Sleepless Nights

I go through spurts where I can’t sleep. When I can’t, I do my best to not let my mind wander. Sometimes, I can’t help it.

Recently, I learned of a couple who found out one was cheating, actually the whole town found out that one was cheating. For so many reasons I cannot get them off of my mind. My heart breaks for that family, I have so much empathy to what they are going through and I don’t wish it on anyone. I see myself in them, their circumstances have a lot of similarities to mine. It is a challenge to not remember the pain of those early days of learning about the infidelity.

In the beginning, you are shocked. You can’t believe it actually happened, and you don’t want to believe it. You keep thinking it is all a really bad dream, but at the same time you know it is true and you are filled with anger and rage. You experience every emotion under the sun. Sometimes you want to fight for your marriage, and others you feel like it was long over before you found out. One minute you want to walk out, the next you don’t, you try to fix it or find ways to ease the pain. You also want to hurt them, you want to make them feel the pain like you are feeling. The next minute you blame yourself. The emotions are endless.

I keep thinking back to the kids, their kids, my kids, any kids who have experienced their parents in turmoil. Let me tell you, they know. They know exactly what is going on. You try to hide it, but they feel the tension, they feel the anger, they feel the hurt. You can bet, they are listening, trying to understand why there is a sudden change in their home. Why is mom crying all the time? Why is everyone so angry? Kids are so intuitive, they see the world a lot differently and so clearly. When I found out, it was during lock down. No where to escape, we were all trapped in the house. Trying to just make it through the day, day after day. My heart breaks when I think back to what my kid must have felt, and I feel guilty for putting them through so much pain. I was completely unable to control my emotions at times, and I hate that because of COVID they saw and felt so much more than they should have.

Those early days are a defining point in the marriage. How the infidelity is handled will tell you if that marriage will survive or not. Is there honesty? Is there remorse or just feeling upset that you got caught? Is the apology genuine? Everything I went through pointed to the marriage being over, and when the blame started of how it was all my fault I made my decision to move on, without him in my life.

This is where my mind wanders, and it isn’t about him and what he did to me. I wonder why I have never stood up for myself. Why was I okay with settling for less and being called crazy when I suspected something. I wonder how long was I in such deep denial. The truth is in the bottom of my heart I feel like it went on my entire marriage, just at different times it could be less or more.

I got thinking to months before we were married, 17 years ago. He had purchased a used truck for his new job. Several weeks later I was helping him clean it out, and I found a pair of panties in the backseat of the truck. I was dumbfounded, I just held them up and looked at him. I can vividly remember fighting off tears, just silent in disbelief. I can still hear the defensive tone in his voice as he tried to convince me that they must be from the previous owner, and yet mad at me that I would even question this and question his loyalty to me. All while he had a look of panic and guilt across his face. Eventually, I accepted this excuse as possible and moved on, but years later it still bothered me. I never believed the story and something just felt off, but I never brought it up again for fear of his anger. Somehow I found panties in his truck, and I ended up apologizing to him and feeling guilty. How does that make any sense?

A year or so later, when our second child was months old he attended a golf tournament. These used to get pretty wild at times, or so I was told. We lived in a small town about 15 minutes outside of the city where he attended this tournament. That night he arrived home completely intoxicated, which didn’t shock me. That night he rambled on about passing out in the cab and getting sick in the cab, but the next day was completely quiet about the actual golf tournament which I thought was odd. A couple days later, while doing laundry I found an empty condom wrapper in the pocket of the shorts he wore to the tournament. I called him immediately and asked him what the fuck I was looking at. He responded with a casual, oh you must have picked that up off the floor when you were picking up clothes. Or maybe our son put that empty wrapper in his pocket. I was furious, I cried for days and I called him out on his bullshit. Again, he kept calling me crazy, jealous and how are we ever going to survive if I don’t get my crazy under control. This couldn’t keep going on. I was far from over it, I felt deep down that something had happened. Again, I let it go. I quit talking to him about it, and I struggled to get over it. I told no one. Why did being called crazy and jealous set me off? Why would I do almost anything to avoid that title?

A couple of weeks later, a friend of mine went out in the city and happened to take a cab home. On the drive home the driver starts talking about a man he drove home a couple weeks ago, and the entire drive home he kept saying that his wife was going to kill him. That was all he said, over and over again. Since the town I lived in had a population of about 50, she knew exactly who it was. When I heard this story, I laughed it off but it seemed like it was more proof that something had actually happened. Again, I asked why I would kill him and he just responded with a simple I’m not sure, I was drunk and that was it. His cold attitude towards me hurt, it was so unfamiliar and I didn’t understand it. My heart sank to my feet. I felt worthless. Here I was at the beginning of my marriage, with two young children, no education and no job. I felt trapped. I just wanted to know if he was cheating, I didn’t feel that I would ever know the truth, but I can still remember blaming myself. He had convinced me that I was crazy and that I was jealous, even if he had cheated it was probably my fault. I truly believe that no one would love me, as he told me no one would because I was so crazy. So I began to shut down, just so I wouldn’t be the “crazy” wife. I hoped things would get better.

So many people would tell you that I am strong willed, determined and I take no bull shit. I am that person in so many situations, but with him I rarely was. He could hurt me and make me question my sanity so fast, I would always end up believing it was me. With him, I had no backbone. I learned to just shut up, and not question him. It kills me that I was setting that example for my children, showing my son that treating a woman like this is acceptable, and showing my daughters that it is okay to be treated like you are less of a human and not worthy of simple respect. The thing that upsets me, is I tried so hard to shrink myself enough so that he would just love me. I tried hard to be the person that wouldn’t set him off so we could just be happy. Over time I felt more and more miserable, I wasn’t authentic and me not being happy also angered him. I needed to be happier, so I slapped on a mask and tried to be that person too. I was miserable trying to be something that I wasn’t capable of being, someone that I never should have been asked to be. Someone who wasn’t allowed to feel, I just had to be what he needed me to be, always. I was literally becoming a mummy, numb and emotionless, I felt dead inside.

