Free Yet Bound…..

But you said you loved me. That must have been a lie…..

Paulie

My court day came and left. I officially accepted the program offer and all that came with it. That included going to a parenting class, going to a domestic violence class, and paying fees. I also had to check in once a week with the pretrial release program and report my progress. That too came with a fee. I was paying all these fees because I was arrested for defending myself against a bully who was making it nearly impossible to be with my children. I remember there was a day when one of my daughters wanted to come with me but because it was a church night he would not allow her to come even though she was in tears because she wasn’t feeling well. It wasn’t really about her going to church opposed to him wanting that control in saying what she was allowed to do and what she was not allowed to do. I did what any mother would do. My sisters and myself went to the church and picked my daughter up and took her to where I was living at. This did upset him because it made him look bad in front of his peers. I did not go to the church to start a fight. I respected the leaders of the ministry. I went there to pick my daughter up and that is exactly what I did.

There was also an injunction put in place where I could have no contact with my ex directly or indirectly or go within 500 feet of his property. That small piece of paper was all he needed to keep me in compliance and he would use that as another form of ammunition against myself and my children. The injunction also stated that I could not be around any weapons, therefore, I was put on light duty at my job and I was assigned to work in the mail room. I was of course grateful to still have my job, but because my regular shift was twelve hour shifts, I was losing time because working in the mail room was an eight hour position. I asked around and I learned that I could ask the judge to modify the injunction so that I could go back to working my regular shift. Once my court date came around I did as I was told and even though the prosecutors tried to fight it, the judge granted my request and I was able to work my regular shift. That was a small victory for me.

As I got back on shift I was happy to be working with my co-workers again but I was still in a dark place because the parenting class took place on nights that I worked, I needed to be adjusted so that I was able to keep my same hours and I wouldn’t have it count against me. I am grateful to say the my supervisor at the time was very understanding and he granted my those days as long as I had the proper paperwork. The work aspect of my life was in order but my home life was about to take a turn for the worse.

Walking the straight and narrow

The next morning I was released from jail. Since I had never been to jail, a program was offered to me that would allow me to be released from jail without posting a bond. At the time I really didn’t understand what committing to this program meant, however, all I knew was that I was ready to leave and face the consequences of my poor decision. I went before the judge and I was told that I was going to be released on pretrial. Pretrial was a program that offered individuals, such as myself, to be released on bond that is covered by the program in exchange for me agreeing to following the requirements that was offered. In other words, I had to agreed to check in weekly, go to a domestic violence class, and also attend a parenting class since I had minor children and upon completion of the program the charges would be dropped and I could have the record of arrest removed from my background report. Not to mention I had to pay a fee each time I went to the classes. At the time it seemed like a good idea so I agreed to the terms that was offered to me by pretrial. Later on down the line I learned that I didn’t need to take that route.

That afternoon when I was actually able to leave the county jail I was given a change of clothes that included a pair of shorts that was far too big for me and a white t-shirt with some shower slides. I was also given a bus pass as a means to get around since I didn’t have my cell phone or any money. I was so scared because I really didn’t know where I was of how I was going to get to the other jail to retrieve my belongings. That’s when I came across an angel in disguise. There was a girl that too was in jail. She knew her way around and she showed me how to get to where we both needed to go. So I followed her lead. I was completely embarrassed to take the bus in the clothes that were given to me, mostly because everyone who has been to jail knew that I was just released from there. Once we got off the bus we had to walk for what seemed like forever to the jail where our belongings were and when we arrived there, to my surprise, my mom was waiting there to pick me up. I was completely relieved to have seen her. I retrieved my items and was on my way home. The girl who was with me went her way as I went mine.

Immediately after I got my cell phone I called my children to let them know that I was out of jail. The second call I made was to my employer. I was told to go in and bring all of the papers with me that I received from the court hearing. I was really nervous because I heard that the Chief was a mean person who didn’t really care for his staff. However, I knew that it needed to be done and I didn’t want to prolong the process. The next day I went in with all of the documents and I gave it to him and after he looked over it he told me that because I was arrested a month after the police report was made and based on the police report saying that there was no injuries, he told me that I could continue to work but because there was a new restraining order in place that I could only work in a light duty position until the restraining order was cleared. His words almost brought tears to my eyes because things were becoming really hard for me. I just moved into my apartment and a few months after that, the judge had granted my ex husband child support that would have me at paying him nearly half of my monthly salary. I didn’t know how I was gonna survive. I was grateful when the guy from England told me that he would help me out financially until I gotten everything settled and worked out with my ex husband.

