This fourth of July I truly feel free. I have closure in my life from a man who kept my life in the palm of his hand for years. We fought because I’m strong and wouldn’t allow him to pull the strings that he so diligently put on me to control me. When we didn’t fight it was because I chose peace instead. He held me financially, mentally and emotionally in his palm and when provoked, unprovoked or angry he would throw my life to the ground and stomp on it and watch me bleed. Then when HE decided, (the silent treatment could last 1 hour to 3 weeks) he would tenderly pick me up, love me, tell me how much he loved me and try to put me back together again but each time this happened over 28 years, pieces were missing, too smashed to put back into place and I became less and less whole.
It took me a long time after we split to not hear his demands in my head. I was happy not to have to worry about having the house colder, the way I liked it or worry about being too tired to do the dishes but for a long time…until very recently, I would still hear the voice of disapproval. It was so freeing to eat when I wanted, go to bed when I wanted…this is a man who told me my paralegal job was interfering in our marriage because I didn’t work normal hours. Normal hours were retail like his hours. And here I was, not living in fear anymore of his tantrums, put-downs, and disapproval but I would walk around waiting for the shoe to drop, even after he left. He found ways through the children to poke at me. He found ways through email and by calling Child Protective Services on me. He found ways to still hurt me and smash my life to the ground even when living apart. (withholding child support in an attempt to control me and not paying his share of our son’s Disney trip because he knew it would strap me for cash.) Only this time, when it happened after he left, I wasn’t looking for him to love me and heal me. I knew by this time that he was incapable of love and only loved himself so I had to pull MYSELF together. I had to learn to ask for help from friends when I didn’t feel strong enough and I needed to let go of his voice in my head telling me how worthless I was. I was lucky enough to have a friend who later became my boyfriend, be my voice of logic. We balanced each other perfectly as I wear my heart on my sleeve and he is logical beyond logic. He helped me balance myself. He helped me keep my head above water as did my friend Reenie who would literally pull me out of bed when I could not get out.
I’ve been through a hell of a lot in the past 5 years. He kicked the boys and I out of our home..the only home my boys have known and then blamed me. I’ve had to deal with my children’s anger. I call myself FEMA. He comes through like an emotional hurricane and I pick up the mess when they come home or get off the phone. But I can tell you this there is no obstacle that I have faced that compares to being crushed every day in every way by the one who is supposed to hold you up, help you up, love you and care. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY…..HE CRUSHED ME, CRUSHED MY SOUL.
His girlfriend, who has left him 3 times in the time they have been together, his workers, I know they see the rage…the imbalance. It seeps through the cracks because he can’t keep it contained all the time. It might not fully come forth in those situations of work and a new “pretend” perfect relationship but it comes through. I know they don’t understand it just as I didn’t because you can’t wrap your head around someone’s blatant disrespect for you as a human. I know there are customers for his business that won’t go in there anymore because of the mood he was in on the day they walked in. I guess if I had one wish for the girlfriend, it would be that she would follow her intuition as I did not. His many redeeming qualities will not make up for his inability to love anyone but himself. I would say to her, ” He doesn’t even love his children enough to do what is right, how can he love you?” I pray for her as she seems like a nice woman and has always been wonderful to my boys.
BUT…I AM FREE….I’m free!!! I had full closure this weekend and I am free and no matter how many times I thought I was there…I was not 100% there. I am now and it feels so good! And the others in his life, I can only worry about my children, not them. They are going to have to find their way but should they ask, I will share my experience because I no longer silence myself or shy away from the fact that I survived domestic abuse. I, MARYLEE ALMEKINDER, HAVE SURVIVED DOMESTIC ABUSE and it feels wonderful.