I was, and still am certain, that she was experiencing a manic episode, and she very well may still be if it’s not being managed properly. Which made things all the much harder, because even though the pain was massive, you don’t just give up on your loved ones, especially if they’re sick.
I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder when I was 19. I learned to control it until the emotional torment of my soon-to-be-ex-husband pushed me to the edge. The cycle of abuse became too much for me to take and while I told the truth in our group counseling session all those years ago (4 now I think), I only told a version of the truth.
I wasn’t suicidal. I just wanted out of my marriage and I was too much of a coward to do it like a normal human being. I was without friends, without a place to go and without a support system. I took the medication they gave me fore years and I stayed. I stayed through 2 pregnancies. The result of those pregnancies saved my life.
I made great strides in my life as well, especially in regards to my religion, which is something I am still continuing to this day. I figured out an efficient way to get both kids in the back of my car, and I spent some great quality time with them.
After I finally left him, he found God. The same God that I had been praying to for strength to leave, he was praying to for ways to get me back. His delusion that somehow getting our kids in the back of his Honda and spending some menial amount of time with them amounted to anything more than a self-indulgent pat on the back is evidence of his own sickness. Our kids still don’t ask about him. They haven’t seen him in weeks. Our son asks about going to his “first home” because he misses his things. He has yet to ask me about his father.
I couldn’t understand how, even though mistakes had been made in the past, she could just ignore me. I kept telling myself, even though she was going out and having a good time, even though she was cold and often mean, and although she had hurt me in so many ways, I don’t know her whole side of the story so give her the benefit of doubt.
You cannot hear a side of the story you do not wish to listen to. Cold? Yes. I was cold. I am still. That is my way. He hurt me for years. 12 to be exact.
Things began spiraling out of control. I was withdrawing from the world, I pretty much stopped eating unless I was around someone (which lead to my loss of 20lbs in just 30 days), I stopped doing anything that made me happy including listening to music or watching tv. I was becoming a hollow shell of despair.
And even here, there is no mention of his children. No mention of them at all. Just self-pity. The victim card he has become so excellent at playing.
Monday December 12th started pretty good, I took the kids to school and went about my day until the afternoon. It all became too much. I started crying because I knew what I had to do. I had carefully weighed the options and I decided that if I wasn’t around, then my kids wouldn’t be burdened with a broken war vet for a dad, and besides according to Minx, I didn’t spend enough time with them and had traumatized them enough when we’d fight.
Our son’s birthday. That was the last time our kids saw him. To know that he had planned suicide while he still had our children in his possession infuriates me to no end. How dare he. And there, in bold, is upon whom he places blame.
Minx had already been speaking in terms of decision, “the kids will get used to it eventually”, “I will always love you”, “I’ve thought a lot about it and I want my half of the equity in the house”. I figured what better way to make her happy then to just get out of the way.
I see you, manipulation, you have no power over me anymore. I did say all of those things and I stand behind them. But, his life is and was in his own hands and not in my own. I will not carry that burden for him.
I remember being on my knees in our yard, crying and begging her to just give us a chance. She said, “I’m not doing this right now”, which was kind of the typical conversation we’d have when I would beg her to give us a chance. I told her, “I can’t do this anymore Minx, I can’t go on, I can’t make it any longer.” Her response, “Is there someone you can call?” I told her “I’d take care of it” and got off the phone.
I sat on the phone with him for over an hour in my yard. I tried to be rational and explain that I needed time away and space, but he refused to give it to me. His begging and pleading did nothing more than push me further away because, as was typical, he was thinking of himself.
So I came inside the house and wrote a letter to both my kids, then my parents, then to Minx. I tried to make them all as reassuring as I could so they didn’t feel responsible, especially Minx’s.
I will spare you the pages of details he wrote on how he planned his suicide. About how he laid out his uniform and decided to wait until after midnight so our son’s birthday would not also be the day of his death. How considerate. He changed his mind and went to work where he called me. All the while I felt nothing, but anger.
I eventually told her I’m struggling because I’m going to kill myself. Her response is still something I don’t understand to this day, “Jesus, you have kids, you have two kids, and you’re going to do that to me, you’re going to put that on me so I have to carry that for the rest of my life?” Crying, I told her I would take care of it and to just forget I called.
I did say that, mostly. It was more like, “Jesus, you have kids, you have two kids, how could you leave them? You are their FATHER they NEED you. And how care you put that on me so I have to carry that for the rest of my life.” I should have called the police then. I should have done something. I didn’t. I regret that. I didn’t want him to lose his job because I knew he loved that at least. I wanted simply for him to let me go and step up to be the father he was supposed to be, one I knew he was capable of being.
I’m not sure why, but an idea popped in my head. I remembered Verizon has all the text message numbers on the bill. So, I looked, out of curiosity. There was a number she was texting, all the time. All the way up through midnight and first thing every day. A little internet searching and I found out it was another guy and all his information. I can’t describe how bad I hurt inside. It wasn’t even so much that she was talking to another guy, they could have been talking about the weather, the point was, she didn’t have time to check on me, after I told her I was going to kill myself, nothing, but she had all the time in the world for this person.
I was talking to another man. Simply talking. Unfortunately he had isolated me and I had no friends. I clung to the first person that reached out to me and offered me a comforting ear. We talked and that was the extent of our friendship. That was the day I switched my number to my own line, I told my friend that I needed to step back for a bit and he was very understanding. Why? because it was merely a friendship. There was nothing else vested in it but listening ears. It wasn’t that I didn’t have time to check on him. It was that I didn’t want to. I had and have washed my hands of all responsibility of what he does. I had to. The cycle had to end. Our kids deserved better.
