I had to get this out a couple of days later, but it felt so good to do, and I had a surprising amount of support because of it
PTSD: Surviving the battlefield of a bad relationship
My writing on this started way different than the product that I type at this time. Going on a theme of disorders I feel that this was the way to tell my story, and after an incredibly tough first marriage, I’ve learned that not only do military suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Abuse has a funny way of changing people. My ex and I were young when we fell in love, and me being the hopeless romantic that I was, tried everything I possibly could to make an impossible relationship work. That wasn’t to say that I was innocent of wrongdoing, after all, I have been known to be hot-headed at times, with a massive ego to boot. Then I also have the major character flaw of moving at fast speeds when getting into new relationships, and being a person who suffers from recurring bouts of depression, I never knew how to handle certain circumstances properly, and I still don’t always make the best decisions.
Things were good for a while, we were happy, in love, and the world seemed perfect. I even proposed to her in front of my fellow classmates at the college. and this is where things started to change. I really didn’t notice at the time, but she had started to get really possessive towards me, and had to know where I was on a constant basis. When we started to have some major issues, I started to question my feeling for her, and sought answers in the arms of another woman(I did say that I don’t always make the best decisions). I felt surprisingly guilty afterwards, and decided to confess my sin to my soon-to-be wife, which in turn would end up turning into one of the scariest times of my life.
I’d given the ex the news on what I had done, and as expected, I could see that I had hurt her, as she yelled, cursed, and told me how betrayed she felt. She then told me that she needed sometime to think. I wondered if this was what I had been looking for, a possible way to get out of the relationship, with only slightly dirty hands. I look back now, and I realized that was the way I would end relationships, by hooking up with someone else(remember poor decisions are a tell of my life). I would be about a week before we would see each other again.
When I did see the ex, she handed me a lengthy letter and told me not to read it, until she had gone to class. The letter’s contents were what was to be expected, she reiterated the fact that I hurt her bad and she felt betrayed, and how she still wanted to work things out. While the contents and descriptions of her pain seemed normal enough, the fact that she had cut her fingers open to write the letter; well that was a whole other level of scary that I wasn’t prepared for. I didn’t know if I should’ve left her, or if I did, what the repercussions would be. Would she have hurt herself, or would she be spiteful and claim that I had sexually assaulted her? At that moment, I was too scared to find out.
Over the next few months, parts of our relationship improved, but things overall were the same, and about five months before our wedding, I was finding myself with a lady friend who had come over to visit, because she had wanted to “audition” to be a stripper at my bachelor party. Needless to say, that things got carried away, but I learned my lesson and I didn’t say anything. At this point, I didn’t even feel bad about it, but I still felt an obligation to work things out with my soon to be betrothed.
So, the day of wedded bliss was up on us and things had definitely gotten better. It was when my wife finally moved in when things changed rapidly. She had a total one-eighty change in her personality. She told me that she wasn’t really into those things that she pretended to be into, and how she didn’t want me talking to my friends from high school(which were half-way across the country). I reluctantly agreed, but I desperately wanted things to work out. To top things off, as we were settling down that first night, we get a phone call from my “audition” friend, who was trying to pick a fight with my wife, I got her to calm down and handled the situation the best that I could, and this was just the beginning of a journey that would change the person I would be forever.
Like all couples, we had our ups and downs, but it was hard to deal with because my ex had a number of issues that she was constantly dealing with. One of those problems was that she had a learning disability, which I was okay with, but other issues started coming up that I hadn’t been aware of, and her parents had sheltered her so badly that it was like talking to a child. I had called her stupid out of anger a few times, and I’m not proud of that, but she would constantly involve her parents into our affairs, and her father was a complete asshole, just ask anybody who ever had some kind of social interaction with him. She was also good at manipulation and mind games(more on that later).
The ex was also a hypochondriac and was always needing to go to the emergency room for one thing or another. So, we would spend many hours there for nothing, even though there were sometimes that she had a legit reason to be there. She was born with an overly large bladder and would get Urinary Tract Infections. The visits to the emergency room would start to weigh heavy after sometime.
Another thing that became problematic was that I had been working at Wal-mart at the time, and she would constantly call for something that she would consider an emergency, which would cause issues with my supervisors, and my marital problems would lead to my decision to leave that job. At this point we had been married about five months.
One of the mind games that she would play, would be when she would start an arguement about me squeezing the toothpaste from the middle of the tube, and as that argument would heat up, she would bring up the time that I had cheated on her all over again. At one point I finally confessed about the “audition”. but I had stayed faithful during our marriage. I think the confession was the start of the downfall of our marriage.
