The Return of Mr. Hyde

This is a hard post for me to write. It’s been two days, and I’m still feeling the aftershocks. For those who know me personally, it may be hard to read. I’ve already respectfully asked those closest to me, not to read it. But I have to write it. I have to. And afterward, I’m calling a counselor.

I’m not going to rehash the history. If you’re unfamiliar with it,  this post will provide you the background. There are other posts under the Toxic Marriage/ Divorce tab.The ex and I have had a ceasefire since I moved over an hour away, almost 3 years ago. We haven’t really had any words in as long. Our communications have been mostly amicable, and businesslike. And for that, I’m grateful. But, as I mentioned before, there’s always a second shoe waiting to drop.

I spent most of the early part of Sunday recovering from a particularly difficult night at work. As the kids were with their dad, I planned to head up early so I could do some shopping before the stores closed. About 3 p.m. I received his text. We had agreed to some changes in his financial support and the text addressed the bills I sent him that weren’t properly prepared. He requires copies of the receipts I have for insurance copays, which I’d forgotten to give. Ultimately, he would be “a fool” to write checks based on a total amount without supporting receipts.

His confrontational nature left me feeling more than weary. I told him this wasn’t a good day for discussion. He started calling me, multiple times, and I refused to answer. I meant what I said. Finally, not entirely unintentionally, I poured the gasoline on his fire when I suggested that going through domestic relations to clarify everything in black and white might be better for both of us and make this all less stressful. Which couldn’t be further from the truth. He immediately saw this as a threat, and berated me for ignoring his calls. The texts grew more tense.

I suspected a confrontation was coming when I picked the kids up, and proactively attempted to get someone, anyone, on the phone before I pulled into the driveway. Well, anyone but Todd, who I knew would lose his shit if my ex got nasty with me. Which is the absolute last thing either one of us needed with him at home an hour away.

Unfortunately, not one person was answering their damn phone. I cursed the gods and pulled into the driveway and, like déjà vu, I see him stalking out the back door toward my car. I kept my window up. He tapped on the glass and made the “roll down” motion with his hand. I said – through the glass – I told you, I am not having this conversation today. I’m not doing it. Why I ever rolled down the window, I’ll never know. I guess I thought if he had his say then the kids could come out and we could leave. (He told the kids to stay inside until he came and got them.)

He started in immediately, making accusations about I-don’t-know-what and he crossed a line with me fairly quickly. I put the car in gear and started to pull away. He jumped onto my car, holding onto the open window with both arms as I was drifting – essentially allowing himself to be dragged. I panicked and stopped, my pulse racing ahead of my brain which was telling me this was going to end with the police again.

He was yelling and screaming at me, all the while holding onto my door to prevent me from leaving. I couldn’t get a word in. I imagined everyone within a half mile could hear. At some point my fight reflex kicked in, and I started yelling back. There’s no trust between us, and there never will be. He changed jobs and never told me. He moved his girlfriend in eight months ago, whose last name I don’t even know, and never informed me. And now, they’re engaged. He never told me that either. I shouted all of this to support my lack of trust in him, and all he could come up with was – what does any of that matter?! It’s none of your business! I said it IS my business because it affects the children, and the custody order dictates that major changes are cause to notify the other parent. He denied that she moved in. He really thinks I’m stupid, I guess.

I kept telling him that I didn’t want to do this right now and repeated step away from my car several times. I felt the tears burning up through me. He reached out to touch my arm on the steering wheel and I snatched it away before he could, hissing don’t touch me!  At some point he was crying, over money troubles and job stress, and missing the kids all the time… it’s always all about him. I promised him we wouldn’t go back to court and now I’m threatening to go to domestic relations. But he’s wrong. I never threatened to go back to court. But he did, in one of his many breathless diatribes that afternoon, that if I go to domestic relations for more money he’ll have no choice but to go for custody again so he doesn’t have to pay more money. I know how ridiculous this all sounds now. But at that moment, I told him he can have them, if that’s what he thinks is best for them. Because it was one small victory in my heart – that I’m no longer afraid he will take them away. It would crush them. And he can’t be that selfish. Or can he?

It was horrible. I don’t even think I can articulate what it was like – other than in an instant I was catapulted back to being married to him again – where he’s controlling me and I can’t get away and he’s screaming at me and making accusations. So many times in arguments we’d had, I’d try to walk away – or even outside – and he would stand between me and that exit, physically barring me from leaving, his face inches from mine, crowding me. And he did it all while belittling me and trying to tear me down. All of my senses were tingling on high alert again, a feeling I haven’t felt in 4 years. A crushing, desperate need to run.

I’m broken. I’ve been broken for a very long time. If healing from a toxic relationship is based on the half-life theory, we were married for nearly 13 years – and so it’ll take me six and a half to fully extricate the subconscious mind from it. To say he is despicable isn’t enough to heal me. To say he was hateful and wrong and unapologetic is easy, but it doesn’t make me feel any better. I still hear his critical voice in the back of my head every now and then, because it’s like a wound that is still bleeding – not a big gaping wound, but more like a papercut. It stings.

I rarely have cause to cry these days, but this day it started and I couldn’t shut it off. When he was satisfied with the results of this interaction, he was suddenly calm and said he would go get the kids. Left me sitting in my car, the tears streaming down my face. Just like déjà vu. And I couldn’t shut it off long enough to drive my children home. I cried intermittently, with Opac zoning out on his iPod and Veruca curled up in the front seat, sick from some stomach pain. She never mentioned Sunday, but he did. He worries over these fights. He admitted to watching from the window, and admitted that he was wrong to do so. But he was worried. We talked about it a little yesterday, but I am guarded. I don’t know what to say and what not to say. The only answers I have for him, is that it wasn’t about him, or Veruca.

Right now I’m feeling fragile. I don’t want to talk. I’m stronger than all of this, but I’m going to need some help. Help I should’ve gotten long ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “The Return of Mr. Hyde

  1. My heart goes out to you for the pain you endured. What an asshole and to do this with the kids around is outrageous. Can you arrange perhaps to begin picking/dropping the kids in a public spot so hopefully he’s better behaved? Can someone else handle the pick-up/drop-off to prevent these scenes? ((Hugs))

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  2. Thanks Maggie. We had been meeting at the local police station after a terrible argument in front of the kids 4 years ago, and at the final custody meeting the judge yelled us about it and said it was not to happen again. It’s been mostly quiet ever since. I’m so conflicted right now about how to handle it – trying to find a counselor – because any decision I make will ultimately affect the kids. I had a dozen friends offer to accompany me next time, which I’m grateful for, but again – don’t want to work the kids up. It sounds backwards, but I’m trying to make the best decision for them, too.

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  3. I’m so sorry. My ex-husband is very similar. He has legitimate reasons to be angry about choices I made near the end of our marriage, but it’s almost 5 years after I left him and now he has a new wife and baby on the way, and he is still hateful to me. He won’t even have a conversation with me about our children and he berates and undermines me every chance he gets. I’ve come to realize that I have PTSD from his verbal abuse and I am learning to manage my anxiety and panic attacks. I now have a therapist who specializes in helping parents and children of divorce and she has helped me so much. I strongly recommend you find a therapist with solid experience in this area. Hugs from someone who truly gets it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Holly. I’m starting to think I have some long-term stuff going on that I need to exorcise. I’ve got someone I’m meeting with soon.

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