You can only control YOURSELF

You know when I first got my DV Advocate I thought great she’ll have the answers that will help me. But it didn’t take long for me to learn that even if you do EVERYTHING your advocate suggests it doesn’t  mean that your abuser will leave you alone. Especially if you live in a small town.

My advocate told me to change my Facebook and to block the abuser and anyone associated with him. I did.

My advocate told me to change my phone number. I did TWICE in one month. My abuser still found a way to get it. 

My advocate told me to open a new email. I did. BUT… the Sheriff told me to keep the other account open so that when and if the time comes that we go to court they can prove that my abuser still contacts me. I even had his emails go straight to my junk folder and then transfer them to a file just for his crap. But at times I get week and read them anyway. Which of course hooks me and upsets me so before I know it I’m returning emails. At least it’s from my old email account.

My advocate suggested that I not walk or drive by his home or his new girlfriend’s home. I have honored that. My abuser asked the same thing of Mr. BUT… they still drive by my place and my boyfriends’ place. I have requested several times for him to stop. I even asked that his family, girlfriend, and himself stop. But they still do it. Almost daily. It will get more frequent when school starts later this week. He always has an excuse or reason why THEY shouldn’t have to change their routes. But my explanations in his mind and those associated with him are just lies and me trying to harass them.

My advocate provides limited support to me. Sometimes I feel like I know just as much as she does about what needs to change. After all, I’m a Social Worker and worked at a DV shelter. So when I need support and my advocate is busy it is frustrating.

My advocate told me to not be surprised if my abuser tries to turn me in for fraud with the programs that assist me. Today, my abuser admitted to me that he DID turn me in for fraud. I’m not dumb… when the paperwork and bills showed up I knew it was him. But it is nice to know 100% for sure that he did it.

My abuser continues to tell lies about me around town. My abuser continues to harass me. My abuser says I’m doing the things that HE IS ACTUALLY DOING. 

My abuser even hinted at that he was trying to get me to have another nervous breakdown so that I’ll have to be hospitalized again for my PTSD, DEPRESSION, and ANXIETY. To me that is stooping pretty low.

I just felt the need to share today. 

Questions 

Well, today I am going to ask my readers a question or two.

1) have you found my sharing to be helpful? Do you know anyone who could use the information? If so feel free to share with them.

2) Jon asked me today when I was going to take responsibility for our relationship failing. Do you, my readers, know where I should be taking responsibility for things? (Be honest) What do you think I should of done differently?

Helpful Resources

Each state has a Coalition against Domestic Violence. You can look online to find the one for your state. In IOWA you can contact the Coalition at: Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence 6200 Aurora Avenue Suite 405E Urbandale, IA 50322 P. 515-244-8028 F. 515-244-7417 E-mail: lindsayp@icadv.org 

In Iowa there are agencies that provide advocates as well as assistance with getting a no contact order. Ask your coalition which agency is in your area.

Legal Aide or upper level law students can help you with court matters if you qualify. Also, attorneys are suppose to do so many hours pro bono.

ALLSTATE insurance has a foundation called the PURPLE PURSE. They have an educational program (through this foundation) that teaches you about finances. The class has 5 sessions.

There also is a group called Salons Against Domestic Violence. They provide important information about domestic violence.

Then there is the National Domestic Violence Hotline. You can call (800) 799-7233.

If you need time to find your own housing there are shelters around the country that can help you. Ask your advocate about shelters.

But THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO STAY SAFE!!!!

Male Privilege

This is the last of the abuse types on the Power and Control wheel. It is sort of hard to describe.

According to the Power and Control wheel Male Privilege is when you are treated like a servant, when you are left out of all the major decisions, when they act like they are the “master of the castle”, or being the one who defines the roles of male and female.

I hope this clarifies this type of abuse.

Coercion and Threats

This may be one of the easiest yet hardest forms of abuse to identify. I did not know that I had been coerced until my domestic violence counselor told me. I knew that what he did made me uncomfortable but didn’t know it fell under abuse.

When Jon and I were dating we had a very active sex life on the weekends I’d come down for the first 5 or 6 months. Our sex life though started out with me telling Jon no sex until married. But that didn’t stop Jon. The first time we had sex was coerced. Jon keep saying yes and trying to get me to say yes. You can imagine what he was doing… no need to describe every detail. Jon kept up his actions until I just gave in and had sex with him. This is coercion. This happened often at first but then after we got married Jon had no interest really in sex. He then developed ED and it became impossible to have sex. Of course, it was my fault that he had ED… in his mind. It had nothing to do with the fact that he’d had a heart attack, was diabetic, and continued to smoke.

The threats were easier to identify and they kept me and my kids walking on eggshells.