I worried for so long that I needed him to be a family. I needed him to survive. I needed him to feel whole. I don’t know if those were my thoughts, or if he put those beliefs in my mind. All I know now, is that what I needed was the exact opposite of what I had.

The Hits Keep Coming

I know I will never know the truth of what went on in my marriage. I know who I thought I was married to, and the person I wanted him to be were far different from the reality. It still stings, but I make peace by knowing I am in a better place and it might be better for me not knowing the whole truth.

The last few weeks have been emotionally draining for me, I find myself struggling to process it all and put the pieces together of the bits of information I gather. Then I get ahold of myself and ask why bother? Why am I wasting my time on this? Why am I still giving him my energy? I will never know the truth, and even if I did, it would change nothing.

It started a few weeks ago when my ex’s family were hosting a BBQ for the grads in the family. Almost immediately after the weekend was over I began receiving messages from several of my ex’s family members saying how they don’t care for his new girlfriend and they think she is bat shit crazy. These messages were somewhat unexpected considering the people who were messaging me. A few days later I got another message, and this one was along the lines of telling me that they couldn’t get this off their mind and they wanted me to know what they heard. At some point in the evening the new girlfriend made a comment to knowing and eluded to being with my ex years before we were separated. Now, here is where my mind went into overdrive.

There is no way they could have known each other prior to using some sort of social media or dating site to meet. She has no kids and much older than us, careers would not cross paths and we didn’t travel to where she lives other than for hockey, this jogged something in my memory. When my oldest daughter played hockey, from time to time we would travel to the town where the new girlfriend lives, about 3 hours away for a game and then then head back home. I remembered a conversation I had with my daughter once the day after a game, around 3-4 years ago. My ex had carpooled with my daughter, a friend of his which he also happens to work with (I will come back to the importance of this “friend”) and his daughter. The game was an evening game, so I didn’t go cause hellllloooo I like to sleep, so he went. When they arrived my ex went in and just said that he had to leave for a bit and do something, he bought a 50/50 ticket and left. The size of the town they were in was small, it has few business and everything seems to shut down by 5 or 6. In my experience even eating there in the evening or weekends can be tricky. There are few businesses so running an errand makes no sense. My daughter proceeds to tell me that dad won the 50/50 and they kept announcing it over and over again and couldn’t find the winner. He had won the 50/50 and finally collected the winnings at the end of the game. She said she didn’t see him there they whole time and thought it was off, because she saw his “friend” there sitting alone. She asked me where dad had gone. I had no idea, I made a mental note to ask him later but I never did follow up with that thought. I got busy and forgot all about it, not that I would have ever been told the truth. So did they know each other before? Who knows, all I know is that something stinks here.

What if they did know each other prior? The little I know about this woman I know that she is a creep and has no problem sending me harassing texts present day, so could she the one that was harassing me over a year from an anonymous account? Was she involved in hacking me? The very little I know about her suggests that her personality has a ton of red flags and it could have been her from the start.

I chose to over look so many flags, it is insane. Years ago, he received a new work phone and the one day I went into my messages looking for a picture he had sent. I went into the info where all the media is and I discovered that his location was on and he was trackable. I won’t lie, I did look at it a lot and not for the reasons you would think. Often if it was getting close to picking a kid up and he was supposed to be arriving home any moment I would check it. If it worked out I would call and ask him to pick up whatever kid at whatever location, if he was a long way away I would just go myself. It never even crossed my mind to tell him that I was able to do this. I thought if his phone came like that, it was maybe a standard safety feature with his work. As time went on and I became more suspicious I absolutely did use it to “check up” on him. The one time he told me that he had to finish up a few things so he would be late, at first I took his word but some nagging feelings had me check the location. There he was, in a residential area no where near his office, I just thought it was strange and ignored it. Some time later, I would find out that this location is in the same area where the female coworker he was sleeping with lives. Him telling me that it happened only once is now looking like that is also a lie. I didn’t know what to do, and I didn’t know she even existed at that point in time so I let it go. That location became a somewhat familiar spot, he was either at his office or there. I became suspicious so I did question this location. He was livid that I was tracking him, and the phone and location lies. He began yelling at me, asking why I am creating things in my head? Why am I so jealous? Why am I being crazy again?… I heard it all that night. He got so angry that I was terrified and from that day on his location was off, and I never asked again. Looking back his behavior was the tell tale sign that something was off and he was where he shouldn’t be.

So back to the “friend” of his. This man was never my fave person of mine. He wasn’t rude or anything, just something seemed off. I eventually decided that it was because he had the personality of a potato but that wasn’t it at all. This man was around my ex on several occasions when there was other women involved. The first was was not long after they started working together, there was some event and I didn’t attend, I actually don’t believe I was invited. My ex ended up staying out late with this “friend” and a couple of women that he worked with. Over the next few days, one of the women began to blow up his phone. Not only that but suddenly she was tagging him in jokes and likely all of his things on social media. This went on for a few weeks until I finally had enough. I was told nothing happened that he and his “friend” were out with these women (coworkers) I had nothing to worry about, I was being crazy and this woman was just being friendly. Next event, hockey game I talked about earlier. The next one is that the coworker that my ex ended up admitting to sleeping with, was the admin for his “friend”. A party at the “friend’s” house where my oldest daughter discovered her dad off in a corner of the house away from all the guests chatting to another woman within inches of her face was a good friend of this man. When he went to a mountain resort with his work and his “friend” was with him the whole time. Saw him making out with his coworker on the dancefloor, at the bar, saw them leave together.. all of it, he was there. This man who has been married for years and a father to daughters, knew all of this was taking place and never said a word. My new thoughts on him is that something was off because he is a dirt bag. There is now way he wouldn’t have picked up any of these things and not had some indication what was going on, and these are the few instances that I know about. For years he knew, he talked to me, saw me with the kids and said nothing.