I had a brief moment of relief after being let out of jail but that only lasted for about a week. I had to check in with the program that I agreed to take part in upon my release. This was going to be another situation that I was not prepared for. Especially after learning about all of the requirements that I needed to follow in order to remain in the program……

My night in jail…..

After I was hit with the news that I was going to be arrested things felt like they were starting to move in slow motion. The arresting officer grabbed my car keys and my cell phone before I could even react or process what it was that she was saying to me. All I could think about were my children, my job and how he had gotten exactly what he wanted. He wanted me to lose everything I was working so hard for. He was trying to destroy me and I really didn’t understand why. I knew that my leaving him hurt him however, I left him because of mistreatment and lack of respect and although I was not perfect I held him to a standard that I had not held any other person to in my life. At that point, sitting in the police station I knew I was going to be forever changed. I knew my life was not going to be the same any longer. What I didn’t know was just how much of a turn my life was about to take.

If I only knew then what I know know I probably would have chosen differently

Paulie

I really needed to sit back and think about the things that were taking place in that moment. I didn’t want to overreact so all I did was cry. I cried until I had no more tears to shed. I couldn’t be angry, I couldn’t be upset, I was my hurt and devastated more than anything and on top of all of that, I had no one to talk to. I was all alone. I had never been to jail before, I was never handcuffed. I think I just about had a panic attack. In my mind I felt like he was gaining a sense of gratification. Like I said before, he felt like everything that was happening to me was God’s “way of dealing with me” because I left him. In his mind he felt vindicated, he felt like I was getting what I deserved and he was going to ensure that God’s justice for him was going to happen because I left him so I was the one that was out of order. At that time he wanted to play God and he wanted to inflict pain on me be any means necessary. I guess he forgot the scripture Romans 12:19 says. VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY SAYS THE LORD. I knew better than to try to avenge myself, I also knew to never wish hurt or harm to another person because I may find myself in that very position that I am wishing someone else to be in. While he was telling himself that everything that was going on was somehow God’s was of “getting me” he failed to realize that all of his actions were just pushing me closer to a divorce. Seems like those moves were not moves that favored him in saving his “family”.

Once I arrived at the county jail I was escorted to a room by myself and that was due to the type of work I did. I couldn’t be around other people. It was a safety precaution to say the least. I got processed and after hours of sitting in the cell I was told that I was going to be moved to another facility. I was not the happiest, I could not contact anyone. I didn’t have a chance to talk to my mom or anyone else and on top of all of that I was afraid that I was going to have to spend the whole weekend in jail. Thank God that wasn’t my reality. Even though I was in a very bad predicament I met some pretty good people along the way. I was treated very kind while I was in jail. I got brand new clothes and I room to myself. They locked the entire jail down when I arrived there so no inmates could see my face. The room that I had to sleep in had a new mattress as well. I actually slept pretty good. Maybe it was because I was emotionally drained from everything that had taken place or it could have been the fact that it was real quiet and no one bothered me during my stay there. Either way I rested, I felt a sense of calm during the storm. I didn’t think about my ex, all I thought were my children and how me being arrested was going to effect them. Those were the thoughts that brought tears to my eyes and even though I had peace and solitude around me, those were the thoughts I was left with as I cried myself to sleep…..

And It just keeps getting worse….

Before I actually decided on the divorce some major events happened. The first thing that happened was when he applied to have me put on child support. That was a huge shocker to me especially since I endured so much during my marriage. I dealt with his drug addiction, his alcoholism, him be neglectful as a father and through it all I never even once thought about child support or anything else that would degrade him as a father. As soon as he saw me in a vulnerable place he attacked me where he knew it would hurt. He knew that I was looking for a new home for me and my children. I never expected him of all people to behave like that. The second major life changing event that happened was him having me arrested for domestic violence.

