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Even though I am very much loved I am completely alone. Sometimes it just gets to me and I cry, like now… But I chose this. I chose to walk away, to trade being alone inside of a relationship for being alone outside of a relationship. 

The funny thing is, it’s actually hope that kills you. Inside that relationship there was no hope for things to get better and so I survived on duty. You’d be surprised at how much can be done out of duty… Outside that relationship there is hope that maybe someday I won’t be alone but the fear that I am too damaged quashes my hope far too often and self-preservation will probably never let me even date successfully, guaranteeing that love will have to sneak up on me if it’s ever going to work. 

I’ve made great progress though.  (Go me!)  I actually belive the people who hug me and tell me they love me, I believe they mean it. That’s a big step for me. But I’m an all-or-nothing girl, if I love you, I love you. Completely, 100%, do anything for you, love you. And that’s not how those people love me, they have lives that I am a part of but not all of. They can’t love me the same way I love them because they already love somebody else that way. And for those parts I am included in, I am in heaven – but I think some of my people feel like I’m trying to drown them because I am too deep… for the other parts of their lives that I am not invited in to, well, for those parts I am alone, very, very alone. 
But it was my choice. Of the two choices I was left with I’m pretty sure I’d choose it again. 

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I made it home safe but exhausted on Thursday and was greeted at the airport by my husband and younger daughter who immediately started talking smack about my younger daughter.  Too tired to argue with them I went to bed and stayed home from work on Friday to rest.

Back to work on Saturday and then church and work on Sunday.  Sunday evening, last night, I finally let my husband have it over his attitude regarding our younger daughter.  For the first time in our entire marriage I did not mince words about how I felt and he sat there and took it, apologizing left and right.  I let him know that I do forgive him but that does not mean the damage he did is magically undone and I am still going to have to work through my feelings and these circumstances and I need some space to do that.

Monday, today, I realized that if I was really going to leave him, that now is the time.  And so I left.  I wrote him a goodbye letter, packed up a couple of suitcases and moved in with my sister.

I feel so strange.  I “know” that he is not going to come and find me and drag me back by my hair but I’ve got major, almost paralyzing anxiety that that’s exactly what he’s going to do.  I am surprised at how deeply it grieves me to wound him by leaving and yet I know that if I stay he will continue to wound me and I’m already suicidal more often than I’m not.  I thought I didn’t care anymore what my family (aside from my sister) or his thought about me leaving him and have found that a little, tiny corner of my heart truly is bothered by the negative view I’m sure they’ll have of me now.  Furthermore, I don’t plan on airing our dirty laundry (except for here, because it’s anonymous) to make him look like the bad guy even though I know that will just cause it to look like it’s all my fault to the casual bystander.  There’s a feeling of great relief to be done with him and quite frankly, to be done with my older daughter as well but that feeling is conflicting with my feelings of guilt for destroying my marriage, except my marriage has been destroyed for a long, long time now (and not by me) and we have never, ever had a healthy relationship because neither of us knew how to communicate when we got married over 20 years ago.

I expect my emotions to be at war with each other for a while.  I really wish I could find some movie magic that worked in real life, just press a fast forward button and wake up a year from tomorrow instead of tomorrow morning.  But each journey begins with a single step and I have started a brand-new journey today.  We’re still going to have to find a way to communicate soon because both our names are on the mortgage and we have two children… and who knows, miracles can happen and maybe we’ll get back together someday.  Someday as in years and years down the road after lots and lots of (productive) counseling.

Getting out of an abusive relationship is always the right thing to do whether it’s at school or work, church or the home.  Believing that our marriage qualified as abusive because I was never physically beat up took a lot of convincing for me.  Believing that I’m worth an abuse-free life has required that I change the way I think of myself and has not been easy at all for me to see myself as having value – to me, much less anyone else.  I know a lot of people will paint me black and say I’m an ice queen but I just want to get away and find some healing for myself…

And so I shall.

My younger daughter has been gone for 4 days.  My in-laws have graciously given us the money for me to go see her get married.  I started texting her to talk about when we can get together when I go see her and was completely shocked by her response.

She thought I would only be there for the wedding and was surprised I had planned to be there for 72 hours so she isn’t sure how much time she’ll have to spend with me because she had made plans to spend time with his friends and family.  Our texting conversation went something like this:

I said I wanted to spend at least a little time with her and her fiance, maybe take them to lunch.  She said that his family hasn’t seen him for a year and a half and he will only be home for 11 days so they aren’t willing to share much time with me.  I said I was hoping to get to know him and his family and was wanted to spend some time with all of them.  She said I’m forcing her to chose between him and me.  I said that we’re going to be family now and I thought they would want to meet me just like I wanted to meet them.  She gave me her Future Mother-In-Law’s phone number so we could “hash it out”.

