next steps

I hate feeling damaged. I hate having to fight back tears and curse words. I hate being afraid all the time.

 

For months I begged him to get help. When he wouldn’t I begged him to just leave me alone. When he wouldn’t do that I filed a restraining order.

He’s made it clear now that he won’t obey it.

The next step is a criminal complaint. I will need to serve him the petition/summons and present my case in court. I don’t know if I have enough evidence or not. I don’t know if I have the strength. 

 

I never did attend counseling. The places that take my insurance have obscenly long waitlists. The places that don’t require insurance are out of my price range. I do need counseling though, to survive seeing him at court. I will need counseling afterwards. I’ve started telling parts of the story online, both here and elsewhere. It’s helped put things in perspective. It’s helped organize my thoughts. It’s helped me recognize how really damaging the whole thing was. And still is.

 

I’ve lived in fear for two years, now why is the only potential solution is just as frightening?

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word clouds

I’ve been making word clouds from some of the emails sent by the man who abused me. It’s absurd, I know, but I needed to be able to laugh at this. And I really needed to re-read and inventory each message so I can track the wax and wane of his psychosis, document specific threats, etc. Unfortunately I deleted some of the most incriminating ones, so I need to seriously consider what can be presented in court. Whether it would make sense to pursue criminal charges.

 

Several times now I have been advised to resume communication with him, just to gather more evidence. Like I want to invite the threats all over again. But since I deleted some of the early ones there may be no other way to prove what’s been going on.

 

I hate this. I hate that I feel angry all the time. And I hate being afraid. I’m tired.

 

 

So here are some pretty word clouds for you:

http://www.wordle.net/show/wrdl/6978778/emails_from_an_abuser

http://www.wordle.net/show/wrdl/6978814/psychotic_rants  

Lost to Bipolar

http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/24/health/change-mind-real-simple/index.html?hpt=hp_bn13

This just about made me cry. And almost made me jump up and down.
 
Someone else gets it!
 
This could be my family.
 
Except when my baby daddy said he could hear the baby talking to him, it was followed immediately by “I don’t like the way she sounds. I think she’s a threat.”   And every time I insisted that an unborn baby talking was a symptom, he insisted that he would take his meds if the voices were in his head. But they’re not. They’re in the baby. Let’s get rid of that baby. And every time I went to the police, they said they couldn’t do anything about it. Every time I tried to leave him, he escalated.
 
And I, too, took way too long to realize that a generally unhealthy relationship was actually part of the paranoia. Not letting me out of his sight. Wanting to see everything and control everything. Hanging on my every word because he thought there was some deeper hidden meaning. I saw it as annoying rather than dangerous. Without even realizing it, I gave into his whims to avoid confrontations. I was walking on eggshells without seeing it for what it was. In hindsight, it was psychosis, abuse.
 
Even when he takes his medication, the symptoms are there, he’s just more careful about not discussing them with doctors or law enforcement. He checks himself out of the hospital every time. The medications are for bipolar, but his symtoms are classic paranoid schizophrenia.
 
 
The responses to this article are intensely split. And in a way so am I. I had the same decision to make, but I know I did what was best for me and my child. Some day I will have to explain to my daughter why daddy’s not around. And I worry, too, that she might have the same illness some day. I struggle to integrate what I know about mental illness – that it’s treatable, that people recover, that it’s not linked to violence – with lived reality – treatment hasn’t worked, he isn’t recovering, he is dangerous.
 
I keep hoping some day he will get better. A new medication, a break through. Court ordered medication compliance. Or one of these days he’ll end up hospitalized, or locked up, or living on the streets. Or maybe he’ll end up making newspaper headlines when he finally does one of the horrible things he talks about.
 
A part of me wants to track this woman down. I  want to hug her, cry with her. I want to know that 12 years from now everything will be okay. That her daughter is safe and happy and loved; and mine will be too. I want her to know she made the right choice. She’s not alone.

 

fear (part two)

Left the office again today because of anxiety. Again because of him.

