My father and I recently had an argument about whether a women should or should not get divorced from a person who is abusive. The story is posted under Abusive and Controlling Emails – Email Traps. I had stated my personal belief that a women and her children (should she have any) should leave and get to safety. My father mistakenly believed I was advising anyone reading this blog to get divorced. No matter what I said to the contrary he was unwilling to hear anything else.
I have not replied to my father’s latest attempts at contacting me because I really do not want to argue. I almost sent him a message telling that but I really do not want to stir anything up again. I spoke to my mother about the conversation because it was really odd how angry he was. She wondered if he was really angry at her for divorcing him but was directing it at me instead. In my entire life I do not think my father has ever lashed out directly at me like that.
Today I was watching the news and heard a disturbing report about a women shot by her husband in Brookfield Wis. The story describes a history of abuse, jealousy and threats. There is even a sentence regarding a threat of throwing acid on her face. Anyway, the story says she was in the process of getting divorced. The report stated she was able to get a protective order against him after he slashed her tires. The story ends with the husband going to the Salon she worked at and opened fire. Several people died and others were injured.
These types of stories just break my heart because I understand what it is like to be harassed and tormented by an angry ex-spouse. My ex-husband never physically hit me but he did enough things to make me afraid of him. I feel equally as frustrated that there isn’t enough protection against abuse. I also know I was more afraid of leaving my ex-husband than of staying with him which sounds strange. I was afraid if I told him I would leave then he would do something crazy. Like my staying with him was keeping in under some sort of control.
My ex-husband took Kung Fu and would describe how he could kill a person with one hit to the throat. He use to say things to me like, “I have been so pissed at you at times, I could have thrown you through a wall, but I don’t.” Why would anyone even think or say such a thing. He also said that he could be my best friend or my worst enemy. Looking back I am not sure why I was so afraid of him physically hitting me, I guess because he was so unpredictable. I never knew what made him tick. He would get so pissed about the smallest things and stay perfectly calm about other things. The times I was sure he would flip out he stayed calm and vice versa. Plus, he drank and awful lot and I am pretty sure he was doing drugs too. I have more understanding about the Domestic Abuse and the Alcohol/Drug usage as being two different problems. I had also questioned at times if he was Bi-Polar or if it was the effects of alcohol and drug use causing his erratic behavior.
When I left him the first time I remember his behavior being extremely erratic. I am not sure what the problem was at that time. I just felt very afraid of him and wanted to avoid him as much as possible. I had even planned to tell him I wanted a divorce at our marriage counseling appointment and then leave to go visit my mom straight after. I really believed he might hurt or kill me for wanting a divorce. He would often explode in anger after drinking too much and I had started bringing my daughter into our bed, sleeping with the door locked and the cell phone in my hand.
Some of that fear was built up over time and I had become chronically anxious, had migraines, stomach problems and panic attacks. Getting a protective order would not have been an option for me because he had never hit me or threatened to hurt me. He had kicked a hole in our bedroom door, physically blocked me from leaving the house with his body, hovered over our daughter when I planned to leave. Some of the fears were just ‘implied’.
It is odd to think how much time I spent thinking about how to not make him angry. Yet, I know now I had no control over his emotions. I really believed I could somehow cause or even prevent him from getting pissed off. We have a child together and on some occasions I am forced to contact him. Even today I will spend extra amount of time carefully composing my email to present the topic in the best way I can to prevent him from being stirred up. Ironic, his temper is 100% not in my control. Although I know better I will still try to carefully approach him.
My ex-husband has backed off a lot in the past few years with directing his anger at me. He has opted for more subtle forms of abuse, like using our daughter to upset me. I hate to admit that is a pretty effective way to upset me. I really hate him for doing that to our child because she should never be in the middle. Sometimes I have a temporary breakdown and say this will never end… then afterwards I calm down, regroup and choose to get stronger.