Even seven years after he left me, I have come to realize that my ex-husband still takes up residence inside my head. In an attempt to clear him out of there, I'm going to start telling more of my stories. Maybe if I send my stories out into the world, they will get out of my brain.
He loved to pick fights with me. Easily, 75% of our fights were about food. Clearly, they were never REALLY about food, but that's how he chose to express his anger with me.
There was an excuse for why food was such a hot point for him. For most of his childhood, he was raised by his grandmother. She didn't have the financial means to support her children still living at home, as well as the grandchildren she was then responsible for. They were poor. Food was hard to come by. But she was also very frugal and knew how to make every last scrap of food last.
My family didn't have a lot of money, but by comparison, we were definitely not poor. If a little bit of leftovers went to waste, it wasn't the end of the world.
The day that some ground beef went to waste, he started a screaming match with me in the front yard. I'm sure the neighbors loved that!
But easily, the worst fight over food was Thanksgiving, 1999.
Thanksgiving was his favorite holiday, and I always went all out to make it special for my husband. I took charge of the entire meal - except for mashing the potatoes. He enjoyed doing that. We had had a lovely morning, we even took the dog for a long walk between basting times on the turkey. As I finished the cooking, he was downstairs, looking through family photos.
When the potatoes were done boiling, I called down to him that it was time to mash them. He said he would be right up, so I left the water in the pan for him to drain and set them aside.
I was busy. There were a lot of other things to do.
I didn't notice that he didn't come right back up.
When he finally did, the potatoes had gotten cold and a little slimy.
He was PISSED.
He screamed at me about how the potatoes were ruined and it was my fault and I should have drained them. I should have called him again when he didn't come up. He stomped around the kitchen, swearing, yelling, and slamming pots and pans around.
He icily told me, "Thanks for ruining my favorite holiday," and then he got in his truck and left.
I continued to cook as best I could through my tears. I cut up more potatoes and got them boiling. I finished the stuffing - just the way he liked it. I made the gravy. When the potatoes were done, I mashed them myself. They were lumpy, but at least they tasted good.
And then I waited.
He didn't come home for about four hours.
I know now that when he was downstairs, he must have been talking quietly on the phone to his girlfriend, and she convinced him to have Thanksgiving with her instead. He picked a fight with me so he could justify leaving. If it hadn't been the potatoes, it would have been something else.
When he got home, we ate in silence, and I held back tears.
I recently got back from a trip to New York, a five hour drive (from Maine), which was huge for me!
I suffer with agoraphobia, meaning I have a hard time leaving my house for any duration. Five minutes is hard enough, you can imagine how hard A WEEK was for me.
BUT, alas, I DID IT! I successfully left my house for a vacation and managed to have fun!
Not only did I have fun, but so did my son, here is a picture of him playing with his cousins in the sprinkler on one of the hotter days.
He had a ball and I was so happy I overcame this hurdle and was able to experience this with him!
Anxiety and panic disorders are very real and can feel like a noose around your neck, but I promise- with a lot of work and effort, YOU CAN FREE YOURSELF FROM ITS HOLD. It doesn't have to be a life sentence. You can overcome your fears a little at a time. Baby steps, just remember baby steps. Small victories lead to even bigger victories (before this trip, I was only able to be outside of my house for 15 minutes at a time). Don't let yourself be held down by anxiety. Fight for your life back!
Thanks for being there for me, The Band. I don't know where I would be right now without you guys!
Hey guys, I just wanted to share with you how helpful this site and community has been for me. First off, I finally have an outlet for all of the emotional pain and suffering deep down inside. Thank you.
This site has also helped me find the strength inside I never knew I had. I have had to face some horrible things while writing posts on here but I feel so much better afterwards. And the comments, they mean the world to me.
With my new found strength, I have decided to finally follow my dream of becoming a writer. I have a million stories swimming through my head at any given point and I am finally going to do something with them. Thanks to you. I never had the confidence or strength to want to do something with this dream but now I do. I am currently working on two books at the moment and I couldn't be happier. It is stressful and aggravating at times but I am happy! It is finally happening!
So thank you, The Band. From the bottom of my heart.
I have not had an easy road. My mom had a lot of mental health issues that she didn't deal with properly, so I, as an only child, was usually the target of her screaming, anger, and hatred. My father was there mostly as disciplinarian, but at least I felt like he loved me.
As I got into my teens I searched for attention. I was always looking for male companionship to boost my self-esteem. At age 15 I met, dated, and lost my virginity to a jerk that was a year older than I. He was my first boyfriend.
After we broke up, I started being pursued by a guy friend from school. I'd always thought he was fun to be around and he seemed the warm, friendly, protective type. One day he showed up at my house and asked to take me out, but his idea of "taking me out" was to take me to his house where he had been drinking with some friends who were a couple. I guess he was just looking for someone to be his drinking/sex partner for the night. I'm guessing that my ex-boyfriend had done a good job letting others know that I had willingly slept with him.
Sex with this guy was disgusting. He really just wanted oral sex and plied me with beer until I consented. That was my first experience with it, and I was so disgusted. I felt really used when I realized that he didn't really "like" me like I had naively thought. I don't really remember him taking me home. That bad experience got worse when he started spreading rumors around school, claiming I had done more things with him than I actually did.
