Broken Trust

Posted: April 22, 2015 in abuse, atheism, domestic violence, religion
Tags: , , ,

This post will be rather long and different from what I intend this blog to contain. I cannot, however, focus on what I’d really like to write without putting into words what is bothering me. I hope this will touch those who read it and that it will reach someone who needs it:

Six years ago today, my life was at the peak of a living hell. My mental state had dissipated into mush, frequently experiencing moments of prolonged, intense fear and terror and then left too exhausted to contemplate much more than sleep. What should have been a happy time had become nothing more than a desperate struggle to find the necessary motivation to keep on breathing, and in July of 2009, I finally broke. Over the course of a little over a year, I’d entered what had started as a blissful relationship… and barely escaped with my life. Even now, six years later, it haunts me. I experienced a trauma from which I will never fully recover.

It was my desire to protect my infant son that finally convinced me to flee. Yet at the time I made my escape, despite having to slip away in secret for fear that knowledge I was leaving would result in my husband quite literally killing me, I wasn’t convinced it was truly “over”. I left behind a note for him to find, explaining my departure and that I would not be contacting him without evidence that he was putting forth efforts to conquer his demons. The only contact information he had to reach me through was my email, and he sent numerous messages attempting to convince me to return.

Over the course of a month, his messages went from apologetic and pleading, to demanding and vengeful. His final message to me indicated that he no longer loved me, that he hated me for what I’d put him through, that he was going to file kidnapping charges against me, and that he hoped to see me put in jail.

One. Month.

He’d given up, after only one month of no contact. He’d made NO attempts to improve himself, NO efforts to seek out anger management, therapy, counseling… He never even acknowledged that he’d done anything wrong. In all his attempts to convince me to return, he’d only attempted to fill me with guilt, to tell me what I had done wrong, to tell me how much I was hurting him by refusing to respond, and to demand I let him see his son. That was when it really hit me. My entire relationship had been a lie.

For the first time, through all of it, I felt angry. But I wasn’t angry about how he’d treated me. I wasn’t angry about all the beatings and beratings. I was angry because I’d been blindsided and betrayed. I was angry because I’d been fooled. I was angry because I’d thought there was love there… because I’d opened my heart to him and shared MY love with him… but all I was to him was a piece of property. A trophy. A sex toy. A slave collared by manipulation.

I wrote something to myself then, to vent my anger. It was a letter directed to my now ex-husband which I never sent him, and I’d like to share it here:

I don’t know what pisses me off more- the fact that you feel I’m not accepting my own blame for our situation or the fact that you gave up on me so easily. You have sent me several emails since I left, trying to reestablish contact with me, trying to get me to let you have your son, trying to coerce me into coming back by threatening to charge me with kidnapping. Your chief complaint about the letter I left you is that I place all the blame on you, making you out to be the bad guy and not accepting my own blame.

Well guess what? You are the bad guy. The first message you sent to me after I left, you were apologetic and you claimed that you would do whatever it takes to get us back. You claimed you had talked to the Bishop about going to anger management. Like I hadn’t heard that line before. You won’t go to anger management. It’s too much effort and work and would require you to change too much. It’s much easier living in your same little pattern of behavior, sucking everything out of everyone that will do anything to help you.

You abused me. In so many ways, you abused me. You’ve tried to tell me that I abused you too. That I became worse than you ever were at the end. I never threatened your life. I never came after you with a knife. I never manipulated you and twisted things around to shape you into the person I wanted you to be. I never used my pains and sufferings as a tool to get you to cater to me. I never told you that you had to change what you were doing because it was wrong, even when I would have been in the right to do so. I never choked you. I never gave you a black eye. I never gave you a bloody nose. I never chipped your teeth. I never invaded your privacy by listening in on your phone calls and budding in and needing to know every little thing that you said. I never cut down your friends, even when you gave me ample opportunities to do so when you felt like they had abandoned you. I never threatened or cut down your family, even though you did it yourself. I never called the police, even when I would have been perfectly justified in doing so. I never made you do anything you didn’t want to do.

So tell me, in what way was my behavior worse than yours? In what way did I abuse you so horribly? So I wailed on you “for no reason” that one time. You certainly gave me ample punishment for it already. So I’ve cursed at you and called you names. For that I am sorry, and yes it was wrong of me to do so no matter how mad I was and no matter what you’d done. But guess what? I didn’t start cursing at you and calling you names until you’d been doing the same and worse to me for a long, long time. When you did it to me, I just let it all sink in and accepted it as part of your anger and fury. When I did it to you, you just couldn’t sit by and let it happen could you? Oh, no. Because you couldn’t be like me. You couldn’t let me put you in your place and just accept it, because that would mean you’d have to admit you deserved it and you’d have to admit I was justified, and by doing that you’d be giving up part of your control over me.

