Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I Finally Left

Over the next few months at my new job I developed some great friendships. I’m still good friends with two people to this day. Well one passed away a few months ago, but she’d been a true friend until the end.

It was the middle of July 2001 and the company was having a party at the local bar. They offered food, beverages and a band. I wanted to go. The ex didn’t like the idea, but he agreed as long as I promised to be home at 10pm. I figured no problem.

I arrived home at 10:15 that night and he came running outside as I exited the car screaming and yelling about me being late. Two of his friends were sitting in their car waiting for me to come home so they could all go out.

As I always did I apologized profusely and prayed it would end quickly. Lucky for me it did. He wanted to go out with his friends more than he wanted to fight with me.

The next day was totally different. The arguing started almost immediately when he woke. I remember fearing for my life that day. Something about the look in his eyes told me this argument was different. Maybe because I was changing. I wasn’t being the obedient wife…I was spending more time with friends and wanting to go out more. It could’ve been fear in his eyes that I was slipping away. Either way I was deathly afraid.

We lived on the second floor of a two-story house. At the top of the stairs we had a large landing and we kept our shoes there because we didn’t wear them in the house. I maneuvered my way closer to the front door. Like I said I was afraid for my life.

The kids were in the house, but he wasn’t focusing on them. It was me he wanted blood from. Somehow I managed to get to the front door and open it. I ran down the stairs. He was throwing shoes at me and telling me I was going to pay. I ran out into the street.

My oldest was looking out the window and I asked him to bring me some shoes. He did. I told him to stay with me. The chances of the ex hurting the girls was slim. I wasn’t worried about them at the time. My son was a totally different situation.

We walked around for a bit until I could think straight. We went to the local gas station and I called home. I told the ex I wanted my pocketbook and car keys. He laughed and told me there was no way. I in turn told him I’d call the police and bring them home with me and get the car.

He agreed. He had the girls bring them down to me. I ushered the three kids into the car and I drove away. I knew in that moment I’d never go back to him again. I didn’t have more than $700 in the secret savings account, but I had a good job, a car and my children…nothing else mattered.

Leaving was the easy part…getting my apartment back wouldn’t be so easy.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Little Blessings in Disguise

I couldn’t just leave. It took me four months to regain my strength and return to work after being in the hospital. My job did me a favor…one I couldn’t see at the time. I’d been out of work just over four months and NY State law requires an employer to keep a job available for someone who is out on disability, but they are not required to keep the job you held when you left.

When I went back to work I thought I was returning to my accounting position. I loved my job. I’m great with numbers and it was a field I knew I exceled at. To say I was pissed and hurt when they put me in a reception position would be an understatement. Turns out it was a blessing in disguise.

For the next few months I sat out at the desk greeting the occasional guest. I’d be lucky if I saw one or two people a day. I worked for a bank at the time, but I worked in the back offices. The job was so boring even the VP of Human Resources would bring me out her magazines when she was done. I did utilize my time with writing. I could write two or three stories a week for Modern Romance, True Confession and True Romance.

My income from writing began to pick up. A few years prior to this I’d opened a post office box because I had a magazine that I published at the time. So I started having my contracts and checks delivered to the PO Box. I opened a secret savings account and deposited money in there every chance I got. I had twenty dollars direct deposited from my paycheck every week too. Even though the ex demanded all my money he didn’t request my pay stub…something that saved me.

Around April 2001 I really had enough of the boring job. Even with the given time to write it wasn’t enough. I needed more. My cousin had just landed a job with an up and coming telecommunications company. She told me I could make a ton of money if I wanted a job. I went on an interview and got an offer. The also offered me 10k more than I was making at the time. This excited me. So after five years at the bank I left.

