Today was a wonderful day! I was super tired and it was kind of hard to get going this morning because I felt anxious and took my medication to sleep last night. I try not to, because it makes me feel so groggy the next day. I worked through the day at school and had so much fun. The best part of my day was receiving hugs from my pre-k kiddos! I love them so much!
Work doesn’t feel like work, and that’s how I know I’m doing what I’m meant to do. After work, I left for Athens, Georgia to go to the Family Protection Center to complete my LAST Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) assessment. I arrived about 30 minutes early, but was taken back almost immediately. This session lasted a little bit over 2 hours. It was very lengthy, and unlike the last two assessments, this one was ALL about my abuser. From the time we met when I was 14-15 years-old, to the present.
The first assessment was more or less about the bigger picture (my childhood). The second assessment covered all of my intimate relationships. The last one, was probably the most difficult for me. There were so many traumas involved that I had to tell about, re-live.
I will say, that I am happy that it’s over. I celebrated with my friend and ate dinner out at Chic-fil-a!
Today is “Friday Eve”, so I’m excited that the weekend is near! I will be getting a call from the counselor who has worked with me this past month as she ties everything together, and writes my IPV report which will then become property of DFCS. As before, I did not hold back, so there is a lot of information.
I didn’t realize it until tonight, but the counselor was the same one who I met for the first time over a year ago when I initially left my abuser. She mentioned the possibility of me coming to their domestic violence support groups, and having me be a speaker, sharing my story with others. I always thought that after I received my teaching degree, my life would be good. But through everything, my passion has become stronger. I want to help domestic violence survivors, too.
This is an exciting opportunity for me!
On my way home, I reminisced about the constant chaos I lived in. My abuser tried to show the courts that he was in fact, stable and kept us up in nice houses. Well, that is a half truth. For the most part, we survived because of loans. We survived because of frivolous lawsuits he would initiate to get “free money”. My abuser was paid nearly 2,000 for falling through a seat at a movie theatre one time.
After that, he was involved in a minor car accident and received 20,000. I mean, I guess there’s just people out there like that. I remember how he would call restaurants, making complaints just to receive free food. He learned that from his mother.
I spoke a little bit to the counselor about his mother. She’s something else. She would not let me name my own child. She was in the delivery room, and I still have messages where she talked about how “gross” I was and all the hateful and mean things she wrote. In the beginning of our relationship, I think his family was one of the biggest perks. Coming from an unstable one, I thought finally- a big family. And his mom acted at first like she loved me.
I did her homework for her when she went to college. She took my money, although I didn’t have much.
She instigated and created chaos in her home, extending out to us. She was my “monster-in-law”. Adopted by a pastor and his wife at the tender age of 1 (I believe); her mother had abandoned her and her sister who was 3 (not sure if the ages are correct) at the time. They were abandoned in a house with soaked diapers, and the only reason she even survived was because her older sister got a chair to retrieve frozen fish sticks out of the freezer for them to eat.
Her adopted father, my abuser’s grandfather, was a wonderful man. I always loved him and still do. He passed away this year.
He raised my abuser until he was about 9-years-old, off and on. But after my abuser went to live with his mother, things took a turn for the worse. I never understood her. I don’t think I want to. It’s just the ugly cycle. The cycle that I’m breaking free of.
My abuser’s mother looked younger, she was pretty, but she acted younger than she was too. When she went out in public, there were times when she would pretend like her oldest son, my abuser, was her boyfriend. They did drugs together, and partied together.
I honestly believe, there was something more sinister going on too. I can’t say for a fact, but I’m about 99.9% sure that there was a sexual intimacy shared by the two of them, and possibly her other son as well.
How a mother could… I mean, I don’t know. I’m just going to leave it at that. I just don’t understand how people can be so cruel. I don’t understand how people can hurt other people. This is a common theme within my abusers family. I didn’t come from any better. But I was given CHOICES in life. And I decided to be different. And for that, I am changing lives.
The assessments (and therapy) have helped me discover the unhealthy patterns of behavior that I would engage in, when choosing my partners. Specifically, as many times as I went back and forth to my abuser.
I have talked in great lengths about the peace and comfort I found. My abuser would not allow me or my children to attend church. He declared himself a “Wiccan”. I have always believed in God, and yes, I am a Christian.
Since letting him go, my intuition speaks louder. It’s stronger.
I can make decisions again. I can go out on a school night. If I feel like a situation is dangerous, I can trust myself to know that it is dangerous.
I’m in the beginning phase I guess, of my journey, and well- I’d like to think I’m a little further than the beginning. But I just KNOW that I am here to serve a big purpose. It’s going to take a lot of healing. So far, so good.
I think it’s going to be difficult, with the holidays coming up. I won’t have my babies with me. I won’t have that “family unit” that I worked SO desperately hard for- for so many years. But looking back, I never really had that. It was what I wanted to BELIEVE I had, but I didn’t.
I was drove to near insanity. And I acted it too, I kept doing what was comfortable for me, not what was right. I kept going back, expecting different results. But that never happened. It just got worse.
I guess I’ll never be able to understand why people hurt people. I always try and see the good in others. Trust is something that will take me a long time to repair. First and foremost, I’m learning to trust myself.
This week, I messaged my DFCS caseworker and asked for them to begin to consider unsupervised visitations. I would like to ask for extra prayers on this!
I will never be the same. I will be so, so much better. I am not defined by my past. For everything that I have went through has taught me important lessons.
I don’t have to ask permission anymore, to be myself. I don’t have to walk on eggshells. I don’t have to settle. I don’t have to beg and plead to “just let me sleep”.
I can be, Jennifer. I can be, myself. I can be, what God intended for me to be, which is something incredible.
It was tough, going back through the past seven years. It was hard, because there were good times too. Those good times are what I held onto each time I went back. But the bad times outweighed the good times.
The girlfriend, the basement, the bondage. The chaos. The screaming and shouting. Getting kicked, slapped, beaten with belts and whatever else was convenient at the time. The choking, put-downs, being spit in the face. My hair pulled, my things destroyed. I was his property. I was his slave. I never thought I would get out. I didn’t see a way. I guess for awhile, I didn’t want to see a way. I was SO beat down and hard on myself, I believed his lies. I believed that I wasn’t good enough. Maybe he’s right, maybe I’m sick. Maybe it’s just my “mental illness”. Excuse after excuse. I was in so much denial.
I was told that “no one understands you the way that I do”. I was told that “you can’t do this on your own”. He would say, “you need me” and “I can’t live without you”. him- And the last night I laid in the bed with him before I officially made up my mind to leave for once and for all. As he rubbed my forehead and stroked my hair, I was told, “I love you, and I’m sorry. But you will NEVER take my boys from me. I will kill you, before ever letting that happen.”
I believed him. And I told everyone. My friends, my co-workers, the police, the advocates- anyone and everyone who would listen to me. They all knew- that if anything ever happened to me, who was to be held responsible.
At the same time, and as fate would have it, I also BELIEVED that I was capable of MORE. My children and I deserved more. I just wanted to be safe. I wanted to be free.
I believed I could, and so I did.
I escaped domestic violence. I broke the cycle of abuse, the chains that bounded me for so many years.
I faced evil. I believed I could, and so I did.