the aftermath (pt 1)

Despite all the bad treatment I lived through, I couldn’t stand being alone. At first.

The quest to be loved began. Looking for love in all the wrong places. Looking for Mr Goodbar. It’s really only by the grace of God I’m alive, well, and disease free. I can’t even tell you the number of men I slept with. I lost track a long time ago.

At some point after the divorce, I had a fling with a really cute guy from some flight squadron. I ended up pregnant. I never said a word to him. There was no way I was having another baby. I couldn’t handle the one I had. I had that abortion and didn’t flinch, didn’t shed one tear. It just had to be gone.

I went to clubs to drink and dance. I wanted my youth back, the chance to be free.

I was emotionally unavailable to my boy. I’d send him out to play all by himself, forget about him. When I remembered he was outside alone, I’d find him 200 yards down the hill playing at the playground all by himself. He was 2! I was simply an awful mother, self centered, self pitying, victim of abuse.

Life without God was getting darker by the day..

August 1988. The phone rang late that night. I answered. It was him. He was drunk, crying he missed us, would we come to see him? I said no. This was the first incident since the divorce. I sensed something was seriously wrong, but brushed it off.

Two weeks later, 5am. I sensed a presence in my bedroom. I opened my eyes and he was there, standing over me, naked, a look in his eyes that said he wasn’t really there. He climbed on top of me. I started screaming like a maniac. His movements were sluggish. I screamed so loud the boy woke up. He sat up, snapped back into reality, got up, went into the bathroom. I ran down the stairs to the kitchen, considered dialing 911, but heard him following. I ran out the back door, around the front of the house. Luckily, the neighbors were up, packing for a trip. I ran across the street to them. He ran off the base. I never said a word to those neighbors.

I ran back to the house, got the boy a bottle, convinced him to quiet down and go back to sleep. I crawled into bed, exhausted physically and emotionally. I didn’t wake up until noon.

I called the state police. The base police couldn’t help because he was a civilian. I went to the station and filed the complaint with an officer who had the same name as my brother. He was very kind. At the end of the interview, he asked me why I waited 6 hours to report the event. I told him I was so freaked out I just didn’t know what to do. He said, I understand.

They called me later that day to say he was arrested, in jail. I breathed a sigh of relief.

Next day. I asked for a reassignment. My life was in danger from this man I used to love. By the end of the week I had orders to go to Madrid, Spain.

The state attorney called me. Did I want to seek the maximum penalty for the sexual assault? I said it was more important for him to be treated psychiatrically than go to jail for several years. They sentenced him to 2 years of probation and 1 year of mandatory psych treatment.

To be continued…

His… Michelle

the one about my marriage (pt 4)

March 1987. He was getting ready to explode. Again. I could see the storm clouds on the horizon. Drunker and drunker as the days went by.

In a bold move, the boldest I had ever made in my 24 years of life, I left a note on the face of the TV. It essentially said we were finished, he should pack his stuff, get out by the end of the day. I had the USAF on my side. He had no one.

At the end of the day, I picked the baby up from daycare, drove home, not a little terrified to see what I would find. Sweet and merciful Jesus! He was gone!!! At least from my house.

I filed for divorce shortly after this. It would take a year to be final.

The drunk phone calls started immediately. I’m sorry! He would cry. I can’t live without you! You’re the best thing ever! I’ll change!

He agreed to counseling. It was just manipulation to get me into bed. That was the final straw! I was determined to never take him back. He played me for the last time.

He spent that whole year of separation harassing me, calling me, threatening to take the baby. I was constantly terrified.

In the meantime, the boy turned 2. I neglected him terribly, resenting his existence because he tied me to a man I never wanted to see again.

March 1988. The divorce was finally final. Suddenly the harassment stopped. He finally gave up. I was so relieved.

I was also traumatized. I had zero love for myself. Zero love for my boy. Zero love for anyone.

To be continued…

His… Michelle

the one about my marriage (pt 3)

(This is another hard one. Please understand if I don’t respond to comments. I post this stuff to be free of it. I post it for others who have lived through the same. You. Are. Not. Alone.)

January 1986. Shortly after the boy was born, the husband separated from the USAF. We moved back home into her house. There was no physical abuse in those 6 months. Just the verbal battles from before marriage. I could never understand why she stuck up for him, why she always blamed me for the fighting?

I finally got a job as a nurse. He hated the fact I made more money than him. Add this to his list of reasons to belittle me, tear me down.

July 1986. It was my turn for the USAF. I had signed up in college. They paid for half of my education. It was a very sweet exchange — 2 years of education for 4 years of service. I entered active duty as a 2nd lieutenant. He hated that too, said I thought I was better than him because he had been enlisted. But class, rank, status has never been a part of my makeup. I was, still am a respecter of all people.

It didn’t take long for his Mr. Hyde to show up again. He was back to telling me how stupid I was, how I couldn’t do anything right. He had trouble holding a job. He was getting drunk every day.

I reached a point where I didn’t want to come home from work, the little baby in my house suffering from neglect.

December 1986. I came home from the hospital after working an evening shift. I was hoping and praying that he would be asleep. Unfortunately, he wasn’t asleep. The fight began immediately. He wanted to have sex. I said no.

Things turned ugly quickly. I ran upstairs to the bedroom. He attacked me, threw me face first onto the bed, tied me up like some kind of animal, and raped me. Again. I screamed as loud as I possibly could, my screams going completely unheard because the base housing was single-family housing. There was no help coming. Then he shoved my face so hard into the pillow if I would not have stopped screaming, I would surely have suffocated.

As I laid there being raped I thought, how did my life get here? How will I ever survive this? Blaming myself because at some point in our relationship I had encouraged rough sex, so it must have been my fault, right?

Somehow I did survive the night. The next day, when he was sober, he came to me crying, apologizing for what he had done. I wanted to believe he was sincere. But I looked him in the eye that day, told him in no uncertain terms, he would never touch me like that again!!!

I have no idea what possessed me, but I decided to give him one more chance. But you should know he NEVER raped me again!!!

To be continued…

His… Michelle

P.S. God is good! He never left me, even though I left Him. I wouldn’t be here today, almost 30 years later otherwise. His grace is sufficient! He loves me even through my shame.

Thank you for letting me tell my story through writing. I can still barely say these words out loud.