Monday, April 03, 2006

My thanks and apologies, this is gonna be long!

First of all, to everyone, (you know who you are) for whatever reasons that may apply (and I know what those are) thank you. Yes you, even if you don't think I'm talking about you, just know that I am. For each and every one of you who has read this blog and in your own way supported me in spite of myself, I am humbled and eternally grateful.

Wanna know what my fortune cookie from the other night said?

"Your power is in your ability to decide."

Hmmm, well ain't that a kicker? Doh!

Man, I've got so much to write about. I wonder if I should break it up into several different posts or just leave it as one big ass long one? Oh well, y'all are used to me rambling on and on by now anyway, so here goes...

First of all, on the lighter side, we got some particularly disturbing news about our lovable little Precious kitty from the vet this week. Em and I took her in to get her shots (it was about damn time, the kitty is 8 freakin' months old now!) and I decided to ask the vet about Precious not having gone into heat yet. I thought that perhaps, since she had been so deathly ill as a kitten (it's a miracle she survived really) that maybe she had become sterile from the trauma. The vet thought that was a very good question and said he would definitely check her out and see if he could tell. So he proceeds to examine our sweet little girl and then abruptly says, (do you see where I'm going with this yet?) "oh, I know why she hasn't gone into heat yet, she's a HE!" WTF?! Em and I were gobsmacked, jaws hanging freely, eyes dazed and confused. What did he just say? "Yeah, she's a he, oops." OOPS?! Now, for individuals unlike like my precocious daughter and I, this would have been perfectly plausible, perhaps even hilarious little turn of events, warranting a good hearty chuckle and a couple of "oh craps, now what?" but I said for people unlike my daughter and I. We, on the other hand, lost all sense of reality for a brief period while we were simply unable to process this horrifying information. Okay, so maybe our reaction wasn't sooooo dramatic as that, but to say we didn't handle it well would be a gross understatement. We spent the remainder of the day in full denial mode, breaking only to briefly look at each other or our precious kitty in utter disbelief every now and then, saying, "I can't believe she's a he!". Bub is, of course, insisting that we change he/she's name to something more masculine, regardless of the fact that I did and still do totally disagree. I say, Precious has been the cat's name all along, whether it was a boy, girl or hermaphrodite, so why bother changing the name that both we and the kitty has grown so accustomed to? But no, that's living in denial and irrationally fearing change of any sort, and setting a bad example for Em, blah blah blah... As always, it comes down to my bad parenting, which is the worst thing he can attack me with since it always leaves me questioning myself. On one hand I sincerely believe that he is just trying to teach me how to be a better parent, more like him. But on the other hand, I sometimes wonder if he purposefully exploits this particular weakness of mine (my fear of messing her up and doing wrong by her) because he knows how much it means to me and how fearful I am of doing the wrong thing? Perhaps he is doing that, but maybe unconsciously? I dunno. But I do know one thing for sure, it works! Because after the parenting lectures my self doubt runs rampant and I am left wondering if perhaps he really is enlightened about how to best rear her into a confident, self-sufficient young woman; the complete opposite of me. I can't help but wonder if I'm the one who really doesn't "get it"? Where is the line between unhealthy denial and simply having a particular opinion just because I feel like it? So anyway, back to Precious. Apparently we're giving the boy kitty a boy name and that's all there is to it because that's the only logical rational thing to do, and anything else would be completely ridiculous, of course. Whatever dude.

Okay, this is already long, and there is soooooo much more. So grab a cuppa coffee (Sandi, refill that water glass girl!) and settle in, we've got a long way to go.

