Hi DBers, I've been lurking a while and thought I'd provide a short update. Recap: Me (40) Hus (45) Married 20yrs. S:19, S:16, D:13 Normal, church-going family, with regular ups/downs, no 3rd parties. Attended Retrouvaille in '97 and '08. Hx of depression (me) Hx of emotional abuse (H) Left once in May of '07 for 4 weeks, but returned for the kids. Contemplated leaving last summer, when medical sitch (H) spiralled into crisis. Walked in October '08, filed for D, got apartment and took kids with me.
Update: I took a break from the board. Needed to sort things out. In February, the strain on maintaining two households was hurting everyone, so I moved back home. For now, the D is dropped, I can always file later if need be. Here's what I learned: I made many decisions out of Fear. I spent a lot of time living for what might happen, could happen, or what should have happened. I have a tendancy to be co-dependent. While spending time working on the M is good, not much will be accomplished until I get my own act together. I'll journal a while, feel free to read along if you've always wondered what goes on in the head of a WAW. Peace, Goldey
Sara, you have an excellent memory. Seems that my dramatic actions (leaving, taking kids, filing RO and for D) was a giant wake up call for H. Since my return (5 months) he's cleaned up his act. The difference? H says he never thought I'd do it (really leave). Journalling: Abuse. It's a word I still have trouble hearing, and saying. The people around me who are healthy (IC, my sister, even the mediator) all agree that while I wasn't beaten to a pulp, there was definately abuse present. Friends who are close to our sitch (in various stages of acceptance about using the term abuse) tend to agree that my filing a Restraining Order was a legal move to gain custody and nothing more. What to do? Choose healthier friends. It comes down to this. I was so desperate to remain married, at any cost, that I refused to deal with what H admits was 'bad behavior'. I lied to everyone...the ER doc, my closest girlfriends, my pastor. In my mind, I could not accept that calling the police and protecting myself and kids was an option that would improve my life. I thought, "This is the best you can do". Fear kept me from taking a chance that things could be better. I regret sugar-coating things in front of my kids. With some counseling, they're learning that you need to call people on their BS, even when it's your own Dad. And how, exactly, would they learn to stand up for themselves if their own Mother was a doormat? Don't misunderstand, it's not that I stand on the corner and try to educate the neighborhood about the perils of Domestic Violence. What is understood, is that if you cross a certain line with Goldey, she will call the cops and you will get arrested. And as scary as it is, it won't be the end of the world. Peace.
Safe? Yes. Wouldn't have returned otherwise. But living here is not my first choice. However, living with 2 teenagers in a small apartment (nice, but small) presents a few challenges. Life at the Goldeylox Pad... Now keep in mind, I had a TRO (which was modified to a no-contact order in court) so only a half-dozen or so people even had my address and/or phone number. I also had a boatload of assumptions and was totally unprepared for reality. Assumption #1 - S19 was in his first year at school, living on-campus just across town. He and I are close. Never had a moment of trouble with him. When looking for an apartment, it never entered my mind that he would prefer to stay with H. He refused to even spend the night there. Assumption #2 - S16 and D13 would grow to accept that living in an apartment for a few months would be an improvement over the constant tension at the house. Wrong again. Counseling was great for helping D13 find her voice, and she used it! I didn't know she could use such language! Assumption #3 - Our friends would stay out of it. (Secretly I hoped a couple would even see things my way). Nope, to the contrary, friends invited H out to keep his spirits up, and my calls went unreturned. Assumptions #4 - #99 are all variations on the same theme. I knew it was going to be hard on the kids. I even expected some rebellion. Not a mutiny. I'm pausing for a dinner break but I'll be back. Peace.
So there's Goldey, with two of her three bears, in this new place. There were some great things about our new spot. Abundant room for kids to say what was on their minds, instead of being stifled. In the past, H has openly discouraged individual expression (translate: do it my way or else). So the freedom to just tell jokes, move dinnertime, or just veg out was new, and fun. Goldey got to take as long of a bath as she wanted and no one lost their cool over that. I even got a tattoo, something that had been strictly forbidden for the last decade. I was seeing my IC every week, and was getting a lot of support there. But things started to unravel. Once the RO was lifted, there was contact. S16 had no desire to visit, but D13 was going once/week and having a blast each time. Before long, there were daily conversations about "Dad wants you to come home" and "He's really changed". Then, D13 decided she wanted to move back home, and before you know it, I'm the one only seeing her once/week. I continued to isolate, and by late January, I knew I was becoming very depressed. I was in pretty bad shape, and finally decided that perhaps it was worth thinking about going home.
The whole point to leaving was to keep my kids safe. Now, I realize that sounds a bit like a martyr, but it's where I was at. I had already left in May of '07, returning when I realized that living apart from my kids, leaving them in what I consider a bad situation with no protection) just doesn't work for me. I had planned on staying until D13 was up and out. Does this sound co-dependent? Probably. I've never been real good at 'alone'. It's an area I need to improve. So, for now, I'm back home because being alone (and kid-less) is worse. And I pay a lot more attention to expectations and assumptions. I no longer try to predict the future. I'm far less worried about "What will H think", although it comes back up now and again. Ironically, I've had to accept that while I had their best interests in mind, I couldn't MAKE the kids accept that their home life can be toxic at times. When/if, they ever indicate they've had enough and want to leave, I'm ready. That sounds odd, as I read this back. I'm not suggesting that kids should have to make grown-up decisions. What I'm saying is that I tried to rescue people who did not want to be rescued. If that changes, although I don't believe it will, I'll be ready. H has made some changes. Enough that it's better than last summer. Beyond that, I'm not going to hold my breath. Ugh. I'm rambling. There's a lot to sort out when you're a WAW who can't figure out what she really wants. No, check that...I still want the same thing. To give the three bears the best I've got. Now I have to figure out how to do that. Peace.