Done

I’m done. I just can’t anymore.  I feel myself slipping back into that deep dark hole I feel sick to my stomach.  Today was the first day since Sunday that I haven’t taken a Klonopin.  I might need one to fall asleep tonight, even though I’m not supposed to mix my Ambien with it the dose of Ambien I’m on is so low (5 mg) it doesn’t do anything for me I don’t know why I bother taking it.  The reason I struggle with falling asleep isn’t insomnia per-se it’s my anxiety-ridden brain and my pervasive thinking that keep me up all night and the Ambien does nothing to knock me out.  Maybe it’s time to try something else.  I always set my alarm for 11 and allow myself an hour of snoozing but today I was too depressed to get out of bed and I slept til 1.  I didn’t want to get out of bed I was in pain, both emotionally and physically I remember when I was really sick last year I was sleeping 18-20 hours a day that’s how depressed I was.  I don’t want to do be that person again.

I checked in with my friend when I got up to see how she was doing.  Her husband went to work today so she was home alone with the kids, and since she can’t drive for the next 6 months due to the seizure she had 2 days ago they were all stuck at home.  She said she was very physically sore from the seizure and from being restrained in the ambulance, but she was also very emotionally sore.  We talked for a couple hours online about her situation.  She has practically given up, she has no self-esteem left, she feels she has no support, her husband was really caring last night worried about her and I told her don’t trust him today he turned around 180 and started verbally abusing her again, I knew it was going to happen and she just can’t see it.  I know it is because I am on the outside that I see things differently than she does but I am starting to get really frustrated because she’s not listening to me.  I suggested she and the kids go to a woman’s shelter and she refused.  Where they are living is not safe!  He has multiple guns and ammo in the house and I would never put it past him to use them on her and maybe even the kids.  He is so irrational, delusional, and reactive on top of being a sociopath I wouldn’t put anything past him.

She keeps apologizing to me about bringing me into the situation and I keep reassuring her it’s not her fault.  She can’t see that it is his fault.  He blames her for everything and she takes that internally and accepts it.  Neither of us knew when we became friends the situation would turn out like this.  Right now I am her only source of support.  I am the only one telling her positive things.  I am the only one she can come to plus she knows I understand at least her fight with depression because I have it too.  And right now it’s becoming too much for me.  But I don’t want it to, I want to be there to support her.  We are having the same conversation every single day and it’s going nowhere.  She is refusing to fight back but she can’t take his abuse anymore.  Every time she starts to take a step forward in thinking about leaving him or fighting back she takes 3 steps back and as an outsider who cares about her it is just so frustrating and upsetting for me to watch.

People I’ve been talking to are telling me to take a step back, or even a few steps back.  That this is not my fight, that I am too much involved.  I know that but I can’t step back.  I am all she has and if I step back there will be nobody there to hold her up and she will die, literally.  She kept alluding to not wanting to live anymore today.  I can’t abandon her and I feel guilty even thinking about saying that I am becoming overwhelmed because in all honesty her life right now is worse off than mine.  I am not the one being abused here, she is.  I am just trying to help her.  My own depression is starting to eat away at me though I’ve felt like shit all week long since that incident at the restaurant on Sunday, which was supposed to be a happy time getting to see each other but instead we spent most of the night at the police station.  I want to give up.  I want to crawl back in bed and never come out and never talk to anyone again and just stop having to deal with life.  I keep lying to her about how I am feeling because right now she does not need to deal with me, she has enough shit going on in her life.  I keep lying to her that her life is not negatively affecting me but in reality it is and I am slowly and now more quickly losing control on myself.

