My Survivor Story (Part 2)
Read My Survivor Story beginning at Part 1 here.
I am almost 30 now and I feel strong, but I still am haunted sometimes. I decided to write down this story over the past week. It was empowering to finally write it down and think through all of it. I survived. I have three beautiful children now, I am working on a Master's Degree and I have a job at a prestigious college, I am an awesome and strong woman! Below is the second part of my story that I finally had the courage to face and write:
In May of 2005, I finished an associate’s degree in Human Services, and this was also the month I gave birth to my son. I decided to move 8 hours away from my family and support system to be with him and provide a loving family home for my son. After all, every child should grow up with both of their parents in their lives. I lived in a cute little mountain home; the nearest person was a quarter mile away at the end of our driveway. It was wonderful until I realized it wasn’t. I was not in the healthy relationship that I thought I was. And yes at this point in time, I was thinking I was in a healthy relationship. I was secluded for a reason, it is easier to break a woman down and control her when she is all alone.
The first week I was there, my son was about one month old. It was decided that we needed a date night. We left the house, and he decided that a strip club was a good place to take a woman who had just had a baby a few weeks ago. Naked girls with practically flawless bodies are just what you need to feel rejuvenated after child birth and becoming a first time mother. I did not complain about our date; I went along with it and kept my mouth shut. At least I was getting a small break.
About a month passes after our date night and I noticed him leaving the house more with me stuck and alone. He would take the car and not come back for hours. He also had not gotten a job. He decided that selling drugs was the way to support his family. I offered to get a job to pay bills since I did have an associate’s degree and I loved to work. He told me that I was not allowed, because it was the man’s job to take care of his family. It was my job to keep the house clean and take care of the baby. I knew I wouldn’t trust anyone to take care of my son better than myself. I decided I would just look the other way.
About a month after that, he still had no job. I was starting to get cabin fever because of the amount of time I spent alone in the house with just the baby. I begged him to let me go out with him and just get out of the house. One night he decided I could go out with him and he took me to his friend’s house. It was a house that multiple drug addicts frequented at. I was just ecstatic to get out of the house and actually talk to another human being; I did not care where it was. While I was there, he left with the car for hours. That is when people started to talk. They explained that he was cheating on me and that I was so stupid for allowing it and not knowing it. I actually told them “He would never do that to me! He loves me and loves our son; he would never do anything to break up our family.” They convinced me to call him and find out who he was with and what he was doing. I called and sure enough he was with a 16 year old girl and he finally admitted to having an affair with her. I told him to return with my car immediately or I was reporting it stolen by him and pressing charges. He returned to the trailer within 30 minutes. I handed back my engagement ring and told him I was leaving and that I was done. He looked me straight in the eyes and told me that I would be nothing without him; I would always end up with trash because that is what I was attracted to. I would end up a single mom for my entire life. Those words frightened me, what if he was right?
I left and went to Maryland the next morning. A week later, I returned to get my stuff. He was waiting for me at the house. He explained how sorry he was and it tore him apart knowing that he couldn’t hold his son whenever he wanted. He convinced me that our son needed both parents in his life no matter what. He convinced me that I should stay, so my son would grow up with a father and be less likely to be broken like he was. I agreed to stay for my son’s sake. My son deserved two loving parents in his life and who was I to make him face a difficult life with a single parent. He found the weak link in me, my love for my child and he would use that as a weapon whenever he could.
I talked him into going to social services in order to get a welfare check and food stamps every month. He agreed, and he said he would go through the program at Social Services and attempt to get a real job. Things were going to be different now that he knew I would leave and he would be without his son. I had control of the situation.
A family down the street was being evicted and we opened up our home to a man, his wife and their three children. I was relieved to have another woman in the house; someone who I grew to love like family. I was no longer alone.
My boyfriend decided though that the relationship thing was not working out for him, but he would still take care of my son and me. He would take care of us, but he needed freedom. He said he would never bring anyone else home. I thought about it and as long as my son had both of his parents, did it really matter? My life was about my child now anyways. Good parents make sacrifices for their children and mine would be allowing my boyfriend his freedom. And perhaps I could see if I could find someone better for me too. Everything will work out and be fine.
Rules started coming shortly after his decision, and my desire to maybe try dating other people too started to rise. However, I was only allowed to have friends that he approved of. His list of appropriate people to date came out because there was so much trash in that town; he wanted to protect me. I wasn’t interested in any of the men on the approved list, so I just did without. I really couldn’t go out to meet people anyways since he left me at home without transportation; I spent all my time taking care of my son which was the best thing in the world anyways. I also had another woman living with me and I had other human contact. I was good.
Around October, a group of people from the town heard about work for the Hurricane Katrina clean up. A group of men decided to go down which included my child’s father and the other man that was living with us at the time. While they were gone, my friend introduced me to a single dad. He was a very nice man who was trying to get his life in order. We enjoyed talking. He came down one evening. On a phone call, the other’s man voice was heard in the back ground. I explained who he was and I was told that he needed to leave immediately. Apparently my friend’s husband thought his wife was having an affair with him. Her husband found a way back home in a fit of rage. He showed up to the house, and my friend and I barricaded ourselves in the house, terrified. He finally broke in and started beating my friend. He finally calmed down enough that I could explain that I had invited the other man to the house. He calmed down. We were safe again.
In November, my son needed to be hospitalized for RSV. I had visited the doctors that morning for a cough. The doctor sent us to the hospital for more testing. I received a phone call that afternoon saying my son had RSV and to take him to the hospital if I noticed he had breathing problems. Later that evening, my son started coughing so bad he was choking. I had to flip him and pound on his back. Then he started crying and would not stop. It was not like him to not stop crying. I needed a ride but it was only me, my friend, and her children at the house; we could not all fit in the car. I couldn’t put my son down because I just wanted to comfort him. We called the man that I had over the house the previous month. He came down to the house and took me and my son in my car to the nearest hospital. He stayed by my side. When I needed help holding my son down or just needed my hand held, he was there. Finally the hospital said that my son needed to be hospitalized but I had to either take him by ambulance to another hospital or drive there myself. I didn’t want to leave my son alone so we drove him to the other hospital. When we got there my baby was put into an oxygen tent and regularly monitored by nurses and doctors. The other man stayed by my side until my son’s father finally got back into town from his trip. I got the third degree for allowing him to drive me and my son to the hospital. The man slowly ducked out of the hospital and I never saw or talked to him again. My son’s father left that night and did not come back for 5 days. I had no access to money. I went one day without eating and I finally obtained the guts to ask a nurse for food. I explained that I was breastfeeding and I needed nutrients in order to keep feeding my son. I explained that we were dropped off at the hospital and my son’s father left me with no money. I cried and begged the hospital to feed me so I could feed my son. That night I began receiving in patient meals. My son was in the hospital for 5 days, he was as healthy as could be and we were picked up and brought home. I did get fed and my son was better; really there was nothing to complain about.
Continue Reading My Survivor Story (Part 3) I Woke Up!