I was going crazy for days. I began to wonder how many years this has happened and honestly there were indications for more than half of my married years that this was happening. This was the norm. I slowly became accustomed to not questioning anything, all of it was happening right under my nose. I had such a fear of questioning things and setting him off that I wouldn’t confront him, instead I brushed it off because I didn’t want to be called the crazy, jealous and controlling wife.

All there is to do now, is to take a breath and be so relieved that this is not my life anymore. I need make peace and accept the fact that I will never know. I will never hear the truth or an apology. I need to forgive myself for putting up with that for so long. For years I did not value myself and put myself first. I accepted a lot less than what I deserved. I know I didn’t love myself for so long, I was beginning to be self destructive. Thank god I snapped out of it and got the hell out. Everyday is better, but these things still hurt. The farther away I get from it all, the more clearly I see the picture. I will never settle for a relationship like this again.

A Road To Success

This past week I finally earned a designation that I have worked so hard towards. Obtaining this designation was an obligation I had to fulfill when I accepted my current job, and it feels like a huge weight has been lifted.

When I accepted the job, things were on the rocks with my ex but we were still trying to make it work. I accepted knowing that working on us would take an enormous amount of work to live apart while our house sold and he found a new job. Moving home was something we had both talked about for years and it finally found like we had the opportunity to make it happen. I was all in, ready to sacrifice and do whatever it took to make it work. I diligently prepared to write the exam the next month before we had to move. Then COVID hit, we went into quarantine and I postponed it until all this “nonsense”, as I called it, blew over. No idea something like a pandemic was even really a thing and not believing the world would actually shut down. At the same time I found out more of the truth of what had happened with him and his co-worker. I started to become reluctant of asking him to move with me. I begged and pleaded for him to just walk away from his job and move, knowing that I couldn’t be hours away while he still worked right beside her. I hoped that we would figure it out along the way. He slowly began to sabotage us, my new job and our life. I felt at that time that moving was the best option for me and my children. Confused, angry and heartbroken, I moved.

Once I had relocated, I knew that I had about 6 months to complete this designation. All I had left was one 8 hour exam, I knew I could do it. I would just have to work harder so the changes that had happened in my life would not hold me back. It was a challenge navigating through COVID and the dates of the exam changed a few times. Finally, last fall I picked a date to get it over with. I told my ex about the date during a conversation and I watched the sabotage begin. For the next few weeks there was threats and stalking along with constant texts, emails and phone calls. It was exhausting and my head was not in a place where I could effectively retain the information I needed to pass this exam. In addition to this, my oldest daughter fell sick and the stress was so fucking heavy. I went to write the exam, and I failed. I felt that I was not prepared, I was tired and couldn’t remember anything that I had studied.

There had been so many times in my life where he had tried to sabotage my education and me bettering myself, but I always pulled through. This time, I wasn’t so lucky. I was devastated, ashamed and worried of what would happen if I failed the second attempt. Would I keep my job? Would I be fired? I knew my company would try to work with me, but I am not one who wants special treatment.

On the drive home from the exam, I pulled over in tears. I was so mad. Mad at myself for allowing him to distract me and treat me as he did, and mad at him for years of feeling like he was trying to sabotage me. He called me not long after, and I lashed out hard at him. I have never yelled and screamed at him like I did that day. I remember telling him to leave me the fuck alone, and I didn’t want him in my life. I sat there wishing that I didn’t have to communicate with him ever again, but kids makes that nearly impossible. I think he sent a couple of apology texts after that but it was the first taste of silence I had ever had and I loved it. Over the next few days I regrouped, and came out with a determination that he was not going to ruin this for me.

I began to work and study, making a plan to still have this completed before the end of the year. The second wave of COVID hit again, and again we went into lock down and were working from home. My daughter was still sick and I knew that my head was not where it needed to be. The training coordinator called to set up a time for the exam, and I was nervous about going anywhere. It was put off again, and they extended my deadline until the end of June, depending on COVID. So there I am June 29th finally feeling ready to write this exam.

In the days leading up to this exam, it was uncanny. I know at one time I told him I was extended, but I never gave a date of when I would be writing this exam or how long the extension was. It is possible that one of the kids spoke of it during a conversation with their dad, but it felt again like sabotage. Once again he began showing up in random places, the emails and texts seemed to come out of nowhere with force and urgency. I needed to do this and that, and this was all my fault and that was my fault. However, this time I was stronger. I was able to navigate through it and not allow him to stress me out. Since the exam date, the emails and texts have completely stopped again. It really makes me wonder his motive to the last emails. Was it for what he said it was? Or was it to stress me out and try to sabotage this exam, knowing that my job would become somewhat uncertain after that time? A year later, why can he just not leave me alone? Will I ever be able to live in peace?

Either way, I know that I am stronger now. With one day to spare I passed the exam and I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that this obligation is not hanging over my head. I am thankful for those around me who were there for me to lean on and not let the stress get to me. This feels like a stepping stone, one I needed to get through to prove to myself just how capable I am. He will not be an anchor to my sail anymore.

I Almost Died…. Not Really

Most of my posts are super serious, and I do have a lot of fun in my life and I want to share some of that with you all. This is just being me, the over-thinking, awkward human I am.

In the summer, I love camping and I try to go as often as I can. I just want to be on the water and outdoors. The best part of where I go camping is the limited cell service, I love not having to respond and not having to be plugged in all the time. Also, I do use this as an excuse, mostly to those who actually call me. I have literally watched the phone ring and send them a text apologizing for the poor cell service and I will call when I am on the way home. Maybe it is rude, but sometimes I just need the peace. Also, this has NOTHING to do with my story, other than I go camping.

Last Sunday, I was unpacking from my weekend and I was a bit slow and tired as it was my birthday and I had the opportunity to celebrate a bit. So naturally, I did. As I am sorting the laundry, a MAMMOTH spider fell out of some towels that I had hanging on the line to dry. This spider may not be large if you are from Australia, but for us Canadians this was large. I went into panic mode, which is weird in itself because I will claim I am not afraid of spiders. Turns out I am. So I began to scream like a little girl.