I called FMIL and it was clear from the start that she is not my biggest fan.  I introduced myself, said I was coming to town for the wedding and was hoping to get together with her.  She said she was sure we could find something to talk about.  I asked if there was a good time to get together and she said she was very busy and she’d have to let me know.  I thanked her for taking care of my daughter and she said that she loved my daughter and had nicknamed her “My F-n (name)”.  I said “What?” and she repeated it.  I managed some sort of polite goodbye and hung up the phone, absolutely dumbfounded.

After choking back some tears I called my daughter, who did not seem happy to hear from me.  I told her that I had just spoken with FMIL and she said “Oh, how’d that go?” in a tone that let me know she did not expect it had gone well.  I told her I didn’t think FMIL liked me very much and my daughter says “Well she speaks her mind” which makes me wonder exactly what has my daughter been telling her?  I’m trying not to cry and she asks me if I’m OK.  I decided to be honest and say no, I’m not OK because I don’t think she wants me there.  She gets upset and says of course she wants me there but I have to understand she’s been waiting to see him for 4 months now and I’ve had her for 18 years and just saw her last week.  I tell her I can’t do this and have to go, goodbye, click.  I then felt bad and texted her, apologizing for crying and said I loved her no matter what.

I get a text from FMIL saying my daughter told her I don’t think she likes me.  She “doesn’t judge” but has heard things she doesn’t agree with and is very protective of her son and feels his happiness is the most important thing in the world, being a mom myself, she’s sure I’ll agree.

I text back that my daughter doesn’t want me to be protective of her any more and I’m struggling with it and that she’s chosen to be happy with FMIL and her family.  Since we’re going to be family now I don’t want to steal the precious time they have with their son but I was hoping I could join them in some of their family times while I was there and get to know them.  Hopefully after meeting me they could decide for themselves what kind of person I am.

FMIL texts back that she hasn’t seen her son for a year and a half and only has 11 days with him and admits she is selfish but she has no desire to stop me from being at the wedding and that it’s “kewl” if I want to hang out with my daughter.

That particular spelling seems odd to me for a woman who has 8 kids and multiple grandchildren.  Something else in this text makes me realize that it’s her son who is calling the shots here.  He doesn’t want to spend time with me and has both my daughter and his mother on his side, refusing to allow me into his family.

I can’t believe that my daughter immediately ran to FMIL and told her that I didn’t think she liked me.  I’m realizing that I can’t tell my daughter anything that I don’t want her fiance or FMIL to know and that anything I tell her they’ll know in a matter of moments.  I’ve completely lost whatever relationship I thought I had with my daughter and I can’t believe that I’m going to spend most of a day flying clear across the country to sit miserably in a little hotel room about 2 miles from his house, staring desperately at my cell phone, hoping my daughter will call me and want to spend a little bit of time with me during the relatively few hours I will have where she is before I have to spend another day flying home.

I have never felt so alone or rejected and I’m not sure I’ve ever cried so much in my whole life, this parenting business is becoming more and more overrated by the minute.  I’m absolutely crushed.

And yet I know it’s time to practice what I preach.  I told my husband that all his rules and demands were only pushing her closer to her fiance and farther from us and that he needed to love her unconditionally and move his focus to building a future relationship with her.  Now it’s my turn.  If I make her feel guilty for the way she’s treating me it’s very likely that she will cut me out of her life like she has her father – or that her fiance will direct her to cut me out of her life and she’ll obey.

Somebody commented on my last post that they wanted to encourage me to stay in touch with her and I wanted to let you know, it’s not me you have to worry about staying in touch with her, I just hope she’ll stay in touch with me and that he’ll allow it.

She woke up about 11 am.

Her sister hugged her goodbye before she left for work but didn’t say “Goodbye” or “I Love You” and acted like she couldn’t wait for her to leave.

We took her to lunch at her favorite restaurant before going to the airport and my sister joined us.  We all had crab, pleasant conversation and laughter filled the air.  It felt like a normal day.  We had some time to kill so we stopped at a second-hand furniture store before heading to the airport.

On the way there we noticed a fire truck in a hotel parking lot.

