Facing my own demons

adoption, adoption loss, life,

Fighting my fear….am i doomed for a life of this terror

The nightmares have started again…. I was sure that dream was gone forever… I haven’t  had it about 10 years…. It took me almost 10 years to get the last of that demon out of my sub-conscience. I was sure that I would never feel that fear again… Sat. Night, the dream demon visited me in my sleep, as he did last Sat… In anticipation for the Sunday to follow… And this morning, Sunday morning, while brushing my hair, I saw that old fear in the eyes that stared back at me from the mirror. Fear.. Terror! My stomach lurched when I recognized the terror in my eyes.  How could I go there again on Sunday? I knew what would happen. I knew “he” would come into to the restaurant where I work and I knew what would happen… How could I go and face that again? I picked up the phone… What could I say? What lie could I use to get me the day off? What about next week.. The week after? How many weeks could I call out from work and not get fired? How long could I keep this job when I had to face this terror every Sunday?

It was asking these questions that made me realize I had to go today. This day would decide my future… I would ether face this fear head on or I’d run away screaming and allow this demon to destroy my life… Yet again!

My logical Brain argued with my fear… I’m 42 years old… I have built a new life for myself.. I’m not that young scared girl any more….But my fear countered my arguments with memories that are much harder to argue with….

I was 18, he was 30 when we got married. He had rescued me from possibly living on the streets just a few short months before. He gave me a place to stay when my step father and mother kicked me out….before my 18th birthday. He was my Knight… Bla bla….The age difference didn’t mean a thing to me, then… I felt that I was much more mature than most 18 year olds. (Don’t all 18 year olds feel that way?) But in truth, I was just a child… Emotionally, I was in no way ready for any type of marital relationship…And I was too emotionally immature to recognize the warning signs that were flashing above this man’s head.

In truth, the brain washing had already begun, even before the wedding. I had turned in my notice at work, at the job that I loved, because “my man” wanted to take care of me…..It made me feel important and protected. With the job, I also gave up my friends. I didn’t see anyone, because it was important to spend time with my new husband….and my new home….He wanted so much to be “everything” for me… To take care of me, forever.” I thought it was wonderful and never dreamed of what the future could hold for me when I was cut off from the rest of the outside world…

The other thing that I thought was so wonderful was his desire for children. He let it be known from the very beginning that he could hardly wait for me to have his child.. The first couple of months after our wedding, he told me this so often that many times I felt a twinge of guilt that I wasn’t already pregnant… That guilt didn’t last long, as he got his wish very early. R was born one month before our first wedding anniversary. Never in my life at this time would I have imagined what would come next! I was happier with life than I had ever been! I had a husband who “wanted to take care of me for always” and the most “beautiful” baby in the world! I felt that my life was complete at 19 years old!

I dedicated my whole life to my beautiful baby girl. She became my world. I found it so much fun and so rewarding that nothing could seem mundane or distasteful about taking care of a baby. I didn’t notice the lack of sleep… I woke up with a smile every time my baby woke up. Changing diapers even felt special to me… Tickling her little tummy and playing “this little piggy” with those cubby little toes. If R was awake, I was with her. Every thing else in my life took second place to my daughter. I believed that was the way it was supposed to be and I really couldn’t have done it any other way.

I did what I could to take care of our home, when ever the baby was asleep. But if it was messy… So be it. I didn’t notice. I started buying sandwich meat and t.v. Dinners instead of cooking elaborate meals that I had cooked before R was born. It is a balancing act to take care of a new born and still make time for one’s husband. One that I never learned. And my husband felt it. I think that his initial reaction was totally normal. He felt left out and alone and he told me so. In truth, I mostly just waved away his feelings. I figured when R got older she wouldn’t need me as much and he wouldn’t feel this way any longer.

That’s how the fights started…. As simple little arguments that I didn’t think were important. I did try to balance my time better. I didn’t give up any  of the time I spent playing with my baby or taking care of her the way I felt I should.. But I spent less time resting when she was sleeping. Trying to fit in more time for the things that he complained about. I cleaned the house more.. I cooked meals again. The more I did the more he found that I wasn’t doing. I began to feel the pressure of lack of rest and lack of time for myself. And the arguments became more intense, as I found voice to argue back. I began to see my perfect little world start to crumble around me but I still had no idea how far this would go.

I don’t remember what the argument was about the first time my “hero” showed his true colors… Maybe there were dishes still unwashed in the sink… Or he didn’t have clean socks… Who knows how it started… The only thing I remember is that we were having a yelling match with each other and suddenly his eyes took on a new look… I swear, they seem to change colors… I had never seen a look like that in anyone’s eyes before.. I didn’t know what it meant, but I knew it scared me more than I had ever been in my life.

