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Can`t take chances

27 August, 2002


If you've ever been in an abusive relationship, then perhaps, you can relate to my story, in one way or another.


I could probably write several books just on my psychotic relationship that I've been in for nearly the past 2 years. This is a SMALL fraction of my story.


This is NOT about using fancy words. It's NOT about me creating a story for attention. THIS IS REAL!


In the process of walking away, you feel you are going to miss the person. What would life be like without him? You're insecure about anything. If I start working, will I be able to concentrate or will I start thinking about the times I was with the person? You think, you'll miss them. Really, those good times that you reminisce about, were superficial. There was more bad than good.


This is my story.


I was 28. "Tony" (name altered) was 55. He's married.


At first, I was given gifts. It began with a $300 necklace. Months later, he purchased a $500 charm. The same day he bought the charm, Tony took me to dinner at an exclusive restaurant in New York (where he preceded to tell me "this is where I bring all my women.").


Just months into this relationship, Tony became extremely controlling. Even though he was controlling, I was "obedient" to him because he was gold to me. My closest friend (and many others) knew of his personality. Tony is a former police officer. He has always had a commando and domineering attitude. At work. Anywhere he went. He dressed and acted as if he was better than others. Tony would boast about how much his shoes and glasses cost.


One evening, we snuck away to a town about an hour from home. We went to a condo, owned by him and his wife. There, we drank and "did our thing." I said to Tony, "you got me at a very young age." In response, Tony said "no, I got you at a very vulnerable time." Unfortunately, when he came back with that striking statement, the "red flag" wasn't that red to me. Just the other day, my friend reminded me of that comment Tony made. My buddy said "any other girl would have knocked him out!"


At the time, I was separated from my husband for about 5 months.


This was just the beginning of a quickly and escalating, emotionally abusive relationship. So bad, that today, my thinking process is "slow and fuzzy." Many times, I either stutter or pause too much because I feel confused with what I want to say. So bad, in my mind, I think all guys cheat (if Tony did, everybody else does too).


Tony expressed he has felt no guilt about cheating with me. If this man doesn't feel guilt, he has no conscience. Tony has a son in his 20's. I guess he must not care for his son or his wife. Really, does he care about me? NO WAY!


Here and there he has given me money (nothing that would get me ahead in life, just enough to "keep me quiet").


If we couldn't have an uninterrupted conversation on the phone, because the kids were being noisy (at the time, my son was 6 and my daughter 4), he would tell me to hit them. I would feel very angry at him for ordering me to do such a thing. At the same time, I would feel upset when he threatened to hang up.


All of this began to take a toll on the kids and me. I wasn't there emotionally for them because I was swiftly losing my self-worth and what was left of my emotions, had continued to disintegrate.


The kids and I live with my parents. My relationship with them continued to get worse. Dad once yelled: "don't you know he's using you!?"


I was convinced Tony loved me and that he was leaving his wife.


HOW WE MET


Tony and I worked at my son's school (before I started working there, I would visit my son during recess [that's when I began talking to Tony]). Within a month or so, I was working at the school.


About 5 months into my job, I was formally fired because of actions that were occurring between Tony and I. We would meet in a room (closed door); then, exchange hugs, kisses and touches. Nothing beyond that, but it was enough to make people think otherwise. I was caught walking out of the room. Probably, people were catching on to our "meetings." I'll admit that school was not the place for that. I've felt terrible about it and plenty of other things.


I was ANGRY for quite a while because I was asked to leave the school. Tony was never questioned! It's called tenure, money and politics!


CONTROL


Throughout the next couple of months, I attempted to leave Tony; but, he always came up with a sly tactic to make me stay, convincing me there was nobody else for me. Tony claimed he wasn't controlling me; but rather, gearing me in the right direction.


I wasn't "allowed" to talk to certain people (only ones he approved of). I wasn't allowed to go to certain places. Tony controlled me from his house, while he had a wife.


I thought at the time, the reason why he was like this was because he loved me. WRONG!


The following is an actual conversation that took place in July 2001. I was "reporting" to Tony that I had bought a ticket to go see Huey Lewis and the News, in a town about 30 minutes away.


Me- Do you want me to go tomorrow?
Seriously, yes or no? If it's a yes, I
would want you to stay up so that I
could talk to you when I get home. If
it's a no, I don't have to worry about
all that. I think the show starts at
7:00pm. I don't know how long it will
run. This is only my 2nd concert. So,
I don't know. I think it's 2 or 3 hours
long. So, if I were to go, I would
imagine I'd be back by 11:00pm.


