Since the hEX and I separated, he has teetered on the edge of sanity. I don’t mean the normal strife that goes with a separation and divorce. I mean because of his harassment, alarming behavior, aggression, etc., I felt like a prisoner in my own life. If it wasn’t him blowing up my phone spewing venom and prose, it was friends who had heard from him and were scared for me and my kids. If he wasn’t driving by my house while leaving me threatening messages, he was showing up on my doorstep with new girlfriends in tow. You never knew when storm demon hEX was going to hit. Back then, I actually cared and wanted him to be healthy and happy. Back then I would weather the storm in hopes that we could rebuild a stronger life, a life that would withstand the storms and we could live in peace. What I couldn’t see back then was that the storm wasn’t an external force pushing him into scary, destructive behaviors. The storm wasn’t childhood abuse or too much alcohol making him behave this way. What I failed to see was that HE was the storm.
Then came the wonderful and awful day that the Court issued a 2-year protective order. This beautiful piece of paper that says for the next two years he is not allowed within 500 feet of me! I walked out of that courthouse and for the first time in years, I exhaled! Then I went home, collapsed on my bedroom floor and cried.
What’s with all the tears? I was just handed my life back and I had no idea of what to do from that point. You see, he had his court ordered alcohol assessment, his anger management classes, a whole wealth of programs and support to help him. Where was my support? Where was the program that was going to teach me how to breathe again, how to lead a normal life again? When you spend so many years living in ‘survival mode’ you forget how to just ‘be’. And no, it’s not just like riding a bike. If you actually survive living in ‘survival mode’ for so many years, it changes you. Once the ‘survival mode’ button is pushed, you are already not the same. Once you come out of survival mode, you don’t breathe the same as before. Actually, you have to learn to breathe all over again. I had no idea how to start breathing again. How do I rebuild a life for me and my kids? Again, where were MY programs and support? It was just me. Me tearfully clutching that piece of paper and two little babies who needed me to be okay.
When the crying subsided, I heard a voice, the Mad Hatter voice, “you’re stronger than you give yourself credit for. You got this!” With the support of my amazing angels, my wonderful family and friends, I have rebuilt my life. It is a good, quiet, blissfully normal life. I’m no longer “that woman” that everyone feels sorry for. People no longer ask me how I'm doing with a sympathetic head tilt. My house is no longer “that house” on the street that the police are always at. And with the protective order getting ready to expire, I’m feeling very threatened. I am feeling like my blissfully calm life is threatened.
You know how structures are built differently in areas that are prone to earthquakes? Or floods? The possibility of that structure having to withstand an earthquake is something that is taken into account when the structure is built. What my heightened emotions and anxiety has shown me in the last few days is that I rebuilt my life without reinforcing the structure to withstand the day that protective order expires. How am I supposed to handle having to be in the same room with him now? How am I supposed to handle watching him drive away with my children as opposed to leaving them with my ex-mother-in-law for visitation?
I study two different styles of martial arts. I train my body to be prepared in case he or anyone else dare attack me again. I have read tons of material on dealing with harassment, training my mind to effectively handle these situations. But my emotions are dreading that day he is legally allowed access to me again. I wish I had a class, a program, a book, that will teach me how to make this transition and maintain my quiet, stable life.
In the writing of this post I’m starting to feel traces of calm. Now there is this little voice in my head…I think it’s coming from my heart…and it’s saying “I make the path. I got this!”