At the airport we printed her boarding pass and checked her bag in.  It was painfully obvious that she had no prior experience with air travel and fresh pangs of fear and worry pierced my heart.  She’s so trusting, is she going to be OK?

Her father gave her one last lecture in a desperate, final attempt to get her to change her mind right there in the airport and then handed her $50.  He gave her a hug and didn’t say another word for most of an hour.

One of her friends skittered in just before she had to get in the security line for a final hug.

I gave her a hug and squeezed her tight, told her I loved her and tried not to cry.

She made it through security without being strip searched and turned to give us one final wave before disappearing from sight.

We turned and went back to the car for a silent trip back home that seemed five times longer than usual.  The fire truck had left the hotel parking lot but now it was filled with police officers and the contents of a hotel room were spread on the ground outside of the hotel.

My husband apologized for whatever he did to make her leave.  I mumbled something.  I sat in the chair and watched a movie, trying to think as little as possible.

Her sister called from work on a break and said she was relieved that her sister was gone because now she didn’t have to wonder about whether or not her sister was telling her lies.  My husband did not chastise her for her attitude.

She texted me that she arrived safely on today’s leg of the journey.  Tomorrow she arrives at her final destination to live with her fiance’s family, get married and start a new life.  I called her just to make sure she wasn’t alone and that she was OK.  She said he was with her and everything was fine.  She didn’t sound as excited as she was when she left but maybe she was just tired…

Tomorrow I will talk to her sister and address her attitude and I will also let her know that I know she used to physically abuse her sister and that I am angry with her.  I will tell the high school she will not be graduating this year and clean out her locker.  I don’t know what I will say to my husband, at the moment I want to say as little as possible.

My brave, sweet, trusting girl is gone.  I can only hope and pray that she’s safe.

I had always heard that girls were harder to raise than boys but I never really believed it… until now.

My youngest daughter is ripping my heart into little, tiny shreds – and I thought that had already been done but nooooo, the pieces CAN get smaller, ugh!  This month, I have found out many things I didn’t really want to know.

The biggest ones are that my youngest daughter has:

1.  Accepted the Bad Boy’s proposal so they are engaged.
2.  Had sex.  I’m not going to say with how many guys since even one is too many at her age but I’ll just leave it plural.  Her boyfriend/fiance is the one that told my husband this – what a crappy guy!  I was hopeful that his volunteering this information to her father would cause her to break up with him but no such luck.
3.  Started smoking about 6 months ago and had been vaping for about a year before that, which means she started well before the Bad Boy so unfortunately I can’t blame this one on him.
4.  Admitted to lying more than she tells the truth.  She says she is working on it and wants to stop lying but I can see that it’s become such a strong habit of hers that it’s very hard for her to start being completely truthful all the time.
5.  Been physically beat up for years and years by her older sister.  I was hesitant to believe her because of all the lying she’s done but I was actually able to get outside corroboration on her story and it’s absolutely true – I had no idea, none whatsoever and I feel like such a horrible mother for not knowing about it and stopping it.  She always had bruises but she was so active we just assumed it was from her playing outside and when questioned about it she always said she didn’t really know, must have been from when she was playing so we believed her.  At one point we did figure out that our older daughter was pushing our younger daughter’s buttons until she exploded but the older daughter was very, very hard to catch in the act and eventually we assumed she had stopped her button pushing.  In reality she just got better at being subtle about it.

Over the last four months the Bad Boy/Fiance has:

1.  Threatened to break up with her because she sat on the bus with an old boyfriend for a several-hour trip with the color guard.
2.  Broken up with her at least twice because of her lying – and then made up with her after a few hours of her crying her eyes out and begging him to take her back.
2.  Broken up with her because she wouldn’t stop being friends with her best friend – and then made up with her again after more crying and heartbreak.  (This was just tonight.)  He was so angry she wouldn’t stop being friends with her best friend that he hit something, busted his knuckles open and had to go to the hospital to get it stitched up.  I tried to tell her that if she had been there he might have hit her instead of the wall or whatever it was that he did hit and she refused to believe me, saying he would never hit a woman, she trusts him.  I feel like I have given birth to an idiot except what she really is is a victim.

This boy has been in at least three car accidents in the last four months (he tells her they were not his fault or no-fault), he is easily angered, aggressive, controlling and emotionally abusive and she makes excuses for him every time saying “I don’t blame him for acting/speaking to me this way because of my past”.  I tried to tell her that by thinking this way she is giving him permission to be abusive towards her but she doesn’t believe me.  I’ve told her that she has a hole in her heart from not having a father’s love like she needed from her father and this guy is just like her father AND he says he loves her so he’s filling the hole in her heart but it will end in heartache and misery and she doesn’t believe me.