Within weeks of landing the job I’d refinanced my car loan to a much lower rate…the ex had ruined our credit. The car was now in my name alone; another blessing. We were a one car family. Things were looking up.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about the day I finally left.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Breaking Point

I’m sure you’re wondering what was the breaking point. I’d been beaten, abused and tortured for almost thirteen years when I was diagnosed with Crohns Disease. It was the spring of 2000; I was 31 at the time. It hit me hard. So hard it landed me in the hospital for 22 days. During this time my ex called me and harassed me for a minimum of five hours a day. Family who came to visit me couldn’t believe how much he harassed me. I know most would ask why I stayed on the phone and took the abuse. He was threatening me I’d never see my kids again. I couldn’t come home to my house, all because I was sick and in the hospital.

I had three children the youngest being two and a half. He brought my children to see me exactly three times while I was in the hospital. The older ones were ten and twelve and couldn’t understand what was going on. Where was mom and why couldn’t they visit me.

It was the 19th day of my stay when my doctor walked in and I remember him looking down on me. My body was frail from not eating much in the last few weeks. I’d had five blood transfusions at this point and they were finally giving me real food.

He’s words still echo in my head to this day…”Your marriage is killing you. If you don’t get out, you’re going to die.”

Why did it take those words for me to finally get it? I can’t say. What I can tell you is this was the turning point for me.

When I went home a few days later, I was lying on the couch and my daughter crawled onto the couch with me. She’d missed me terribly. She only wanted to cuddle with her mommy. The ex screamed at her to get off the couch before she caught what I had. It’s not contagious. He was a true f’ing jerk.

Monday I’ll talk about how I put my plan in motion to leave.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Beaten to a Pulp

One of the worst beatings still haunts me to this day. It was a few days before my birthday. My sister in law wanted to celebrate my birthday, along with two other friends of hers. Our birthdays were the fifth, sixth and seventh. So anyway, we went out drinking and had a great time.

When I got dropped off it was about three in the morning. I climbed the stairs to the second floor apartment and tried to open the door. It was locked. My key didn’t work. What I later found out is he used the skeleton key near the doorknob and locked the other lock.

I knocked and knocked but no one answered the door. Eventually l sat on the floor and leaned against the door and fell asleep. I was woken by him opening the door and screaming bloody murder at me. I tried to defend my actions but he just started swinging.

He punched and punched. I was now in a fetal position on the floor with my hands over my head trying to protect myself from the horrendous blows. I’m not sure how long he continued to hit me and I’ll be honest, it was probably a good thing that I’d had a lot to drink that night.

Again I fled when the opportunity presented itself. I ran as fast as my legs would carry me. I had to escape. Somewhere along the way he found me. He didn’t threaten. He told me to get to in the car and he’d drive me to my mother’s house where my son had been spending the night.

I took the ride and showed up on my mother’s doorstep at five in the morning. Her husband let me in and I crawled into bed next to my little boy and fell asleep.

The next morning I woke up and the first thing I did was look in the mirror. My first reaction was to cry. I cried and cried. The horrific sight of my reflection looking back at me broke my heart. I looked like a raccoon. I had two black eyes; my ears were bruised so bad they were black. I’d never known ears could bruise the way mine had. I couldn’t imagine my husband had done this to me. This was the first time he’d shown the world the monster he was.

I’m sure most of you are asking if this was the point I finally left. Nope. It wasn’t my breaking point. Later that day I asked my mother to drive me home and guess what…she did.

No one took pictures of my face (something I totally regret), no one called the police and worse, someone allowed me to go back to the person who did this to me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Running from a Maniac

I’ve done some crazy things to get away from my ex when we fought.

Back in early 1990 we were having a few drinks on a winter Friday night with his brother and his brother’s girlfriend. Because we had children we couldn’t go out much, so we spent a lot of weekend nights drinking at home and playing board games. This night we were playing Pictionary and things turned heated.

I have this habit of being brutally honest when I’m drunk. So when the ex started in on me about not being able to draw well I got defensive. He gave me the look…the one that warned me not to step over any lines. But I did.

Before long I found myself telling his brother’s girlfriend that is her guy was anything like my ex she’d better get out now. I went on and on how he was just like his father and took pleasure in abusing his wife.

