This is the second segment of my ‘series posts’ catching everyone up on my Journey to my Miracle Baby. If you didn’t have a chance to read last week’s segment, feel free to go check it out here: The Beginning.
Thank you all for your kind words to last week’s segment, I appreciate the support! The following turned into a very long post, I apologize for the length of it…I thought about dividing it into two segments of its own, but figured I’d just leave it as is, in all it’s long-winded glory, so you can choose to read through it in its entirety in one sitting…or three! 😉
Fair warning, for some people there might be some TMI (Too Much Information), and will most likely be more of a ‘serious tone’ compared to my ‘regular’ posts…I’ll try to keep it ‘light’, but read at your own risk! 😉
Now on to this next segment: Rebound Relationship – Husband #2 – The Abuser
Of course I was at a vulnerable point in my life, feeling rejected and unwanted by my ex-husband, so a former friend took pity on me and introduced me to her former college roommate. He was a flight attendant who honed in on my vulnerability and knew exactly the right things to say and do to make me feel better. I made the mistake of not following my gut feelings about this guy, being on the rebound and all, so I fell for his ‘nice guy’ act as he showered me with attention and all the romantic notions that won over my broken heart. I ultimately fell in love with him and agreed to move to Michigan with him and marry him.
We planned to get married in Reno, because that’s what he wanted, and because we could have our friends and family from Seattle easily meet us there, and because he didn’t want to subject himself to a big ‘regular’ wedding. That’s when he started showing signs of his control-freakish ways, he didn’t want me to buy a new dress for our wedding, just wear one of my business suits or dresses already in my closet to get married to him in. Luckily one of his best girlfriends convinced him that I deserved to get a new dress since this would be my ‘special day’. He conceded, but stipulated that I not get anything too fancy or expensive, so I picked out a pretty purple velvet knee-length dress – I figured it would be an appropriate ‘Reno Chapel’ dress… 😉
We flew to Reno for the big weekend, my best friend and her husband were there, and his brothers and their wives flew in for the event. The night before our little chapel wedding, his sister-in-laws offered to take me to a strip club. That’s not my thing, so I politely declined their invitation, being more content to hang out and keep winning at the blackjack tables instead (yes, I was on a major winning streak!). My fiance seemed fine with that – my future sister-in-laws were actually relieved that I declined going to a strip club, because they told me they only offered to be polite – they were thrilled to find out that I would be happy just having a fun night gambling, because that’s exactly what they preferred to do as well. We had a very enjoyable time, I had fun ‘bonding’ with these women I would soon be ‘related’ to.
I had no idea what animosity was brewing in my fiance’s head…but he sure let me know as soon as we got back to our suite. He started screaming profanities at me, calling me all sorts of names, telling me that I was rude to his sister-in-laws by turning down their invitation to go to a strip club. What the….??? This was the first time in the year-and-a-half we’d been dating that he got that vocal, that venomous towards me…I was incredulous that he was acting that way, as if I had committed a major crime against him personally. I tried to explain that his sister-in-laws were both relieved that I didn’t want to go to the strip club, but he said they only said that to be polite, that I had hurt their feelings. Um, HELLO?! He’s mad because I didn’t want to go to a strip club? Really? When I turned to walk away from him, he grabbed me by my hair and slammed me to the floor, pushing my face into the carpet.
When I stated that I didn’t think I wanted to marry him if he was going to be like this, (my words of course muffled by the carpet) he screamed in my ear that I was not going to embarrass him in front of his family. Out of sheer frustration and the overwhelming sense of helplessness, I started to cry. That seemed to turn an ‘off’ switch on him, he released me from my imprisonment on the floor and started to apologize profusely. Said that he didn’t know what came over him, that he was probably succumbing to the typical ‘cold feet’ status of our impending nuptials, that he loved me and would never hurt me and would I please forgive him and still marry him the next day. Somehow, during the next several hours of talking, I allowed myself to be convinced that this was a ‘one time’ thing, that it wouldn’t happen again.
I was wrong.
