The definition of insanity-
Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
You’re leaving me?
He was sitting on the steps in our home. He rocked back and forth on his heels as he hugged himself tightly. His hands clenched, face red from the emotions that were raw on his tear streaked face. A moan arose from his lips from time to time.I had just told him I was done with our marriage.
Minutes ticked by and time seemed to stand still. I glanced nervously at the clock, only 10 minutes had went by since I dropped the bomb for the 3rd time that month that I wanted a divorce numerous times I was done.
I waited patiently and with caution. Not sure when bad he was going to rear his ugly head. I tried to keep my mind clear and my body was tense as I was unsure what he would do this time to me.
"Please don't leave me Mel. Haven't I changed? I have been trying so hard", his voice filled with sadness of emotion.
Next thing it was if a light switch was turned on and his face twisted into fury! He leapt from the stairs and grabbed my throat, pushing me against the wall with such force I wasn't sure if my head was bleeding.
I gasped for breath and my composure turned to fear. I tried to pry his hands from my throat. My thoughts turned to the kids. I could see them lingering with tear filled eyes.
Jess began shouting, "Leave my Mom alone!"
He turned towards the kids and bellowed that "Mom doesn't love you anymore, if she did she wouldn't want to leave!"
They scurried away quickly upstairs and I could hear quiet sobs coming from one of the bedrooms, also someone hushing the other 2 siblings to be quiet so Dad didn't yell anymore.
During that diversion he lessened his grip enough for me to break free. My neck hurt, my head hurt and my resolve was to not to back down this time. It didn't matter anymore. I didn't love him. My desire to be free of him was so great, my own fear began to slowly fade and anger was taking over.
He stared at me.
"Haven't I took care of you, he fumed.” You leave here, you take nothing!"
"No kids, they stay with me and if you leave I will kill them in while they sleep. Make it look like an accident", he bellowed.
"I haven't hit you in months! You stupid lazy bitch, I've done everything for you!"
"I bust my ass and work in the heat and cold to give you everything and how do you repay me?" He sneered and said in a high pitched voice. "Oh poor Mel, things get a little rough and she runs away."
"How about it Mel? You caused this", he said, and it's your fault that things like this happen."
"You know what? Fine leave, go and fuck whatever boyfriend or girlfriend you have been seeing, so how long you been cheating on me?"
"You have been late from the shop and every time I call you I hear someone laughing in the background. Go upstairs, say good-bye to the kids and let them know it's your fault we are divorcing. That you are selfish and got to break up the family."
I pursed my lips, wanting to scream and argue back but I hesitantly turned and I walked up the stairs I could feel him glaring at me. I hated him and myself for allowing this to keep happening. As I approached the kid’s room, I could hear real sobs coming from the girls’ room.
My own eyes were swollen and teary. I saw all 3 huddled together holding one another. My heart was stuck in my throat.
Maybe he is right!
I scared them! (Yes, I honestly did think this)
I rushed to hug them and they held on so tightly. I told them everything was going to be OK. I said the words not knowing for sure if this was true. My son, Matt, asked if I had to leave and I replied no. I was staying.
We all softly cried together.
Rob had come up the stairs silently, watching the kids and me hugging one another. I could hear him softly clear his throat and then I felt him stroke my hair. I stiffened instantly which caused him to draw his hand back as though it touched something hot. I didn't turn around.
He fell to his knees and said he was sorry. "Please don't leave Mel."
"We don't want you to leave", he said reaching around the kids and I to hug all of us.
"I'm trying Babe, please be patient with me"
"I'll go to the doctor again and I will let you tell him everything. I promise" he gushed.
I stayed longer.
That was Dec 2008 and that was not the last incident. He would throw things about and threaten to slit the kid’s throats if I left him.
Now in the beginning of January, I became terribly nervous and that is when I stopped going #2, I don't wish to be anymore graphic than I have.
Apparently my body was just shutting down on all levels.I was also diagnosed with a small ulcer about this time as well and still feeling so tired and weighed down.
I’m a terrible fibber, seriously it is not something I can do well. Oh, not that I have not told my fair share of fish tales. But, I was having a hard time keeping up a charade.
He began to notice things missing and he brought it to my attention.
First, my clothes, he swore up and down my many of clothes were missing. To be honest, I hadn't moved any clothing for me or the kids just yet.
We needed to talk, now these “talks” as he would call them, would go on for hours and hours. There would be threats of harm to me, the kids or himself. If overnight these exchanges, he would keep me awake until I came around or agreed to stay.