I remember the look of shock on everyone’s face, but I didn’t care. Eventually he’d had enough and threatened me. He told his brother they had to leave. Everyone knew what that meant. He was going to take care of his wife and her big mouth. While they were out on the front porch saying good-bye I was running for the back door. I realized I’d pushed too far and I was about to get my ass kicked.

Doing the only thing I could do; I ran. I didn’t have any shoes or a coat on. It didn’t matter. I had to get out of there as fast as I could. Here’s where the crazy part came in. I jumped the fence to the yard next door. The neighbors had two Doberman pinchers who didn’t like people, but I had more fear of my ex than the dogs. Someone was looking out for me because the dogs weren’t in the yard…they were always in the yard. Not that night.

I hopped two more fences until I came to the sidewalk and started running. My socks were soaked from the snow on the ground and my arms were freezing. I didn’t care. I planned to run to my mother’s house. She lived about eight miles from my home. It was almost midnight at this point. I knew I had to find safety.

While I was running my ex jumped in the car and started searching for me. He eventually found me and much to my surprise he didn’t beat the crap out of me. He’d pulled my hair and squeezed my cheeks and told me I’d never get away from him.

“You’ll never get away from me alive,” he’d said. I believed him.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Let Me Show You My Evil

Sorry about not posting on Friday. My day job seems to be taking over my life. I feel like I have no time for anything else.

My ex sometimes showed his evil side. Sometimes because he couldn’t control himself and sometimes because I forced it. Let me explain.

One day we were fighting. He’d pulled my hair, slapped me and kicked me in the thigh. I’d had enough and took off down the stairs and out front. I figured if I was outside he’d keep his temper in check. This time I was wrong. There was a corner grocery store next door to our house and the son of the owner was standing outside on the warm summer day.

As I stood outside trying to catch my breath and gather my wits about me Tommy waved. I waved back and forced a weak smile. I wasn’t sure if he knew that the ex was abusive, but he was always kind to me.

This day my ex came flying down the stairs shortly after me and charged me. By now Tommy had returned to the store. I did the one thing I figured would make me safe, I ran for the store. No witnesses was the ex’s motto. As I neared the store he grabbed me by the back of the shirt and tried to pull me back to the house. I fell to the ground, but tore out of his grip and jumped to my feet. He grabbed me again and I struggled. He got his hand on my necklace. As I did my best to pull away the chain snapped and I managed to run into the store.

I felt safe as I stood in front of the counter. My ex came in and said, “You better get home now.”

I saw the hatred in his eyes. I knew if I followed him I was screwed.

I told him I’d be there in a minute, knowing damn well that wasn’t going to happen.

The ex left because I think he realized Tommy had witnessed most of what took place. Once he was gone Tommy came around the counter and gathered me in his arms. I shook more because I was afraid of the ex seeing another man touching me. While I was thankful for the comfort, because not many showed me the kindness Tommy had at the time, I knew the ex would blow a gasket if he seen it.

Tommy talked me off the ledge that day and I stayed at the store for over an hour. The ex didn’t come looking for me and in all honesty he never showed jealousy toward Tommy. I’m not sure why because Tommy was a really nice guy. I liked him as a friend and nothing more.

A few weeks after the necklace incident Tommy kissed me. I’ll admit it was a nice kiss, but I looked to him more like a brother than a potential lover. When I explained this to him, he continued to be my friend, though he also continued to persuade me to consider more.

Eventually, tommy’s father sold the store and moved away. I lost a good friend.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Broken Window

When something important was supposed to take place it seemed my ex had to ruin it. It was October 1999 and I was scheduled to take the state exam. I’d been on the waiting list for a few years and was excited. Doing well meant I might get offered a job and be able to better myself and my family.

The test was on a Saturday morning, so the sh*t hit the fan on Friday night. I’m not sure why, but he hated the idea of me doing good or bettering myself. We fought like we always did. You’ll hear this a lot, but I can’t remember what we fought about. It just never stuck in my mind. My other thoughts were getting the fight over without being hit or tortured in any way.

This night he decided to leave most likely to go some pot and calm down. While he was out he was drinking in my car. So here he is driving around, pissed off for god only knows why and drinking. He went to throw his beer bottle out the window (yes, I know a litterer). The window wasn’t down and the beer bottle shattered the window.

