When School and Real Life Collide

I absolutely love the classes I’m taking.  They’re very basic classes–Intro to Sociology and Violence in Literature–but I love how they intertwine how the information in one class is relevant in the other.  It’s just a great cohesion.  We talk a lot about violence in my classes.  Violence against a group of people and violence against an individual.  Actions aren’t the only form of violence.  Words can be violent too.

No one know everything that happened between my soon to be ex and me behind closed doors. I tend to find it easier to open up fairly anonymously than to my friends and family. There’s less judgement (hopefully) and I get a different perspective on things.

At the end of October, I told one of my friends almost everything that happened while I was married and it’s taken me this long to process and repeat what she said. She said he was emotionally abusive. And I have a hard time taking that to heart.

I’ve heard the stories and know the warning signs, but it’s not the same. He didn’t put me down (directly). He didn’t say I was stupid or worthless or good for nothing. He didn’t threaten me. He didn’t control me (again, directly). So because his behaviours didn’t fit exactly in the definition of emotional abuse, I’m having a hard time calling it emotional abuse.

But when I look at it, really look at it, I can see that it was.

  • He called me names.  Names that I don’t feel comfortable repeating.  He would call me names when he thought I was sleeping.  When I would confront him about it, he was apologetic and said he’d never do it again.  But he did.
  • He would say other hurtful things and after I was crying, he would say that he was joking and that I was being silly and over reacting or I was being too sensitive.  He would also say that when I shared my emotions with him.
  • He would “jokingly” threaten to beat me.
  • He would say that my thoughts/morals/ideals were stupid and I was going to hell for having them.
  • He would often say, “God is punishing you,” if I tripped, or something fell, or if something didn’t turn out the way I wanted.

I would get angry.  I would be hurt.  I would cry.  I would wonder why he would say those things.  I would wonder if he loved me.

I use school to escape my real life. I bury myself in school work so I don’t have to think about what’s really going on. And the rest of the time, I have the eating disorder blocking me of any real chance of dealing with anything. I don’t mind so much. But when the terminology starts to become applicable to real life situations, I tend to have a hard time accepting it. Those terms, those circumstances, belong to other people.  Not me.  But they do belong to me.  I was a target of domestic violence.

That is really hard to admit and accept.  And I’m not sure I do as of yet.  But I can see it.  Next I just have to say it.

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Figuring it Out

I had known for some time that my marriage was over.  I just really didn’t want to admit it.  I was holding onto hope…  Hope that it would get better.  Hope that if we both worked on it, we’d be stronger.  Hope that I really was overreacting and being too emotional.

I love school.  Even the homework (although I may deny it during finals).  And talking to different professors and reading for pleasure again helped me to figure out the exact field and focus I want to eventually work in.  I knew it was right because as I was thinking about job possibilities, I was open to location.  If work took me away from my beloved New York City, I’d be okay with that.  That’s how I knew.

The second red flag came about as I was speaking with my literature instructor.  She was asking what I wanted to do with my degree.  After I told her, she asked, “What will your husband do?”  I couldn’t answer.  Oops.  Until that moment, I hadn’t considered him at all in my plan.  But why should I?  He never factored me into his plans.

He had planned out our future; my future.  He got upset when I voiced my concerns, frustrations, and possible flaws and would try to quiet me with a, “It will be okay.”  That caused me to get upset and angry and we would both explode.  When I tried explaining my issues, he would get angry and say I was overreacting and being silly.

How exactly can I overreact or be silly when I’m just expressing how I feel?

More Than I’d Like to Admit

I am hurting.

Yes, things were going downhill for a while. Yes, I asked him to leave. Yes, I know it was the right thing and I will be okay.

But I’m still hurting.

And I’m exhausted.

I just wish I could sleep. For a week. At least.

I try to go bed early. But I end up watching tv or my thoughts take over. And the next thing I know it’s almost midnight. Then the alarm goes off. And it’s just too early. I lie in bed contemplating whether or not to take the day off work. But going to work always wins out. If I want to take the week off after thanksgiving, then I need to go to work. What will I do if I stay at home? Watch dvd’s, since he took cable and internet? Why should I waste a day doing absolutely nothing? And going to work will get me out of the house.

I have my literature class tonight. There’s a paper that’s due. I just can’t bring myself to write it. I’ve tried. Somewhat. I have an opening paragraph. That’s all. I keep telling myself that I’ll do it, but I can’t seem to get to it. I’ve convinced myself that I’m willing to hand it in late and get a lower grade. Maybe I am.

I totally binged on dinner last night. It was like old times. I hadn’t even realized I had done it until the food was gone. I tried to rationalize that I was legitimately hungry, especially since I’ve been unconsciously restricting since the weekend. I felt so sick after. And I started feeling really anxious. About the food, the separation, the undone homework. It just all seems like too much. I wanted so badly to purge. But I didn’t let myself. Part punishment, part exhaustion.

I’m just trying to keep it together. And I don’t know how much longer I can.