I don’t know how to care for her and myself at the same time.  This is probably why I’ve never been able to maintain a relationship because I can’t even take care of myself.  I couldn’t stop crying as I spoke to her today I am scared I am going to lose my only friend.  Before I got sober and went to rehab and then had a mental breakdown and spent a year or two in and out of psych wards I had a lot of “friends”.  But when I needed them the most they all disappeared on me, and she was the only one left standing there.  I know I need to be there for her in return but I am not as strong as her.  We haven’t laughed together in a long time.  I haven’t laughed in a long time.  I haven’t felt the need or urge to smile, or talk to anyone, or do anything besides sit at my laptop all day long.  I can’t concentrate on reading or watching a movie I’ve stopped watching TV/Netflix a month or two ago I just don’t care anymore.  While they’re not super strong I’m starting to get suicidal urges again right now.  I just want out.  I want things to go back to how they were in our friendship before her sociopath husband went psycho.  I’m probably not going to get to see her for the next 6 months because she can’t drive and I know I can’t go pick her up because he will refuse to let her out to see me.  So it’s done.  6 months of loneliness already set out ahead for me.  So much for the concerts we had planned to attend.  So much for the beach this summer.  I’ll be spending everyday burrowed in my apartment like normal without friends or support or anyone to care about me.  I’m not trying to make this sound like a pity party I’m stating a reality.  I just don’t know what to do with myself or with her or with our relationship and how to keep myself safe and sane while still helping her it is all too much for me I just don’t know.

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About gabe126

I'm a 29 year old gay trans guy who lives in Philadelphia. Gabe is not my real name, well, it's my middle name, but for anonymity's sake, let's go with that. I hold bachelor's degrees in both music and special education, and I am currently 2 semesters away from graduating with my masters in special education and autism studies. I am disabled due to severe mental illness (bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and OCD). I play the trombone and piano, although it's been a few years since I seriously touched a piano. I have 5 tattoos and another one planned, I just don't have the money right now. Derek Jeter, former Yankee's shortstop, is my husband.
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11 Responses to Done

  1. I know it’s hard to help someone when they won’t do anything to help themselves. I was the girl with the abusive husband you describe here. Except I didn’t really have anyone there for me like you are for her, I would have killed to have that. Even though she may not take your advice, it means the world to her, trust me. And one day she may just take it. Don’t feel bad for being frustrated, it is frustrating. Just hang in there, everything has a way of working out. I never thought my situation would get better. But it did.

    • gabe126 says:

      I’m sorry you had to go through that experience. The worst part of it is that I am just so scared for her and the kid’s safety that I struggle to sleep at night because I am not in contact with her. He could very easily shoot her in her sleep while she is passed out and she wouldn’t be able to defend herself. I have tried to push her to sleep in the guest room and change the lock but she won’t. She has been with him for 15 years and just can’t see the danger that she truly is in and I don’t want it to be too late for her to realize what I see.

      • All you can do is keep giving her your support and hopefully one day she will see it. I’m sure she does, she just can’t bring herself to say or admit it. I’m sorry it worries you so much, she’s lucky to have a friend like you though.

  2. Masqued says:

    Hang in there. One of my turning points was a friend breaking down to me on the phone, telling her that my fear for her was giving her nightmares. This tough friend of mine, who I have seen cry once in 14 years, broke down crying. That made an impact to me.

    The questions I had, as a woman in an abusive relationship:
    *Where do I go?
    *How do I get there?
    *How will I pay for things?
    *How long will I be there?
    *Will it be safe?
    *Can I get my pets (for her: kids) out safely?
    *If he finds out, what will happen?
    *If he finds me after I leave, what will he do?

    Change is overwhelming, and when I was frightened, I was running on such a steep sleep deprivation that it was hard to make choices. It would have helped me, for someone to say to me – I will love you if you stay. I will love you if you leave. I just want you to be safe, and healthy, and happy. There is a lot of shame in feeling like you are giving up. When you are in that situation, it is paralyzing.

