Received 12.3.14 at 12:22 PM: “My $200k will be for me and whom ever I get with!”
Received 12.3.14 at 12:23 PM: “You got your pushisment because I divorced you and I only have nine more month of alimony and then I am done giving you money! Hallelujah!”
I didn’t reply to either of these. I wouldn’t take his phone calls.
Received 12.6.14 at 3:32 PM: “I really do not have to look any father, I will imagine you here. This is Whitney Houston song. You see my memory of you is sweet.”
Received 12.6.14 at 3:33 PM: “I will always love you!”
See that? That, my friends, is what an emotional roller coaster looks like. I rode it for 19 years, 5 months, and 13 days. That’s 7104 days of “I love you” one minute, “I hate I married you” the next.
These came over a year after we were officially divorced.
Expressions of Love and “Not Love”
I thought the going back and forth was normal. That’s the way it had always been. I thought he loved me. Maybe he did. I say that because if I learned nothing else over those years, I learned that people express love in different ways. For the longest time, I thought love was shown through candlelit dinners, lots of flowers and romantic hand-in-hand walks. Those are most definitely beautiful expressions of love, but they’re not the only ones. He would always bring me gummi bears because he knew they made me happy. Then there were the days like the one where he came in and told me I had a flat tire on my truck. See, I know how to change a tire, change my oil and my transmission fluid, so the fact that I had a flat was beside the point. After he told me that, he said down, started watching TV, and mumbled, “If it gets changed, you’ll do it. I’m not doing it.” I changed it. I never said a word. I just changed it.
When I finally decided to get some professional help for my son and myself, we were in bad, bad shape. Toward the end, the counselor told me that I was one of the worst cases he had ever seen. He told me that he had considered handing my case over to his superiors (his direct supervisor AND his supervisor’s supervisor) because he didn’t think he was qualified to help me. I was a complete mess. There was no possible way I could have cared less about my appearance. I was convinced that I was just a worthless as he had told me I was. I was convinced that my degree meant nothing. I was convinced that he had “wasted his money” in paying for my paralegal certification. I was never suicidal, but in truth, the thought of leaving my son was the only thing that made me care about living. I knew he needed me, but in all honesty, there were days when I wondered if he wouldn’t have been better off without me.
Getting Off the Ride, Leaving the Amusement Park
I stopped participating in the emotional ups and downs with my ex years before the marriage actually ended, but there was so much traumatic damage to my mental state that no one would have been able to tell. Matching him word-for-word and deed-for-deed was replaced with a level of detachment that was frightening. I didn’t care about much of anything. I couldn’t. The only thing that got a rise out of me was my son. It took nearly two years, unceasing prayer, and the love and support of my family and friends for the good stuff in and of me to resurface. The really funny part of my nature was released from the cage it had been trapped in. I was also blessed with the support of an amazing man who is not only my lover but my confidant. I don’t know what I would have done without him.
The Restart Button
In so many ways, I’m the same woman I was during those years of abuse, but in many others, I am new. My level of confidence is such that I’m heading back to Dallas alone and unafraid. I can’t really say I’ll be alone because I’m blessed with a circle of girlfriends and family in that area that are untouchable. I’m restarting my life on my own terms. I’m no longer stifled by fear of failing before I start, failing at being a woman or failing at life in general. I’m ready.