Restoring Faith

Today was rough, but nothing a good cry and nap couldn’t solve! It’s Friday. I had a good day at work- as I always do. Nothing out of the ordinary. Just feeling down! Really, really down. It could have been triggers. It could have been my realization that I was doing too much, and had to let some things go… That sense of not living up to my own high standards and expectations. But you know what? It’s going to be okay.

My visit for Sunday was cancelled because of my case moving from Clarke County, Georgia to Gwinnett County, Georgia. This was a hard blow, and very devastating. As I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again- these visits are so crucial for the boys and I right now. My understanding, is that there will be a recommendation for no supervision which will mean that the foster parents and I can work out my visits without a third party. This will be so much easier for us!

I drove home from work today, bawling my eyes out. I had the widows rolled down and my music turned up. My hair blew every direction, but I didn’t have a care in the world. I’m sure the banker thought I was some sort of character, rolling through to deposit my check- eyeliner streaming down my face.

I wiped my tears and put the best smile I could find. I went back and forth in my head on what to do. I decided just to go home. Upon receiving the message from my supervisor that my visit had been cancelled, I wrote an entry to vent on one of my domestic violence blogs. I messaged a few friends, and collapsed in my bed. I fell asleep, lights on and everything.

I woke up to a phone call from my two superheroes! Tony was out of school today because he has strep throat and croup. He tried to talk to me, but his voice was so hoarse he sounded robotic. Jake was able to chat, and we had a nice conversation. He told me that he wanted to make “sad decisions like daddy did”. I told him that I needed him to be better than that. “Make good choices, because sad choices result in consequences.” I told him I know he can be a “good guy”. By the end of our conversation he said that he changed his mind, that he wants to “make good decisions”.

I was so happy to hear this.

It makes me angry and sick to my stomach sometimes when I see how much of an impact my abuser had on our two boys, their emotional well being. On us. How could I have fallen for the lies- over and over and over again. Why did I think he would change? Why did I think I was even capable of making him be a good human being? All the signs were there. The entire time. But I turned a blind eye to all of them.

Secluding me from all of the family and friends I knew and had ever known. Taking my personal property and rights away. Stripping me of my own freedom. Who does that?

I remember in the Athens house, the night leading up to my hospitalization in April of 2016. My abuser had a group of his friends (who didn’t know me), come to our house. My abuser and his girlfriend and these “friends”, (drug acquaintances) came to what they called a “Prayer Circle”. Now, I’m not exactly sure how to put this, and I’m not trying to offend anyone.

But- I know that my abuser had no spirituality. And if he did, it was dark. He said he believed in good things, but his deeds would prove otherwise. Nonetheless, he has identified himself in the past as “Wiccan”.

I am a Christian, whole-heartedly. That never changed, although I lost my own sense of spirituality within those seven years tangled up in my violent relationship. It was my God, who helped me survive. He never left me. He was always there- waiting for me to accept his help. That night, I laid in my bed. My abuser came in first, and then the girlfriend. They told me just to stay in the bedroom. I can’t even tell you what was going through my mind, because all I know is I felt like I was dying.

I was skin and bones. I was constantly afraid. I looked in the mirror, and did not recognize myself. This was during the time period when I would get in my car to drive, not remembering where I was going or what I was doing.

I spent more of my time in a trance- dissociating from anyone and everyone around me. I remember feeling enraged. I pushed my bookshelf in front of the bedroom door, hoping to keep my abuser and his girlfriend out. They were setting me up to make me look like I was crazy. My abuser had called his friends- stating to several of them to not be surprised if I ended up dead from a suicide. He spoke of my death to them, and I never believed that until I actually heard it for myself. I went back and forth to him because I felt like I needed answers. One way or another- no matter how dangerous, I was going to get the answers so that I could find peace. I could move on.

I realized, that with a sociopath, you will never get those answers. And all it really took for me, was time. Time would tell everything. Time would tell exactly what was more important to my abuser. It wasn’t his wife, it wasn’t his kids. It was his reputation. It was his control.

His need to control was contingent upon his own survival. With that being taken away- he grew crazy. He talked about wandering the streets. He said he was heading to a hospital, when in reality… he was not. Cool, calm and collected. That’s what he was on the occasions that police would arrive for a “well-check”.  Nothing as described in the frantic messages that were always- “911 emergencies”.

Lies, lies, AND more lies. Manipulation. I told him- I told him the day that he slapped me as hard as he could across my face and called me every curse name he could think of- I told him that one day I would see to it that he would be exposed for who he really was. It was that day, his mask slipped. His intense build-up of rage filled as he stared me in the eyes. There was always something about his stare. His eyes looked black, and his gaze would pierce straight through me. You know that saying, “If looks could kill?” Yeah. Kind of like that.

The night of the “Prayer Circle”, I laid in bed, alone. I felt like I was up against an army. I saw no way out. I got down on my knees and crawled to the window that was sealed shut. I lifted the very bottom blind just enough so that I could peer outside. The last thing I needed, was for one of them to know that I was still up. I remember feeling so drained. It was almost like, what’s the worst that could happen? I asked that several times around that time period.

I watched my abuser hug, kiss, and be intimate towards his “girlfriend”. I watched as they, along with other friends stood at a campfire. Not that I wanted to be apart of this evil ritual, but this was definitely something I was not invited to. One of his friends, wrote me a letter. He left it for me to read but my abuser found it, and threw it in the fire.

I still wonder what that letter said.

My abuser would come in, banging on the door. It didn’t take much to bust through the door. That’s why I moved the dresser in front of it. But, I knew that would only last for so long. I remember him spitting in my face. Grabbing my arms and knocking me down to the floor. I was gasping for air. Out of shock and panic, I used every bit of my energy to take the dresser and knock it down right in front of him, as to make it harder for him to get to me. He stopped and stared at me.

He left the room.

That was the last thing I expected. I ran to my children’s bed and climbed in under the blankets with them. I overheard him talking to his half brother about my “mental illness” and how crazy I really was.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

As I laid in bed, they talked by the fire. I felt this heavy pressure, almost like even if I wanted to get up, I couldn’t.

I was in shock.

There were times when I was in so much pain, I prayed to God just to let me die.

Looking back, I don’t see how I could have ever wanted that. Maybe I was just desperate for help.

Rewind about a year earlier. We were living in a house in Barrow County, Georgia. This was the same home that would be searched by members of law enforcement. My abuser, a convicted felon, kept several guns in the house. I recall him owning a shot gun, and a handgun, although I can’t remember what it was called. He would use these weapons at times to intimidate. I remember shaking as he held one to my head before. “Pop”, he’d say. He would smile. How was I supposed to know the gun wasn’t loaded? And what if by chance it had been? He was reckless, and careless.

My abuser would use the gun as a way to control me even more than he already did. He took “mind control” to a whole new level.

He would gently drag the gun to my chest, slowly down to my private areas, caressing each leg.

Grabbing my head and pulling my hair, he would force me to perform oral sex on him. I felt as though I had no choice. And I didn’t.

I did things that I am not proud of. I said things, to my abuser- to survive. My life for seven years was spent in a state of survival.

Honestly, I have no idea what my future holds for my children and I. I know it will be successful. I know it will be bright.

Despite everything, I am humble. I am more appreciative of my life than ever before. I don’t take things for granted like I used to. I still struggle to understand, why?

Although I know that question is irrelevant, and I know it will never be answered.

God has bigger plans for my life, more than I could have ever imagined. I have always felt connected to a higher power. Even as a child. To this day, I know that there is a purpose for everything that has happened.

While I may not see it right now, as the next couple of months continue to unfold- I will understand.

My faith is restored.

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