Friday, April 29, 2005

Today is picture sharing day

Yesterday was my 16th wedding anniversary and ironically enough, the day CP was served the divorce papers. It was not the day I chose, it was just how it worked out. Stars aligning and all that, though I'm sure he'll blame it on my vindictiveness.

Last Saturday evening I took my kids to Chuck E. Cheese. Yes, they are a little old for it, but we had good pizza and they played video games. I'm trying to get them out of the house when I see them and take them places where I know they'll have a good time and laugh and get their minds off their worries.

The nice thing about Chuck E. Cheese is they have this picture machine. You sit in a seat and it takes your picture and turns it into a pencil drawing. I took pictures of each of my kids with me. And while we waited our turn and waited out the printing process, I talked to each one of them individually and let them know I love them.

So here are the pics.... oldest child to youngest.

Oh, and I have a second job interview today with a company I interviewed with on Tuesday. Today I'm meeting with the store manager. Big stuff.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Once upon a time I met a man at a bar

....and he was my husband, but that 20 minutes at the bar changed my life.

So to go back to the beginning of that week, CP and I met for dinner two Saturday's ago, because I agreed with him that we should discuss divorce he back tracked again and wanted to meet and "keep talking." It was at this point that I was feeling strung along. This is the man who told me he didn't want me and laughed at me and now he's telling me he wanted to "keep talking" about how we could work things out to get back together. At some point during the week, it became clear to me that it didn't matter how much he wanted to talk, I didn't really want to anymore.

I mean for me the issue became, did he accept me for who I am .... right now, good, bad, happy, sad, sick, know the basic marriage vow stuff? Oh, but we didn't get married in a standard ceremony, we got married in a Mormon temple where I was told to honor my husband and serve him and be a good wife to him so I could stand beside him in the highest degree of heaven. He was not told to honor me or to be a good husband, for that matter.

Anyway, I realized that I accept myself for who I am....right now. CP couldn't do it. And no amount of talking was going to change that. And so, after that dinner on Saturday evening, I went home and didn't call CP all week.

And he didn't call me. Until last Friday when he suggested we meet to "talk" at our favorite karaoke bar.

But before I get to that, I have to go to Tuesday. I went to see the lawyer. I was referred to him by a friend who went through a nasty custody fight, and she was referred to him by a friend who went through a nasty custody fight....and the chain continues. I sat in the lobby shaking, (remember I was still feeling like I loved CP at this point and worried about how he'd handle it if I filed for divorce.....I was just getting ready to crawl out from under his boot. I knew I wanted the divorce and I wasn't going back, but I was still scared) and I filled out my paperwork and then I was called back to meet my attorney, DH.

I told him my story. I told him about moving out, I told him CP wouldn't let me move back in, I told him I wanted my kids, I told him about the Mormon church, I told him about the brainwashing, the Sunday sex, the Thursday ridicule, the abuse and the yelling. The first thing he said was "well, this guy should be paying you right now so that you can have an apartment and have your kids with you." And I got tears in my eyes.

DH told me he would have papers drawn up the next day and that they would ask for "temporary support" and custody of my kids during the separation before the divorce is final. The temporary support is money from CP to pay for my apartment and utilities, since, as we all know, CP is living in a house rent free. DH told me I'm entitled to alimony for close to 10 years because I've been a stay-at-home mom for so long. He also told me it was stupid of me to move out of my house, but admitted that given the level of abuse I was suffering, he couldn't reasonably put me back in there.

And then he gave me the best news, he said he wasn't going to charge me his retainer. He's requiring what is called "suit" payment from CP to pay my legal fees. And that's when I started to cry, because I knew how much he was going to cost and I had no idea how I was going to get the money.

I left his office with a lot of papers to fill out and a whole new spirit of hope.

And so we move to Wednesday evening when I spent a few hours with my kids while CP was at the taekwondo school. I told my kids that I wasn't going to be moving home anytime soon. I told them that their dad and I couldn't agree yet and how we could work it out. I told them that I was getting an apartment close by so that they could spend time with both of us. And we all cried, especially my youngest.

And by Friday I had found an apartment and put down an application.