Now I’m home with three children trying to get some sleep for the big test the next day. He came home and started the fighting all over again. The window shattering was MY fault. If it weren’t for ME he wouldn’t have broken the window. Yeah okay.

So the fighting started over again. Here I am in our sun room and he’s screaming, yelling and smacking me. The fighting continued until four in the morning. I didn’t let him defeat me. I got up the next morning, put plastic on my passenger’s side window and drove to the test. I was exhausted, stressed and beyond defeated, or so I thought. I took the test and did well.

Even though he didn’t want me to go, I still did. Beaten down emotionally or physically wouldn’t stop me. I was determined to live and be better for my kids.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

No, I Don't Want to Go!

My ex liked to show others a different side to him. He had to be flamboyant at times. It drove me nuts because I knew the real him.

Take for instance our fifth anniversary. I worked at a bank at the time and had a good friend Lisa. We had planned to go to lunch one afternoon. I was looking forward to this lunch because back then we didn’t have a lot of money and going out was a treat.

As we walked downstairs into the lobby the ex came waltzing in with an arm load of roses. My first reaction was, what the f*ck is he doing here. He was ruining my plans. I wanted to go to lunch with my friend. Mind you I didn’t say a word out loud. That would’ve been too dangerous.

Lisa looked at me and said, “Surprise!”

Most women would’ve been surprised in a nice way…I was pissed.

Much to my dismay I went outside with him and there awaited a white limo. We drove around the block to a nice restaurant and had a civil lunch. He gave me 15 roses, 5 different colors. Was it nice? Yes. But you had to understand he didn’t do all that for me. He did it to impress someone else. Namely Lisa. See this was shortly after the fight where my face was bruised and I blamed the toddler. So he had to prove he was a great guy.

The problem for me was the bad outweighed the good.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Get Away From Me!

Yesterday I talked about the time I stood up to my ex with a knife. There was another time when in a panic I did something out of my nature.

We’d just moved into a new apartment and were getting ready for the birth of our daughter. I was eight months pregnant at the time. We’d set up the kids room and he was busy putting together a book case. Now mind you, I learned shortly after this if I wanted something put together I’d better do it myself. He didn’t have the patience and everyone paid for his inability to put things together.

My son was with my mother because we had a lot of unpacking to do and with a small one running around it made it difficult.

So the ex was cursing and throwing things around. I decided I couldn’t take it anymore and I was going to go to my mother’s house. I didn’t want to become the punching bag when things got worse and they were gonna get worse.

I stupidly told him what I was going to do as I walked out the door. I managed to get into the car and put my seat belt on before he flew out of the house. He opened the passenger side door and started pulling on my arm, screaming for me to get back into the house and help him. What he out of his f%ing mind? I wasn’t crazy enough to subject myself to anymore of his temper tantrum.

He continued pulling on my arm and I fought him off. He demanded I get out of the car, but I refused. He kept pulling and pulling…finally I had enough. I sucker punched him in the nose. Stunned, he backed away and got out of the car. I’m sure he was coming over to the driver’s side to rip me out. I put the car in gear and sped off. The door closed as I drove off. It wasn’t fully closed, but I wasn’t taking any chances by pulling over until I was far enough away from the apartment.

I’m not sure what gave me the strength to do that, most likely the safety of my unborn child. I just wish I’d gotten out then and never went back. Instead in stuck around for over ten more years.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Knife in Hand

First it’s National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day and I’d like to send loving thoughts to my son Connor who we lost when he was only six days old.

Now, on to the day I turned the tables on my ex. We’d been dating about a year and were at a party with a bunch of friends. I didn’t know the person whose house it was we were at, but I knew most of the people there. We were drinking, a little too much on my part. The ex and I were in the kitchen and he was threatening me with violence over jealousy about me talking to one of our male friends.