He turned out to be a major control freak, I was not ‘allowed’ to have friends outside of his own personal group of friends, I was isolated, and my family was far away in Seattle, so I had no one to turn to when his true personality came out…it began as verbal abuse, he called me every name in the book, and since I am not the type of person to ‘put up’ with being called names for any reason, I’d fight back with words as well. I’m not proud that I sunk to his level in the verbal altercation, but I wasn’t going to put up with being degraded, though the worst I did was call him an Asshole…which he was.
In a typical ‘control freakish’ way, his abuse towards me escalated from verbal abuse to physical abuse. He would get mad at me for minor things – like the cats water being dirty – and drag me out of bed in the middle of the night by my hair, screaming profanities at me, hitting me, sitting on me, spitting on me, just to regain and maintain control over me. I was working full time but wasn’t ‘allowed’ to use the checks from our joint checking account to buy groceries, he had to go grocery shopping with me every time and controlled what was ultimately purchased. That stemmed from when I did do the grocery shopping by myself, I bought the kind of corn I liked, but didn’t buy the kind of corn he liked – imagine that!
When we first got together, I would dread the days he would be gone on a trip as he was gone four or more consecutive days at a time. After his true personality came out, I actually looked forward to his trips so I wouldn’t have to be walking on egg shells every minute of every day. His being gone was still controlling, however, as he would painstakingly write out every leg of every trip so I knew where he would be, what flight, etc. I didn’t care about that so much, but the main thing was where he would have his layover – he would write down the name and number of the hotel, approximate time he would be there, and I was to listen for the phone to ring. He would let it ring 2 times, then hang up, and that was my ‘signal’ to call him back…immediately. It didn’t matter what time of day or night it was, I was to call him back immediately.
Keep in mind I was working full time – my job started at 7:00 a.m. each day, so I had to be up very early each morning to get ready and get to work on time. One night I was exhausted, and he wasn’t arriving at his destination until after midnight. I woke up about 2:00 a.m. to the dog barking, and then I heard it…my husband’s voice yelling profanities on the answering machine downstairs. He was in the middle of leaving his third or fourth message.
My heart sank. I was in trouble. I had forgotten to turn the bedroom phone ringer back on, so I missed his ‘signal’ calls, and the subsequent follow-up calls. I called him back right away in my foggy state, and he proceeded to scream at me over the phone about me not calling him back, throwing accusations at me about why I didn’t call him back…yada, yada, yada. I hung up on him. He called back again, and started to leave a really nasty message on the answering machine, so I picked up the phone and told him to give it a rest, I need to get back to sleep, we’ll talk in the morning. Then I hung up. And took the phone off the hook. Of course I had trouble sleeping after that.
Needless to say, when I got to work the next morning, he had left me a voice mail during the night apologizing for his actions the night before, that he was just ‘concerned’ about me and had been wondering if he would have to call the police to check up on me to make sure I was all right. When he got home from that trip, he brought me gifts – as if that would make up for all the name calling and such that transpired while he was gone. It turned into a pattern with him – he’d get irrationally mad at me for something minute, verbally and physically abuse me, be all remorseful and sorry and follow up with buying me stuff to ‘make up’. Jewelry, furniture, you name it – though I kept telling him I’d much rather have him seek counseling than buy me stuff, he always responded with “I don’t need someone telling me what I already know. I’d just rather try to work harder with you.”
His ‘episodes’ of anger seemed to accelerate more and more. I didn’t tell anyone what was going on, he made me believe that it was all my fault, that I deserved everything I got. The straw that broke the camel’s back was over something really inane. I was baking Christmas Cookies to take into work, and I made them all deer cookies. Some of you know that I have been collecting deer items since I was a child, so that should come as no surprise that I would make all deer cookies. 😉 Apparently not making any other ‘shape’ cookie was wrong in my husband’s eyes. He started screaming at me for being a selfish B*tch, grabbed the cookies and threw them against the back door.