I trusted you. I trusted you when I carelessly let my credit card balance go over (getting stuff for you I might add- I never had a problem keeping my finances in order until I started getting things for you) and you said it would be better if you handled the finances. Finances my parents supplied, I might add. You did nothing to find yourself a job once you couldn’t wrestle anymore. You didn’t even do anything to make sure you were getting paid what they owed you, while you sat out the rest of your contract on injury. No, that didn’t matter to you, because my parents were supplying you with everything you needed financially. However, you insisted that the new phone be in my name only and would not even let yourself be an authorized user on the account, refused to let them add your name. So the only bills in your name were the rent and electricity, because they were already in your name before we got together, and amazingly enough those were the only two bills you really seemed to care about keeping paid. You didn’t let your bank account go over until my name was on the account. You spent over on my bank account until they cancelled it. You spent the money my parents had supplied for our bills, bus fair, laundry, and food on fast food, soda, snacks, and other things we didn’t really need. Then, when that wasn’t enough you either had me ask my parents for more money or pawned our belongings for more. I trusted you, and you screwed me over financially.

I trusted you. I trusted you when you said you loved me. Someone who loves you doesn’t beat you. You say you were in a rage, that you couldn’t control it, that you needed help. You said you would do what you needed to do to get that help. You never did. Why didn’t you? Because you were fine with things the way they were. You didn’t really want to change. You just told me you did so you could keep me from giving up on you. You could control it. You didn’t want to. You controlled it well enough that you were always careful enough not to harm my stomach while I was pregnant. You controlled it well enough that you never lost it in public or around my family. You controlled it well enough that you didn’t leave any visible marks, except for those three occasions where you punched my face. You controlled it well enough that you only acted that way toward myself and our son. You may have wanted to do it to others; you may have threatened to do it to others, but you never did. You only ever hurt me and our son. I trusted you, and you treated me like your punching bag.

I trusted you. I trusted you when you said you cared about my opinion and you wanted my input on things. However, you never really listened to what I had to say or took it into consideration. It was hard enough for me just to get you to pretend you listened to me. You would make all the plans and all the decisions on your own, and you wouldn’t inform me on the details of your plans or let me know what was going on unless I insisted on offering my input. Even then, it turned into a huge argument. Then you wondered why I started leaving all the decisions up to you. It was what you wanted. You wanted to be the decision maker. You wanted to be in control. Then you acted like you didn’t like it and that you cared about what I had to say so that you could avoid being controlling, but when you pushed me to be a part of the decisions you still ended up doing exactly what you were planning in the first place despite whatever I may have had to offer toward the decision. Need an example? How about Qwest? I suggested just getting a basic phone line and relying on whatever wireless internet we could access in the area long before the Bishop said we needed to lower our phone bill. Would you do it? No. Did you even make a compromise? No. You just went ahead and did your own thing. I trusted you, and you shot me down.

I trusted you. I trusted you when I gave you access to everything I had. I changed my cell phone to a family plan with yours. I gave you access to my email. I gave you my computer. I kept no secrets from you at the expense of my own privacy. You gave me nothing in return. You kept track of everything I did online. You kept track of everything I said on the phone. You determined who I could talk to and when and what about. You went through all the mail before I was allowed to look at what you deemed okay for me to look at. I hardly even got to use the computer, because you were always on it. You claimed I could ask to get on it and use it anytime I wanted, but the few occasions I actually did use the computer, you would get so bored I’d have to cut what I was doing short. Or you would constantly be doing something or finding some way to distract me. Or you would think of something I needed to do, and take the computer over while I was doing it. I trusted you, and you exploited me.

I trusted you. I trusted you when you said you wanted us to work together. Did you ever do an equal share of work? No. Even when I was eight months pregnant and it was even harder for me to get around than it was for you, I did everything. All you ever had to do was eat, sleep, and sit around on your lazy hind doing whatever you wanted to do. If I ever tried to get you to do anything to help out, you always had an excuse why you couldn’t do it, even when it was something you’d agreed to do ahead of time. The only time you ever did anything helpful was when it was something you really wanted to do, and even then I usually ended up having to help you do it. I trusted you, and you treated me like a slave.