One of Jon’s favorite threats to me was that he’d go tell his mom or sister. Jon knew that both of them scared the crap out of me. They were verbally abusive, controlling, and at times would get in my face and use their pointer finger to pound on my chest. But they also were passive-aggressive.

The first year of marriage Jon and I filed our taxes together. Our refund went towards my student loans. Jon got pissed and went and talked to his mother before I even knew about the situation. When I did find out about the situation I had just got home from work and Jon was obviously angry and wanted to talk to me in the bedroom. He began yelling at me. He threatened to make sure this never happened again. He said he was going to get his part of the refund back. ( we only got a refund because of my kids.) He threatened that his mom and sister would come into our trailer and get to the bottom of this. Jon told me I had to go apologize to his MOTHER. Jon filed for an injured spouse exception from the IRS but was denied. But today he still says I stole his money. We never filed taxes together again. Jon even one year illegally claimed my kids so he would get a bigger refund. I’m sure he got audited but he’d never admit that to me.

Jon often threatened to kick me and the kids out of “his trailer/house.” On September 1, 2013 at 9 PM he did kick us out. He gave us 24 hours to get our stuff out or he’d throw it away or burn it. So my son and I moved furniture all night long. Jon slept through it all. My son had to borrow a friend’s truck and I had to scramble to get keys to a house we would move into.

There are more examples but I’m sure you understand this form of abuse by now.

Intimidation 

This is Jon’s favorite form of abuse… or so it seems. Jon used intimidation against me and my kids. His sister and mother also used intimidation. They all had several years of practice from what I’ve heard. Here are some examples of the abuse I endured.

If I started to be somewhat independent or making friends Jon would use his look to scare me back into line. Jon would use this when we were in public because it didn’t show his true colors in front of others.

Jon knew that his mom and sister scared me. He often used them to intimidate me or he would actually have them come and do the dirty work for him or they would come up with their own threats.

One night Jon’s sister let herself into our house. My daughter was sleeping and I was in the bathroom. Jon and my son were not home. Jon’s sister yells at my daughter “where the hell is your mother?” It scared my daughter so much that she was not able to go back to sleep that night. My daughter came into the bathroom and told me she was there. I told my daughter that I heard and to go back to bed. When I came out of the bathroom Jon’s sister began yelling at me and pounding on my chest with her pointer finger. I would take a step back and Jon’s sister would step forward. This was not the first time that Jon’s sister used her anger to intimidate me. Another example is once Jon had called her when we’d had an argument. I got a phone message from Jon’s sister that said “get your ass back to this trailer within 15 minutes or I’m throwing all your shit out in the yard.”

Jon would often use the threat of his mom or sister to intimidate me. Jon had done this so much that by 2014 just the mention of them gave me a panic attack. Sometimes still today seeing them in town or hearing their name can start a panic attack but I am better able to control them now. 

Jon’s mom was a very overbearing, controlling woman. She inserted herself in my marriage and often would tell me that I was doing this or that wrong. Jon’s mom controlled Jon by enabling his financial irresponsibility. It also allowed her into my marriage. Jon’s mom often would tell me that I was doing this or that and it embarrassed the family name. Jon’s mom also had the look down to a T.

Jon had thrown a plate in my direction during an argument. Smashing it to pieces. Jon had broken other things that were mine. He always had an attitude of I don’t care it’s not mine. Jon stored some of our things that there was not room for in the trailer that we lived in after first getting married in a corn crib on the farm. If the cats and mice didn’t ruin the stuff the coons did. 

All three of them had me walking on eggshells most of the time. They scared me and they knew it and they used it to their advantage. 

So we only have 2 more forms of abuse to cover. I hope this is helping you.

Denying, Blaming, & Minimizing

As I think about this form of abuse I think about all the “crazy making” it created. Jon was good at denying that he had done anything wrong or even was abusive. Jon still denies that he was abusive to this day. I’ve given up trying to inform him of  the ways he was abusive because he would just deny it or minimize my feelings or the situation.

Sometimes when Jon would get angry he’d try to blame me for it. Jon would say ” you make me so angry” or “you just try to start fights”. Jon never really took responsibility for his angry outburst that included yelling, slamming doors, and throwing things. When Jon gets angry he also likes to call me names. 

The hard part about the abuse in the relationship was that he’d do this behavior in front of my kids. After my son witnessed Jon slamming a door and how it scared me my son began slamming doors when he was angry with me too.

This type of abuse is very frustrating because the abusers are usually pretty good at shifting the blame and at making you doubt yourself about the abuse. I call this the crazy making because it shook me to the core and had me doing things that I normally would not do because of my doubting myself.