Even before all of the court proceedings happened with the child support case, as if seeking child support wasn’t enough, he once again did the unthinkable. He had me arrested on a domestic violence charge. The memory of it all is still fresh in my mind. My daughter called me to take her to the library to print something for school. At first I told her to go to her grandmother’s home to print but it was no printer ink there. When she called me I asked her was her dad there and she told me he was not at his mother’s home. The reason why I asked was simply because I didn’t want to run into him because our encounters were becoming more and more difficult. Once I pulled up to his mother’s house he had gotten there. I’m not sure if he was told that I was on my way there or not but he was making it difficult to have any interactions with my children, even going as far as telling me that they can’t come with me or visit me at my mother’s house where I was living at during that time. Soon as I got there I see my son, who, I had given instructions to stay away from his grandmother’s house because of some issues that I was having with his uncle’s and his aunt. I walked over to my son who was sitting on the passenger side of his dad’s car and I was talking to him. At this time my husband wasn’t outside but I guess he saw me and he came out. He walked to the side of the car where I was standing and began saying things like his son isn’t going anywhere with me and he’s with his dad and I can’t tell him, my son, what to do. At that time I was fed up. I could not take anymore of his bullying and antagonizing behavior. He was in my face and I was so upset that my first reaction was to hit him and that is exactly what I did. Yes, I should have never put myself in that position or given him that much power over me to get that upset but I lived it and I learned from it. 

Once I hit him, and keep in mind, it was a light hit. He had no bruises or marks what so ever. He immediately began yelling saying that he was calling the police because I had assaulted him. If I would have known the events that I was about to go through because of a small hit I surely would have tried to do more damage. I asked him why would he call the police especially since he did many things to me and I not once threatened to call the police. The main reason why he called the police was because of the line of work that I was in. He knew that my employer had a very strict policy when it came to domestic violence and his intentions was for me to be terminated from my job. He later admitted this to me. Once he said he was going to call the police I didn’t know what to do so I got in my car and I left. I probably should have stayed there to give my side of the story but I didn’t. I went home in fear and in tears. I have never been to jail in my adult or been in this situation. I called him and begged him not to call the police and his response was that I was going to jail and I was going to be fired from my job. I was completely distraught. If I could write my emotions so that they could be felt I would do it.

Well, he did call the police but he didn’t press any charges which was silly and a waste of time. I didn’t go to jail that night. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even get arrested until a month later. I received a phone call from a detective and she told me to come in so that I could give my side of the story. I later found out that that was not the reason why she called me in. She called me in with every intention of arresting me. So I went to the police station and gave my statement and she said that my story didn’t match his story so I had to be taken down to the county jail.

My first time being arrested and it was by the hands of a man that I thought really loved me…..

Moving out…..

The time finally came and after some very deep thought I decided that it was time for me to move out. Not because I wanted to end my marriage but because I needed time to think. I told my husband that I was going to move in with my mom and my sisters. Truthfully, I would have prefered if he would have moved out of the home, however, when I asked him to leave he told me that it was “HIS” house and he wasn’t going anywhere and since I was the one who had the problem that I should move. I do believe that he told me that because he really didn’t believe that I would move with my family, especially since he knew that my relationship with my family had be strained for many years. He made sure that it was this way and I constantly felt that I had to chose between him and my family for many years. After speaking with my mom and my sisters about me moving in with them, they all agreed that it was ok for me to do so.

The next hardest thing that I had to do was to leave my four children behind. Before anyone jumps to a conclusion. My children were older at the time therefore they were not babies. The decision that I made to move out without my children was the hardest thing I could have done but I did it because I felt that it was the best decision to make for them. Like I stated before, my intentions for moving out was not to get divorced but it was to get a clear mind and to get away from an environment that was becoming too difficult for me to live in. I never wanted to leave my children behind, but we had a house that we purchased together and I didn’t want to uproot them from their home because I needed time to gather myself. I thought that it would be unfair to them to pull them away from the home that we all knew and move them in my my mother and my sisters. One of my sisters has five children of her own so I didn’t feel like it was a real necessity to move them in with my mom as well. Later, that decision would prove to be a mistake as he used it for leverage. I will share that in a future post. Before I could move out he had gotten a new job which required him to have to be gone for about a week, we talked about it and I decided to postpone moving until he came back from his training. In that time, I had thought long and hard about what I was going to do and I felt that moving would not be the best option because I didn’t want to leave my children behind, I never wanted to move out. I was still in contact with the guy in England and I shared my plans with him. I didn’t mention it to my husband at the time because he was in training. I didn’t even tell my children that I considered moving out.

Sometimes some of the most important decisions to make are never the easy ones to decide on

Unknown

I had spoken to my husband a few days before he was due to come back in town. I asked him when would he be back and he told me that it was none of my business. It didn’t make any sense to me that he wouldn’t tell me his return date but I didn’t press the issue any, I knew we were having some problems and I didn’t want to start an argument with him so I left it alone. The next day came and I was sitting on my bed watching television when out of no where I heard screaming my name and then I heard banging on mt room window. He was back. The way he came screaming and banging on the window made me feel as though he was trying to catch me doing something in the home. That wasn’t the first time that I was accused of doing something. Him popping up on me expecting to find me doing something made me realize that I had to get out of the home. That is exactly what I did. I gathered my things and moved out of our home and moved in with my mom and sisters.