Through my screams I began calling for my boyfriend to come save me. I don’t think he understood the urgency because it seemed to take him forever to get over there. Or maybe he was just as scared as me but didn’t want to admit it. Finally, he gets there and squishes it and it lies twitching on the ground. He tells me it was dead so I went to go and grab a tissue and throw it away. But it wasn’t dead at all, or maybe it was a spawn of the devil and came back to life, we will never know for sure. Although, I am sure it could sense my fear. As I picked it up, I squished it and I heard a pop and guts were all over the tissue. It was pretty satisfying, I can’t lie. Let’s not judge me here, I needed to know that this thing was dead. Like a rookie, I opened up the tissue to make sure it was dead and a skinny little spider pops out, falls to the ground and starts scampering away. I again start screaming like a little girl, and jumping because we all know that is the most helpful thing to do in a situation like that, jumping and screaming. Finally, I managed to get the skinny spider and kill it to, but it was terrifying. I felt like this was the trojan horse of spiders, like you kill me but I have a whole bag of little soldiers to mess you up.

Even though no one believes me about the second, skinny spider. I am thankful I get to share these moments with those around me. Who “rescue” me and we can laugh together at my ridiculousness. After all, life can’t always be so serious that we can’t enjoy some of these moments.

The Aftermath

This week has been exhausting to say the least. After my son’s grad and him showing up unannounced over the weekend sent me into a place filled with fear, and constant worry about what this sudden unpredictability means.

Immediately after, I went into self-care mode in attempt to recover from the weekend. I was running on about 7 hours of sleep since Friday so I was feeling the effects of exhaustion. My first steps were to try and get back sleeping, but with the events of the weekend when I feel asleep I would often wake up with nightmares of past events or flashbacks. Every sound I was sure he was there, trying to get into the house. When I would go to the gym and the wind rattles the old building, panic would set in. He has shown up there before and pounded on the door to try and get in and see me. I saw a truck at the ball game, a similar color to his and I was afraid. Almost a week later, I still haven’t had not been able to get back to my regular sleeping routine and I feel like my emotions are all over the map. I have been living my life in a very routine way, as it helps me to stay calm and heal. At times change can trigger me, if I am thrown into a situation that I haven’t had time to process. I value planning my life, it is just how I find that I function the best. All of this has reminded me of how calming the nervous system after an encounter is so challenging, the fight or flight response is still active. Everything feels like a possible threat.

To make things worse, since the weekend it has been a constant bombardment of messages from both him and his girlfriend. They want to see the girls. It is their right. Not sure when his girlfriend had a right to my children, but she sure thinks she has one. It is his right as a father, but if it is a safe place. If there isn’t a fear of his girlfriend. My kids legit refer to her as the child predator, if that is what they believe, what kind of person am I if I don’t attempt to keep them safe from her? My role is a mother is to protect them, hearing my daughter say, “I am scared to what I will wake up to next time” is heartbreaking. He continues with the blame game. It is my fault that one of my daughters has blocked him on social media. It is my fault that he upset them by showing up unannounced. It is my fault they don’t want to see him for Father’s Day. He says the same thing over and over again. The fact is, his actions say he doesn’t really want them in his life, he wants the power, control and intimidation. Now that he has lost those things, he is putting on a show. He has had opportunities to take baby-steps to re-build those relationships, but he wants to force his way back in and my role is to force the girls into situations where they are not comfortable. It is my role to essentially hold a gun to their head and force them to go. It is my role to tell them what they can and can’t feel, and what they can and can’t say. He wants me to treat them as he treated me, like property. It won’t happen, not now, not ever. The reasons why the girls have a fear of him showing up to things when he hasn’t told anyone is simple. This behavior has happened before, this isn’t new. When it happened previous, they were fearful that dad was going to hurt mom. They thought he might hurt them if they didn’t do as he wanted. Now he is taking us all back to that place of uncertainty and fear. It is just for the intimidation. He likes us scared. If he scares us, he can bully his way into getting what he wants. I have always given in out of fear. What is scary is what will happen to us when I don’t give in?

With the sudden change in him, the question arises of what state is his mental health? I looked online at my benefits and an antidepressant he has been taking for a few years has not been filled since January. Is that what is causing the sudden change? Is there an underlying diagnosis that would help him substantially? When he texts and describes situations, he often talks about things that never happened. When he recounts seeing his daughters, what they saw, did and felt don’t match his. Not even close. He thinks it was a fairy tale. I can’t say I saw all the interactions from the weekend, but I did see one of the girls walk away from him and hide under my boyfriend’s arm when he approached. It is almost a delusion, and it is scary. Last summer I can remember him saying that he just doesn’t seem to experience anything like the people around him. Is it what he is wishing would happen and he is convincing himself that is the reality? Or is it a complete delusion? Either way it is scary that there could be more going on.

I had no idea that my reactions to him would be this strong. I have come so far with my fears and healing, but this incident has me realizing that I still have a long way to go. I may have handled this situation better if I took the time for me prior. I spend so much time helping my girls prepare and have a safety plan in place, and I ignored me. My mantra leading up to the grad was that I just had to get through this one night and I could take a breather, I could relax. I did not prepare myself for the possibility of the further encounters that weekend. I did expect that he would message us if he wanted time to spend with the girls and we would work out a visitation. I foolishly believed there would be some mutual understanding. It is clear, that he has not evolved that far to take into consideration how his daughters feel. He does not respect them as a father should. The girls fear of what that first visit will look like, the fear the punishment, they fear his anger for disobeying him and pushing him away. The fear is so real in all of us.

I just pray that this last week will not be the new normal of our lives. If it is, what is my plan to protect us physically and our mental health so we can continue to thrive?

When Will it End?

