A bit of a slump…

Well today has been a real up and down day.

Today was a work day, which is usually a good thing.  Work itself was actually good.  And I like fridays.  Not because it’s the day before the weekend (especially as I only work part time so I often have week days off work) – because I actually look forward to work most days.  But rather friday is “tying off loose ends day”.  I try to finish off anything I’m working on (hate leaving things unfinished).  I usually write a report of what I’ve done that week which is satisfying (usually) to be able to look at what I’ve done all neatly summarised, and be able to say “Hey, I’ve achieved something”.  Even on the weeks where it doesn’t look like much, it still quantifies it which makes me feel like I achieved something.

As much as I miss nursing, I like now working in a job where success is more than just “kept patients alive today”.  I mean, at times, literally keeping people alive was my job, and nursing has to be one of the most important and noble jobs I know – but it could be very depressing at times to know the majority of my job was stopping things getting worse, rather than actually making things better.

But anyway, my job now is really satisfying because I can look back and say “okay, this week I achieved x, y and z”.  Having solid achievements is really good.  On the flip side, it can also means when I underachieve, it’s very obvious, but it’s like my view on criticism and “failures” – as long as it leads to future improvement, it is really helpful to know what went wrong and why.  It’s one of my annoyances with my former mother in law – trying to explain to her that not everyone despises being told what they did wrong.  I mean sure, criticism can sting, especially when you’ve honestly tried your hardest and/or had the best intentions, BUT I’d rather have that short term sting of being told what I did wrong, than to keep making the same mistakes over and over because I didn’t know I was doing something wrong (or what I was doing wrong) and no one could be bothered telling me.

I’ve never really understood the desire to run away from things that hurt a tiny amount but can help greatly.

But anyway, that’s not even what I started to write this post about.  I was actually just planning to share my day.

So work was good, doing the usual friday stuff was good.  The not so good part?  Well we said goodbye to one of our management team.  The second this month.  Not because of anything bad – just moving on to bigger and better things.  It seems to be common in most workplaces these days.  Maybe I just lack ambition, but I just want to settle into a job that makes me happy and do that for the rest of my working life.  For example, I’d be quite happy to do what I’m doing now for the rest of my life.  I mean sure, I’d like to learn more complex things, get more experienced, achieve more, but the job itself is one I’d be happy having for life.  And I know I never want to be a manager!  I mean, leading people itself isn’t all that terrible, but I just think I’d never be able to cope with all the emotional responsibility of having to take care of employees under me.

So anyway, it sucks losing two of our managers because I relied on them a lot for both learning how to do my job and just for the encouragement to not give up in my job.  I’m not sure if I’ve talked much about my job (probably not as I don’t tend to talk about current jobs much because the reality is, most employers don’t like being talked about out of fear of being perceived negatively) but what I will say is it’s in a field I’m not very experienced, skilled or educated in.  Every day I have to convince myself that I’m not a burden just turning up to work.  Everyone keeps reassuring me that I’m a fast learner, but even in an ideal world, I’m that far behind everyone else, that I will never catch up.

And with what John is putting me (and the kids) through, putting the kids first (something I do without hesitation or regret) has taken it’s toll on my work (or can I say career? I want it to be my career not just a job).  I really have no hesitation or regret putting progress in my job on hold to be there for my children – but it does make me really sad because it’s one more way John has been abusive.  He knew what he was doing would have this impact on my job – in fact, I’m quite sure he believed I would get fired from missing as much work as I have done over the last few months.  He certainly knew it would damage it from a career perspective since my career plan was to apply for a job where he works and now that is out as I don’t even want to be on the same planet as him.

But in regards to my current job, I’ve just had so much time off. I’ve missed so many important things like training, promotion opportunities, etc.  I think what has brought it back so strongly today is having the managers who were helping me do most of my training have now both left, and I ended up having a chat over morning tea with a manager of an area I had been going to advance into but now that is put on hold indefinitely and may not happen at all.  Even if I get an offer again, I don’t think I have either the confidence or the time and focus to take the offer.

I’ve had to cut back my hours twice in the last few months on top of all the time I’ve had off.  John is going to make custody a long, drawn out nightmare battle in family court which is going to mean more time off work.  I was hoping to do a diploma at uni but that is on hold. I had been hoping to try again in semester 2 this year, but after talking to a good friend from work today, I think I have to admit to defeat and accept uni isn’t going to happen this year, and more than likely never happen.  Even at the best of times, being a single parent means doing the work of two parents, but throw in John’s obsession with revenge and him trying to use the kids as weapons and what is going to be a long drawn out custody battle, at this point, not only is uni not likely to happen ever, but I may have to cut back my days at work even more, which would mean no advancement at work at all more than likely.

