The Ex is Back

What do you do about people in your life who just will NOT disappear?

I have posted before about my ex-husband, the low-life scumbag that he is. I tried to be rather flippant about the whole thing, put a humerous spin on the relationship, but as he has recently discovered this blog and has taken it upon himself to inundate it with viscious comments I am left with no choice but to bring the claws out. You asked for it.

I haven’t been posting a lot in the last several months. Things have been busy, life has been good, and as is par for the course for my creative outlets, I have been painting much more. My emotional outlet has been better served on the canvas rather than the server.

But he changed that.

Comments were posted in his usual manipulative, nasty style. He somehow found my blog and seemed an eeeeety beeeety upset about my post about him. Honestly, there wasn’t a thing in there that wasn’t 100% true. Guess the truth hurts, eh, Bart?

Here are the parts I didn’t tell you, Dear Reader.

I spent the better part of 8 years being manipulated and abused in some form. He took every hurtful thing that’s ever happened to me in my life, every trigger that he could find, and locked it in his vault. Then, when it suited his purpose he pulled them out and used them in ways that would make Ghengis Khan cringe. He used the fact that he had hurtful things happen in his own life and leveraged them in ways that made me feel sorry for him, put me in the category of ‘just another person in his life that hurt him’ so that I would bend and go against my better judgement. I sacrificed my own needs for his. I lost myself in his total manipulation and was bent so far off my axis by the end of the relationship I didn’t even recognize myself anymore.

I’m not saying there weren’t things for which I wasn’t culpable. I played my own part. I’m sure I had my moments and caused my own share of fights. But nothing – nothing – warrants being physically or emotionally abused by anyone. EVER.

People often ask, “Why didn’t you just leave if it was that bad?” Anyone who has been in an abusive relationship can shake their heads with me. If only it were that easy…

Want to know the night that broke me?

Let me preface this story by saying – I hate it. It’s such an Oprah redneck cliche story it makes me ill that I was even a part of it. It’s SO not me… But it happened to me and, because of that, it’s important to share.

He had me stuck in this farmhouse in the middle of a cornfield in Indiana. I was so completely isolated from everyone but his own family and friends I literally had NO ONE. My parents were far away, out of state. He had phased out all of my friends over the years and had allowed only his family and friends to be a part of my life by this point. I gave in eventually because it wasn’t worth the fight…as was the case with most things regarding him. If I wanted to go out without him there was so much whining & bitching it was easier to avoid it than stand my ground.

The weird part is that I’m a really strong, willful person. I’m fiercely independent & to this day it baffles me how I ended up with a person who could do what he did. I think it happens gradually and, before you know it, you’re too far in it to get out… Your sense of self dies & you question everything inside.

About six months prior to The Night I had gotten a computer and the internet. I found a world to connect to, finally. I had people who cared about me, who listened, who supported. I had people he didn’t know. I started to feel the spark of life flicker and burn and was slowly regaining my inner strength. He sensed this and ramped-up his manipulation. The desperation became apparent and grew on a daily basis. He hated the computer, hated me being on it, was suspicious of everything and everyone. He knew it was a lifeline and the threat was real. He sensed his hold breaking.

One night I was online chatting. He was drinking and smoking in the adjoining room. He started to bitch & moan for me to get off the computer. Started to get angry. I refused and he grew angrier. The fight escalated within seconds and before I knew it I was pinned on the couch, his knees on my shoulders and his hands around my throat. I couldn’t breathe. My forearms were throbbing from where he had grabbed me and threw me down. Seconds later a shotgun appeared. He pointed it at me, then pointed it at the computer, then back at me. All the while he was screaming at me, wild-eyed. I was calm; I didn’t fight back. I remember thinking, “This is finally it. This is the night he’s going to kill me.”

I’m not sure what broke the fight up but he tore-off in his truck and I sat on the couch, gulping air, shaking, thankful. Before he left he was voicing threats to end his own life and I remember, for the first time, having absolutely no reaction to it. It was old hat, the same old story. It had no effect. I had worked for a counseling agency and knew of a law in Indiana of a mandatory 72-hour detention rule if someone threatens to kill themselves. I called the police, told them of his suicide talk. Although I could have pressed assault charges on him, I didn’t. All I wanted was for him to get help. For him to be away. Within the hour the police were at the door, taking him away to be treated. I had three days and, even then, I didn’t pack up and leave.