    There are little things you can do:
    1 – Call a domestic violence hotline. They are there to support people like you, too, while you are supporting your friend. http://www.thehotline.org/
    2 – If you can afford it, see if there is somewhere she can start a private bank account that doesn’t have a monthly usage fee. Help her get a PO box, or offer your address. (It took me three months to actually do this.)
    3 – Ask her if there is anyone else you can loop in ‘just in case’, because isolation is the most dangerous, and you need support too. Make an action plan. Ask her for a ‘safe word’.
    4 – Can you look information up for her? Make phone calls? She probably can’t do that from home or on her own computers (or even smartphone!) as if her spouse is there, he might be so controlling that finding that information could trigger him.

    I don’t think women in her situation are willing to step out into an unfamiliar and potentially dangerous situation that feels unsafe (I know I certainly wasn’t). She at least knows the dangers where she is at now.

    I hope this has been helpful. The first thing you need to do is make sure you have support and help. Just like when flying on an airplane, they say to put on your oxygen mask first. You won’t do yourself or her any favors if you burn out being her sole line of support. Help connect her to additional resources. Break through the isolation and bring in other people quietly and as safely as possible. Abuse and control begins to lose their hold when it is exposed to the light. Feel free to message me if you have questions or if I can help you find resources.

    Good luck. (Sorry if my post is overkill!)

    • gabe126 says:

      Are you my psychologist in disguise? Because she literally said the same exact things you said to me in an email this morning, even the same source plus a few others lol. She knows I love her and support her either way, but internally it kills me a little more each day to watch her and her kids have to live in this situation. I didn’t want to tell her the truth in how I was feeling because she’s going through enough right now but some of it came out in word vomit Saturday night and now I feel she feels even MORE guilty (guilty because he has her convinced this whole situation is her fault, and now guilty because she is upsetting me) she keeps apologizing because “If we hadn’t met, I wouldn’t have met him, so it’s her fault that this is happening” and I keep trying to reassure her it’s NOT her fault and that he is controlling her mind through the abuse of the past 15 years. I have been documenting everything he’s said/done to her via our texts and Facebook messages, which her ADA friend said is admmisible in court because we can both attest to the conversations. She deletes every message between the two of us every night so he can’t read them. Ever since this happened, her ADA friend and I wanted her to go to Women Against Abuse, there are a few in our area, and she did call the week after she got out of the hospital, which was back in January, and she never followed through and I know I can’t make her go but I am trying to convince her that meeting survivors of abuse will help her but she won’t do it and she won’t follow through. I can lead the horse to water but I can’t make it drink, I know, but I’m just frustrated because I am trying to provide the resources for her but I guess she is not ready to take them. I just don’t want it to become too late, you know?

      • Masqued says:

        Patience, my friend. It is a hard path to walk, but it sounds like you are doing a damn good job. That she is reaching out, that she is taking a few steps – that she made one call – those are all subtle signs that you are having an impact. There will be a lot of testing the waters, and then sitting back to wait and look, and see what happens. It took me about 4 months of escalation to finally leave, probably from the point of when I internally began to realize things weren’t working. That was the time I started looking at support groups. And that was with only myself and a pair of cats to worry about, that was with a support system of about 4-6 people, and a job.

        It’s scary, too, if you have a health issue. If she had a seizure, after she left, what would happen to the kids? Who would look after them? Would that be a worse situation than where they are now?

        Is there any way you can connect to family members who might be supportive?

        Keep reiterating to her that you aren’t angry, and that you don’t blame her. These are hard things to believe when that has become your reality at home. Maintain your stance that her husband is the one responsible for his own actions towards you. She won’t agree with you, but she needs to hear it.

        You need to understand that she is probably afraid he will hurt the people who help her. Or hurt her. Or hurt her kids. And she is afraid to put any of you in danger. That was me. Even if he hasn’t been physically violent towards her, it is likely he has made threatening statements, and done threatening things. (I believe you even mentioned that aggression towards you!) If you are willing to continue this path, regardless of the risks, you need to tell her that too. Tell her you know what the risks are, but she is more important.

        You may want to look into protection orders, for her and for yourself. Find out what the laws are in your state. Can you get an emergency protection order?

        Are there other women you can connect her to? People that might be less threatening to her abuser than another guy?

