The Bondage of Freedom

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One day a friend of mine asked me if I remembered the time when her husband and another neighbor came to my house to talk my ex-husband into giving them the gun he held at my head. And she asked also, if I remembered the time when they wanted to call the police because his finger prints were still on my neck from him choking me. And I wouldn’t let them. I am sure I thought inside that it was no big deal. It was just me. When she asked, I only could remember fragments of these instances.

I remember being terrified at night when I was sleeping that he might kill me. One time he dragged me down the stairs by my hair, and with all three of my children standing there, he held the  hook end of a hammer in the air threatening to hit me with it. And telling me to get out, to leave. I had no parents, no family, we lived in a different state, there was no where for me to go. And he said to me, “If you leave, then you and the children will never see me again.”

I don’t have any memories of fighting with him during any of these episodes. We just lived in fear of when he would get angry over the smallest thing: not being able to find his pen or a tool.

He would fabricate imaginary illnesses and telling us often that he thought he was dying when he was not. We lived with fear of him, and the fear of losing him all at the same time.

When my mother was dying and we were driving hours to take me to her, on the way there he pulled over, got out of the car and began one of his episodes of something being wrong with him. He was trying to keep me from being with her. She was actually dying, while he was pretending he was dying. I felt pulled in a million directions.

The strangest part of this is, that he is the one who stood up and officiated her funeral. And everyone thought he did an amazing job. They had no idea that even this was about him, not my mother. And I lived with the twisted reality of it all. Not even my mother’s death was sacred to him.

One day he took our dog, whom my children and I loved dearly, into a field and killed him with his bare hands. He couldn’t stand the fact that the dog was getting our attention and that we loved the dog.

We all just went numb. We were so tortured and broken that his behavior became ”normal.”

When I went to college and finally did something for myself during the end of our marriage, he started keeping me awake all night. He started making all kinds of accusations of me that were bizarre and untrue because he was threatened that I was doing something that had nothing to do with him. During those sleepless nights, he would often scream at me to get out. I had nowhere to go.

And what really hurts the most is that we were married when he got his degree. I edited and typed up his papers for all of his classes during that time. He was not a good writer, so in many ways I helped him get that degree. And he could not even let me exist enough to go to college too.

I remember sleeping with a knife under the mattress on my side of the bed. I don’t have any memories of the events that caused the fear I had at the time. I would not and could not have ever used the knife. I wonder if it gave me a false sense of security so that I could fall asleep.

One day shortly before I finally made my escape from him, he grabbed my arms and kept shaking me screaming, “I hate… I hate… I hate… that you are attractive.” He was disgusted with my very existence. He even hated that I was good and he was not. I don’t know how I could have shrunk any smaller than I already was.

After I finally escaped, you would think that I would have felt safe and freedom. But that was not the case at all. That is when a deep battle began. I had a great deal of panic, I struggled with trying to get used to having my own thoughts and feelings. I did not know how to exist without him, and yet I could not live with him.

This is all written as a short list of cold hard facts. The pain and emotion of it all still lies somewhere deep inside of me.

The hardest part of all was losing the future I thought I was going to have with my children as a family, the visions of memories I thought I was going to build with an intact family, holiday meals and celebrations together as a family.

When holidays did come, my heart grieved for the life I thought I was going to have with my “family.” I have to tell you this pain was so great that I have been unable to really celebrate any holiday since. They are just another day to me. I will cook a nice meal for my husband, but that is the extent to which I can go.

I learned to go numb and no longer wanted to face that piercing sadness. I had wanted to give my children so much more. I know this all may sound strange, but the loss of my life and all the years I devoted to creating it, even in the midst of such darkness, created such a sadness deep into my soul. Something I have never been able to shake. And I guess on some level, I have stopped trying.

All of this is just a glimpse into this part of my life. This is the part of my story I have not dealt with or grieved. It got lost between all the other things that happened to me before, during, and after. I find it interesting that with all the poetry I write, nothing comes out of me that touches this part of my life.

In order to honor my children, I did not speak of the things he did to them. But you can be sure they paid dearly for having a father like this.

One day when we had to go to court for a hearing regarding our divorce, he cornered me in the parking lot. And he looked me in the eyes and said angrily, “You do know that God hates divorce don’t you?” I looked right back into his eyes and said, “Do you know what God hates more than divorce? A man who beats his wife and children!”

The following song came into my life during the time just before I was able to plan an escape. Today after writing this and listening to this song, I cried and cried in a way I don’t remember doing since the day that I finally made my escape.

“Foolish Games” by Jewel

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9 thoughts on “The Bondage of Freedom

  1. Blue,

    you are the only light I see in this story of complete and utter darkness!

    You have experienced so much wrong in your life that a legion would struggle hard to carry this burden. Yet you have survived, you have taken decisions and actions to get you out of this situation. How strong must a woman be to not give in, not to let her light of love be smothered by those who carry only darkness in their hearts. What your ex-husband has done to you was wrong and fundamentally evil. He is responsible for these deeds, not you. It was not your fault! You have survived. You have not only survived but you kept this light of love burning in you, always. To see this is so encouraging. This message you send out to the world is such a such a tremendously strong document of love, that all of us can only bow to you and feel humble. Thank you for letting your light shine for us. Thank you for having this strenght to offer such resistance to the dankness throughout your whole life. Your strenght is beyound compare for me. Thank you for sharing this story!

    Jens

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That is beautiful! Thank you! What has truly helped me the most is being able to see that throughout everything in my life, I never stopped loving. I may have never stopped losing, but I never stopped loving. I do feel good about that! So thank you very much for these words!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for all of your kindness. It has been hard for me to see all that you say. There is an elelment of shame in “letting” someone do these things to you as an adult. It riddles throughout my story. And yet after what happened to me as a child, it took away my ability to fight. I was always left paralyzed with no other option than to “just take it!” It has been the story of my life… Again, thank you!

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  2. You are powerful and strong. I am so sorry you had to go through so much. If it is really bad…the emotions I really recommend visiting a psychologist. It will help you get over it . You really are so strong though! You Dint give up on love you dint give up on hope. Which is so beautiful…I cannot express in words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for all of your kind words. A therapist is not an option for me, so I write. This blog is my therapy. If you want to you can read my blog post called An Untold Life and you will understand why. Again, thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

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