After the graduation (last post) I was so proud that things went off without a hitch, meaning he didn’t storm off, he didn’t throw a tantrum and he didn’t get into a physical altercation. It was still clear that he was trying to assert power in many instances, but I had prepared myself for this and I was not going to let it interfere with my son’s day. When it was over, it was a huge relief and I was hoping I wouldn’t have to see him again for awhile. I was so wrong.

The next day after chaperoning the grad party and then cleaning up, I was running on about 3-4 hours of sleep and I could feel that I was emotionally drained. We decided to head down to my favorite place and camp for the night just to relax and unwind. A few hours later, I received a warning that my ex was going to be at the same place and would only be a few hundred yards away from me. Panic set in. I calmed myself, but I knew that my youngest daughter was feeling the same way that I was. I told the girls that their father was going to be arriving soon, and my youngest started to vibrate and asked why. I asked if she thought she could handle it and would be ok, or did she want to leave? She sat and said, I’ll be ok but then proceeded to lock herself in the camper with her older sister and a friend. It was heartbreaking to watch. Her friends and sisters rallied around her, and it was only an hour or so and she was feeling that she would be ok if she ran into him and they went off and played. I shut the door to the camper after they left, and I fell apart. I can be strong for her. I can help her through situations because it takes away from my own fears and thoughts, but the second I didn’t have to be strong I fell apart.

My chest was tight, I was panicking. It was about 11 months ago when I was in the same place, he trapped me in my camper. Blocked my exit and yelled and screamed at me for hours. Immediately, I was back to that day. Scared, not sure if this was the time that he would become physically violent. Scared that his anger would be the end of me. It felt scarier this time, as I know much more now about his moods and how they factor into predictors of violence. Now I know that many of his behaviors are a huge warning sign that physical violence is very possible. If something agitated him, would we be safe? That day, 11 months ago, I backed down after awhile. I told him what he wanted to hear, I played into it just to get out. But at that point, I knew what he wanted. These days I am not sure I can predict his behavior as it has been a bit off lately in general. Not to mention, I know I won’t say what he needs to hear, I am not that person anymore that would fuel his rage if that same fight were to happen again.

The thoughts in my head were going crazy, why can’t he just leave me in peace? I was so emotionally exhausted that I couldn’t think straight, I was debating where I could move that he would finally leave me alone. How far would I have to go? Do I sell this camper and buy some secluded cabin somewhere so we can enjoy summers where he can’t find me? My thoughts were racing, and I began to cry. I have never been so thankful to have my mom there, she is strong as a rock and tried to calm me down. She was there for me 11 months ago, she witnessed some of the fight, she witnessed what it did to me and she witnessed the swing in moods and the unpredictability. And then this past weekend, she has seen what it has done to my girls, how they speak about about their dad, their fears and now she saw again me, scared and in tears wanting it all to be over…. still.

Trauma is an interesting thing, your fight or flight response is on crack. You are not rational. In your head, all of the things that have happened in the past are all flashing as potential outcomes of what is before you, even though nothing has actually happened. You don’t know if you should run, or hide and you can’t think rationally. It is the scariest thing to experience. You don’t even know what is real and what isn’t. It is like you are under attack from all angles, but not even sure what is attacking you. You just want to do whatever it takes to make it stop.

Trauma Quotes PTSD - Narcissist Abuse Support

I can’t be sure as to the reason for the visit, but I call BS if he would claim it would be to see friends. He never called or texted his kids if he was wanting to see them, so why show up when we have just talked about how it upsets your daughters when they are not expecting him? Why this location? I can bet he didn’t talk, I bet he would have sat there quietly and I can put money on the awkwardness could have been cut with a knife. Why did it need to be so close to where I was?

Over the past year, all I know is that one thing is for sure, he often aims to do things that will put fear into me, show his dominance and intimidation. I think that was the exact reason for why he showed up at the time and place he did. I have noticed when he talks to me, his daughters, FB posts, snaps or when I saw him at the grad, his ego is large right now. In the past it has been delusion, his world and the good things in it, don’t often exist or they are not how anyone else would view it, if that makes sense at all. His perception is often not the actual reality. That inflated ego has usually been a cover for something not going as he had planned in his life. In the past, this has been when he as been the most dangerous and unpredictable. In just this past weekend, we had 2 instances where he showed up where he shouldn’t have been, just to make his presence known. Which is odd considering we haven’t seen him in 6 months. This makes me fearful in so many ways, but the main one is that I just don’t see this ending anytime soon. I worry that if his relationship ends with his girlfriend, that events like this weekend will become my life. There was stalking in the past, used every excuse in the book to justify where he was where he was. This weekend, it felt the same as before when I believed he was stalking me.

Right now, all I know is that me and my daughters were all upset by his random appearances this week. I pray to god that this won’t become our lives once again. Only time will tell.

First Time Seeing the Ex in Months

I have been a bit quiet with my posts lately, I just can’t seem to find enough time in the day lately. As much as I love posting, and getting my thoughts out, this is the first thing that falls to the wayside when I get busy. Baby steps on self care right there.

Yesterday, my oldest graduated, I was so excited for him and so extremely nervous for me and my younger kids as this would be the first time we had seen my ex in about six months. It was stressful leading up to the grad. The grad was parent planned due to COVID, so just a bit more work than normal. Also, I was working with my child’s counsellor to help her through this day, work has been hectic AF and my father just received a pacemaker about a week ago. All in all, the juggling act was not going well and I was praying for the grad to be uneventful. In my mind, I felt like there was a possibility of him not showing up at all.