I remember the kitchen was a disaster. It looked like the residents hadn’t washed dishes in a week or so. I was trying to tune out my ex because frankly I’d grown tired of being told I couldn’t talk to the opposite sex. Though deep down I also knew he had the potential to hurt me if I wasn’t cautious.

He grabbed my face and squeezed my cheeks so the inside was grinding against my teeth causing some cuts. He released me and raised his fist. In a moment of panic I saw a large butcher knife sitting next to him. I picked it up and pointed it at him. I looked him in the eyes and said, “If you dare touch me again I’ll stab you.”

Now had I really done it, the likelihood of me getting off for battered wife syndrome was small. Police and society didn’t believe in it yet.

Another friend of ours walked in when I had the knife in my hand. He was closer to the ex, but he graciously backed out and left. I was embarrassed to say the least when I went back into the living room, but hey, he didn’t see my ex hurting me. I guess I looked like the pyscho. I don’t care. Looking back I wish I stuck up for myself more.

Friday, October 12, 2012

My MIL is Abusive Too!

My former mother in law didn’t like me when we first met. I wasn’t good enough for her son. It’s laughable now as I look back and think – HE wasn’t good enough for me. She grew to love me and told me after we divorced I was the best thing that happened to him. Whatever.

When she learned her son was abusing me, she would often tell me, he doesn’t mean it. He doesn’t know better. He’s a good man. One time when I had a black eye and threatened to call the police she begged me not too. I looked at her and asked her if it were her granddaughter, (who was her world) with the black eye would she want me to protect her abuser.

She ignored me and went on to tell me why I couldn’t have her son arrested. She told me no man would ever want me. I was overweight and a mother of three. “Who is going to want you?” Those were her words.

The sad thing about those words was I believed her. It was during a time when blended families weren’t the norm. Her son had told me how fat, ugly and useless I was for so long that it’s how I looked at myself.  

There are two things I should point out – my ex and mother in-law are Korean. They have a different outlook on relationships then I do. They believe the woman should serve her man. I’ve told my children that men and women can do each other’s jobs and that they should not wait on a man or woman hand and foot – unless they want to and it’s being appreciated. The other is she was abused.

She never left him and after almost 50 years they’re still together. Me on the other hand, I find the world outside my marriage is a much nicer place.

Monday I’ll tell you about the time I turned the tables on him…and threatened him with a knive.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Abuse Continues - My excuses

As I said in earlier posts…my ex was good at hiding my bruises – most of the time. There was a time when I was working at a bank. It was another day, another fight. This time when he hit me, he got me twice in the face.  I had a bruise just below my eye and on my jaw. They weren’t huge bruises and I didn’t look like I had a black eye. These were easy to pass off as an accident.

My good friend Lisa didn’t ask me for most of the day. It was sometime just before lunch when she finally asked me what happened. I had a great excuse. I told her my baby daughter hit me with the remote. She was 18 months at the time so it was believable. I just wish Lisa knew the signs of abuse. She’d lived in a functional family life and a fairy tale marriage. Looking back I think she couldn’t fathom someone being abused. That’s not to say it’s her fault. She’d always been a great friend. The blame here lies only with one person – my ex.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about how the emotional abuse came from not only my ex, but his mother too.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hit with a Broom Stick

Most of the time my ex was good at bruising me where it wasn’t obvious. He’d squeeze my cheeks so the inside of my mouth was cut. He’d hit me in the upper arms or legs, places where clothes would hide the evidence.

There was one time when he was pissed off at me, for god only knows what, and he’s chasing me around the house. I run into our daughter Lexi’s room and climb on the bed. I try to get as close to the back wall as I can, hoping to make it difficult for him to hit me too hard. This time he has a broom with him.

His first swing is against the bed post. She had a canopy bed so he swung it high. The broom stick breaks in half, so he drops the broom and picks up the broken piece. I’m crying and begging him to stop the craziness.

I don’t remember much of what he’s screaming at me about. It always started off with one thing and led to another. The man could dredge up just about anything. He had a way to manipulate you to believe something was black even if it was white. I swear there were times when I thought I was crazy.

So there I was huddled on the bed crying and begging for him not to hit me with the broom stick.