I’d give up work altogether in a heart beat if I had to for my kids’ sake, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt when I have to keep giving up more and more.  It’s not their fault though.  There is only one person at fault and that is John.  And the saddest thing is, I’ll be fine – I’ve been unemployed before, I’ve worked in low level jobs with little chance of advancement most of my working life, etc – but it’s my girls it will hurt most.  I’m hugely below the poverty line now, and all I can think of is the opportunities that most aussie kids take for granted that I now can’t provide for girls.

Being poor is devastating – not for my sake – I grew up poor but the only thing I hated about it was the way my parents dealt with it emotionally – but I feel devastated at the opportunities Sammie and Rose won’t have because I don’t have the money for it.  And that really hurts.

But anyway, again, this post was only supposed to be sharing my day.  So where was I? work good, saying goodbye to another manager sad, being reminded of lost opportunities sad,…. oh and accidentally hurt a friend’s feelings.

I’ve had a friend who has become a really good friend over the last few months, supporting me amazingly through all the hell John has been putting the girls and I through.  Anyway, after a long day, a long week, a long year, I’m so exhausted that my brain is also exhausted.  I said something to my friend which I thought might help a situation, but turned out to be totally the wrong thing.  I apologised profusely and I think things are back to okay, but I just hate upsetting anyone.

In an old sci fi show I used to watch (by “old” I mean 1990s lol), there was an episode about a machine that could suck the pain and suffering out of one person to another.  I think it was described like an exchange of “life force”.  But that’s the kind of thing I wish I had for emotions.  I wish I could suck other people’s emotional pain out of them.  I’m okay with feeling pain myself, but I hate seeing other people I care about suffer.  It’s why I feel awful to have upset my friend, even though it was supposed to be an attempt at helping.  And it’s why I hate what John is doing to Sammie and Rose – because he is making them suffer terribly emotionally, and I just so much want to take away their pain, but I can’t, and it’s breaking my heart to watch them suffer, and know that I’m doing everything I can possibly think of to help them but it won’t stop John from hurting them.

So that was my up and down.  Up for work being good as usual, down for saying goodbye to awesome managers, upsetting a friend accidentally, and thinking about everything John’s hatefulness has cost my Sammie, Rose and I.

Even while writing this post, something else came up that I won’t write about (just plain too exhausted to write more), but it’s just one more thing that John’s hate and spite has cost the girls and I.

I honestly completely understand why some women just stay quiet about violence and abuse.  Because all too often women and children who speak up about violent and abusive men are the ones who are punished.  The abuser gets off scot free, while the victims are the ones who are left to pick up the shattered pieces of their lives without little or no support, and sadly quite often, with the condemnation of the very people who are supposed to be supportive.

I can’t write any more tonight because I’m far too tired, but the reality is, it just hurts too much to write more about tonight.  Part of me wishes I’d just put up with the abuse in silence.  Speaking up hasn’t lessened the abuse. In fact, even though the way the abuse is dished out has changed, the abuse itself has become far more damaging overall.  Especially with his emotional abuse of the kids.  I wish I’d just taken the violence, being denied basics like medications and food, the constant daily stream of verbal and emotional abuse and all the rest… I just wish I’d taken it in silence.  I mean sure, it would have eventually crushed my spirit, but I just keep thinking if I had done that, then he wouldn’t be crushing Sammie and Rose’s spirits now with what he doing.

But I don’t have a time machine, I can’t change the past.  What’s done is done.  All I can do is keep trying to picking up the pieces of our lives faster than he shatter new pieces.  All I can do is hope the gullible people who continue to support him while he continues to abuse the girls and I, will eventually see what kind of person he really is and stop support him as long as he is abusive.  It may not stop him being abusive, but it may limit the damage.

That’s all I can hope for at the moment.  It’s just hard watching people turn a blind eye to the abuse while my girls are suffering so much because of him.

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Not a title…

This is actually a post I started a few days ago and realised I never finished it so here goes on finishing it.

Usually when I write a post, I know what I want to title the post before I even start.  Tonight I don’t have the first clue what to call this post.  I don’t even know what I want to write about either.  There are so many things to say but no words are coming.