She is failing her senior year because she’s been sick so much this year – in large part because she stays up all night talking to him and won’t go to bed and then doesn’t eat very much and is very proud of the 10 – 15 pounds she’s lost since she met him 4 months ago (so I’m wondering if he’s telling her she’s fat).  I asked her if she’s gotten a bad reputation at school because of who she’s slept with and she said that yes she has.  I offered to let her stop her senior year and re-start it next fall at a completely different school where nobody knew her.  She refused because she’d rather be with Bad Boy and seems to think that they can get married and then she’ll finish her senior year.  Yeah right.

I am terrified for her because she won’t believe me when I say this relationship is dangerous for her.  I am sooooo angry at her sister and at myself and my husband for not catching on to the physical abuse she was receiving.  I am wounded beyond words watching her do everything in her power to re-live my life despite my warnings.  I am afraid that Bad Boy is going to hurt her, maybe even kill her and that she won’t even fight back – she will just let him do it because she has no value in her own eyes and she thinks she deserves that kind of treatment.  Sometimes just thinking about all of this makes it hard to breathe…

Life is going to change in January, I don’t know exactly how but something’s got to give.  I can only pray that she will trust me more than she trusts him so I can get her away from this relationship.

 

Each post on this blog is a little snapshot of my thoughts, feelings, emotions, decisions… it’s glimpses into my life as raw and unfiltered as I can write them out.  I don’t always have the right words to properly express myself but I try.  I’ve spent most of my life stuffing my feelings and emotions in a bottle and putting them up on a shelf because “nobody got time for that” so now I’m not very good at identifying how I feel, much less knowing how to deal with those feelings, which is one of the big reasons that this blog is pretty much anonymous – I think I’ve only invited a couple of people who know me to read it and if you do know me please don’t tell anybody my secret identity, lol!  This is how I sort things out in my head and in my heart, by writing them down and mulling them over, and over, and over…

If you’re reading this and it doesn’t make sense normally I would say that you’re just going to have to wade through the last two years of posts although I suppose after this amount of time it’s worth summarizing – OK, here goes:

I’m in my 40’s, married for 20 years with two kids – one is barely a legal adult and the other 6 weeks away from being a legal adult.  Thanks to my upbringing and then marrying a man who treated me the same way I was treated while growing up I never believed I had any real value as a human being until about two years ago when something changed.

I can’t tell you exactly what it was that gave way inside of me  – I had gone to a few years of counseling but all the counselors I had didn’t give me any solutions, they just said that I was doing great and they didn’t know why I was going to see them so I’m pretty sure that wasn’t it.  I had been on anti-depressants for a couple of years by then but I was actually getting worse, more depressed and more suicidal so I don’t think that was it either.  About that same time I started to have concerns about the church that we were attending and I brought those concerns to both my husband and the pastor’s attentions – nothing happened and I sank further into my depression.  But somehow, something snapped almost 24 months ago and I started this journey of becoming bolder, stronger and brave.  I dared to believe that I just might even be beautiful.

The first thing I did was to give my husband an ultimatum to quit his pornography addiction “or else”.  In February that will have been two years ago.  I didn’t specifically state what the “or else” would be but it was going to start with separation and go from there.  I let him talk me out of separating that night because I honestly didn’t think that he would be able to quit but he surprised me.  Almost two years later he has not only kicked his addiction but he has been instrumental in starting a men’s purity group at his church and is co-leading it, helping other men in their fight against pornography. He has also worked very hard to become a nicer person, a better husband and a more involved father.  I have both noticed these things and told him, repeatedly, that I am proud of him for all the changes he’s made but we can both tell that it’s a “That’s nice” kind of proud of him.

I should be bursting with pride.  Why aren’t I?

I guess I feel like it’s a day late and a dollar short.

