So, how did I get to the point where I finally was able to leave him AND not go back to him? It was actually a series of events within a short time period. First off, the last year with him I was at a all time low. I was making quite a bit less money, I gained a lot of weight, I had a lot of physical ailments. I wasn’t taking care of myself, I couldn’t afford to get any of the pampering I liked – getting my hair done, a pedicure, etc… I was diagnosed with periodontal disease. It was all I could do just to get up and go to work. I quit taking a shower every day, I quit washing my face at night. I had lost my house, our decent apartment and now we were living in a semi-run down apartment in central Phoenix. He wouldn’t let me drive the car, even though he really wasn’t working, so I took the light rail and a bus. I had told him that if he didn’t have a job by June he would have to leave. He did get this temporary gig for a couple of months, but he drank more in those two months than he typically did. When he wasn’t working he would post ads and risqué pictures of me on Craigslist soliciting for one night stands with women, so he could watch. I no longer had it in me to object to anything. He did what he wanted. He drank all the time, he was smoking a lot of pot, he was perverse sexually, he spent money we didn’t have, he stole from me. I was just watching my life pass by. I didn’t even care anymore.
Anyway, it was during this time that a friend from work had recently graduated from a program where she had learned to be a life coach and she wanted to practice on me. I had to lie to him to go visit her because he didn’t really approve of me going to see my friends by this point (not that I had many). The session with her was difficult, but she asked one question that just hit my heart – do you want the next five years of your life to be like the last five years of your life? My answer was a big fat resounding HELL NO. This one question put the wheels in motion. This was probably in April or May of 2012. As I mentioned, John got a job just before June so I wouldn’t kick him out (not that he would leave anyway), but he was drinking so much during the two months he was working, he was almost spending all the money he was bringing in. At the beginning of August he drank so much one weekend that he ended up with alcohol poisoning really bad and then swore he was going to quit. A week later he was taking money from me and going to the convenience store once or twice a day for beer once I left for work. He was no longer working by August.
One weekend we went to Olive Garden (someone had given me a gift card) and I asked him about the money that was disappearing and if he was still drinking. He admitted he had been taking the money and buying beer during the day while I was at work. I burst into tears right there in the restaurant. I was sobbing uncontrollably. It just hit me right at that moment that things were never going to change or get better with him. This was what my life had become. Then he got upset with me because I got upset and as we were leaving he tells me that he is never going to quit drinking because that was one of the things that made him feel like a”man.”
Then about a month later we had done our normal Sunday grocery shopping. He was sober (it was still morning). He insisted on driving all the time and honestly I did hate the way he drove. He also had no sense of direction, but didn’t want to listen to me even though I have a great sense of direction. He had on a couple of occasions just in the weeks prior, told me to shut up about his driving or he was going to beat me. In fact one of the times I didn’t even say anything, my foot instinctively pressed down as if on a brake when I didn’t think he was stopping fast enough. He told me I better not do that anymore either or he was going to bash my head.
So, we’re leaving the grocery store on this particular day and he wants to swing by an antique store nearby. I point out where he needs to go and he does the exact opposite. Before we know it, we are right back at the grocery store and he starts yelling, not really at anyone at this point, just mad that he got lost. Then I say something to the effect that if he had listened to me we could be there. Oh boy… that was the wrong thing to say. He’s driving and yelling and swearing at me. About a mile from our apartment we were stopped at a red light of a busy intersection. There were cars all around. I say fuck you and go to get out of the car. I open the door and he pulls me back in with one hand and his other hand is raised in a fist and he stops just short of punching my face. He’s sober, he’s surrounded by cars, people are looking at us and he was out of control. By this time I’m bawling my eyes out and he just keeps yelling at me the mile home.
We unload the groceries and now he’s feeling calm, plus he has some beer so the incident is all over for him. Not for me though. I tell him I’m not feeling well and go into the bedroom. While in there all I can think about is how I wish he were dead. I feel like I”m going crazy when I start thinking how I can kill him. The thought goes through my head that I should drive myself to the police, or a hospital, but I have to work in the morning and if I don’t work how are we going to pay our rent and car payment? My mind was in turmoil. In the mean time he’s in the living room watching TV and getting drunk. It gets quiet (he talked to the TV and I could no longer hear him) and I go out. He’s passed out on the sofa. I go into the kitchen to our butcher knives and I pull the biggest, sharpest one out. I walk to the couch and look at him. I can’t do it.
I go back into the kitchen and put away the knife and go back into the bedroom. What had I become that I could actually fathom killing another human being??? Those women, who are abused and end up killing their abuser – I totally get it. I totally get the overkill too – the stabbing 97 times or shooting off a gun 1/2 a dozen times. You want those ASS HOLES dead. You have truly reached a breaking point. The only thing you are thinking about at this point is regaining your life, but you’re not clearheaded. I mean killing someone doesn’t and wouldn’t ever give you back your life. Thank God I realized that that night. The next morning I went into work and gave a four week notice and began to strategically plan my departure. Thank goodness I had work and a work computer to do that on. There was a lot to figure out – closing bank accounts, getting maintenance on the car, changing my address, telling my kids and saying good bye, and doing all of this without him noticing anything different about me which will lead into Part II of this saga which I will call “Poker Face.”