I trusted you. I trusted you when you said you were proud of me making something of myself. You wanted me to finish my education. You wanted me to get a job I would enjoy. You wanted me to continue volunteering at the Raptor Center. But when it came down to it, you never wanted me to go anywhere. I couldn’t go to my classes. I couldn’t even use the computer to do what I needed to do for my classes. I couldn’t go to work. I couldn’t go to the Raptor Center. You were always too ill, too tired, too grumpy. I couldn’t leave you with our son for fear you would lose your temper with him. I couldn’t leave you, because you were too incapable to care for yourself. I trusted you, and you ruined my good repoire.

I trusted you. I trusted you when you said you were sorry for your mistakes and that you wanted to live a better life, that you wanted to improve. You’d turned yourself in for your crimes when you were younger. You’d joined the church. You’d quit smoking, drinking, and drugs. You knew wrestling wasn’t a good career for a family man and you wanted to get away from it. You got your GED. You were making plans for going to college. You won’t turn yourself in for what you did to me though. You still haven’t even admitted it to anyone but the Bishop who is under obligation to keep it confidential. You don’t really go to church that much, and when you do you don’t really learn from it. You’re always cutting down the lessons and picking them apart, only taking in what you want to hear. You’d probably be better off if you hadn’t quit the smoking, drinking, and drugs, because unfortunately it was only when you were high that you were reasonable. You didn’t really want to quit wrestling. If you were able, you would have kept doing it. You admitted such, and you were always stuck on the wrestling life. Playing wrestling games, reminiscing, keeping tabs on everyone in the wwe. I trusted you, and you got yourself stuck in a rut.

I trusted you. I trusted you, I trusted you, I trusted you. That was what I did wrong. I never should have trusted you. So tell me, how are you not the bad guy? What have I done that was so wrong that I won’t admit, that I won’t accept? I mistreated you? Bull. I never mistreated you. I gave you better treatment than you ever deserved. I’m not accepting my own blame? Look in the mirror pal.

For someone who really wants me back, who really wants to make up for what he did wrong, who really wants to have a family, you sure are doing a bang up job of it. One email? One email of apology, where you said you’d do whatever it takes to get me back? One lousy email. The rest, you are demanding your son. Threatening to charge me with kidnapping.

Well, you aren’t getting your son, and you aren’t getting me. You think I could trust you with him when I’ve seen the way you treat him, just because you’re so impatient you can’t handle him crying? Because you can’t handle him being a baby? I thought he loved you, and that was one of the reasons it was so hard for me to leave, but now that I’m gone I’ve seen a change in his behavior. He is much happier. He sleeps better. He eats better. He “talks” more. He smiles more. He doesn’t screech as much. And I can tell you’ve hurt him. Any raised voices, any large amount of tension and strain in the air, and he starts crying. He has nightmares. He can’t handle it, because of what you put him through.

I’m certainly never coming back. I’m never subjecting myself to your manipulation again. I’m never trusting you again. I’m never giving you control over my life again. I told you before that if you could turn your life around you might see me and your son again. Well, you shot that chance right out of the air. The only time you’ll ever see either one of us is when it is necessary for court. You’ve damaged me too. Probably the majority of what you feel I’ve done wrong can be attributed to damage you’ve caused. Just recently, I had a fight with my mother. She’d been bottling up all her stress as usual and something small and stupid set her off. Normally, I’d be able to let it all blow over and just let her yell at me and get everything out until she’d relieved her stress. But, I couldn’t handle it the way I used to. I snapped. I couldn’t handle the confrontation. I yelled back at her, demanding explanation for why she was treating me so horribly, demanding to know what I’d done that was so wrong to merit her anger. I hid in my bedroom. I couldn’t look her in the eye. Then when I had to come out to the kitchen to help with dinner and she was still yelling at me and she had a knife in her hand, I got tense and scared. I snapped at her in a way I hadn’t done since the time dad had told me about her suicide note. I went back in my room and I cried. I cried out of fear, and frustration, and rekindled memories, and I knew you’d damaged me far deeper than I’d realized.

Like it or not, you are the bad guy. My mistake was trusting you and giving in to you. My mistake was letting you take control over my life. My mistake was letting you manipulate and warp my mind to shape your twisted look on life. My mistake was never putting you in your place. My mistake was not setting the proper boundaries. My mistake was not letting you know what was unacceptable behavior. My mistake was accepting you the way you were and expecting you to improve. My mistake was allowing myself to be intimidated by you. My mistake was keeping my mouth shut. My mistake was never reporting you to the police. My mistake was allowing my son to be subjected to that situation during the most critical developmental stage of his life. My mistake was allowing fear to turn me into a person I never was. My mistake was taking things too fast. My mistake was you.