The day before the grad, my ex showed up to a ball game my youngest was supposed to be at but was cancelled due to rain. He sent her a snap, just saying that he missed it and wanted to see her. She was instantly furious that he would dare to show up unannounced, and she didn’t want him there. She quickly texted him back I don’t want you there. His response was, “love you, cutie.” Her response was what kind of answer is that? I think she felt dismissed and it made everything worse, she blocked him. Then turned to me and asked how would he even know, I said I gave him the schedule. I never thought he would come during the week, and I made it clear that you didn’t like the idea of him coming there so he should let me know if he planned to show up. She was so mad at me and took off to her room. I had spent weeks working with her counsellor on preparing her to see her dad at graduation, not expecting him to pop into her life the day before and send her spiraling into a fit. So that evening became us clarifying our plan to keep her feeling safe. Regrettably, I had messaged him and said why didn’t you let us know? Very quickly his response turned to how everything was my fault, and that he is the parent and it doesn’t matter that they don’t like or feel comfortable with his girlfriend, basically it is what it is and they have to deal with it. It doesn’t matter that they feel unsafe and have been in unsafe situations, he is the parent and they are fine. Then it was my fault that I didn’t want my 17 year old to drive the younger ones almost 4 hours away, mid winter, when the youngest was having anger outbursts, but I offered to meet him. He cancelled the visitation. One of my children has had health issues for months, on one of his planned visitations was to take them to a city that was shut down due to COVID, I asked if that could be changed and they just go to his apartment. Our daughter isn’t strong enough to catch a cold, let alone COVID. He decided to cancel the visitation. The list went on and on, but the items he listed were legit unsafe at the time with the circumstances, I never said they couldn’t go, I just asked for me to drive and meet him halfway and to chose a different location, not my problem if he cancels. At that point, I knew nothing had changed with him and my worry began to grow. My daughters and I went to bed exhausted and stressing about how the next day would go.

The next morning, I received more messages from him, upset I had not invited his parents. But the thing is, I had received a very rude text message from his mom basically telling me to F off and they would be doing their own grad thing. Not only that, but his dad had told my son that he would just find it too awkward to come and he didn’t want to. When it came time to make the guest list, I asked my son who was on it and they didn’t make the list. I did question it, but he understood the comments in the same way as me, they wouldn’t be coming anyways. Regardless, I saved 2 extra seats incase there was a straggler that came along. After those messages, I was thinking here we go, just going to be a train wreck.

I could see the stress in my daughter’s face all day, but we assured her that we would not leave her alone. Her plan was to hang off my boyfriend, who has become very close to her and she would feel safe. Wherever he went, she was holding his hand right there beside him. Grandmas were asked to stick around her if I couldn’t be close to help her through, and like a trooper she did great. She felt she needed those people in place to help be a buffer for her and keep her feeling safe. Not once did she even look at or say anything to her dad. Not a hi, not a hello, nothing. It was like he was invisible to her, if he started walking towards her she turned the other way. It was heartbreaking to watch, but it was necessary for her. I can’t push her, she needs to work through this at her pace, with help and guidance but I will not force her to communicate before she is ready. However, I do several things to help her get to a better place and hopefully one day there may be a chance at healing that relationship or even general communication, but for her that time is not now. We have a long road ahead of us to get to the point that she will even talk to him. I am taking her being in the same physical space as him, and not losing it as a huge win.

At times, we would look up and he would be staring at us, but never said a thing. Sometimes it looked like he had regret written all over his face as he looked at us. Sometimes you could see the emotion in his eyes, not sure if it was the graduation, or how his daughters are so distant from him, or maybe both. As sad as it is, I know he will continue to blame me for the failed/failing relationship with his daughters. I accept that, it is easier to blame than look in the mirror.

I did my best to be polite and civil. It was so hard for me to not comment on the suit. He wore the suit to the grad that he wore the night of the affair he admitted to having. I hadn’t seen him in that suit before, but it felt like a bit of a slap in the face. I so badly wanted to laugh and crack a joke, but I said nothing and happily left knowing that it was a blessing in disguise.

The Saga Continues…

This weekend as I was camping with my family, I received a text message from my ex’s new girlfriend. I could tell that I had done a lot of great work with my self care, as this didn’t upset me. I was able to respond to it, rather than react. I felt nothing.

A bit of background, she came into the kids lives around December 2020. They had maybe been dating a month when she met the kids. The first meeting was not great, it raised some concern about her conduct and my ex not protecting the kids or standing up for them. Not even just directing what is acceptable and what isn’t acceptable. It seemed as though he thought the kids would just accept her as a step mom figure, and live life like the Brady Bunch. The kids were texting me continuously, and not ok with the situation at hand. After the weekend was over, and they were home I gathered the facts and attempted to talk to my ex about what went on. He denied any of it, said it wasn’t a big deal. So I contacted my lawyer, told her what had gone on and she suggested that she would send a letter do the behavior would be documented, and usually it stopped the behavior. I wasn’t sure if she was just oblivious to what her actions were doing to the kids, or if there was some ill intent behind it.

The letter clearly stated that I didn’t care if she was around the kids, but she needed to respect boundaries. My ex was furious. Threatened all sorts of things for me sending this letter, which wasn’t unexpected.

Christmas time came, and the kids went and spent time with him again. They were texting me non stop, asking me to come and get them. At one point there was a fight between my eldest daughter and her dad. To the point she, and her sisters called me in tears. I could hear him screaming at her through the door at them. She wanted to call the cops, she wanted to take her sisters and run to a friends house in the night to be safe. I got off the phone with her and contacted a crisis worker to help her through it. I knew if he found out she was talking to me it would escalate the fight further. It was the most awful experience. The kids got home, Christmas Day. Upset and fighting with each other. They had said they just stayed silent to try and keep the peace and not make him mad. They said they wanted to call me, but they knew if dad knew it would cause a fight. At their young ages, they are already walking on egg shells around him. My heart broke for them. The kids said that he didn’t seem to care if they were there. They asked to never have to go back for that long again. A week was too long.

Fast forward to the next visitation they have with him. He has not attempted to make things better since the Christmas fight and he takes them to his new girlfriends house. This time the behavior was worse than the time before. The letter that had been sent a month or so earlier was completely ignored. Once again, the texts were flooding my phone asking me to come and get them. They just wanted to come home. The behavior was so bad that I consulted some professionals. All of them recommended that the incidents be reported.

