Thursday, July 12, 2007


I’m not quite sure if that is the appropriate title for this post but it is the only word that keeps swimming in and out of my mind so it is the one I use. It seems like such a little kid word to me. Something you call someone on the playground but it envelopes so much of how I feel about this whole situation with Jake.

People often wonder why battered women stay with their abusers. They look at it from the outside and they say why doesn’t she just run? I think it is much the same for people who stay with addicts, because let’s face it; they are not really pleasant people either. Now while I can’t speak for everyone I can speak for myself. I tend to do it quite often and quite loudly. This is why this whole situation has seemed so strange to me.

Why didn’t I just speak out? Tell someone what was going on and let them help me. The answer is two fold. (Or possibly three or four…) When you are in a situation with someone who is abusing you or themselves it really is a day to day event. You have really good days and really bad days. Unfortunately for someone in my position something gets lost in translation so to speak.

Somehow the good days overshadow the bad days. By like 100 fold. When Jake would go out and use or he would become angry and violent I would believe him when he would tell me that was the last time. I would believe him when he told me the pipe I found was old or that he was just out with his friends and not getting high. I believed him because I HAD to believe him. And even when I knew it was stupid to continue to do so I did it anyway.

There is a lot of fear and shame in a person's life when they are living like this. I would believe him when he would say something to me so I didn't tell anyone about it because if I had said to my mom or to my friends, I think Jake is using drugs they would have told me to leave him and that was not what I wanted at that moment. I had convinced myself that it was the last time and so why "rock the boat" so to speak by involving others.

Then when he would fail again, and he always did, I just felt stupid. I didn't feel like I could tell anyone after the fact because really, the more you put up with the more idiotic you feel. I would look back on it and think "you knew what he was doing, why do you put up with it?"

So, knowing that I had made a stupid choice I kept it to myself. Hell, I already knew it was stupid; I didn’t need anyone else pointing it out to me. Half the time most of his friend already knew he was lying to me and that was enough of people rubbing it in my face. They all knew when he cheated on me back in 2000. They were all there and they all looked at me when I would come over to their house and not ONE of them said anything. Talk about feeling like and idiot!!

On top of feeling stupid there is also fear. I think, like me, a lot of people who stay are afraid to leave. Sometimes they don't know how they will pay their bills on their own or where they will live. Sometimes the abuser convinces them that they will be harmed if they leave or that they will be worthless. And sometimes, like me they are just scared to be alone and scared of life without this person. Jake is not a bad person. He just has a bad addiction. That is what I kept holding on to. That he could be a good person and what if I left and then he got better and I missed it?

Because let’s face it. People who stay with addicts or abusive people (or in my case both) are not stupid. I was VERY aware of what was going on and that it was not how I should have lived my life. If I would have been naive I wouldn’t have hid it from everyone. I didn’t tell them because I knew.

However, with that said I was somewhat powerless to do anything about it. I could look back on every incident and say that was awful, I don’t ever want to do that again. I could promise myself that next time I would leave. Next time I won’t call if he disappears. Next time I’ll file the divorce papers. But somehow it never happened.

There is some power that an “abuser” has over the other person. Something that I can’t quite explain. I was never the quiet meek woman. I fought back with Jake. I told him my feelings and I tried very hard to get my point across. I never just let him walk all over me without a fight, but in the end, I did let him walk all over me.

In my book I describe it as somewhat like a drug. Getting my fix of Jake. We would get in a huge argument and he would peel out of the driveway. Usually to go get wasted. I would know where he was going but somehow would be mad enough at him that I didn’t care. Then after about 30 minutes I would start to panic a little. Than 30 minutes later I would begin to call.

It was always the same. He would either not answer… making me really panic more or he would answer and he would make me false promises. It didn’t matter what he said, all I needed to get my “fix” was the sound of his voice. Now I know to most of you this sounds pretty stupid. Hell to me it sounds pretty stupid and I’m writing it but it is the truth as best I know it.

Some part of my emotional being “needed” Jake and so while my logical side said that I didn’t, over and over again, it was in direct conflict with my emotional side. And somehow, over the past 10 years and against my better judgment most of the time my emotional side won out.

I guess in a way that is sort of where I am stuck at now. My logical side has made the choice to stay with Jake. To give him this one opportunity to be a part of my life and his son’s life full time. It was not a decision I came to lightly but it was a decision that ultimately I decided on.

Now my heart, the part of me that Jake has always held in the palm of his hand, supports this decision fully. It is the rest of my emotional side that is struggling. The part of me that is SOO very angry with him for the things that he has done and the things that he has put me through.

A lot of my friends and family members are angry at him for this too and most of them only know about 1/4 of the whole story. And part of that is because of fear. I have not wanted to tell them everything because I don't want to hear that there is no hope for us or that I need to run as fast as I can in the other direction. I want to be able to get over this struggle. I want to stop having the nightmares and the flashbacks.

I want to stop flinching every time I see someone in the back of a police car or every time I hear sirens. I want to stop checking to see who the driver is every time I pass a jeep just to make sure it's not Jake headed somewhere he shouldn't be. I want this all to go away and I can't make it do that.

Hence the breakdown as of late. I am hoping that talking with someone will help me to make myself one whole instead of two halves. I have been in conflict, my logical side with my emotional side for the better part of ten years and I need to fix that.

