Part 8: A Slap In The Face, Literally

This post is the one I’ve put off forever.  Abuse is never easy to talk about.  I’ll start with a disclaimer.  My abuse had happened the entire marriage, it wasn’t just a one time random thing, yet it wasn’t physically constant either.  I suffered from his mental abuse far more than physical, but I was always careful not to push certain buttons because I knew that if pushed hard enough there was violence lurking underneath.  After he cheated on me something inside of me died, in a good way.  At first I cared and wanted to be the best wife ever, and I just knew if I were better things would get better.  But slowly I learned that that was never the answer and I slowly stopped caring what he thought.  It took a damn long time, but today I stand up to him in a heartbeat and never back down.  I’m not scared anymore.  I also think that part of his problem was that he saw he was losing his control over me.  I’d snap back instead of just going along with his selfish demands.  I didn’t keep my mouth shut much anymore, and he couldn’t stand me.  I was no longer a puppet that he could manipulate.  The point of this telling of my story has never been and will never be for anyone to feel sorry for me. If anything rejoice because I am free from the prison I lived in for 11 years.  I ultimately started writing about this to tell the events of what happened last summer of 2013 and how God took care of me and my children during a difficult time, but in order for any of it to make sense you have to see the entire journey.

The following is the sequence of events that led up to a tipping point.  You’ll understand as you read.

My husband left our home on my birthday heading for his beloved Missouri, and did not return home until 2 days later. Previously at the beginning of the month of April I had begged him to try and save our marriage, and our divorce was put on hold.

On May 2nd 2012 I was in the kitchen baking cake.  My husband came home from school and asked me if I was going to go to the gym and told me that that was why he came home.  I told him a text or call would have been nice since I was in the middle of making cake.  I stopped what I was doing and went and changed my clothes for the gym, then he acted put-off that I actually wanted to go.  I drove across the street to our gym Snap Fitness, which I could see from my house.  I was using the elliptical machine and looked up and noticed my 2-year-old son Oliver in the driveway by my husbands’ car.  I sent him a text to see if he was outside with Oliver, and he was not.  I sent my husband a text again to ask if Oliver had been outside and he said yes.  When I arrived home about 40 minutes later from the gym Oliver met me at the door with a meat thermometer in his mouth and the words “I poop”.  When I entered the kitchen I found cake covering the floor and also poop.  I walked through the house to find my husband lying on the bed watching Fox News on TV.  I told him that there was a huge mess and I wanted him to clean it all up.  I then got in the shower and when I got out of the shower my husband was gone.  The poop had been picked up off the floor, but there was still poop in Oliver’s pants and cake all over the floor.

May 3, 2012 my husband informed me via text message that he was working at the hospital in Missouri that evening.  He then went on to say that I should just go ahead and test for an LPN program in Missouri and try to get into it.  When I asked him how I would do that living in Tennessee he said I was going to do it before so I could figure it out.  I told him that if I moved anywhere it would be Kentucky with my family, and he told me that I would not take his children to Kentucky and if I did the lawyers would be contacted.  When he came home that afternoon to get his bag for work we got into an argument and I told him that I was depressed. Instead of caring that I was at an all time emotional low because our marriage was at the breaking point, and instead of calling in to work to stay home and make sure I was ok, my husband walks out to his car and makes a phone call to his lawyers office to tell them about me.  As he’s about to drive 3 hours away to work I ask my husband to leave us some money since he had refused to put me back onto a bank account, and I was still a stay at home parent. He takes us to the grocery store to get some food, but he does not leave any money with me. So here I am again with three kids, 2 hours away from all my friends and family in a strange town I hardly know with no money outside of a small savings account that I had on the side, which was only reserved for the most dire of circumstances.

My husband returned home 2 days later and slept until six that night.  I had previously asked him to watch our children that weekend so that I could go to a 5K with some friends in Nashville.  When he was asked he stated nothing about having to work and also said he would be studying the whole weekend.  I did not go on my planned trip because of him.  So upon waking at six p.m. instead of studying my husband sits around our home and watches a UFC fight on T.V.

On May 6th the kids and I get up and go to church, and when we get home my husband is not there which is becoming pretty typical at this point.  He did not return home until later in the evening in which he was in our home for 10 minutes and changed into different clothes, and then left without saying a word as to where he was going.  Our middle son cried because he wanted to see his daddy, so I gave him my phone so he could call him.  My husband did not answer the first time so my son called again.  I heard my son ask his dad where he was and I heard my husband reply that he was studying.  I stayed awake fairly late that night waiting for my husband to get home but finally had to go to sleep.

I awoke the next day at 6 a.m. and my husband was not in the bed.  I get up to look on the couch but he was not there either and his car was not in the driveway.  I call him several times and he does not answer, so I get the children up and we drive to his school’s library to see if his car is in the parking lot, which it was not.  I then decided to drive around Jackson, TN looking in a few locations, like motel parking lots, for his car.  After about 30 minutes I give up and go home to get our daughter ready for school that day.  I call my husband again and leave a voicemail.  I also call his mom in Missouri to see if he is at her house, but she also does not answer.  Around 7:30 a.m. my husband finally sends me a text stating that he was at his mom’s house.  His mom returns my call sometime after his text and tells me that he had come to her home the night before around 9:30 p.m.  My husband does not return to the home in Jackson, TN until 10:30 a.m. on May 8th.  I will later on in the year find receipts hidden in a zipper in his wallet for around this date for Starbucks and Bath and Body Works, $50.00 each that are purchased in Missouri while he is gone away from home. Gift cards that I never receive as gifts and there is no other reasonable explanation for their purchase.