About nine months ago I started seeing a new counselor and she made a difference in my life.  The reason I went to her was because I didn’t like sex.  My husband fully endorsed my going to a counselor for this reason but I think he soon came to regret supporting me in that manner.  What she actually helped me with was opening my eyes to see that I was in an abusive relationship.  There was no physical abuse going on but nearly every other kind of abuse was present.  Had I been physically abused, i.e. beat up, I would have left a long time ago but mental and emotional abuse are “invisible” and “don’t really count” in the Christian church today and there seems to be no such thing as sexual abuse between a husband and a wife.  In America, and as far as I know in the world at large, sexual abuse within marriage is barely recognized and rarely addressed but in the church the subject is completely taboo.  My counselor told me that being manipulated, coerced or guilt-tripped into having sex when you don’t want to is sexual abuse.  Who knew?  I thought that the only thing “sexual abuse” meant was that you were raped or forced into giving oral sex against your will.  Being a good, submissive Christian wife I stayed married because it was “the right thing to do” and that kept me in a miserable relationship for 20 years believing that by doing so I was pleasing God.

It got to the point that I was considering changing my faith – or abandoning it completely – in order to leave the church we were and get him to divorce me.  I considered suicide many times because I thought it would be easier than divorce and I had become crazy enough that somehow I thought suicide might even be a spiritual solution because it would fulfill the “till death do us part” vow I made.  Yes, I’ve been messed up in the head for a long, long time now…

Ultimately, in an act of abnormal bravery, I left that particular church without him.  Aside from a couple months of extra stress immediately after that decision our life has returned to “normal” –  we just don’t talk about the fact that he is still attending that church and I have been trying out other local churches to see where I will fit the best.  Now the only real decision I have left is do I stay married or not?  I honestly don’t want to be anybody’s wife ever at this point but I’m not sure leaving is the right thing to do either, I’m in a quandary.  I have begged God to change my heart and make me fall in love with this man that I’ve never had any kind of passion for and yet he’s made so many changes to please me.  I have pleaded with God to make me enjoy sex.  And yet for 20 years nothing has changed in my heart – or my with hormones either for that matter.  It actually makes me understand homosexuals a little better – I can’t change it no matter how hard I try so maybe God made me this way.

And that’s where I’m at right now.  This is really real life – my life.  I have a big decision to make, do I stay or do I go?  I’m not going to rush this choice though, I want to be sure that if I leave I have done everything I could have possibly done to make it work.  If I leave I don’t want to have any regrets that I didn’t explore every option or try hard enough.  If I stay it will be because I chose to stay and not because I felt obligated to stay.  I’m going to  make this choice, probably within the next 6 months, and be comfortable with my final decision.

Stay tuned…

I just had a very enjoyable day off, yay!  I slept in until noon and then had lunch with my new friend, she’s a nail client of mine and we “clicked” right away – so much so that we are talking about opening a thrift store together.  From here on out I will call her my thrift store friend.  We picked a name for our thrift store today and set ourselves “homework” for the next week’s meeting.  Having a plan and hope for the future is a remarkable tonic!

After lunch I went to Target and picked up a beautiful bracelet on clearance that I will probably never really wear because it’s so elegant and formal (lots of rhinestones) but it made me happy so I bought it.  Next I went to Shopko to return a shirt and walked away with 7 bottles of nail polish, including one color which I already have and will have to exchange for another color, lol!  I counted all my nail polish  bottles after I got home and I have 110!  I should probably stop buying more there’s so many pretty colors out there…  Later I met my husband at home and we went to see the new Hunger Games movie, which I really enjoyed.

Now I am watching Dr Who on Netflix and blogging, fun, fun, fun!

I like good days.  Good days are so much nicer than the hard days.  Days like today help me stop focusing on days like Sunday when my younger daughter and I were at the store and having a good time hanging out together.  Towards the end she received a text from her boyfriend’s mother saying “What did you do?” and then the mother called her.  Apparently the boyfriend had tried to call her and when her phone answered he said that he heard laughter, somebody said “Oh crap” and the phone disconnected.  His very first thought is that she’s cheating on him so he calls his mother, crying, who texts and then calls my daughter to find out what’s going on.  Her phone has been on the fritz and she never received a phone call from him, I can verify that, but whatever he thought he heard sure freaked him out.  She talks to his mother and tells her she never received his call and that she’ll call him after we get home.  His mom warned her that he was very angry and she would have to calm him down.

My daughter acted like this was all matter-of-fact and  just a part of regular, everyday life with him, much like having to purchase eggs and bread on a regular basis.  Which, unfortunately, it seems to be.  She told me that she calls and texts his mom often to see how to best talk to him, calm him down and relate to him because “his mom knows him best, he calls her for everything”.

There’s so many things wrong with this scenario that it makes my head spin.  Manic paranoia to think that laughter and “Oh crap” equals cheating.  Major attachment issues to still be calling mommy for every little thing at 20 years old.  Mom appears to believe everything he says because her first communication, the text, was “What did you do?”.  My daughter’s acceptance of both of their behaviors and resignation to the fact that she will have to call him and they will “have a fight but I’ll talk him through it and we’ll work it out” when we get home.

