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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Her First Hockey Game

It has been over a week since we went to watch the hockey game. My brother-in-law bought us tickets for Christmas. We left for the game allowing plenty of time for slow traffic. Good thing we did. It was agonizing, creeping slowly forward inch by inch getting closer to the parking ramp but still so far away.

Finally we turned to corner to enter the ramp! No, the entrance there was blocked so we creeped on. It felt like hours, but in fact was just moments of time, when we finally entered the ramp. Magically all the cars in front of us had disappeared. Up, up, up we went into the ramp and then we found the traffic again.

We saw the entrance to the arena, just to the left of us and I was temped to jump out of the car and run inside. Then the traffic moved and we were motioned around the bend. All the cars ahead of us proceeded onwards and they all passed an empty spot. Our little car fit perfectly in it. Was the spot left just for us? It felt like it. When we turned around the entrance to the arena was mere steps away. We had found the Holy Grail of ramp parking spots.

The air was so cold, our breath was visible like tendrils of clouds leaving our bodies. I held my children's hands as we navigated ourselves around moving vehicles to get to the door and the promised warmth behind it. At last we were inside and warm. My daughter held our tickets and passed them out to us with great pride. This was her first hockey game and she was bursting with excitement.

Daddy led us to our seats. He knows how the arena is set up and has no problem navigating the crowd to find our seats. My daughter was bouncing up and down. She often watched hockey with her brother and father on TV and was thrilled to be in the arena where the actual players were. I was thrilled because I learned we had waitress service and they would bring the arena food right to me.

The players came onto the ice and my son who is forever in motion stopped. His face turned toward the ice and he focused on the activity that was occurring there.
It is not often that he tunes into his surroundings as much as he was in this moment. He might love the game as much as his father.

I was the only one that wasn't lost in the moment. The rest of the family was focused on the ice, I focused instead on the family and enjoyed seeing the excitement on their faces. The national anthem for both Canada and the US was sung and the game started. I finally got the attention of the waitress and ordered freshly made potato chips with Bison French Onion chip dip. Food at the arena was meant to be enjoyed, I was ready to enjoy.

One period was over our team was behind. You could feel the disappointment in the crowd. My son wanted to watch the commentators being filmed so Daddy took him. My daughter and I went exploring. We dodged people as she skipped ahead eating from a bag of cotton candy the size of her head. She was giggling and spinning and people all around us would pause and watch her bliss while I somehow managed to keep up with her in the crowd.

We went all the way around the arena and I managed to pause at our seats as I left my coat behind. Off we were again, lap number two. We passed Daddy as he and my son went back to their seats. The second period was starting and they didn't want to miss any of it. I tried to get her to go back to our seats, but she had something else in mind. Off she went so I followed.

Lap number two was finished and we paused at a railing where we could look down to the section below. There was a play house and she saw it, now she had a goal in mind. We went back to the seats to get our tickets, I wanted to make sure we could get back to our seats. We talked her brother into joining us and off we went. Our goal was the playhouse. The only trouble was that I had no idea how to get to it.

Near the restrooms was a staircase, we were close to where we saw the playhouse from above, so down the stairs we went. My son now started to protest. These stairs looked ominous. They were stark and grey and when the door closed they seemed so removed from the brightness and glitz of the arena. We could not hear the sounds of the crowd and we were all alone. Down we went and he was sure we were going the wrong way and were lost. The contrast was too much for him and he was starting to have an aspie fit.

Then we got to the bottom of the staircase I opened the door and the arena was visible again. The sights and sounds soothed him and we turned to the left, there was the playhouse and our journey was over. I signed the kids up for the kids club and they played inside.

There was a sign with trivia questions about the mascot and signs around the clubhouse with the answers on them. The only problem was the clubhouse was old, signs had disappeared and were not replaced. A slight annoyance to an average fan. To my son it was a tragedy. He wanted to know what Sabretooth's favorite cartoon was. The question was there for all to see. The answer however was missing. He wanted to go back to watch the game, but first he had to find the answer.

We searched for the missing sign, we asked the people working at the clubhouse. The answer was not revealed. He was focused on it and wouldn't let it go. The he decided that he would ask Sabretooth. So now we went on a Sabretooth hunt. The only problem, he was nowhere to be found. The period was almost over and I wanted to get back to our seats before the crowd descended on us. So I suggested that we look back upstairs on the level our seats were at. Back to the stairs we went.

The anxiety started as soon as the door closed. He was sure these were the wrong stairs. We were lost and never going find daddy or our seats. He was no longer focused on Sabretooth and his favorite cartoon. But he was ready to fall apart. We were just steps from the door, I managed to get him those final steps and never again would I take the stairs with him. The change is just too much for him. We open the door into the familiar sights and sounds of the arena and the anxiety is gone. Back to our seats we go, there are just moments left in the period. I order a soft pretzel and relax in my chair. I finally focus on the game and hope I can relax.