Him- If I'm awake, I would expect you to call
me.


Me- Oh, I would definitely call you. I
would just hope you're awake.


Him- IF I am awake.


Him- I don't want a beep.


Me- What?


Him- I don't want a beep.


Me- What do you mean you don't want a beep?
When? When I get home?


Him- Yeah.


Me- You mean, to call you directly?


Him- Yeah. If I am awake, I'll pick it up.
And if I'm not, well, then you'll have to wait until I reach out for you in the morning.


Me- Now, I don't know if they have phones on
the grounds. Will you have your beeper
on?


Him- I don't want you to waste money.


Me- It's not wasting money. It's a beeper.
It's a 1-800 number.


Him- I understand that.


Me- There's no wasting.


Him- I don't want you near a phone (growing
angry)!


Me- Why?


Him- I DON'T WANT YOU NEAR A PHONE!


Me- Oh, you mean to put myself in a position
where I am alone?


Him- That's one. Or two, somebody will say
here's my cell phone and what's your
number? I don't want you near a
f**king phone!


Me- What if there's women around or what if
there's a whole bunch of people (he then
interrupts)...


Him- I don't want you near a f**king phone!
What, are you this f**king thick?


Me- No.


Him- How many times have I got to f**king tell
you what I want?


Me- I just heard you. I'm just trying to
think so I could reach out for you; but,
you don't want me to (he then interrupts)


Him- I don't want you to. I want you to go.
Enjoy yourself the best you possibly can.
I want you to behave yourself. DON'T
start a conversation. DON'T think about
a c*ck. DON'T freaking think of smoking.
And I DON'T want you f**king drinking.


Me- Smoking?


Him- Yeah.


Me- No smoking you said?


Him- Yeah. No f**king marijuana.


Me- Oh, I'm not smoking pot!


Him- No drinking.


Me- You mean while I'm there or before?
I'm not trying to be funny.


Him- We have a problem.


Me- Ok. You don't want me to drink.


Him- That's the f**king problem.


Me- You don't want me to drink anything
at all? Ok. I won't.


Him- You could have a soda. You could
have a f**king cup of coffee. You
could have a glass of water. I
want no f**king alcohol in you,
where you start feeling good and
forget me. It's bad enough you
are going to enjoy yourself at the
concert and forget me.


(at this point, I didn't hear the
last phrase, so I asked
him "what?")


Him- Don't give me what!


Me- I didn't hear you.


Him- I said, it's bad enough you're
going to have a nice time at
that concert with the music.
I don't need you f**king
dancing around, shaking your
a*s; but, enjoy yourself.
Don't let some guy come up and
I find out from you later on he
f**king put his arms around
and started dancing with you.


Me- I won't let that happen.


Him- I'm warning you. Remember
this day and remember this
time. If you slip and tell
me, you wouldn't have to
worry about me saying
goodbye because I'm not
even going to say it. I
want the proper clothing
on you. You BETTER make
the right decision. You
BETTER remember every
piece of garment you wear
tomorrow night because I'm gonna ask you.
And you freaking hold off for one second,
we've got a problem.


----------------------------------------------


At one point, Tony was going up to my son (in school) and asking him information (did you go out with Mommy, did Mommy talk to any guys, etc.). I filed a police report against him for harassing my son. Tony was transferred to another school. So much anger set in, for a wide variety of reasons. I put up signs around town stating what Tony did to my son. He was forced to resign. Some may say, he got what he deserved. Others may think it wasn't appropriate. But, it happened.


There was a 2 month period where I had no contact with Tony. That was my ticket out. In a weird sense, I missed him. I began to enter into a depression. I gained weight. I felt listless. Someone commented I looked like a zombie. I was just existing. Even after the destruction that my kids and I suffered, I wanted Tony back in my life.


I MADE A MISTAKE! A DRASTIC ONE!!!
I contacted Tony. For the last 7 months of this year (up until 3 weeks ago), we've been together. THINGS HAVE ONLY GOTTEN WORSE!!! I don't want this to sound wrong or bizarre, but physical abuse would have been easier to deal with than emotional. Because I was unable to handle stress and couldn't see any hope or lacked the courage to leave, I started physically abusing myself. I punched walls. I was frustrated! The physical pain I felt was a form of distraction (for those few moments, I didn't have to think about what was going on). My knuckles now are not aligned properly. All this, FOR WHAT???


I have felt programmed. I couldn't live without him.


Since we had gotten back together, Tony hasn't taken me out once. What was he giving me this year? Cigarettes, liquor (at times) and a little cash, here and there.