Friday evening CP and I met at 9 PM at the karaoke bar we used to hang out at in happier days. He smiled and was dressed well and was very nice, at first. Then he asked if we wanted to talk about what I told the kids on Wednesday. I said sure, but before that I wanted to talk about something he'd told our oldest daughter. He told her I had a "pencil in my eye," I think referring to the scripture about a "mote" in the eye. He told her I was ill and still needed time to get better. I told CP at the table, "I just want you to know that my issues were worked through in a few weeks and I'm fine now, and I don't have a pencil in my eye. I wanted to move back home and you said no. But it doesn't matter anyway, because I don't think my moving back is a good idea right now." And so began the beginning of his dazed he was looking at a complete stranger.

I asked CP if he still felt like he was done and wanted a divorce. He said yes, and I said, "good, because I've been giving it a lot of thought, and I'm done, too."

More staring.

CP said he didn't think joint custody was a good idea because he didn't want the kids going back and forth, he wanted them to have a stable home environment. A point I agreed with. But I also pointed out that kids do joint custody all the time and it can work so it would be worth considering. He said no. So I asked him what he wanted and he told me that he was going to go for sole custody of our kids, because he wanted them and he was willing to risk only getting visitation with them if he didn't get sole custody. So I said, "well, I guess that I will file for sole custody as well, and we'll see what happens."

Then he brought up money and made the offer of joint custody, as long as I didn't ask him for any money for child support or alimony. And this time I laughed. I said, "you know what, I've realized that being married to you for 16 years has been hell and if the courts think I'm entitled to money from you for having to put up with you for so long, then I'm not going to turn it down."

More staring.

And so we were at a stand still. He said, "well, I guess that lawyers are going to make a lot of money off us." And I nodded thinking to myself that both lawyers are going to make a lot of money off of him. And so I said, "so I guess we can't agree on anything?" He nodded and then I grabbed my purse, stood up and said, "then I guess there isn't anything else to say." He stared at me - mouth open. I put up my hand, waved at him and said "Goodbye." And I turned and walked away.

It is was the greatest feeling I've ever had in my life. It was me standing on my own two feet. Standing up to the man who beat me down for 16 years. I'd never had a more amazing moment. I was in that bar 20 minutes and at the end of it - it was over. I no longer loved CP, I no longer worried about him. He made it easy to let go.

And it became even easier when my kids told me on Saturday evening that CP was beating my little dog. They said, he squeezed my dog and then he freaked out and pooped on the floor. So CP locked him in his crate and he pooped some more, because he was left in there so long. And then CP took him outside, tied him to a pole on the patio and sprayed him off with a hose and then left him out there to dry.

This dog weighs 13 pounds. But it reiterated again for me that CP is manipulative. He manipulated me for 16 years, without me there, he moved on to mistreat my dog and now that my dog is gone, he's moved on to my kids. More on that in a minute.

And so you know what happened on Monday. I filed for divorce.

CP found out yesterday that I filed, because he had his lawyer draw up papers and when they went to file them, his lawyer found out that I'd already done that. Now he is waiting to be served my documents and he can then respond.

I took my kids out last night again for fun and food and when I got to the house, they were quiet. My oldest told me that after CP found out I'd filed for divorce, he came home, sat the kids down, told them that I'd filed and then told them that they could choose which parent to live with. He told my oldest that he would obviously understand that she would live with me, my son would live with him and then turned the spotlight on my youngest daughter who broke down in tears.

What the hell is he thinking?

What the hell is he doing?

I think, to be honest, he's scared. I've filed, I'm done and maybe his lawyer has told him that filing for sole custody is a stupid move on his part. Maybe his lawyer has filled him in on alimony laws and the way the system works. I don't know. But now he's scrambling to do anything to keep one or more of the kids in his life.

My thoughts, my kids are a package deal. They need each other. If one lived with him and two with me, when would they see each other? Every other weekend would I got my son and my girls go to CP? Then when would they all be together?

I believe they do need a stable home environment, I thought joint custody could work, but with CP's craziness, I don't think so now. But I certainly don't think splitting up my kids is a good idea.

And so now you're caught up on the events of the last four weeks of my life.

It's going to be a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. I'm ready for that. But right now I've reveling in the feelings of strength I have and the joy ....I found my center. I found my soul.

And it's all going to work out for the best. Whatever that is.

