Friday, July 31, 2009

Please, Don't Insult Me; I Didn't Ask to Be Here in This Place.

I have heard a few of Xdude's friends and/or former friends express their surprise over the fact that he could be violent or confrontational.

I have heard things such as, 'Xdude was Zen and so how could he have done this?' I have heard that he would never be confrontational.

As Xdude has been charged with and convicted of domestic violence, I find this an interesting and challenging question to hear months later. I expected to hear it at the beginning; I had the very same thoughts myself, as I tried to make sense out of what had happened and how we had gotten there and how, though things were degrading from bad to worse, I could never have seen it ending that way. I could have never, in a million years, expected that he would take me down to the floor and choke me, simply because he did not like and disagreed with what I was saying or doing. Simply because, that time, I would not listen to him anymore.

I do know that none of these people has any clue about what he is capable, largely because I have protected him and our family by not saying anything for years.
There was abuse before. And surprise, it was usually the result of some geyser of refusal of confrontation.
Was it visible? My family knew, as did his, that he had chased me around the house with a two month old baby in my arms, demanding that I hand her over because I was going to fly back east to....see my family.
He was embarrassed and wanted to make it up to me. Eventually, I went back.
Was it visible? Being hounded, berated and goaded for (surprise, surprise, Mr. 'I don't actually want to get a vasectomy -I lied') becoming pregnant with his child; weeks of him shadowing me and demanding abortion and justice, and hoping that I would 'see the light'. There was the attempt to get me to see it; the shoulder shaking didn't produce the epiphany he was seeking. The miscarriage, however, did the trick. I didn't have bruises, and he was so very sorry.
I stayed.

Think about it; there is confrontation in everyone's lives, every day. The refusal to accept that at any level is not a trait of any well adjusted adult. There will certainly be some end result to the dynamic of refusing confrontation (ie, disagreement) in one's life. Add to that, the input of a partner to consider. And children. Dead and alive.

The mere act of disagreeing with this person is, historically, taken as a personal assault; he is instantly victimized and/or disregards the offending opinion.

For two years I have known that I wish to not be under the control of this person who disregards my very existence in his presence. For more than two years I have known that I could not save him from his abyss of depression and self-loathing. I could not free him from his guilt, nor unscrew him from the spiral he had dug.
For two years I have understood that there was no respect and we were teetering on the edge of the abyss - there was certainly growing potential for abuse. I never could have understood the path from passive-aggression to direct attack and violence that was about to occur, but there were many times I was afraid for myself and many more times I was afraid for what he might do to himself.
For two years I did not leave, despite my desperation to do so, because I believed him when he said he would kill himself if I did.
I had children to protect from more grief. I had children to support. I still do.

Each time I asked to leave but didn't, I cemented for him that I do not have a say in my future. I take full responsibility for feeding into his sense of absolute control.

For those who know and refer to Xdude as 'Zen', I ask them to recall how much time they have spent with 'Zen Man' over the past 2-3 years. Let's even go back to when Elijah died - the past five years? For me, living with 'Zen Man' at that time was realistically, Xdude hiding behind the veil of accusatory Buddhism so that he could mock me: "You are grieving our son because you choose to grieve. You choose your sadness."

You all know about the statistics of dead baby families, right? They are pretty grim.
If anything, that dead baby glue held us together for longer than it should have. We tried hard to not fall into that pit.

But I speak to an entire community who crops up when domestic violence occurs.
Please don't delude yourselves into thinking that this could not have happened, because it did. And the punishment is what some might consider severe. For a reason.
The biggest mistake I made, was that this was the first time I reported it.

So if you think that it would not be possible for Xdude, (or your hiking buddy, or your old college friend, or your friend's brother, or 'fill in the blank') to become confrontational and violent, I say that you are incapable of believing that things and people change and bad stuff happens all the time.
I wish it had not happened, believe me.
It happened.
I wish it had not ended this way, but peacefully, as I requested for no fewer than 24 months.

But it is what it is; it is not what you remember.