Sometimes these would more than likely end up physical. Since I had made the decision to leave, I felt bolder to stand up for myself and the kids. I admitted to him that I didn't love him anymore and to please just let me go.
I pleaded for freedom, letting him know this was not fair to him to stay in a relationship and he should be able to find someone that makes him happy.
One night he asked, “Don't you love me anymore?”
Without skipping a beat, I said no.
He seemed surprised. I don’t know why, we have gotten into the same disagreement for years.
He was quiet for a change. He didn't argue. Tears rolled down his face.
I was thinking silently to myself, “It’s not going to work this time buddy!”
I rolled over on my side and pretended to sleep. He started talking out loud, that I was not in love, that he was stupid, he started to punch he bed with his fists. I held my breath waiting for him to start punching or choking me. He swung his legs over the side of the bed, mumbling about me leaving him.
He quickly got up and he began to hit his head on the wall, really banging it hard and he punched the screen out of the window. (He liked the window open even in the middle of winter).
I snuggled deeper into the blankets, while praying that he would calm down soon. He said my name, loudly, not waiting for a response, he grabbed to blankets off me and ordered me to get up.
I panicked inwardly and asked him to calm down. I back pedaled and said that we could work it out, I didn't mean anything I said. He started to cry, while asking why I was saying these things to him.
I couldn't answer.
I was scared and not wanting to show any fear I said, “I was sorry and to please come back to bed.”
I tried to reassure him I was just tired. After several more hours of grilling me he finally said OK. I breathed a sigh of relief and thanked God silently for helping me through it.
The next day, it was as if nothing happened. No surprise! Now I felt an urgency of getting out sooner than later. I called my sister as soon as I had a chance alone to let her know that this needed to happen soon. Unfortunately, this was January 2009. He is a seasonal worker and is off and on for work right now. I tried not to panic but to keep a cool head and plan.
Just die already!
Early January 2009
Those words spewed from Rob’s mouth with such fierceness and cruelty, that I did want to.
This was incident was not too soon after the head banging incident, Rob rushed me to the E.R. for heart palpitations, late one evening.
I felt my heart skipping beats, my chest hurt. I was scared that I could be having some nasty heart attack. The trip to the hospital seemed like it took forever, where it was only about 20 minutes.
On the way, he kept making references that I was making things up and trying to get attention. I was always sick or hurting myself according to him. He kept threatening that the doctors better find something wrong with me or else, he was missing his favorite show, 'The Simpsons' because of me.
I don't know what "Or else" was but that statement made my stomach turn inside out. I wanted to bolt from the van. I wanted to disappear. I felt worthless. I felt unloved. I felt stupid.
When we arrived to the E.R. I was swept into a room right away for testing and questions about my current health. The doctor and nurse must have sensed the uneasiness in the room because they asked if I needed to talk to a counselor about anything.
Every time the staff would leave he would say something hateful and mean. He told me if I didn't die that night that I should just end my life. That he and the kids would get along just fine without me to keep making him made or doing something stupid to embarrass or upset him.
I curled up in a ball, squeezing my eyes so tight I thought they would explode into my head. I cried silently. He demanded I face the wall so he didn't have to see my disgusting face. He ranted that, I was "such an asshole for the wasted time.
The room was spinning. My heart hurt from the insults. It hurt to
I wanted him to leave.
I wanted him to leave me alone.
I wanted him to leave and vanish. To never come back to bother us.
They found nothing wrong with me, perhaps it was anxiety and also there was the fact that I still hadn't had a bowel movement in sometime. So I was free to go, now, armed with super laxative to help me go.
I was released and going home with a mad man. I mean it! He was angry that I wasted his time. He was angry that I didn't die. He was angry that I was such an idiot and making things up.
I never told anyone in the family about that night and so many events. I was embarrassed. I felt so dumb for letting him continue to abuse me and the kids’.
I resolved to continue to find strength to leave. I couldn't just go right away. My family begged me to leave and I couldn't. I argued the time isn't right. I couldn't go just yet. . .
It would be another month before we could get away.
The irretrievable breakdown of my marriage
I could say it's hard to say when I lost me. The spirit of person can be broken in small sections. Picture a baseball sized Jawbreaker. Each candy coating has a color and flavor, slowly you get to see what the next layer has.
The breakdown was like that. I had lost myself after a long period of time. Many people are lucky noticing the signs of an abusive relationship right off the bat. Some see the signs but fear harm themselves or those close to them so strongly that they stay, such as I did.
I am speaking openly. . .
Losing my moxie, I was once was a wisecracking, fun loving prankster. Always with a sunny outlook even though my spirit was shattered. I was a big mess, I only shared my situation with a few.