GUILT


Many times he would claim to love me even after "what I did to him." He instilled guilt and made me feel like the bad one. I think it's one of the abuser's traits. It gives them power.


As far as my stupid decisions in staying with Tony and how it affected my kids, I can't repair the damage. At times, I wish I could do things over.


There were many times I cried in front of my children. At times, I drank to "deal" with my problems. I remember once drinking, going to the bathroom and getting sick. came back to the bedroom and burst out crying. My son asked me "What's the matter Mommy? Is it him again?"


DESPERATE MEASURES


There were times I had people calling Tony's wife and letting her know he and I were seen together. I once paid a stranger to make a call to Tony's wife. My goal? I wanted him 100%. Despite all of my efforts, she hasn't left him. He hasn't left her.


ALIENATION


During the course of this affair, I tried to avoid being in the same room as Mom or Dad. This way, there would be no discussion about Tony. At times, if either one of my parents caught me in the kitchen or passing thru the dining room, all they had to do was mention 1 or 2 words about this man and I would flip! I'd quickly run upstairs to my room. I made sure to close and lock the door (or ask either one of my kids to do so for me because I didn't want to "hear Grandpa's mouth").


I have felt immensely guilty. This will stay with my kids. Right now, if my parents lovingly attempt to talk to my children, more so my girl, who's now 5, she'll repeat what has been learned. Not kind words. Not kind actions.


Tony has never been there for me emotionally. He never planned to leave his wife. Even if he did, his personality will never change.


TALK ABOUT FEELING USED!!! It's a hard feeling to shake.


This is a man that I'd been in love with, who has admitted to being emotionally and verbally abusive to me. There were a few times he looked at me straight in the face and said "you are one dumb b*tch!"


In the past, I would think, why leave if I don't deserve better? Who I have, claims to treat me like a million dollars. It had been a struggle. It wasn't easy for me. I will never have a successful relationship, I thought. If I do find someone, does it have to be about sex?


I've disrespected myself. While with Tony, I had 2 "one-night stands." I've felt "dirty." If and when I do meet somebody, I don't want to rush into having sex. I have to heal emotionally. Because of my past, it's difficult to even consider having sex, without having the feeling of being used.


EXCUSES


One of Tony's infamous lines were " maybe you should get on with your life." He always knew I couldn't let go. Tony loved to see tears and desperation on my face. It gave him power.


If I ever attempted to talk about my feelings, it was total DISREGARD. He'd respond "I understand (no heart... just pretended to care)." If he couldn't call, it's because he "couldn't take any chances." I could have made that into a song title. The best line was "if you want us to be together, there's things I have to do at home in order to keep up a charade."


Tony claims he hasn't had sex with his wife for the past 10 months. Time after time, when I've confronted him with the question, it's always the same lying response.


There were times we'd be together and he wouldn't ejaculate. His excuse was he couldn't have a climax because of his erectile dysfunction. I never believed it! It's because he had sex the night before with his wife!


CRUCIAL LOSSES


First and foremost, I've lost my self-esteem. Secondly, because of my twisted decisions, I had stressed my children. Thirdly, up until last week or so, I distanced myself from my parents and immediate family. Lastly, because of my involvement with Tony, I destroyed the possibility of reconciling with my husband, thus ruining the chances of reuniting my family (my husband, our children and me). Yes, my husband did find out about everything!


LETTING GO


I just don't know why it's been so hard for me to let go. I know I have the answers. I've had many signs, negative episodes and emotional freak outs.


LAST TIME TOGETHER


The last time I saw Tony was 3 weeks ago. I was away with him for 3 days.


During those 3 days, I had to hear his conversations with the wife, during which he would deny having any contact with me. One night, at 11:30pm., she called. The wife was frantically stating to him that she found different forms of evidence proving we were back together. There were a pattern of incoming calls to the fax line. In addition, a friend of the wife's spotted Tony one night using a payphone. He was flat out denying it. What a bast*rd! I felt like screaming while he was on the phone! Despite the fact I've been with him, part of me feels bad for her because all along, she's been right. As I was hearing his responses, I could just imagine what was going thru her mind.


TRIP BACK HOME


It was atrocious! a 3 1/2 hour ride. I cried. What did Tony say? "You know, you're putting me thru the same thing as last year (we made the same trip then). You cried. Your hormones are out of whack."


Why was I crying? Because of the realization he's going back to his wife.


I've been reliving the past 2 years, for the past 2 weeks. I DO WANT THE HELL OUT!!!


