Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Survival Response

I haven't written in a while. I was busy again with work. It took my a few days before I had a realization. God knows when I can handle dealing with a part of my trauma and when I can't. So this morning, I was ready. I realized after a long night with little sleep that I used to feel sick most days. Tired, headaches, stomach pains etc plagued me during my marriage. Now, I feel better most days even though I work more. 

People may wonder how I survived him so long. The human body (and spirit) is an amazing thing, it's programmed to survive. Survive fear, famine and trauma among other things. I lived in a world that made abuse a regular and almost normal thing. I remembered sitting down with a pastor over a year ago and found it hard to explain the reason behind me fear. How can you explain abuse when it's a normal part of your world. It's not until you find yourself in a new world can you actually realize how bad it got, slowly, over months and years. How he groomed you, he manipulated you and used your natural strengths (but mostly weaknesses) to his advantage.

I couldn't verbalize the sexual abuse because I couldn't even recognize that's what it was. I couldn't verbalize the control he had over me because he had made me believe I was trying to control him. I couldn't explain why I felt sick so often, even after I found out I had Celiac's disease. How could I explain that my body was screaming to me that something was wrong. It could only keep up the "survival" so long and it reached maximum capacity long ago.

Since being free, I don't feel sick very often. Tired, yes but then again I'm working through so serious trauma and dealing with depression. That can really take it out of you. My stomach doesn't hurt and I rarely even get a headache.

As I sit here typing I just remembered the time I was hospitalized two weeks before my wedding. I had a migraine for over a week and my prescription medication wasn't working anymore. He was less than understanding and I hadn't even married him yet. How did I not see this as a red flag?

I don't know what I was thinking, I wanted the pain to stop but I really didn't want any needles let alone an IV. He sarcastically asked me what I thought they were going to do. Perhaps this migraine was my body screaming for me to call off the wedding. Then again, I don't have regrets about the way my life has played out. The plan God had for my escape and all he worked out (for His glory) made me 100% certain it was Him.

For the most part these days, I'm healthy. My main issue these days is anxiety. Anxiety and nervousness are two very different things but most people use those two works interchangeably. I found an posting on Facebook that talked about the secretes of anxiety. The difference for me is anxiety causes me not to feel hungry until I have intense hunger pains vs being nervous I can still feel hungry. Currently, nothing seems overly appetizing. Normally I can decide what I want to eat fairly quickly but this week I don't want anything at all. I'm hoping that once the plane lands on Christmas eve that this anxiety will dissipate. 

Tuesday, 1 December 2015


I feel a bit haunted the last few days. I had a bit of a moment in the shower Sunday morning. I had a flash back to showering with him and then I thought he got into the shower with me. I hated showering with him because he wanted it to be a sexual activity. I however, wanted it to be a time to get clean and get out. There I was, shampoo running down my face I opened my eyes to check and pulled the shower curtain back to check the bathroom. I know that may in fact be a sign of insanity, or maybe it's a sign of PTSD.

Last night I laid in bed trying to fall asleep and I felt like someone was standing over my bed. Of course no one was but I got to thinking why all these thoughts and feelings are coming forward. For weeks I've been working through the sadness and loneliness that comes from separation. I've seemed to have moved on to dealing with some of the trauma. 

He haunts my mind, all he put me through and all he did to me. I'm trying to find my new normal. I still have this feeling of wasting the days away or that my apartment is messy and this neurotic thought to put as much away to avoid it being broken. I still have this sheet of crumbled paper with my exercise routine. It's crumbled because I left it out once and during a fight he crumbled it up and threw it in the garbage. There are still little bits of him in my life and try as I may to forget his existence he isn't fully gone. 

He control the finances, despite the fact that I made more money. He would frequently spend the account to $0, max out my credit cards and then complain that he didn't have spending money for his days off. I however would spend $30 every few weeks on getting my nails done and would get guilt-ed about it. I remember worrying about what I would eat and if he'd throw a tantrum and throw out what food we did have in the fridge. I blamed my finances on him and for the most part still do. The amount of money that man spent on restaurants was ridiculous. The thing is, I did it to myself this time. I didn't see it coming but I did it. I'm strapped for cash for the next 2 weeks and it sucks. I sabotaged myself. I bought a few things I needed and in the past couldn't have (rubber boots being one of them) and now can't really afford to do much of anything. Bright side, I work a lot during that time, 6 shifts in 9 days. Why did I agree to work that much? Because I'm a crazy person... actually it's because I'm taking two weeks off at Christmas to go back to the prairies and visit my family. 

Yesterday was the last day of the month and I felt a little excited. What's so special about the last day of November you might ask. I hope and pray it's the day he moves out of our apartment (that's two blocks from my apartment) move downtown (closer to his current job). Why November 30th? Because I finally told him mid-October that I was seeking a divorce. He hopefully gave notice at the end of October and thus would move end of November. If he didn't move downtown maybe I'll hit the jackpot and he'll move back to the prairies. Why would he go back? Because he's got an ego and the cash he used to make as a engineering technologist vs what he makes now is night and day. It's easier to find a new victim girlfriend when you have cash to take them out to dinner and buy them presents. His current income would fund McDonald's and a dollarstore find. 

Fingers crossed I can now live in my wonderful neighbourhood sans him. I currently take the back alley's to get to the convenience store or grocery store in my neighbourhood to avoid the potential of seeing him on the street. I am constantly looking over my shoulder in the store for fear he'll be there buying junk food like he did before I left. The one thing I can say is the panic I felt within when I was walking in my neighbourhood has dissipated over the last nearly 4 months. Maybe now I'll have the courage to get back to running... or maybe I'll stay on the couch eating my weight in gluten free cookies. Either way, so long November!

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Let's Talk About Sex, Baby

Feeling angry is just one of many steps of working through grief. I don't know if I went through this step but was shocked at the onset. At first I tried to think of what specifically was making me angry. When I couldn't pin point it I realized that a lack of reasoning is a sign its not something currently going on in my life.

I got to thinking about the other stages of grief. Had I gone through the other stages or am I going through out of order? Denial? Check. Bargaining? Check. Depression, that's for darn sure and I'm still in that one. Did I skip over anger?

Is it possible that I'm angry because I'm lonely? Is it because my sex drive is returning? Or is it my subconscious releasing the memories because I'm ready to face them? Maybe it's both.

For years I've been guilt-ed, sweet talked, manipulated and belittled into sex.  I'd realized that if I'd give in on Friday's I could avoid the passive aggressive jabs he'd make at me all day Saturday and the major blow out, knock down, drag out Sunday. That would result in my crying myself to sleep and us not talking Monday. We might not talk Tuesday and then Wednesday the apologies. I learned the cycle and the fighting still continued because it wasn't about that one issue. It was about control and manipulation and it was like he took pleasure in messing with my emotions. This in itself could make a person go crazy and for me it worsened my depression to the point of serious thoughts of suicide.

I can recall more times than I can count going through the motions, trying to put on a face of enjoyment on the outside while on the inside I'm screaming "get off of me" or "hurry up so this hell can be over". I would lay there hoping that because I put out Friday night I wouldn't have to Saturday morning. I was, more often that not, disappointed. It was never often enough, I could never be all he expected me to be. And yet, I would try and change myself into the person he wanted me to be in hopes of solving all the issues of our marriage.

He never held me down but yet I feel he sexually violated me by using manipulation. When he told his family how bad our marriage was they sided with him on how it was unhealthy to have sex as infrequently as we did. I can't blame his family for siding with him but you would think that they would question the reasoning or underlying issues that resulted in the lack of sex. 

I know there are a lot of ladies out there that have faked it, I certainly have. He would get mad at himself for lasting two minutes and I would then have to make him feel better and tell him I had enjoyed it. Eventually I realized that faking it would help make it believable. 

I wonder if I'll ever enjoy sex like I did before him. The issue is before him I wasn't a christian and wasn't opposed to sex outside of marital vows. So I can't go back to who I was because who I was may have involved going out clubbing with my gal pals, drinking excessively and flirt with any and every guy in sight. I wasn't one to sleep around and have a bunch of one night stands but I can't be that person anymore. I've come out of bad relationships before and I had a routine to get over the breakup but the only one I can do now (in good conscious) and  it's only listening to country music. 