Feeling as though the whole sordid mess was my fault.
I even claimed it.
I apologized for it. I apologized for his behavior and actions. I would quickly take the blame for things that he caused.
I lived a fine line between losing my sanity and harming myself. Physically the stress of the relationship was taking its toll on me. Years of Yo-yo dieting to keep me “Trim” were causing me to feel sick, I had developed an ulcer, I was dizzy almost all the time, feeling run down from lack of sleep. I had been losing my hair for some years and I started wetting the bed again, which was something
I did up to the age of 11 years old.
About 12 years into the relationship I thought of physically harming him. He would actually goat me on at times.
On more than one occasion, while I had a hammer in my hand while helping him with a project, or I entertained thoughts of smothering him while he was sleeping or even poisoning his food.
Oh, I fancied the idea of being free, but knowing what good was I in jail?
What if I didn't do it correctly and left the kids to live with him alone?
Amazingly, these thoughts went through his head too, causing him to be super paranoid that I would carry out these things. So, he was constantly goading me to do these or asking me to taste his food or drink before him.
I had thoughts in my head of just driving off into the sunset with him not knowing where we lived. I also had really dangerous thoughts of taking my life and that of the children. I would shake those thoughts away knowing I could never do anything to harm my kids.
All of those thoughts are from a dark side that I pushed aside. In my heart I know one day he will sit in the Judgment seat being held accountable for the things he has done to the kids and myself.
I felt horrible thinking these thoughts, even today I am glad I didn't do anything rash and disgusting. Harming my children was a quick thought in a moment when I was feeling so broken and desperate.
I am glad I had family and friends to listen. Of course my faith in God always helped me. I never lost that faith that someday we would be safe.
This took much time and I am terribly impatient! I questioned my path and whether I was doing the right thing by staying. I didn't know what plans God had for us.
The many times that I left him and then took he back was so hard on my loved ones. I didn't realize what a roller coaster I put them on!
They loved us and wanted us safe.
I regret causing much sadness and panic within family and friends when they were just as worried about us. You don't think about that in the moment. I had to pause and think about that later on. I felt selfish for not thinking about them as well as the well-being of my kids. I let his control and fear grip my life. A grip that is loosening but that is still very real.
Looking back now I am amazed at how the step of our marriage was broken down slowly. Little things that can be overlooked or just blown off by myself and as time went on I lost myself.
I lived a lie.
His control of our relationship was so powerful. Unless you have been in a relationship such as this you will never understand. For those in this relationship please realize you are not crazy! You aren't at fault and you do not deserve to be treated as you are.
I went to my Pastor, who reassured me that he would pray for us. To seek counseling and he would do this for us if we could. He reminded me that God doesn't like divorce.
I questioned if God would want an abusive relationship? Would God want us bruised, afraid and terrified of my husband? He couldn’t answer me, just patting my shoulder and offering prayers.
A few days later I called a Deacon in my church for help, as Rob had threatened to beat me when I got home because I failed to call him back after I missed his call due to helping a customer. I cried for help or intervention but all he could do was offer prayers.
I felt as though I was stuck and that life was to be.
I thank God for placing several people in my path around that time that gently told me that the relationship I was in was not healthy.
It was not safe and not my fault. I had done everything I could.
After then many years of marriage I was a submissive wife. I lived for my kids and husband. I did all I could.
I had signed myself for a Woman’s Retreat through my church. Finding that one of the topics to be discussed was Divorce. Since my track record with this topic and my research on the subject about how God feels about divorce had been waging a tug of war with my spirit and heart, this felt like an incredible opportunity to put my fears to rest.
I was very excited and terrible nervous for the idea that I would be away for over 2 days without the kids. The big day was filled with some sad good-byes. I felt an intense desire to turn back around and head home.
I couldn't relax.
I still “had to” check in every chance I had gotten. For the first time I didn't mind. I was really concerned on how the kids were.
Each time I called I got Rob. He had long ago made it a rule that the kids do not pick up the phone nor call me unless they had his permission.
A few days before it was “The day” was nerve wrecking! I was jumpy, nervous and doing my best to keep my cool. Tensions were high during this time, it was almost like he had a sense that something was off and no matter how I did my best to remain composed, my inner being was frantically battling by trying to talk myself it isn't that bad and I could keep working and praying that it will work out.
My heart spoke loudly, that if I continued on the path I was on, there would be no further hope for happiness and a high probability I would not live to see the end of the year. Several close friends I had confided for me agreed there was no other way to keep on this path that I was on. It is becoming more unstable, volatile and frightening as the days, weeks had progressed.
