Thursday, April 17, 2014

Jason's Brief: My Pen, His Words

In 2004, after enduring years of verbal, mental and some physical abuse, I decided to end my marriage to Jo and left. She stated that if I did not come back to her she would take my children as far away as possible and not let me see them. This way of returning to the marriage, under her threat, gave her power and control over me, which she exercises excessively to this day. 

In January 2009, just prior to my last overseas trip in support of the Global War on Terrorism, Jo was again yelling at me and this time said to me “I hope you don’t make it back from this trip”.  I said “you want me to die?”, then she punched me in the chest and I walked out of the room. This reminded me of a few previous interactions where she asked me to increase my life insurance. I am worth more to Jo, even now, dead than alive. Jo would antagonize me days before I left for deployments with threats and start arguments to unsettle me and leave me vulnerable right before engaging in life-threatening operations.
Near the end of 2009, after giving the marriage one last try by moving, and taking a position without deployments, in order to spend time together, I could not endure her abuse any longer and asked for a marriage dissolution. I filled out the paper work and brought it to her. She replied, “this is not how it’s going to happen.” She then proceeded to accuse me of domestic violence. During the divorce Jo stated several times “this can all go away if you come back to me.” Because of this unsubstantiated accusation and being in a state very behind regarding psychological issues, she was given sole custody of our children, giving her increasing power and control over me. And she did what she threatened, taking the children as far away as possible, creating even more control with geographical distance and me with limited time off from the military.

Jo’s first allegation was that I slapped her on the butt while going upstairs. During the divorce trial the allegation had morphed into me punching her in the lower back. She claimed to have sustained very serious injuries, but the hospital “lost” her x-ray.” She has claimed the incident included a black eye with some neighbors and friends, other stories with different people. The stories seem to change according the attention Jo receives or does not receive. The longer you simply listen to a sociopath the greater the stories will become; it’s like oxygen with fire. If she and the children were so afraid wouldn’t she be relieved of the news of me leaving and not to this day desperately wanting attention from me?

Jo said to me too many times to count, beginning in 2004 when I first tried to leave, that “I (Jason) will pay for leaving her.” Everything that Jo threatened (i.e. job, kids, finances, going after my family, going after my friends, ruining my life) has come to fruition. I, with all sincerity, believe she is not done with me or people that I hold dearest.

Jo’s moods always shifted from such extremes within short periods of time, I even tried to talk to her mother and several professionals thinking she might be bi-polar. Former friends have said these shifts were so extreme, she took on different personalities. Any attempt on my part to try and get her help was met with intense rage. Jo told me it was from menopause; at age 34. Jo would not get out of bed for days due to migraines, something she did not seek help for. When I was deployed neighbors tell me she and the children rarely left the house.

I approached Jo’s mother about Jo’s behavior in late 2008. Not knowing how to handle Jo, I called her and asked if there were any bi-polar relatives or history in the family. She said there was not. Fearing Jo’s reaction, I asked her, to keep this between her, her husband, (Jo’s stepfather) and me. I feared Jo becoming enraged, knowing how opposed she was about getting help. Her mother eventually told Jo about the conversation and, as anticipated, Jo flew into a rage, stating there was nothing wrong with her and she didn’t need any help with anything. I was genuinely looking out for the boys since she was spending the majority of time isolated and alone with them.

Still not knowing what to do, I talked to my Command Psychologist about her irrational and unpredictable behavior in March of 2009 and again October 2009. One minute she was pleasant to be around, then like the turn of a page she would become very hostile and verbally abusive to either me or the boys. This psychologist, taking my concerns seriously, said he will have a statement taken by the JAG in San Diego if needed. I wish I had done more, professionals were available to help. 

I also talked to a medical Doctor about Jo. I spoke with him, from my command, on multiple occasions (July and October in 2009, January 2010). I described her mood swings and abuse toward me and the children. He gave me his professional opinion of what may be the causes and encouraged me to have her tested. I told him how tired I was of living with Jo’s abusive and aggressive behavior toward me and the boys. This MD said he would make a statement to our JAG in San Diego. Later, he would offer to testify in our divorce case about this and the fact that Jo’s records, following her claim of DV showed nothing. I was poorly represented and my attorney, for some reason, did not call upon him for testimony.

Jo remains opposed to any sort of therapy for her or the boys. The few times she saw a therapist was to, I believe, document her false DV accusations. I believe this because this is the only time Jo has “sought help,” and coincidentally right at the time of her accusations. Jo creates road blocks to any attempt on my part to get the boy’s professional help in this difficult situation. Even with the initial court’s order that I only see my sons (for a few hours a day) with the condition I take them to see a professional while visiting for Christmas break 2010 was met with obstacles by Jo. It was quite difficult to get everything worked out from so far away and in the end Jo refused to allow the boys to participate in the court ordered therapy with the therapist I selected and she refused to participate. After I left she found a different therapist for the boys, but only took them a few times. I have talked to the boys about it and they relay, from their mother, that “there is nothing wrong with them and they don’t need to talk to any therapist.” With Jo having sole custody, she again, has control over this as well; therapists are not able to meet with the boys without her consent, which she will not give. We have taken the boys to family therapy where all of us are required to be in the room.

During 2003-2009 I noticed that Jo’s verbal and physical abuse against my sons was escalating and increasing in frequency. Jo, while in a fit of rage, would not accept reason or help. Former friends have seen this, her parents have seen this, and so have mine. I would come home from work and my oldest would be in tears at the dinner table while writing. Even my father and step mother commented that they had overheard her harshness toward him while doing homework. They have also commented on how she verbally abused me right in front of them. Jo yelled and screamed a lot. According to my mother, during a visit with the boys after the divorce, she told me Jo screamed at the boys quite frequently. Jo, throughout the boy’s lives, makes them promise “to never leave her.” My mother has talked about her saying this as well and her extreme mood swings. I have observed, on several occasions, Jo yelling at the boys until they cried and slapping them in the face. This mostly happened during homework time while she forced them to re-do homework until it was perfect.  