I guess what is foremost on my mind is something I’ve always felt – that in many ways, divorce is more painful than death.  I don’t want to take away from those who have lost someone to death, but, even though I have never lost a spouse to death, I have lost others I love to death, and even though it’s incredibly painful, why divorce hurts me personally much more than death, is that it’s more than the loss of a spouse.

Cutting John out of my life (as much as possible when you share a child) has been surprisingly easy – emotionally I mean.

But it’s the loss of relationships with people I thought were family and friends that has been incredibly painful.  Sadly some of the mostly hurtful ones are actually try to still claim they are friends and family – which is even more painful because they are the ones who have done things to actively help John abuse the kids and I, and helped him cover up the abuse from  others.

I think sadly in their own minds, some of them actually think they are good people, that they are being “loving” but in reality they are little more than abusers themselves.  Some of them know what they are doing, they are aware they are being deceitful, they know they are being manipulative, they know they are betraying trust, but in their own minds, they justify it because they believe John’s lies about the violence and abuse, they feel sorry for him, and that the ends justifies the means.

What they don’t see is that lying, being deceitful, betraying trust, manipulating and bullying is never justified – and even if it was ever justified, in this circumstance, where they are helping a violent abuser, is just compounding the abuse.  And the family members who try to claim they still love Sammie, Rose and I? they have no idea what love is.  You don’t turn a blind eye to violence and still claim you love someone.

I know some abusers (those like John) are narcissistics, and especially extremely high IQ ones like him are so good at manipulating people – and a big part of it is they honestly believe their violence and abusive behaviours are not abuse, and therefore their victims are “abusing” them by speaking out, and it justifies trying to punish the victims.

But I would give anything for those who defend him to see the truth.

And the sad thing is,  I think deep down, some of them do see at least some of the truth, but they are so desperate to not face that the man they love and have defended and done bad things themselves for, that they won’t face it.  For them to admit that he is a violent abuser, means having to admit they’ve treated me so badly themselves, that they have actively participated in helping an abuser commit abuse.

And that’s how I’ve discovered over the last few months (a few years for some of them who have known about the violence and other abuses longer) who is real family, who is a real friend – and who isn’t.  Sadly, out of John’s 8 immediate family members, I can only say one has acted like real family to me, despite many claims over the last 5 years that when I married him, I was being welcomed into the family.  And even that person doesn’t want to believe her brother is an abuser.  But at least she is trying to act like family.  Some of the others are just staying right out of it, because we haven’t been close at all, but others aren’t staying out it and have actively supported John in his abusive behaviour, and that really hurts.

And as for mutual friends? I have painfully discovered there really is no such thing.  Funny thing is, I only trusted two of his friends enough to not cut them out of my life, and one of them turned out to be a backstabbing bully herself – one who I least expected with the way she claimed to be so anti-bullying. [I will add there is a sort of third “mutual friend” but I met her before I met him so she’s not included – just in case she’s reading and thinks this is talking about her].

The thing is, what hurts the most isn’t what these “family” and “friends” have done – what hurts the most is how stupid I was to think that these people were my family and friends.  I made that mistake when my first marriage broke down – seeing how fickle family-in-law and “mutual” friends can be, and I swore I would never trust in laws and “mutual friends” again.  And yet here I am.

And this time it hurts more because, unlike my first in laws and my first husband’s friends who are a bunch of illicit drugs who are okay with domestic violence and child abuse when it suits them (and into all sorts of dishonesty, including centrelink fraud, petty theft and so on), my second in laws and second husband’s friends, is that most of them seemed like good people.  Most of them really think they are good people (as I described above).

I just feel so incredibly stupid.  These are people I praised for being so welcoming to me into their lives.  I praised them, thinking how kind and loving they were.   Even when my gut said “hey, this doesn’t feel right”, I ignored my instincts and convinced myself it was just fear of being hurt again.  I stupidly convinced myself that I was being silly.

I haven’t written much about aspergers for a while, but I think it plays a big part of how I ended up in this situation.  There are a lot of people out there who believe that us aspies don’t have instincts, “gut feelings” and the like.  But the truth is, I think us aspies actually have really good instincts – but we have had a life time of being told either we don’t have them, or they are wrong, so we have learnt to ignore those instincts, and for many of us (at least from what I’ve seen in aspie women) it means we do end up in situations like abusive relationships frequently.

