The journey drags on…
A short time ago I thought that being divorced was all that I needed to be free. I thought that once that was done, the process would move quickly. I thought I was nearly there. How wrong I was!
It may be difficult to understand why it was so important to me to change my name. I had always had a name that belonged to someone who abused me. I want to break free from my past so cleanly, I don’t want anything that holds me back. To lose the name of my abusers was liberating.
But to change your name takes a lot of time. First I had to wait for the divorce decree. That took a month. The day I got it, I sent my paperwork to social security to begin the name change process. They made a mistake, so I had to resend it. That process took six weeks.
As soon as I received my social security card, I changed my name on my driver’s license and applied for home financing. The mortgage broker said I would qualify, but that I had to wait until I’d been employed for six months because there had been a gap in employment because of the pandemic.
By itself, that was hard news to take. That means 10 more weeks living in this degrading situation before I can start looking for a house. My ex-husband is mean. My oldest two children are trapped in their rooms when he’s home. If they come out, he mutters things under his breath about how awful they are. If I tell him to stop, then he starts yelling at me and telling me that I’m a control freak.
He won’t let me spend time with my five-year-old when he’s home. I stay at my desk in the kitchen because he doesn’t like me to be in the living room. He yells at my daughter to stay out of the kitchen when she wants to come give me a hug. I can hear him talking down to her and snapping at her from my place in the kitchen. But if I say something, he gaslights me and acts as though I do the same thing.
I don’t. I know I don’t. I know how different life is when he’s not around. I know how engaged the kids are and how we have fun as a family when he’s not around. He never comes with when we go to do something fun, so that is our freedom.
I could go into detail about all of the little things he does to make us feel as bad as he feels about himself. I know he is projecting. I know he is miserable. He is letting himself fall apart and he feels insecure. There comes a point where you can’t put up with it just because you feel bad for them, though. There comes a point where they just seem mean.
Enough about him, though. There are other things. I am still going through this process of getting my son’s IEP re-evaluated. I’ve had so many meetings, so many appointments, so many phone calls. Each time I think it’s the last one, they say there’s going to be another one in another week or so.
They want me to put him in a different school. But the school they chose, though potentially a good fit, is too far for me to drive each morning and afternoon, when I’ve got to drop off and pick up my oldest daughter too. He’s not doing well either. He’s gone nonverbal again. He only speaks to me now. The idea of transitioning him to a new school this late in the school year seems pointless.
I’ve been trying to bring him back out of himself again, but it isn’t easy. I’ve had him spend time with his best friend. I’ve made him come to the park when his friends are there. I took him to see the new Sonic movie. But he still just needs lots of hugs and cuddles. My ex-husband is prolonging the damage.
My boss has been harassing me too. She doesn’t trust me to get my work done, so she’s taken away my hybrid work schedule. She is impatient for me to get out of this situation at home. She took away my salary and my work computer. In truth, I was working more than 40 hours a week. But now I have to reschedule my life in order to be there 40 hours a week in person. That means giving up some of the self care things that I do to keep myself sane.
That hit me harder than I thought it would. I had no idea how dependent I’d become on that livelihood. It was my ticket out of this hell hole. I was freaking out for days about it. I called my stepdad and told him I needed his help. I told him he was all I had.
He’s going to help me two days a week by picking my daughter up from school. That way I can work later two days a week. If I go in on Sunday morning, then I can get my hours in. But I have to give up Sunday morning meditation and dance to do this. It’s a high price to pay.
I’m looking for a new job, but it’s hard to find the right job when my time is filled with work and kids and IEP meetings. I am doing my best to change the tune of this situation. It is a slow process.
At the soonest, it will be 4 months before I can close on a house. That seems like an eternity when we’re all at our limit already. If we could just get away from my ex-husband, it would change everything.
I am much farther from the end than I had hoped for. I’m going to keep on working hard. I’m going to keep doing my best. I’m going to keep looking for new avenues to take. I’m going to keep trying to cheer my kids up.
I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hard. No one seems to understand how awful all of this is to deal with all at once. If I had a dollar for every time someone minimized this situation, I’d be out of here already!
This isn’t the update I wanted to bring you. I had hoped for better news to share. I’ve been putting off an update because I’ve been waiting for a sunny side to present itself. But the longer I wait, the more seems to happen.
My oldest daughter is the one bright spot in all of this. She’s doing fairly well in school. Her IEP meeting was very positive. She and I went to a paranormal exhibit at the local art museum a couple weeks ago. We had brunch together. It was a nice time. She’s been nicer to my little one. She’s never been what I’d call an “easy kid”, but she is doing much better than my boy.
And my little one is as sweet as ever. She is walking joy. She brings sunshine into all the dark places. I am grateful for my little happiness machine! She is insuppressible! Conferences for her were the best conferences I’ve ever had.
I’ve all but abandoned my goal of explaining trauma in technical terms. Until I’m out, I just can’t take on another thing. The journey will have to be enough for now. May the next chapter bring unexpected good news. I could sure use some!