Bub scheduled a "meeting" with me last Wednesday, to discuss some major relationship issues he was having with me. Oh dear lord. Getting an impromptu lecture is one thing, but when he actually schedules a time with me to sit down and discuss issues, well, that's a whole other thing entirely. I guess I'm kinda glad I knew what was coming before hand, that way I could mentally prepare myself, and perhaps, be a little more controlled in my responses rather than my typical dazed confusion of panic and fear when blindsided by one of his rages or lectures. So even though my dread was palpable, I was at least open to and prepared for whatever he had to say and ready with the appropriate sympathetic sincerity in my apologies which he requires in order to allow a topic to be closed. So, what was his major concern? My distance and coldness. His feeling that I would be perfectly happy never having to spend any time with him, and that I never seem to engage him or show affection of any sort. Good god, what do I say to that? Yeah Bub, you make me sick and I can't even stand the thought of you, let alone being affectionate or spending time with you. Now, were he a normal, rational human being, perhaps I could have expressed my feelings of being hurt by the humiliating way he demeans and disrespects me, especially in front of Emily. Maybe I could have explained that being treated this way causes me to not feel particularly affectionate or engaging, and that I distance myself purposefully out of self-preservation. But the fact is, I'm not dealing with a normal, rational human being. One who could possibly be open to the idea that his behavior brings about these feelings. One who would be willing to examine it honestly, not just go about rationalizing the behavior and breaking down each of my feelings and disproving them to the point of my taking them back and apologizing for ever having felt them in the first place. And then chastising and lecturing me about how cold and cruel I am for making him feel so bad by saying and thinking such awful things about him. After all, how dare I? The point is, if he doesn't see it or agree with it, then it simply isn't true, and there's absolutely nothing I can do to convince him otherwise. In fact, I think he rather enjoys my trying to convince him, that way he can logically disprove any problem I might have, and ensure that I will never have that problem again. Because once he disproves it, it is no longer valid. And then, of course, he finds it necessary to go that extra mile by making sure that I agree wholeheartedly with it's now proven invalidity so that I can never use it as an excuse or have a problem with it again. And heaven forbid if I did, good lord! The man simply does not tolerate having to repeat himself. So if I were to ever re-address a problem that, in his view, has been laid to rest, then whoa baby, Katie barr the door! One of his favorite things to say is that I just don't listen to him. Which means, of course, that I'm not agreeing with him, because if I were truly listening to him, then how could I not agree? OMG, you know what, I'm sick of bitching about this shit, so I'm gonna stop. Anyway, the conversation was typical, although not nearly as long (only about 1 1/2 hours) due mostly to my contrived agreeability and willingness to accept full responsibility for all my wrong doings. Which I believe, was a result of my mental preparedness for the discussion, otherwise I might have been caught off guard and actually tried to defend myself. I did end up having to come up with some real, practical ways I could improve my behavior since he no longer accepts my promises to do better because he says he never sees results that way. So I said I would probably get a journal (per his suggestion) so I could write down all the stuff I keep messing up on. That way I can keep track of it and realize just how often I still do it, so that I can really improve on it and make some sincere changes that he can actually see. This would mean giving him concrete evidence of my changing my thought processes and habits to mirror his own, since that's the right way to be, and what he's really been trying to teach me all this time. He really thinks organization is key, that it would greatly improve my poor communication skills since I seem to have so much trouble following him, listening to him, and remembering what he says. In fact, he's even insisted that I actually take notes during our discussions before, as in stop what you're doing/saying, go get a pad of paper and write each topic and sub-topic down throughout the conversation so that you can keep up and not frustrate me and make me repeat myself anymore. Asshole. Anyway, I kept up the charade out of necessity, feigning my shock and disbelief at my horribly hurtful and cold behavior. Saying I had no idea I was making him feel this way and how sorry I am for being so inconsiderate, yadda yadda yadda. Sure, I would loved to have told him how I really felt, but I knew I couldn't if I had any hope to pull off my big escape. I did feel a little guilty about leading him on with fake promises in light of his feeble attempt at open and sincere communication, even if it was in his own messed up, controlling way, because it's the only way he knows and I can certainly appreciate the intention behind it.

Okay, last but not least. Hey, don't say I didn't warn you that this was gonna be long! Need a potty break? Go ahead, I'll wait... That one was for you Dawnyal, I'm feelin' ya babe!

