I’ve often said that the only constant is change. Change is so prominent in my life right now, that the turbulence has threatened to topple me. But, here, I stand.
Let’s play some catch-up. I have been in spousal abuse therapy for over 6 months to deal with various forms of abuse in my marriage that I’ve been living with for 12.5 years. I always considered myself a strong, independent woman. I never thought that I would allow myself to be victimized, but as a survivor, I have come to understand that things are much more complicated than that.
I started the individual therapy because of a series of events. I learned in January 2019 that my soon-to-be-ex-husband had multiple profiles on dating sites…AGAIN. Yes, this wasn’t the first time I had caught him in his virtual impropriety. Always upsetting, this event triggered a severe manic cycle that lasted 3 weeks (for those who don’t already know, I’m bipolar). During those 3 weeks, I slept very little, go a LOT done, and as is usually the case with mania, felt an exhilaration that is incomparable to anything else I’ve ever experienced. My psychiatrist, rightfully so, took issue with the fact that I allowed it to go on for so long. Because of the matter, she changed my mood stabilizing medication. Unfortunately, I never did get regulated on this new medication as it made me WAY too lethargic, and I even slept through my alarm a couple of times, making me late for work. So my medication was changed again, but I couldn’t get that prescription filled because even after insurance, it was too expensive. So, my doctor changed it again to the medication that I was originally on when I was first diagnosed 18 years ago. So far, so good.
Also during this time, starting in March 2019, we began marriage counseling. For me, this was a last-ditch effort to get us on the right track, if that was ever even possible. We had maybe 5-6 sessions before we stopped going because he admitted to me that it “wasn’t working,” he wasn’t getting anything out of it, and he only agreed to go because I kept nagging him about it. In sum, there’s nothing wrong with him and no need for therapy. This is the same song I had heard over and over again throughout our marriage, as is typical with narcissistic abusers.
My next step was individual therapy, specifically to focus on the stress of my abusive relationship and get me to the point where I could safely and confidently walk away. I began individual therapy in April 2019, which means I just past my 6-month mark. A lot has happened in that time.
Most notably, a horrendous incident happened over the summer. I was in bed, unconscious from drinking too much wine. He came into the bedroom and started touching me. I rolled over and pushed him away. I came in and out of consciousness, semi-aware that he was taking advantage of me. At one point, I saw a flash of light. Before long, I’m back asleep, and he leaves the room. The next morning, I inquire about the previous night and the flash of light. He admits that we had “sex” and that he recorded it on his cell phone. He then says that he deleted the video. I was stunned, but not surprised because this same scenario had happened once before when we lived in Seattle, WA. What I didn’t recognize at the time was something that I would process later – this was an instance of marital rape because I was unable to give consent and even physically turned him down by rolling over and pushing him away. Regardless, he still did what he wanted and even recorded it without my knowledge or permission, as if I would consent.
He and my daughter traveled to India for the month of August. I was a bittersweet time for me. I fiercely missed my daughter and hated myself for missing my abuser. I even told him at that time that I hated the fact that he was the first person I thought of when I was hurt. Unfortunately, bonding with the person who traumatizes you is common. It has been emotionally difficult to deal with, for sure.
When they returned, my daughter started school, and things were getting back to normal. Which normal for us, was actually a bad thing. On September 21, 2019, my estranged husband explosively lost his temper, as he was apt to do, because my daughter didn’t answer her cell phone when he called. He busted back into our apartment, called her stupid, called me and her idiots, then proceeded to make fun of me and call me a fat ass. At this point, I just sat on the couch and took it as I realized that this was indeed the end.
The next day, September 22, 2019, my daughter and I were cleaning her bedroom and re-arranging things. She and I got into an argument over how to do things. My estranged husband inserted himself into the argument and had the audacity to tell me not to yell at her. That struck a nerve in me that will forever resonate across the universe. I turned my attention to him, refreshed his memory on what he had done the night before, and suggested that he was in no position to tell me not to yell at her after he called her names. The argument escalated to the point that I booked a hotel room, got some things together, and was prepping to leave. At this point in time, I feared that the only person who was in actual danger was ME and not my daughter. I went to get my keys, and they were gone. He had hidden them in an attempt to keep me from leaving. I demanded to have my keys back. He ignored me. I said that it didn’t matter because I could just UBER to the hotel. He then ordered my daughter to physically block the front door so I couldn’t leave. I then pointed out that what he was doing was unlawful detainment, and if he didn’t give me my keys, I would call the police. He gave me my keys, and I left.
I will pick up on this story tomorrow. This is way too emotionally draining for me right now, but it’s a story I’ve got to tell.
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