And that was the last time he would have seen his daughters, about six months ago. My son, who is older will see him from time to time if he is in the area. But his daughters don’t to go see him, and refuse to go if the girlfriend is around.

I have been trying to teach my daughters boundaries. We talk about what they are comfortable with, and what is not ok. It is sad that I have to teach them how to set boundaries for their father, so they don’t fall into the same pattern that I did. On several occasions, when he has been in the area, he has asked to see them and every single time they say that they are willing to see him- as long as it is without her. He won’t accommodate that. He won’t bend to help heal that relationship. He won’t spend time with his daughters without his girlfriend around. It’s heartbreaking. They feel like dad has taken his girlfriend’s side over theirs.

Back to the text, she apologized to me that she had made the girls uncomfortable. Now, I do not know this woman, all I know is from what the kids have told me. At first, I was annoyed that another woman involved with my ex is texting me. Granted, this time I am not involved with him was a nice. Then I wondered if this is sincere. I need to know, that she takes accountability for what she has done. So I respond. I tell her that her telling my daughters that they are going to see her wet ass pussy is unacceptable. I tell her that choosing to ignore the letter was her chance to make things right, and it isn’t up to me to make sure that she understands. My job is to keep my kids safe, and she has proven that she isn’t to be trusted. To my disappointment, she blamed my girls for her behaviors including the wet ass pussy comments that she made. My daughters were right. They have said from the start that she is fake and they don’t trust her. If you are offering an apology, you better not blame my kids for any of it. I expect you to take some responsibility. Sadly, that is not how it went. I then asked her to stop texting me, and after 3 more texts that I didn’t respond to, she did quit.

What I don’t think she understands is that my responsibility is to my kids, always. I am a momma bear, you had better not mess with my cubs. It is not up to me to make sure she has a relationship with the kids. My job is to ensure that I do what I can to help them have a relationship with their father, and if the girls don’t trust him; they won’t trust her. I do not have the time, nor the energy to babysit you and hold your hand through being a step-parent. Don’t be creepy. Don’t do things that make them tell me that they feel like you could be a child predator. It is not up to the girlfriend to make sure he has a relationship with his kids. If he doesn’t take the steps necessary to heal that relationship, then they are likely better off without him. It is not my problem if you don’t understand what is appropriate or inappropriate. Girlfriends may come and go, his kids are always his. If neither of you are genuine with your intentions with the kids, they will know and will want nothing to do with either of you. There should never be a choice between his children and his new woman. I feel like she has made him choose, and his children have suffered in the process. She kept saying she wished we had talked sooner. Why? I don’t… I don’t ever want to talk to you. Maybe I am wrong in this, but it is how I feel. I don’t want to be her friend. I don’t want to be anywhere near my ex and his life and have the pain and chaos he causes anywhere around me. I tried to address all of the issues with my ex, but if he doesn’t listen and wants to ignore what his kids are saying then I will go through legal channels to make sure they are safe. If he chooses to not listen, not my problem. I have always tried talking to him prior to making any decisions, every single time he shuts down what I say. The kids are lying, I am exaggerating… blah, blah, blah. Therefore, I follow instructions recommended to me by the professionals that I consult and I document everything.

So basically when I have the new girlfriend texting me, it is all I can do to stop myself from telling her that she and her feelings is not my fucking problem. I will never understand why the women in my ex’s life feel the need to contact me, I am hopeful that this will be the last time I hear from a woman involved with him. Unfortunately, I don’t feel that this will ever be the case.

Overwhelmed

When the stress grows, I sometimes get feeling sorry for myself. I know, I chose to leave and I am so glad I did; but here is the truth of it, I NEVER WANTED TO BE A SINGLE PARENT.

Tonight, we got home from ball. I had dishes to do, I was tired. I just wanted to sit and watch TV for a bit. But I picked cactus needles out of one kid, then went to check on my daughter and while I was down there my youngest dropped a pie on the floor. Completely innocent harmless accident, when I came up I just said, “Oh for f*uck sakes”. I saw the look of panic on her face wondering if she would get in trouble. I quickly apologized for getting upset, I just told her that mom was tired and I just wanted to rest and relax, but tonight was not going to be the night for that. She gave me a hug and told me she understood, then helped unload the dishwasher as I cleaned up the mess. I didn’t really realize how tired I was until one little thing can literally be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and you just want to hide or cry, maybe both.

Even with my schedule being much more manageable than pre-COVID, there is a lot happening and at times it can be overwhelming. I have a child graduating, which navigating those waters are a bit tough in itself. Planning a graduation during COVID is a nightmare! Everyone wants what they want, but so many have such different comfort levels it is hard to accommodate, on top of that the government is still restricting gathers. It is a milestone, and should be celebrated but how? Is this even safe? How do I help my child through grad and in the next days and months following with all the chaos around us? Like so many, COVID is robbing us of such wonderful celebrations.

I have spent a lot more time worrying about exposure and safety more than I ever thought I would. I am not worried for myself necessarily, but my child who is in her teens and is battling what we think is Cronh’s Disease. It is awful, painful and hard to diagnose when healthcare is in a normal state. Let alone trying to get someone to really hear you during a pandemic. We have received some help, but where we need to be to really get the help we need, isn’t really the safest place for those who are sick. Travel is limited, and they don’t really want patients coming in unless absolutely necessary. She has had intense abdominal pain for almost 8 months now, and I am worried about how much fight she has left in her with no end of it in sight. Watching your child doubled over crying in pain it the most powerless feeling I have ever felt. I can’t do anything. If I take her to emergency there is nothing that can be done. Do I want her exposed to someone who could make it worse? It is a constant battle of weighing pros and cons. I am so tired of being told to wait for the GI specialist to contact us, that is our best option. I get it, that is my first choice too- but we needed help 8 months ago. I just want COVID to take a hike so we can get the help that we need!

