Today is Shimmy Mob. ( http://shimmymob.com) To run it down real quick, it’s a flashmob of belly dancers that come together one day out of the year to perform a single choreographed danced. Like most flash mobs, we crash malls, events, festivals, beaches, where ever…but this is WORLD WIDE. It’s an honor to be part of it this year. I’ve wanted to take part in it for a few years now, but haven’t managed to “find time”. I think I’ve been avoiding it to be honest, for a few reasons…mostly because this cause hits very close to home for me.
I thought about putting this on my super secret venting therapy blog…but I made the choice to publish it publicly and share my own story.
If you might get upset reading about my late husband and how he treated me, then stop reading this right now. If you don’t want your image tarnished, close this page. If you don’t want a mark on your perfect memory of him, go back now. You’ve been warned.
In the last two years I’ve been comfortable enough in my life to finally be able to peel back the layers of my marriage to Jarod. Thanks to David (aka the Sailor) I’ve been working through all the baggage I was left with.
I’ve know of course that stuff Jarod did wasn’t right. I knew that for a long time while we were together, but I never actually thought of it as abuse. No one ever sat me down and went…. “Hey Nade, you know the way he blows up at you in public? Yea, that’s not cool. He’s an asshole and oh by the way, that’s considered mental abuse.” (I did hear the “he’s an asshole” part a lot. A LOT.) I can’t believe I lived eight years of my life with someone who was, for lack of better words, mentally beating me almost daily.
David was one of the first people to notice (or at least notice and point out) how deep it went. One of the first things he said to me that jarred me was “You don’t have to keep explaining yourself, I understand. It’s okay.” He knew. He knew because he’s been there too. That’s one of the things about he and I, we see reflections of each other’s struggles and hurt, and we understand that like most people can’t.
When he said that to me, I sort of looked at him and realized I do over explain. A lot. And I know why now. When ever I had to break even slightly bad news to Jarod, it was a big deal. I’d have to explain it five different ways and defend the bad thing making it “really not so bad after all” just to stop a blow up.
David would bring home “training manuals” from the Navy’s classed on domestic violence they were required to take…and not too long ago while cleaning I happened upon one and started flipping through it. There was this check list of abusive characteristics/tendencies. The list had 20 points on it. Jarod scored 17 out of 20…1 point because he never actually hit me. and 2 of the questions he missed because we never had children.
It was shocking.
Recently I’ve realized I tare down good things I have. Someone says “Wow your car is pretty!” I reply with “Thanks…but it needs so much work, I’ve got sun-damage on the paint and the locks are broken, and I need new tires, and a new belt, and the leather seats are cracking….and…and…”. I do it because if I bought something for myself, or was gifted something, I had to either hide it for awhile or make it seem not so great, or else there’d be a blow up.
I got use to walking on egg shells. Don’t do things to make him mad. Or there’ll be a blow up.
Keep him fed, or there’ll be a blow up.
Need the car for dance….better talk about how it’s so much work and not fun…because there’ll be a blow up because he’s not using the car….to go no where…because he never went anywhere…but that was my fault, because I always had the car.
Don’t tell him the show was a good time…it was long/bad/boring/same ol same ol…
and no I didn’t really make much money vending at the show either…
Don’t tell him you made new friends…
Don’t tell him you went out to eat with your friends after working hard at dance practice, because he’ll be mad you didn’t invite him/come straight home/bring him something.
Be sure you always have a good reason on hand for his bad behavior…He gets low blood sugar/tired/over worked/having issues with his boss/upset about car trouble/got a sun burn/is dehydrated/has daddy issues/didn’t sleep well/not feeling well/sensitive to…
I got use to working two or three jobs just so I could support two people if I wanted to go out and do anything….like the camping events he insisted on coming to even though 9 out of 10 times he’d have a terrible time…because Gods forbid I be trusted to go alone.