        I’m no psychologist, but I just left an abusive relationship of nearly 10 years just back in February. I’m one of the lucky ones, I had a good support system and my only regret is that it took me so long. For me, I thought it would be easier after I left. But it was really just the beginning. This is a long, and very emotional process. But for her choice on leaving to stick, it really needs to be her choice. All you can do is fit a few puzzle pieces together, be honest, and most importantly – take care of yourself. And break that isolation in every little way you can. If she can get out of the house temporarily, for an afternoon and get some sleep while someone watches her kids, that could help her function more too.

        So glad you are talking to your psychologist. Use all the resources you have at your disposal. Work on your support system too. You are going to need it. There are a lot of people online on wordpress too, who are working through this.

      • gabe126 says:

        I’m sorry you had to go through that experience. I can’t imagine suffering through what I watch my friend go through on a daily basis. Her kids need to be with her and only her. She said that is the only way she will even consider leaving, if she is guaranteed full custody. They are not safe with her husband or his family. I have told her (although it’s not a legal agreement) that I would always take the kids if something happened to her but I am low on the totem pole and I can only imagine what sort of rift that would cause. She has no other support. She was hiding the arrest and abuse (although they knew of it to an extent) and her depression from her parents because she knew they were going to react poorly. Her husband’s grandfather, of all people, decided to call her parents the night she had the seizure and tell them everything, his version of it. Her mother is so angry with her she refuses to hear her side and is siding with her husband. Her dad is supporting her, for the time being at least, and seems to be worried.

        Her husband is an avid gun collector and we just found out that he was lying about not keeping ammo in the house. The arrangement we thought was in place was the guns could stay but the ammo was at his parent’s. So much for that. Both kids have special needs and recently received new additional diagnoses, including autism for her son. He is super anxious all the time and seems to be struggling with depression and has made multiple threats of suicide/homicide in school, and her husband only cares about when he turns 12 he gets to learn how to shoot. Like, hello? Your kid is threatening to kill himself. He recently made a comment about using one of his dad’s guns and it actually shocked the husband, finally. So yeah, she is definitely worried about her own and the kid’s safety. She said she feels safer being there, which I don’t understand. I went to the police the day after he called me (they said they couldn’t do anything because he did not make a direct threat) and they said a PFA probably wouldn’t be approved for me unless he continued to harass me. I blocked his number so so far I have been safe but that doesn’t mean he won’t call from somewhere else. My aunt is a domestic abuse survivor and my friend met her at a 4th of July party last summer, so I asked her to reach out to my aunt and she did. My aunt was so shocked at the severity of the situation she really didn’t have words to help her except to suggest going to a women’s abuse center.

        Thank you for your advice you are definitely helping me.

      • Masqued says:

        She probably feels safer, because her leaving would be a trigger for more abuse. Statistically, the first two weeks after a woman leaves an abusive situation are the most dangerous. Doing something like that will heighten the danger for her in a way she can’t predict and doesn’t know how to handle. Right now she feels like she is home, and has a reasonable expectation of being alive. She probably, whether she admits it or not, feels like she has the situation partly under control. (That’s an illusion I told myself too. It is a coping strategy.)

        If you have a gentle way to link her son’s acting out to her husband’s actions, even if the guy is nice to the kids and just mean to her – I bet it has a lot to do with the kid acting out. Not to say it would go away if the kid was in a better environment, but that just screams to me that the kids don’t feel safe either.

        I still need people to constantly remind me that I am not, and haven’t been over-reacting. This, after my husband once threatened to slit my throat in my sleep, and told me in December we should both kill ourselves. Now I can see how messed up that is. But when you are sitting in the middle of it, it’s hard to see outside of your immediate surroundings.

        When you are running on sleep deprivation, are on constant high alert, and have no ready comparisons to your reality – it’s like you are in your own parallel universe where this is all really normal. It can be very difficult to accept or acknowledge how you got there in the first place. It’s one of the only ways you can cope with the terrible situation you are in. She is ‘safe’ now, because the unknown is more terrifying than the known. It isn’t rational. But it is what we make ourselves believe, because otherwise surviving is too difficult.