Because my husband thought I should I apply for the LPN program in Missouri, I apply and register for the test.  I was starting to realize that this may not work out after all and getting some type of education was probably for the best.  I had 2 days to study for the test and on May 11, my husband watches the children while I drive to Missouri for the test at 11:30 a.m.  After my test I go to see my best friend because it’s her birthday.  I receive several angry messages from my husband because he thinks that I should have already returned home.  I return home at 6:30 p.m. and upon my entering the home I find my husband and children outside and our house trashed.  When he sees that I am home he leaves the home and does not state where he is going and yet again does not leave his family any money.  After sending him several text messages he revealed he was going to Missouri yet again.

On May 12, 2012 I decided to go visit my family for Mother’s Day.  This will be the first Mother’s Day that I celebrate with my mom in 7 years. That day I take all of my clothing to my grandmother’s home because of my husbands’ erratic behavior.  That evening I receive a text from my husband asking if I am home. I Later find out from his mother that he is actually at our home when he sends out this text. I don’t reply to his text because I finally get to the point where I don’t care anymore.  He doesn’t tell me where he is or what he’s doing hardly ever anymore and why should I?

On my way back home to Jackson, TN on the next day, my husband yet again asks me if I am home.  In text message form he tells me that he is playing games and that I should not get upset when I get overwhelmed from them. On May 14, I tell my husband that I would like to separate from him for a few months.  He that says I am free to go, but that his children were not going anywhere.  He also asks what I will be driving if I leave, and says that I could buy our van from him but it would be at fair market value.  He then takes the extra key for my van that is kept in the glove box, and also takes my key to his Dodge Charger.  My husband then begins looking vehicles up online, and comes up to me again in the living room and states what the van’s worth is and tells me I could have first dibs on buying it but that I would need to let him know that day, otherwise he would sell it to someone else. I can remember just standing in our kitchen after this encounter and just feeling so helpless and alone.  Some of the emotions I experienced do not even have a way to describe them with words, but above all I was just so confused.  I just didn’t know who this person was anymore.

That same day is also the first time that my husband informs me that he was no longer paying my student loan payment and hadn’t paid it since April.  The next day, my husband is still looking cars up online.  He tells our children he is taking them to see his mother.  When I asked him for how long I get several different answers.  First he tells me 2 days, then it turns into 2 weeks, and then he refuses to reply.  I become worried that my husband has plans to run off with the kids and may also have someone come and take my van away leaving me stranded in Tennessee.

On May 16th I decide to pack some essentials and valuables in case my husband decides to destroy things, and the children and I go to my grandmother’s home in Paducah, KY. He calls and texts but I still don’t know how to respond.  He calls my phone and wants to talk to our daughter.  I give her the phone and he proceeds to tell her that he was coming to get her to take her to see her old dog Sparkles who lives with his grandmother in Missouri. I call him back and tell him not to come and that he can see the kids next week.  My husband shows up at my Grandmother’s house anyway and the children become upset and start to cry because their dad goes to an open window and starts talking and telling them he’s going to take them for ice cream.  At this point I did not feel comfortable with him taking the children, and the police were called so that he would leave.

From May 18 to the 23rd my husband calls and texts relentlessly.  One night he starts texting me and tells me how much he still loves me and wants our marriage to work.  Looking back now, all I can see is the manipulation that is really is, but at the time I was so desperate for his love and for the marriage to be restored that I ate it up like candy.  Part of me knew he was up to something, but the part of me that believed in the fairy tale that is true love really wanted to believe that his motives were pure.  I agree to go to our home in Tennessee as long as my husband will first come to Kentucky and hang out for a bit.  I wanted to get a feel for him first to see if I felt something was off or if he was serious.  He comes to Kentucky and things go well, so I pack up the kids and we head for Tennessee.  About 10 minutes on the road my phone rings and it is my lawyer. He calls to inform me that my husband has started up the divorce process again.  I call my husband and make him pull over to confront him with this new found knowledge.  Up until this point I was under the impression that he wanted things to work.  He denies knowing why the divorce is back on and talks me into still coming to Tennessee.  Upon arriving at our home I find that my garage door opener won’t open the door anymore because he has locked it from the inside.  My heart sinks, and I start to wonder if I’ve made a huge mistake.  We go inside and I find that the backdoor locks have also been changed and my husband refuses to give me a key.  My husband also tells me that he almost sold my beloved piano, that was a gift from my grandma, after I left.  There were so many red flags and I felt so uneasy.  Since he had professed his love and told me how much he wanted things to work out I decided to test him in a very small way.  My husband takes our kids and I shopping for toothbrushes and shoes and while at the shoe store I ask him to purchase me some cute shoes I see on clearance for seven dollars each.  That’s a drop in the bucket when you are already buying three pairs of brand new name brand shoes for three kids.  He refuses to buy me the shoes totaling a whopping fourteen dollars and I know then that this is not a man who wants to work anything out.

