Posted in Blogging, choices, daughters, depression, divorce, Experience, Faith, family, fear, friends, friendship, Health, help, Hiding, love, marriage, men, mistakes, Moving, New life, questions, relationships, sons, Uncategorized, values, women, WordPress, words, Writing

Fear, Silence, Homelessness

homeless

We read stories everyday of women that have been abused by a man. And sadly these women tend to repeat bad choices and go from one bad relationship to another. For anyone with a solid self-esteem and self-worth, it is incredulous that any woman would stay in such a damaging relationship. Here is something that so many people fail to understand; the abuser rarely walks in and begins the abuse immediately. There is physical abuse and emotional abuse. They go hand in hand but emotional abuse can happen without physical abuse. That is my story.

Why didn’t I share? I was embarrassed and ashamed. Slowly over time my sense of independence was destroyed. Over time the belief I was lovable was destroyed. Day by day comments, looks, turning things around so I would begin to question myself believing somehow I caused him to cheat and having my concerns being dismissed and ignored regularly created a complete sense of instability. If my ex-husband was home I was always tied up in knots because I was worried I wasn’t making him happy. When he was out-of-town I was tied up in knots because I worried about what he was doing. Should I have left years ago? Of course, but he didn’t reveal his true-self all at once. He did it slowly over time. Think of a bucket being filled by one drop of water at a time. It takes a long time before the bucket overflows. So don’t judge your friend who finds herself in my position. Listen to her. Don’t rebuke her for not leaving sooner. Hug her. Offer support anyway you can. Don’t exclude her because she is no longer a couple. And certainly do NOT remain friends with her abusive ex-husband.

If I could give advice to any woman who is living with a narcissist, it would be to read as much as you can about narcissism and how narcissists manipulate their victims. I would encourage her to find someone to share any secrets i.e. his cheating, his addictions, his crimes. Had I come forward the first time I found out what he was doing, I might have received support from my friends. However the shame he created in me, kept me silent. Silence is a killer. It kills your spirit. So speak up. Leaving is scary. I am facing homelessness at 56 because I was a stay-at-home mom and with no full-time work experience since 1984, I can’t get any business to take a chance on me.

Why do I write about this again? I write about this again because I can’t just dump the over-flowing bucket of abuse. It leaves as slowly as it came. Now I have a small hole in the bottom of the bucket and daily a little more of it drains out. It is just going to take time, a lot of time. Sadly I don’t have time when it comes to a job. While my ex enjoys a life in the lap of luxury, ignores his children and pretends he never destroyed lives, I work to survive and they learn to accept life as fatherless children.

Posted in Blogging, Blogging101, choices, daughters, divorce, Dreaming, Experience, Faith, family, forgiveness, friends, friendship, God, help, love, mistakes, Moving, New life, people, questions, sons, Uncategorized, values, Writing, writing101

A Map as my Muse

Start in Kingsville, Texas on a long ago October 1st

 

Then 18 months later move to Oklahoma City to be near your mother’s family.

   Then a couple months after you turn 8, move to an entirely different place and suffer culture shock in the Twin Cities of Minnesota.
  
Learn to speak with a new accent and use different slang, learn to love snow but you stay there for a short time and when you are 11 and  finally fit in, you move to Denver,CO.

  
While you live there you go to 5 schools in 3 years and live a middle class life right smack in the center of the wealthy. It’s the first time you understand that some people have opportunities you’ll never have. You really never get settled. Then halfway through 9th grade at the age of 14 you move further west to Las Vegas, NV.

  
Now the above photo doesn’t represent what Las Vegas looked like when I moved there. It was a town of just 300,000 and not 2 million. You live a fairly normal life despite what people had predicted. You learn The Strip is the adult equivalent of Walt Disney World and if you lived in Orlando you wouldn’t go every weekend. You live here 8.5 years, go to high school, graduate college and then marry a man you barely know because you feel in your heart this will never be home. So you marry and move to Cedar Falls/Waterloo, IA.

  
You are surprised that you suffer from homesickness since Las Vegas never really felt like home. You have culture shock again. You adjust to the sub-zero temperatures after having lived in the desert. You’re disappointed that your new husband is totally so self-focused he doesn’t hear the sadness in your voice. You wonder if you made a mistake but you won’t admit it or accept failure. Then you get a job, get pregnant, and five days after you have your baby you move to Davenport, IA for your husband’s new job.

  
It’s known as the quad cities because two Iowa cities meet two Illinois cities at the shore of the grand Mississippi River. You know no one. Your husband travels and then leaves and goes to Texas for a new job a mere 8 months later. Alone you pack up and drive with your 11 month old to Irving, TX. 

  
You remember the awe you felt when you saw the Cowboy stadium. You remember the hope you had in your heart that here your husband would be more in tune with you and connect on a deeper emotional level. 1 year later you buy your first home in Lewisville, TX. Then 5 years later you buyer a bigger home for your expanded family of 4.

  
Again your heart is full of hope that now things will change. Life is full with love for your children, your friends but there is still a misconnect with your husband. You ignore the signs. You try to fix it. And you wonder where it is that you belong. Are you a misfit like your husband seems to believe? Is there a place for you? Would your husband ever love only you and be faithful? You are here for 28 years and build a life then your husband’s secrets become too much to bear and he leaves you. He doesn’t want to change or stop drinking or give up erotic massage parlors and prostitutes and porn and peeping tom activities. He finds a younger woman and pretends that his family doesn’t exist. Your daughters are grown. You are left alone and forced to start again. But where do you go? Where do you belong? You go to Austin, TX with no idea if this is the place but you try to find the hope for happiness that was lost so long ago.

  
Will Austin be the bridge to my future? Is there happiness on the other side? I don’t know. I’m still on the journey.

Posted in Blogging, daughters, divorce, forgiveness, mistakes, sons, values, Writing

You can’t hide

Alternative-mask

     You can’t hide. I thought you could. I spent 30 years thinking I was doing a good job of hiding my unhappiness. Tonight at dinner I found out no one was fooled. My daughter told me she knew that I had been unhappy for years. She shared memories of finding me crying and lying on the floor. She has memories of me telling her it was selfish to want breakfast in bed on her birthday. She says she knew I was hurting. She just didn’t know why and as a kid, you aren’t there to save your mom. I know we all remember different things and I know she has some good memories. But I also don’t doubt her unhappy memories because she was right, I was extremely unhappy.

     It made me really sad. I had to fight to hold the tears back. Crying in the middle of the cafe would not be a good idea. She grew frustrated with me because I had asked her to be honest and when she was, I got upset. I wasn’t upset with her honesty. I was upset with myself. I had spent all of those years working and putting so much energy into hiding my unhappiness when I should have spent all of that energy on getting out of my marriage and making a life for my girls and me separate from my their dad.

    She pointed out, rightfully so, that many, many times I was superficial. I valued all the wrong things. I had let my husband’s values supersede my own values. How had that happened? In my effort to keep him happy, I abandoned what I knew to be true. And in doing so, I hurt my daughters. I only hope they can forgive me.

   We all know that you do the best you can as a parent and some of us are lucky enough to make smaller mistakes than others. My daughters are wonderful people and I am so proud of them. They have their values in the right place. They remind me to love myself and that they love me. Learning tonight I wasted all those years trying to hide behind a mask has taught me just to be myself. Happy or sad, don’t hide it. Just be happy with who you are.