HE WENT AWAY WITH HER


A couple of weeks ago, Tony and his wife had been away (the same place he took me [it's a vacation home shared by the family]). Last time I heard from him was 12 days ago. He called from a payphone, while the wife was back at the home. Tony said, "I'll call you in a little while." It's been a long, little while!


WHAT DOES THIS MEAN


Despite the chaos my involvement with Tony has caused, part of me still feels a "small" attraction to him. It's the only "love" I've known, during these 2 years. I really wish this feeling went away. It's not normal.


NEED CLOSURE


I feel I am strong enough now to finally put an end to this nightmare. I just refuse to "give in" and make a phone call to him. I don't want him thinking I am desperate. I DO NEED CLOSURE! The only way for it to happen is for him to call me! My fear is that he may not call. Then what? No closure?


In the meantime, while waiting for the call, I've been stalling my search for employment. You see, even while I am "almost out," I have my life on HOLD, somewhat, BECAUSE OF HIM!


THEY DIDN'T ALIENATE ME


How many times have I heard from my closest male friend, my mother and grandmother, "You have 2 kids. You are wasting your time and emotional well-being for an idiot who doesn't care about you."


WHY I HAVEN'T GONE TO THERAPY


I think to fully explain my experience from Day 1, would be an emotional drag. I would hate to relive every moment of my past. I am in the process of writing to various women's' organizations and other therapeutic-type forums.


GIVING MYSELF HOPE


I know I could come out of this. I know I am a good person. I've made mistakes; but, I feel I do deserve better. I want to "be me again." My personality had changed drastically during my involvement with Tony. I've had enough of crying!


Being away from Tony for 3 weeks, has given me time to think, sort out my feelings and begin restructuring my life. It feels great!


YOU'RE LAUGHING MOM


Just the other night, I was talking to my friend (the one who has been with me thru "thick and thin"). He says, "Your personality is beginning to come back. I miss that." Well, I said something that made myself laugh (one of those marathon laughs). My son said to me: "Mom, I haven't heard you laugh like that in a long time. Can I lay next to you and laugh too?" It broke my heart!


HELPING EACH OTHER


If there's someone out there who may find themselves in a similar predicament, perhaps, not as bad or even worse, please share your experience.

WE COULD HELP EACH OTHER, BY LEADING EACH OTHER TO HELP!


- Babby, shaycas@cs.com


(email address left at request of contributor)



CAN'T TAKE CHANCES UPDATE


(as of August 24th)


I have not heard from Tony. I thought emotionally, it's supposed to get easier. Like, he's a loser anyway. But, all those feelings that I had for him were true (no matter how he treated me). Those feelings I held on to for nearly 2 years. I can't just "wake up tomorrow" and expect not to have any feelings. I find myself feeling like I was "dropped..." out of nowhere, no explanations, no clues. It's a terrible thing.


I want to force myself not to care for him (to make myself believe he's a CLASS 'A' JERK!).


But then, it seems like I start missing him. At the same time, anger sets in... how could he do this to me... how a simple phone call would have made a difference! As each day passes, I've become more uneasy. Is this another mean game he's playing, just to break me down even further and try to "reel me back in? (HOOK, LINE AND SINKER!)"


Truly, I want to detach emotionally from this man, 100%. The "bottom" for me could be very near. I could feel it. And, I know it could even get worse if I fell into his trap again. I do not want that.


Honestly, I could most definitely use therapy but I am afraid to even admit to an inkling of depression, for fear a professional would tell me I am an unfit mother and take my kids away. Really though, I don't feel I am at a stage like "I have no reason to exist;" however, there has to be some emotional damage.


I am making progress. So far, I am "playing my cards" right. I want my life back. Much to my amazement, I have been hired to work again in a school system, outside of the county I previously worked for! I feel like I have a 2nd chance at life!


I will begin work September 4th. I WOULD LIKE TO SUCCEED!


In my heart, I am dedicated, motivated and determined... DEDICATED TO GET MY EMOTIONS INTACT... MOTIVATED TO BECOME A MORE "SOUND" MOTHER... AND DETERMINED TO FIND A CURE TO GET RID OF THIS DISEASE (that being, Tony!).


If I don't detach myself from him, it will be downhill, all the way (until there is a pathetic & destructive end result).


My head is up. I'm writing about my life. It gives me a chance to take a look on paper (or screen) at all the events of the past 2 years...


What else could I say for now? I guess I have to be prepared as to how to handle my conversation if he ever did call.


-Babby




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