(Note: What I didn't mention in this post, was that 4/28/05 was our 16th wedding anniversary. I found out later that CP was served the divorce papers I'd filed on this day. What a nice way to celebrate our 16th anniversary! At least, I thought so. )

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

This is the hardest part for me to write about

....because this is where it went very, very bad.

CP and I had decided on the third Friday after I moved out to talk some more. He was still very much of the mind that life in "our" house had to be "his" way and as sad as I was that I wouldn't be moving back in, I knew it was for the best for me.

The reason we decided to keep talking was CP told me on the phone that he was tired and busy and struggling. He mentioned to me that our son wasn't doing his homeschool work and that CP was overwhelmed with work, taekwondo teaching and the kids and life. While I tried to be sympathetic, I also knew that if he was truly that tired and wanted help, he would have been willing to compromise with me because I'd told him that I would help with some things.

Then he said the most awful thing, CP told me on the phone that family scripture time and the church was so important for the kids right now, because he said (word for word) "now is my time to brainwash our children so that when they get out on their own, they don't even have to decide between right and wrong, they just do what I've brainwashed them to do."

I was speechless. And I knew that if I needed to, that would be a handy bit of information to pass on to a lawyer. I realized then that CP is in this "other-reality" where only his world view exists and he doesn't care or realize how stupid and fanatical he sounds, he believes that God is on his side and he is doing everything right. It's scary.

So now to the humiliating part.

In our deciding to talk more, CP and I usually met on Sunday at the house and talked while the kids were getting ready for bed. That way I was there to tuck them in and he and I could have some time to talk and not be interrupted.

At one point we ended up in our bedroom, because I was sifting through my mail that he was piling on the floor and we were talking. He told me that he wanted to talk seriously about how we could compromise and that he would write down some specific things and we could talk about them next Sunday. I said he wanted me to move back home eventually, but we had to make sure we didn't rush into anything.

He grabbed me in a hug and then looked down, as most men tend to do at time, to my boobs. He said "we could use each other" and I said, "no, I don't want to be used." Then he changed his approach and became very sweet and nice. He tickled me and we ended up kissing and kissing led to sex. At first I called it making love, now I know he was just in it for one last fuck. After the sex was over, he said again, "well, we used each other." I said again, "no." But that should have been my clue.

We talked some more and I left thinking that we were going to be getting back together. It amazes me now, but I was still stuck in that cycle of being manipulated by him. Twisted and tied up and thinking how he wanted me to think. I thought he was being genuine. I never would have had sex with him otherwise.

So by Tuesday, I knew something was up. I went to the taekwondo school to hang with the kids before their class and when I went to leave for my graduate class, I hugged the kids and hugged Chris. I told him I loved him and he said "I know." It felt weird.

Then on Wednesday we got in an argument on the phone when he called me, because he said he was finally being honest with himself and he wanted a Mormon wife who could go to the temple with him and go on a mission with him. So I asked him if that was the most important thing to him in finding a new wife. He hedged and tried to say no, but in the end the answer was yes.

And that was what it came down to for him. Not our 16 years, not our three kids, but simply a wife who would go to the temple with him. When confronted with the facts, he doesn't like the way it sounds and tried to back track and yet, when confronted with the idea of compromise so I could have moved back home, he has nothing to fall back on but his idea of a temple going wife.

So I suggested during our Wednesday phone call that CP and I meet on the weekend for dinner and talk about getting a divorce. And he said OK.

That afternoon however, I had Bunko at my house. And I had to be there and cook and get ready. CP came home and stayed away for a while, but then when I went out to the garage to get the extra folding table he asked me about the kids in the divorce. I told him that I wanted them to live with me too. I wanted, at the very least, joint custody. He instantly started in on me about how I don't have a job and don't have any money and he questioned my ability to provide for them and take care of them and he questioned if I really thought it was in the kids best interest to live with me when I would be so "poor."

I told him that I thought it was in the best interest of the kids to have both parents active in their lives and I didn't think money should be the deciding factor. He tried to talk me out of wanting my kids then using a different approach....the Mormon approach. That because I'm not Mormon he thinks I should step aside and let them be raised in God's only true church. I told him I wouldn't do it.

And by the end of the evening, he'd backed down again and said he wanted to talk about it later.