So why am I so angry? Maybe it's because I'm unsure of who I am and what my life is going to look like. I'm not angry that I'm not with him anymore but I'm angry about the life I may not have. Normally I would suppress my anger but that's an unhealthy way to handle things, instead I'm giving myself permission to be angry. It's a nice change from the depression and general ho-hums.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Exodus, Fashion Rants & Christmas Trees

Currently my church is doing a series on the book of Exodus. Last Sunday's sermon was on God's instruction to celebrate Passover annually. During this week's community group, in the post Sunday content, questions led to a discussion on how God led the people out of Egypt because they were faithful and yet made them wait a generation before entering the promise land and how that is a precursor for Jesus' deliverance from sin. Jesus' deliverance isn't a guarantee that our lives will be perfect.

As this discussion was going on I started to think about my marriage and how it directly links to the sermon. I wasn't a Christian when I married him but through suffering I found Jesus. I was redeemed but my life was far from perfect. I waited in faith but I didn't know what that faith was leading me to. I started to feel a panic attack coming on but  reminded myself to breath and I managed to stop the attack before it started.

God made the Israelites wander the desert because of their lack of faith. Does this mean that God made me endure years of abuse because of my lack of faith? Or was he using the situation for his glory? I think it's the latter. I was new to my faith and had a lot of road blocks to living out my faith because of him. But, I went to church, I learnt to pray, I read my bible (when I could) and I trusted God to work something out.

Because of the way God arranged it all for his glory, I am strengthened in my faith. I know that God arranged the time of my exodus and worked out all the little details. I know that God loves me and while my earthly father was a failure in my life, He has never failed me. He will never fail me, Just as He never failed the Isrealites. He made sure they had food to survive each day. He ensured their clothing would last. I know that God provides the means to allow me to buy food but the clothing thing really mades me think. I mean how many times do we buy an expensive pair of shoes or a great pair of jeans and they last 4 years (pretty much never) let alone 40 years. God apparently doesn't need those Michael Kors boots to last a life time even if they are classic and fashionly speaking would like the test of time. Jackie O's style was a classic but I imagine her clothing hasn't lasted her the last 40 years.

Back to Exodus.... when you think about the amount of time the Isrealites were enslaved (430 years) vs the amount of time they had to spend wandering the desert it makes my 4 years of a crappy marriage and 30 days of waiting to move looks like a cake walk.  Imagine how they felt the day they left Egypt. Do you think they remembered that feeling during those 40 years? Do you think it helped them get through each day? I can still remember the way I felt each day during the count down to moving day. I felt sick to my stomach and worried he would catch me leaving him. I couldn't sleep (and yet slept better than I do now) and would pretend to sleep long enough for him to fall asleep, then I would open the Ikea app on my phone and plan out my new apartment.

 I spent so long waiting, hanging on to the hope that one day my life would be better with him. Turns out that day never came but a better day did. A day where I wake up (when I'm ready instead of just before I think he'll be mad because "I'm wasting away the day"), I grab my coffee and take my dog for a walk. Most days I'm on the verge of tears as I walk, not because I'm sad my marriage is over but happy to be free. Some days it's also the feeling of loneliness and missing the feeling of being in love but never missing being in love with him. It's funny, I almost forget what he looks like now and yet he still haunts me in my dreams.

I try to focus on the little things, the little freedoms I have each day. Yesterday I went to finally switch my drivers license to BC and I had the freedom to get the license in my maiden name and was so excited. I never thought I would be happy to carry my fathers name and frankly wanted to change my last name since we stopped talking in 2007 but yesterday, I was proud to have it back, At least that name meant something to me, something that wasn't a reminder of the chains of bondage.

I also bought a Christmas tree yesterday and even though I wanted a fresh one, I bought a fake one. I couldn't leave a really tree for 2 weeks at Christmas because it would be a fire hazard. I spent an obscene amount of time in the store trying to pick one out and started to feel panic and the need to hurry up. Then I stopped myself and realized he wasn't standing next to me, rushing me like he would. He wasn't getting mad at me for being myself (which is indecisive at times). I relished in the time to think about which tree I really wanted. I finally decided on a small, pre-lite interior/exterior tree that was in a planter. It was a matter of floor space and this one had the smallest diameter without being a table top tree.

Last night I sat there, decorating my new tree with my new decoration. He would hate this tree with its shabby tinsel garlend and pink decorations. The thing is, it's so me and each time I look at it I smile and remember that this apartment is mine and this year is my time to remember who I once was and who I truly am going to be going forward.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Manipulation and Other Talents

I was married to master manipulator. He slowly over time took control of my emotions and thoughts. It was so subtle I didn't notice until it was too late. 

I questioned myself constantly. Was I being oversensitive? Was I controlling? Was I manipulative? Was I abusive?

This weeks church sermon really got me thinking about him. He sought to make himself the centre of me. I slowly allowed him to do so but am thankful I never actually lost faith. I can recall many times (too many to count) crying in the bathroom on my knees calling out to God. Why God, why am I hear? Why do I deserve this? Why aren't you changing him, changing his heart? I've been praying for years God, others too, for him to come to know Jesus and be saved. I couldn't understand why I had to endure this after enduring similar circumstances as a child. Hadn't I paid my dues and taken my bumps?

The pastor also talked about having patience for God's plan. That really made me smile. I had patience (and still do) for God's plan. I left with a renewed sense of gratitude for everything God has already worked out for my good. He did because I didn't force it myself (like I have in the past). I wanted to be married so bad that I was blinded. It made me realize that despite the fact I am single again and only have so many childbearing years left, God has a plan for my life.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Date Night

I planned a little date with myself this afternoon, movies then supper. I sat in the movie theater and thought about another time sitting in that theater. It was last July, my Mum had called me a day or two after the first time I called the police on him. I had called my older sister as I sat in a school yard a block from the house as I waited for him to leave for work after the police left. I finally told her what was going on. She must have then told my Mum who then called me. I remember taking the call and knowing what it was about. I left the theater and went to the ladies room to talk. I remember crying on the phone and going back to theater and telling him my Mum had told me a friend was sick and thus the tears. 

My family most likely waited and prayed for me to leave him. I of course had to come to the conclusion on my own. They didn't force it because they knew it would create distance and resentment.

I didn't end up going for supper so I would have an activity for tomorrow. I'm really trying to make a point to leave the house on the weekends. To get out and make myself happy. I bought a clock instead of lunch. 

Last nights date night was a trip to Walmart. I giggled to myself as I got ready to leave. "Do I put real pants on or stay in my yoga gear?" Clearly I didn't get "all dressed up" to go to Walmart by putting on real pants. I know what you're thinking... The exciting life of a newly single gal. I feel like most people in my situation would be out painting the town red, hitting up bars and drinking copious amounts of alcohol. I however do not want a rebound or to numb the pain with alcohol. 

Friday, 6 November 2015

Remembrance Day

Remembrance day is fast approaching and my paternal grandfather is weighing heavily on my heart. He fought in WWII at a young age (probably 17-20 years old). He waited over a decade after his discharge before he married my grandmother. What was he going through? Did he suffer from shell shock? I suspect he did. His wife died less than 12 years later leaving him with 5 children to care for. My father recalls sitting in the bed of his dad's pick up waiting for him to come out of the bar. He drank though I'm not sure when that started. He worn down his body and died years later of sinus cancer. This series of events formed my existence. For years I blamed the war for my families dysfunction.

Recently I started thinking about how tragic my grandfather's life was but how I shouldn't blame the was but instead focus on the gratitude for the sacrifice he (and probably his older brothers). I've always been a proud Canadian and how grateful I am for others who have served but why wasn't I focused on that same sense of gratitude for my own family? I suspect the reason was blame, needing to blame the brokenness.

My family is big in actuality but I only communicate with a select few. I don't know my fathers side of the family because they lived the next province over and given the relationship, or lack there of, with my father I didn't get the chance to meet my grandfathers brothers and sisters despite the fact they died less than 10 years ago. My mother's side is a different story. She doesn't speak to them because of how her mother treated her. This all may be the reason I'm slightly addicted to I have a deep desire to know my family and where I've come from.