My husband had made it out that my trip down to Tennessee would be that of us talking and working on things.  I waited and waited for him to get around to that, thinking that a talk should be pretty high on the list of things to accomplish while I am there.  But after shopping, and taking the kids to skate and play in the pool I start to wonder if it will ever happen.  Instead of talking about working on the marriage all we really end up doing is arguing more about our problems with each other and I cry most of the weekend.  That Sunday he had also told me that we were going to go to church as a family, but we did not.  My husband decided to work at the hospital in Missouri on Memorial Day and I thought about staying at our home in Jackson, TN with the children.  My husband refused to let me stay in our home and stated that he thought I would try and take all of our furniture.  I left Jackson, TN with the children and returned to Kentucky.

On May 31, I agree to let the children go with their dad for a visit, and he had agreed to bring them back that Sunday.  Sunday, my husband calls to inform me that our son Oliver has bug bites and he would not be returning the kids to me, that he would take them back to Tennessee and if I wanted to see them then I needed to come home.  Again the next day I was told the same thing.  So I did what any mother would do in my situation, I packed my belongings and headed back to Jackson, TN.

I had been home for only one day and my husband wanted to know why I wanted to keep talking about our marriage.  At this point he tells me that he is unsure of it working out and that he thinks I am crazy…..

His Name Is Thomas

This is the point where I stop calling him my husband. This is where I talk about the abuse and my heart pounds a little faster just thinking about it. Not really because it happened, but that I allowed myself to tolerate such disrespect for so long.

Thomas loved to play fight, and I was always a fun victim for him.  One time while standing in our kitchen in Missouri he starts to want to play fight and punches me so hard in the liver that I have to go lie down on the living room floor and cry.  All the while he looks on and laughs.    Thomas’ mentality is that if a woman puts herself in a mans place then she can take whatever the man dishes out.  This comes from a man who saw his own mother thrown outside of the house naked and then locked out by his father.  Who’s father would tell his children to come home and call their mother awful names and that if they didn’t they would be punished. Thomas is an abuser, because he was raised by an abuser, but it is still no excuse.

The abuse in our marriage happened from the beginning, but time after time I’d forgive him and let it slide.  Once the police were even involved, and being a young 19 year old girl I was scared to death to press charges of abuse against my husband.  I knew I still had to live with him if he ever came home.

The day before our 10 year anniversary on June 7, 2012  I was lying across the couch on my stomach facing Thomas who was sitting upright.  Thomas grabbed me and had me in a choke-hold where I ended up on top of him and he was on his back with his arms around my neck.  He then proceeded to slap at me.  At first I thought this was just him playing around, until he kept slapping me hard enough for my teeth to be jarred.  The children came in the house and were standing all around the couch watching this and even tried to help me by grabbing him.  I did try and defend myself by slapping him back as much as I could and tried to get my leg over his arm several times to stop him.  My foot slid and I accidentally hit Thomas in the face, which seemed to make him angry.  His slaps then became even harder.  At some point we ended up falling off the couch and Thomas had me twisted up with him practically sitting on top of me with no way to defend myself while he continued to slap my face.  I then started crying, wherein which Thomas finally got off of me and stopped slapping me.  I went to the bathroom to see my face, and considered calling the police but was scared of what might happen if I tried.  I go into my bedroom and sit in the dark on the bed to just think it out, when in walks Thomas.  I think you know what happens next, and it wasn’t of my choosing.  I really don’t even know how to make sense of it, and at the time I was just as confused.  Why would you hit your wife and in the next ten minutes want to be intimate?

Thomas then wanted to go to the store and rent movies as if nothing had happened.  I can remember walking around Walgreens just wishing someone would ask me why my face was bruised.  I sent photos of my face to my friends and family and they were enraged, but everyone was two hours away and it was already late into the night.  I wanted to call the police, but I was scared.  I stayed up as late as possible hoping Thomas would go to sleep before me so that I could make that phone call.

photo 3

The following day was our 10 year anniversary.  Thomas had to leave and go to school for a test, and as soon as his car left my sight I loaded all of the kids into the van and drove downtown to where the police station was located.  I was considered filing a police report for his violent behavior.  It was not okay for him to hit me and leave bruises and not okay for the kids to be subject to witnessing it. I don’t know how many times I circled the building before I decided to just drive back home and wait some more.  My biggest concern was my children, and luckily I returned home before Thomas.

Thomas came home from school and started arguing with me and telling me that he in fact did not hit me and tried to say I did it to myself.  He also yet again started making threats about taking my only form of transportation away.  As we argued, I thought of all the times he had physically hurt me in some way and decided that this time I would call and file a police report.  The police came and at first it seemed as if they were just going to make him leave our home, but after talking to someone on a radio, one of the officers told Thomas that he was under arrest.  I packed up yet again and my children and I headed to Illinois, and a no contact order was officially in place.

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