Here is just one example where I was particularly disturbed. Jo took a plastic bottle of catsup and poured a large amount of catsup into her hands and rubbed it into my then 6 year old son’s hair (she rubbed it in like she was shampooing his hair) then she smeared it all over his face. This took place while at dinner.  Both of the boys were present. This is Jo’s response after “disciplining” my youngest for breaking the plastic lid off the catsup bottle: 

Jo): I warned you, I take the time to do what I do and you ruin my stuff, I’m sick of it.

Jason (to Jo):  Is he alright?

Jo: Oh he is fine, he is just shocked I did it. 

Jason:  I can’t believe you did that.

Jo:  Are you kidding me?

Jason:  No I am not kidding you.

(I could hear my son crying in his room)

Jason:  That was kinda,

Jo:  Kind of what?

Jason:  Over the top

Jo:  Are you kidding me?

Jason:  No I am not.

Jo:  Are you kidding me?

Jason:  Rubbing Catsup all over your kids head, you do not think is over the top?

Jo:  I warned him, if he breaks it I would rub catsup on his face, I told him that.  So he took the lid and cracked it open and broke it.  So what was I supposed to do not do it?

Jason:  I don’t think I would have come up with a punishment that hey I am going to rub catsup on your face if you do that.

Jo:  Well (Jo putting food into her mouth) I should of rubbed his face in it.  The same kind of thing you do with a dog right!  Rub its face in it! Or a cat.

Jason:  You are going to compare your son to a dog or a cat.

Jo:  Yeah I am right now, because let me tell you how much shit he breaks around here, or gets his little nose into and he gets away with it, so if you have a problem with it you debate it with me at a different time and a different place.

Jason:  I just think that is a bit extreme. 

Jo:  (while eating) I warned him, he made the choice, he did it.  You want me to go and buy a new catsup?

Jason:  Did he really do it?

Jo:  Yes!  I watched him! Right here go like this, and peel it right off, that’s harmless.  (Jo continuing to eat)

Jason:  Where is he?  (I then left the room to go to check on him)

My son was laying in his bed sobbing and was still covered with catsup. It was burning his eyes, he had it up his nose and in his ears; he was covered. He was crying hard, the kind of cry when it seems difficult to catch their breath.  I held him and calmed him back down.  I felt so badly for him and his brother who had witnessed their mother’s abuse. Jo offered no help in cleaning him up and offered no apology. This incident is a good example of Jo’s manner in dealing with people in general: Jo thinks she is never wrong, Jo is always the victim (even with her 6 year old son) and Jo thinks she always knows best. In hind sight, I should have immediately called social services; I regret that deeply.

During our divorce trial, when this incident was brought up, Jo said that she had laughed about it with Jay and it was no big deal and her attorney quickly dismissed the matter. I don’t know any adult, with sound mind, that would laugh at any time about an incident like this. I don’t find child abuse funny; I’m not sure why Jo and her attorney thought this incident was funny or could be laughed about with a child. My hurt child. I know no child, having been treated like a dog, who would find this funny and laugh. I don’t think either have experienced holding and rocking a hysterical child covered in catsup. If I would’ve taken a bottle of catsup and rubbed and smeared it on her attorney, I would’ve been in contempt of court and charged with assault, but this behavior is laughable for a child? Her attorney made light of this abuse, evidence that he cares more about money than for the protection of a child. He should also be held accountable, professionally, for putting a child at risk of further abuse. I tried desperately to be heard at the divorce trial. If she did it once, I’m sure she’s done comparable things, which is one more reason I’d like my boys in therapy. I cringe to think of what goes on in their home without any accountability.

I found in marriage, that Jo would resort to any means to win an argument or make sure she wasn’t wrong and that often included lying. I believe Jo to be a compulsive liar. Jo did not want to divorce in 2004 or in 2009, though she seemed to have more contempt for me than anything else throughout our marriage. Jo, with absolute certainty, did not want a divorce throughout the entire marriage, to the very end, though she strongly asserted otherwise to others. She raged and vocalized, up to the day she filed the false claim of DV, that she would do anything to prevent me from divorcing her. “I would never leave her.”

We had been legally separated for over a year when I learned from my youngest that they had just celebrated our wedding anniversary; buying wedding anniversary cards and having a special night. I found this information to be disturbing for several reasons: 1) What Jo said and did during our excruciatingly long divorce runs completely contrary to this action indicating Jo was lying throughout the divorce 2) This action does not seem mentally sound 3) This was a very confusing action for my sons and furthers parental alienation with her being the victim and me being the bad guy. Jo has since shared with the boys that she will never marry again, she’s waiting for me, I am lost, and the only reason we are divorced is that I wanted it.

When I returned to the home where she had lived with the boys, where I had not entered without a witness following the DV accusation, so as not to be accused of anything again, I found on every mirror, drawings, stick figures of me, Jo and the two boys, some had messages. I had not known her to ever do that, so these messages were likely for me. I don’t know exactly why; I just find them disturbing. Photos of the drawings are attached to this post.

There are so many contradictions. Jo has nothing good to say about me to anyone she talks to. She continues to attempt to besmirch me to anyone that will listen, yet sends my family Christmas cards and birthday cards like we are still together. After hearing about my mother’s visit to see the boys, and not only Jo’s disparagement but that of her mother and step father, I found it unsettling to receive a 2012 Christmas card from them as if we were still married and they were still my in-laws. These examples seem to be detached from reality, evidence of extreme shifts in emotion, and further evidence that Jo’s words cannot be trusted.  

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