It got it’s worst two years before he died. He hit what I like to call a low point in his mental reasoning. We were at a camping event, and he had gotten sunburned and was dehydrated. He also refused to eat much at a pot-luck we had with our sister-camp. To make a long story short, I had gotten sick and went to my friend’s tent to get a soda to settle my stomach. I wasn’t there long, maybe 10 minutes total in walking down there, getting it, and coming back (God forbid he get the sick person a soda). I went back to our tent, he was out by the fire. I started to change and felt like I needed to go to the bathroom NOW. I pulled my skirt up to my chest and ran to the bathrooms….meanwhile…he thought I was having sex with a strange man in our tent. He went and told all my friends sitting at the neighbors camp that. Asked where I was, when they said they didn’t see me, he proceeded to tell them all I was having sex with some strange dude in our tent and he wasn’t going back in there ever….I found that all out the next morning when my friend asked me if I was alright. At the time I laughed it off…but now I see just how low he’d go.
In a way I got lucky. He died. I got out…I got set free, but not before the worst 6 months of my life. Things had started to take a turn for the better right before he got sick. It seemed like he was trying to be a better husband, and not be so controlling. He was coming to shows and taking part in things and seemed like he was having a good time. Even after he got diagnosed, he seemed grateful for my help until towards the end. The last two weeks were terrible.
Maybe I’m a selfish person, he was dying after all, but the mental stress he put me through was breaking. He’d force me to sleep downstairs. He’d make me be in the same room/area with him at all times…I was so exhausted one day, I just wanted to sleep, but he refused to share the couch or try and go upstairs to bed, so I ended up on the floor…exhausted. When we did get a bed for him downstairs, he wouldn’t let me sleep upstairs, even having a baby monitor. I still had to work the next day, and take care of him.
He threw his walker across the lawn once, but didn’t have enough strength to get inside.
He snapped at me, yelled at me…I understand he was struggling with his own mortality at that point, but it’s still painful considering the history we had.
I should stop here, because I want to enjoy Shimmy Mob today…and next week’s performance is actually my telling of the relationship I had with Jarod…but that’s another show, another day.
I do want to fill in hashtags though…so here we go…
#HeDoesntHitMeBut…I walked on eggshells every day because it was easier than listening to him yell.
#HeDoesntHitMeBut… I learned to dodge keys being thrown.
#HeDoesntHitMeBut …I learned to over explain everything in an attempt to make things not so bad.
#HeDoesntHitMeBut …I got good at down playing good things that happened to me.
#HeDoesntHitMeBut …he taught me to lie about places I’ve been or people I’ve talked to, even if nothing was going on, because lying was easier than him being angry about nothing.
#HeDoesntHitMeBut I learned I could hold down three jobs just to be able to go on vacation because he couldn’t be bothered to find a new one.
#HeDoesntHitMeBut I was made to feel guilty about things I loved.
#HeDoesntHitMeBut if I used the car for a hobby/work he made me feel like crap because I “was always using the car, and he wasn’t allowed to have a life because I was selfish” even though he never went anywhere, even when he could.
#HeDoesntHitMeBut he’d threaten to kill himself if I left.
#HeDoesntHitMeBut he’d tell my friends lies about me.
#HeDoesntHitMeBut he’d blow up over the littlest mistakes.
#HeDoesntHitMeBut he’d ruin your good time if you were having fun and he wasn’t.
#HeDoesntHitMeBut he had no problem fighting with me in public, even if I kept trying to keep my voice down.
#HeDoesntHitMeBut he expected to have things provided for him, like gifts, toys, games, vacations, and never helped contribute.
#HeDoesntHitMeBut he made me think I couldn’t cook.
#HeDoesntHitMeBut the blow ups were epic…deep into the night wake you up for no reasons to yell at you because you ate the mac n cheese a month ago…then storm out into the snow with no shoes and no coat, throw your wallet and keys into a snow bank, walk for five miles and expect you to chase after him/find him…epic.
I really could keep going.
Be aware people, and support others that are struggling. I don’t show it every day, and I don’t talk about it a lot…people say I changed after Jarod died, and it’s true. I did. I became bolder, stronger, and yea…I’ll go with bitchier and bossier…to quote a certain someone. I own that now, because I wasn’t allowed to own it before.
So today I dance for myself and all those other men and women who are held down, held back, and are now marked for life. I used to say this jokingly…but I say it seriously today.
“Not everyone is as lucky as I am, not everyone’s husband up and dies on them.”