And here comes the nasty part.

On the next day, Thursday afternoon, I ran to the house really quick in between therapy, tanning and a class to grab some food I'd left behind from Bunko. I didn't think CP could be there, but he was. And in our bedroom, sitting on our bed, while I stood at the foot of the bed, he said he was done and wanted a divorce. I started shaking a bit, but stood my ground. I asked him when he had decided he was done and he said a while ago.

Then I asked him the burning question on my mind. "Why did we have sex?" And he laughed at me and said, "It doesn't matter anyway, I threw the condoms away, that is never going to happen again, I don't want you anymore."

And that ladies and gents, is the real man I married. I walked out of our bedroom, gave the kids hugs and got in my car and drove to class. I only lasted about an hour and had to leave. I cried all the way home and cried on my mom's shoulder for hours.

As a victim of rape when I was 19, what CP said to me that day made me feel worse that the day I was raped. At least with rape you understand your assailant is violent and in some cases doesn't even know you, although, mine did know me. You understand it is just about violence and instant gratification and that they don't really care about you, as a person. But with CP, I'd had 16 years with him, I thought he loved me and I thought he valued me and in thinking those things, I never thought he could lie to me, fuck me, and then laugh at me and treat me like I was stupid for not realizing what that last round of sex was all about. It was like he just couldn't understand why I didn't understand that was the last time we were going to have sex. It was like he thought that I just wanted to screw one last time because that was what he wanted.

I was mortified.

But in the days after that day, and there have been almost 14 of them, since he told me he didn't want me anymore, I've been thinking back on our marriage. I've remembered good times, but in really remembering them, I remember that they weren't all that good. I remember holidays and birthdays and anniversaries that were ruined with mean words or carelessness.

I remembered him sitting next to me at church, while I was holding our youngest daughter in my arms. I knew he was angry with me, but I don't remember for what. I looked over at him and smiled and apologized and he smiled back, put his arm around me and whispered, "Fuck you." And got up and walked out and left me at church. I had to get a ride home for me and the three kids.

I remembered it all and when put into the perspective of the evil man who laughed at me for having sex with him, I realized that he never loved me, he never really cared, and he will never be the type of man I can be with. I realized that I've wasted a lot of years trying to just love him a little more in the hopes that eventually it would make a difference and he would love me just as much.

And most importantly, I realized that the day I moved out five weeks ago, when he and I agreed that I would be moving out to work through some things and come back home in a couple of weeks, he was lying to me then. He wanted me to move out and he never had any intention of agreeing with me and letting me move back in.

And in accepting the dark side of the man I am married to, I realized that I should have had the courage to get away from him long ago.

And yet, everything happens in its own time. I wasn't ready then. I wasn't strong enough. I didn't have my center and I hadn't yet found my soul.

Now is my time and this time I'm ready.

More on our last meeting and how the divorce is coming along in the next blog.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The beginning of the story

As most of you know, I moved about five weeks ago. It came at the insistence of my therapist who felt it was a necessity for me to leave....I was a wreck and CP's constant yelling and belittling was tearing me up. It had been going on pretty consistently since January and I reached a breaking point where I couldn't take it anymore.

The first week was hard and CP and I talked on the phone a few times and met for dinner that weekend. We talked about how I was feeling and how he was feeling, but we stayed away from the religion issue. He did say then that he wanted me to work out my issues and come back home. I know now that was a crock of shit.

The next week was different and interesting. I still cried and I was upset and I missed my kids, but I was going over to the house about every other day and CP and I were having some good talks on the phone and in person. I was reading a book by Deepak Chopra and practicing meditation to find my center and try to find a respect for CP's religious choice and hoping that he would, in turn, respect my non-religious choice. But then on that Thursday, crying season ended and I stopped feeling that my worth was nothing and I started opening up to the notion that regardless of CP's love for me, I was lovable and loved myself, just for who I was. I found my soul.

And that was when things started to go downhill.

The third week, I went to the house on a Wednesday because CP needed help with his taekwondo website, which I designed and maintained and he needed me to fix a few documents for him that he used in signing up new students at his school. I felt a change in him and knew that I'd experience a profound change in myself. When we tried to talk about the religion issue, I told him I could and would respect his decision and wanted to come back home.