Instead of blaming my lacking on other sources I really think I need to focus on gratitude. I'm grateful that I have a family because there are a lot of orphans in the world. I'm grateful that I have a family legacy of sacrifice in the persuit of maintaining freedom and  defending the country I have so much.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

People Pleasing Guilt

I'm still people pleasing. The thing is, I didn't actually go through with the act, I have guilt for not doing what people want me to. Tonight was a church community group and I didn't go. I didn't go because I'm grumpy and tired. Not the other way around by the way. I've been grumpy for the last few days and I'm only tired because I worked my other job last night. 

I had no desire to put on my fake smile and get home late yet again. Thing is, I feel guilty for making an excuse not to go. I feel guilty because my friend who leads the group expects me to be there. Thing is, I shouldn't live my life worrying about what others think of me. 

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Depression Lightens Up

Mission accomplished. I spent the day doing things I enjoyed and I feel happier. I went to a fabric store, home depot and Michael's. I spent the last five hours paint, sanding and hanging pictures. I'm house (apartment) proud. All my pictures are hung, my pine bakers rack is painted and I started painting my steamer truck that I use as a coffee table.

I will not take credit for my mood improving. A few nights ago I cried my self to sleep, praying for Jesus to help me. I cried out, I was so lonely and had lost the desire to do my regular activities that I once enjoyed. I felt Jesus telling me he was there with me and that I was never alone. That I needed to turn to Jesus more to fill the loneliness. 

Friday, 30 October 2015

Denial and Other Things That Start with D.

To all those who were once victimized, did you ever feel re-victimized when trying to seek help for the original victimization? Perhaps others aren't actually victimizing me, having to talk about the trauma is like opening the wound. When the words leave my mouth the tears start to form in the corner of my eyes. This is an unconscious response to having to remember what I endured even if I don't have to speak to the specifics. 

My mind so desperately wants to forget all he did to me; to pretend that it never happened and that I was never married. This is not a possibility, I get that but this waiting to get divorced time sucks. I realize that it is actually a good thing though, if things happened too quickly it would make the situation too hard to handle. I just want to get back to my normal self and to feel happiness again (and not just for a moment or a few hours). 

I've had this depression cloud hanging above my head now for a few weeks. I find some happiness periodically but it never lasts more than a day. Currently, I feel sad and lonely more than I feel happy. I thought the idea of leaving him was to find a way to be happy more often than not? Lately, I've been lonely, very lonely. I had that difference of opinion with one friend, the other lives in an hour and a half by transit and my family is in the midst of dealing with issues regarding my younger sister. 

I had a thought of finding a pen pal, someone to talk to. I have since realized that this will not actually fill the hole in my heart. I can romanticize the idea of writing some soldier overseas fighting and that over time we fall in love and meet. This is reality and not a Nicholas Sparks movie.  Realistically, I need to avoid relationships with men, even platonic ones for now. I have an unhealthy view of men these days and I think I need therapy before even thinking about heading down that path. 

Ideally, I'd like to find people out in my community that have gone through similar circumstance. Gals I can talk openly about what I feel and think and might even be around my age. I live in a large city and you would think that some group would exist but I have yet to find it.

I finally found a page of resources for counseling. Next week I have to go to  a walk in counseling season. Sounds weird right? Apparently only the first one is drop in style and the others will be scheduled. I imagine it was set up this way in case women are still living with there abusers and can't commit to an actual appointment. If it doesn't work out than on to the next on the list.

I actually have this weekend off. Totally free to do anything. Problem is, I'm depressed and have lost interest in the activities I once enjoyed. I really wanted to go for a hike but its supposed to rain. I thought about a movie but frankly all I do this days is stare at a screen. Shopping? Lunch? Mani-pedi? Not sure what I'll do yet.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Shabby Chic

I'm not one to make corny comparison normally but I had a thought last night as I fell asleep. I love shabby chic, my apartment is decorated with that in mind. I love items that are weathered and imperfect. Why is this I thought? The distress and uniqueness makes them beautiful. The damage is beautiful. I am shabby chic. I've been damaged, weathered so to speak. I've been hurt, I'm imperfect and yet it makes me unique. 

I'm not like most people I know. I didn't come from a "perfect" home but then who has? Everyone endures hardships and is hurt in one way or another. I haven't had an easy life and I think that makes me sort of special. I've had experiences that very few people have. Then again, I haven't traveled as much as some people I know. I didn't steward what finances I had very well thus preventing me from seeing the world. This is not something I seek to perpetuate. 

I'm not trying to be braggadocios by any means. I have come from humble beginnings and am still living paycheck to paycheck but I've learned a few things along the way. I've educated myself in areas that interest me. I know more random facts than most people I know. This uniqueness may be perceived as strange and frankly sometimes I am strange. I'm socially awkward sometimes, I say things I wish I wouldn't have. I beat myself up about that when I get home. Recently I've tried to stop myself from doing that by asking for forgiveness from God. I've also tried to stop worrying so much about things but repeating "I'm trusting God" to myself a few times a day. 

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Crisis of Faith

My Mum feared I would have a crisis of faith leaving him. I had held on the vast majority of my marriage. I held on because I was told that divorce shouldn't be an option, it shouldn't even be in my vocabulary. That I needed to be the one who changed the family's pattern of generational divorce. That if I kept praying for him to be saved that he would. That if I kept praying that my marriage would get better that it would. It didn't.

Does this mean that God doesn't love me? Does this mean that my faith is all for nothing? No. The reason I found my faith is because of my marriage. It made me hit the bottom of myself. The first instance of physical abuse was the point I cried out to my Christian friends and they suggested I read the gospel. I know now that they had been praying I find Jesus but didn't know then. I bought a bible and began to read it. A month or so later I found a Christmas activity that sounded interesting, a walking nativity. I attended it a few weeks later and heard one of the pastors of that church speak about his upcoming sermon and decided to attend. I kept going every Sunday (much to his dislike) and in April gave my life to the Lord. I was baptized at that church the following November.

Over the year from buying my bible to being baptized the attacks on my faith by him intensified. He hated Christians, frankly we both did when we met. I had grown up in the Mormon church and it left a fowl taste in my mouth. I disliked Christianity because of this. I thought all churches were like the Mormon church but have since learned that each denomination and each church is different and you need to keep trying to find the one that fits, that you feel spiritually fed. The church I found (or I think found me) was an Alliance church, the music wasn't old style hymns like I was used to and the bible version used was not KJV like I was used to. I had no idea the volume of different translations in existence. I actually understood as I read the bible and could get excited about singing praise. I'm not bashing the Mormon church, for some it makes sense to them and feeds them spiritually.

The crisis of faith is actually for the Christians around me. Will they judge me and my decision? Will they love their neighbor as Jesus taught? How do I explain myself without going into graphic detail to leave and divorce my husband? Will they pray for my healing instead of reconciliation? I don't want to make people uncomfortable to be around me but I also don't want to lie anymore or omit that I'm divorcing him.

Will I be a sinner when I divorce him? Yes and no. I am a sinner, a sinner saved by grace. All of us fall short of the glory of God. I will not be committing a sin by divorcing him. He attacked my faith and he broke his marital vows. He clothed himself in violence (Malachi 2:16). He was sexually immoral (Hebrews 13:4).

The bible speaks of only a few instances where divorce is acceptable and permitted. Adultery (Matthew 19:9), if the spouse cast the other out for their faith (1 Corinthians 7:13) and if a husband gives his wife a certificate of divorce (Deuteronomy 24:1).

Technically speaking the bible doesn't cover spousal abuse. God didn't design marriage to be filled with violence. Marriage is designed to be like sand paper; to soften your rough edges. It's supposed to challenge you and make you a better person. To draw closer to God and be more Christ like. I don't have this vision of it being all sunshine and rainbows but I also don't have a vision of it being as mine was.

If you dig far enough and long enough you can find the answer you want. I could google to my hearts content finding reassurance that divorce is an acceptable solution to any marital issue. The thing is, my issue isn't a small nor a simple one. I was abuse, continuously and maliciously but a man who stood up in front of friends and family and promised to love me. Perhaps in his disturbed mind, he did love me.

