Sunday, October 28, 2012

I Wish my Story were Over: Living with PTSD

I have had my son on a full time basis, with thanks, for over 6 months and have continued to pay Peter child support. Part of my support is for day care services, and working over full time I need after school care; technically I have been paying double for the 6 months. I have learned that he is making at least $70,000 and gladly accepting my child support. Firstly….so he can make money and therefore chose not to do so while I was providing for the family. Secondly, it truly blows my mind that a grown man can accept money month after month knowing it likely affects his child. Where is his masculine innate drive to provide?  
Shannon Cook’s article, 8 Signs your Spouse may be a Psychopath, answers that question:“ 4. Consistent irresponsibility, which may result in a parasitic lifestyle. Your partner might exhibit this characteristic by not holding down a job, not paying bills on time, and exploiting or "mooching" off of others.*
1. A failure or refusal to go by "the rules." Your spouse might believe that the rules don 't really apply to him or her, and behave accordingly.*
2. Lack of a genuine guilt and remorse. Your partner doesn't feel the conscience prod that the rest of us do. Your partner might feel upset over being caught, but in truth, may feel as if the victim was asking for it for being weak anyway.*
In August I finally filed a motion to terminate my child support and to ask for at least day care help from Peter. I really didn’t want to ask for child support from him, I knew it would ignite his anger and renew threating and intimidating behavior, drawing out my fear more intensely again.
Three court dates later he wants a fourth. I think he sees this as an opportunity to tattle tale on me and I believe he thrives on the attention it brings him, not seeing that it’s negative. It was a simple math equation, but somehow he has made it into a circus again. And this is why it took me 6 months to take action; it was worth the money to have peace and less anxiety over what he might do. I’ve had to be creative, renting rooms in my home, which is not ideal, but necessary to make ends meet. Now, I’m on heightened alert. I may seem paranoid to you, but between court date one and two I learned Peter had my heat turned off. The gas company explained that though I was paying directly from my bank account, he was still on the account and therefore had the legal right to terminate the service. I paid for a service man to “fix” my heating unit to learn it had been turned off. It took the gas company a week to turn it back on. During that time the vent on the outside of the house had been broken and the gas company left a note, followed up by formal letter, saying it was a safety hazard and do not turn on the heat. The man hired to “fix” my heat came back and said it was not like that the week before; he was surprized when I called. These events came the week before court appearance three. Paranoid? Coincidental? I don’t know, perhaps….you know some of the story.
I was recently asked why I didn’t leave Peter earlier if I thought he might kill me. Let me answer by explaining my internal process during court date three. Remember I’ve only spoken to Peter once by phone in now two and a half years. My attorney represented me on court date two because I did not want to face Peter in court. For court date three the Judge called him in Canada. I was standing in front of the bench. Our income was being reviewed. Peter in a condescending tone said, “do you think rental income should be reported Ms. Walton [calling someone their formal name after having an intimate relationship, I’ve learned, is a form of intimidation and disparagement]?” My attorney jumped in and said that I had reported that income to her and she had forgotten to include and it was her fault; she quickly provided the information. He went on quickly “and what about your blog income…your Honor this blog is ruining my family…I hope Ms. Walton that you are reporting all this to the IRS…she is posting court related information in a closed case…you will be hearing from me about this blog...we will address this in court.” I turned to the Judge and said, “yes, I have a blog, but it is about a fictitious family that happen to have similar stories. The Judge asked how much I had made and said it did not need to be included. The Judge told Peter he could ask any question of me about the renters. Peter proceeded to ask me if I understood that rent money was income and if I’d thought to bring that up to the Judge [He had had time to subpoena records and me bring in utility bills etc., but he had not so he would need to take my word for it]. Peter went on to ask again if I understood taking money from people who are living with me is income and did I understand that it was devious to not report it [still no real question]. I said his questioning was didactic….after several more rounds, the Judge said to Peter that we were moving on…he tried one more time, and the Judge said, “are you still on the renters? We’ve resolved that and included the rent.” He did the calculation and Peter is now paying me child support. I nearly said to the Judge “no thank you.” There is no way that he will pay me this regularly without some sort of retaliation. The Walton’s are likely plotting. I’m afraid of what he/they may do. I was filled with panic for the entire weekend only feeling relief late Sunday.
The rapid fire didactic questioning is devastating to me in any setting, especially in court. This distracting chaotic confusing tactic is very familiar to me. He waits, forfeiting the chance to really prove his point with documentation; his stronger craving to knock me off balance and possibly bring out a reaction/emotion from me. I thought my legs might give out from under me, my body and voice trembling with every word he said and I said. My thoughts were to 1) shut down the blog and 2) say no to the money. My feeling was fear. I am a successful professional woman supporting myself since age 17, a baby at age 20. Why in the world would I have this irrational reaction?
I have post-traumatic stress disorder from Peter, which means that current events can trigger feelings from an old event, as in the example above, and not current reality so the feelings don’t necessarily match the situation. BUT my actions don’t have to match my triggered thoughts and feelings, so I will continue to blog and take the money. In time my thoughts and feelings will match current events without detouring through the time machine.
I met Peter when I was 15, of course I had a personality, but I had yet to be an individual in the adult world. So while I was developing into an adult emotionally, mentally and spiritually with the world a wide open field of opportunity….I had four walls SLAMMED down around me and my world became smaller and smaller. The voice I heard was Peter’s while all other voices got quieter and quieter. My dreams turned to daily practical life of how to feed a baby and simply survive all the while entangled with the Waltons. Extremely hard with a partner who loves and gives; with a sociopath the toll is the deterioration of the individuality of the victim. When Peter finally moved out I didn’t know my favorite color, what music I liked, what television programs or movies interested me, what clothes I liked, or my overall style, who my friends were, why I wasn’t talking to my family, what perfume I liked, what to do with free time, what food I liked, or who I was. I was 39 years old and for the first time in 20 years I was in charge of my time and being.
His voice it is still too loud and his manipulations still too effective, but now I can turn my back, walk away and find other voices so willing to build me up, walk with me and love me for who I am.
*Article Source:


  1. I read through all your blog posts. I have been struggling with how to begin writing about my experience with a disordered (former) sister-in-law who somehow chose me as one of her main victims. I have believed for a few years that she has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, but reading about your sociopath X makes me wonder if she has both disorders. I admire your ability to clearly describe his manipulations. So far, I feel like whatever I write makes ME look crazy, petty, vindictive. I am practicing explaining her disorder in hopes of someday helping her X get the kids back.

  2. It is very difficult to articulate this, it is quite subtle and takes years and volumes of examples to put it together. You find yourself so broken you are weak and unable to protect yourself. I believe this is an epidemic because I am hearing the same stories over and over and the universal comment is "I look/feel crazy." I thought Peter was narcissistic for nearly the whole marriage, but the piece that takes it to the next level is the conscious and lack of empathy. Also, misplaced emotion; it's almost like they watch emotion and try to replicate it without knowing how to really feel. Don't stop fighting for those kids; writing is really the only way to get the legal system to listen. Try to get your words out there and send me the link!Thank you so much for your kind words. Keep the faith that she will be exposed with your courage and in time.

  3. As i posted before, i escaped from my X. But my eyes swelled when I read that you didn't know your favourite color & what music you liked.
    I remembered sitting down after leaving my X and asking myself those same questions, who was i, what did i like.. What did I like!
    My heart goes out to you.


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