I remember being upstairs with my younger son.  He was only a few months old.  I did not feel well all of a sudden.  I carried my son down the stairs and walked into the living room.  I said, “Take him.  Take him!”  My abuser said, “Why?  I’m watching this.  Why do I need to take him?”  I practically threw my son at him as I felt myself faint and the pain crushing my chest.  I wasn’t able to get away from the coffee table because he wouldn’t take our son initially.  I fainted into the Christmas tree right near the couch and hit my side on the coffee table.  I knocked the Christmas tree down.  I remember him looking down at me in almost disgust.  “What is wrong with you?  What the  hell?”  He didn’t help me up.  He wasn’t concerned, he was mad.  I laid on the floor saying. “I don’t feel good.  I feel really sick.  My chest hurts. I fainted.”  “Jesus Christ, get up.”  I finally got up and went into the bathroom. I had searing pain in my chest.  I couldn’t take a full breath.  My breath could only be taken in very shallow gasps.  I was scared.  I was sweating.  I came out of the living room, holding my chest and through ragged breaths, I said, “I need you to call 911.”  “Quit being so dramatic.  I’m not calling 911, the neighbors will see them arrive.”  I went into the bathroom and laid on the cool floor. I was praying   “Please don’t let me be having a heart attack.  My boys need me.  God, please.”  I pulled myself up and grabbed an aspirin and put it under my tongue.  I was gasping to breathe.  I walked out again and through ragged breath I finally got out, “You need to call 911.”  The conversation went something like this. “Jesus, Christ, you are such a drama queen.  Ummm, yeah my wife says she can’t breathe or something.  I don’t know.  Maybe she’s having a heart attack or something.  I have no idea.  Yeah, I guess you should send someone.”  I was gasping for air.  By the time the ambulance arrived, the pain had stopped and my breathing was returning to normal. The crew checked me over and suggested I go to the hospital.  “I’m not going with you.  You will have to find someone to pick you up.”  My neighbors offered to go and sat in the waiting room for 3 hours.  I would have liked my neighbors to stay with the kids and have my ex there but that was asking too much.  Later I would find out I had a gall stone the size of my gall bladder. It would never have passed.  Not once did he apologize for allowing me to remain in pain for 30 minutes before calling 911.  Not once did he apologize for not helping me up or taking the baby.  He was more concerned that the neighbors saw the lights of the ambulance at our house.  I never understood why something like that would be more important than how you treat your partner.  I mean, wouldn’t you be more concerned with how you’re treating your partner appeared to others?  It was never an issue for him.  He neglected me.  Thank God nothing more serious happened like a heart attack.  He had no empathy for my pain whatsoever.  His eyes were icy blue.  He looked at me as if I did not exist.  It was an excruciating pain but what was more important to him is how it looked to the outside world. How he would be seen.  Why did he never care about how he was seen treating me in public?  Ignoring me and yelling at me?  It’s because it’s all about them.  They don’t live by society’s rules and their facade is their facade.  They believe nothing can touch them and certainly no one will call them out on their behavior.

I will never forget what that pain felt like.   Nor will I ever forget that that was the night I realized, I am truly alone in my marriage and I have to take care of me before anyone else because no one was going to have my back.  I had to have my own.

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