Monday, July 28, 2014

I Won An Award For These First Three Chapters

I just won an award for the first three chapters of The Year of My Divorce.

I entered a chapter contest and won Third Place in the Adult Category. I thought, "Well, I guess three people entered. . ." I found out later I was the only non-fiction entry among twenty in the category. I felt pretty darn good after hearing that.

This "book" isn't even published and I won an award for it. I can't express how I feel. I'm happy and feel awesome, but at the same time. . . I don't know how I feel about publishing it. What would my children think? It's about their father.

There's the dilemma.

It was cathartic for me, of course, to write about my divorce process, and I would like to think there's a bit of altruism connected to it--like hopefully to help other women who have gone through what I went through, or are going through it now.

Please read the first three chapters and let me know what you think.

Would you like to read more?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Chapter Three: Devastation, Part XVII: January 2010

Please begin reading my divorce memoir from the beginning.

January 31, 2010

Today, after church, I sat reading in the living room. I don’t know why I tried. It’s hard to concentrate very long and I’m not getting into the book. I exchanged the book for scriptures. Something compelled me to look up the word “lust” in the Bible Dictionary.

Jerry came back from wherever he went today instead of church and saw me reading. I tried to be pleasant. I smiled. Then I thought, why should I smile? I’m so stupid. No wonder he walks all over me.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Chapter Three: Devastation, Part XVI: January 2010

Please begin reading my divorce memoir from the beginning.

January 30, 2010

So today I went to Women’s Conference at the stake center. Our stake president spoke and the first thing he said he learned about marriage is “Happy Wife—Happy Life.”

Ha. Ha. The joke is on me.

I took a class on Managing Challenging Behaviors. It was meant for me—truly. It was given by a licensed therapist; I don’t know her exact credentials.

I jotted down the things I learned: and how I feel about the things I learned:

Monday, April 28, 2014

Capter Three: Devastation, Part XV: January 2010

Please begin reading my divorce memoir from the beginning.

January 29, 2010

I think I’m coming slowly to the realization that my marriage will never work out. All that I’m reading about abuse is very dissuading. Verbal abuse is hard to overcome, both for the abuser and the “partner” (me).

Verbal abusers act one way in public and another at home.

Verbal abusers are charming.

Others think we have a perfect marriage. I’ve made sure of that, too, so I am partly to blame.

Verbal abusers don’t remember abusing. How convenient.

Verbal abusers start acting nice to win you back. Once they have you, they abuse again. That’s the story of my life.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Chapter Three: Devastation, Part XIV: January 2010

Please begin reading my divorce memoir from the beginning.

January 28, 2010

I finally called Kathy and told her I need to talk to her. Her daughter had gymnastics practice and she met me for dinner at Friendly’s. We chit-chatted for about two minutes, then she asked me, “So is something the matter? You don’t look too good.”

I whispered, “Jerry’s cheating on me.” She gasped and I grabbed her hand across the table. I said, “You believe me, don’t you?”

She squeezed my hand and said, “Yes, I believe you. What happened?”

So I told her the whole gory story. When I saw the reaction on her face as I spoke, I thought, this story doesn’t even sound feasible. It’s like a soap opera. It makes me sound so stupid. I told her the whole thing from November, up to the phone, going to counseling, him flying off the handle and being irrational.

I told her it was the week before her father’s memorial when I found the phone and I couldn’t tell her because her father had just died. I asked if this is too soon to know something like this but she said it was okay. She wished I had told her sooner, but I just couldn’t.

She knew about his rages, but I don’t think she really understands how he is. She would always say Mitch gets mad, too. I can see getting mad, but to have your husband punch in walls and doors and rant until he is in another realm in his mind is a very scary thing to go through.

I could see she was upset. She said she believed me, but I thought I saw some doubt on her face. Nobody’s going to believe me because I’ve been such a good actor, keeping it all under wraps, saving face, looking good.

We only had a little over an hour before she had to pick up her daughter. She said she wanted me to come over to her house this weekend. I told her I was going into Philadelphia for the Forum. Hopefully it will make me strong and give me direction.

I couldn’t eat the food I ordered. Kathy took the sandwich home with her.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Chapter Three: Devastation, Part XIII, Verbal Abuse: January 2010

Please begin reading my divorce memoir from the beginning.

January 27, 2010

I’ve been going online looking for information by PatriciaEvans. She’s the one who wrote The Verbally Abusive Relationship.” I read it about fifteen years ago. Lo, and behold, she’s written more books. I sent away for all of them. In fact, I bought two of everything and I’m going to give the extras away, like to Isabella to read, or the stake president.