She has no idea that this is not a normal, healthy relationship.  She said that he’s had so much bad luck with relationships that he doesn’t know what to do with a good one and that it’s up to her to be there for him and calm him down because she and his mom are the only two people in the world who know how to do that.

I’m afraid for her.  It’s going to take more and more convincing to calm him down as time goes by.  What’s going to happen when he becomes so paranoid that she can’t calm him down?  Will he become physically violent and dangerous if she ever does decide to leave him?

She is past the point of listening to me about this relationship so all I could tell her was that she doesn’t deserve to be treated poorly no matter what anyone’s past history is and she shouldn’t be afraid to stand up for herself.  That’s it, that’s all I could say.

Don’t let him treat you badly, you deserve to be treated well.

You deserve so much more than this…

It’s like I’m in a time warp, watching my own life through a magnifying glass.  My every bad decision is exponentially worse and has larger consequences in her life.  I can only hope that I’ve instilled a greater sense of self-worth in her than I ever had to help her get through – and out – of it eventually.

Please God, let her see she is worth so much more than the life that’s waiting for her with this guy, please!

Obviously, the world did not end.  Yay.

So rewind just a tad to the night before our Big Talk.  I had asked my husband if he would talk to our younger daughter alone and leave me out of the conversation.  He declined to acquiesce to my request.  I made it very clear that I did not believe that taking away her electronic devices and trying to force our daughter to make our choices and not hers was the right thing to do, that it would completely backfire and chase her further into her boyfriend’s arms and farther from us.

He completely agreed with me that those results were much more likely than the results he wanted out of the conversation and yet he insisted that he must still have this conversation with her. What?  Why?

Knowing that what he doesn’t want to happen has a greater chance of happening because of this conversation makes him as determined than ever to do it?  All that I can think of is this conversation with her is his way of being able to sleep at night, his way of convincing himself that he’s done everything he possibly can to be a good parent and stop her from being a bad child.  And that does seem to be his main focus, that she’s disobeying him by staying up past the curfew he’s set, by blocking him from her Facebook page, by not sharing every thought inside her head, etc.

Fast forward to the Big Talk.  My  husband has warned my sister and our renter to stay out of our house while we have our talk.  He lit every candle in the house – very unlike him – and pulled three chairs into a circle.  He sat down in one, I sat in another and he called our daughter out.  I was so embarrassed to be there I could hardly look her in the eyes but she made me so proud of her.  I thought that she really handled the situation well and while it was clear to me that she wasn’t about to just give in to her father’s nicely worded statements she also stood up for herself in small but obvious ways, at least to me.

In essence he backed off from his previous stance that all her electronics should be taken away and he focused on her health like I asked him to.  She did agree that for her health she should get to bed earlier and eat better.  We expressed our concern that she might not graduate from too many missing days and she said she does want to graduate.  We set new curfews for talking to the boyfriend to which she agreed, although I have no doubts that she never planned to follow them, and then we went out for dinner.  A nice, happy family outing where we laughed and acted completely normal.

Since then everything has been same ‘ole, same ‘ole, for our family at least.  We’ll see how long it lasts…

Where do I even start?

My boss and owner of the salon I work at is a lovely Asian lady who is extremely fair and trustworthy in regards to making sure each of the three nail techs she employs gets an equal turn for work, she puts herself last in the rotation and often even skips herself to give us more work and I have no qualms whatsoever that she gives us our tips and earnings correctly – but honestly, she has terrible, horrible customer service skills.  I mean, she has absolutely no grasp of the polite niceities that are so important in our Western culture and while I know she means well she appears rude to many customers and several have turned around and left the shop because of it.  Add to that the fact that with the colder weather less and less people are coming in for pedicures and manicures and then top it off with knowing that the owner does not trust me to apply acrylic nails yet and I am making less and less money every day.  Equals stress for me.

The beauty school I attended is threatening to suspend my nail tech license if I can’t pay the remainder of the tuition I owe them soon so I’m going to vocational rehabilitation to see if they can help me either with my tuition or send me back to school for an esthetics license and/or to teach nail tech students at a beauty school.  It can take up to 60 days for voc rehab to decide if they can help you or not so more stress for me.

