I don’t remember who suggested I do this, and it could have been many people, and I forgot I did until I read this post. Funny how that happens.
I remember sitting up for hours writing thoughts and organizing things as they started to take shape. Writing memory after memory as one triggered another: what he had done to our daughter and to our son, and what he had done to me.
The first time I wrote anything about his abuse on paper was 23 February 2010 after Donkey went to sleep. He threw me through a door that night. I told him to leave. I told him to take the carseats out of his car and leave the house. He took the carseats out of his car but he didn’t leave. He said I couldn’t care for the kids alone in my condition. Then he went to bed. I wrote for a few days:
23 February 2010 – Tonight Donkey threw me through the laundry room door. He grabbed me with two hands around my arms just above my elbows and pushed me backwards about ten feet with his full force and strength and slammed me into the laundry room door. The door gave and I landed with my upper back, neck, and head slammed into the dryer. Is cried with a fear I have never heard before. She doesn’t like it when we fight, but tonight she was scared. It took me several minutes to get up. My back hurt. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t get up off my hands and knees from the pain. I was short of breath for several hours. I threw up. Picking up and feeding Niko made me wince. I couldn’t turn my head to look at Is, sitting next to me, without pain. My husband hurts me emotionally very regularly, but tonight was the first night he ever hurt me like this. He’s grabbed me before, out of anger, but he has never been like this. I told him to leave but he didn’t. It’s sure to happen again. I just hope Is and No aren’t witnesses.
24 February 2010 – The laundry room door frame is shattered. The dryer was shoved back into the wall. We (I) will have to fix and paint the frame on the inside of the room, the latch on the door has already been fixed so I can shut the door and keep the kids safe. I swept and vacuumed most of the splinters and picked up all the nails and screws. Now, my list of injuries— left hand bruised and tender to move/touch; left wrist scraped and tender to touch; left elbow scraped, bruised, swollen, and tender; right leg, inside just above the knee, hurts to touch or move which makes walking painful; right hip sore to use, feels “out”; sternum sore to touch and slightly bruised; right collarbone at shoulder sore/tender to touch; back of head has huge knot, probably bruised, tender, hurts to lay down or back; upper back, sore muscles, knots, swollen, bruised and makes everything hard to do because it hurts so bad and I’m scared to move and cause permanent damage; tounge swollen from biting down on both sides.
25 February 2010 – No change, well more sore, more swollen, more tender, more bruises. Going to the zoo took everything, even driving hurts.
26 February 2010 – I wish I could go to the doctor, or tell someone, and get this off my chest
27 February 2010 – The pain in my left arm and right leg are almost gone. The bruises have turned yellow. But my back is killing me! My sternum, head, and collarbone are significantly less painful and have little effect on me today. I can’t function well because of the fear of the pain in my back, that and the fear of doing more damage by moving. I can finally talk again.
I didn’t write about the abuse again until January 2011. I was facing the first divorce hearing and feeling very mortal. I hadn’t spoken or written in-depth about the abuse outside of conversations at the shelter and my initial intake interview with legal services. I still haven’t. I raced against the clock and scribbled everything I could so if I couldn’t talk I would have a reference to some of what I endured.
The following is what I included in my examples of emotional abuse section. As much as I would like to edit it for all things editable, this was my original list where I admitted, out-loud, out-side of like company, that I had been duped by a dope. I kind of appreciate the disconnections, rapid language, and total lack of anything anywhere resembling a transition sentence.
Donkey’s Honda Ridgeline has dual climate control so the passenger can set their own temperature. About a month after Donkey bought it he would no longer allow me to set my own temperature stating I kept my side too warm. When I complained I was cold, he told me I could close the vents.
I was not allowed to have anything scented, including candles, diffusers, or cleaning products. Donkey complained the smell made him sick. If I did get something scented that he didn’t like he would make me stop using it and return it or throw it away. During both pregnancies the smell of garlic cooking made me nauseous, and often I would throw up from it. Donkey never stopped cooking with it.
Early in our relationship Donkey managed to convince me that since my friends didn’t like him that they weren’t worth being friends with. He talked me out of the cheap near-campus house I was renting with my friend and into a small cottage more than five miles from the university. His isolation continued.
Any time Donkey would ask me how I was doing, if I answered “fine” he would say that f.i.n.e. was an acronym for “freaked out, insecure, neurotic, and emotional.” I had to learn to answer “good” or “ok.”
During the summer of 2006, Donkey decided he was going to return to graduate school in FL. He said he would not go if he knew I would be living alone and that I had to get a dog for my safety. Before I met him I had lived alone for approximately six of eight years. He said a woman shouldn’t live alone because they will be robbed, raped, beat, or murdered. None of these things happened until I met him.
When I was pregnant with Is, I traveled to St. Louis to visit with my family. This vacation was originally planned around Donkey’s availability so we could have a baby shower with my family. A week before we were to leave, he said he hadn’t asked off from work and it was too late because others were already off, so he didn’t attend our shower. When I returned to GA, the laundry I had put in the washer was still in the washer. The house hadn’t been cleaned, and there were bags of trash by the front door. I was exhausted, but started cleaning up. Donkey decided to invite some friends to the house. I asked him to plan it for another weekend, but he refused. He said it would only be for a couple of hours. After a couple of hours, Donkey went out to buy beer and alcohol, invited his friends to stay for dinner. They stayed most of the evening.
