This appeared on my Facebook page this morning. It is usually fun to see my Facebook memories, as they are usually pictures of the kids when they were younger, or shared events. This memory hit me in the gut! Why did I write this? What was the explanation behind it? I dug into my memory to unveil the reasons for this.
In September of 2009, Little AoA was born. I had been married to my abuser 4 1/2 years at this point. Both of my older kids had moved out by this time, so it was just the four of us. The ex had been becoming increasingly more controlling as the years went by. By this time, I had cut all fun activities from my life…no more community band, traveling to visit family and friends, or going out to eat or movies…Life was going to work and coming home to serve my husband and care for the children. I had to come straight home after work, or there would be hell to pay. I was “allowed” to do the grocery shopping on Saturday, but I had to be home within 3 hours. I remember trying to fit as much life as I could into those 3 hours. I would call and talk to family members (I wasn’t allowed to do this at home). I would sometimes go to a store other than the grocery store, like a clothing store or home store. I remember feeling guilty about all of that. What would the ex do if he knew I was disobeying him?
When Little AoA was born, life began to change. My parents had moved into a house down the road from us so that they could help out. We needed the ex to go to work now that we had two kids. My parents were willing to keep the kids during the day. Well that changed quickly. When faced with the prospect of working, the ex snuck behind my back, and managed to meet with many doctors and a lawyer in order to be able to get on disability from the government! He never even told me he was doing it! I found out when he was at the final step of going before a judge- and only because I needed his help with something that day and he had to tell me he couldn’t help! I wonder if he ever would have told me!
When Little AoA was born, she was premature by a month. She was very small, and had trouble breathing at birth, so she spent some time in the neonatal intensive care unit. Her dad left the hospital shortly after she was born, leaving me alone to worry about our new baby. Thankfully, my adult daughter came and sat with me all night at the hospital. The ex refused to hold Little AoA until she had grown a bit. When we brought her home, I needed to keep an extra eye on her. She was up frequently during the night. The ex became increasingly more angry at being woken in the night. He threatened to be angry with me until he could sleep at night without being woken by a crying baby. I “solved” the problem by moving to a back bedroom of the house with the kids. I knew I would be up during the nights. In hindsight, I think the ex meant for me to leave the kids in the back bedrooms, and give him all of my attention. It couldn’t work that way though, for a number of reasons. I was 42 when I had Little AoA, and working full time. I would fall asleep nursing Little AoA in the night, and just didn’t have the energy to parent a newborn like I did in my 20’s, and work everyday! The ex could not understand my physical limitations. He became very jealous, and started making statements about how I must not love him because I stayed with the babies at night. I couldn’t fix this. I tried…
This is when I wrote the statement on Facebook. My new home in the back bedroom with the kids became my freedom. I had stopped using Facebook when the ex demanded it, claiming I was “cheating” on him! I did it to “prove” my love for him. In the back bedroom, I reconnected with the few friends I had. They were all either family or friends from work. I loved sharing in their lives a bit, seeing what they were doing and thinking about.
It would be three more years before I left the abusive home. There would be more attempts to completely control my life, and death threats against people I loved. I feared for my life and the lives of my loved ones. I had become a shell of a person…empty inside.