 

He found out where my parents live and started mailing packages. I begged them not to open it and to call the police. I had protected my family from this drama for so long. I’m still ashamed that I have to admit to my mother that I’m afraid for my child’s life because of some stupid decisions. I never should have gotten involved with an abuser and drug addict. I never should have let things get so out of control. I shouldn’t have just gotten drunk instead of admitting I was afraid and I needed help. But these things happened. I got pregnant because he took advantage of it. He spent most of my savings on drugs.

 

The packages will all be returned, with a note reminding him that he’s breaking a restraining order and can be prosecuted. I can’t even imagine what’s inside. Before I moved he would mail me things like half-eaten granola bars. One time he left a ziplock bag full of body hair on my front porch. He delivered a back pack full of his ex girlfriends sex toys. He has this weird fetish about using household objects to pleasure himself and then offering them to people. He likes knowing that people are unknowingly handling objects that have been up his rear end. I don’t want to have to explain to my mother why she can’t touch something as innocent looking as a ceramic cat. I hate having to explain these things to the police. I hate knowing that some day I will probably have to explain it in family court.

 

I wish I could pay for a lawyer (and a body guard, and a nanny, and a whole bunch of other things.)

 

I’m starting to doubt that seeing a counselor will help at all. Coming to terms with his abuse isn’t going to do anything to make him stop. This needs to stop.

reframing everything

For years I begged him to get help. Drugs and alcohol were his problems that only he could address. Mental illness was his issue, but he wouldn’t take his medication. Suicidal thoughts, criminal behaviors. So much wrong with him, but I was doing just fine.

 

Next week I’ll be starting therapy. All those years of telling him to get help didn’t work. I’ve finally realized that if anything is going to get better, if me and babybot are ever going to be safe or stable have healthy relationships, it’s on me to make that happen.

 

 

I used to work in drug treatment. Where no one ever uses the word “addiction.”   They only talk about “recovery.”  The entire system, doctors, therapists, social workers, residential staff, patients, they all act as if everyone gets better. The whole system revolved around the idea that everyone does. Mental health, disability, medicine. They all work on the principle that things get better, everything will be okay.

 

I guess that’s why I always saw it as a drug problem, not a violence problem. You would never tell an abuse victim that treatment works and the abuser will stop and everything will be fine. I no longer expect him to get treatment and get better. Suddenly I’ve gone from spectator to victim. I’m the one who needs help.

 

A part of me has known that for a while. It was more than I could handle even before there was a baby involved. That’s why I ended up drinking so much that I don’t remember the night I got pregnant. That’s why a month later I walked away from an enviable position at a great agency, and all of the professional and personal networks that went with it. That’s why I spent a week calling domestic violence agencies and begging for advice before I ever even thought about telling him about the pregnancy. But I kept calling them and saying he was abusing drugs, not abusing me, so they wouldn’t help me. I guess only a part of my brain was willing to acknowledge the reality of the situation.

 

It wasn’t until the stress actually started affecting the pregnancy that I finally realized how unsafe I was. I knew I couldn’t expose a baby to all of the conflict, violence, drugs and alcohol. But still the police wouldn’t help me. I begged and begged him to get help. I have him ultrasound pictures thinking he would be more motivated to change if he could visualize the little person depending on him. I gave him books about child birth and parenting so he could prepare himself and be supportive. I asked him to pick the name.

 

But instead he demanded money from me, threatened to throw me down the stairs or push me in front of a bus in order to cause a miscarriage. He insisted the child was a threat to him, that if it was a boy he would need to kill it in order to keep himself safe. If it was a girl, he could punish it, dominate it, break it of its evil ways.

 

When she was born, I was optimistic that he was doing better. Maybe I was just hormonal, but I really thought he would step up and get himself together. Instead he started saying the baby was possessed by demons. He said we should kill her and start over with another one. He talked about killing himself. Sometimes he said the baby wanted him to do it.

 

 

Now he talks about filing for custody.

 

Does that mean he finally feels he’s ready? Would he be willing to ask for help if he started having dangerous thoughts again? Will a judge recognize that he’s dangerous, or will they just talk about “recovery” and assume that he’ll get better, that everything will be okay? I lose sleep wondering if babybot will survive her first visitation with him.