I’ve been blessed to find a small group of other women in an online support group for aspie DV survivors and both their support, and their sharing of their lives, is what has kept me sane over the last year or so since I joined their group.  But while it has been a blessing to find out that I’m not a freak – that others have been through similar, and sadly, are still going through, very, very similar circumstances – it is also a curse knowing that others have suffered and are suffering the same.  I feel their pain greatly – anyone who says us aspies don’t feel empathy have no understanding what aspergers is really like – for many of us, it’s not a lack of empathy at all – it’s hyperempathy, and it’s overwhelming to care so much and not be able to do anything to take away other people’s pain.

And that’s part of why John is doing right now hurts so damn much – because I see my children’s pain – and for whatever reason, he doesn’t see it.  He doesn’t see what he is doing to them, the crushing pain they feel.  And I see their pain, and it breaks my heart into a million tiny itty bitty pieces.  And because he’s fooled so many people, I am helpless to stop him from the ongoing emotional abuse he is doing to them – and as I’ve said many times before, I know myself that emotional abuse can be far worse than any physical abuse, because I’ve been through it as a child myself.  And it breaks my heart to watch my kids being ripped apart emotionally – I mean yes, it’s very different to the abuse I suffered as a child, but at the end of the day, it’s still a parent destroying a child emotionally, and  it absolutely crushes me to watch John destroying the kids emotionally.

I want to protect my girls because when I was their age (both when I was Rose’s age – which for me is the first I remember of being abused as a child myself, and when I was Sammie’s age, when the abuse went through a very bad patch), when I was their age, I had no one to protect me.  And feeling so helpless to protect them now, makes me feel like a monster.

It’s not that I’m not trying.  I’ve tried everything possible that isn’t immoral or illegal to protect them, and sadly I’m not someone who believes the end justifies the means.  I feel like if I had to resort to things that are immoral or illegal like John and some of those who stupidly support him have done, then that would make me as bad as he is.  And while many would argue “but it’s for a good cause”, but if I become like him, then I don’t deserve to be in their lives either.

And that’s why I feel so helpless.  Being a good parent to them means there is nothing I can do in the short term to stop John hurting them.

It’s that paradox that I can’t get out of my head – that I can’t help them without becoming a bad person which means failing them, but if I do the right thing and choose to be a good person and setting them an example of doing the right thing no matter how hard that is (which to me is being a good parent) means I can’t help them in the short term, which means I’m still failing them.

And that’s what so hard about the situation I’m in.  The funny thing is, I can forgive John for the violence, I can forgive him for all the other abuses except one – the fact that he’s put us in the situation where my girls are hurting and that no matter what I do (at least in the short term) I can’t make things better for them.  And that’s the worst situation for any loving parent to be in – having to watch their children suffer and knowing whatever you do, you can’t take away their suffering.

That’s what I can’t forgive John for.  For hurting my beloved girls and that I can’t stop their hurt.

So anyway, sorry for the focus of my recent posts being all about domestic violence, but after having kept it pent up and secret for so long, combined with all the horrific things that have happened and continue to happen recently, it’s all I can think about.

I will try to get back to a more varied range of posts one day, but for now, I have what can only be described as an burning urge to share the painfully real, raw emotions that go with finally realising that my entire marriage, John has been abusive – right from our honeymoon – and that there was no “only”s and “just”s about the times John has assaulted the kids and I, that for too long I was fooling myself that we could have a normal loving marriage and a normal loving family – that no matter what I did, while no one else is willing to confront John about the violence and other abuses, he was never going to be a loving father or husband.

I want other survivors (even though I often say “victims”, the reality is those who suffered domestic violence are all survivors and that should be recognised – we are survivors, we have survived and we will keep surviving) – I want other survivors to know that the emotions they feel when they reach that point of seeing the abuse entirely for what it is – very wrong, very bad, and completely not okay – I want them to know that they will feel strong emotions, they will feel a massive range of emotions, they will sometimes feel overwhelmed by those emotions, that the emotions will ebb and flow like waves on a shore, sometimes there will even be waves that seem to hit all at once, and other times there will be times of more relief, but just like waves on a shore, what they are feeling is natural, that there is no “right or wrong” in the emotions that they feel, that it’s okay to have bad days – and it’s actually okay to have good days, that you don’t have to feel guilty over finding moments of peace and/or happiness in this difficult time.

I want survivors to know, they are not alone.  That others have been through similar.

And I want them to have hope, that if enough of us share our stories, that we can maybe, just maybe, one day make a world where people do take domestic violence, child abuse and all sorts of abuses seriously and where no one has to suffer abuse at the hands of any other person, especially not a person who claims to love them.

