My ex was really controlling. He wanted me home with the babies but he would constantly belittle me for not performing, not bringing in an income. So when the kids started any sort of day care, I got a job at their day care. As they went on to 'big school', I found work in schools so that I could still do it all but bring home a paycheck too.
When it was all said and done I discovered that I had been paying ALL of the bills, ALL of the mortgage, ALL of the groceries, and still being belittled because I wasn't saving. Every cent of his went back into his business, which fortunately had my name attached, but any cash jobs he did went into a pocket in his shirts neatly hanging in the closet. Despite knowing that he had literally thousands of dollars in those shirt pockets, I never once took one flipping dollar. I did it all and still he managed to make me feel inconsequential. I did it ALL, and he'd still belittle me for not contributing enough.
When he left he took out additional funds from the bank that massively affected my mortgage payments. He put in in hidden bank accounts and it sat there, accruing interest for for several years while I had to sell the house, move to a hovel and continue to do it all.
But one thing that helped me was working. Yes, working. It gave me more self-esteem, it gave me a place to disappear to and not have to be mama, it gave me power and it gave me an income. I was “myself”, rising from the ashes of the Barbie that my ex had left behind. I had a really good job but it kept me from my kids a little too often so I went to menial stuff ~ checkout chick at Kmart so I could be home when the kids got home. And even though it was menial and most women didn't want to be seen shopping let alone working at Kmart, it brought home the bacon.
My child loved it and laughed at me. Some would come in and stare at me in my little checkout chick smock and checkout chick box and snicker. I'd look right through them and continue talking with my customers, helping the little old ladies who saw me as their friend, for some ~ their ONLY friend. Nothing mattered other than taking care of myself and my children and our needs.
When the divorce came through, that missing money was repaid and I had enough to put a deposit on a modest little bungalow. I'm proud to be here. I'm proud to have taken the steps necessary to be the woman I am. I have looked deep depression in its abyss and faced it, medicated it, grew strength from it and sauntered away. I have seen my ex poking fun at me and didn't care because I was doing it for all of the right reasons. I have been betrayed by 'good' friends and learned that they aren't worth my spit. I have battled despondency, adolescent depression, adolescent anorexia, and humiliation at being arrested for an attempted murder charge made by my ex for reasons I'll never understand. I've paid a lot of money for the divorce and I have walked away clean. I am a survivor. NO ONE can take that away from me.
I have learned so much. I've learned how to bite my tongue, how to not pick up the phone, how to not react. I have learned the hard way. I can look in the mirror and see the best person that I can be.
I still have battles. I have a gorgeous and brilliant daughter that I pulled all by myself from the wreckage that her father ran from and left her in. I have bolstered up, built up, loved and loved and loved, and still she fights for his attention over my existence. I have come to understand that she is definitely made from his genes, a little cold, the ultimate perfectionist, rigid and impatient and unbending, and I will learn how to deal with her without hurting myself any more. I have several children whom I like in varying phases: some I simply adore and others that are kind and gentle souls who love their momma and come around to protect me and just to sit and hang with me and come to talk when they need a momma to talk to. I've learned that while I love each of my children equally and unconditionally, I LIKE them differently, and it's a good thing to recognize and accept this within myself.
We are okay, because I learned how to stand up to a bully and to fight. I didn't push back, I'm not a violent person, but I turned my back to his onrush and did it my way.
I feel that I have to say all of this because I want to define why it is important to stand up and face the world. To break through the glass that shielded us and to prove to him, to them, and most of all to ourselves that we CAN do this. God never gives us more than we can handle. I believe this. I've looked into darkness and refused to take part. I am a winner.
(written by a community member.)