He never physically cheated on me but he did emotionally. He had been talking to a gal he new from a neighboring town of his hometown. I found out when she sent him a text message while he was in the bathroom and I noticed it. I questioned him on it and he deflected. He said he was just giving her advice on her boyfriend but I didn't believe him. He then admitted that he liked the female attention since he wasn't getting it from me. It wasn't true of course; he got attention from me. Living with a narcissist you learn to be co-dependent as a survival mechanism, You're day is organized by making sure you make him happy. Whatever time is left over, if any, you can spend on making yourself happy. I demanded he stop talking to her immediately and delete her from his phone and Facebook. He then accused me of having inappropriate conversations with some of my male friends on Facebook. I wasn't but he kept after me, to deflect the negative attention away from himself. I finally caved and deleted all non-family male Facebook friends.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Setting Roots

Yesterday was a difficult day for me. Frankly the last few days have been difficult. As I mentioned in my previous post I thought I saw him. Then last night I saw my his (formerly our) neighbour who to be perfectly honest I despised and he reciprocated the sentiments. I know he knew who I was and I was across the street from my apartment. I panicked but at least I was on the phone with my older sister who suggested walking into a store instead of going home. I walked past my building before looking back to see if he was still in eye sight. Thankfully he was not and I walked into my building via the back alley just in case. Now to be fair, the former neighbour and my soon-to-be-ex husband are not BFF's but my fear is the neighbour will mention it to him should they meet in the hall. 

I was already on edge before that even happened. I received a text from a friend of mine, just checking up on me. She wanted to talk to me that evening and I was dreading the call. I've missed the last 4 weeks of my church's community group (which her and her husband lead) and she wanted to know how I was doing. I had mentioned my reservations about returning to the group. It's a younger group, very few are dating let alone married and I feel like my divorce will make them uncomfortable or that I will be judged for "giving up" on my marriage.

I called her a few minutes after hanging up with my sister and was already feeling a bit teary. She in a round about way told me she felt I had used her or had lied to her about my reasoning behind moving. That she helped my move because she wanted me to be safe and ultimately reconcile with him, I had not decided what I wanted to do when I left him, I just knew I needed to get out while I still could. I explained this to her and she encouraged me to keep an open heart towards reconciliation. I explained that I have prayed about it and I have not felt God leading me back to him. I feel like God wants me to move on with my life, that he has something wonderful planned for me, something I can't even imagine. I cried on the phone and didn't say too much after that, which is a trademark move for me. I didn't want to fight with her but I am sick of being a push over and not speaking my mind and heart for fear of offending or hurting someone. 

I agreed to return to community group. She offered to pick me up for tomorrow's group. I declined but knew this was her polite way of making sure I attended. She prayed with me and we hung up. I was bawling by this point. All I could think of was I wanted my Mum. 

I called my Mum a few minutes later and she talked me away from the proverbial ledge. She consoled me and asked if I might consider joining a new church during my healing time. I can't leave my church, I love it too much. I also explained that I'm sick of running from my problems and from uncomfortable situations. Heck, I've lived in 3 different major cities since leaving my home province. When life got uncomfortable, I moved. I'm not running anymore, I'm setting up roots.

Conclusion, I will continue with my community group and not hide the fact I'm getting divorced. I will not make a big deal about it and explain that this decision was not taken lightly and took a long time to come to. I will not show up too early to cut down on socializing time thus cutting down the stressful times for me. 

The cherry to this sundae, I have yet another bladder infection and was up half the night in pain. This is a semi-frequent occurrence brought on my stress and too much sugar. 

To end on a more positive note I have been a bit more consistent with exercising in the mornings. 

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Paying Bills

I love bill paying day! Does that sound odd? I love paying the full amount of the bill that come in the mail. I love that I can pay the bill on time and not worry about a his anger. I feel like an adult more and more each day. I have a grown up apartment, decorated and all. I admit that it's tiny, a whopping 348 sq. feet but I love it. Maybe it's because it's old, unique and well laid out.  It could also be because it's a vast improvement from my previous place.

Since the days are getting shorted and the sun goes down around supper time I've had to start walking my dog in the dark. Normally I chose a time I feel he won't be out and  feel safe but today was different. I thought I saw him this evening while walking my dog. I thought my fear reaction was to run but I froze. This concerns me, I don't want to freeze and have a confrontation. I want to flee, even if it makes him feel like he's won. I don't care who "wins" I just want him out of my life.

I almost miss how I felt a month ago, sad, lonely but productive. Now, I get home, eat, walk my dog and do nothing. Granted I was sick the last week but I haven't been consistent at my usual activities. Well this is a sign of depression, I know I have depression  so does it mean that it's worsened? My counselor told me not to worry about being sad unless I can't get out of bed and go to work for a month.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Freedom of Speech

I live in Canada where The Charter of Rights and Freedoms (section 2) give me the freedom of expression (speech). This means I can say and believe whatever I want (provided it's not a threat of physical harm). This is something I took for granted. During my marriage their were two topics that could not be brought up unless I was willing to have a fight, religion and politics. These are my two favorite topics. I love to talk, to debate and to learn more especially when it comes to these two. He however believed that these should never be discussed as they are the reason for war. I remember him telling me this a few weeks in and I so naively thought I could change this about him.

I've enjoyed these last few weeks so much. I've worked a lot and it was tiring but I've had many opportunities to talk politics with new friends. I've had the opportunity to be myself and it's so freeing. I've been so busy I've snapped out of my fear mentality. I'm not suggesting that I'm not fearful of running into him but I have managed to get out and go for long walks. 

In saying all this, Thanksgiving was this past weekend and it wasn't an easy day. I skipped church; I couldn't managed to muster the desire to leave the house. My Mum said she would Facetime with me once people arrived. I waited hours by my phone. I didn't want to call in case they were in the middle of their meal. Finally at 8:00 pm their time I call the house and then Facetimed me. I was so lonely and sad. In the past this would bring on full panic mode. What if I went into a downward spiral from which I couldn't recover? What if my thoughts of suicide came back? My counselor taught me to stop having catastrophic thoughts. The world will not fall apart just because I'm sad and it's ok to feel one's feelings. I felt them and you know what? I felt a little better the next day. By Tuesday, I felt happier, like my normal(ish) self.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Seeking approval

Did you know that I'm a people pleaser? This stems from my childhood, do whatever it takes not to rock the boat and set off my step-fathers rage. This also stems from moving every few years. I would have to make a new set of friends and blend into already established friendships. This is also the reason I never really set down roots but that's post in itself. 

I've searched for men to fill a hole in my heart. My father's lack of emotionally availability made me seek validation and approval from other men. How does one get men's attention? Flirting, sexy attire and oh yes, people pleasing. I was like a chameleon, always changing my likes and clothing style to blend in with whatever boyfriend I had. At one point I was into heavy metal and custom low-rider trucks and wore west coast choppers clothing and before that I was also into techno and rap and dressed preppy. So who the heck was and and who the heck am I now?

I am a country music loving gal with a prairie heart. I love both city and country living each for their own reasons, reasons I can actually articulate now. I enjoy hiking, running, watching chick flicks, crocheting, baking and spending time with family and friends that have shown me they accept me, flaws and all.  I do not like low rider trucks, I do not like techno music and I do not like heavy metal. 

I used to have this tough persona because I was going to be a cop. I went to college and studied law enforcement. I surrounded myself with like minded people. I no longer had a feminine heart. I was like this for a few years before I realized that I couldn't be a police officer. I couldn't stay sober long enough to stay out of trouble. I was a binge drinker who drank and drove home more times then I care to count. No one was ever injured and I never got into a crash but I'm not proud of my actions during those years. 

After my last boyfriend dumped me I started to frequently drink wine at home in the evenings but soon realized I couldn't afford to drink anymore. My sobriety didn't start because I saw the light, but I started somewhere. I had a glass of wine here or there for a year or two after that but can say with pride I have been sober for over three years now. Once I had one drink, I would want another and another after that. I used to drink until the money ran out or I blacked out. I don't miss alcohol and I don't miss how I acted while I drank. I'm embarrassed but I'm not that person anymore. I realized that alcohol was my numbing agent to help me have the confidence to talk to people. It would quiet the voice in my head telling me I wasn't good enough. Alcohol gave me a false sense of security about myself and made me feel more accepted by others.

