Life After Loss: The Mind of the Abused

The scene on the evening of 11/05/2013

The scene on the evening of 11/05/2013

One year ago today I was sitting in this exact same chair, in this exact same room, with a bag of ice on my neck and shoulder. I was staring down at the darkening bruises while looking at my “prize” for the night. Still sitting in my lap was one of the instruments used on me that night; the laptop she used to do this to me.

The subject matter expert for this week’s article is… me.

I had spent four years getting used to the guilt manipulation, the emotional withholding every month; the psychological abuse in general. But then on November 5th, 2013 a line was crossed that would just open the flood gates for the next 6 months.

Normally I write for the benefit of others, some way to connect with someone who reached out. Today, I’m writing about my own struggle that broke something deep inside me. So here’s a glimpse into my mind, several layers deep.

For what it’s worth, because I know there will be some who think I may be exposing too much, hit “back” now.

I’ve prayed quite hard about this, and this is the toned down version. One thing I’ve learned lately is that I need to advocate for and nurture myself. It’s been very therapeutic unpacking the wrongs done to me. So hopefully this helps seal this wound, finally.

Luke 9:62 - Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."   I live in a region with lot of farms.  Every season I see the farmers on their tractors plowing the beautiful, rich soil into unbelievable straight rows. I'm told that their method is to focus straight ahead as they plow, looking neither to the right, nor to the left and certainly never behind. Jesus wants us to put our past behind us; we can't change that. Yes, we have learned from our past, but we must focus straight ahead on our future with Him. Then we can be fit for His service!

Luke 9:62 – Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
I live in a region with a lot of farms. Every season I see the farmers on their tractors plowing the beautiful, rich soil into unbelievable straight rows. I’m told that their method is to focus straight ahead as they plow, looking neither to the right, nor to the left and certainly never behind. Jesus wants us to put our past behind us; we can’t change that. Yes, we have learned from our past, but we must focus straight ahead on our future with Him. Then we can be fit for His service!

One day before that evening (November 4th) I was celebrating my birthday with my Ex. Frankly, in the years prior to this, we struggled. Just a month before this incident, we were “done”. But, she reached out several weeks later wanting to reconcile. So, two weeks later we are celebrating that Monday night and it was just incredible!

For those who’ve been following along at home, here’s just one example of the peaks and valleys which were the hallmark of our lives. Beautiful day the night before, and…

So what can possibly derail this? Well, for right or wrong (I’ll lean on the side of wrong and own this), she had left herself logged into one of my computers at home, and I wasn’t forthright and open about it. So, for that month before, she had started talking again with an ex boyfriend who was her first choice on wanting to be married to. Someone she stressed to me our entire relationship was her high water mark.

There was a tremendous amount of jealousy there. But also hurt because, while she started those conversations when we were “done”, this was someone who had propositioned her when we were dating. He clearly still had an interest in her at that time, and while I’m not judging or making a statement one way or another of where he was fall of 2013, it was the principal of the matter that was upsetting me. Just the dishonesty about the contact.

Needless to say, we go from a perfectly normal, and surreal day on Monday the 4th, to talking on her way home on the 5th; and then.. all of the sudden, she needed to go. Reason being she was at a car dealership and needed to talk to someone who was installing something on her new car (mind you, this is a guy who also wanted to date her, and she did end up eventually going out with him on a “date” weeks later).

What you need to understand is she was someone I spent HOURS on a phone talking to. Truly, we both spent years keeping each other company all the time (Heavily enmeshed relationship). So when all of the sudden she had to go, it honestly didn’t sit well. A week before, she was in the same situation and just kept me on the phone (Bluetooth earpieces were our friend), so needless to say, this wasn’t typical behavior to the prior 4 years.

So, I checked that logged in computer…

Sure enough, even talking to me, she was in the middle of a conversation with him (the ex BF) on Facebook at the same time. Arranging a time to talk right then. Thus, her rapid departure.

At best (and that’s being very kind…), I can say she wasn’t actively doing anything “wrong” with him. They weren’t sexting or anything like that. Well, in hindsight, that I’m aware of. But anyone who has heard this always asks the same questions.

“Why hide it then if you weren’t doing anything wrong in your heart? Also, if he was her high water mark, why is she seeking him out for companionship and conversation when she has you? Especially if she’s so conscious of image and reputation.”

Very good questions. But, regardless, I KNEW what I had to do. So I printed it out and went right over to her house. Her mom and kids were there, and I walked up to her phone, pulled up the conversation, looked at her, and just showed her privately.

“I know…” is what my face said to her as I then looked back and smiled at everyone. I started to then talk to her mom and the kids about their day. Can you imagine the tension at that moment as no one in that room was any the wiser to what was going on between us?

Well, that escalated fast. To her flat out denying wrong doing, justifying to her mom what happened, to telling her mom to not listen to me (My Ex, sadly, lives and breaths for her reputation and the court of public opinion. Which was more important to her then me, or my feelings, through countless examples throughout our relationship..), to finally me pulling out the print out when I was done with the lies and cover-up.

That’s when things went from bad, to worse. As you’re about to see, this was NOT her finest moment.

Her mother and children then witnessed all of this, and to them, I am truly sorry they had to experience just what she was capable of. I apologized directly to her children weeks later and they accepted that apology, but I’m getting out of order.

..a punch thrown at my face, stopped just a second short, a vase of flowers I had given her, thanking her for the night before was being smashed into my chest, and a laptop I had purchased and given her (when her own computer had broken) was being smashed into me.

Children crying, her mom crying; I’m just standing there. She wants to call the police, but her mom stopping her (obvious who would have gone to jail that night…). Finally, me leaving with the laptop in my hands, half destroyed.

