It started quite innocently. He and I were chosen to host an
event in my undergraduate years so we had to hang out to get to know each other. I thought
he was fun to be with, and after a while I started liking him and we became an
item. We were friends, real friends, doing everything together. It was easy to
be in love with him. There were times when he would say mean things like, “Your
stomach isn’t flat enough to wear that shirt” or “I wish you could be like
(insert name of random friend) because she’s smarter than you are.”
I took it all in stride because I was used to hearing
criticisms like that. My own stepfather would remind me of how worthless I was
on a regular basis and how I would only be used by men for sex. I believed him.
So when my boyfriend would tell me I wasn’t worthy to wear
his name I figured he was right. And when I got pregnant from him and had his
son, things didn’t change. By the time I had his second son, things had gotten
worse. He wouldn’t put his hands on me but he wouldn’t help me, refusing to even
give me a ride to the hospital when I was in labor.
I had to be quiet about it. I still do. Now that my sons
live with him I just have to shut up and take whatever he dishes out because he
is more financially capable of caring for our sons than I am. When they lived
with me I could barely hack it. Working a 9 to 5, with two kids, a crummy car
and a $1000 rent to pay was too much for me when he completely
stopped paying his child support payment, which at the time was less than $200.
Can you tell me how an attorney with two children can arrange something like
that? I have no idea. Every time I went to the pro bono lawyers asking for
help, they said they could not help me.
Ever since I met him I have had to deal with his taunts and harassment and watch him try to convince my sons that I am not important in their lives.
Everyone I knew blamed me for not being
strong enough to get help.
As I prepared to move to a new state to search for
employment, he asked to care for the boys while I did my job search. Two days
after my move I found a job and called to ask for my boys. I made
him sign an agreement that he would give my children back, but he wouldn’t give
them to me. Instead I received paperwork from his law office stating he was
filing for custody and I could not remove them from his home or I would face jail time. So I left the boys with him waiting for our court date, which never
came. He lied.
Why do I even share this story? I don’t want anyone to feel
sorry for me or to laugh at me for not being smart enough to handle this
situation by myself. I can’t. And ever since I met him I have had to deal with
his taunts and harassment and watch him try to convince my sons that I am not
important in their lives. I hurt so much and I know I’m not supposed to. I am a
Parenting writer and I read all of the stories on this site about movies to
watch with your teen and ways to bake cookies, and I wish for a moment that I
could have those experiences to write about — but instead my life reflects this.
No one will believe me because he receives awards all the time and he’s on the cover of magazines.
I have children I can barely support financially. I have a
baby daddy who abuses me emotionally every chance he gets, threatening me with
jail time because of his status as a lawyer and my inability to pay all of my
child support. I can’t even talk to my children unless he allows me to, and if I
text him to ask him to let me speak to them, he says no. He says I have to pay
their phone bills or I can’t speak to them at all. I can’t afford it, I tell
him. I made $18,000 last year. He says he doesn’t care. My foot is broken, I tell him. I can’t work
as a waitress anymore. I don’t have any income. He says he doesn’t care. Claim
them on your taxes, he demands of me, because he knows any tax return I get will
be sent directly to him and he wants me to receive more money. I can’t. They
live with you. It’s illegal. He says he doesn’t care and that I am a loser.
And no one will believe me because he receives awards all the time and he’s on the cover of magazines. No one cares about how I feel
because I am not physically raising my children, so I do not matter. I try to
keep my pain inside, enduring all of the cruel text messages and emails alone. Why
do his words even matter so much? Why do I hear his voice in my nightmares?
Because of him every man I meet becomes my enemy. I am
abusive toward others, including my friends and even people who want to
befriend me. In every man, I see his face. I see his face reflected in the world
and I hate the world, most days. I wish for death, his or mine. I don’t believe
in God anymore. How can I?
I figure life is a punishment and I’m stuck here, and it’s
hard because I don’t know what I did to deserve to be punished. So I try my
best to give love through my empowerment
projects, hoping maybe something
I create through all this pain will offer relief to someone else.