But the thread had been broken. The next morning I got up and, after my shower, stood in front of the mirror. I saw the two bruises on each of my forearms, the perfect shape of his hands, and I remember feeling dead inside and relieved that he wouldn’t be back that day. There was a quiet fire starting to burn and it was on that day that I knew: I’m finally ready.

Within the month I started to devise my plan. I saw a lawyer, filed for divorce. My lawyer, knowing the situation, held all records until the day I left, even checked with me to make sure I was well out of town before he filed & delivered anything to Bart. I bought concert tickets to one of his favorite artists – 4 of them, a pair for us, a pair for our friends. We planned a night out in Indianapolis, 1 1/2 hours away. I had a transfer set within my current job to another store in Texas. If everything went as planned I would have at least 6 hours to get out of the house. He was quite the agoraphobe, so I knew it was going to be dicey to even get him to go to the concert but I laid my plan out to the Universe and hoped that God would keep everything on track.

He did.

I faked a “work emergency” at the last minute and urged him to go without me. He was hesitant. I think some part of him knew, but he went anyway. Meanwhile, earlier that day a small U-Haul had been rented and my car taken to a local service shop to have a hitch put on. My parents flew in; my brother stood by, waiting for my call that I was on my way to his house where they all waited, as scared as me. He stopped by work that night to check-in before leaving for the concert and I prayed he wouldn’t see the U-Haul parked behind the store. When he walked away I felt nothing.

Within 30 minutes I was on my way to my former home. I loaded only what I needed and left most things behind. I didn’t care, didn’t want any reminders of our life together. I left the box with my wedding dress in the closet.

Somehow his Mom caught wind. I don’t know if she was driving by or what but she saw my car with the trailer and stopped while I was loading. She pleaded with me not to leave in that way but there was nothing she could say to dissuage me. She knew what he had done to me, knew why I was finally leaving. When I told her the story of the night that brought it all to a culmination she looked shocked, but outwardly protected her boy who could do no wrong. But she knew. It was hard. I loved his family as my own and I hated hurting them. But I wasn’t going to sacrifice myself any longer.

I broken-heartedly said goodbye to my beloved cocker spaniel, Rusty, laid $1000 cash on the counter (even in leaving I still had the instinct to continue to support him…so sad) and drove away. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done but I still remember the feeling as I drove down the road away from that farmhouse, the intangible push behind me that spurned me on and could almost feel the weight lift as I got further and further away.

God bless my family for putting up with him through all of this. He was relentless in his phone calls. He called every member of my family, nearly every minute, over and over and over, even my elderly grandparents. They all knew what was happening and they all knew not to tell him a thing. They protected me, supported me. I think they wanted me away from him just as much as I wanted to be away from him and were ready to do anything it took to make it happen right along side me. By the time he figured out what had happened I was three states away.

It took months for the fear to subside. No…wait. Correct that. The fear still hasn’t subsided. There are remnants of him, of what he did to me, in every relationship I have had since. That fear that a person can turn on you on a dime. That they can hurt you, with their words and with their hands. There is also the fear that he will show up one day and follow-through on his threats from years before. I have a daughter to protect and, even now, when he starts with his ugliness the flight response kicks in and I fear I’ll come home one day to him waiting on me. Thankfully, I no longer live alone and have nothing to fear if he does – but it’s still there, lurking.

He always seems to find a way to worm a form of contact back in. It was years between the last contact (when he threatened to kill me and my unborn child, “I will put you both in the ditch!”) and the most recent. I picked up the phone one day and his voice was on the other end. My blood ran cold but I stayed calm. We talked for quite awhile and it was actually a nice conversation. I felt like we had put things behind us, that the years might have healed something. I answered questions, he answered questions. I thought the chapter closed. But then he started calling. He called early one morning a few days later while M and I were waking up. He called a few more times and I just shut the phone off. Again. As I have done no less than 3 times prior to that over the years.

A few months later he found my Facebook page and sent a message. In typical Bart fashion he was set off and it got ugly. I had to report the abuse and block him from my page. And now, once again, he has found this outlet and has tried to comment with ugly, horrible sentences meant to manipulate and sear me to the bone. I can hear his voice, see his eyes. I’ll never forget it.

The saddest part is that he still doesn’t get it. He is so used to playing the martyr that he has no concept of what an ugly person he has spent his life being – at least to me. I don’t understand it. I don’t understand why, nine years later, he can’t leave me alone. Why he feels a need to search for me, to seek me out and continue to hurt me. Why can’t he just let me go? How can taking steps to hurt a person for almost SEVENTEEN YEARS be satisfying?