I found out I’m not the only one who’s been going through verbal abuse. It’s amazing that I’ve lived for so long not knowing about it, yet, there it is, plain as day in my life.

Men call their wives names and wives wonder, is that abuse? Men abuse their wives, then the men act happy, like nothing ever happened. Wow. I can relate to that.

Jerry would spend an hour screaming at me, leave me for dead, emotionally, then the next thing I’d hear is him whistling like he was the happiest person in the world. I can’t stand to hear anyone whistle now. It brings up too many bad memories. Come to think of it, my dad did the same thing.

So the website says verbal abusers almost universally act like nothing happened because they feel the relationship is fine and they feel like they have more control—power over. If they get you to feel afraid or to back down, it makes them happy.

Abuse usually happens behind closed doors. That’s true in my life. Most verbal abusers are charming and helpful men in public. Jerry treats me very well in public. He can scream at me Saturday night and the next day in church he is sweet as pie—in front of other people. Most of the time I just stare at him, wide-eyed, confused.

One time he bore his testimony in church about how he owes everything to me and that I help make him the man he is. He had just spent an hour deriding me to tears the night before and I couldn’t even take the sacrament because I had so many bad thoughts about him.

While he went on at the pulpit, I felt like I was going to throw up. I had to hand over my baby to someone sitting behind me so I could run to the bathroom. I can’t remember who it was. I spent the remainder of sacrament meeting dry heaving into the toilet.

When we got home, I told him, calmly, if he ever did that again, mention my name whatsoever, I would be the next one up to bear my testimony and I will tell them all the real story. He never did that again.

The website also says women who have been abused don’t take to an abuser, sexually. That’s because we’re too traumatized and don’t have any trust in the man. Women need to have trust in order to be intimate. I don’t know how many times I’ve said that to Jerry.

Women are not turned on to men who abuse them. I told him one time, men can be ready for intimacy one minute before midnight. Women start at eight o’clock in the morning to be ready for intimacy at midnight. What happens during the day affects them all day.

Reading this website also tells me that men only change to get their partners back, but once they have them back, they slowly start the control again. How many times have I been through that? Too numerous to count. Abuse, abuse, abuse; win back. Repeat.

Once I tried to watch “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” the Spencer Tracy/Ingrid Bergman version. I couldn’t watch it. It hit home too much. *

And now, on top of all the abuse I’ve suffered over the years, there’s adultery. How much more do I have to take?

I’m supposed to be working on my marriage and I only have anger that needs to come out.

Forgive me, Lord. What should I do? Help me, Lord.

* Watch this YouTube of the transformation Ingrid Bergman takes as spunky, carefree Champagne Ivy in the 1941 movie "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." I can't watch the movie. It reminds me of my life with my abusive husband. Notice how she changes from a happy person to a controlled, confused, unhappy, abused woman. I can relate to her transformation. I feel like it's me. I often said I was living with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde--and I hate Mr. Hyde. And I never knew when Mr. Hyde would rear his ugly head. I was always cautiously apprehensive. Afraid to be happy.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Chapter Three: Devastastion, Part XII: January 2010

Please begin reading my divorce memoir from the beginning.

25 January 2010

We went together to see the counselor. I told Jerry I want someone with a PhD this time and this guy, Dr. Williams, has that. He seems to have my husband pegged, too.

He asked us if we knew what the term “mensch” meant. I nodded. I said it’s a Yiddish term for a good guy. He told us a mensch means so much more than that.

He said, “It’s a term for a man who has integrity, who would have an almost noble character. A mensch is someone with admirable qualities and characteristics. You can count on him. He is dependable and compassionate.” He said a lot of other flowery words, too. I can’t remember them all.

Then he asked us, “How many men do you think, percentage-wise, there are in the world who are mensches?”

We both thought for a second. My husband said, “Ninety percent?”

I said, “This might be high, but I’ll say five percent,” but I really wanted to say three percent.

The counselor pointed at me, then tapped his nose with his same pointer finger. “Five percent,” he confirmed my answer.

He carried on with the query. “Have you ever heard of the term ‘schmuck?’”

I tried to hide my smile and said, “I know what it literally means, but I think you’re going for a guy who is a jerk.”

He said, “Yes, that’s right.”  Then he turned to my husband and bluntly asked, “Which do you think you are?”

I couldn’t believe he said that to him! I just sat there and stared ahead. I didn’t want Jerry  to think I had anything to do with this line of questioning. He would think I was in cahoots with Dr. W.

