Calamity Jennye

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

where do you turn for help?

I think last month was abuse awareness month and I was really torn when I read the BlogHer plea for people to raise awareness by sharing their stories. In the end I decided that was not a part of my marriage I was ready to share yet.

The truth is it took me 10 of our 12 years together to figure out the constant strain and fear I was living in was abuse. 10 years to realize that it's not normal in a marriage for one person to bear the full responsibility that everything meet their partner's expectation of perfect at all times. I shouldn't have had to be the only consistent breadwinner, responsible for all practical aspects of every endeavor we attempted, who was then also completely to blame if even the smallest thing didn't go exactly the way my husband desired. Oh and did I mention there must be alcohol in the house at all times?

It wasn't until his family found me crying in the corner of a public restroom, because he was about to find out I messed up a plan, the repair of which would cut into cocktail hour, that I realized perhaps this pressure was too much.

I finally brought myself, months later, to discuss with him that I felt like I was living in an abusive relationship.

As I'm able to reflect now on the results of the conversation I realize that is when the abuse got more subtle.

The emotional side became more about keeping things from me rather than punishing me after the fact and that is when the emotional strain I had all but accepted as part of my life became sheer mental abuse and anguish.

My marriage became a constant guessing game. Every decision, nearly all of which I consistently had to make on my own, was a gamble. Is this the time I will choose wrong? What will he withhold this time if I don't get this to work out perfectly?

Every day felt like a precarious balancing act and every decision a gamble filled with sheer terror.

When I think of the adjustments I made over our twelve years to make this all feel like a normal way to live I am astounded!

I mention this all now, a month late, because yesterday my mantra of the last year: "at least I made it out with my life." Suddenly became all to real.

Yesterday my husband's girlfriend attempted suicide. I hate to say I was not surprised to get the news. So many facets of her new life, for which she sacrificed so much, had to be utterly miserable.

What I hate the most though is the thought that anyone, especially someone who used to be a close friend, someone I can't help but care about, could find themselves in a place where this feels like their only option.

Convincing myself I was abused has been much harder than convincing those who know my story. In fact it is my friends and family who opened my eyes and gave me the strength and support to get out. I am so sad that She severed those important ties in order to pursue this love and found herself in such a horrific situation all alone.

I am relieved to know that her family is there with her, determined to take her home and help her get healthy.

And now in an ultimate stroke of irony I am off to "the happiest place on earth" to celebrate my daughter and family and love that is pure and without expectation.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

You don't have to be Freud

I hate that I haven't had a lot to say lately. It's been a rough couple weeks and I'm really tired of sharing all the bad stuff. I feel like a broken record, or that friend you're scared to ask too many questions... for fear they might actually answer them. And lately no one would like the answers.

I've hit a wall again. Suddenly it seems everywhere I turn in town I'm confronted with my husband's girlfriend. I'm not sure what suddenly changed. Tourists being gone, less places open in town to go, she's getting more comfortable here... I have no idea but suddenly she's everywhere.

Taking Esme to the pool alone on days she's supposed to be with my husband. Dropping off forgotten clothes to Esme's daycare when I asked my husband to go. Coming over to kiss Esme goodbye at the coffee shop when we all happen to be there at the same time. I hate to say it but after a week filled with nightmares it's clearly more than I can handle.

In the first nightmare I nearly drowned in Lake Superior trying to swim to an island in the middle and the majority of the dream was spent in a quandary about whether to go forward and die of exposure on the island, or try to swim back through the sudden all enveloping fog. I swam forward and lived thanks to an unexpected resort on the island that took me in, but....who should be staying there? You guessed it my husband. Life saved hurrah!! I think?

A few nights later I talked my way out of being shot by a gunman in the middle of a city. I was hiding, he grabbed me and we were face to face. All I could think was "I'm supposed to humanize it, if I make him see me as an individual person he won't be able to shoot me." It worked and as he sprinted off and I turned to collapse in a heap from the rush of adrenaline I was shot in the back by his friend.

You'd think that would be enough but oh no, it got worse. The night before my birthday I woke hyperventilating with tears streaming down my cheeks. I had dreamed Grand Marais was actually a college campus and there was some track and field style sporting event going on. Everywhere I went in town there was the girlfriend competing in some different event. Finally I cornered my husband in the bleachers and told him we had to talk about this. Just as we began talking she came walking towards us and he had to leave.
That night I had to attend a dinner, as I arrived late there was only one seat open and you guessed it, it was right next to her. I made it through dinner but then there was some sort of talent show thing that she was in and I had a full on meltdown.  I couldn't get to my shoes, coat or purse without walking right past her in the hallway where she was getting ready. So even though it was about 12 degrees out I just left, bare foot and freezing. Shaking my head and muttering "I just can't do this" over and over to myself the whole way.
That was when I sat up with no breath and a wet pillow.

So you can see, I began my birthday week with a bang. It took me until about 10:30 on my birthday to have any sort of conversation with anyone without crying. I was so exhausted from these stupid dreams and mentally such a mess.

I hate most that I really love everything about this place. I just had one of the best birthdays of my life surrounded by people who love me like family and went out of their way to show their support for me and for Esme. There is nothing I don't like about living here (except the snow) and Them. I want to want to move. There are places I would love to live. SO many places I would love to live. I'm just hoping for a cosmic sign to coincide with the right timing...I guess, so I can finally begin to sort me out.

Outfit of the Day

It just seemed wrong to not give Esme's "flower tail" a place in the outfit hall of fame.