At first it seemed surreal. It felt like I didn’t belong there and I’m sure I felt that way because I knew that my family and I didn’t really get along but I knew that they wanted to be there for me when I needed them. Needless to say, the space was really crowded however, I was happy to be away for the madness that I was experiencing in my home. The worst part of everything was the fact that I couldn’t bring my children with me. I explained to them the best way that I could and each of them understood based on the level that they were at. Nonetheless, it was still very hard. I felt like I failed as a mother and the events that happened after I moved out would prove to be life altering and I was never the same……

I’ve made up my mind….

After it was all said and done I knew that I didn’t really want my marriage to end. He was all that I knew for eighteen years of my life, he was the father of all four of my children, and who else would even consider being with a divorced woman with four children? These was the questions that I had on my mind while I was contemplating leaving my husband. I had to think about how it would effect my children, that was the biggest reason why I stayed for so long. I always told the story that when my husband and I decided to get married it was because I was pregnant with my third child. It wasn’t because of love, although I loved him. Now that I look at I, I’m not even sure if it were love or if it was the mere fact that we had so many kids so young and I had became used to being with him. I was extremely young and I didn’t know or understand the level of commitment I was about to make, I didn’t even really know who I was. I also allowed people to make the decision for me. I was advised that the best thing to do was to get married because we had kids.While I don’t believe that was all bad advice, I do believe that I made the decision based on what other people thought I should do and not what I really wanted to do. No one ever told me that the kids will grow up and leave and that I needed to be sure that I was making the decision to be married for myself and not because I had children. I only realized after I got married that I married him because of the kids.

In all that I was going through I had to accept the fact that he couldn’t love me the way that I knew I needed to be loved. He could only love me the best way he knew how. I think that was the most devastating thing that happened to me. That left me more heart broken than anything else and I knew we would never recover from that.

I decided at that time we needed to sleep in seperate rooms while I came to a decision as to what I was going to do. I already agreed to stop chatting with the guy from England. I even told my husband that I choose my family and I was commited to making it work with him but I needed time to get myself together. He told me that he wanted all or nothing. At that time I knew I was not in the position to give him my all because of the level of pain that I was enduring at his hands. I knew it would take a lot of forgiveness from me in order for us to move on but I knew that I could’t forgive him because he contiued in his same behavior. He wasn’t willing to make the necessary changes to keep his family together. He wanted thigns to remain the same and that was no longer working for me. He didn’t seem to understand what I was going through and all he was really concerned about was his feelings and how I was making him look in front of our peers. It took years for us to get to place where we were so it wasn’t an overnight situation. I endured a lot, I lost a lot, and I gave up a lot in order to be with him. Finally, he asked if I would be willing to talk with the pastor. I agreed and we went to have a sit down with the pastor. As we were sitting there it felt more like a dictatorship. The pastor talked and we listened. Nothing was coming from the meeting and I knew it. I will admit that I had a little to drink before the meeting and I told my husband that I did. He told to pastor as a way to embarass me but I didn’t really care. I was over it and over him. I started communicating with the guy in England since I had no friends and no outlet. I shared with him some of the things that we taking place in the home and he made a very bold statement and said that how can my husband be upset with me when he has been sexually violating you for many years. It had never crossed my mind that I was in an abusive relationship. I had been dealing with it for so long that I was normal. At that moment, a light went off in my head and I realized that for the majority of my relationship I was abused. Just because there really wasn’t physical abuse in the home, I was experiencing it sexually and emotionally.

Staying home was a living nightmare. Every night around midnight he would come into the room where I was sleeping and snatch the covers off of me and demand that we talk. It was as if the devil was talking to him at the same time every night. This happened for about a month and a half. I was becoming exhaused. I still had to work and take care of the kids. The final draw was when he demanding me to talk to him and I told him I had nothing to talk about. He was becoming aggressive and I yelled at him and my childern were in the home. He snatched my phone from me and walked out of the house and when I followed him into the back yard he literally grabbed me by my shirt and began pushing and shoving me. He took my phone and hurled it into the neigbors yard and told me to go and find it. I knew that that was enough. If he can do these things in front of our children then it’s really time for me to get out of this relationship. So I did what any woman who is fed up would do.