I still catch myself seeking the approval of single men. Thinking about what they think of me. Am I pretty enough? Thin enough? Do I talk to much? Am I too opinionated? But when I get home I realize that it doesn't really matter what they think of me because I am completely loved and accepted by God. 

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Getting back at 'er

I haven't posted anything in a week. I've been so busy that I haven't had the time to reflect on anything let alone write. I house/cat sat for a friend last weekend and have worked every day and evening except last night. Next week's schedule is considerably less hectic. 

I must say that working another job has wonderful even though I don't have as much free time. My co-workers never knew married me, they only know single me. I've never mentioned I was once married and don't plan on it. I wish I had applied under my maiden name but I'll figure that one out later. I can be myself around them and not worry they're judging me for my decision to divorce. I even feel pretty great working my other part time job (yes I have three jobs and yes I miss sleeping). I work casually as an usher for my church when they rent out the space. Since my church is so large, the people I work with didn't know me before I started working there.

I received an email from him yesterday afternoon. It had been exactly a month since his previous email. He wanted to know what was going on. (Side note, I never told him I wanted a divorce because I wanted to wait until I spoke with a legal advocate.)I didn't respond to his email until this afternoon. I wanted time to relax and to weigh the outcome if I told him versus not answering the email at all. My email was one sentence, I will be seeking a divorce. 

Last note, I'm still emotionally eating and it's caused me to gain 7 lbs in the last two months. This may be a small number in the scheme of things but I now have a constant food baby and I certainly didn't before. My solution is now that my schedule has stabilized I've scheduled time to exercise more regularly and start running again. Fingers crossed I can lose this weight by Christmas. 

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Two Months

It's been two months since I left him. Two months can seem like a short amount of time yet it feels like it was years ago. I barely think about him and when I do its remembering something that happened then moving on.

In saying this, I still live with the aftermath every day. I still look over my shoulder with caution. I still lock my door immediately after walking into my apartment and  I still have anxiety living my house aside from going to work. I still have nightmare that leave me paralyzed by fear. 

I'm still ready "The Emotionally Abuse Woman" and today's chapter talked about acknowledging and dealing with original abuse. As I read through the questions to help you recognize the remaining anger I answered no to all. I'm not angry, I'm not constantly thinking what I could have said or done differently. I realize that it is very possible that I'm in denial or that this might be happening because it's my mind's why of protecting me until I have set up long term counseling. 

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Whirlwind Romance

From the outside looking in, my marriage was a whirlwind romance. We met online via a dating site. His profile was pretty minimal where as mine was a page (typed) of traits I looking for (and not looking for) in a man. I had a head shot picture and his were from a ways away (not to mention he had a ball cap and sunglasses). He messaged me and to this day will tell you I was the only one he ever sent a message but only recently I've started to think he was lying about this too. We chatted online for a day or two and asked that we talk on the phone before agreeing to meet in person. We talked and he seemed fairly normal. The thing I like was he was from the same province but was older so we wouldn't have known the same people. 

We met at a coffee shop on a cold December Saturday night. As I pulled into the parking lot I thought to myself "I have no idea what he looks like so hopefully he spots me". He did spot me and we sat down and talked for hours. The coffee shop actually closed and we have to leave. We met up a few days later for dinner. From there it was a date with him every few days. About a month he he dropped a bomb on me, he was a cocaine user in his younger years. He told me this during an argument and I left his place. I should have kept driving and trusted my instincts to flee but I went back. We ended up talking it out and I thought to myself "I used to be a binge drinker, who am I to judge him?"

I had been told by Christian friends to save myself for marriage (though I hadn't done that in previous relationships) and thought that sounded like a good idea. I was trying to live a Christian way of life without actually being one. I stumbled, I slept with him within the first 6 weeks of our relationship. I wanted to stop but he had already wiggled his way into my head and the control had already started unbeknownst to me. He convinced me that he wouldn't continue to date me if I wanted to wait until marriage. This seemed normal to me, I wasn't a Christian so why the heck did I want to live my life their way? 

He decided to sell his house and move into my basement suite instead of me moving in with him. This seemed odd to me at first but then again, it would be cheaper and we could get debt free quicker. He sold his house within a few weeks and was moving in mid-April. The final day at his place he proposed to me. I had told myself the reason it's moving so fast is because we're both old enough to know what we want and ready to settle down. Looking back, he was in a hurry to seal the deal before the truth came out and his true self was revealed. 

Two weeks out from the wedding I had developed a migraine, this migraine lasted over a week and my prescription medication stopped working. Finally, I asked to be taken to the hospital. After waiting in the waiting room for a few hours they put me in a room and hooked me up to an I.V. which resulted in my first panic attack that I can remember. Instead of actually trying to calm me down he said "what did you think they were going to do, of course they were going to give you an I.V." in a condensing way. They started pumping me full of drugs but I asked them to stop after the second of the three they wanted to give me. I asked they give me sometime to see if those two were enough because I didn't want the "hangover" that comes with a migraine to be worsened by a drug hangover. An hour later the nurse comes in asking if I was ready for my morphine. MORPHINE, what the heck made these people think I wanted the hard drugs?! I declined and he kept telling me to take it. This was the drug addict in him talking. 

We married that fall and were proud to say we paid for the wedding ourselves. Honestly, I didn't really enjoy myself at the wedding. I felt faint before walking down the isle (granted I was really sick), I felt awkward at the reception and I had sweat my butt off during photos (it was 30C something at the end of September!). I hated the dancing part, the having to be social.

I woke up the next morning and though "I'm a married woman" and was really excited. We had to go through our wedding cash we'd received to pay our parking and went home. We had nothing in our bank account and I didn't even have a credit card at that time because my credit was so horrible. He didn't have any either, which I later found out it was because he hadn't been paying his bills. 

The first two weeks of our marriage we great, aside from the garnishment of his wages of course. We were getting along (we'd had frequent squabbles during our engagement which I attributed to the stress of planning a wedding). He held it together for less than a month before the abuse became apparent. It was too late, I was married. I didn't want to divorce him and thought "what would I do without him?". 

To sum up the beginning of our relationship, if it seems to be too good to be true, it is so run like HELL!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Finding a Sense of Safety

If you've lived through abuse you know what if feels like feel like you aren't safe anywhere. That feeling like you need to look over your shoulder every minute you're outside the security of your home. I catch myself doing this often, at the grocery store, riding the bus and even walking my dog. I've resorted to changing my routines and patterns. I no longer walk my dog before I leave for work, I've resorted to 6:30 am (basically as soon I wake up and have been sufficiently "coffee'd") and not walking him in the evening until 6:30 pm (when normal people are eating supper). I shop on weeknights at a different grocery store (instead of weekends). The bus however, there is nothing I can change so I leave that one to God.

I had my first shift at my new part time job tonight. I realized that I wasn't looking over my shoulder tonight. I worked an entire shift feeling perfectly safe. I'm grateful for the job God provided me because I work in the VIP section (box seats) and I'm certain he doesn't know anyone who can afford a box nor can he afford one.

I even made it home via transit without looking over my shoulder. It felt FANTASTIC.

Today's success moment was making it through my shift without feeling like I might die or fall asleep. Note to self though, bring more snacks, was really hungry and my packed lunch didn't cut the mustard.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

$5000 Shoes

If you were born after 1980 you are more likely to be "me" focused, at least that's what my pastor said in church today. Do you believe this? I certainly do. Except that wasn't the case for me for the last four plus years. It was all about him. Was the house cleaned to his liking, was dinner seasoned enough, was he getting enough sex, did I appear enthusiastic enough, was there enough money in the bank account for him? 

So what am I supposed to do now? Make my entire life about me? That's not really what Christ calls me to do. So what am I supposed to do knowing this? I am to follow Christ, allow Him to heal me and move on with my life. 