Then my little 2, I just want them to live life as best as they can through all this. Have their fears and worries as minimal as possible and try to have a happy childhood as best as they can.

When days like today happen and I am trying to manage it all, it exhausts me. I get angry with my ex, not in the I want to lash out or hurt him. It is more of angry disappointment. Yes, he has let me down in so many ways… but I feel like he is letting his children down. His behavior is driving them away fast and hard. I so badly would love to have a weekend to myself to just have time to relax but I can’t. When my daughters are scared to be around dad, I refuse to send them. Take me to court, do what you got to do, but if they don’t feel safe you can bet I will fight to the bitter end. Trying to talk to him does nothing, my daughter commented after ending a recent conversation with him. She said she gave up talking to him that she was going to start calling him “Patrick”, because he lives under a f*cking rock! (Spongebob reference) It is the truth, they tell him what they need, and it falls on deaf ears and he blames me for the failing relationship. Little does he know, that I would love for them to have that relationship. I would love to have the help. I would love to not feel like it is all on my shoulders. I would love to not being the only one awake at night, 3 am researching what I can do to help my daughter through this. I would love a break.

Even though, taking care of myself has been a priority. There is nothing that can prepare you for the days you are overwhelmed and exhausted. Saying this makes me feel selfish. I know it isn’t, even in the best of times we all need a break from our daily lives. I am just ready for the new normal to not have sickness involved. That is the break we so badly need.

And someday, I hope that he will realize what his actions are doing to our children and make the changes needed. I look forward to the day that I can relax completely, knowing that my children are safe and cared for, until then we will stumble through this the best we can.

Family Ties

I have been busy chatting with women with similar stories. There are a few in particular, that blew my mind. The family dynamics came into play and interestingly enough it was the mother in law that caused a lot of drama. That was my experience as well.

I am a mother, I know we are not perfect and we can make mistakes just like anyone else. In my experience, this was on a lot of a deeper level and often seemed to be intentional. For years, I thought she hated me and I still have no proof that she didn’t. I can remember dating him as a teenager, I can still hear the guilt trips he would put on him for stupid things. Things like forgetting to take out the garbage, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. He would feel like a POS and then go do what she asked, it was heartbreaking to watch. I never experienced anything like it. Once he moved out, her attention seemed to turn to me and as soon as my ex would leave a room, she would corner me and tell me how I didn’t deserve him and how I was spoiled. On several occasions she would tell me they things she did to help her daughters out, usually monetary, followed by a comment on how they deserved the help she offered. She never offered to help me, and I never asked. I did receive a text one time, telling me how she would never pay for plastic surgery. Ok, was I wanting some? Or you suggesting that I need it? It was weird and confusing. Years ago, I complained to my ex about how she did this and he wouldn’t believe me, I made it all up. Eventually, he said he would try and pay more attention, and within a few months he caught her cornering me. I was blown away, he actually said something to her, but it changed nothing. She told him it was a misunderstanding, he had taken it out of context and it was all my fault. It wasn’t long until he forgot about catching his mom in the act and moved on, the only thing is her behavior towards me stayed the same. I made an effort to never be alone with her, I was so tired of being told how I was basically worthless compared to him. It made me so angry, and it really began to mess with my confidence.

About 8 years ago, he accepted a job about 3 hours away from where we lived. He told his parents about the move, and he said they took it well. The next day, I got an angry call from his mom. She told me how I was ripping the family apart and how I was forcing him to move away from her. Once again it was all my fault. After this, I was so happy to be 3 hours away from her. I was sick an tired of all of it. I hoped that this would cause some peace in our marriage if she wasn’t always meddling.

The only compliment I ever got from her was that she wished her daughters were more like me. My kids were clean, came to Grandma’s house with everything they needed and dressed appropriately. She talked about how she liked that my house was cleaned regularly, and how I was organized. She didn’t know where she went wrong but her daughters missed that. I remember hoping this was a turning point in our relationship. I thanked her, and I think that was the only genuine compliment I ever received.

As time went on, not much changed. I tried to talk to her, in which I received and angry email stating how everything was my fault, and she does so much for me. I wanted to ask what she did for me, but I said nothing. He tried to talk to her once, it ended with her crying hysterically, claiming everyone hated her. Awesome, could we be more child like? She still tried to corner me, she still was rude but I became a pro at ignoring her. I even asked my ex once, “If these people weren’t your parents, would you let them in our lives to create this chaos?” His answer was a quick and strong, “No”. So I followed up asking why they got a free pass? He was silent, he never had an answer for why he allowed them to treat us as they did. After that, I quit trying. I wasn’t rude but I no longer attempted to change our relationship for the better. I for sure could have done a better job in my actions, I see that now. At that time, I didn’t have the self-awareness to do better. I was already in survival mode.

For those who have known me for a long time, I bet you can remember how we used to “joke” about his mom being very similar to the mom off of Everybody Loves Raymond. Meddling, kinda mean and often treated her daughter in law like crap. That was how it was, I just needed to accept it.

I found this meme the other day, and this was my life for years. I laughed at it, and the sad part is- it should never be funny.

Alzheimer’s should never be funny, but this was how my ex and his sisters talked about his mom. Just ignore what she does to you, she’s losing her mind was the response. How is that supposed to fix anything and make me feel better? And if she does have it, is anyone helping her? Nope. I could never understand this, and honestly I still don’t.

I always felt like she felt threatened by me. I now can see that her words were often projections. It is just sad, how it flowed down from her. It is even sadder that because she offered financial assistance to her daughters, that they chose to overlook how she treated them. They chose to allow her to treat them poorly. It was like it made it ok, mom and dad give us money, so we have to put up with how they treat us. It blows my mind to this day that they allow their parents to treat them as they do.

Not having that added element of constant drama has felt amazing. I ran into her the other day, and seeing her I didn’t miss her. As sad as it is, it feels right to have cut them from my life and I don’t regret it one bit.