Divorcing someone who has stalked you and created emotional issues is cataclysmic.
One of the hardest things is walking away from a situation with a kid in hand with no prospects. Not sure where to go, not sure what your next steps will be and not sure who can help you. I had gone for the paperwork at the courthouse, and that was my step one. I was not able to even fathom getting a lawyer, so I figured I was smart enough to sift through the legal jargon, so add legal preparer to my repertoire of skills because I sure did that. We still resided in the same home, my son and I in one part of the house and he in another. I never cared at that point if he slept there or not, which most nights he didn't, but my focus was on surviving beyond that space. I never declared my intention to get a divorce to him and I kept all plans I had to myself. A smart human never shows all their cards when they are walking away. An even smarter person would have picked up on the fact that once I get quiet, too quiet, it's a wrap! I loved this man back then. This was no random hook up. This was a young man who wooed me and comforted me and enchanted me. This was a man who said he loved me. An abuser can learn the craft from being abused themselves and sometimes, they aren't even aware that the things they do harm others. It usually doesn't start day one, nor day two, and people question why someone would stay in that situation. Some women and men endure it for years and years. However, don’t presume to know what a person is experiencing or the resolution as you are looking in from the outside. Who feels it, knows it. Walking away from some situations is easier said than done. I had a dear friend who offered for me to stay with her at the time, but I was too unfamiliar with other's homes. My mom had asked me countless times to stay with her to avoid any issues that may arise during that period, and again I declined. It was only after one evening I got home and the locks on the doors of our home were changed, I realized I needed to get away. After I proved to the locksmith that it was my residence, I walked in with my son to find all my jewelry gone, all my clothes from my closet swimming in bleach in the tub, all my shoes gone, and other items broken. Forget calling the police, I was not interested in having my son go through that anymore just to hear that it's a civil matter, which is what I had heard on other occasions when they were called. It was time to sleep elsewhere. I packed up whatever I could for my son and I and raced over to my mom. Interestingly enough, as I schlep items from the house to the car, he called telling me that he could see me, while making threats. All this time, watching us. I drove away from that house that night vowing never to return, and I never did. Anything I left, I never needed. I had my son and my life.
Each day after that I would get a text describing my whole day's activities, what I wore, who I saw, how long I stayed out. He had heightened his watch. I found myself numb to the threats, numb to reacting, and frankly at that point I figured, I would go through anything to be free, so bring it on. When he was served the divorce papers on the job, the police officer, I was told had to calm him down. He watched me all day and still didn't see that coming. He had 30 days to respond and in the true fashion of a narcissistic, he ignored it thinking it would go away. You can divorce someone without their consent. You can create your freedom with your own story. I made sure to explain my experience of the entire time in the marriage. I was not going to pay this man any money, and I didn't want a dollar from him. All I asked for was my name; I refused to have my son feel separated from me on paper, as a kid. As the 30 days passed, he continued to follow me. He and I no longer lived or worked together so it was less possible to monitor me. The day of court came, and I rode the elevator to My freedom. I knew the outcome I wanted, I knew that I had a very hard road ahead of me, and I knew I was afraid. It may seem like a person is strong all the time, but in those moments it's not strength that you lean on, it’s the will to get to that other side, whatever that other side looks like for you. I had never experienced this, this was a very lonely journey, I had lost my voice years ago, but I had to find it there, and at that time. I had shared so many details that the judge only asked one question. As soon as she asked if all I wanted was my name, he felt the need to speak. He was telling the judge how I had cheated (which is what he told the church choir too; pretty much his story became mine) and how I didn't deserve to have his name if I was divorcing him. Funny how when I chose to walk away, I became the villain. Another ex of mine did the same thing to me, in that case I had represented a meal ticket and it burned that human to watch me leave... but I digress! Regrettably for him, as he had not responded in the 30 days, he lost his right to be heard. I walked out unmarried, unashamed, and unafraid. I was always raised to believe that divorce or any of my actions towards this moment was unacceptable. But all the "church folk" in my space that time didn't help me. My cries for help were met with "pray about it"... my dedication to being a good Christian wife, singing on the choir, teaching kids, being supportive and paying tithes never mattered. He told them I was unworthy, and they accepted his gospel and told me I could no longer attend practice nor offer service to others at the church; without even consulting me. Do you think anyone of them "Christian Leaders" reached out to discuss it with me? No! Do you think they offered counseling? Never. I wish that anyone who currently choose to pour themselves into that lifestyle where the church is your priority that they at least reciprocate it. That they are nurturing you and feed you in the places you need. That is a lifestyle I wouldn't choose again. Did I tell them they failed me? Yes! In true Jamaican format "me skin out me batty gi dem" and that's on record. Then came the apologies that did not matter to me at that point. My life for the next few years went from painful to difficult then manageable and then to blooming. My ex-husband made failed attempts to be in my life again over the years. Throughout that time, I did try to maintain some level of basic friendship for the sake of my son, but it always went to hell; real quick. Then it graduated to him calling to breathe on the phone, I would tell him to get off my phone, hang up then he would text me to say it's good to hear my voice. This continued for years and years. It would always be from a private number and when I didn't answer and he got VM, he would call just to listen to it, the message would be the same "I miss you." That man used to manipulate my life for so long, I don't think he grasped that it was over long after his time had passed. If he somehow gets in his feelings and musters up the courage to contact me again, my response will be "go pray about it."
I leave you with this, be brave enough to own your reality, and to own your truth; and stand on it. Your story cannot be taken from you. Never allow anyone to silence your desires to be heard, nor be diminutive towards your experiences. Pain and hurt comes in various forms, no one gets to tell you how to interpret or express a personal emotion. Own your today and your tomorrow as you stand in the proof that you survived your pain from yesterday.