        It’s hard when your parents are not supportive either. I am lucky in that regard. The best thing you or someone could do is to try and assure them that this is a real and immediate threat and should be taken seriously.

        It is almost embarrassing, how often I had to ask my friends and parents if I was over-reacting. That means others may have to reach out and advocate to her mother, because if her mother is vocally or subtly upset about your friend leaving, that is going to add another layer of shame and fear of disappointment.

        I cannot imagine being in that situation with two kids, special needs, and having her own health difficulties. Honestly, she’s amazing that she’s kept it together as long as she has. It might not hurt to say that too.

        It sounds like she wouldn’t mind getting out, but is struggling to rationalize how to make that happen in a realistic way. So now it’s just about trying to strengthen her support group, connect that group together, and to resources. And just keep assuring her that this behavior is NOT normal, that if she gets upset she is not over-reacting.

        Maybe ask your Aunt if she would be willing to be a part of the support team. It’s not about knowing how to fix it or having the perfect answers. It’s about letting your friend talk. (That will continue to make it real to her). It’s about reflecting back to your friend that there are resources (hopefully there are). It’s about being firmly honest in telling her that if she is upset about things it is because they are worth being upset over.

        Have you asked her what it would take, in an ideal situation, for her to leave? Ask what questions -she- has. Start a google document (but don’t share it with her, or let her husband find it.) Share it only with people on her ‘team’. Like her father, perhaps. Start documenting all the resources and all her questions. You don’t have to be one to do this, but making lists has always been cathartic for me, and it has the added benefit of being helpful too.

        Examples might be –
        *where is the courthouse, and what is the procedure for an emergency protection order?
        *where is a domestic violence shelter she can go with kids?
        *where can she open up a bank?

        If the situation is really serious, getting her a burner pay as you use phone she can hide somewhere, and that has a few numbers from her ‘team’ saved in it might be helpful.

        She should be careful who she calls from any phone line that he pays the bills on or has access to look at. I know my cell phone shows a history of people I have called.

        Additionally, you need to be careful when using facebook, etc. Lawyers can subpoena social media sites and potentially get access to private messages. Maybe try to stick to e-mails. That way you have a log, too, and can piece together events.

        And it already sounds like you are doing this, but document, document, document. Screenshots. Save voicemail messages.

        I’m sorry I’m blearghing all over your page and comment area with suggestions. I’m sure this is a lot to take in. But the good news is that there is a lot you -can- do. Including taking care of you, so that when she finally makes the choice to leave, you can be there for her.

      • gabe126 says:

        Please I am very grateful you are “blearghing” all over my page lol it is helping me sort stuff out in my head coming from somebody with the unfortunate experience of what my friend is going through. Yeah I know she is worried about doing things that will cause him to become more angry and irrational, such as well filing for divorce for example, even though he keeps threatening to do that to her, I think he should, but I know she wants to be guaranteed to have the children before any of that goes down. And right now she is the one with the record and his record is “clean” technically, so there is a strike against her. As long as she can make it to the second week of May without incident (without him causing an incident I mean), her record will be wiped clean. He abuses the kids just as much as he abuses her. He doesn’t understand their special needs and doesn’t want to. We are both special education teachers, and I know part of why he hates me is because his kids take to me like glue and adore me and have even confided in me that they wish I was their dad. I was tutoring her daughter in math when I was allowed at the house, and it would piss him off because she would work so well with me while she would give him a hard time because all he did was yell at her. Yelling isn’t going to make a kid want to do anything, special needs or not. She is definitely aware of how he treats them, which is why she wants custody, and I know she agrees that her son’s behavior and thinking is partially due to his father’s behavior, which her husband blames all the kid’s needs on her that she “fucked the kids up”.