Rob began to slowly lose his mind, as he was constantly becoming more paranoid about me leaving him. He had always saw things coming from the walls or some sort of writing on the walls (Literally!).
The voices in his head began to intensify.
Early on when we were first married, I swore he may have been on the phone with someone. From time to time in the early or late hours of the day, I could hear him upset with someone from closed doors or outside the house. He would quietly and yet angrily call this unknown person names.
Out of curiosity, I picked up the house phone to see if he was arguing with someone on the phone. I heard a dial tone, yet he was quietly verbally attacking someone. Swearing almost under his breath, these made me nervous and later I would confront him about this. He would just smile, shrug his shoulders and shake his head.
Telling me that I must be hearing things.
From then on I made sure to carefully listen and stay out of his way during these episodes as they had a tendency to escalate for no reason at all. I knew time was of the essence! I had no choice and could not wait any longer!
On the last day of the retreat I went out besides the pool with my Bible, upset that I was unable to find any answers that I was seeking. The tables near the pool had place cards that had discussion topics on them.
I quickly scoured the tables looking for one on divorce, happy to find what I was seeking, I sat down and waited. It was pretty early in the morning and there were a handful of people milling around.
I was approached by a woman that looked around her late 50’s; she asked if I was okay. I let her know I was waiting for the round table discussion about divorce to start.
She looked at me with concern in her eyes, slowly stating that unfortunately the discussions were cancelled due to lack of time and participation.
This opened the flood gates and I was surprised to find my eyes were leaking! I was embarrassed and attempted to rush off, like a scared rabbit.
She kindly placed a hand on my arm and asked what was wrong. I broke down pouring out my heart. I felt my shoulders become lighter. She just listened. Not saying a word until I stopped talking.
She smiled, reached over to give me a huge hug, advising that she is a Psychiatric nurse and that what I shared was not what God wanted for His child; nor was it my fault, I needed to get away as soon as possible! He sounded unstable to her. She verbally listed things that the previous doctor had informed me of.
She urged me to continue with my plan to leave, reminding me to use caution when doing so, and to alert the local police of the situation before making the move.
I sighed a heavily, feeling relief. I thanked her profusely. She invited me to share my email for her to let her know my status when things settle down.
Later after I was safe, I emailed her but never heard back. I considered her an Angel sent to me at a time when I was questioning my decision to leave.
The encounter gave me the resolution and faith to stay on the path I was headed.
February 25, 2009
The night before we left, I had reached out to our three children and let them know that it would be our last night at this house with their father. They were a mixed bag of emotions, as I did offer each of them a choice to stay and not come with.
They were all old enough to make this decision and I felt as though it was the right thing to do. I didn't wish for anyone later down the road to say I twisted things and made them come. It was decided everyone would be going. No one would go to school. I had set my plan in motion a few weeks prior by announcing to the principal where all three kids went to, know of the decision and breaking the silence of what was going on in our home for many years.
He was very compassionate, while making sure to let me know that he could help anyway needed to protect the kids as well as me. I filled him in briefly about my plan in addition to telling him that I would need to change schools. A heart breaking decision as the kids would miss friends and teachers. There was no other choice. If we were to start over it had to be totally severing whatever ties needed to be.
The next morning the normal work routine was in process. I woke up first to get his breakfast together, next his clothes and shower running with door closed so when he woke up he could eat his breakfast in the comfort of the bathroom. I had to make sure the plate was pre-warmed so his food did not get cold on the plate while he woke up and slowly made his way to the downstairs warm bathroom.
I was so antsy, trying not too seem too eager and nervous. I carefully made his lunch, prepared his boots and warmed up his van. These tasks were normal things for me. All had to be perfect, careful not to miss anything in his morning, like any other.
Luckily, this particular day he would working in a hole that would not allow for him to make calls or receive any.
I thanked my lucky stars that everything went off without a hitch! I felt lightheaded as I anxiously waited for him to leave. As soon as he was gone, I didn't realize I was holding my breath and felt a great rush of adrenaline as I sprang into action, calling my sister to let her know he was gone, that I was getting ready to move, she would come by to help as best she could and she would be there in about a half hour or so. I couldn't think about feeding myself, as
I was not thinking about that for myself at this time.
I carefully grabbing garbage bags, dashing up to our third floor bedroom to attack our closet. Filling several bags of any soft trinkets, personal effects and whatever I could remember to think of filling.