The biggest, most important, disturbing news of all. Em knows. Just to be clear, I had absolutely no intention of telling her, per everyone's wise and heartfelt advice. I had fully expected to quietly plan and implement my big escape without her knowledge or approval, and simply deal with the aftermath as best I could once the deed was done. But I made the choice in a moment of desperation (on her part) because I felt it necessary for her emotional well being and to give her some peace of mind. She came to me, as she does with increasing regularity, in panic and desperation about not being able to take it anymore. She's having trouble controlling her rage for him, yet she knows she can't show it in front of him, so she uses me as a safe outlet for her feelings, which I'm grateful for rather than her just bottling those feelings up. Anyway, she says she feels like he's literally making her crazy,(as in, she thinks he's messing her brain up with all of his confusing, irrational rages and moments playful kindness) yet she feels hopeless cause she knows he'll never change and there's nothing she can do about it. I told her it's not her job to do anything about it, that it's not her responsibility or her fault that her daddy is the way he is. I told her that he is responsible for himself and his own choices, actions and behaviors, and that she doesn't make him act any way, nor is it her job to try to make him happy, only he can do that. She asked me if he would be mad at her or stop loving her if we didn't live with him anymore. I said, of course not honey, not living with him isn't your decision to make, it's mine. It's not your responsibility or your fault, even if you really don't want to live with him, because the decision is mine, and I, alone, am responsible for it. Then I asked her if she thought I wasn't leaving him because she told me she didn't want to, and she said yes. I said no honey, the choice was never up to you, this is a decision I must make alone, regardless of what you want me to do, and I haven't been waiting around just because you don't want me to do it because it's not your decision to make. I said sometimes grownups make decisions that kids don't agree with, and even hate, but they do it anyway because they have to do what they know is right, even if it means going against other's wishes. I said it's my job to do what I believe is best, even if you don't agree. She said good, she said she was relieved because she thought he would blame her and be mad at her too if she admitted that she really wanted to go and we then we did end up going because of it. She thought it was up to her and that meant it was her fault or idea and he would blame her or be angry with her for doing it. She said the only reasons she didn't want us to do this is because of how he might react (blaming or being angry with her) and because she's worried about him trying to keep Precious and her video games, etc. I told her there's no reason for her to worry about those things, that she doesn't need to worry about anything, that I have everything under control, and it's not her responsibility to stress over details. Again, panic. I need details momma, I neeeeeed them, it'll help me not to worry! I tell ya, this girl handles unknowns just about as well as I do! I told her that sometimes people just pack up everything they want or need (including pets and video games) and leave without telling anyone. She said whaddaya mean, like just leave a note or something? Yeah, something like that. OMG, the relief in her eyes, just realizing that we could actually do this without having to be subjected to his reaction. Oh mommy please, can we do that? Can we just find a new place to live, take Precious, and go? Yes honey, that's exactly what we're gonna do. She asked if I've been planning this behind her back and why didn't I tell her. I said that I knew how she felt about it, but that it still needed to be done, even if she was against the idea, and that it is my job to do what is best regardless of her reaction. Anyway, we went on talking about it for quite a while, she wanted to know as many details as possible. Her excitement and relief were enormous and I think she felt a tremendous weight lifted from her shoulders. I had a feeling she was putting all the responsibility on herself, so I'm relieved that I've at least been able to alleviate that unnecessary pressure. I also let her know, in no uncertain terms, that even if she changed her mind and begged me to stay, that I will still do what I believe is best and that the decision is only up to me. She said she understood and that there was no way she was changing her mind anyway, but she is a kid so I'm not going to set my expectations too high. We also discussed the importance of him not finding out about what I'm doing, and I'm certain that she fully understands. After all, she knows just as well as I do, how he would react to something like this. That's why the idea of just leaving is so appealing to her. Then she won't have to bear witness to his rage either.