That’s why I keep coming back to this blog, even though it’s painful to write – because I want to make a difference to others going through the same as I have.  Because even if I can help one person, then maybe my suffering was in some way worth it.

Stay strong…

There are days…

There are days when I have so much to share but don’t have the words.

Today is one of them.

John’s manipulative abusive games over the last 24 hours have hurt Sammie so badly.  I just can’t understand how he can be so cruel to her and yet still con people with his lies about caring about her.

I just hurts too much because I feel so trapped – he is only hurting her to hurt me, but there is nothing I can do to stop him.  I have tried everything.

Why are abusers obsessed with hurting their victims? Why can’t just they just walk away?

Fed Up!

Well apparently I didn’t hit send on last night’s post but I’m too annoyed to bother writing it tonight.

I’d have thought John wouldn’t be able to be as abusive once we were no longer married.  But I thought wrong.

He can’t be physically abusive anymore, but his manipulative emotional abuse, harassment, abusing the kids emotionally, causing chaos and mayhem in their lives, etc, are all escalating, not decreasing.

Yet, like most narcissists, he likes to pretend he is the victim no matter how much he tries to hurt the kids and I.

Tonight’s manipulative game?  He’s dragging out things like trying to arrange for him to spend some time with Sammie tomorrow so she doesn’t feel neglected by him, for hours, keeping me awake when I have to get up ridiculously early in the morning for work these days thanks to the abusive interim custody arrangement he demanded until I can actually take it to court in a few months.

I’m sick of his abusive games, so I’ve said I want to take arrangements for minor things like this to a mediator and he won’t even give a simple yes or no about if he’s willing to do it.

It’s been over four hours he’s been dragging this out.  A simple yes or no question of whether he is willing to do it or not.

But apparently giving a straight answer (or any answer that is relevant to the question) would be to give up an opportunity for him to try to abuse and control me.

I can’t make him see it’s the kids he’s destroying.

Or what scares me is fear that he does see it and that’s exactly why he does it – because he knows hurting them is the only way to hurt me.

Despite everything he has done to Sammie and Rose and me, I still want to give him the benefit of the doubt when there is any doubt.

I want to believe he is just acting like a spoilt child, not a cold calculating monster.  I want to believe he’s not deliberately trying to destroy the kids – I want to believe that he is blind to the damage to the kids that his spiteful attempts to abuse and control me through them cause.  I want to believe his abuse of the kids and I are just the tantrums of an angry toddler who has been caught out doing the wrong thing but instead of saying sorry to their mummy and daddy, they lash out violently instead.  I want to believe his motivations are anger, feeling entitled, selfishness, and a lack of cognitive empathy.

But deep down I’m finding it harder to believe that.

Deep down, I’m scared that the truth is that it’s real empathy he lacks (a total lack of care for the damage his actions have on those around him, versus just the inability to notice the impact his actions have).  I’m scared he’s well aware of the damage he is doing to the kids, and that he is doing it because he knows the only way to hurt me is to hurt my kids.  I’m scared that his narcissism isn’t just mild – I’m scared that he has no sense of right and wrong – especially since I know for sure he has no sense of what is abuse and what isn’t, or more precisely thinks someone simply voicing a different opinion to him is “abusing” him, but that him violently assaulting someone because he’s in a bad mood (even his own child) is perfectly acceptable behaviour and not abuse.

Either way…. how do I get him to stop emotionally destroying the kids?  Whether it’s deliberate to hurt me, or simply because he doesn’t care if they are collateral damage in his obsession with getting revenge on me for speaking up about his violence, how do I get him to stop?

The things I haven’t yet found the words, or the time, to write about is the disgustingly evil things he has done to wrangle shared custody until I can get a court hearing in a few months.  And how child protective services have taken the view that unless a “professional” witnesses his abuse of the kids, then it’s “up to the family court to decide”.  So until I can get a hearing date, he can keep abusing the kids unchecked.  It doesn’t matter how many people come forward with complaints of his abuse of the kids, family, friends, neutral third parties, etc… basically if they are not a “professional” considered relevant to child protective services, then CPS isn’t interested.

So he gets away with it.

I just wish I knew whether his emotions were that of an angry little boy lashing out impulsively, or a calculating, misogynistic, narcissistic grown man.  And I’m truly terrified that all the evidence points to the latter.

How does one deal with someone so hell bent on revenge?

I don’t know – all I know is the things I’ve already had him do very deliberately, whether he sees how much they hurt the kids or not, absolutely terrify me.  I just want him to leave us alone.  It’s all I want.