Life is meant to be lived. Pain is meant to be felt. Heartache will heal.
Tomorrow will come fast enough.
I had a dream I was floating down a big dark hole.
My arms and legs stretched out, wind racing through my hair, but it felt very peaceful falling in there.
The faces of those who had hurt me began to appear, but as I kept falling they soon disappeared.
The the faces of those that I love rushed past me and too were gone.
Suddenly, the falling was not peaceful at all.
I wanted out of this never ending hole.
As I looked around I could barely see a rope just dangling there for me.
I grabbed a hold and held on tight.
As the rope burned within the palms of my hands, I bled.
As I waited to catch my breath, I saw the blood dripping down.
Knots in the rope appeared which helped me to hold on.
I realized to leave the pain, meant to leave love too, and that’s not something I am willing to do.
I began to climb not knowing how far I had fallen.
With every reach up the rope, the pain I felt was giving away to hope.
Not sure how far I would have to climb, but willing to put in the time.
The faces of those that I love to hold, have taught me just how strong I can be, even when there is pain between them and me.
My Divorce Decree is a pile of papers that I am to refer to when all else fails. In our case, we failed right from the beginning of our divorce to try to communicate or get along for the benefit of our daughter. So every word that was written in my pile of papers, that were officially signed by a judge in a court of law, are the words that we were doomed to live by for all the years of my daughter’s childhood. It wasn’t fair though. She didn’t deserve to be punished for the hate he had towards me, but how could he separate his feelings between the two of us? His need to control and hurt us… me… was what our relationship had always been about.
“All else failed” began the day I left him and asked for a divorce. In his words, “You cannot leave until I say you can.” It took everything I could do to stay away and fight the man I had known for half of my life, the man I believed I would spend forever with. I would now have to learn what forever without him felt like and how to survive the many years it would take me to show him, “You cannot control me any longer!” I was very naive and I truly believed he couldn’t control me once the divorce was final. Every day of the year for my daughter was spelled out in perfect detail. It showed exactly when she would be with whom, for how long, and who would be doing the driving.
At first I felt this would work, she would be safe and taken care of. It took only a few months after the judge signed the papers to see how very bad and wrong the wording was. I had asked my daughter to forgive me. “I did not know it would mean this,” I cried one night to her. I promised I would spend however long it took to make it right by her. I promised I would always be here for her no matter what. I purchased a gold ring to fit on my pinky finger to show her, “Mommy will never break a promise to you.” And then we clasped pinkies and I told her, “I pinky promise.” I began a fight for my daughter, to allow her a childhood free of fear, free of uncertainty, and I began a fight for me. I learned so many lessons in the ten years it took me to fight a man who refused to let go. The financial attacks he continuously dragged me through were one thing. The pain he caused our daughter in hopes of hurting her mother was unthinkable and the woman who helped to fuel his hate was merciless.
I will admit I was partly to blame. I assumed we would agree to disagree, walk away from each other, and begin our new lives apart. I didn’t understand what he truly was, or what he was willing to do in order to keep control over our lives. I now know it is never a good idea to assume anything when you are in the middle of a divorce. I learned I am the type of person who learns by experiencing life and walking through the entire lesson as it is being presented to me. I heard them when they said he was not good for me, I heard them when they said he wasn’t what I thought he was, but at twenty I believed I knew him better than anyone. It was a very tough lesson for me to find out I was wrong. It was even tougher to admit that I was wrong, and then do everything in my power to make up for my mistakes. I learned the hard way what happens to a person after a divorce if they go against the black and white words outlined within their Divorce Decree. It always seemed, every time I tried to exert my independence from him, or stand up for what I knew and believed to be true, he would find a way to snap me back into his grip by using the words in our divorce decree against me.
My daughter came home after a visit with her dad and told me some scary details of what went on during her weekend visitation; she was only six at the time. He was living with a woman who seemed to be jealous of my daughter. Her actions towards my daughter resembled Cinderella’s step-mother almost perfectly. My daughter was not allowed to ask for me when she was with her father or she was punished. She was not allowed to cry when she was lonely, or ask to call me or take my calls while on his time. She was alone with two people who seemed to love making others miserable.
The story my daughter told me that day ended with her saying, “I had to sit in a dark closet until I stopped crying.” I was terrified for her and angry with him for allowing this new woman in his life to treat our daughter that way. I believed, being the mother, I could make a phone call to him and ask in an adult fashion, “What the heck is going on over there?” But he refused to take my calls or even call me back to discuss what was going on.
I called family agencies and anyone else in the phone book who claimed they were there to help rescue battered women and children. The advice I received that day was not helpful. It seems I needed photos of what was going on behind closed doors in order for anyone to call him to ask what this story was all about. I went to his office to try and stand my ground in the face of the monster that tried to ruin me and was now ruining our daughter. I was able to finally leave him and I no longer had to live with him or put up with the pain he caused me on a daily basis, but my daughter had to continue to go back to his house. I felt awful for her. The thought of her going to his house caused my chest to tighten and I wanted so badly to protect her better than I was ever able to protect myself against him. He threatened to have me arrested if I did not leave his office, he told me I was trespassing, and if I did not leave right away he would press charges. Still being very naïve and not quite sure if he could do that, I chose to leave. I was no good to my daughter if I was sitting in a jail cell somewhere.
So, on one of his Friday visitations when he would be there to pick her up after school, I made sure I was there first. I waited for my daughter to be released from school and then I put her in my car in front of the school so he could see she was there but he would have to talk with me first. He showed up at the school, saw me standing by my car with our daughter sitting in it, and he drove away. I thought that was really weird, but then again great. She would get to stay the weekend with me and not have to be subjected to him or his girlfriend. This is where my lesson with contempt of court first began…