My daughter is six. So much has happened this night. We took forever to park, walked through traffic in the cold to the arena. We watched the game and explored the arena. She played in the clubhouse and joined the kids club. It is after bedtime and she is ready to go home, NOW. The only problem is that Daddy is not ready to go.

Of course she tries to persuade him. She tries to snuggle and use hew powers of cute against him. However they have ho effect on him. Hockey is his passion, his life and his everything. He does no waver and stays focused on the game. She tries blocking his vision, but he foils that plan and still watches the game. She tries punching him, which is actually cute because she is so small. This does make him smile, but he will not budge from that seat until the final whistle is blown.

So what does a six year old do at a hockey game when she is ready to go home and no one else is? Why she runs up and down the stairs in the aisle of course. Luckily this entertained her for the rest of the game and I didn't have to chase her around the arena for a few more laps.

The game is almost over finally the team we came to watch gets a goal then another one seconds later. Alas it is not enough and they lose. Now the part I dread, getting out of the arena. I don't like crowds. I don't like walking in wall to wall people. I have death grips on the kids, it would be so easy for them to be lost in this crowd. We pause at the souvenir shop conveniently placed near our seats. The kids talk daddy into buying them something. They are closed! Lucky (not my choice of words) for us the shop all the way down on the main floor is open.

My quick exit and short walk to the car plan has been foiled. We have to find the elevator, No more stairs tonight. Go down to the store and find the two little items my husband told the kids they could have. On they way into the store I see a DVD that my husband loves and it is just $1.00. I am not sure if we still have it so I point it out to him. Of course he is upset. Why do I bother? We find the treasured items promised to the children and stand in the line to pay. I just want to go home.

Finally we get out of the store, the crowds are gone. We ride the elevator back up to our level and find the exit to the parking ramp. The warmth of the arena is left behind as we open the door to the ramp, luckily our car is right there and we get in. Her first game is over. We head for home. Both children are sleepy when we get home and the bedtime struggle is almost nonexistent. My husband and I have a surprisingly good night watching TV together on the couch. I wish we could have nice days like this more often.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Good Days

Nothing is worse than the "good" days. They are not really good, just pauses in the bad. When we manage to have a conversation, when we spend some family time together I keep expecting it too break apart into chaos. The last few days have been okay. But still I fear tomorrow.

I don't just take it, I fight back when I can. Not with force, but by reflecting back to him what he is doing to me. He has know abuse victims in the past, one who is close to him. One that he would bend over backwards to help. Sometimes putting her in front of us. I have pointed out to him if her husband did to her what he does to me he would do all he could to get her out of there. He knows I write this journal. The only reason it bother's him is what if it effects his job. What would people think of him. "Well", I always say back to him, "I only write what you do to me. If you don't like your behavior change it!"

Of course in his mind I am at fault. I "provoke" (his exact word) so it is my fault. All arguments we have somehow are twisted in his mind to be caused by me. Inevitably when we fight he will tell me that I started it. I usually reply with it doesn't matter who starts it, I just want to end it.

So here I am in the midst of a series of good days. There has been no arguing, there has been no fighting. Though I stay away from him. I hide upstairs. I haven't been feeling well. I have an ache in my lower back, I wonder if it is real or is it my body giving me an excuse to hide from it all.

When he leaves for work I used to do my homework and prepare my lesson plans. I had work to devote myself too. Now when the kids go to sleep it is just me and the TV. I drink my cola and eat my dinner alone. How can have almost 500 friends on Facebook and be so alone.

My parents invited my family to a spaghetti dinner on Saturday. I haven't told anyone about it yet. I'm afraid to go with him, If he acts like he normally does I don't want him to go. If I take the kids alone and my son has an aspie moment I have to be with him and then what about my daughter. I hate that I have to think about things like this when I might want to go out with the family. My son and I both do not do well in crowds. So do I go and risk it, or do I spend the day home with everyone cooped up in this house.

What if the good days end before the weekend. I never know when they will end. I never know what triggers him. It is like a natural disaster. No warning, then total destruction.

Friday, January 21, 2011

It Would Be So Easy

I can't remember the last time I left the house. I have one maybe two good friends, and I can't even remember the last time I saw them. It is so easy for me to hide away from the world. I type on my blog and make contact that way and shy away from human contact. This is more than just my "fear" that I have always known about. I don't know how to act in public. I am afraid that everyone is talking about me behind my back.

In high school I really didn't open up to anyone until my senior year. Then I had to do it all again in college. Somehow I managed to overcome my fear of public speaking enough to teach in the planetarium. I think it helped that it was in the dark and I couldn't see the audience.