Well, she at first lied and denied it, and then when I told her I knew she went ballistic. I was literally fighting every day for my life, I was truly going to end it all, and now this was my fault as well and she called me a “creepy stalker”
I admitted. I did also call him a creepy stalker. He went through everything. All my social media, my phone calls and texts, everything. Fine. It didn’t matter anymore. I didn’t love him. I just wanted to be free of him. At that point, I told him he had pushed me too far and that we should talk with lawyers. That I wanted a divorce without reconsideration. I’d had enough. I was finished.
I even told her, I don’t want to live life without her in it anymore. I left work, I tried talking to her on the phone, it didn’t help. I don’t know if she remembers the monotone my voice had, but it’s a sound that haunts me because it was a man who knew he was going to die. I stopped and got a bottle of whiskey, figuring if I drank enough I’d either kill myself or pass out, either way win-win.
I started getting random calls from him around midnight. Finally one of his friends texted me and explained that he was wasted beyond belief, suicidal and that they were fighting to get him in the car to take him to his parent’s house. I asked to be kept informed.
The next morning I woke up, in pretty rough shape. I knew I was going to kill myself, period. My mind was made; this is what is going to happen. So, I knew as well that the only way I could make it was with some help. If they lock me up and I lose my guns and my house and everything I own, well none of that would matter cause I wouldn’t be here. If I lose all custody of my kids, one day they’ll know me and know I loved them but I had to get help. I had already lost Minx so that was that. Nothing else mattered, because given a slight opportunity I was going to finish it.
He called me outside of his appointment with the counselor that morning, from his dad’s phone. I will never on earth understand why his father let him call me, but it didn’t go well. I was concerned, angry, but mostly, I was tired. He cried and begged and begged. Eventually even I cried. The weight was getting a lot heavier than I was able to carry. The weight of someone’s life is a cumbersome one to carry. It’s even heavier when you have to turn your back on them. I did. I had to turn my back. He checked into the hospital that evening and about 18 hours after his last drink, his BAC was still .19. He should have died. The doctors told me that had he not been such a terrible alcoholic, he would have died. I cried then too. Because no matter how illogical someone’s ill-placed blame may be, when you’ve spent 12 years believing the manipulation and lies of a narcissist, it takes more than a month to recover.
I know she hasn’t taken responsibility for anything that happened in our marriage, putting it all on me. She’s not being truthful with herself and I would imagine her family, which just enables her behavior. Is the majority of this due to her bipolar condition, I don’t know, I’m not a doctor. I know regardless of what she has told herself or others I have always supported her, encouraging her to finish her degree, letting her go out when she wanted with friends, I always made sure she was provided for, I constantly did things like pay for her nails to make her feel good, and I did all I could to support her weight loss and never complained when she was bigger. I also know, coming off her meds, telling me that she’s this super amazing person that no one gets and I’ve just held back, her extreme sexual behavior, lying to do what she wants, grandiose ideas and blaming me that I’ve just oppressed her, are all hallmark symptoms of bipolar disorder that’s not being treated correctly. But disorder or no, I was literally left for dead three times, one of which she got angry at me for, and when I finally did get help, because the situation was real, she tried to talk me out of it. She put me through enough to awake a dark beast inside my mind, one that is going to take a long time to tame, and now I have to do it alone for the first time in 12 years. I’m waking up every night terrified, and it takes a long time to calm myself down and realize where I am, because no one is there to help me. I cried out, to the one person I always thought I could, it was to the point that it didn’t have anything to do with us, I was truly reaching out and crying for help. It was ignored. “Is there someone you can call”, will echo in my mind for a long time to come. I called the one person that I thought I could always count on, the one who swore to me, and to God, that she would always be here for me, no matter what. Regardless of what was happening in our marriage, I don’t know how a person could do that to someone.
I should note that this letter or essay or memoir of insanity is not one he sent to me directly. He sent it to my sister. My mom read it, my dad, all 4 of my sisters. Everyone read it before I did. That reminded me of something Master sent to me not long ago:
That sums it up, I think. It helped me cope with having my entire family read very personal information about me. I don’t need to justify myself, but I will anyway. He encouraged me to finish my associates degree, yes. That’s accurate. I was getting that degree to transfer to a University to finish my Bachelors and apply to Law School. He said I could not be a lawyer, but I could finish my associates degree so long as I figured out what to do with the kids.
He paid for me to get my nails done twice in 12 years, albeit recently. That caveat? I had to take our children (4 and 18 months) with me. He would not watch them. They were my responsibility.
If I ever left the house without him it had to be with the kids or with my sisters and if I was with my sisters (this happened only twice in 12 years) then he would constantly text me the entire time I was gone. He would find something to argue about before I left so I was not able to enjoy myself and my anxiety was on full throttle. That’s how it always was. If I went too long during the day at work or at home with the kids without checking in with him, he would inundate me with calls and text messages.
Extreme sexual behavior? Sure. But it never physically manifested. Most of the extreme sexual behavior was on his end, the cross-dressing, the homosexual porn, the coital engagements with transgendered women, but you won’t catch me writing that down in a letter to his family.
Lying to do what I want has been a method of self-preservation for me. A learned behavior to keep some shred of sanity throughout this cycle of abuse. I accept it. I am not ashamed of it.
Grandiose ideas? He means me wanting to be a lawyer one day and involving myself in the shit show that is American politics.
I never tried to talk him out of getting help. I have been trying to get him help for years.
I accept that he will blame me and that I will forever be the villain. I accept that he will always be the victim in his mind.
I wash my hands of any responsibility over this. “Is there someone you can call?” may forever echo in his mind, but “Momma, it scares me when Daddy yells at you that way.” will forever echo in mine.