        Unfortunately her parents don’t like me either, nor do her husband’s parents, for different reason I’d suppose, but her parents are strict Catholics and she should not be having male friends outside of her marriage, according to them. Her husband’s parents don’t like me because he’s probably convinced them along with himself that she and I are having an affair, even though he knows I’m gay. I constantly tell her how proud I am of her, how she is so brave and strong, but for every time I raise her up, he brings her down further and I feel like my words are falling flat. I know she hears them, because she relies on them to keep her going though. I don’t think she believes she is over-reacting, but I know she believes all of this is her fault, even going back to when they first married, but he wasn’t abusive when they dated, so how could she have known? He has torn her down so much over the past 15 years that she just doesn’t believe in herself anymore and it makes me sad to see because she is such a strong woman, basically raising two special needs children on her own because he is of no help ever.

        She does slowly seem to be realizing that she does need to get out, she will talk about leaving him and getting a divorce, but then she backtracks. I know leaving him would shake everything up and it must be so scary to think about changing your entire life after 15 years like this, or for however long you were with your husband. I feel like I am pushing her too much though, I know it has to be her decision and it just my job to be her supporter but I want to fix this all for her. Her support team right now consists of three people – Me, her best friend from high school who is an ADA in Philly, which is super helpful legally, and a guy she met in her outpatient therapy group. We all keep telling her the same things but only she can truly realize it. I haven’t asked what question she has, but I remember a few months ago when things were really bad I asked her what she wanted more than anything in the world and her answer was “peace” and it just broke my heart.

        As for her current cell phone, I still don’t know how her husband got my phone number. Our priority was to keep him from knowing my contact information so I could always be a safe space for her. My mom thinks he got it off the phone bill by looking at the frequency of phone calls and stuff, but we rarely call each other, we usually text. She thinks he took her phone while she was sleeping, but she has a password on it so I don’t know how he got into it. When she got out of the hospital I changed all her passwords and created a private email address for her so she could communicate with her lawyer without her husband reading the emails, although now he doesn’t know her passwords so that is good.

        Again, thanks for all your advice I truly appreciate it 🙂

      • Masqued says:

        Sounds like you have a tentative date. 🙂 May, when her record is clear. His threats to divorce her are likely just threats, intended to control.

        I have been reading a lot lately. You might look up Narcisstic Personalities. I wonder if she started reading some of that if she would see something of it in her husband. When my counselor looked at me, as a 3rd neutral party, and agreed with everything my biased friends and family said, I finally started to get it.

        Be careful of spyware too. Depending on how tech savvy the guy is he could put a virus on her computer or even potentially phone. Not to freak you out, but depending on how paranoid he gets… its been done. Thankfully not to me.

        The religious thing is hard. I come from a Christian background, and still believe in God. That said, I don’t believe the God I follow would ever want someone to suffer like this. Its why I struggle with organized religion and church sometimes. There are some great down to earth people. But then there are the other, judgmental, shove religion down your throat types. Ugh. I am so glad you are there for her.

        I am so glad she has a lawyer.

        It might be good to have two exit strategies ready. One if things escalate into immediate danger. Another moving forward with a tentative plan for May.

        Keeping her kids safe makes things trickier. But if she is talking to a lawyer, that is fantastic.

        If she goes to the grocery store and uses her debit card… maybe suggest she gets an extra 5 to 10 or 20 dollars extra in cash back from the checkout. Having some extra cash on hand may be helpful in an emergency, and it is a subtle way to get some funds depending on how much he pays attention.

        I sure understand that desire for peace. I told my mother, the week before I left, I didn’t care if I was happy or not. I just wanted to be able to sleep.

        There is hope. You seem to be doing everything as right as anyone could do. Bless you, for seeing her pain and being willing to reach out.

        Please, continue to use me as a resource if needed. You can reach me at unmasqued (at) outlook (dot) com . If you want to share anything I have told you with her, please feel free to.

  3. Masqued says:

    *Telling me that her fear for me was giving HER nightmares (Grammar/word use fail).

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