Yesterday I went shoe shopping to buy shoes for my new job. I'm working for a sports and entertainment company as a conceige. I need black polish-able shoes and I didn't want to cheap out on a pair. I have to stand my entire shift which means they need to be as comfortable as possible. You see, the shoes I buy are an investment to debt freedom. I bought a pair on sale for $90.00 and wore them around the house yesterday a bit to break them in. I looked down at these shoes, this granny looking black shoes and told myself, "these are $5000 shoes, these shoes will make me $5000". I need $5000 in the next eleven months in order to achieve my goal, debt free by my thirty first birthday. 

Once I get debt free I'll actually accomplish another goal, to travel. I don't know where I'll go just yet but it's not going to be Oregon, that's for sure. I want to travel somewhere warm, with a beach, that requires a flight to get to. 

Today's success - I went to church (two weeks in a row!) and I took my dog on a much needed long walk. 

Saturday, 26 September 2015


I've changed my entire life. I've changed apartments, daily routines, hobbies, financial situations, family relationships, my social life, all because a change of relationship status. My counselor pointed this out to me during one of our sessions. She told me this because she was trying to make a point; she wanted me to recognize and acknowledge all of my courageous accomplishments 

I couldn't understand why I was so exhausted and yet antsy the first few weeks. While I may not be consciously aware of all the changes I'm dealing with my subconscious is hard at work. It's a lot to process and most of the changes I listed happened overnight. 

One of my weaknesses is not giving myself enough credit. Before she pointed out all the things I've done I caught myself thinking, "so what, who couldn't do that too?". Then I realized, a lot of woman can but don't or can't but want to

I gained the courage the leave him, to make plans and step out of the life I had lived for years. The fear of change held me captive for years but my desire for a better life grew stronger. The hardest part once the decision was made was waiting four weeks. God took care of the logistic details (apartment, finances, a vehicle to move my things, people to help me move, a consolidation loan for a debt and a part time job to help me pay off the consolidation loan). God has shown me how much He loves me, how He has a better plan for my life than I could ever imagine.  

Thursday as I was crying I prayed and heard God say to me "I'm pruning you." Pruning is described as "an essential gardening skill. When you prune correctly, you encourage healthy growth and flowering (in the case of flowering plants), as well as good looks". This year is a year of pruning for not just re-growth but becoming stronger. It's not going to be easy or always happy but it's necessary. As I type this I'm secretly hoping it will be easier than I think but we both know that isn't really going to be the truth. 

Today's memory that came back was when I used to sleep in my car. No, I was never homeless, I was avoiding him. I finally had my own car again (after a year of not having one) and I would go home and let my dog out and leave right away, before he got home from work. I would drive to another residential area and have a nap. I'd wake up and go have a cheap supper somewhere and go home sometime after dark. I can't remember how long I did this but I only ended up having that car for a few months. I ended up writing the car off when I was rushing to work one day.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

My Wedding Anniversary & Babies

Today is my four year wedding anniversary. It brings a certain amount of sadness but I received wonderful news this morning, my younger sister had her baby girl. I'm glad that both are healthy and resting but I'm also disappointed, not in her but in my life. I've wanted kids for a few years now but never started trying with him. Their were a few reasons behind this some are more obvious than others. 

For the first two years of our marriage people would ask when we would start having kids. I would say that I wanted to wait a bit because we got married so quickly after meeting. Realistically it was because I wasn't ready, I didn't feel grown up enough to be a parent. Eventually I felt ready but my marriage was so abusive and volatile that I didn't want to bring a child into the world to be raised in that, like I was. He would complain that he was getting too old to have children (he's six years older). This past spring I caught the fever, baby fever. I wanted a child so bad, before time ran out, that I was actually considering having a child. I realize in hindsight that this was selfish, not caring how the child would be raised only that I would have a child. 

The reason I didn't start trying was because a few years back I had an abnormal PAP. I was sent to a specialist and I had to go in every six months to ensure it didn't turn in to precancerous cells. I had laser ablation done in year two of marriage and had put off my follow up because of the move to Vancouver. I decided to go in for an annual check up in June of this year and was told my results would be available in about a month. This was around the time I was really unhappy in my marriage and was slowly allowing the thoughts of leaving him to enter my mind. 

In early July, the same week I had scheduled a meeting with my pastor, I called the doctors office for my results. I was expecting to be told I would need to see a specialist which would mean I still had abnormal cells. She casually said I was fine and could book in a year. I made her repeat herself because I thought I misheard her. I was so relieved, finally after seven years of bad news in that department I was given a clean bill of health. I just had to remember not to mention it to him. In fact, I lied and told him it was still an issue as the explanation for distance and stress for the next few weeks. The actual stress was planning to leave in secrecy. 

So here I am, 30 years old, finally healthy and painfully single. Well, not even single and free to date. Separated and waiting to file divorce papers. I don't want to start dating anytime soon, I need time to heal and deal with all the trauma before I can get back out there. If I start too soon I could attract the wrong kind of man again and end up in this situation again.

The other thing is that this time I'll be released into the dating pond (as I've aged out of my twenties it's no longer an ocean) a Christian woman. The dating options are lessened even more. I realize that if it's God's will for me to remarry and have child(ren) that it will happen. 

I had initially planned to get my nails done as my treat to myself today but frankly, I can't managed to keep myself from crying long enough to even walk to the nail salon. I had thought that because I was no longer in love with him that today would be no big deal, how wrong I was. I was thinking that I would be happy today because my little sister gave birth to a beautiful little baby girl, again, how wrong I was. 

I truly think that there is a disconnect between my head and heart as I head down the healing. Off to bed and fingers crossed I'll actually fall asleep before 11.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Anxiety & Giving Myself Permission To Do Nothing

My goal is to post daily. I missed yesterdays and only remembered at 10:30 last night when I was laying in bed trying to fall asleep. In the past I would open my laptop and post my draft. I didn't do this. I'm really trying to work on taking time for doing nothing. This may sound unproductive but it is actually the exact opposite. 

For years I was constantly trying to make sure everything was clean, put away etc. The less I left out, the less would get broken in the event of a tantrum. I was guilt-ed about taking time for myself to relax. The last activity I clung to was taking a before bed bath (every night) for the last year or two. I even bathed nightly when my city announced a water restriction due to drought! It was the only time I could be alone and relax. He would complain if I was longer than 30 minutes, "you were in there for an hour" was a daily occurrence even if it was less than that. But then again, why would I rush out of the tub to bed? It meant that he would expect sex from me. By the end, I did have "one hour baths" to avoid sex, it was not even a possibility in my mind. What if he got me pregnant?! I would forever be tied to him.  

I have a busy few days starting today and knew that I could very easily burn myself out. Last night the only things I planned to accomplish was making supper and picking up dog food. It turns out that I had to clean my oven (because of Monday's dinner) but otherwise didn't do anything productive. I have a list of things I want to accomplish this week written on my bathroom mirror but I know I can't do them all in one day so I try for a few. 

I have not been officially diagnosed with PTSD but do have many of the symptoms. Two of the most prominent symptoms are anxiety and memory loss. I have forgotten a lot of things that happened during my marriage but each day some memories come back and they haven't been the positive ones. Today's was the vet bill I had because he didn't pay it in full before leaving the clinic. Before I was married I had him take my dog into the vet for me for updating his shot. I couldn't take him myself for some reason (probably work). The clinic later threatened collections on my when I hadn't paid it. How did he manage to leave without paying the balance in full? Looking back, this was a clue that he didn't have all this money he said he did. 

My memory loss is also short term memory loss. I'll forget something you told me yesterday sometimes. My family knows this and doesn't judge me for it (thank God!) and I do my best to make lists at work and set reminders for things so I don't forget. As I write this I remembered I didn't check the mail today and had intended on making a bank deposit (clearly not happening today). 

As for my anxiety, my dog helps tremendously. My dog changed since we left him. He is calmer, quieter for the most part (except people in the hall, he barks EVERY time). If I can manage to take him with me on outings then it means I won't be so on edge. I had a few errands to run last Saturday and wanted to take him with me so I reserved a car through my car share program and took him along. In the past he would whine in the car after ten minutes, these days he's quiet as can be. Three and a half hours later we both got home and he didn't whine once. 