Okay, I lied, there is one more thing I need to address; my new dilemma. The idea occurred to me that once we're out, there is absolutely nothing stopping Bub from making his way to school one day and just taking off with her. At least until temporary custody is determined, but that takes time. I can't file until I'm separated and our court system frowns upon emergency custody hearings due to other lawyers in our town abusing this option in the past. There would need to be proof of necessity for an emergency hearing, and since he doesn't beat us or anything there's really no way to prove it's necessity. So, the question is, do I wait until school is out for the year? That way I wouldn't need to leave anything up to chance as she would be in my presence 24/7 and he wouldn't get the opportunity to just take her. And believe me, this fear is very legitimate, I promise I'm not just trying to come up with excuses. Bub's sense of entitlement is outrageous and he simply will not stand for his control or authority to be undermined in this way. I fully believe he would do whatever he thinks is necessary to regain the upper hand, and he would undoubtedly feel it to be his right and obligation to get her back, even if by force. So I'm in a quandary here. While it may be more prudent to wait until school is out, (May 30) I just don't know if either one of us can handle it for another two months. Em has been rebelling against his ridiculously overbearing control, and he already senses our obvious detachment from him in that we can barely stand to even be in the same room with him, so he has been steadily stepping up his control measures. His lectures are more angry and more frequent and his insistence that he's not willing to put up with our continued bad behavior anymore is almost constant. He is now forcing me to take a more active role in backing him up and disciplining her whenever she "steps out of line" meaning when she acts any way other than what he deems acceptable for her. He believes that it is up to us to mold her into the person we want her to be, that her inherent personality is simply not a factor in this, and that we can develop her personality into whatever we want it to be. But in order to do so, we have to be constantly on top of her, correcting every wrong behavior and disciplining by whatever means necessary. He seems particularly fond of humiliation because he knows how much it debilitates her and that it will get the desired results. I actually tried to stand my ground on my disagreement with this method, but he was outraged by my insistence of a differing opinion and proceeded to really let me have it for a few hours late last night, and has already scheduled another "talk" for tonight because of it. I realize that it was pointless to try, but my god, humiliating her is just so cruel! I felt like I had to say something though. Yes, I should have known better, but he's right, I never seem to learn.

Dear lord, now I'm even appalled by the length of this post! Thanks for sticking with me on this one, I know it couldn't have been easy! I think it's time I go for now, before I think of anything else to stick in here. Plus, perhaps actually getting a little work done might be prudent, don'tcha think?

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beverly, if he's stepped up to humiliating Em, you absolutely cannot wait another month to get her out of there. Humiliation from a parent is cruel and emotionally abusive and has long-term psychological ramifications. I think you should document it in your new journal (you said Bub is legally blind so I'm assuming he's not going to read your journal anyway, right?), along with all the ways he's humiliating you in front of her. You might ask your attorney about getting a restraining order against Bub until you get custody issues settled, and if I were you, I'd go for supervised visitation. If you have a restraining order in place, then the school cannot let Em go with him, and he will, in fact, be arrested if he goes near her. Harsh? Maybe, but humiliating a child is just horrible. As the custodial parent, I believe you can tell the school that they are not to release Em to anyone other than you so there wouldn't be a risk of anyone from his family taking her either.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Dawnyal said...

First off, I should've taken your advice and went to potty when you suggested. My eyeballs were surely floating by the end but I wanted to get it all in before commenting.

I apologize for laughing but I can't believe
1) He actually scheduled a time for a lecture
2) suggested you keep a journal of how you are modifying your behavior to suit him.
The audacity just boggles me.

As for waiting until school is out, I think the sooner the better. How well do you know the administrators, teachers, secretaries at Em's school. I would talk to them and tell them of the situation and ask that they at least call you if Bub shows up at the school. Most schools will work with you on this.
I'm glad to hear that she took it well and is glad but if he catches on (and I think he already is to a certain degree) he's liable to start turning on the charm on her again and there are no guarantees she can stay quiet because she'll be feeling the love and wanting to share.

Now on to the kitty. Precious is a good name for either a boy or girl cat. No need to change the name. :)

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha, ha, ha! Okay, I'm sorry, but the shemale cat thing is too funny. I can envision your eyes popping out with disbelief! When I was a kid, we had a cat named Fifi. My mom took her in to be spayed and discovered Fifi was a he, not a she. We then called him Fifi-Pierre. Never just Pierre, always Fifi-Pierre. Actually, how about calling your cat Mr. Precious? That would satisfy the Bub and yet let Precious keep the only name he's known.

Be sure and get him neutered as soon as possible. Unneutered male cat urine is incredibly stinky, and if he starts to spray, well, it's all over. Neutering as early as possible helps with the spraying issue, but it's never too late so the sooner the better.

3:15 PM  
Anonymous Charlotte said...

Beverly, have you talked to your lawyer about your fears? He should be able to tell you how to prevent this guy from just kidnapping her. Otherwise, I guess you'd just have to tell the school there was a separation, and not to let her leave with him unless you said it was okay. I don't know how the laws work in your state, but there's just GOT to be a way around this.