After my confession, and leaving Wal-mart, I had the opportunity to better our lives, and was offered a full-time job working with my father. This was a job working in telecommunications, and the money was far better than anything I had ever made before. Everything seemed to be going right until the ex found out that I had to travel out of state and go to Seattle, Washington for a job. She threw a fit and told me that she didn’t want me to go, and then I would yell back and tell her to stop being a baby, because I was trying to better our future.
My journey to Seattle was a great experience, I got to spend time with my dad, and we got to have a better relationship because of it. My time with him was a great bonding experience. On the second day of our trip, I had called to check in with the ex, and she sounded so happy to hear from me. She said that she had wonderful news for me, and that she was pregnant with our first child. The strange part was how indifferent I had felt about that news, but I faked it and told her that it was exciting to hear. A few days later after the job was finished and we were heading home, I called her like I had been doing and she told me that she had miscarried. Again I felt indifferent, but I faked it and told her that I was sorry to hear that, but I couldn’t fake the emotion, I had finally become numb to her lies. She had used the pregnant/miscarried scenario on me a few times before, and I stopped buying into it.
When I had finally arrived home, I arrived to the ex moving her stuff out of the house. We got into an argument, and I was cursing, she was yelling. All the while her asshole of a father had this arrogant attitude, and cocky grin on his face, like he finally won some game we were supposed to be playing. As they were leaving the house her father called the cops just to be a dick.
A month or so after she moved out, we decided to meet up and talk, but all we accomplished was more arguing. I don’t remember who started the fight, but a few days later, she calls me up and asked if she could come over. I agreed to it, and a few hours later her mom knocks on my door. I answer the door and she hands me a restraining order. I was caught off guard with that one, but after reading the letter a few times, I began to laugh. For one, I could tell that it had been written by her asshole father, and the allegations were ridiculous. Apparently, I was half-black, which would be fine, but not really in my genetic make-up(what does heritage have anything to do with it?). I had forced her to try and had a kid(um she wanted the child more than I did). I beat and raped her(negative Ghostrider, the flight path is full), I had gotten Aids from a woman that I hadn’t even slept with, and other details that don’t stand out as much. The worst thing I ever did was shake her because she was having a tantrum in the middle of the store, oh and there had been cases of verbal abuse on both parts.
So, with the restraining order, complimented with divorce papers, the ex decides to call me and told me that she wanted to work things out. She told me that the whole legal matter had been her parents idea, and that she would put a stop to everything at the court date. Against my better judgement I believed her, because I still loved her, and we talked daily. Our conversations were getting better, and things seemed like they were going in a positive direction for the both of us. Even after all of the drama, and negative things, I kept thinking that things would work out. Then the court date came, and the moment of truth was at hand.
September 13, 2000: The day everything in my world changed. The ex said that she wanted the divorce(on the bright side the judge acknowledged how ridiculous the restraining order was), and the order stood. She said that she wanted to take me for everything I had and the judge told her that since we had only been married for less than a year, we would be annulled, and that she wouldn’t get anything. It would be like we were never married. My world had fallen apart that day, but I wasn’t going to be played anymore, and I wanted that order to go both ways.
I invested two years into this toxic relationship, and all it did was left me broken, angry and bitter. I had become detached to my emotions, and it felt like I was watching life through someone else’s eyes. October 4th was the day everything became official, and that was the day that God had gave me a savior in the form of my wife, Sarah(Which will be a story for another time).
I’m far better now. Sarah helped bring me back from that hell, and has been by my side ever since. Fifteen years, this year, and fourteen married.
More to the story…
I was working at Kmart in 2007 when I ran into my ex, so I decided that I would go talk to her, and get that angry, bitter chip off my shoulder. I felt that forgiving her, would help me become a better person, so I talked to her and had a decent conversation with her. Doing that, I was able to let all those negative energies go, and I walked away feeling better about myself.
Even more to the story…
Over the years, I had heard several rumors about my ex since we ended our marriage, and in October of 2012, we ran into each other and talked. First thing to note, was that you could tell that she had walked down a rough path in life. She was missing teeth because of abusive husband number three. She was a few years younger than myself, but she looked like she was older by a few years. All six of her children had either been put in foster care or were with their biological fathers. she confirmed that her ex number two had left her and then past away from heart failure. To be honest, I pitied her, I should have felt vindicated, but sorrow was the only thing I could feel. I was wary of the things that she said because of our history. The vindication that I got was when I asked the truth about the first rumor that I had been told and it haunted me for years, but my ego had to know if it was true that she had still loved me. She said yes, and broke down and apologized for everything that she had done to hurt me, and that I didn’t deserve to be treated that way because I was a good person(Yeah, the ego felt better). I saw sincerity in her eyes for the first time, and I thanked her for finally being honest with me. We shared a few stories about where our lives had gone, and I said that I would be a friend, if she needed anything. I walked away feeling better about how my life turned out, and I wished her well.