I stood there in shock as I watched the cookies scatter into pieces and crumbs, then said “This is ridiculous! You are out of control! I’m leaving!” and started to head out the back door. He screamed profanities at me and grabbed me, threw me to the ground and pushed my face into the destroyed cookies on the floor. I elbowed him in an attempt to free myself from his grasp, but that only enraged him more, so he started to pummel me with his fists – carefully avoiding my face, because then everyone would know the truth of what happens behind closed doors. He got in a really good kidney punch which did me in, I collapsed in a heap on the floor and dissolved into tears. He called me a F*ing baby, told me that if I left he would toss all my sh*t out on the lawn – including the dog, that I better clean up the F*ing mess on the floor if I knew what was good for me – then called me a F*ing C*nt.
I stared at him in total disbelief and knew at that very moment that any love I had for him was completely and totally snuffed out. He obviously didn’t love me, or he wouldn’t treat me the way that he did or call me horrible names.
I was done.
When I started to go upstairs to get away from him, he grabbed me again and told me I hadn’t cleaned up the F*ing mess yet – I told him he made the mess, he could clean it up. He didn’t show any signs of calming down in the immediate future, and I really didn’t want to be pummeled again, so I grabbed the phone and dialed 911. He ripped the phone out of my hands and slammed it against the wall.
Less than 5 minutes later the phone rang. It was 911 calling back. The person on the other end wanted to know if everything was OK. My husband stood there glaring at me. I told the 911 operator that everything was OK, that my hubby and I were having a fight but he had calmed down. They asked if I was sure, they could send an officer out and if I didn’t feel safe, put him in jail for the night. While I relished the idea of him learning a lesson, I knew full well that he would only be worse if he were put in jail for the night.
I couldn’t escape. I had nowhere to go. My family and friends were thousands of miles away.
I had to make a plan.
I had to escape.
The next morning I had to drop him off at the airport very early, he was heading out on another 4-day trip. I wasn’t feeling well, so I called in sick to work after I got back from the airport. I crawled back in bed and tried to sleep, but was having severe cramps. I thought it was just a particularly bad monthly cycle. But there was so much blood. Too much. I called my doctor and she got me in right away. I was miscarrying. I didn’t know I was pregnant. I was devastated. I was angry. I was horrified. I was sad. My doctor scheduled a DNC. I cried. Then I realized that I needed to remove myself from the nightmare. I needed to escape. I needed to take back my life.
I had to be very careful when I started making plans, since my husband had said that he would F*ing kill me if I ever tried to leave him. So when he was on trips, I would make phone calls, get quotes from moving companies about packing up my stuff and getting moved back to Seattle. I was so ashamed at the situation I was in, I never told my family about what was going on. I felt that they wouldn’t understand. My husband was on his best behavior every time we went to visit. The only person I confided in who knew what was going on was my best friend Peggy. She had seen his temper flare up when we stayed with them on one of our visits. She offered to have me stay with her and her husband until I could get on my feet. I was so grateful.
I now had a place to go. I was making a plan.
I didn’t want to do to him what my first husband had done to me – simply leave without warning and have him ‘discover’ me gone when he came home from work. I planned a weekend getaway for his birthday, and during that weekend – when we were at a Bed-and-Breakfast, you know, so there would be people around so he wouldn’t be an asshole since he didn’t show that side in public at all…
I finally gave him an ultimatum that I wasn’t going to put up with it anymore, that if he wasn’t willing to go to therapy to get the help he so desperately needs, I was leaving. I would be moving back to Seattle to be near my friends and family. I was hoping he would agree to therapy, as I selfishly didn’t want to have another ‘failed marriage’ label on me. I was surprised by his reaction – he acted truly remorseful, agreed that keeping me separated from my family and friends was unfair to me, that we would sell the house and move back to Seattle and we could go to therapy there and be surrounded by friends and family.
He also has family in the area since he grew up there, so he thought maybe it would be the thing we needed to do, that maybe that it would help his attitude as well, to be ‘near family’. He appeared as if he wanted to make it work, so we sold the house, I secured a job at my previous employer out there via a phone interview, hired the movers and we moved to Seattle together. Less than 2 months later he was at it again – with both the verbal and physical abuse.
