It’s been a while since I’ve posted! I was on a business trip, and when I returned home, DVP was in town for court, so I decided to wait until he left town to avoid any unnecessary confrontation. The following week I received surgery, and didn’t think it wise to post while on pain medication! A lot of you have reached out to me in concern, and I’m thankful for that! I’m okay, and ready to write again.
Today’s post is about the inner conflict many survivors struggle with after leaving their abuser. During the trip I was on, I had a few experiences that just about led me to get back together with DVP. Each day since the hospital security staff escorted him out for abusing me, I’ve struggled with accepting the fact that a) he truly is an abuser b) we are never ever, ever getting back together and c) I deserve to move on and by happy by myself, with or without a man.
I was in Hawaii, for business, and we were on a bus back to our airplane to get it ready to take off for a different country. The previous day, we had most of the day after we landed and did our inspections to just relax. I was on the beach, with great co-workers, time to relax baby-free (though I missed her dearly), and was just soaking up the sun. It was great. I didn’t even think of DVP. On the bus, however, Facebook notified me of “memories” from prior year posts of that day. Most of my posts included DVP. When I looked at the old posts, I noticed that his name was tagged on my posts again, although I had blocked him. I clicked on his name and found that his page was no longer blocked. I was able to see his entire page.
I should have immediately blocked him again and put my phone away, but curiosity got the best of me. I spent the rest of the bus ride, about thirty minutes, stalking his page. He has lost a ton of weight. He talked about going to the gym. Some posts were of him missing me and my daughter, some talking about his hope of us getting back together, and some of him being bitter and angry towards me. I was starting to get that sick feeling in my stomach, and had to fight back tears. However, I came upon a post of a picture of a car he said he had followed for twenty minutes because the car cut him off. He was still hanging out with the same friends who do drugs. I realized that he really hadn’t changed all that much. Regardless, I still had that longing, deep, stabbing pain that I wanted to call him and work things out.
Thankfully, we arrived at the aircraft and I had to put my phone away and get to work. By the time I had time to pull out my phone again, it was time to taxi, so I turned it off. I can’t tell you how stupid it was of me to Facebook-stalk DVP right before an EIGHT HOUR FLIGHT. I had eight hours to lay in my bunk (most military aircraft have bunks for the crew and it’s amazing) and think about him and how badly I missed him. I was ready to just give up on all the progress I had made. I was ready to give him back my freedom in exchange for his controlling and abusive behavior, and I just didn’t care! I was sick of feeling lonely. After all, we did love each other most of the time, right?
A lot of you are not religious, and that’s okay, but I prayed to my Heavenly Father for help. I asked Him to take away my grief, to give me strength and comfort, because I was weak and I was ready to give in. I read some scripture, and amazingly, the pain melted away. I was left with a calm, peaceful feeling and I was able to get a few hours of sleep for the rest of the flight.
When we landed, I was doing tons better. I didn’t feel the need to call him. I decided to leave my pain on the aircraft, and to enjoy my time in the foreign country. I was at the poolside bar of the hotel where my coworkers were waiting for me to meet up with them so we could go get dinner. My coworker was finishing his beer, so while I was waiting I noticed I had a notification on my most recent blog post. It was from a username I didn’t recognize and it was a really long post. I started reading it and then realized it was from DVP. This is the second time he has commented, but I never approve his comments. My heart stopped. Again, I shouldn’t have read it, but I just had to know what he said. He basically was trying to appeal to my emotions and it worked. My coworkers told me to ignore it, and to not let it ruin my night.
If we weren’t in a foreign country, I would have called him. The rest of the trip went pretty well, until we landed back in Hawaii. We went into a bar that reminded me a lot of the type of bars DVP liked to go to. Irish, small, pool tables and darts, and packed. As soon as I walked in, I had a trigger. I felt like I couldn’t breathe, I felt claustrophobic. I told one of my coworkers who also didn’t drink that I couldn’t handle it, so we left. Part of this was a trigger from DVP, and part from the sexual assault. I realized then that there was no way I could ever go back to him. My reactions, the emotional trauma I was still facing, is not something someone should experience from a healthy relationship. He did this to me. Why should I go back?
The day I was flying back home was the day DVP had court and visitation with my daughter. I was worried, obviously, about her, but he brought his aunt with him so I knew she’d be safe. When I got home, around nine that night, there was a pile of new clothes and some toys he’d bought her. He drenched everything with his cologne. My first reaction was anger. I was mad that he bought her all those clothes, but he couldn’t send me child support to help pay for formula, diapers and daycare. I was mad that now, all the sudden, he wanted to be a good father, when he showed little interest of being a good one when I was pregnant. After I calmed down, I realized that I’d rather have him be loving and buy her things if he was still going to be in her life. It’s a whole lot easier to be a good father from a distance. It hurts, but I want what’s best for my daughter, and if he’s going to be in her life, then I hope they can have a decent relationship, for her own good.
Since I knew he was still in town for the night, it was all I could do to not call him and ask him to meet up with me before he took off the next day. I didn’t though. I held my sweet, beautiful daughter and reassured myself that if anything else, I sacrificed for her happiness and protection. Yes, I did it for me, but knowing that she will never witness his abuse was comforting enough to keep me from calling him.
I want to reassure anyone who has left their abuser, and even to those wanting to leave but find it’s hard to do so, that if you feel like going back, miss him, cry when you think of him or hear any news about him, that it’s perfectly normal. It’s actually part of the cycle of grief, which lies hand in hand with the cycle of abuse, both of which I’ve posted.
You are strong. You can overcome any and every temptation to go back or stay in your abusive situation. If you give in, that’s okay. Each day is a new day, and as long as we keep trying and never give up, each fall will only make us stronger. As hard as it is to wake up in the morning, to get out of bed, to fight those urges to give up on the hapiness, safety and freedom you deserve, don’t give in. One day you will be able to push that part of you that wants to stay in that toxic relationship away with no more than a simple flick of your wrist. You will be able to take control of your feelings and conquer every battle, no matter how long or hard, and retain your freedom.
Until next time,