My dog is also dealing with PTSD because of him. He would terrorize him and think it's funny (a sign that he is psychotic). My dog is afraid of cardboard boxes, grocery bags and the vacuum, care to guess why? He also runs when I move the furniture because he was too terrorized by this previously. Now, I reassure him with my voice when these triggers my upset him. I was so proud of him the other day when I was unpacking a box. I kept telling him he was ok and a good boy as I opened, unpacked and collapsed the box. He didn't run away like he normally would, he came up and sniffed about. 

I had been planning a trip to my Mum's for Christmas but discovered he was too big for in cabin which caused my massive anxiety, I couldn't even think of traveling without him. My older sister recommended looking into having him registered as an Emotional Support Animal. There is no registry in Canada and the only thing required is a letter from a medical professional. This morning I got my letter! Flight booked and this will be the longest visit EVER with my family, two whole weeks. 

In the past, visiting my family was not a possibility. Visiting his family was a yearly occurrence at Christmas. He said I could invite my family to his mothers house for Christmas since we were driving eleven hours to his and mine was an additional five to six to see mine. This never sat right with me but I learned early on to pick my battles. 

I booked a visit this past March for five days. He didn't complain much except about spending the money (and my Mum paid for some of my ticket). "I'll be booking a flight to see my family whenever I want since you got to visit yours. Oh, and you aren't coming with me." He said this as an attempt to hurt me because he knew how much I loved his grandparents (I don't have any living grandparents). He refused to visit my family with me and frankly I'm glad he did. The night before I left he came home from work and I was in the midst of packing. He asked if he could help and I asked him to polish a pair of boots for me. He refused to do it since he'd never done it.... later that evening he demanded sex despite the fact it was late and I hadn't sat down all day. I refused and he got angry. In the morning I received a text from him at work "have fun complaining to your family about me". He didn't say a word to me after that until the last day of my visit where he Facetimed me for five minutes. 

I'm very excited to visit with my family and not be worried about what I'll be coming back to. I'm also excited to take new family photos. The only family photos I have are some from my wedding, but not a lot. I didn't visit very often (twice in the entire relationship in fact) so I don't have any photos from the past 5 years. 

Monday, 21 September 2015

You Date/Marry What You Know

Did you know what I married both my father and step-father? Let me back up on that statement. I am reading "The Emotionally Abused Woman" by Beverly Engel. The chapter I just finished talked about how you are most likely to marry someone like your first (or most hurtful) abuser. It asks that you make a list of people in your life (I.E. Mom, Dad, Step-parent, childhood bullies, friends or bosses) then list the positive and negative traits for these people. Actually, let me back up a bit further. 

Months before I left him, while I was in the deciding phase, I had the realization that I married a man exactly like my step-father growing up. This man was my first abuser. He physically and emotionally abused my Mum, my older sister and I. He would pick on my Mum first and if she wasn't around my older sister would take the brunt of it in an effort to protect me. I remember a time when my Mum was running away from him and ended up with a sprang wrist from trying to keep the door closed and him out. The police were called a few times and he was locked up for the night. He'd been thrown out more than once and we had left more than once. It was not a pleasant period of time in my life. I remember when we left how stressed out and short-tempered my Mum was. How she was a mess for at least a year after we left. I couldn't understand why she was acting the way she was. I certainly do now. How she managed to leave him with three daughters to worry about and provide for, I'll never understand. 

I realized that my soon-to-be-ex husband was just like my step-father. They were both short-tempered, controlling, manipulative, isolating but could lay on the charm and be the funniest person you've ever met. They both successfully had people believe that they were great husbands. 

My father is a workaholic, controlling, alcoholic. He was once funny, outgoing and an animal lover. He had aspirations of being a vet but that's all the were, aspirations. His foster parents convinced him to become a police officer (like their son) after he finished his contract with the Canadian military. This changed him into a racist, misogynist and arrogant man. My father became a workaholic and when my Mum realized he had chosen his work over his family, left him. He to this day speaks negatively of my mother. I have chosen not to allow him into my life. It's been nearly nine years since we last spoke. My older sister had a relationship with him up until this last spring when she had enough. He hadn't changed, he didn't want to put forth the effort to be a father and grandfather to her nor her children. Her husband (the most passive and understanding man you will ever meet in your life) finally had enough of him and the way he was treating his family and kicked him out of the house. I must say, I was so proud of him!

My soon-to-be-ex husband was an addict before I met him. He spent the majority of college high on cocaine. The story goes (as I no longer believe a word that came out of his mouth) his mother surprised him with a visit and caught him in the midst of a binge. She drove him to rehab then shipped him to his uncles house once released. His uncle was also a police officer who ironically enough was in training with my father. 

If you combine my father and step-father's traits, you get him. Sick isn't it? That we are drawn to what we know and what I knew was men who didn't treat woman like they should. Even now, I hear my heart telling me that I deserve a good Christian man, one who is actively seeking God. Then I catch myself thinking "will he be boring?", "will I be attracted to someone like that" or "will I be able to relate to him". 

Back to my book that I'm currently reading... more tomorrow.

Today's success (drum roll please!)....I worked out this morning and I applied for my dog to be an emotional support animal (because he really is!) so I can fly with him at Christmas.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Organizing.... and Beef Ribs

Today's success was attending church today. The main reason I went was my gal pal needed me to pick her up a book needed for our weekly community group. I sent her a text this evening thanking her for forcing me to be accountable.

I left church before the final song as I felt my anxiety rising. As I walked towards the bus stop I saw one of his co-worker/ friend. I tried to not look scared but I was. What if he texted him where I was?

I was so freaked out I went to a grocery store 25 minutes from home to avoid potentially running into him. The bright side to this, they had beef ribs! Now this may not seem like a big deal to some but I'm allergic to pork and for some reason I can never seem to find a small pack of beef ribs if I can even find one at all.

I spent the rest of the day at home. I had a feeling at church that I need to get better at accomplishing things that are productive. I was determined to clip my dog this weekend and managed to get that done today. I also used my bathroom full length mirror and made a daily to-do list and a list of things I need to get done this week. I then managed to read my bible, my "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" book and my "Emotionally Abused Woman" book. Look at me go! All productive and stuff!

I realized this weekend that I need to find a non-melatonin way of getting to sleep. I don't take on the weekends so I don't become addicted but then I'm up until at least 1 am. I then wake up around 8 am. My mind races and I can't seem to settle.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

My Last Control

Food was a way for him to hurt me, to control me. He would throw it out during a tantrum and threaten to empty the bank account. I mentioned this in previous post. Food was pretty much the only thing I could control at that time. I could control how much I ate, especially on days he was at work. 

Over the years I learned that I couldn't keep snack food in the house because he would eat it all. I even tried buying junk food I only partially liked that he didn't in an effort to have snack food in the house. Even then, he would eat it. I had to resort to hiding it in the baking cupboard. 

When I left him I couldn't figure out why I kept buying junk food. It dawned on me a few weeks later that it was my rebellion. I could finally keep food in the cupboard and it would be there the next time I wanted it. I put on a few pounds and started to worry; I was comfort eating. There is a hole in my heart, in my soul from the last few years of my life. 

I stopped exercising every weekday morning and I had stopped running months before. I didn't need to rush out of bed or answer to anyone else. I am now trying to get back to exercising regularly in the morning but running is still challenging. I don't want to run outside, he's out there. I'm currently keeping an eye out for a folding treadmill so I won't need to leave the house. I need it to be fold-able since I don't have extra floor space in my 350 sq foot apartment. 

I also struggle with what to eat. Granted, I'm have some limits (gluten), but what does a healthy, normal single gal eat? I think part of the reason I struggle is I don't want to eat things he would make me. 

He did most some of the cooking, at least on his days off. He loved to cook and took great pride in it. He also expected me to pay him big compliments on his creations. He also expected me to make him something amazing on the days h was working. If it wasn't perfect, it would result in a fight. He would gaslight me, make me think that something was wrong with me because I couldn't cook a simple supper. "Why is it so hard for you to cook" or "is it took much to ask for you to make me a decent supper after a 12 hour shift"? He would imply he did all the cooking when he wasn't working. When he fact half the time he would want to go out for supper somewhere.  