“Well, I’m guessing the answer isn’t mensch,” my husband said as he crossed one leg over the other in a defensive and defiant pose. I hate that posture. If he was sitting in an arm chair he would have spread out his arms over the top of the chair as if to challenge the man. As if to say, “Give me your best shot.”

As it were, we were sitting on a cushy soft couch with cushions that enveloped us as we sat on them. My feet barely touched the floor. Jerry just shrank into the couch and couldn’t sit up. It was quite comical.

“And why do you think you’re not a mensch?” The counselor accepted his challenge.

There was a lot of uncrossing and crossing of legs as the man sitting next to me tried to buy time for his thoughts. “Why don’t you tell me,” was the strategy he came up with. Too much testosterone in the room for me.

“I think you know the answer,” was all Dr. W. came back with.

I really like the counselor. As with all other therapists we had been to in the last fifteen years, this one seemed to be on my side. That’s why my husband would never go more than twice or three times.

This was Jerry’s second, and probably his last, visit. I might come back if I see the need to stir up my abusive past out of the ashes of my soul. I really didn’t tell Dr. W. much of anything. I dislike telling my story so much. I just had to regurgitate it to the bishop and stake president. Now, to tell another man? I’d have to bide my time.

Dr.W. went on to making lists. This is the part where I make a list of things that I would like to see changed in Jerry and he makes a list about things I have to change. Only this time, it’s different.

“You don’t make a list,” he told my husband as he pointed at him and shook his finger slowly.

“Why not?” Jerry whined.

“Because you are the one who has to change in this situation,” he told him. “You are the one who committed adultery. You are the one who betrayed your wife. I think there might be some things you will have to change, don’t you agree?”

Now I knew for sure Jerry would never go back to this counselor. If there’s one thing Jerry had probably already done, it was make a list of the things I would have to change about myself so he would be able to live with me. I knew the list by heart. He reiterated it every time we had a fight.

I have to lose weight because I’ve let myself go ever since the children were born; I have to learn to not criticize him; I have to stop spending his hard-earned money and get on the same page with him; I have to get a full-time job so I can carry my weight; I have to try harder to be a good wife.

The list goes on but that’s the gist of it.

My comebacks were never recognized. When I went to a weight loss company, I was told, after I lost twelve pounds, that I shouldn’t lose any more weight. At my age, it wasn’t healthy. I was in my forties then and probably staring at peri-menopause.

When I told Jerry, he said, “Who do they think they are? Weight experts?” I couldn’t believe he actually said that.

When I went back to the company and said my husband wants me to lose ten more pounds, they told me they couldn’t be responsible and I was told to go home and be happy with the weight loss I had achieved. I got compliments from everyone about how, after having four children, I could be so thin. My youngest was five years old.

No compliments ever came from him. He just changed his admonition to, “You need to be more toned.”

He criticized me just as soon as look at me on most days. Once I told him he hurt my feelings, so he made a pact with me that he wouldn’t criticize me anymore and I couldn’t criticize him. He loves to make pacts. I agreed. The next day he criticized me. The next day. When I called him on it, he said, “That’s not a criticism. It’s a fact.”  Ludicrous.

One time he shook the credit card bill in my face and yelled at me that I had to stop spending so much. He didn’t expect me to grab the statement right out of his hand to look it over. He kept groping for it, but I wouldn’t let him have it.

There were only a few things on the statement that were mine: sixty dollars for shoes for the kids and a hundred dollars for groceries. It was a fifteen-hundred dollar bill. There were receipts for items for his new pool table and his new sports car we couldn’t afford but he had to have. He bought that car against my wishes, using half of our savings.

I had several part-time jobs, but last summer I was moved to full-time at the dementia community. He still wanted me to look for another, more lucrative job. When I reminded him I didn’t have a college degree, he wouldn’t accept the excuse. He said he has told me since we got married that I should go back and get my degree.

I gasped at that. He has never said anything about me going back to school—ever—in the whole time we’ve been married. Never. Ever. I would faint dead away if he did because it costs money—his hard-earned money. I can’t believe he said that. It’s probably a lie he’s been telling other people and he forgot who he was talking to.

So, as I sat there tonight in Dr. W.’s office, I just kept thinking that I’ve been through this so many times and it all seems so farcical and hopeless. Jerry is never going to change. He has so much anger for me. Even tonight, as we sat on that cushy couch, he kept telling Dr. Williams about my shortcomings. I turned my face away; tears streamed down my cheeks.

