I have talked about before how I didn’t make the wisest choices growing up. As a matter of fact, I typically went against my gut feeling and did the exact opposite of whatever I should be doing. I know that most kids at some point start making their own choices, right or wrong because you have to learn somehow.
I haven’t made the right choices about a lot of things. At times it had to do with me being defiant and just wanting to be an adult making my own choices. Other times it was because I was so desperate to be approved of by others. One of those times was when I married my ex.
You see I had always made wrong choices in my parents eyes. When I got engaged, I think they were happy. I remember talking to my sister in law after I left my ex. She said something about how they all thought he was the answer for me and then they found out different. I knew though, before we got married that we should not be getting married.
I talked to others about backing out. I talked to my ex two weeks prior. I recall laying on the couch in the living room, crying because I knew it was a bad choice. His response was something along the lines of I would have to be the one to tell everyone because he and his parents and my parents had spent so much money on this wedding, it wouldn’t be fair to those people. After speaking with others, I ended up getting married to him. My gut said no, my head said maybe, my heart said I hope it works and my drunk self said to hell with it.
Not even a year later I went to my parents house. I had gone to a woman’s domestic abuse shelter. I had filled out the form. They accepted me into the program. They gave me a business card for an attorney who worked with woman from the shelter. I went there to tell them that I wanted to leave. I was told that it had not even been a year and I really needed to give it a chance. When the call came from the shelter and the attorney, I told them both I had changed my mind. I wanted my parents to be proud of me and if I left, I wasn’t going to have that.
I really tried to make things work. I am bipolar and I own that. I have been on many medications. I have been hospitalized. I have attempted suicide. I was a self mutilator. I was an check out of town with alcohol, sex and cigarettes. I had been with the same psychiatrist since 1999. She would change meds, she worked with me, she helped me get counseling and always tried to point in me the correct direction.
I reached out to support groups. I tried to get us both into marriage counseling, but he didn’t need help, it was me because I was mental. I started a blog writing about what was going on. It had become my only outlet. I didn’t feel as if I could be open or honest with those in my life. They didn’t think I was capable of making good choices or decisions and no matter what I did, I always felt wrong. One day a long time friend messaged me and asked me if I realized what I wrote about was abuse. Yes I did was my response.
She kept after me in subtle ways. She would message me after I would post. She would encourage me to seek out help. She wasn’t alone though, my psychiatrist knew and she encouraged me, in different ways. She suggested I get this book called, Why Does He Do That, Inside The Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft I did get it. I did read bits of it. It only confirmed what I knew from before we got married. It made me sad. It made me question my ability to make wise choices.
Funny to put that down. I was so certain I didn’t know how to make correct choices, I got married to make my parents and others happy and approve of me, even though I knew it was a bad choice. And here I was questioning my ability to make wise choices because I got married. I didn’t get married for me, I got married for others and I knew it was wrong. So me questioning myself, made me question if I should really even be considering leaving.
If you go back just a ways, I had told my ex I wanted a divorce. I asked him if it was possible for me to not pay for everything he expected me to pay for so that I could save to get a place to live. A hour later, he came upstairs with all of the bills in the house split telling me I would have to pay for half of them. I had just paid all of the monthly bills, he had just given me a check to put into our joint account (we had separate accounts and all the bills were paid from my account, he would approve them for the amounts I wrote them out for, then he would give me a check to deposit into the bank and then I could mail them out. Sometimes it resulted in me having to rewrite checks because he would refuse to pay late fees and others things. Those were my responsibility) to cover those bills. He let me know he had done a stop payment on the check until he received enough money from me to cover half the monthly bills. Every bill I had mailed out bounced that month. I had so many NSF charges and I also had to pay a fee for depositing the check and then him doing a stop payment on it.
I was mortified. I was lost. I was on disability and worked a few hours for him. I didn’t even make enough to cover half our monthly bills each month, let alone the other things he was no longer going to cover. I was responsible for the boys, their clothing, medical and the food the three of us ate. Some of that I was already responsible for, but when you don’t have a lot coming in to begin with, it can only stretch so far.
After two weeks of misery. I gave in. I begged for forgiveness. I told him I was wrong, I didn’t want a divorce, that I would do whatever it took to make it work.
Now fast forward again and here I am getting ready to leave. I had gone to the shelter and been approved because of a huge bruise on my stomach from a remote he threw. I had told two friends (they were married) and the only reason I told them was because I was using their basement to store some things for the boys when I left. I wrote letters to my parents, his parents and to my ex. It was the hardest thing I had to do, not saying anything to anyone.
However each time I had tried to talk to someone about this exact thing I was shut down. I was wrong. I was making a bad choice. I needed to try and make it work. I would be stuck with a bill that would take me over a year to recover from. I had to do this, by myself because at that point, everyone I tried to talk to, made me feel as if I didn’t know what I was doing.
My gut had been telling me for six years that I wasn’t supposed to be here. I was finally doing what I needed to do and I was leaving. I did leave and I did mail the letters out and left the one for my ex on the table in the kitchen. I didn’t know what was to come but I knew it would be its own battle.
The YWCA no longer had attorneys who were doing pro-bono work for them. I had to find my own attorney. I had parents on both sides who didn’t understand why I didn’t go to them for help. I had a brother who would not have liked the ultimatum I gave to my ex if it was him either (mind you I had tried for years so, yes it was an ultimatum). I had two boys who had no idea what was going on and me, broken, alone, afraid, scared and knowing I was making the right choice.
Now fast forward again to current time. The divorce took almost five years to complete. By the time the divorce was final, my legal bill was, well lets just say more than I have ever made in a lifetime. He did write a lot of it off and I was very thankful. My ex was supposed to sell the house and pay me a certain amount of money. It never happened. Recently we had to make a hard choice (if you can call 2015 recent) about our financial life.
I was tired. I was worn out from tying to make things work. We had done a lot of things. We lived off credit cards and my disability when Jack was out of work. We tried doing Dave Ramsey’s way (Financial Peace University). We did debt settlement. We tried many times, many ways and when we finally felt like things were going well, lawsuits started. We had been lied to by the debt settlement company and my world crumbled again. After speaking with my attorneys, we finally decided to file for bankruptcy.
You would think, it would have ended all the craziness, but it didn’t. We just had no idea where things were going to go because of it. My ex owed me money. My ex wasn’t paying me money. My ex’s money was considered an asset. It was one thing after another. Basically, here we are in 2017 and we still have an open bankruptcy on our report. Things we didn’t put on our bankruptcy, died and we still owed money on it. Roof leaks and even though we paid someone to repair it, he didn’t repair it and went out of business. The list goes on.
I was reflecting backwards. Had I not been so worried about other people. Had I been listening to that gut feeling. I was so focused on being loved and approved by everyone, I forgot that I was the most important one. I was so convinced by everyone’s disappointment and disapproval with what I did that I didn’t know how to make good choices.
My gut feeling, it hasn’t been wrong. I knew when I was doing wrong. I have come to a point in my life where I know that my choices won’t make everyone around me happy. It makes me sad that they feel they know my life better than I know my life. Yet, I am at a point where I know that my gut feeling, it isn’t gas, it isn’t bad Mexican food, it isn’t IBS or monthly cramping. It is a sign, a knowing, a foretelling of what will come if I pretend it isn’t there.
If I had not gotten married, I can’t say where my life would be at, but I can say I would not be in this exact predicament if I had listened to me and not wanted to make everyone else happy.
Do you ever have a gut feeling and dismiss it for fear of what others will think of you? I had a reality check this past week and it really opened my eyes. My gut it isn’t wrong. When it is pushing me to or from something, there is a reason! How about for you?