My reaction to this fear was to not let it show. So I took a step closer to him and yelled back at him with all my might. “Never let them see your fear!” I had heard that somewhere and was sure it applied here. That’s when I learned my first lesson on challenging my husband. I learned it on the floor. I didn’t see it coming. I barely had time to feel it. For a second, I wondered how I came to be laying on the floor… But only for a second, as then the burn set in on my face that now had a bright red hand print across it. And he was like a wild tiger, pouncing on my chest. His hands around my throat would leave finger size bruises that would serve as a reminder to me for weeks to come.

I began to fall into the darkness of unconsciousness before he released his hold on me. As quick as he had turned into this mad man, he seemed to change again… He sat on the floor next to my crumpled body and while I struggled to breath again, he talked calmly to me about his childhood. I couldn’t understand his words… It was like he was speaking another language to me for several minutes…

When I did regain my ability to breath normally, I couldn’t understand what had happened. Did anything happen? Did I have some sort of psychotic episode and imagined it all? There he was, just talking as if nothing had happened. While my face still felt the burn of his first hit and my throat would not let me speak. I was afraid to try to move. I didn’t know how he would react if I tried to move away from him, even though every fiber of my being was screaming at me to get away from this man…

As I fought back the sobs that were building inside me, he continued to tell me a story of his childhood as if nothing had happened. Then when his story was finished, he proclaimed that he was tired, kissed my throbbing cheek and left me on the floor and went to bed. When I heard the bedroom door close, I allowed the tears to flow, I laid on the floor in fetal position until I had sobbed myself to sleep. That strangely enough, was the first night that R slept through the night.

What woke me up was the noise of my husband in the kitchen, cooking breakfast. When he realized I was awake, he spoke of how tired I must be… “To sleep so late”. (Even though it was still quite early.) And told me how he was going to try to help me more with cooking and cleaning, because I was looking so worn from taking care of the baby. The whole thing could have easily been some kind of scene from a sweet romantic movie… Except for the bruises on my face and neck. It all had a strange dream like quality to it. I almost felt as if I was coming off of a drunk night or something.

Before he went to work, he apologized for the fight. He claimed that he could barely remember what happened but it wouldn’t happen again. Remembering what he said now is impossible, but I remember how I felt. Before he was finished, I felt sorry for him. I had pushed him into that violent moment, it was all my fault. It wouldn’t happen again.. I was so sure of that.

But the only thing that didn’t happen again was he never again left a bruise on my face. His “out of control” rage always seemed the same, when it came. It seemed as if he was not in control of himself and he always seem to “forget” after wards… But he never again put any bruises on me that could not be hidden. Some how I never realized how calculated his rage was…

Each out burst was worse than the last. The after wards was always the same.. He always did some grand gesture to show his undieing “Love” for me.. And bought me gifts and apologized and told me how he didn’t remember his outburst and couldn’t imagine what was happening. He eventually began adding promises to find help for himself. And he always found subtle ways of turning it around on me and I always fell for all of it.I always believed him when he said it would never happen again…  I always felt that it was my own fault. After all, it was only me that he ever became violent with. The fact that he never drank or did drugs also in my mind proved that it had to be my fault… I’m not sure how this came to be my logic… but it is what I thought. If he had done drugs, or drank than I could blame that. I couldn’t find anything to blame. I didn’t know that he was the blame, that thought never accured to me. As I look back on myself then, I wonder who this young woman was.. I wonder why she couldn’t see reality that slapped her in the face! I still do not understand how I could excuse his violent out burst or the torture that he put me through. I alone was allowed to see that side of him, and yet I still fell for the act that he put on around other people. Around our child.

As R became older and less dependant on her mother for everything in her world, I watched her form a close bond with her father. He was so good with her. He would sit on the floor with her and play with her for as long as she wanted. He seemed to have unending patience for her. He was so gentle and happy with her. He took such pleasure in watching her learn new things, things that he taught her… She learned his schedule and would always become excited as time approached for him to come home from work. She was never exposed to anything but love and happiness. He was two people… One was loving and kind and patient… And the other person didn’t come out until R was safely asleep at night. I began to dread R’s bedtime because I knew I wasn’t safe if she was asleep.