He said no. And not only no, but he proceeded to lay out requirements that I had to meet if I did come back home. He dictated when he wanted me to wake up in the morning, what chores I had to do (things I'd done previously so I didn't have a problem with that), I had to agree to go to church events with him and attend some of the Sunday meetings. I also had to agree to participate in the evening family scripture study and prayer. And finally, he wanted me to take over homeschooling our son. Most of it I didn't have a problem with, as I'd already been attending some church events with him. I didn't have a problem with the household duties. But telling me when to wake up in the morning and requesting that I take over homeschooling our son, when I fundamentally disagreed with CP pulling him from school....I had issues there.

I realize now that CP didn't want a capable, happy, together wife, he wanted a weak woman who was easily controlled. Once I found my center, he did not want me in his life because he didn't want to treat me as a equal. He made up requirements and rules to try and get me to submit to his controls and I didn't. I was the beginning of the end.

What I found out from my girls is that CP wasn't actually homeschooling our son anymore, he was leaving our son, 12 years old, at home alone every day and letting him "school" himself and our son was spending a lot of time playing computer games and watching movies. So once again, CP had made a decision without taking into account my ideas, and then crapped out on the follow through.

I told him I couldn't move back home unless we could come to some sort of compromise and treat each other with mutual respect. He countered by telling me that because he wanted to live his life the Lord's way, the house would have to run "his way." I said that it needed to be our way. He told me that he wanted a Mormon wife who would go to the temple with him and that he wanted a wife who would go on a church mission with him when he retired. He would not accept me as I was. And we were at a standstill.

And so I missed our kids more and felt terrible that I couldn't be back with them, but in my heart knew there was no way I could go home without ending up in a place where within days or weeks he would be verbally abusive to me again, and I would once again teeter on the brink of having no self-worth and losing my soul.

This third week was also the week that GB came to town to work. Graduate school hampered my seeing him much while he was here, but when I finally did get to see him, I told him that I was in a weird place and I didn't think sex was a good idea for me. Not that I didn't want to, but I knew it would emotionally take it's toll. I was also thinking that I shouldn't do anything if I was still trying to work with CP on a compromise so that I could move back home.

GB was great about it. We went out and ate dinner and talked and shopped at the mall. It turns out we just had a lot of fun and strengthened our friendship.

I know I mentioned in this blog that I wasn't going to write about GB anymore, but I've since learned that Oregon is a "no fault" state and my affair with GB is completely irrelevant to divorce proceedings. And so I've decided not to hide parts of my life from this blog.

There is so much more and it only gets worse from here. Worse in the events that happened - not in how I feel about myself or how I handled it.

CP showed his true colors and I saw, for the first time, the real man I married and the depths of deception and manipulation that he is capable of.

He made it easy to let go and in one instant, my love for him was gone. Completely.

Monday, April 25, 2005

I'm Back

Hello again. It was a necessity for me to take some time from blogging. I went through amazing transitions and shifts in my thinking and feeling, about life, myself, my kids and CP. It was a sacred time for me and I did not want to share until I was ready.

I'm ready now. But what spills out of me will be long and wordy, so I probably won't end up putting all of it up at once.

First let me say that I filed for divorce today. Even ten days ago I was still weepy and worrying about how CP would handle divorce. I thought that because his mother disowned him at 18 years old that if I loved him enough, I could make his pain better. I struggled thinking how hurt he would be that we were separating. I was worried about how angry or sad he'd be.

But in the last two weeks he's behaved in such a despicable way that through my tears and worry I was able to get some perspective on my marriage to him. I was able to put things that I once rationalized as OK or acceptable given how troubled his childhood was into clear focus as completely abusive and manipulative behavior. Through the tears came the clarity.

And I'm grateful for it, because last Friday night I sat across from him at a restaurant where we had met to talk and I looked at him and listened to him and realized that he is a raving asshole who never really cared about me and certainly isn't acting like he cares about our children. I spent 20 minutes listening to him and realized that we were never really friends, never will be friends, and we will never agree on how to go about this divorce. And I got up, relished the shocked look on his face, and said goodbye and I walked away.

He controlled me, he hurt me, he hit me, he manipulated me and most importantly he had me almost convinced that I was a terrible mother to our children because I wasn't a Mormon mother. I almost walked away.