Right or wrong, I was tired of being used, lied to, hurt, and abused. Loved when she wanted to love, hurt when she wanted to hurt, a door mat when she needed to wipe her feet.. Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde.

Fast forward… later that night, I KNEW I did the right thing because it was something I had caught her doing very early on in our relationship (with another lover). But, I chose to forgive her. Who knows what else, or what other situations I don’t know about. Clearly doesn’t matter anymore, but it’s something that makes you go “hmmmm..”.

Yet, as is typical in abusive relationships.. Two weeks later, we are back together, trying again. Just that this time, the aggression from her ended up being much higher when things would go south. I remember her freaking out and getting in my face, and I actually pulled out my phone when she wasn’t listening to reason, to calm down, and started videoing it telling her she needs to see herself. Well, at that point, I could see her veins pumping in her neck as all 5’2″ of her (I’m 6’1″) was in my face trying to rip the phone out of my hands. For what it’s worth, she took my phone after that, found that video, and deleted it without telling me what she was doing. It just kept getting worse until the end.

Hell, even after the end, in the few dealings I had to have with her, she was still that old her. Blunt, aggressive, demeaning, just tearing me down if something wasn’t to her liking. Ripped apart an online profile I had on a dating site we both were on; mocking me and laughing at it. Ripped me down for having a conversation with my son after I was baptized, and not liking the explanation I was giving him about something even as I’m proud of the moment with my children. Just a selfish cruelty overall. Not realizing (or not caring) how much her words hurt the people who love her.

Her mom (bless her heart) really tried to help us reconcile after that incident and ministered to both of us, telling her she was honestly afraid I was going to kill her for attacking me. I’ll say this, I loved that girl so much I could never harm a hair on her head. Even though I could (and did) pick her up with one hand without any effort, I just let her attack. I did nothing to defend myself.

A birthday wish from Stefano, one of my best friends since we were 3.

A birthday wish from Stefano, one of my best friends since we were 3.

But the damage inside was done. I just celebrated my birthday, and honestly it was a meloncholy event. One of my best friends posted this picture on my Facebook page and he was right. The entire day was an outpouring of love and support from hundreds of people who know my story, know what happened a year before, and did everything they could to make me feel loved. To them, thank you. I have an incredible support network. But there are some wounds that won’t heal soon. Like my birthday.. It will be scarred for a long time.

Someone who grew up with her was talking to me about this the other day and she asked me:

“Is she really worth anymore of your heartache or tears?”

The simple answer is… “No”. Of course not.

I have every reason to HATE her. EVERY reason to want to see the relationship she’s now in suffer, for no other reason than to vindicate me (it’s truly his problem now..). But, despite having every reason, I can’t, and don’t want to be that person. I guess it’s because before we were lovers, we were friends, and that’s what I miss.

That friend I talked to daily. The friend who’d send me that random selfie and text through the day. The friend who’d call me, or I them, meet up for lunches, look forward to dinner, or catching up on a show… My Dr. Jekyll. Until Mr. Hyde reared his head days 10-12, and 23-28.


Cycle Calculator by SoundTells

Cycle Calculator by SoundTells

Come on girls... you know what I'm talking about. ­čśë How many guys do you know have the rhythm cycle mastered? I kept a calendar for the prior year and a half and just quietly kept a log (Red dot, yellow dot, green dot) and subjectively kept track. I knew when she was going to wake up as a different person. I really tried to do my part to back off, walking on egg shells to not set her off. Figuring.. that's love. You accept someone for right or wrong. I was all strapped in for this ride with her until she crossed these new lines. Then I was honestly lost again... torn.

I knew, for my own health, I did the right thing.

Or is it the psychological tracks of abuse still tattooed in my head?

She had me really thinking for years that I could never do better than her. That no one would understand me like she could, and that she was my best friend who’d always care for me. She promised me she wouldn’t treat me the way other women had, that she’d never take advantage of me… She knew my wounds, and knew exactly how to rub those hurts and make them feel better… or be the one to punch them when I’d least expect.

I don’t know.

All I do know is a very important lesson my mom taught me after 40+ years of marriage. Advice she gave us both after my birthday last year, and the honest concern she had knowing we were going to try again..

Very wise words (translated from Spanish)”:
“After all this time, I know EXACTLY what can hurt your father. But I also know what helps him grow and lifts him up. What I don’t understand is, when you say you love someone so much, why you would not protect them and be that shield for them, especially when you KNOW how to be that protector for them?!”

She’s right. In hindsight, I realize now that for years, the things that she KNEW would hurt me were brought to bare against me out of anger, spite, or need for control.

Was I perfect? No. None of us are. But I was NOT the one to draw first blood (literally or figuratively). I remember very vividly the first red flags late summer of ’09 and the first real smash between the eyes winter of ’09. I remember being at work and having a conversation and seeing the first of that side of her… honestly scratching my head after, hurt, confused, wondering where the beautiful girl I was falling deeply in love with, and had now become part of my kids lives, disappeared to. I knew then that something wasn’t right. But my ego and pride kept me there. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever dated (ego), and I was already harboring guilt for having ripped one woman out of my kids lives (their mom) to be with this woman. I wasn’t about to do it again (pride), and I started immediately rationalizing what happened.. “If this is the worse she does…”. I endured and withstood this abuse far longer than anyone had in her past, and I really tried to live the below.

Ephesians 4:29-32: Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

God have mercy on her soul. Though I want to say I can feel the same, I’m not there yet. I pray daily for the will of God to be able to forgive her, for the health of my own soul.. but I’m not there yet.

Thanks for listening. Perhaps in writing this all out, I can finally take a large step towards healing one more wound left in her wake, and 2015 will be a much more memorable birthday.

Keep your emails and comments coming. Just as much as I am finding out my tale helps you, it equally helps me.


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