Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Life on the Other Side: Continued Financial Abuse and Chaos

I was actually thinking today I just might have it made. For years I tried to get Peter to pay just his school loans and nothing else. To work at a coffee shop and earn just $600 per month to pay that one bill. He had to take on that debt in our settlement and now he owes me $900 per month in child support. So I was thinking, wow, not only is he required to pay his own bills, but I'm getting help taking care of Warren, for a change, and I have him most days of the year! Even the poorest of dads pay child support and the courts and society don't look kindly on the "dead beat dads." Eventually he'll have to pay me the over six thousand he owes in back payment and then the continued$ 900 per month!

Ha! With a Sociopath there is never reprieve. Ever. I have received $500.00 from Peter in the almost year I've had Warren. Today I received notice from the bank that there were insufficient funds in his account and I was charged for the transaction. Of course he can't pay me. He will make demands and belittle my parenting from another country and not look out for Warren's best interest though he declares that's his only concern.

I recently had a water heater break and there was a substantial amount of water damage in my house. I had used that money to help offset those costs. Now I will be very tight until the end of the month. How dare I count on a check from Peter. It still hasn't taken root that Peter does not care for anyone but Peter. Warren is only a pawn and Peter breaks the law without regard for Warren. He has no normal fear of consequences. He thinks he will swoop in and take Warren from me when he sees fit. He can't take care of him now. Peter has not had sole responsibility for a child ever; he couldn't handle the daily care of a nine year old child. I will continue to gladly take full responsibility for my child and won’t expect anything from Peter. I cannot wait until the day I don’t have to hear or read anything from Peter ever again.  

 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

From the Beginning: I don't think I can....


I was a stay at home mother who had just given up my dream job I had worked a decade to obtain. I realize now that of course Peter would not have tolerated me continuing in this line of work; positive messages would have persisted and promotions alone a boost in self-esteem. I was also finding my individuality away from Peter, identifying talents and developing a promising career. Most importantly self-efficacy was taking root. Killing this is fundamental in a controlling relationship.

In 1977 Albert Bandera published a seminal paper defining self-efficacy as a person’s belief that they can succeed in situations. Weak self-efficacy means a person would avoid challenges; believe difficult actions to be beyond their individual capabilities, a focus on failings and negative outcomes and diminishing confidence of personal abilities. An abuser does not want their victim thinking they have any options but to stay and tolerate however they chose to live. The victim begins to circle around the abuser losing mindfulness of self and purpose thinking everything is beyond their control. The sociopath feeds on this weakness gaining power and control.

To put my transition to being house bound in further perspective I’ll go back to college. During my two years of freedom my freshman and sophomore years in college, I had three suite mates, two of which are still very dear friends. We often talked about the future and came to conclusions of how we all would end up. I was so ambitious and career oriented we all joked that I would likely not have children if I even got married. In high school I was voted most likely to succeed. I am one of those females that thrive when being productive in and out of the house. I have a strong personality and since freeing myself of Peter have been called often an Alpha Chick.  But just a few years out of college I was weak and helpless.

Peter decided he would work part time and attend Seminary part time. He decided to change his degree from Theology to Counseling. He believed me to be so unstable he needed to help me by getting a counseling degree instead. He also thought there was a lot of redundancy between the Theology degree and the Master’s degree he had just earned in American History. He worked at a religious home for children and youth that had to be removed from their homes for various behavioral problems. He worked evenings and most weekends so he could study and take classes during the week. He needed a lot of time and quiet, when he wasn’t working, to take a course, even needing to stay in a hotel during stressful times in the semester. Peter had done a wonderful job of making everything about him again.

Evenings and weekends are family times and the city we lived in had nowhere to engage in social activities. No McDonalds, no library, no central place to meet people. Additionally, I had given up full-time pay and with Peter making minimum wage and Seminary being very expensive we had very little to live on. This is a recipe for nearly complete isolation and disaster.

I remember needing milk for the girls (1 and 4) and having no car, no family nearby and no friends, I decided to put the girls in their wagon and walked to the store. It was at least in the upper 80s, it was a hilly route and it was about 4 miles one way. Peter was working a double shift and would not be home until the next day. I made this trek often in winter and summer. I was alone nearly all day every day with sometimes no money for food. I got us food stamps again and Women, Infant and Children (WIC) help. I also began to “wheel” the girls to the local food bank, also across town. I loved my daughters more than anything and was doing my best for them.

There was no intimacy between Peter and I; we weren’t really connected in any way other than our existence, financial desperation and children. I thought often about leaving Peter, even then. As with “The Little Blue Engine” thinking just ain’t enough. If you find yourself a prisoner in your own home and are thinking…….. The grass is much greener over here.

Thursday, February 7, 2013