After his diatribe, I asked Jerry why he would possibly want to stay married to me, since, according to him, I have no redeeming qualities. He can’t seem to stand me.

He paused, looked at Dr. W. and said, “I don’t know how to answer that,” hoping Dr. W. would give him some reason.

Dr. W. went through this flowery speech about how he should have responded to my question. I almost laughed. That ain’t gonna’ happen.

The only reason he wants to stay married to me is because of money. He doesn’t even care about the kids. He just doesn’t want them to know what he did. And I don’t want to tell them either. They would lose all their respect for him. They might lose their testimony.

Their father was the bishop of our ward and he is in the bishopric right now, though I  don’t know how long that’s going to last. How can somebody who’s been bishop do these awful things? If my testimony wasn’t so solid, I might question, too.

But I know the gospel is true. My husband is a liar—a poser.

Dr. Williams had to give him an example of a way to answer me. It didn’t sound like Jerry at all. It was too respectful. Again, hopeless. I could read Jerry’s thoughts. “She doesn’t deserve that.”

So Dr. Williams wants me to make a list of things I would like to see Jerry try to change.

Where do I start?

Intellectually I know this will never happen, but I will comply. I promised the stake president.

Jerry has a deep-seated resentment of his father. His father put him down. I don’t know if that’s the whole foundation of his problem, or if he’s just innately mentally ill. He’s hyper-active, impulsive, compulsive, obsessive, oppositional-defiant, manipulative. He’s a liar, a cheater, emotionally unable to be intimate, unfaithful, insensitive...he has road rage, he has anger, he has an inferiority complex.

Tonight he asked me what it is I want him to do. Can he change all those ‘qualities’ above?

He sees himself as being a good person. He goes to work, he earns a living, he works around the house, he takes out the trash, he does the dishes, etc. The housework part is what he’s taken over because he does it better, in his opinion. I don’t do it well enough, so he has to do it.  So I gave up trying to please him. Let him do it. He has to be in control. Fine with me. I’ve lost my identity anyway. He might as well have mine, too.

He wants me to be grateful he’s doing it. I wish I could be grateful. But even doing these things is a put down to me.

“Oh, thank you, honey, for doing this for me because I don’t do it well enough. I love you. You’re my hero.” Seriously. That’s what he wants me to do and say.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Chapter Three: Devastation, Part XI: January 2010

Please begin reading my divorce memoir from the beginning.

January 23, 2010

It’s been two miserable weeks since I found out about Jerry...

It’s pathetic and dismal around here. I don’t know how to act and neither does he.

Today we were having a simple conversation, but when I started to say something contrary to what he was saying—actually was trying to downplay what he was thinking—he flipped out on me. He started accusing me of always disagreeing with him. I felt so panicked and scared.

He stopped himself mid-scream and just kept saying, “I’m sorry. . .I’m sorry. . .” but it was so contrived. It was as if I was going to tell on him, like a little kid.

I know he’s mad and blaming me for being the bad person. He has this super inferiority complex. Like he thinks I think I’m better than he is, or smarter than he is. I’m not smarter than he is. We’re just smart in different ways.

Here’s what happened. We were talking about Jenny and I told him how she fell and broke her glasses and she went to the hospital because she started having some contractions.

He made the comment, “It’s Diane all over again.”

I was a little confused. Diane fell and got a spiral fracture in her leg and took two years to recuperate. I started to say, “Well, it’s not that bad—”

Then he flipped out! I didn’t even finish my thought or my sentence. I was going to tell him she’s okay now.

He screamed, “You always do this!” at the top of his lungs, clenching his fists.

My mouth shut and my eyes got big. I was just trying to enlighten him and tell him Jenny  is okay.

When he gets like that, I feel like he’s going to kill me or something. I think he’s plotting to poison me, or do something to my car so I’ll be in an accident. Or he has a knife or a gun. Scary. Paranoid. I fear for my life.

I realize I can’t say anything. If he tries to have a conversation, I have to stick to saying nothing. Heaven forbid I try to converse, and heaven forbid it’s not what he’s thinking or what he wants me to think or say.

Then he went for a walk. I wish he would just leave and go live somewhere else. I don’t feel safe being around him. He’s too irrational.

This is not going to work. Ha! That’s what he used to say to me to scare me when I wasn’t doing something he wanted me to do. When I had little kids, it did scare me. Divorce scared me. Now it’s welcome.

He came back from his walk and acted like nothing happened. I have a feeling he probably called his girlfriend and she consoled him and he knows he has her, blah, blah, blah.