My good friends that I still interact with regularly from high school number one, and she is the same one friend I still interact with on a regular basis from college. Oh I still keep in touch with many people from both periods of my life, but that is just done via the internet, and I am scared because my one face to face friend is slowly becoming an internet friendship too.

I wish I had someone I could go out with. The last two people I invited out for dinner with me never even bothered to reply. I can't go out on weeknights because he works. I don't even know anyone I can count on to be a sitter for my kids so I could go out. I have been so busy the last 18 months of my life going to school and doing my homework and writing lesson plans that now when I have time to do some fun things I don't know how to do it.

I have withdrawn so much from people even my mommy groups that I don't think if I reached out that anyone would join me. So here I am, sad and lonely. It can't be easy to live with. The depression gets to me, the anxiety gets so bad that I feel I am about to scream. My last shrink wouldn't or couldn't help me and I am looking for a new one.

No I am not saying that the problems in our relationship are my fault, I know that is not true. I am saying that I did contribute to some of it. Once upon a time we were happy. There was a time when my heart skipped a beat when he looked at me. I can still remember the first time I saw him. It was like time stopped for that moment and engraved itself into my memories.

I promise myself that I will call someone this week. I promise myself I will get the help I need. I promise myself I will reach out to real people and make contact more often. I can't hide away from life. It would be so easy, but I won't.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Wishes and Tears

My daughter is sleeping and I watch. She sighs and mumbles in her sleep as she rolls over. I can't help but cry. Here I am miserable and she is so happy. But I am about to completely turn her world upside down. I hate that I am going to make my babies cry. Either I leave or he does, I know that needs to happen. It looks more and more like I will have to be the one to leave and take my babies with me. I hate that I have to shake up their world more than it needs to be. I think I could make the phone call if I knew or even suspected that we could stay in this house.

I hate to say it, but I actually like this little house we live in. We haven't even been here a year, but I feel at home here. Well I would if I wasn't hiding in a bedroom trying to stay out of his way.

I tried to make the call tonight. I didn't do it. I don't want to call anyone.

I think I could just disappear into myself right now. Sleep is like a release to me. I have such nice dreams, dreams where I am happy and dreams where life is good. Instead here I am afraid, and miserable when I am awake. I emailed some old friends a few days away to ask if they wanted to have dinner with me. Days have gone by and there have been no replies. So I am hurt again, hurt and lonely.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Bad Day

I managed to fall asleep as he came home. First thing he does is wake me up to ask me what I fed the kids last night. He gave me money to get the kids dinner. I fed them food we already had and didn't use the money. I didn't expect to be interrogated about it though. So i finally managed to get back to sleep and the next thing I knew it was time to pick the kids up after school. I went to pick up the kids and said that I was coming back upstairs when they got home. I didn't want to be downstairs with him, I knew he was waking up too. He got mad of course. Why was I acting like a blob and doing nothing he said to me.

I have been doing less lately, I just don't care anymore. When I am alone with the kids I am more active and focus on them. When they go to bed I start to clean and then I get mad. All I do to try to organize this house gets undone. The basement is still left like it was when our new dryer was delivered. The kids can't play down there, I asked him to move all the shelves and furniture back to its original locations and it has not been done. His reply to me when I asked him to do it, "Why can't you do it?"

Why can't I do it? I hear that when I ask him to do anything. He never wants to help me. And the few times he does help me he will remind me he did it over and over again. Like i should be honored that he did it.

Today was horrible. I went back upstairs and I snuggled in my bed. I was awake but under the covers. B and I were watching Billy the Exterminator. He comes upstairs and we discuss dinner. We agree the meat in our refrigerator should not be used and try to think of a dinner, I just wanted him gone. He was taking our son ice skating, peace was coming. So I said just pick something up on the way home. He was mad because I was watching tv and stormed off.

He came home after skating demanding dinner. Why didn't I make dinner. If he was going to be the one bringing home the money and buying the food then I should cook. I thought he was bringing home food for dinner so that's why I didn't make anything. He announces that he refuses to make dinner for the kids and I was told to make dinner so it was my job and I had to do it. Then he grabs the phone and storms off.

I stayed upstairs, one of two things would happen. He would feed the kids and leave me alone or he would not feed the kids and I would once he left for work. I knew if I went downstairs that we would fight and I didn't want that to happen in front of the kids. I stay away from him most of the time because I don't have the energy to fight with him anymore.

The same thing always happens when we fight. No matter what the fight is about in him mind I started it. It won't end until he says what he wants to say. If I don't say what he wants to hear he gets more upset. So I stay away to avoid them.

He is about to leave for work and he is still upset. I am a blob who does nothing, he has had enough and announces that he is calling him mother so she can kick me out. I can have all the furniture but how will I get a job, I will have no car. Our car was my car before the accident. It was bought to be my car, but he refused to let me register it in my name. He registered it in his name.