I was never allowed to cook when we had guests. Donkey said there was no reason to make others suffer.
When we lived in the Mableton house our lease required us to change the HVAC filter once a month. The filters were provided by the landlord at no cost to us. The HVAC unit was under the house in the crawl space. During the first few months, after several reminders, Donkey would change the filter then make me go look at it in the trash can because he thought it wasn’t dirty enough to have to change it. He eventually quit this responsibility. After a month of constant requests, and he wouldn’t change the filter so I began to take care of it. During this time I was pregnant, and I changed the filter every month on or around the 15th, even two days before I went in for an emergency induction to give birth, and a month after giving birth. I did not change it before having the IUD-removal surgery
After finding out I was pregnant with Is, Donkey got a job with IBM. There would be four months between him leaving for Atlanta, GA and me graduating from school in Columbus, GA. He forced me to move in with his parents stating I was incapable of living alone in my condition. I did not want to live with his parents. I stated that fact. I wanted to stay close to campus and not move 45 minutes away.
During the first 2.5 years after Is was born I went out with friends five times. The first time was without issue. The second time, I came home to Donkey yelling that I was a liar and our marriage was in trouble because I had gone out for too long. As I walked in the door I received a text message stating the same. He said I had told him I was only going to dinner and not out afterwards. I only went out to dinner and came home immediately after. The third time, he was angry that I had not come home immediately after the book signing, but had gone to dinner as well. The fourth time I had only gone across the street to a neighbor’s house for an hour of television. I came home to Donkey complaining that Is didn’t listen and No cried the whole time. The next time I was required to take No with me. I didn’t go out again after that. I did try to attend the county library book club, borrowed and read the book, but on the night of the discussion Donkey decided about 4pm that he needed to work late. Since it was an event that was inappropriate to bring children to, I did not go.
When I told Donkey I was pregnant for the second time he reacted by saying, “Godamnit, I’m getting fixed.” He turned his back to me. He went to very few prenatal appointments. With Is he attended almost every one. I had to take Is with me to each appointment, even the more invasive ones when the doctor needed to check my cervix for dilation. At the last appointment, six days past my due date, Donkey came along for the Non-Stress Test and amniotic fluid check. When the doctor determined No’s heart rate wasn’t recovering after the contractions and that the amniotic fluid level was too low to sustain him, she said we should go home, get our overnight bags and head directly to the hospital. On the way home, Donkey said he had work he had to do and when I asked if there would be time for lunch, he said I should make lunch because he had work to do. He worked for an additional two hours stating that if the doctor gave is time to go home then it must not be an emergency. When he was ready to leave, we took Is to the neighbor’s where she would play while Donkey’s sister traveled to Atlanta to take over until my Mom arrived from St. Louis. I was going over the phone numbers and other information with the neighbor, Donkey became inpatient, stating, “I thought you were in a hurry.” When we arrived at the hospital, instead of following the procedure and coming in with me for the admission process and room assignment, Donkey dropped me off at the door and went to park the car. During labor, Donkey sat away from me and programmed his new phone and played games on his computer. The way the room was set up I couldn’t see him and he couldn’t see me. Only a couple of times did he come over and help with the monitors so I could use the restroom. When the nurse came in and told me it was my last chance to eat before the epidural, I asked Donkey to go get me some food. He said to wait until the show was over because he didn’t want to miss it. It wasn’t until after he determined it was a repeat that he went for food. Because of the behavior the hospital staff had observed, a nurse, a midwife, and a doctor were with me during delivery and Donkey was told to stand off to the side. When No was born, Donkey’s first comment after seeing how small he was was “I didn’t want another girl.” Donkey spent the rest of the night at the hospital, but did not assist with No’s feedings or diapers. Early the next morning he left to go home and sleep, spending most of the day away. When he returned it was time for the professional newborn pictures and when asked to be a part of a family photograph, Donkey refused.
The few times I was able to shop for clothes for myself I would come home and show Donkey what I had bought and how much I had spent. He would ask me why I insisted on buying clothes that looked terrible on me.
When Donkey decided to move us to FL, I told him I didn’t think it was a good idea. I felt that the last few moves had been bad decisions. He said he didn’t make bad decisions, that I did and that’s why he took me out of this one.
This makes me so fucking angry. He’s a terrible, terrible man and I’m not a bad woman for saying that. He’s a terrible, terrible man with two very small children dependent on him in ways he cannot possibly fulfill. And how Judge Dennis Craig could be such a fool as to hear me talk about this and still rule “the court finds that there is insufficient evidence that acts of domestic violence have occurred,” I will never understand.
I will never understand his oblivion to the dynamics of domestic violence. That has to be it. That has to be why he said, “the court found there was insufficient evidence presented by the mother to establish that she had been subjected to domestic violence.”
This mother finds the court gave insufficient attention to the evidence of domestic violence.