“I am living in hell from one day to the next. But there is nothing I can do to escape. I don’t know where I would go if I did. I feel utterly powerless, and that feeling is my prison. I entered of my own free will, I locked the door, and I threw away the key.” ― Haruki Murakami
Haruki Murakami indeed put words into how I felt in those days… I felt eternally trapped. I had long stopped living, I was always in survival mode. I was always grateful and looking for those peaceful, honeymoon phases that follow after the abusive episodes… I just wanted to live in a healthy and conducive environment. I cared less about anything else, I just want to be myself and be happy. I wanted to be loved and respected… to be cherished and adored for a woman that I am. I was too manly for my liking… I was playing the roles of both gender in my home, and I was wearing out fast.
As stressful as my first semester was at the U of S, juggling home life with school plus, the stress of domestic violence… I was enjoying my life for the first time in a very long while. Although my ex found one reason or the other to beat me for the first 4 weeks the semester, I was always looking forward to going to school. I was doing very well, nobody would believe that I was being abused in my home. I found great favor before my classmates and professors. Sometimes, I had to go to school with severe aches and pains from the physical abuse I was getting from my ex but nothing would keep me from going to school. By October/November, we settled our quarrel and again, we moved on. The semester ended and I sat for my first final exams at the U of S… I was very proud of myself…I made it in spite of all. I looked forward to taking a break though and to spend the Christmas with my family. I was going to be a relaxing time, I was determined to rest. And I rested indeed… there was no argument or quarrel through the holiday period, we were “perfect family”… at least, for this time period.
School resumes Jan. 5th, 2014. I was looking forward to going back to school, and hopefully it would be a much more better semester… with my hubby. I did not know that another explosive episode was about to begin. The night before resumption was a Sunday… there has been calm in the house throughput the day. I did not foresee any problem, myself and the kids were prepared for school the next morning. We said our prayers before kids went to bed, and I was ready to sleep. However, my ex was “working” on the “family business”… hmm… he seemed stressed out and I decided to ask how I could help…mistake! I hadn’t even finished the statement when he began to yell at me… He was shouting on top of his voice, telling me how I put no efforts into the family business and that if it were another person’s business, I would have enthusiastically supported them… I was flabbergasted! I did not expect such a outbreak… I was just going to help. He said I did not work on the business through the holiday break, I was only watching movies. But, that was MY break… I needed the break, and we all enjoyed the time together. I quickly apologized and went to bed. He angrily left our bedroom…I slept off.
The next morning, we all got ready and my ex was going to drop me at the university and the kids at their schools/daycare. On our way to the university, I apologized to my ex again and promised to try and put in more efforts into the business. He began another episode…kids were in the car. I kept quiet as he went on and on. He angrily dropped me and left. I went to the library to do some studying before my next class. I tried to focus on my study and dissociate myself from what was taking place at home… it was difficult. I then decided to send a text to my ex, apologizing again and again. He responded very fiercely, sending text upon text, telling me again how useless I was. I tried to explain to him all that I do in the house, for the children and him and that now combining all that with school was really taking a huge toil on me. I promised again to try and put in my best with the business… (the business was actually just gulping our resources, we were at deep negative but he wouldn’t accept this fact). I just wanted peace… it’s a new semester, I don’t want the same trouble I had the previous semester. I pleaded and pleaded on text. Then, he sent a text asking that in fact, he wants me to find my way home… I begged him to please let me stay away as he was already furious, and that we should not give a chance to the devil. I certainly knew what would happen if I should go home. He then texted that he was giving me 10-15 min to get home (we lived close by the university but this was in January and it was very cold). He further threatened that should I decide not to come home by the stipulated time, I should know for sure that I had chosen my own consequence. I was scared… my heart almost jumped out of me. I was on the 5th floor of Murray library at the U of S. I pondered on what to do… I knew what would happen to me should I go home, and I also know that if I did not go home, he may not allow me in the house again… fear of unknown.
I chose to go home I packed my books, and headed to Place Riel… where I would catch the next bus going my route. B the time I got to Place Riel, I had missed the bus and would have to wait for the next one. I sent a text to my ex that I will not be able to make the 10-15 mins he commanded as I missed my bus… he replied back saying that it was my choice to stay away and that I would bear the consequences. Anyways, I took the next bus and went home. I ding-donged and he opened the door. He asked that I sit on one of the dining chairs, he had his laptop on the dining table, I did. He began to interrogate me… going back to me flirting with guys and the lack of trust. He continued on and on… he wouldn’t allow me speak. I sat there but my anger was fast building up. At a point, I stood up and yelled at him to stop. I was super furious. He screamed me down, we began a serious fight… kids were at school. He hit me, I hit him back… I was so ready to destroy everything. How dare him? I respected him… he asked me to leave the library and come home to be insulted and ridiculed. I was mad!!! He began to scream and hit me, calling me all sorts of names, I reciprocated with the same. He then called his sister in England to tell her that “Titi has started her violent behavior”…, really?
The sister asked him to give me the phone, and he did. He then was about to sit at the dining to continue working on the laptop…I grabbed the laptop and ran to the bedroom and locked the door…his sister was still on the phone. He was screaming for me to release his laptop as he was “working to put food on the table for the family”. Guess what, I would rather go famishing and even die of hunger than give back the laptop. If I could not study in peace, he too will not work in peace. I was infuriated! As his sister was talking to me in the phone, my ex was banging on the door… he was asking me to open the door so he could have his laptop… nope, that will not happen… I insisted. My children were not home anyways so I was totally determined to fight to finish . He eventually began to threaten that he would smash down the bedroom door if I don’t open it, and he did just that. He gave the door a good kick and pierced through the door right in the center. I was shocked! Did he just broke through the door and was I dreaming? What!!!
We continued the fight, hitting me and beating me severely but I wasn’t going to give up. He eventually stopped beating me and went to his home office. I took a picture of the broken door and my swollen mouth before going to go pick my kids from school. I tried to mask things up but kids could tell. By the time I returned home with the kids, my ex had removed the damaged door and placed it in the garage, covering it with a flat board we had in the garage. He tell replaced the bedroom door with the office door. When kids got home they could see signs of the violence but I said nothing, they said nothing either. We began another episode of silent treatment. I was not going to bulge this time around. I was regaining my confidence and self worth. The kids asked their dad why the office no longer has a door, he lied to them. They later saw the broken door in the garage, and they could put the puzzle together.
This time will be different! I went back to school and booked an appointment to see a counselor… maybe I am not as “locked in” as I thought… to be continued