I told him that because I thought he was bringing home food, I didn't cook. Why would I? He turns around and says that he gave me money last night for food and I chose to feed them food we had already. So use that money for tonight. I find out he quizzed the kids on dinner last night to find out how much money I spent.

It all comes back to money. He has to know how much money on spend on what and if he doesn't approve of it the world ends. He will then bring up purchases that he doesn't like to use against you. Today he actually said that because I use paypal "all the time" he can't pay bills.

He controls the money, I sometimes spend it on things he doesn't like. I know that I will get yelled at. Even if I tell him my plans I never know when he is listening. I think I have permission, but sometimes he just answers not hearing what I say. I never know, it is like walking in a minefield. I know if I spend money there is a good chance I will get yelled at. i will be called names and I will be harassed.

I can't even grocery shop anymore. I love to grocery shop. I miss it. He took it over because he thinks I don't know how to do it. Like he pays the bills because I don't know how to do it. I know I am not as stupid as he trys to make me feel. Still I cry and still I hide away from him.

So Many Fears

Lately all I have wanted to do is sleep. Living in this house is like being in prison. I don't want to cook or clean. My only joy is the time I spend with my children. Our landlord is his mother and I know as soon as I take a stand I will need to leave. I can see no way she will allow me to stay. Three of us will need to uproot our lives because I married a selfish person. I have nowhere to go. We have no place except this home, and it isn't even ours.

I look around the room I am in. I see my surrender to this life and I hate that I gave up. I'm afraid that when I get out I won't be able to make it. I'm afraid to take my children away from their father. How can I start a career after being a stay at home mom and be a single parent at the same time? I'm afraid to admit I made a mistake 15 years ago when I thought to myself "Wow, look at him!".

I'm afraid to be me again. Someone recently asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Such a simple question that when asked to a child will result in an endless reply or a list that one could trip over. I couldn't answer. Nothing came to mind. I could think of things for the kids. I could think of things to use around the house. I could not think of anything that I wanted for me. How much of my identity have I lost?

I gave up so much to be "his" wife. He didn't like my religion so I toned it down. Now my children don't know what my religion is and I hide it from the world. When we moved he didn't want to bring some things I loved here and I caved. So many things I wanted that he didn't have been lost in time.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Why Can't I Make the Phone Call?

I know I need to get out. I have no choice. Why can't I take the first step? I know who/where to call, I looked it up. I found this.

Domestic Violence (DV) is abusive behavior - emotional, psychological, financial, spiritual, sexual, or physical - that one person in an intimate relationship uses in order to control the other. Abusers use fear and intimidation to maintain power and control over their victims. Coercive tactics used by abusers include:

Emotional/Psychological Battering
verbal abuse (name-calling, belittling, swearing, screaming); isolation; limitation of free movement (taking keys away, refusing access to a vehicle or phone, restricting right to leave the house); stalking; sleep and nutrition deprivation; extreme jealousy; threat of abuse; killing or threatening to kill you, a loved, or even a pet

He calls me fat, which is true, but he uses it hatefully. He always calls me names when he is mad at me. Lately he has been telling me how useless I am and no other man would want me because I am fat and lazy. (keep in mind I have not once been anywhere near skinny in the time he has know ne so my weight should be no surprise to him) He swears at me all the time, we all yell, But I try not too. Today he threatened to kill our pets.

Financial/Economic Control
withholding food or money, lying about assets, not allowing access to school or work, destruction of property, on-the-job harassment

He gets mad at me when I spend any amount of money, it doesn't matter what I spend it on. He doesn't give me cash unless I ask for it and then it is the minimal amount. I can get money out of the bank, but he is so onsessive about our money that if I take any out and he doesn't want me to have it he will yell, scream and fight with me about it. To the point that I have started to hide money and say I spent on something he approves of so I have it when I need it.

Spiritual Abuse
Undermining one’s faith, denying access to faith communities, using holy books and reading to maintain power and control

He makes fun of me because of my religion. He refuses to let me practice it in the home.

Sexual Violence
accusations of infidelity, forced sexual activity, marital or acquaintance rape, sexual abuse of your child

Nothing here

Physical Abuse
hitting, slapping, kicking, shoving, pushing, denial of medical care or medication, punching, using or threatening to use a weapon

He has pushed me, shoved me, hit me, and spits on me.

Add to all of that as if I can take any more are the love letters I have found to other women, emails to strangers seeking sex, and finding a condom in our car. Then of course the mystery two - three hour drives to the store or to get gas.

I wish I had a place lined up to go with the kids and pets. I think we all have had enough. I am so broken and sad. I feel so alone and depressed. I'll call my doctor tomorrow to see if he can adjust my meds. I have so many calls to make, I just can't bring myself to pick up the phone.