After about an hour of working to get as much out as I could, from a futon, to boxes filled with memories, medicines and toys, I woke the kids. I gave them garbage bags to fill with clothes and whatever else they wished to bring. Favorite blankets, stuffed friends and whatnot.
I snagged some various foods from cupboards and fridge, believe it or not I still had a moment of clarity about what I needed especially on that first night.
The weather outside was in the low 40’s, I dashed in and out of the house at a hurried pace flinging and stuffing all I could in my mini-van, a bit impatient with myself and the kids. They seemed to sense my manic moment and peacefully quieted down, eating breakfast and gathering the last vestiges of that old life.
I continued to hustle; cold sweat running down my face, my shirt clung to me causing me to shiver and with tears of fear that today was actually happening!
As I ran back in the house for another load all of a sudden my phone chirped! I stopped in my tracks and hushed the kids, quickly replying to Rob with a fast response.
He noticed I sounded out of breath, was I exercising? I said I was on the ski machine and apologized. He just wanted to talk and see what I was up to.
I was feeling frantic and did not want to give myself away. I could hear my heart pounding in my ears! The kids had magically gone silent and quickly finished with breakfast to keep getting ready to go out on my mark, of which I was very grateful. He let me go so I could work out some more, he said he loved me and he waited for me to say the same. I hesitated saying it, both on purpose and because I didn't feel it, over the past year I could not say it honestly or without pause. I was tired of pretending! I was tired of being a punching bag and living in fear.
We finished up all we could gather and my intention was to hit the house one more time grabbing what I could a few hours later to my sisters chagrin. She was as nervous as I was! Those short hours flew by, next thing I knew it we were on the road, heading to freedom.
How to save a life
I don’t take suicide lightly nor do I mean to offend anyone about my reactions to the following.
Throughout our relationship there were instances where Rob would threaten to take his own life if I were to leave him. He would become so distraught, crying, pleading, depressed that I made an attempt to end the relationship.
When we physically left in both times in 2007 and 2009 he attempted suicide. Each time he was found by family or friends that he called prior to doing the deed.
I had grown so used to his attempts that I disregarded them as feeble attempts to keep me with him. He took advantage of knowing that I didn't wish any harm to come to anyone.
During the years of 2007 and 2009 after numerous attempts, his family made sure his was admitted into the hospital for observation. This is how it was discovered he had various mental issues.
He was placed on medication to help stabilize his mood and a tactic he later used to keep us in line is to threaten he would not take his medication.
In 2009, a week after leaving for the last time, I received call from Rob. My sister and I just filed a Protective Order against Rob and were still out on a rural road.
I didn't tell him about the Order, as I was advised not to. He needed to be served and saying something may make him flee or become elusive.
He said, “Mel, I just want to tell you that I am sorry for everything. Let the kids know I love them, I’m not going to be around anymore.”
I didn't say a word, I mouthed to my sister the situation. She looked stunned and concerned. I just shrugged.
“Mel? Hello? You still there?” he asked.
“Yup, I’m still here. I will let the kids know.” And I hung up.
Mandy just stared at me, then she finally told me we needed to call the police or something. I shrugged.
“Mel, you have to call someone! If you don’t I will! You will feel terrible if he does it and then you have to tell the kids!” she exclaimed.
“Mandy, I am not calling anyone if you want to fine, he won’t do anything, and he is a Drama King. And to answer your question, I won’t feel guilty!” I argued. I felt like a little kid that may be passed over for candy. In my heart, I was worn out and tired of all the threats.
God had other plans. Out of the blue a police car came by. Mandy waved her arm out and we climbed out of the car to speak to the officer about the situation. He radioed to have the police in Griffith alerted to do a Wellness check on Rob.
We thanked the officer. I did feel a bit guilty about my reaction. Mandy was right about the impact that news would have on the children. I was feeling very emotional due to the circumstances.
I called Rob’s Mother to alert her of the situation, bringing her up to speed. She was happy that I let her know.
About an hour later my phone rang, the Officer that took my initial report called to say that Rob was found in the garage, disoriented with his truck running, a hose from exhaust to the inside of the cab. He was taken to the hospital for physical and mental assessment.
I had mixed feelings. I never discussed the situation with the kids.
They had been through enough.
He did call to ask me to visit. I declined, but I was in touch with doctors and psychiatrists that were treating him. Once again the diagnosis for his mental state were questionable and it was advised the level of obsession he had about me was deemed unhealthy, I also should take steps to ensure my personal safety, if I had any plans to reunite that I may consider against it as it was unhealthy for both he and I.
I was able to let the caregivers know that I had no intention of mending the marriage.