The ‘final’ argument was that he was angry that I didn’t buy him an anniversary gift – after he specifically told me not to buy him one. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Almost getting shoved down a flight of stairs because of that really made me face reality – he had no intention of changing, no intention of seeking therapy, no intention of ‘letting’ me go. I had to get out now while I still had a shred of sanity left – and my life.
I had brought up the idea of therapy several times after we moved, but he kept falling back to his moniker that he didn’t need to go to therapy, because he didn’t want someone else telling him something he already knows. OK, fine. Wrong answer. Luckily, when my husband was on an international trip, he would be gone 7 to 9 days in a row, and only ‘required’ I be available for a phone call once during that time.
I frantically packed all my personal things, secured an apartment and recruited my close friends and co-workers who helped me finish packing and moved me to my new apartment. I was still too embarrassed about telling my family what was going on, but in my mind I had already ‘suffered’ the ‘shame’ of being divorced once, and didn’t think that my God-fearing family would ‘approve’ of a second divorce, so I kept all the details to myself and ultimately, unfortunately alienated some friendships.
I hand-wrote a 5-page letter to him, trying not to make it sound like a ‘Dear John’ letter, explaining exactly why I felt I had to leave him this way. I wanted to ease him into the ‘shock’ he might feel when walking in to a half empty house. My first husband didn’t give me that consideration; I had seen all evidence of him removed before I found his note. I left the letter in his car parked at his brother’s house – he was scheduled to return from his trip later that day, and had made arrangements for his brother to come pick him up at the airport and he would drive his car home so I wouldn’t have to leave work to do that.
I had a feeling that he would come to my work after he got the letter. Luckily where I worked you had to wear ID badges and no one was allowed past the reception areas without an escort. I alerted security to the possible issues, I was unsure of what he was capable of doing. They posted his photograph at both entrances with the receptionist with strict orders to be cautious, and call security immediately if he shows up in the building. We didn’t know if he would ultimately go ‘postal’ with rage. I was worried about everyone around me.
My co-workers were worried for me, especially with his threats of killing me if I left him. They encouraged me to leave work early that day so I would be gone before his flight touched down and there would be no chance of any altercations should he show up at my work. The parking lot was a bit of a distance from the building, with lots of trees – I kept an eagle eye out in case he was skulking somewhere, and when I was halfway out there, I saw him. He was back early. He was at my car. The hood was up. I started shaking like a leaf all over and immediately did an about-face and went back into the building to call security. Then I went back to my desk to wait. My co-workers rallied around me, one offered to go out to the parking lot and kick his a** for me if I wanted…then Security called to let me know that he was gone, they were ready to escort me out to my vehicle.
Turns out that he was trying to disable my car. Since he had keys to it, I had purchased one of those steering wheel locks – you know, so even if someone can get in and start the car, they can’t go anywhere because the steering wheel was locked in place. Apparently that enraged him, because he was coming to take my car so I wouldn’t have any transportation and would have to call him – since he would leave his car, which I didn’t have keys to.
Security got there in time, he was in the process of disconnecting my starter, and had already taken the distributor cap off. He was trespassing on private property, so they ordered him off the property and told him if he came back they would call the police. He used the backside of the pages of the letter I left for him to leave me a note on my car seat revealing how incensed he was about me leaving, and more threats were left in writing – which was turned over to the police and warranted a restraining order against him. The wonderful security guys fixed the starter and put the distributor cap back on so I could leave. I was so worried that he was ‘lurking’ somewhere and would ultimately follow me to my apartment, so I drove around randomly for well over an hour before I finally went home.
He continued his ‘good guy act’ to my family and friends – he tried to get to me through them, which apparently worked, because someone gave him my unlisted number. He would start off leaving pleading messages, how much he loved me, how sorry he was, blah, blah, blah, but he had played that card one too many times. I didn’t fall for it. I was so over the ‘act’. Of course when he didn’t get what he wanted, he then started leaving nasty messages on my answering machine – continuing to call me every name in the book and threatening my life. The lawyer I hired for the divorce tried to talk me into a ‘legal separation’ – because he had made numerous phone calls to her and convinced her that he was a good guy, and that I was overreacting. I fired the lawyer and changed my phone number again.