Then the other day, Thursday, I had this horrible feeling he was going to go to a lawyer so he could hide assets or start divorce proceedings and that scared me.

I don’t know what scares me more—living with him, or divorcing him.

He told me not to go to a lawyer because it would be expensive. But I guess it’s okay for him to go to one—so he can have the upper hand.

I’ve been reading all the verbal abuse/controlling man books by Patricia Evans. It has made me see so clearly what he’s been doing.

According to Patricia Evans, he has this “dream woman,” who is really his inner self that he’s projecting onto me. When I (the real woman) don’t do what he thinks the dream woman should do, he flips out.

Oh, my gosh—that’s the story of my life!

How could I have lived like this?

I get to the point where I want to work on it. I’ve said I should work on it, for the sake of the kids—I don’t want them to be hurt.

Then I get to the point where I know this is not going to work. I can’t live like this.

Monday we’re seeing Dr. Williams again. I honestly don’t know what I’m going to say. I’ve got so much anger and resentment.

Please, Lord, help me get over this quickly.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Chapter Three: Devastastion, Part X, Desperately Depressed: January 2010

Please begin reading my divorce memoir from the beginning.

January 20, 2010

I am so desperately depressed, but I know my Heavenly Father loves me. I have been given too many signs and warnings and messages, just in the last week, to doubt that at all. I have to continue to rely on Him to help me through this.

I have been on my knees for weeks and months. I am in such a stupor I am on autopilot when I pray. It’s the same old thing: “Please help me to know what to do,” in twenty which-ways. I wonder if I’m allowing myself to hear any answer my H.F. might give me.

I do feel the constant company of the Holy Ghost. I can attest that the H.G. is tangible. I feel the H.G. It’s a wonder, really, that I am even worthy to have that feeling, I’m so angry inside.

I want to cry but I can’t muster it up. I’m afraid, if I start, I won’t be able to stop. It’s probably the Prozac, too. If I went off of Prozac, I don’t know what would happen. I probably wouldn’t stop crying.

I remember one time I was on another antidepressant and trying to wean myself off because it wasn’t working. I had a hard time not crying. Seeing me vulnerable at the time, Jerry tried to pick a fight with me. I remember standing at the stove, cooking. I kept telling him, “Please stop. Now is not a good time to fight.” I was a wreak. He kept on. I broke down in sobs and screamed at him. He didn’t stop. I don’t even remember what it was he was harping on. There have been so many unimportant things that man has tried me with.

At work yesterday I found a penny on the floor in the dining room. I thought, I better pick that up or one of the residents might get it and put it in his or her mouth. They’re so like children.  So I picked it up and put it on my desk.

This morning I found a bookmark with a cross on it and the Savior hugging a man. There was a saying on it with a penny taped to it. There was also a religious medal attached to it with a note that said this secret person noticed I picked up a penny. She prayed to God to help her know who needed His help. She put the penny on the floor and told God that whoever picked it up needed her prayers and her love.

Angela, one of the caregivers, poked her head in my door and asked if I got the penny. I couldn’t stop hugging her and tears flowed. She is that same caregiver who lost her phone because she couldn’t pay the bill. I felt so like I could kick myself. She is in tune with our H.F. and I am so selfish. There was eighty dollars left on that phone to use and I threw it away because I couldn’t stand to look at it.

Please forgive me, Father. Please bless her—abundantly.

Thank you, Father. Thou hast answered my prayers. I know Thou loves me and Thou art watching over me. Thou sent an angel to remind me. She is truly my angel.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Chapter Three: Devastation, Part IX: January 2010

Please begin reading my divorce memoir from the beginning.

January 19, 2010

Ok. Venting big time.

Part of me wants to tell the kids so they will hate Jerry as much as I do. Yes, I hate him. I have for a long time, but now I have a really good reason. Not that my other reason was anything to sneeze at either. Verbal abuse is so devastating. I am such a damaged person.

I don’t trust him at all. At all! I haven’t for many years.

I know he’s a louse and I’ve been living with it, covering up for it, promoting him almost by not coming forth with it—hiding it from everyone.

Internet affairs are no different from physical affairs. Emotional affairs are worse than one-night stands. And who knows what he was doing with his hands, right? Oh, wait, we all know what he was doing with his hands.

He had a phone affair, an internet affair, a text affair and an e-mail affair—and a mail affair. I saw the USPS charge on the credit card. He sent her some of their high school paraphernalia.

He put me down. I was and am nothing to him.

Stay strong....Have courage....Stay the course....