With the court case coming up quick, I have been doing a lot of reflecting. This meant digging up old evidence and providing it to my lawyers. Even now I am still not quite sure what I am going to do. Is there any point in pursuing domestic violence charges at this point? What would the outcome be? What would be the purpose?
I think part of it is, I want it out in the open. I want people to know what was happening. But the truth is, the people who matter do know. There is part of me that does not want him to get away with it, and so far he has. In some ways karma already seems to be catching up to him, and I am sure that in end it will. After being silenced for so many years, I want to be heard. I want the backstory to come out, I want people to understand why I did the things I did, and what was happening at that time. That is wasn't what it appeared on the surface.
He told me at the end of our marriage how he was going to go and take the world by storm. Every thing in his new house was going to be brand new. He was going to have top of the line everything. He was leaving fiscal austerity behind. I got the last laugh on that when he was coming to my house asking for food to get him through to pay day within 6 months. I guess he wasn't quite the genius he thought he was.
I am pretty sure he thought the ladies would be throwing themselves at his feet. It obviously didn't quite work out that way. I suspect he thought he was going to go out and fuck a bunch of women, but come back when he was ready. I don't even think he thought I was really going to file for divorce. I remember when we served him, I was surprised at how upset he looked. For me it was a happy moment. I am not sure where he thought our separation was going to lead. From my perspective, there was ZERO chance of reuniting. Once I broke free I would rather die than let him anywhere near me again.
I have been remembering just how horrifying and violent his attacks were during our marriage. The way his face would contort with rage. It was so outrageous that even though I experienced it, its hard to believe anyone would behave that way. One of the difficulties in overcoming psychological abuse is the disbelief. For so long you were told you were imagining things. Even now I question myself, Did that all really happen? Am I exaggerating? Am I being to sensitive? Did I do something to deserve it? Maybe it was my fault.
It takes a lot of therapy and reassurance to know that no, I did not deserve that. That was not reasonable, nor was it acceptable. It was abuse plain and simple. No he never hit me. There was only one instance of actually physical abuse where he pushed into a wall and bruised my arms. Because he never actually hit me, I found myself questioning if it really was abuse.
Do I really have grounds to be upset? There were no lasting marks, no doctor visits (actually there was one when I was so stressed by his attacks I needed to take several months off work). But the fact is, when the abuse is psychological and emotional, you question the validity of your abuse experience. What is the difference between a mere argument and a psychologically abusive situation.
Out of curiosity I went and took an Emotional Abuse Assessment test if you are interested you can do test yourself here https://quiz.tryinteract.com/#/5c3c34c60533ad00140bbc30
I was conservative in my answers, I didn't even answer yes to some of the things that did occur, but occurred less frequently because I wanted to ensure I got an accurate assessment. As you can see my result came back as extreme emotional abuse.
I read a definition of emotional abuse that said " emotional abuse is a form of brainwashing that slowly erodes the victim's sense of self-worth security, and trust in themselves and others." I would definitely agree with the statement that it was brainwashing. The deprogramming has been taking years, you absolutely do not just get over that kind of abuse. It most definitely eroded my sense of self, and my trust. By time I got out of that relationship I didn't know which way was up.
It seems unfair that after everything he put me through, he just skates away and just moves on to his next victim. He can pretend like none of it ever happened. I am left with trying to repair the damage to my sense of self. Now that I am out, I am becoming aware of what life is meant to be, that there are good men out there. Far better men than my ex-husband. Men that would never even think of treating you that way.
One of the first steps of trying to repair that damage is truly facing what happened. It's hard to imagine that while it was going on, I didn't even think it was that bad. I had become so accustomed to it. I still can hardly believe that it was real. But it was, and it was really that bad. I was threatened with physical violence. I was intimidated with implied physical threats of being punched and beaten when he wouldn't say anything but he would growl, stomp and make threatening gestures like he was going to beat the shit out of me. He smashed things, threw things against the wall. Smashed one of my kids head into the wall. I was accused constantly of infidelity. He would lash out and claim that the children were not his, I had gotten pregnant from someone else. He was constantly accusing me of being jealous, often about situations I didn't even know about. I was called a whore, and a bitch. I was undermined with my children and with family members. While he was watching my kids he called me at work and said "If I hurt these kids it will be all your fault". He also told me that all of his actions were completely justified. That is was me that was the problem. I drew it out of him. If I changed he would not be that way any more. All of his behaviour was completely justified. It was all literally insane. How is it that I didn't recognize it as abuse.
He not only intimidated and threatened me physically, he was also financially abusing me. He was taking out secret loans, secret credit cards and he would scream at me when I would try to talk to him to create a budget. He would run up bills and then expect me to pay them all off, but would expect that this would entail no lifestyle restrictions. I was supposed to pay everything off, while he still would have freedom to spend what ever he liked, when he liked. There was no such thing as discussing a financial plan in our house. The plan was, he spent, my job was to make sure he always had the money available to do it. And he would yell at me for any little purchase I made. I remember once I went to Value Village and I spent 200 dollars on new work clothes. That was the only money I had spent on clothes all year, I never heard the end of "my careless spending" and how I wasted money.
But the moment there if there was anyone else around he would completely change. Suddenly he became charming, sweet and generous. That was a real mindfuck, because absolutely everyone loved him. Of course there were good times too, those were the times when you saw the man you wanted. He could be a good man for a while. He would do it just enough to reel you back in. Keep you hoping for something better. You tolerate that bullshit so you can get that kind sweet man back. But that kind sweet man never truly existed. That was a mask he wore to trick me.
I remember the day when I first realized he was having an affair. Everything I thought I knew died that day. I had thought I was married to such a good man, who only had a bit of an anger problem. I tolerated so much up until that point, I had no idea that what was happening to me was in fact an extreme case of emotional abuse. The realizations all started on that one day, and it continues even until now. I had clung to the idea that he was an incredibly loyal man, it was not easy for me to see him as a cheater. It took rock hard solid evidence before I was even mildly able to contemplate the idea. I realize now, it is highly unlikely that he only cheated the one time. And lets go over that for a second. He told me that when she insulted me, she was only trying to help me fix my flaws. She was being a friend. I think that whole situation is a post all on its own.
Simply forgetting is the easy way out. And it doesn't work. If you just bury it, ultimately it will surface again. That is how you end up with bitter angry women. If I do not take the time and the energy to heal then I will be vulnerable to triggers for years to come. I want to be able to have an actual loving relationship. I will do it right this time. I am never going to make these mistakes again. This is why I have been taking the time to actually process the emotions. It's painful. It means reliving a lot of the experience. In writing this post I cried several times at the memories. But the fact is, I never cried while it was happening. I had 27 years of pent up tears, that is a lot of tears that needed out.