Almost a year since my last post, and while I’ve continued to advocate and attempt to lift the ones who cross my path “up” I haven’t been able to share what I know best due to my life experiences.
Truth is, it has been a difficult year to write anything, let alone pen my excruciating year-span of continued abuse (by proxy) down on a blog. We’ve all heard that it never ends, yet you only really realize how bad it can keep getting when you actually have to live through it.
Four years running and I’m still in a bind. Why? Because abusers do not just disappear. No… They don’t vanish like rain puddles the next day. They don’t just leave because they think they “won” something or some part of the entire process. They wait and prey for another weak moment, another chance to get you, another way of dragging you down… And they thrive on this.
The Light at the End of the Tunnel – NOT!
Each time we reach a milestone, a closure, some sort of end in our heads, we think it will all get better. It doesn’t. Sorry to dash that little glimmer of hope if that’s what you have been holding on to. You’d think they would have found a better victim by now, but they don’t really move on. They keep harping on the fact that YOU moving on is a loss for them.
Three and a half years into battle, we finally closed the case on all matters pending – custody, finances, property… the list just goes on. I let out a sigh of relief thinking this was it- the light at the end of the tunnel! MY TUNNEL!
Less than a handful of months later, threatening emails ensue, harsh words exchanged over a court-monitored email program, and every agreement made during the settlement suddenly gets thrown into the dust. For those who have been through this, we all worry and fear going back to court. It’s the last place we want to be, yet some of us respond strongly that it might be the only way to remedy any dispute existing.
As unexpected as it was, the left foot did fall. Money was cut, school tuition was withheld, and everything we survived on came to a standstill. Better yet, everything we lived off was no more. Our very existence was demised into little nothings that seem to not matter in the large realm of things.
What were we going to eat? How would we pay rent? Where would we go when it was cold?
Life Kept Going….
The thousands of questions and doubts that filled my head were incredible and scary. Endless nights of zero sleep perpetuated the paranoia I’m sure! Was there someone I could talk to? Yes, the friends and family I’ve grown so fond of through my struggles… But I didn’t. I held back and kept everything under wraps, like a quiet mouse creeping through the night I continued my ordeal on my own, trying not to wake a cat. Any cat!
Everyone says there are many resources to help domestic violence survivors. The truth is, there are but they aren’t always available. Shelters are overfilled and have long wait lists that could take eons to go down the list. Food banks are strapped, many tending first to those in dire need (I don’t blame them). Government services have long wait lines that I could have spent working and earning something, and when you finally get through the lines, there is always a reason why you are denied.
Nonetheless, the world kept revolving. It never really did stop, though inside my chest it felt like a million-ton weight just crushed it and blood flow was strictly prohibited to help me function.
But yes, the world kept turning… People kept bustling every morning, friends kept calling, food continued to be served even if it was miserly, the children slept every night and woke every morning… Night to day, then day to night, life went on.
Every day was a new fear, a new worry, a new setback, a new “no” for help. Every night posed a new nightmare, a new sleepless darkness, a new monster under the bed.
Every day was a challenge.
A Challenge into an Opportunity!
No, I’m not super pessimistic. I’d like to say I’m realistic. I figure the worst that could happen so I’m always prepared, then I churn a positive thought and a more optimistic mindset of what I would like it to be. (Some say I’m dreaming, others comment I’m hopeful. Which of the two is true, I do not know.)
A year later, we are still facing the same problems. I won’t lie about it, nor do I want to falsely portray myself as doing well and glorious. I believe that being “real” far outweighs trying to look good for anyone reading this.
And in case you are wondering… No, I didn’t go back to court or sue for what I was owed for support or expenses. No, I didn’t start a fight and demand anything. I graciously said, “Sure, I’ll take care of it. No worries.” (I’m dead serious. I actually wrote that.) After which, I breathed again. This time, a long, hard breath of real relief…
Why? Because I was no longer dependent on the one who caused this all. I no longer had a need or reason to survive of his dirty dime. Yes, it was a HUGE STRUGGLE, and still is!
The truth is, abuse never really ends. Long after a divorce or settlement, abusers find ways and means of continuing this controlling, manipulative behavior, and people like you and I continue to see our perpetrators try to prohibit, restrain, master, and interfere in our daily lives and every move we make. Some types of abuse that continues after a victim leaves her perpetrator include financial and legal abuse, or abuse by proxy. (I’ll dedicate a post specifically to these later.)
Shortly after, I rewrote my resume and charged out like a raging bull in the middle of a stampede. I found clients and projects I never thought I could get and each week, I nickeled and dimed our way through life. I mean it, grocery coupons, freebies, carpools, meal shares, anything! Geesh! Sometimes I felt terrible, other times I found that I was helping someone else too. The feeling was magnificent. (I got more on turning these financial struggles into opportunities, especially with your kids, in my next post later this week.)
So yes, we are still going through this ordeal and living day by day but we are positive, both the children and myself. We will see what life has in store for us but I trust that God will provide, no matter how hard, and one day we might just make it through this storm and weather the cold together…
I sincerely hope this helps you or someone you know. Be brave, be courageous, be strong… It may not end right away but hope is always around the corner if you believe.
I promise I’ll be in touch more but feel free to send your comments in if there is something you would like to know…
All my love,