There’s a new song out and there is one line which I really like. The rest of the song doesn’t really apply to me… but the line I like is…

I hope you know,
I hope you know,
That this has nothing to do with you,
It’s personal
Myself and I
We got some straightening out to do

That is how I feel right now. I need to get myself straight and discover who I am as a whole person before Jake enters back into my life. I have to figure out how to stop being haunted by what happened and move on. And if I can’t stop the nightmares and allow him to be in my life than I have to learn how to let go. All of this I hope the counselor can help me with.

For now, Jake is gone. It is just me and Zack making due the best that we can and I need to get myself fixed up so that I can be the best mother to him. With or without Jake.

It's taken me three and a half months to come to this place and I'm sure it will take me several more to come through it. However, driving home the other day I realized something. There was a song on and it just hit me…

“Though you’re still with me… I’ve been alone all along.”

I was afraid to be alone so I let him stay but he was never really here to begin with. That's a start… I'm sure the rest will come with time.


kbreints said...

Heather you have come so far- yet you seem to be stuck in a very similar rut as you have been in for 10 years. The hard choices are yet to come. I think that you need to choose you. Choose you and Zack instead of choosing Jake. I am not saying that you should not move forward with your plan to eventually get Jake home, but I am saying that you need to let Jake know that you & Zack are doing great without him and that if he wants to be a part of the family he will have to be clean and stay clean. (Oh, and you will have to mean it)

I know that you are coming up on a tough weekend. I am glad that the meeting is the end of it and not the begining. You will be able to have a day with him and then the meeting and see how he is truly doing.

My biggest question to you on Sunday will be, "When is enough- enough? and to Jake, "When does his family become more important than the drug?"

Tink said...

Wow girl. This post was absolutely... profound. I really think you HAVE grown in the last few months. I hope you continue growing.

Anonymous said...

Your starting to get it! I can tell you this because I'm the ex-wife of an addict. His addiction becomes your addiction even though you aren't putting the needle in your arm. i'm not saying you have to get a divorce but I went through this. I think counseling is GREAT. Find yourself and let Jake back when you are ready and girl as soon as he messes up you HAVE to let go. For an addict it's not a matter of choosing family over drugs. They don't want to use those drugs but they HAVE to have them. He has to stay clean for himself. You have to recover from his addiction just like he does. Take it day by day. Don't worry about him moving home just yet. Take it day by day. If he messes up when he comes home send him back. He has to start all over again. Meaning go back to square one and he doesn't come home for another 3.5 months.

Connie said...

When family is terminally ill and fighting so hard for sake of those who will be left behind, that is the time we have to say 'it's okay to die.' During your time of trials and tribulations, I want you to remember that it is okay to move forward without Jake. It's really okay to do what is right for just you and Zack, not for the rest of the world.

Jessica said...

All I can think reading these comments is....FINALLY!!!!!!
Finally things are said that make sense. I feel like prior to this post and these comments there was a lot of shall I say...sunshine blowing!
I don't mean any disrespect to anyone and I am certianly not referring to the support and encouragement for Heather and Spike as the sunshine blowing.

For me....I can't encourage you to stay with Jake because I am not convinced that is the best thing for you and Spike. (which is not for me to decide-merely my opinion)
All along I have tried to support YOU and Spike of course. For 10 years you have put Jake first. A relationship will never survive playing a role as a mother child relationship. Which is what you and Jake have developed. In addition you are a mother now, you need to put yourself and your baby first.
I smiled with KBReints said to choose you...Did that sound famililar? No we are not ganging up on you! :)
You are learning and growing as Heather and now I am beginning to see the strength everyone has said you had all along. Staying with Jake is the easy thing...maybe even the weak thing. (once again my opinion) You are learning that you don't need him and should you choose to stay with him it will be because he fits into your life and your heart! NOW THAT....is strength! Keep climbing girl...You will make it, I have faith in you!!!!

Mamalujo said...

Thank you for sharing these thoughts.

Jill A said...

Heather, you are more brave than you think. You are taller, stronger and faster than you could ever imagine. You're a mother, and that makes you one of the most powerful creatures on Earth.

With this strength comes a responsibility. You have to take care of not only your child, but yourself as well. That might mean freeing yourself from the weight of Jake. His emotional battles are your battles.

I used to live in fear of being alone. I still do in some regard. But, I have come to understand one thing: I'd rather be alone than with someone and lonely. I would rather lead my life than have someone dictate it - in any way.

I think you and Jake will be able to work it out, if he can live up to your expectations. You have every right to set them high, but as long as he knows what they are when he comes back, there will be no excuse for his failure.
And you will not need to make any excuses either.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you've decided to get help dealing with your emotional turmoil. It's such a relief talking to a third party who won't judge you or ridicule you, but let you be free to speak what you feel and really be honest with her and yourself. Your insurance covers a visit once a week, so I say use it all you can! There's such a stigma with seeking help for your mental health, but really, it's no different than going to a nutritionist or a personal trainer. You have to keep your head clear so you can be the best mom to Zack and so you can begin to enjoy life again. I really hope you can get there.

-cousin Laura

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't call it Stupid, I'd call it Love. Love blinds us to what is obvious in retrospect. It also makes the situation very difficult to understand for someone who doesn't love Jake. Just cutting him out of your life isn't as simple as it might seem.

I'm not blowing sunshine here. My story didn't have a happy ending and the individual was cut out of our life. It doesn't always have to end that way. I'm glad your friends are bluntly honest with you yet willing to support you while you try to make this work.

All the best to you!