Crack! The broom slams against my ankle. The pain is the most excruciating I’d ever felt in my life. I thought for sure my ankle was broken.  I bellowed the most horrible, terrifying scream. This got his attention. He didn’t ask if I was alright, but he left the room.

I stayed on the bed rocking back and forth holding my ankle crying in agony. I stayed like that until some of the pain subsided. Eventually I attempted to walk on it. It hurt. It hurt like hell. At this point it was swollen and an ugly green color.

I put ice on the ankle and stayed off it as much as I could, but being a mother of three at the time, it wasn’t that easy. It was a Sunday, so the next day I had to go to work. Putting on a shoe was difficult.

People asked what happened and I told them I fell down the stairs. Who would’ve thought that a busted up ankle would be anything more. If only they knew the truth.

My ex did a lot to me over the years, but the broom stick thing still gives me chills.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

No Men Allowed

When I met my ex I had a few men who were good friends. One was my best friend. We’d never dated, but he was awesome. Carmen and I hung out, usually in a group setting. Our friendship was nothing to be jealous of. We didn’t flirt with each other nor were we touchy feely.

I asked Carmen to be my son’s godfather.

One day Carmen showed up on my doorstep. The shades were drawn and the house relatively dark, because my son was napping. The ex peeked out the window and warned me not to answer the door. I was baffled. Why couldn’t I answer the door to my best friend? Well, simply put, my ex didn’t want me to be friends with him any longer. To say I was disappointed and confused is an understatement.

I went upstairs to get away from him because I was pissed. Eventually Carmen left, knowing I was inside, but not knowing why I ignored him.

I was in my room when the ex, came in and grabbed me by the hair. He pulled me down on the bed and started ripping off my clothes. He kept saying things like you want him to F*ck you? I’ll give you want you want. I begged him to stop. I didn’t want to have sex with him. I was mad at this man. He didn’t care. He took what he wanted, roughly. He’d slapped me a few times, continued to pull my hair and raped me.

This was only a glimpse to what I would endure. Had I known it was only the beginning. You see, I was a twenty year old girl with a small baby. I lived on my own and really was insecure. He fed off that insecurity. He knew how to strip away my self-esteem.

BTW, Carmen never stood up to be my son’s godfather. My ex wouldn’t allow it.

I know what you’re thinking. How did I stay? I was a different person back then. I’d never allow it now.

Tomorrow I’ll share yet another day of violence.

Monday, October 8, 2012

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Last night I had a dream – a very frightening dream. It dredged up old memories of a life I wish I could forget. You see I lived in an abusive marriage for almost fifteen years. My ex-husband didn’t think twice about smacking me in the face, making me huddle in a corner fearing for my life or belittling me to make me feel terrible about myself.

The dream last night I was in the mall with my mom, daughter and a few others. I was riding the escalator when my ex came down the other side and grabbed me by the throat. Through clenched teeth he told me, I’d never get away.

Ten years ago I’d shake from a scene like that. It wasn’t an uncommon scenario for him. He often told me I’d never make it out alive if considered leaving him.

I managed to get away from him on the escalator and tried dialing 911 on my cell phone. Every time I pushed a button is was the wrong one. No matter how much I tried I couldn’t dial 9-1-1. How scary, right?

A security guard showed up and I begged her to call the Providence police. She said she would. I explained to her that he drove three hours to “get” me.

I’m not sure what happened after that, because I don’t remember any more of the dream.

Here’s the thing. He hasn’t haunted my dreams in at least six years. I don’t fear him now. I learned how to stand up to him and realized he’s a coward who can only take advantage of helpless people – women and children. While he never laid a hand on our kids he did verbally abuse them.

There can be a light at the end of the tunnel for those in an abusive relationship. This month I’m dedicating my blog to showcasing the terror I lived through and survived. I’m now in a happy and healthy relationship. If I can help one woman escape it would make me a very happy woman.

If you’re in an abusive relationship and want to talk please do not hesitate to email me at: tinamoreilly@gmail.com. I will listen to anyone.