I used to be so concerned about time, specifically making time for myself on Sundays to decompress from the past week. I always felt like there wasn't enough hours in the day to take care of myself and get done all he expected of me. I would buy a pack of cookies or a pint of ice cream or something else I know he would eat the moment he found it. Except he would never find it because I would eat it all then hide the wrapper. I became a binge eater. 

Adjusting has been interesting, I have so much time for myself now but was and sometimes still have that scarcity mentality. I don't need to spend a hour plus daily tidying and cleaning up after him. I don't have to spend an hour daily in the kitchen making sure his dinner is cooked. With all this time to relax you would think I would feel better but I've never felt like I'm on the verge of a migraine more often. Apparently this is normal; that I'm decompressing from years of stress and trauma. 

Today's success - I went out for dinner with a gal pal of mine and walked around a very busy department store without having a panic attack. 

"That Bad"

I read stories of other abuse survivors. They tell the horrific details of being strangled, kicked, bones broken and hospital visits. This was not like my abuse. Does it mean my abuse was less traumatizing? Does it mean that my situations doesn't really qualify as abuse?

This is his control and abuse rearing it's ugly little head. That I'm not good enough, that what happened to me wasn't really that bad. This was a concern of mine before I left, that I would minimize the abuse and go back to him. This is all to common in abuse situations. I refused to let myself fall into this trap. A few days before I left, after a fight, I went out to walk my dog and took the car I was car sitting. I drove away from the apartment and parked somewhere quiet. I decided to video myself, the fear, hurt and tears. This video would be the reminder I needed when I got lonely or when I minimized. 

In this video I made mention of how I felt, what he did and what I needed to remember to avoid the thought of reconciling. I used my cell phone, which I guarded with my life the last two months. The abuse cycle shorted to a day instead of what was a week and what at one time long ago was a month. I slept with my phone, kept it in my pocket at home and out even took it into the bathroom with me. It was locked with a code he didn't know but I still worried he could hack in. I changed the code every few days in case he had seen me unlock it. I also kept it close in the event I needed to call someone. Not the police, what good they had done me in the past, but someone. 

I watched this video after I filmed it to make sure it was clear enough to hear. Then figured I wouldn't need it for a few months. I listened to it (since I couldn't watch it with him around) the night before my escape. I was questioning my decision to leave. Was it really that bad? Could I survive without him? I was so thankful my Mum was flying in the next morning to help me move. It cemented the fact I had to leave. He hated my Mum so she certainly couldn't stay with me if I stayed with him. 

He never punched me in the face but he has assaulted me. He had blocked me into the bedroom, pushed me, punched me in the thighs (people wouldn't see if I actually bruised), he's even flicked my lady parts. I don't remember bruising from these attacks. Does this mean it wasn't that bad? 

I think that this idea of "that bad" is a relative term. Is a woman being beaten and hospitalized "that bad" when compared to women in India that a set on fire because they "shamed" their families? What about being constantly told you're crazy when compared to female genital mutilation in Africa? Is being manipulated and control by your boyfriend / husband "that bad" when compared to the sex trafficking in Cambodia? 

Their will always be someone worse off then you. Their will also always be someone better off than you. So how does one make sense of "that bad". In my mind, "that bad" is anyone who's abused me in anyway (emotional, physical or sexual abuse). He would fall into all three of those. While my abuse wasn't severe enough to require medical attention, it does require attention and counseling. 

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Lair, Lair, Pants on Fire

As an abuse survivor I am now realizing the magnitude of the lies I've been told by him. "I'm sorry", "I'll change" and "I'll get some help" to "who else would put up with the way you treat me?", "you're crazy" and even "it's your fault I get so angry". These are things I listened to weekly if not daily. 

You would think that once you leave, these lies will stop hurting you. Not true. It takes time to realize all the subtle ways he's hurt you. He's damaged you both physically and emotionally. He's damaged your neuropathways. You're brain doesn't work the same as it once did. It takes hard work to re-wire your brain back to some semblance of normalcy. Leaving him is like coming up for air from drowning. It's bright, overwhelming and you don't fully remember what just happened because shock has set in.

"You're crazy" runs through my head from time to time these days. I know I'm not crazy. I suffer from depression and have been on medication the last 3 years. He would tell me I must be crazy or even weak to go on medication. I had depression as a child and probably my whole adult life but it worsened with him. I medicated myself to help cope with him. Think about that for a second. I'll take this medication so I don't want to kill myself nearly as much when I'm with you. At the time, this seemed logical. What I think about now is, why didn't the doctor question my situation further? Why didn't my counselor ask more questions about the situation I was in? Domestic abuse is a tricky thing, I get that. But why did they let me slip through the cracks? My hope is to over time lower my dosage as I deal with the trauma. 

"Who else would put up with the way you treat me?" I should have held up a mirror to his face when he would say this to me. This is something he would say to me regarding our sex life. That because I didn't want to have sex with him as often as he thought I should, I was abusing him. What women would want to have sex with someone hours after he tore the house apart in his fit of rage? Or called you a names I don't care to repeat? I really started to question if I was abusive? Sure, I would refuse to talk to him for the most part. I would still acknowledge his existence. He however, would ignore me to the point of not speaking a single word to me for days at a time. He wouldn't acknowledge I was even there. 

He is a narcissist. This means that it's never his fault and always about him. I realized this in the second last month we were together. This helped me immensely. Knowing that I would never win an argument so why continue to try. The only solution was getting out. For years, I would try to argue with him but I would never win. He should have been a lawyer the way he would deflect and lie. A marriage is about compromise, this was not a marriage. 

He would blame me for him getting angry. He would blame me for his unhappiness. I knew that happiness was a decision and it was his to make for himself. He never took responsibility for himself. He only finally admitted to anger management issues after 3 years of marriage. He promised to change, to read books and to go to anger management classes. He read a book, he signed up for the classes but "forgot" to go to the first one and would have to wait until the next set of classes that started a few months from then. He never went. 

"We know what the problem is, we don't need someone to tell us". This was said at the conclusion on his fight. He would ask me why we hadn't changed since the last fight. My answer was either "because we're two selfish people" or "I don't know". "I don't know" was a frequent sentence I said. I am a peacemaker, I don't want to fight. I would say this, even though I did know, when I needed to take the fight down a few notches. This didn't always work, sometimes my response angered him even more. His statement was a way to avoid going to counseling. He also gave the excuse that would couldn't afford it (he had benefits that provided counseling for free). In reality, he didn't want someone else to find out how bad it actually was.

I'm a liar, at least I was and sometimes still am. I would lie about the status of our relationship as say how great it was. I would lie about being happy. I even lied to my pastor when we had started seeing him for counseling. These lies however were not really my fault. I was being abuse, my memory would block out the specifics of a fight and he would be sitting right there so I couldn't be as open as I wanted. I now lie, well actually avoid a direct answer, when church friends ask how he is. I don't want their potential judgement. While I haven't encountered anyone who's actually told me that divorcing him is a sin, I have one friend that doesn't want me to make my decision right away. She's hoping for reconciliation if possible but also agrees that divorcing him isn't a sin.  

"I will make sure you always go without". This is something his father said to his mother, sister and him as he pulled out of the driveway leaving them forever. He hated his father and thought he was an evil man. He desired to be nothing like him. "I will make sure you have nothing", this is what he said to me a week before I left. He became what he hated, whether he wanted to admit it or not. He was talking about food. He would frequently throw out food during his tantrums. My lunch, his lunch and even went as far as to throw out all the produce. The bank account was empty and their wasn't a lot of food in the house. This was actually caused by my lie. I lied and said that I wasn't getting a full pay check earlier that month because I switched from temporary to full time at work thus changing my pay schedule. I had money, he just didn't know about it. I had a separate bank account I could use to buy lunches during the week. It didn't come to that, he didn't throw out all the food and I could make a few lunches to get by. He had threatened to transfer all the money from our joint account into his account so I would have nothing. He had a separate bank account but forced me to close mine. 

The lies continued after I left him. He promised to change, that things would get better, that he was going to counseling. He pleaded for me to come back. He tried to make me feel guilty because he didn't know where I was. He'll always be a liar in my eyes.