What he saw on Friday was a solid, centered, 36 year old woman who he no longer has control over and he is going to face some hard realities through the course of this divorce. I'm facing those realities now. He is still under the diluted assumption that because he is a true Mormon, God is on his side and will bless him and make me pay for my errant ways.

And all I have to say is God is not a judge in our divorce case.

So I'm here, I'm happy....and I mean really happy for the first time in my life. I smile and I laugh and I know that even if CP hates me and treats me badly, he cannot take away my soul or my heart or my power.

My name is Rory and I'm a force to be reckoned with.

More later.

And thank you, to everyone who commented and who still visits this blog even though I haven't been here and to everyone who stuck with me on my journey out from under CP's boot.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

An email from my dad

I had a post about my sister all typed up to post on her birthday, but didn't get around to posting it. I will later.

Today, I checked my email and I got an email from my father in Kabul, Afghanistan. It was incredible and I want to share part of it and my reply. I was scared for my father and where he was going, but you know, his journey led him to send me this email and it is one of the greatest gifts I've ever received.

Here it is:

Thank you so much for taking the time and energy to be with me in Oklahoma. We didn't get to talk or do much but it was nice to know that you were next door. I am so proud of you and all that you have accomplished. I Love You Very Much and I want you to always remember that!

Yesterday we had a memorial service for three of our number that were killed in an airplane crash here at Kabul. This happened before I got here and I didn't know any of the people. But it was very moving and especially so when the father of Mestafa Haider tried to eulogize his son in Dari and broken English. Mestafa was one of the bright stars in this country at 23 he had his own company with 25 employees and spoke 5 languages. The main thing brought home to me is how precious you girls are to me and how much I love you.

Please be careful out there because there are a lot of bad people. I know that you go the clubs at night and do some drinking but please just stay aware of your surroundings and who is around. If you do that I will do the same.

And here is part of my reply:

Dear Dad,

It sounds like you are really getting in touch with life and how precious it is. Your email got me all teary eyed.

I am still staying with mom. We've worked out a good living relationship and we're doing well. I don't know how much longer I'll be here. I did this for one main reason. I was struggling with my own emotions living at the house and I didn't have any time or space to work on me. And if I don't take the time to work through some of my own issues, I can't be there for any one else. I was withdrawing from the kids and CP and keeping my emotions inside and not acknowledging them.

So I've been reading a lot of books and listening to tapes and CD's on happiness and optimism and emotional healing and really taking the time to count the little blessings. Like waking up in the morning and listening to the birds singing. I know it sounds silly, but I was looking for something huge to change my life around, I was always looking ahead and thinking that I'd be happy when "this" happened or "that." But I wasn't taking the time to appreciate the happiness in just being with the kids or playing with my dog. You know. I was also pretty pessimistic about work and school and thinking that nothing would ever work out. And my own thoughts were keeping me stuck there.

And then I just started crying and it didn't stop. And after I moved in with mom it only kept on coming.

The last four days have been so much better. I don't know what it was exactly, maybe it was just an end to struggling against life and the past and events and just accepting that the only place to go is forward and if I look forward to it and think positively and appreciate the small things, I can actually really be there emotionally for the people I love. I can actually love them and be there and feel and give instead of close off.

The biggest issue I have is the Mormon religion. It's so hard for me to grip CP's feelings about the church. I don't know where I fit into his life. I don't know if he resents me for not being Mormon. And I would move back home right now, if I could come to terms in some positive way with his religious choice. If I could accept it and accept us. I don't want to go back and just "give it a whirl" and see how it goes. That's not fair to anyone. I want to go back and know that in my heart I'm OK with him being Mormon and I'm OK with me not and that he's OK with it, too.

CP and I have spent a lot of time talking on the phone lately and we're working through a lot of things. And we're not setting a time limit on this or putting any ultimatums out there. We're just taking the time to work it out in the best way for everyone.

I promise I'll be careful when I go out. Thank you so much for reminding me of that. It's a deal, you take care of yourself too. I miss you so much and I had a great time in OK City with you and B. It didn't matter that we didn't do a whole lot of exciting things. We got a chance to talk and visit and just be together. That was what was important to me. And it was great.

I love you, Dad. Take care of yourself.