I packed my bags and I moved out…..

Heartbroken…..

From my last post I talked about being at a crossword with my decision to stay or leave my husband. I was debating it for a very long time and I had hopes that he would someday see how much he was hurting me. I pleaded with him and everything, I even asked him if we could go to counseling. Of course he didn’t see the point of it so we didn’t attend even one counseling session. Eventually I had given up all efforts and just accepted that my life was going to stay just the way it was. The days became months and the months became years and yet there was still no change or no growth in me or in him. The main cause of my unhappiness was the fact that I didn’t feel like I was his wife, I felt more like property that he owed. You see, he wasn’t a cheater but he was very controlling, and sexually abusive. There were times when I would ask him for something as simple as to getting my hair done and often times his response was “what are you going to do for that” . That made me feel as if I were his personal prostitute. When I would say that I felt like I was a prostitute he would ask me how can I be a prostitute when we are married. I explained to him that prostitution is anything involving payment for a sexual act is considered prostitution. Of course he didn’t agree. He felt like because I was his wife that I was supposed to accept anything and that was not true nor was it something that I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. I knew that I deserved better but I didn’t know what better was so I took things for what it was and I continued to go about my life in that manner. Now, I did work but we had a joint account and he managed all of our expenses so I would usually ask him what was left over and could I have it to get something that I liked. Most times it was no. Let me rephrase that, when it came to the things that I wanted, his answer was no but the things he wanted he made sure he got it even if he had to do extra work in order to get it. He was also very giving especially when it came to the people who were in church. I didn’t have a problem with his giving, as a matter of fact the bible says that it is better to give than to receive but when your giving is taking away from the needs of the family, it’s a problem. He would do work for free even when we didn’t have money to eat with. When I would tell him that I didn’t think it was right that he do work for free he would say things like he was serving the man of God and doing it for the church. Once again my concerns were made to be irrelevant.

I remember one day we were talking about the house that we just purchased and I mentioned to him that the house wasn’t my dream home but it was good as a starter home for us at the time. The house we purchased was to his liking but I didn’t care too much for it. For one, I didn’t like the area, two I thought it was far too small for our family, and three it just wasn’t my dream home. I would have never picked the house myself. I expressed those feelings to him before we got the house yet I went ahead with the purchase because I was convinced that there wouldn’t be another opportunity for us to get a home. I once again believed him, although it didn’t matter because whatever he said went and we brought the home. So when I brought up the fact that the house was a good starter home and one day we could sell and get our dream home he told me that I was ungrateful and he’s never moving from that house and if I didn’t like it I could move out by myself. Oddly enough, that is exactly what happened. Over time, after moving into the home I stopped talking about having a dream home as this was his dream and I was only living in it.

I started looking into other things to do and developed an interest in health and fitness. I told him that we should start eating better and start exercising more since we were getting older. It was always a goal of mine to live a healthy life that included healthy eating habits and exercise. He declined my suggestion and told me that I was basically on my own. I began looking for a gym in my area and was introduced to one through one of my friends. Her and I started going to the gym together and I had fallen in love with it. In the background, I was playing this online game and I came across another gamer who was into the same things that I was. He was basically telling me about meal preparation and giving me tips for workouts in the gym. I really didn’t think much of our conversations because they were innocent another reason why I didn’t think much about it is because he lived in England and I lived in the United States. I only considered him a pen pal. At this time my marriage was really going downhill but I made it my business to never talk about my marriage to anyone especially another man. One day however, I went against my better judgement and I made a comment to my guy from England and I told him that I was packing my bags and leaving. From that day forward I began to share with him the things that I was dealing with in my marriage and he would often give me good advice and tell me to continue to work on it. So I did and one day I sat down with my husband and I was so happy to tell him about this new pen pal that I made. He immediately got upset and told me that I broke his heart and I was cheating on him. I was so confused about what he had told me and I believed that I did something wrong. He used that to his advantage and told me the only way that I could make it up to him was if I gave him oral sex until he finished. I was so hurt because I felt like he was my best friend and I thought I could tell him anything and he wouldn’t judge me or look down on me but I was wrong. His demands were heartbreaking and it took me by surprise however, I really thought that I hurt his feelings and I wanted nothing more than to make it up to him so of course I did what he asked and I felt disgusted by it. I cried, not because I had to do it, but because I felt I was taken advantage of by the one person who was to love me unconditionally and that love that I once had for him went away with that one act.

It was time for me to love myself again…..