Bluestem said...

Hugs hugs hugs. I am glad to have found your blog through apraxia. I wish you continued strength. I believe in your ability to persevere.

Lunasea said...

Ai yi yi. I was pretty sure that you'd been thinking it was over before The Incident...but I didn't realize all the reasons you stayed. And, I don't think the punishment for what he did is nearly harsh enough. How did it go today?

Steve said...

A surprising number of people prefer to hide their heads in the sand and that ignorance is their bliss. Understandably though, people will try to make sense of such news and wonder if there may be some mistake. My landlord back in Michigan was engaged to a woman in town. I knew her also; She worked at the insurance agency I used for my car insurance. Long story short, she was murdered in her home, stabbed, beaten and raped. I had heard this terrible news on the radio and wondered if my landlord was the killer. I couldn't see it. They thought the world of each other. After a few weeks the killer was caught, her teenage son's best friend. He had been passing by her house just as her fiance was leaving to go home and saw an opportunity. My landlord had been arrested at his place of work the same day of her murder and that was how he learned of her death. I wouldn't wish that hell he went through on anyone.

I'm not disputing what you are saying, just pointing out that some people look for other possibilities and reasons for such news. I did wonder if there was a side to him I had not known; that was a thought I left open and was glad to close it when the real killer was captured.

Jess said...

Dearest you like hugs? Because if you do, I offer them, and plenty of them. Mostly, I lurk, even when I completely identify with what you are saying. But today, because I had an Xdude, and because you are such a very strong woman for surviving what you have and because your children are so very lucky to have a mom like you, I wish you peace. And I wish you the understanding and compassion that ought to be awarded you. And, in any and every way, I offer my support/thoughts/well wishes. You are an amazing person, and I am glad to know you, if only through your blog.

Kathy said...

I work in the court system, and we deal with DV people all day. Some of them seem like the nicest people and then you read the police reports, or hear what the victim has to say - and it just blows your mind. Zen means shit. Just because people didn't see it doesn't mean it wasn't there. Kudos to you for standing up for yourself and your kids.

Shea's Mom said...

hang in there, babe.

You are doing the right thing and writing about it helping you and so many others.


Squid said...

I wish we would have known more, and could have helped you more. But you are doing the right thing in taking a brave and vocal stand, so that others might learn the importance of what not to do.

With love,


nope said...

Nine years later, there are still people in denial and doubt in my life about why I left... Including myself... Maybe I pushed him over that line ? Maybe I was young and immature and acted hastily? *not that I want that life back... just maybe I CAUSED it to happne...

Then I read this and you nailed it...really
Thank you for reminding was not okay... it was NOT my fault.

((hugs)) to you and your children.

Astarte said...

People do not like to believe things that they themselves have not seen. They don't like to be wrong. They like to trust themselves to be perceptive, because admitting that they might be friends with someone who would do something like this is too scary. If they were so wrong about this, what else could they be missing? No, no, no. When I tried to get help as a child from a mother who choked me, locked me in a hot car as punishment, and left me with visible bruises on my arm, no one would believe me because people 'knew' her. It was too dangerous to their own percetions of the world for them to let the idea of this nurse as child abuser into their consciousness. It's disgusting, but try to remember that they are not choosing *him*; they're choosing *themselves*.

Rebecca F. said...

I worked in a shelter for abused women and children for years. It is extremely common that the abusive partner is well liked and respected by the people who know him. Abuse is about power and control. An abusive partner is extremely adept at being charming to others and fooling them.

You are not alone and he is not unique. Unfortunately it just isn't talked about enough....

Hugs to you. I hope that the worst is behind you.

Anonymous said...

Before my mom got with her abusive ex his exwife told her he was a wife beater, my mom said no way and got with him anyway. Three years later we escaped black and blue with ony the clothes on our backs. My mom then told his next girlfriend what he was like she said no way and got together with him- and so it goes!! Hard to believe but true and so sad! Good luck! Aimee

Anonymous said...