He didn’t show up in court for the restraining order hearing, so it was granted. He dragged his feet on the divorce proceedings, because he wanted to try to win me back (regain control), and did not want a divorce. He would only sign the divorce papers if he could meet me for dinner and talk. I chose a restaurant that was always packed, recruited some friends to hang out in the bar to keep an eye on things for me, and set up the dinner meeting. He started off the evening all remorseful and tried to win me over with empty promises. He said he was going to therapy just like I wanted him to…after a little more digging, it turned out he had been to one therapy session. One. He did say that from that therapy session he realized he was treating me like a kid brother, not like a wife and partner.
Then he said his therapist wanted him to ask me if there was any chance we would ultimately get back together… He was very insistent it was important I answer that question, that his therapist needed the answer to that. Whaaa? Why would a therapist request he ask that? I asked him the reasoning behind the question, and his response was “My therapist told me that if there’s no chance of us getting back together, then there’s no reason to continue my therapy sessions.” Really?!
I asked if I could have the name and number to his therapist so I could ask her if that’s what she really said, because it seemed so very odd to me. He needed therapy regardless of if we would get back together or not…he needed serious professional help. He got angry. He started to call me names right there in the restaurant. My friends stood up and started walking over, so I got up and told him that he needed to sign the divorce papers, I was done talking, and that he needed to continue therapy for the sake of a ‘future wife’.
He followed me out to the parking lot, my friends blocked him from getting close to me as they called the police. He was screaming profanities at me as I got in my car, and made it over to my car just as I was pulling out, hitting my car with his fists, continuously screaming at me “I’ll kill you, you F*ing B*tch! My friends motioned for me to get out of there, so I did. My friends told me later that he showed a completely different side to the police when they got there, so he was just given a verbal warning and sent on his way.
When I got home, there were at least four messages on my answering machine from him – someone had given him my new unlisted number. He left vulgar and threatening messages, said the next time he saw me he would kill me. I turned the tape over to the authorities and kept a watchful eye over my shoulder. I never drove straight back to my apartment after work – I was worried he’d follow me there. At some point he finally did sign the divorce papers, I got a call from my new lawyer about a court date – I was concerned about my husband showing up and causing trouble at that court hearing, but thankfully he never showed. My divorce was final. I was relieved, but also worried about what would happen if I ever ran into him in the future. Luckily I never did. Well, almost never.
I did spot him in baggage claim at a Florida airport when I was waiting for my luggage while on a business trip many years later. I swear my heart stopped beating, and the associate I was traveling with asked if I was OK, as all the blood had drained from my face and she said I looked like I had seen a ghost. I retreated away from the baggage claim area, I needed to sit down. I didn’t want him to see me. I didn’t want to come face-to-face with him. I was still afraid of him. Luckily he didn’t see me, so when I was positive he was no longer in the airport, I finally collected my luggage and left. I never saw him again. Thank God.
Thank you for reading through this painful time for me. Imagine how much worse it would have been if it had been longer than 2 years. I feel for the people who feel ‘trapped’ in their situation for any length of time, not to mention decades…
Hindsight is always 20/20 – sometimes I wish hindsight would be foresight just once… 😉 I have learned a lot from my experiences, and I strongly believe that I have gone through the things that I have to make me a stronger person, make me the awesome person I am today, and so that I can ultimately, at some point, help someone who may be going through a similar situation. You can’t truly understand what someone is going through unless you’ve been there. 🙂
There are some things that I have never spoken about, never told anyone about, but felt compelled to write about it here. Though what’s written here is still only a small part of the hell I lived for those 2 years. But writing about them turned into sort of a mini therapy session into the blogosphere… 😉
In case you’re wondering, yes there’s obviously more…I still haven’t gotten to the part of my beautiful Miracle Baby, but that’s coming soon…next week you’ll get to read all about the next leg of my Journey, the funky dates I had, the ‘finding myself’ mode…rest assured there is truly a happy ending! 🙂