You can read our story on GoFundMe, but here’s some more background about me.
I stated there that my ex-husband abused me. He did. He just never actually hit me. He gaslighted me. He told me I was “too fat to be desirable” (excusing leaving me celibate for over a decade, because he was ALSO too insecure to allow me to date other men, even though he dated other women). He told me I was cold, ruthless and mercenary – because I had to be the financially responsible one in the household (he couldn’t be bothered to do it), and sometimes I tried to tell him he couldn’t have something because we didn’t have the money (but browbeat me into saying “yes” anyways or bargained with me, and then broke the bargain). But he NEVER hit me. He told me I was the controlling one in the relationship, even though every little thing that happened in the household had to be done HIS way, for fear of “triggering” his PTSD (from abuse, not from military service). He punched walls, threw items in our home (particularly items he bought for me), but never hit ME.
And I took it all for 20 years. I excused it. I told myself that I needed to excuse it because of his illness. I protected him from the consequences of his choices because the person(s) giving the consequences “just didn’t understand his illness.”
When I initially left him, I was still trying to protect him from the consequences of his choices. I still felt responsible for him, and because I have an inflated sense of obligation, had convinced myself it was my duty to do so. I had told him it had gotten to a point where I needed to make a choice between him and my own health – and I had to choose my health.
That lasted about a month before he chose to start abusing me about money yet again. But this time I had finally regained enough of myself to end the discussion. I told him I would no longer take his abuse, and hung up on him.
Oh, and he was a sexist jerk too. None of his “wives” (I was the only legal one, but we had brought two other women into the relationship) worked anywhere near as “hard” as he did – so getting him to do his part to keep the home was like pulling teeth. Anything negative was “like a girl.” He’d talk about being feminist, then turn around and say misogynistic shit. And calling him on it just meant we were being “too sensitive.”
Thanks to a number of injuries when I was younger plus a genetic predisposition to arthritis in certain joints, I started to develop severe arthritis. I’ve been restricted in carrying anything over 20 lbs since my 20s, but as I got older the issues got worse. It got to a point where even 20 lbs was too much sometimes. Walking was agony. But, I just didn’t want to exercise because I was lazy. I wanted air conditioning not because it made my joints feel much better during the humid portion of the year, but because I was too fat to be comfortable in hot conditions. I walked with a cane sometimes because I wanted other people to pity me, not because sometimes it was the only way I could walk.
I’m still struggling with this.
Psychology has ALSO found that abuse does chemical damage to the brain. That’s also something I’m still struggling with. I’ve always been able to rely on my intelligence to come up with solutions for things in my life. Over the last year, there was even a point when I couldn’t even THINK to do any of the normal day-to-day requirements of my industry. Hell, writing an email was sometimes too much of a strain.
My mind is coming back – and pushing it to return it to full function is part of the reason I started this blog.
But, I have to know my limitations as well. Something I’ve always struggled with. I was raised to be able to grit my teeth and “do what I have to do.” But sometimes, no amount of determination and grit will allow a person to move forward.
My sister and I want to be able to be self-sustaining. But, for once in our lives, we’re admitting publicly that we can’t do it alone. Oh, I’ve tried things like this before – because I had to destroy my pride and ask for help, because the ex wanted it to happen, but WOULD NOT do it for himself OR for his “family.” Mostly it failed because too many people we asked refused to give HIM any money, even though by doing so they were refusing to help the rest of his “family.” And I hid that information from him, because it would be “too hurtful.”
Please consider giving. Not because we’re sitting here with our hands out, but because it will allow us to not only be self-sustaining, but to be able to help others do so.