There was another guy I worked with at a local fast food place, and things were just as bad there. He would alternately flirt with me, and yet urge on a co-worker who was treating me badly. This other guy would grab my chest or shove me around. He seemed really angry, and I was scared of him. I was also afraid to tell my manager, because he was a favorite of hers.
Not long after all of this, I also dated a guy that was 23. I thought an older man would be more mature, instead he was controlling. I ended up breaking it off with him on New Years Eve. I promptly started dating a guy that I'd had a crush on at work. He was 21. And he was a little weird. We dated on and off for a few months. When I broke up with him for good, he started stalking me and mailed me this crazy letter along with all the drawings I had done cut up into little pieces. My mom had to change our phone number because he wouldn't stop calling.
About a month before I turned 17, I was invited by a friend to stay the night at her house. Our plan was to sneak out the window, after her parents were asleep, to go to a party at her boyfriend's uncle's house. This was a small, ramshackle house in a very, very small town out in the country where no cops would interfere with the underage drinking.
I remember sitting by the fire listening to Zeppelin (that probably shows my age), drinking beer and smoking weed. Somewhere along the line the guy that had spread rumors about me showed up. He immediately sought me out. Maybe I sought him out. I'm really not sure. My self-esteem was so low that if anyone was friendly to me I loved the attention in spite of past offenses.
He had brought a bottle of whiskey and I remember adding this to six or seven beers I'd already had. I went into another room and started talking with the older brother of another friend. He was a very nice guy. I'd always wanted to hang out with him, but again, my low self-esteem told me he wouldn't like me. The alcohol told me he did.
Some time later the uncle barged in and accused us of having sex in his house. We weren't, ironically. The guy was always a real sweetheart. I can't blame him for what happened next.
We all went outside. One of my friends was sitting in a chair by the fire. He talked me into sitting in his lap, and I remember drinking some more. I remember kissing him. I also remember him trying to put his hands down my pants and me telling him to stop. I remember trying to pull away his hands.
After that, all I remember is waking up on the wooden floor of the dining room wearing nothing but my t-shirt and some shorts that were too small. I smelled like vomit, so I stumbled to the bathroom and washed my hair.
I had no idea what had happened. I think I was still drunk. I laid down by my friend's boyfriend because I couldn't figure out where anyone else went, and he was like an older brother figure. When he woke up, he asked me if I remembered what had happened. I said, no.
My friend showed up and told me what had happened. Apparently, when she came in the house, she saw me laying there with just a shirt on, so she took her shorts off and put them on me. I kind of put two and two together and so had she. After she found me she freaked out and told her mom that I had been raped and her mom called my parents. My dad was on his way.
To make matters worse, she had also called my crazy ex-boyfriend and he showed up and demanded that I get into his car. It got a little intense, so I decided to just go, because we were making a scene. We drove about a quarter mile away where we fought for a few minutes. When I demanded he take me back to the house, he refused to let me out of the car. My dad pulled up just as I punched the guy as hard as I could.
The ride home in my dad's truck was the longest drive of my life. Total silence. When I got home, my mom left me to take a bath and actually let me go to bed in piece. Any other time she would have delt out punishment in the form of chores, criticism, and lack of sleep. I guess maybe she felt sorry for me. But said something I'll never forget, "Well, that's what happens to girls who sneak out to go to parties." It was just a done deal after that. Life went on. I never forgave her for that.
I had a nightmare of a boyfriend after that who got me pregnant. At age 18, I had my first child. Six months later, I met my husband. It's been a series of ups and downs with him. Fifteen years of drug addiction, two more children, and some domestic violence. I turned to dancing at topless clubs when I was 23 to feed my drug addiction. Working in the bars made me think that I was in control of the men, but it was just a farce. It made me feel more degraded and used. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to overcome that feeling.
In 2000 we moved to a different state. I halfway tried to get my life together, but I couldn't fight the addiction. In 2006, I lost my mom in March, and my dad in May. It was somewhat expected, yet unexpected at the same time. I have always struggled with depression, had attempted suicide once seriously and one half-heartedly, but losing my parents sent me into a downward spiral. I didn't think I'd ever be able to pull out of that one, but I did.
In November 2007 I got on my knees and asked God to forgive me and to help me get clean. As of today, I've been clean six and a half years. I still take anti-depressants off and on, and I struggle with depression and anxiety.
Last year I was diagnosed with Rapid-Cycling Bipolar, Type 2. Fun. Good times man. I'd like to be doing better than ok, but I'm working on it. That is what led me to The Band. I saw an article on Rosa Parks which mentioned a rape trial that she helped defend. In the process of reading about the trial, I realized, not for the first time, that I really need to deal with my past. A Google search for help dealing with date rape brought up this website.
One of the first things I saw mentioned was agoraphobia. Yeah ...I haven't been able to go outside or leave a door unlocked when nobody is home in a very, very long time. At 40 years old, I depend way too much on my kids to do things like call people or go in the store with me. It really sucks, and I'm tired of being a prisoner in my own home. A prisoner of my own making. If I get really depressed I have a space between my bed and the wall that I can lay down in that's nice and dark and secure. My past is affecting me to the point that I'm not enjoying my life anymore.
I've decided to go back to counseling, and I am determined to work on this. It can't get any worse. It has to get better. It has to.