Bart, why can’t you just let me go?

I will say this. Everything that I’ve gone through because of him has shaped me into who I am today. I have done things I’m not proud of. I have taken paths I probably wouldn’t have taken. But in the end I don’t regret a thing, because I am who I am today because of all of those experiences. I have grown and have changed. I found myself and found a strength in me I never knew I had. And the best thing is – I never lost it. Now, I know how to say NO. I know how to stand up and end behaviors from other people that hurt me. I know the warning signs. I know what to look for. I know how to be an advocate for other women who have gone through what I’ve gone through and I know how to support them while they are still going through it. I know how to stand beside them and not give up on them.

I hope that someday he can finally see. I try very hard not to give him any of my energy but today I decided I was going to expend just a little. He won’t silence me. I won’t let fear keep me from doing anything I want to do, especially where he is involved. Will I regret posting this? Maybe. Will it disappear some time after today? Maybe. But it feels good today to say it.

I get that it’s probably hard to read about yourself in a public forum but, you know what? You got off easy, Bart. I could have had you jailed. I could have left you with nothing, but instead I decided to sever the tie and leave before either one of us died. I had the strength to do this where you did not – where you still do not. I always had the strength. You were the weak one. Always were, always will be. I talk about you here because it helps me deal with the damage inside me that you left behind – and I HAVE THAT RIGHT. I speak up for all women who have suffered violence at the hands of a man. And remember: I, so far, have not published your full name and city, so just remember, if you continue to harass me I WILL and I will use my very large online social network to broadcast it to the ends of the Earth. Leave it alone, Pal. And I still have pictures. 😉

He will never be mentioned here again. I will never put any energy into the Universe where he is concerned. His black soul might continue but I won’t allow him to invade mine any longer.

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~ by cinderellawasdelusional on March 4, 2010.

7 Responses to “The Ex is Back”

  1. Good on you chickadee… excellent post and to hell with Bart. Don’t delete this because your words could help someone else who happens across your blog in the same situation. And that’s important… kudos to you for getting out and walking away, getting on with the business of living. I hope God continues to watch over you and keep you safe from the likes of your ex and others just like him.

    Warm regards,
    C

  2. You’re my hero.

  3. Unreal. Sounds similar to my Ex. You did the right thing, and the fact that he can’t seem to stop looking you up online shows that he is a sad little man. I mean, MOVE ON. This door is closed, buddy. But hey, most abusers can’t understand this line of thinking. He thinks that you NEED him. Ha! And, since you’ve proven that you don’t, he’s wallowing in self pity. The only control he feels he has over you is the harassment online. Pathetic. You are so awesome. Strength will continue to guide you though all of this. If you ever need me, I am here for you.

  4. same here my husband of 9 years wont get it hes a cheater and he is abusive ive chosen that it is over and he just wont leave i will have to up root my children when he could simply move out why should i give up my house i wish he would of left with his mistress its a long story

  5. Alicia,

    First off, I wanted to let you know that I hear you. I hear the struggle & the pain and I know where you are. It’s a very hard, hard place to be. Good for you for making up your mind that it’s over and to move on!

    Make the choice to no longer be the victim. Make the choice to change your life forever and then do whatever you have to do to make it so. If he won’t leave then YOU leave. Take your children and GO. Kids are resilient; they will be much better off with a happy & safe Mom than in a house filled with stress, unhappiness and danger.

    I can’t tell you how many times I have heard of situations just like these where it went very, very bad. I don’t want to hear of that happening to you. We think, “Oh, he’ll never go THAT far,” and then they snap. People tend to do pretty crazy things when they feel like they’re losing control – especially if it’s a PERSON they’re controlling…as evidenced by my story. I don’t mean to be an alarmist, but I’ve been there, I’ve lived it and I know.

    I’d like you to keep in touch if you’re willing. I’d be happy to email with you if you need a sounding board or advice. Just drop me a line at cinderellawasdelusional [at] gmail.com.

    Stay strong. It WILL get better. I promise.

  6. I don’t know if I have ever seen your art, but there is such power and passion in what you have to say that I hope it is reflected in your work…I see the pain of your past as kindling for a blazing future. I commend your courage and sincerely hope that it will provide encouragement to others.

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