Please keep writing.
I also protected my ex from judging eyes (most of all my own).
Please keep writing.

Anonymous said...

They're charmers. That's why it's so hard for the others to believe. Awesome manipulators.

Lex - @laprimera said...

Much strength and love to you. I hope you have people around you to balance out those that torment you with the "Zen" comments.

Lin said...

Well written, Gwendolyn. Describing the abuser and the abused as you have has to be illuminating for those who can't understand how this could have happened.

Even not knowing you as a couple, I have felt a deep worry for your family since you wrote about an ignored car problem that put you and the children in great peril.

That this step could have been taken a while ago is not the issue. That you have taken it now is and for that you should feel proud of yourself and proud of what you are doing for your children. It may be hard for them to understand now, but they will certainly understand when they are older that it is not right for any victim of domestic abuse to stay quiet for the sake of the family or to protect some random 'friend' who just doesn't want to hear bad news.

sarah said...

I have you and your kids in my thoughts. You writing is raw, real, beautiful, and sad. Thank you for sharing your story....much love!

sarah said...

I have you and your kids in my thoughts. You writing is raw, real, beautiful, and sad. Thank you for sharing your story....much love!

Rachel Inbar said...

Psycho-ex also used to say he'd off himself if I left him. In retrospect, I really wish he had. It's hard for kids to live with the fact that their father is an idiot.

Ben and Bennie said...

Holy shit! I've been stuck in my own misery for a few weeks now and totally missed this. Gwen, check out my friend Maggie's website, Violence Unsilenced. I think you'll find healing and a great deal of understanding there. You'll find a link near the top of my blog. It has been eye-opening for me to find out how rampant domestic violence exists.

Anonymous said...

A Word To The Wise 4 All Moms!
I have listened to doctors, teachers, counselors as well as social workers dish out advice about our children and some of it is well taken, but all must be critically perused and evaluated by us, were the mommies! Who could possible know our children better than we do?
Some children have adverse reactions to sugar and some do not, however experts would like to paint all children with the same broad brush. Teenagers having problems in school is a good example. The first direction the experts seem to like to pursue is Attention Deficit. However a wise individual would first pursue the basics such as: Are their marital problems in the home or some type of alcohol or drug abuse? Is the child fighting thru Identity issues such as sexuality? These are just a few of the possibilities that could be causing children problems and us Mommies and Daddy’s need to make sure everything is being addressed before we push it off on a medical condition. I’m not saying we don’t look at everything; however it seems we live in a society that loves to turn directly to medication to solve a problem! Just watch the evening news and I’m sure you will see what I mean. The drug companies are now pursuing us directly to get us to ask our doctors for their drugs! The government likes to preach “Just Say No to Drugs”, and then they pitch them at every opportunity!
My 16 year old was being tortured by mean girls via email and was heartbroken. She was having some acne issues as we all did but they were extremely mean to her in nature. It was not easy but I found a site that carries Cyber Bully Alerts warning the children to STOP sending these emails as they are being watched and logged and will be prosecuted. We all know what this kind of meanness can lead to with teen suicides and all. I found the cards at and they did the trick! The torture stopped for Sarah and that was good enough for me. We need to find ways to overcome and adapt to protect our kids.
We can care for runny noses and chapped bottoms, but we must look out for our babies through high school and educate them to think for themselves until they learn too!
At Home Mom in MN

Headless Mom said...

I guess all there is to say is (((((big hugs)))))

You are the strongest woman I have EVER met. E.V.E.R.


ashley on fire said...

Believe me, it's not your fault for staying. Everyone seems to ask, "Why did she stay?" I say, "Why is he abusing her?"

Being stuck in the cycle isn't your fault, it's the dynamic of an abusive relationship. There's the build-up, the explosion, and the "honeymoon" period. You didn't want to leave because you were invested, you had a home, a marriage, children. It's not your fault at all, it's his for acting the way he did. It's good that you're out now, for sure, but don't fault yourself for staying. You're one tough cookie, and I LOVE reading your blog.

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