I Can Stand on my Own

When my husband and I first started dating, I was in a bad bulimic phase of my eating disorder.  (Not that there ever is a good bulimic phase.)  It was rough.  It wasn’t something that I could keep a secret for very long.  So I said something that I had only said from a therapist’s couch.  It started with, “I have an eating disorder,” and slowly grew to include all the self destructive things that I did.

He never outwardly judged me.  And was always willing to be there.  No, he didn’t like it when I used behaviors, but he always held me after.  I learned that I could count on him when I began feeling the urges.

I have been through a lot of therapy.  Both on my own and with him.   I feel that in the past 4 years, I have really grown and am not so entrenched in my eating disorder.  I learned I didn’t always have to go to him when I had an urge.  I was learning that I am more than the eating disorder.  I started school.  I started reading (fun and homework) again.  I was starting to enjoy myself.

That’s when everything shifted.

We started fighting constantly.  We each said hurtful things.  I cried.  He sulked.  And somewhere in between my intense summer schedule and him working late and coming home wreaking of whiskey, we stopped talking to each other.

During one fight, he admitted he didn’t know how to be in a relationship with me when I wasn’t so involved with the eating disorders.  In front of my therapist, he admitted to not knowing how to fix me now.

I am not broken.  I don’t need to be fixed.  I never did.  I just need love and support while I worked on healing myself.  I am not an object to be repaired.

He doesn’t quite get that I don’t need my hand held all the time.  I am quite capable of standing on my own.

Alone

My husband left me.

I had asked him to leave by the end of the month. But we got into another fight and he left the apartment while I was at work.

I found out through an email. Not a face to face conversation. Not a phone call. Not even a text message. Wait. I did get a text, but it was to check my email.

I know we had problems, but for him to walk out like that was completely cowardly and disrespectful. I never thought he could hurt me more than he already had, but he did. Whenever I felt there were issues between us, he always pushed me to talked about, no matter how uncomfortable I felt. And the last month or so, I’ve actually been voluntarily telling him. He never reciprocated. I wonder if he ever really loved or respected me.

I think he loved the idea of me. I think he want to be with someone who doesn’t really speak up; who takes what he says as gospel and doesn’t question it. And instead he got me.

I spent so many years in silence and it hasn’t really gotten me anywhere. I refuse to stay silent. I will speak up for myself. I will protect myself.

And She Cries

I think I do a fairly good job of keeping up appearances when I’m not at home.  I am usually serious.  I am aware of my surroundings and I get where I need to get to.  Once there, I’ll let myself relax a little bit.  Not a lot, but some.  It’s only when I’m home where I feel I can really let the wall down and truly be myself.  But something has changed within the past couple of day.

I feel like I’ve gotten more emotional at work, with tears ready to overflow with barely any warning.  I was texting with my best friend about recent issues between my husband and me, and my eyes just filled up.  It’s not a new issue my husband and I are having.  But for some reason, discussing it this week, just made me cry.  I’m usually very good at holding it together when I need to, but I just feel like I’m losing it.

I’m going to partially blame the heatwave this week.  It’s supposed to let up by Sunday.  And I sure hope so.  My boss and I were punchy yesterday at work.  That made everything a lot more fun.  I think the heat’s just getting to me.  At least in these kind of instances.  When speaking about a particular play, I was able to make valid and coherent points.  But if I have to talk about work stuff, I’m a blubbering mess.

This weekend and week ahead are the actual busy times for work.  This means, I don’t really get a break until next weekend.  The work this weekend, won’t be strenuous at all.  I just won’t be able to read for my class.  I don’t like not having enough time.  But at least we’re going to be delving into World War I and I know I have a better understanding of that than the French Revolution.

I think my sleep and eating habits are also partially to blame for my over-emotionalness.  Since I’ve been working on my midterm, I’ve worked after I get home from my class.  I’ve been pretty good about stopping at 11pm.  But then I get sidetracked and distracted and don’t actually fall asleep until midnight.  That just hurts.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I need more sleep.  And I’m fine with that.  Part is I’m still winding down from a long day, part I’m still thinking about my class and what needs to get done the rest of the week, and part is punishment.  I have to stay up late because I don’t deserve to have a good night’s sleep.  I really don’t need the 8 hours I was getting it before.  I can lower it to 5 or 6.  I can do it.  I can push through.  Uh, yeah.  So not true.  But after years and years of obeying the rules, I just do it without question.

I am restricting.  And going to my class is helping with that.  I have what could be considered “half” of a dinner before class, and I fully intend to have another “half” when I get home.  But I don’t.  It’s too late to eat now.  You’ve missed your chance.  Now you have to wait until morning.  I know what I should do.  I know what needs to be done.  But, for some reason, there’s this big huge block in between the knowing and the doing.  I either want to go ahead and do what I need to do, or not even know and live in ignorance.

I’m just tired of the battle in my head.

She Said, He Does

She said, “I love you.”

He just nodded silently.

She said, “We should talk.”

He just rolled his eyes and sighed.

I ask what’s wrong.

Lies fall out of his mouth without a moment’s hesitation.

I get frustrated and angry.

He says something hurtful.

I say, “This isn’t right,” and start to cry.

Then he wants to talk.

And all I want to do is shut down.