My marriage is tense, strained.  I have realized I don’t want to make it work.  My  husband may have worked very  hard to kick his pornography habit but he is clearly  still addicted to sex because it’s always on his mind as evidenced by the majority of his jokes an comments.  I’m so tired of hearing about sex in any media, it just makes me nauseous now.  My  husband is trying very hard to be a great husband, a nice guy and a good father and to a large extent he is succeeding but it’s a day late and a dollar short.  I realized that I avoid going to bed at the same time my husband does because I’m tired of the snuggling and the sex so I stay up late and am exhausted all of the time.  More stress for me.

My oldest daughter finally has a full time job at a call center, different from the one I worked at before I became a nail tech, and while she doesn’t enjoy having to work so late into the evening she is enjoying very much the paycheck that comes with it.  However, with her newly discovered grown-up-ness she is becoming increasingly intolerant of me and her younger sister – and of my sister who lives with us temporarily.  It is an chilling thing to know your child despises you.  Yet more stress.

But the most stressful thing is that my youngest daughter met a 20 year old guy in the Navy over Labor Day when she went to visit her best friend, our neighbor girl who joined the Navy right out of high school last year, and even though my daughter and this guy only spent two days together they have spent nearly every waking moment since talking, texting or Skyping.

For the first two weeks it was amusing and we thought it was just a phase that would pass.  After a month it became annoying.  At six weeks it was concerning, the two month mark came and went with a marked increase in the time they spent together despite our discouragement and now at about 10 weeks we’re terrified.

The things she has told me about him go from bad to worse – early on in this relationship he “ripped her a new one” for not telling him she was going to a color guard event and wouldn’t be available to talk to him on the phone that day.  Later, he found out that she fell asleep on the shoulder of a boy on the bus and completely blew up at her in a jealous rage.  She started cutting herself again sometime during the next week and she found a way go quit being in the color guard a few weeks later.

This 17 year old child of mine has completely changed from a happy, outgoing, friendly person who loved being in the color guard, going to school and working at her job to a withdrawn, introverted, sullen teenager who stopped being involved in everything she used to love and hates coming out of her room.  She’s asked to be home-schooled for the remainder of her senior year so that she will have more time “to work” but really it’s to spend on the phone with him.  She’s missed so many days of school that we’re getting letters saying just a couple more days of being absent and she won’t be able to graduate.  She doesn’t have any friends anymore except for him.  She gets angry with us for calling her out to the living room to spend time with us because it is taking her away from her boyfriend.  She’s lost about 15 pound since she met him.

We have talked and talked to her, telling her this is an unhealthy relationship, that his fits of rage are unacceptable and immature and that his behavior is controlling.  I tell her (privately) that he is just like her father was when I married him.  She looks us in the eye, smiles, says she understands and will break it off with him without any intention of doing so and spends a little bit of time with us before saying she’s tired and then she goes back t0 her room and stays up until 2 in the morning Skyping this guy.

My husband gave her a phone curfew of 11 pm because she doesn’t get enough sleep, doesn’t eat enough and forgot to take her medicine for several days so her migraine got out of control and we had to take her to the ER last week.  She agreed to the curfew while speaking to her father and then promptly ignored it that same night.  My husband then told her that she would bring her phone out to the living room to charge overnight at 11 pm for a week and she became so furious that she started talking about moving out of our home to her best friend’s mom’s house two doors down.  Less rules there…

When I went to talk to her alone after my husband said we were taking her phone away at 11 pm she gave me even more disturbing news that I can’t bring myself to share with my husband because he will absolutely lose it.  This guy is schizophrenic and has a second personality who calls itself “Nightmare”.  She has talked to Nightmare on Skype and calmed it down until the guy himself came back.  She said that Nightmare made fun of her and laughed at her, saying the guy was never coming back.  She doesn’t see the danger in this situation.  I was stunned and in so much shock I could hardly say anything and I had to find my few remaining sleeping pills to get to sleep that night.

This guy is actually worse than my husband was when I married him.  If I had divorced him when the girls were little would this have even been an issue now?  Is this my fault?  Or is this my reward for doing the “right” thing and staying married, to watch my little girl make a worse choice than I did?  She’s on a train, hurtling forward at breakneck speed and the bridge is out but she won’t listen to me, won’t hear me.

I don’t know what to do.  We don’t know what to do.  She is convinced she loves him and that he loves her and that everything will work out because they love each other.  He makes her feel needed because she is “one of two people on earth who can calm him down”.  But this isn’t Romeo and Juliet, this is serial killer and victim.