I'm sure the "talk" was just thrilling. (NOT). I can't imagine how you kept a straight face, but it's great that you could.

Hang in there. I agree it would be too much to stand, and just too dangerous to stick it out, especially now that Em knows.

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Sandy said...

OMG! Mr. Precious! I love it!

Bev, I agree with Dawnyal. Get out as soon as you can. It sounds like Em is totally ready and if you wait too long he has that much more time to do more damage. I also agree with the first anonymous. Keep track of the humiliations aimed at you and Em in full detail. That is actually more abusive than hitting.The courts here in California rule often against the emotional abuser faster than you might think. I think they have finally realized the scars tend to be deeper and harder to heal.

I can't believe Bub makes appointments to humiliate you. What balls! Let me at him!
Just put on your sincere, sorry face and lie through your teeth! He will never know what hit him.
Atta Girl!
Hugs and more hugs,
Aunt Sandy

4:47 PM  
Anonymous jilly said...

I had to take a potty break, too, and I'm not even pregnant! ;)

Laughed at the cat story and pretty much cried at the rest. Please don't wait until school's over, for Em's sake if not your own. Get the hell out of there and get a restraining order against him until the custody issue is settled. I'm glad Em knows because now you can't possibly not go through with it. Don't second-guess yourself about anything (especially your parenting skills). I can't wait for you to get away from that idiot! Stay strong!! xox

6:13 PM  
Anonymous Sandi said...

Ok, so I decided to print & read to save my eyes. I ran out of paper!! :) 6 pages!!!

Precious is a he!! :) That is too funny. Let him think whatever he wants about the name - soon it won't matter.

How does that sound? It not mattering what Bub think!!!

Bev, I know waiting until she gets out of school may seem like a good idea, but I say get out and get out now!! I'm sure you can tell the school that you are seperating and he can't pick her up without your written permission or something. You just can't do this anymore. You guys are going through so much. Plus, maybe school would give her a distraction from the whole situation.

Love, Hugs and Kisses!
Sandi :)

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beverley

Please leave now. The situation is too bad to stay. Your health and safety is much more important than anything else. I think you said your mother has offered to help you. So have other people here. Take them up on their offers.

I don't understand anything about American law but surely a child's health and safety is paramount. Speak to your lawyer, speak to the people at the refuge, speak to the school.

Much love to you and Em, and miaouw to Precious. Things will work out.

6:03 AM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

I'm concerned about Em knowing already. Even if she's "trained" in not telling everything to Dad, every day you stay you will risk her saying something about your plans. She's just a child, and if she has started talking back to Bub as you've indicated, who's to say she won't use "Well, screw you, Mom and I are leaving!" in an argument where he pushes her too far.

So my advice is: you CANNOT wait until the school year ends. You can't expect a child to keep a secret like this for another 8-9 weeks, that's an eternity for a child that age. Get some help from the refuge, they must have some advice for situations like this.

Perhaps you can keep Em from school "home sick" for a couple of days, and schedule a meeting explaining everything to her teachers and principal. If you have been the primary caretaker and they have a relationship with you and not Bub, they should be willing to cooperate and understand where you're coming from.

But please, don't risk everything by letting week by week go by and worrying that Em might say something and the whole thing blows up in your face. You don't want that for you, and certainly not for your daughter.

Good luck.

12:14 PM  
Blogger illahee said...

i haven't commented in a while, but i just felt i had to for this post.

first off, your husband is a prick. just had to say it!!

second, i am glad you told your daughter. although i totally agreed with previous advice about not telling her (it was good advice!), obviously, you know your own daughter and what she needs to know. it is probably a great relief to her and has taken that guilt away.

however, now that you have told her, you need to go as soon as you can. i am agreeing with lisa, it will be so hard for her to keep it secret for that long. i know you're concerned about your husband just taking her, but there must be something that you can do to prevent that. talk to the school, your lawyer and the refuge. and it seems to me, too, that humiliation and mental abuse should be reason enough to keep him away.

good luck!

7:08 PM  
Blogger Gardenwife said...

Oh, Bev, you have no idea how some of this sounds like my own childhood. My father raged crazily, humiliated my mom and me, just so much of it. Leaving his dictatorship was the best thing we ever did. Please, like these friends here say, do this soon as you can.

10:36 PM  

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