There was never a warning to tell me ahead of time when he would go off. He would be a perfect gentleman full of smiles and kisses and soft touches… Then he would make a check on R to see if she was sleeping and come back and just snap on me. Suddenly he’d be abolishing me for some slight indiscretion I had done or he had perceived that I had done during the day. It always ended the same.. With me crumbled on the floor with bruises on my arms or legs or chest..Or knots on the back of my head where he slammed my head against a table… Sometimes leaving me with bruised or broken ribs.. (He even broke both my little toes once. Amazing how I still couldn’t see how calculated his punishments were. He purposely chose things like my little toes, because I could still function without anyone knowing how broken and bruised I was…but I still believed him when he said he didn’t have control over his actions.) His all time favorite thing to do was choking me. His hands around my neck, his thumbs pressing into my throat, cutting of my ability to breath until I would see the blackness start to envelope me, only then would he let go… And he always told me then that he didn’t have to stop.. I couldn’t stop him.. He only stopped because he wanted to. But if I ever tried to leave him, he wouldn’t stop until I was dead. And I believed him. I still believe that he meant it. That he would have gladly killed me if he could have… Years later… When I did leave him, he tried to do just that and if he hadn’t been stopped by other people, I still firmly believe he would have killed me that day.

But I didn’t leave him, for five long years after the torture began. How I lived through some of the things he did to “punish” me, I do not know to this day. Some of his torture was so horrible and so elaborate that I know now that he must have planned them out well in advance. Some of it was so horrible that I still to this day can not bring my self to say it out loud… Or write it as the case may be… But I began to believe that I had indeed married Satan himself and nothing short of death could save me from him.

By the end of that marriage, he had almost total control over me and my every movement or thought, even when he wasn’t around. Except for one thing. There was only one aspect of my life that he could not control, one part of my personality that refused to bend to his will. My motherhood! My children were always put first in my mind. I did what ever I saw as best for them even if that was against his wishes. OH, yes, it made me live in constant fear of what punishment I would receive, but I still took care of my daughters in what ever way I thought was right.

 My refusal to allow him to change me as a mother was indeed what saved me from death by his hands, I believe….The only reason I ever had that was strong enough to get me to run from him was the love of my children and my desire to protect them.

But even after I exscaped the physical punishments of this man…Even when he was no longer in my life, he still had control over me for so many many years…. I had nightmares every night in the beginning in which he would excape from the prison he was in and find me and slowly torture and kill me.

The dreams so vivid that would leave me shaking for most of the next day in my waking hours…. Even after I moved to another state, I watched for him every where. If I saw a man with his hair color, or his height and basic build I would have a panic attack. I do mean I would totally freak! This went on for several years… Slowly, the dreams came less often and I learned not to panic when I saw someone who couldn’t posibly be him who just happened to be about the same height. Even though I had a set back when the year came that I knew he would be eligible for parolle.

but now! after 19 years, I thought I had beat this! I thought this man was finally out of my head and no longer had control over me. Sadly I was wrong! About a month ago, while working I learned that this man, who I haven’t even seen in 19 years can still send me into uncontrolled terror. When a man came into the resteraunt where I work, as a costomer. This man for what ever reason, caught my eye imediatly. And I cringed and held my breath and felt again like that small 19 year old girl lying on the floor wondering what had happened. This man looked exactly like what I would expect my ex husband to look after 19 years.

Now imagine this.. I have no real knowledge that this man is indeed my ex husband… no rational reason to believe that he was and that he had somehow found me and came into my work with his wife and child in tow?! But I couldn’t think rationally! Logic had nothing to do with how I reacted! I spent the rest of the time that he was there in hiding from him. That was just the beginning. As it turned out, this man, his wife and young son came in every Sunday after. Each time my fear grew stronger and I spent more energy hiding from his sight. Two Saterdays ago, the night mare came back. Two Sat. nights in a row I’ve had that same night mare that I used to have when I first left my ex husband. Sunday morning I would be sick with fear….

Which brings us to this most resent Sunday… When someone I know saw this man, who had no idea of my thoughts or fears. A friend of mine was the answer without even knowing the question. He knew the man. When I saw them talking, I managed to get my friend by himself and asked him how he knew him. Come to find out that he worked with him, years ago and his name was not the name of my ex! Glory of Glories! This man is not my ex husband and I no longer have to fear Sundays at work.

But the truth is I have a much larger problem! This only brought out that problem into the light of day. I am a 42 year old woman who now knows how to take care of herself. I know now that I don’t need a “man” to take care of me! I now know that I did not then, nor do I ever deserve to be abused by anyone in anyway! I know all this and yet, I can not beat this fear! How can I win over this demon of the past when I can’t even face someone who looks like him???

If by some wild stretch of the imagination, this man did seek me out after all these years and seek revenge on me… I do believe that I could find a way to defend myself against him… If I was not frozen in fear! But as I see by my reaction to a slight posibility that I might have to face him, that I would indeed be Frozen with Fear!

As I see it, there is no need for him to ever seek revenge as he still controls me without any sort of contact what  so ever! How do I beat this control? How can I get this demon out of my head?

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November 7, 2006 Posted by | past, today | 9 Comments