So I’m on the Titanic, knowing that this family is going to sink.  I’ve had to accept the fact that if I do divorce my husband it will be seen by all our family and most of our friends as my fault and I will be the horrible wife who just up and left a 20 year marriage.  I’ve come to grips with the fact that I will lose the house and possibly my car and I may wind up in a women’s shelter for a short period of time.  But to see my youngest throw her life away like this, to know this guy has the potential to kill her or worse, to make the remainder of her life a living hell, has really destroyed my heart.  I can’t just abandon her to her own choices like she wants but neither has anything I’ve said or done come even close to stopping her.  To try and corral her with rules she will just break will only push her towards moving out sooner and breaking all contact with us, possibly even dropping out of high school and moving several states away to be with him.

My depression is back, full force and I can feel that I’m heading down a very dark path.  I’ve started taking my pills again but what am I going to do when they run out?  Being a nail tech doesn’t come with insurance and Obamacare isn’t worth a hill of beans.  I feel powerless to help my daughter and I lack the desire to do my part to save my marriage but at least this much is different from when I was depressed before – I want to live.  I’m not exactly sure why, I seem to have a horrible future looming ahead of me, lots of pain and tears coming my way, but I want to live.

But first an update on “…and She Left”

I’ve officially left the church we were attending for the last 7 years.  I went to see the Pastor last week to shake his hand, smile and let him know I will be attending church elsewhere so please remove my name from the church’s member list… but he wasn’t available so I left a note with the same message.

The first church I tried out was what I thought was a small community church but it turns out it’s actually about the same size as the church I left.  I went there twice, the sermons were good and while the worship was sincere and heartfelt it was really conservative for my taste.  I found some brochures on the doctrine of the church and while I agree with most of them there were a few that  I don’t agree with, such as:  1. The board of elders are in complete control of everything that goes on in the church and are over the two pastors on the “teaching team”.  2. They allow women to be leaders of “sub-categories” but they may not be the head of any department.  3. And they sprinkle instead of immerse for baptism.  All in all, I don’t believe these things are salvational issues but I’m going to try a few more churches and see what else is out there.

It feels so good to know that I have a choice in where I attend church.  Grace is a powerful thing!

And now on to the new news…

I said the “D” word.  Out loud.  To my husband.  Dee-vor-iss.  What I said is that we should start to consider divorce as an option because this, our marriage, isn’t working anymore.  We believe different things regarding church and our faith.  I don’t agree with how he parents our youngest daughter.  While we don’t have The Biblical reason to divorce – adultery – when it comes right down to it he is a bully, he is emotionally/mentally abusive and he even qualifies as having been sexually abusive, although strictly in a requiring-sex-on-demand-even-when-I-didn’t-want-to sort of way.  (Yes, that’s right, it’s technically rape.)  To be perfectly fair, he has made a great many changes over the last two years since I first required that he end his pornography habit, and I must say that I am proud of him for all his efforts because he has, indeed, “kicked it”.  Like any addict, he still struggles with temptation regularly but he has stopped his online and magazine activity and is co-leading a class at church for other men struggling with sexual addiction.  This class has caused him to face some of what his life-long addiction has made him become and as a result of identifying some of his bad traits he is now nicer, easier to talk to and less demanding of me sexually.  In particular, he makes sure to get my permission/acceptance before we have sex nowadays and while he desperately wants us to “make love” it’s only ever sex, for a whole variety of reasons that I won’t get into now.

But even with all the amazing changes he has gone through he is still quick to anger, knows – and regularly takes – the many shortcuts to being frustrated and still has sex on the brain All The Time as evidenced by unsettling, seemingly random comments that he makes consistently.  And recently he asked a very alarming question – two nights ago we let one of our younger daughter’s friends stay with us because she was having difficulties at home with her step-mom, saying she “beat the crap out of her”.  (Yes, it was an exaggeration, the girl had no obvious bruising or wounds but she cried like a terrified child in spite of being 16 years old when I picked her up,) but the first question my husband asked our daughter before I could go pick her friend up was “What did your friend do to make her step-mom beat her?”  Seriously?  There is NO justification for beating a child, no matter what they did.

It’s high time we consider divorce.  Maybe that would allow us to develop a relationship with healthy boundaries, for once.  But I kind of doubt it.  I think my old church, that he is still attending, will encourage him to divorce me and move on, to remarry someone who will be a properly submissive and godly wife to him.

As for me, I am not the least bit interested in marrying again.  I just can’t imagine what would ever make it worth it…