’s care but he watched me like a hawk, afraid I’d leave. And I WOULD have! So, three times, we had to walk about 1/4 mile downhill to check the gas. Me and our 2-year-old. Later in the day, during our daughter’s nap, as I was laying with her (as usual) the heating repairman came. I considered putting up a “Help!” sign in the window but I was afraid of how the repairman may respond. I was worried that he’d either tell my ex or that he’d not understand my sign. I hated to involve someone else but I was even more afraid that he would tell my ex somehow and it would make matters worse. So, I didn’t. He insisted that we go for a walk in the evening toward dusk. We walked out to the field. I was a little scared to get out where no one driving by could see but it wasn’t anymore isolated than in the trailer where we lived. We made hay houses out of the leftover hay with our daughter. It was a very tense walk.

He asked, “Where are we?”

I said, “I think we should separate for a while. I have some sorting out to do.”

He replied, “So you think it’s better to work it out without talking?”

I said, “I just need some space to figure out what to do.” Then he tried to get me to admit that everything that happened that day was my fault. He wanted me to say that it was all my fault that “it had to come to this”. I eventually admitted that it was my fault, even though I didn’t believe that it was. I was afraid of telling him what I REALLY felt. Then he asked, “So, will you write on a piece of paper that this relationship problem is all your fault?” Finally, I got mad and I said, “No! This relationship problem is NOT my fault and there is NO excuse for what you did today! It doesn’t matter what I say or do to you, there is NO excuse for that!” He said, “Ha! I caught you lying on tape! I recorded it on my phone!” I don’t know what he thought he was going to accomplish with this. He probably thought he could manipulate me with it. Later that night, he gave me a hug and said, “Sorry about today. That was bad.” That was the first and only apology I’d EVER gotten from him in seven years of marriage. He was back to the guy I had loved. He was calm and loving. That night, after I got our daughter to sleep, he ran his fingers through my hair till I fell asleep as usual while we were watching the tv show he knew I liked, as usual. But I’d seen that look. That scary, crazy, insane look. My gut said “Leave”. I knew if I didn’t leave now, I may never get another chance. I knew I had to go.

My secret story of abuse and survival, and the challenges to come.