Monday, June 25, 2012

Financial Abuse Cont. (From the Beginning)

This may seem counter-intuitive, but Peter actually sabotaged my jobs and education over the 20 years. I was the breadwinner most of that time and it does seem, to the average person, like shooting himself in the foot, but there is nothing logical or rational in the mind of the sociopath, only manipulation.  A sociopath does not need much, just someone that has enough work ethic to maintain employment. A sociopath thrives on chaos so the goal is crisis, change and conflict. Peter did not want me to improve my positions too much because that would mean more legitimate time away from him and less influence he would have. He stated even throughout the divorce, to my attorney, that I could not have maintained employment at all if not for him. He had to prop me up, read over/write emails for me, drive me to work, help me work through “difficult situations” at work.

In reality, he drove me to work because we rarely had two cars. This is an important point victims out there. By only having one car, for various reasons, an abuser takes control of even the few minutes of drive time. As I think about my commute now, this is a time to process my day, think, relax to music, make a stop along the way to run and errand or see a friend. It’s time for myself. With one car he took that time from me. In the end the commute to and from work was utterly chaotic. Thinking back I realize he would pick a fight with me while taking me to work; then I would call him as soon as I got to my desk and being unrelenting in his opinion/position, I would be on the phone arguing throughout the day. Arguing and leaving problems unresolved is a form of control. Abusers will not release you from an issue or problem and then they, therefore, become the focus of your day or at the least a distraction. This is not a partner, this is what an enemy would do. I consider this mind control. With this theory in tension, he was the one to cause chaos at my places of work. If I’m arguing with my spouse on the phone at work I could be seen as unstable, or having personal problems. And if I can’t even keep my house in order how could I possibly run a million dollar grant? Or manage employees? The end of this story will be another blog.

My last blog, I hope, provided some evidence that as I became more successful in my first career as a journalist, Peter would do a fantastic job of convincing me I needed to leave. Coming back to that last blog.....I started my new job as a producer/reporter. On Friday of my first week, in a new city, there was a breaking news story of two twin boys who accidentally locked themselves in one of those old refrigerators that can’t be opened from the inside. They had suffocated and died. I covered the parents, which meant we needed to get what they call B roll in T.V. (the video to fill the voice over parts of the story, when the reporter is talking but not seen and in between sound bites) of the home. The home was over two hours away; another reporter went with me and a camera man. A live shot for the 11 o’clock news, tear down and drive back got me home at about 3am. Back to work the next day and back to the same area meant 3am again. This is the nature of journalism, if it’s a big story you are working nearly around the clock. And I was working with men. There was no way Peter would allow that kind of freedom (even though it’s all working and not free-time at all), independence, or public recognition. I was given a clothing allowance and salon services, and as a breaking news reporter, becoming recognized while out. After a few months I was asked to fill in for a noon news cast as anchor. Following that, the news director would have me read the first 10 minutes of the news cast, as anchor, after the 11 o’clock news; I was being groomed for an anchor position. This career was simply too much for Peter.

Things are almost always tense in a news room leading up to a newscast. One Sunday night, when I was producing an 11 o’clock newscast, I had accidentally typed “Whore” into the teleprompter several times (the machine that scrolls the text for the anchors) for the sports caster “Shore.” Well the directing staff thought it was hilarious and the funnier we thought it was then more angry the sports anchor got. During a commercial break he threw down his lapel microphone and stormed into the director’s booth. He was screaming at us and we were crying at this point we were laughing so hard (the yelling is also typical in journalism so it didn’t phase us). After the news cast he and I were the only ones left in the building and he cornered me yelling again. I thought he was going to start swinging so I ran under his arm and out of the building to my car. This was not typical. He was running after me yelling. When I got home, I was quite upset and didn’t want to get out of bed the next day. Peter took this opportunity to get me out of this career once and for all. He drove me to a facility for the mentally ill and signed me over. He claimed I had tried to kill myself with some prescription sleeping medication. I was on suicide watch for three days. When I got out I was required to attend another week of outpatient services. The news director was more than willing to work with me, which is surprising because an event like that as a “local celebrity” could be scandalous. Somehow Peter convinced me I could no longer handle the rigors of being a television journalist (in reality, it was he who couldn't handle it) and insisted I stay at home with the girls and he would get a job and go to school part-time. I quit and stayed at home; this was one of my worst mistakes.

After about six months of staying at home, almost completely isolated, I really did almost lose my mind. I was very isolated because we had moved to a new city and me right into a fast-paced, highly sought after/competitive, glamorous job and had been cut off from the only people I knew (work colleagues) out of embarrassment. I was without a car nearly every day, with limited resources and two toddlers. Peter began to establish I was severely mentally ill from childhood abuse and encouraged me to get further treatment. Of course, he found a therapist and program best suited for my “issues.” I was admitted into an outpatient program, this time for a month. I think I was simply depressed; I had once again given up something I loved and was good at. I finally had my dream job and then suddenly it was gone and I was being treated like a child. To this day, I miss being being a journalist.

During the divorce, he had my records from my time at the clinic requested, further solidifying his accusations about my mental illness. At times when I threatened to leave him, he would remind me of my “suicide attempt” and tell me how easy it would be for him to take my children from me. And that's exactly what he did.

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Thank you for your comment. Positive feedback and helping those that have experienced the same tragedies are what keeps me going.