I never abused you. Your mother may have abused you. Your step parents may have abused you. Your foster parents may have abused you. I don’t really know how much is true, but I am certain that someone somewhere down the line definitely did abuse you. You need help, and it is not help that I can give you. You need help, before you hurt another woman as I’m sure you probably hurt your first wife, as you most certainly hurt me. I have accepted blame for far more than was warranted me for far too long. It is time you accept your own blame. It is time you tell the world the truth. Quit hiding behind all your lies and deceit. If you are truly repentant, you will confess and forsake. You want to tell people that I am listening to Satan, well why don’t you take a step out of your own web of lies. I am not an abuser. I am a victim.

You are just a bully. A bully I wish I’d never met. A bully I don’t want anything more to do with. A bully I want out of my life forever. A bully who has terrified and intimidated me for far too long. A bully who will meet more than he bargained for if he ever comes after me or my son. I may not have had it in me to defend myself and I don’t know if I will ever really have it in me to defend myself for my own sake, but I will do whatever it takes to defend my son, even from his own father, especially from his own father. You are no good, and you never will be.

Though I didn’t realize it then, I’d identified many points in that letter which were also descriptive of my relationship with religion:

1. Placing blame on the victim.

  • God accepts no blame. He is never wrong. He’s perfect and almighty. While we mere humans are sinful and vile. By our very nature, our carnal desires mark us worthy of death. Meanwhile, God punishes us for being exactly what he made us to be. After venting his fury on his children, he sends himself as a “Savior”, to victimize himself and further the illusion of guilt – suffering for OUR sins so that we can be forgiven. Now, it is OUR fault HE suffers, for no other reason than we were born imperfectly.

2. “Love” through control and correction.

  • God is love. He shows his love through his children not only in his sacrifice and forgiveness, but also in correcting us “for our good”. He destroys those who stray too far from the path – sending a meteor to vaporize Sodom and Gomorrah, slaughtering the first-born of Egypt when the Pharaoh would not obey, and flooding the entire earth…

3. The illusion of interest.

  • God wants us to pray to him. He delights in hearing from his children. He wants us to tell him the desires of our hearts, our sorrows, our pains, and our hopes and dreams. In return for sharing with him our innermost feelings, he blesses us by continuing forward with exactly what he planned to do all along no matter what our input might be, because he knows what is best for us better than we do.

4. Removal of privacy and the addition of censorship.

  • God knows your thoughts. He “sees you when your sleeping” and “knows when you’re awake”. He watches every single thing you do and observes every single communication with others. When he does not approve of something, he will insist you avoid it, for your own good. Anyone not praising God and rejoicing in your relationship with him is not worth your company and should be ignored.

5. Grace “after all you can do”.

  • God wants to strengthen us, and he wants us to experience the joy of helping others. He wants us to give all that we can and to be his hand in the lives of those who are struggling. No amount of giving, working, doing is ever enough, and when we are burnt out from all our efforts, he will lighten our load and share our yoke… by piling more shit on our shoulders.

6. Dictating finances.

  • God wants us to pay a tithe in order to assist in building his kingdom on earth. Such tithing should be our top priority and come before even bills. Even when we are struggling and cannot afford to keep our families fed, tithing is more important and should be paid even if it is our last and only “mite”. If we pay with faith, somehow, God will provide.

7. Refusal to compromise or offer a “good faith” first step.

  • God does not compromise. He does not change. His ways are everlasting, forever and ever. When we are in doubt of his greatness, we MUST first have faith in him before the results of such faith can be realized. God will never descend to meet us. Instead, we must ascend to him.

In time, I’ve come to realize that “God” was merely a self-imposed abusive relationship, and the reason he fits into the role of an abuser so well is because he was created by religious leaders who sought to manipulate and control their followers. God was supposed to be perfect – If we placed our faith in him, followed him, dedicated our lives to walking in his ways, then we could never fall. He was supposed to be the solid foundation, the port in the storm, the safe haven… but this is a lie.

“Trust in the Lord”, they say… but such trust is always broken.

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Comments
  1. Lucy Furr says:

    Reblogged this on Church of the Pink Vibe (of Latter Day Sex) and commented:
    A dear friend posted this. Her thoughts are profound.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mvmcentire says:

    Powerful. This closely resembles my own experience of escaping a dysfunctional marriage and realizing that religion had conditioned me to become the perfect victim. Thank you for sharing this. ❤

    Like

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