In the beginning, when we first met, he was 28 and I was 18. He was fun. He made things fun. I didn’t see anything wrong with the age difference. I didn’t see anything wrong with the fact that he was a Staff Sergeant and I was only a Private First Class. We went places together. He was really good at being tour guide.
What I failed to see in the beginning, was the controlling, manipulative behavior. I didn’t see a grown man reeling me in, making me feel comfortable, getting me to lower my guard. He was good. Oh, was he ever good at the manipulation game.
It didn’t really matter that he had been married once already. Based on what he had to say about her, she was the controlling, manipulative, evil troll. She was keeping his kids from him. She had left him shortly after they were married because she couldn’t handle being away from her family. That was how it was told to me . . . in the beginning.
We met in January 1985. I had just arrived at my first duty station – Headquarters, Marine Corps. He was the one who greeted me and took me to the office. He waited a few weeks before he started making his move. I truly didn’t think anything of it because I thought he was into my roommate. She just thought he was creepy. (She saw things I definitely wasn’t seeing yet.)
We started seeing each other in February 1985. The writing was on the wall from the very beginning, but I was too naive to see it. I couldn’t hang with any of my friends. If I wasn’t in my barracks room, he would track me down. I had to spend all of my free time with him. There was no break. There was no breathing room. So by March, I was sick of him. We broke up.
He worked and worked and worked me until I was worn down. Did I mention he was really good at the manipulation/mind games? We got back together by April. Broke up again by the end of April. Then, on 15 May 1985 we got married.
I was screaming “DIVORCE” before the ink was even dry on the marriage certificate. However, I was determined to make it work. I did not want to have a “failure” on my hands. That is how I saw divorce. I would love to say I should have just went ahead and divorced him BUT had I not had the life experiences I did while married to him, I would not be the person I am now.
That is how I live my life – with no regrets. I do not regret any of my life experiences. Why? Because if I did, it means I would regret the lesson that came from that experience or I would regret the outcome or I would regret how my life is now.
In the beginning, I was an Active Duty Marine but struggled with my weight. I would use laxatives to help “control” my weight – to ensure I was within my maximum allowable weight. There were days of not eating – a lot of them. The closer it got to Weigh In, the more I combined laxatives and not eating. Talk about unhealthy! Oh my gosh, that is one of the worst ways to lose weight! The hell I put my body through just to meet – or if lucky – be below a specific weight. 😦 I’ve been so traumatized about weight and scales that I rarely step on them now. When I do, I am usually fairly accurate about how much I way.
On top of the stress of meeting the Marine Corps’ stringent requirements, I had to go home nightly to a physically, emotionally and mentally abusive spouse. Granted, in the beginning, I gave just as good as I got physically. However, the emotional and mental abuse wore me down. There’s only so much of, “You’re a fat, lazy bitch who does nothing but sit on your fat, lazy ass all day!” a person can take before it starts to get into the head space. That was just one of MANY comments. There were so many little things that eventually added up to much bigger and worse things.
The physical abuse stopped for a while after we were forced by our command to go through counseling. I learned what triggers to watch for. I stopped fighting back. I guess for him, it was no longer fun. When the physical stopped, the emotional and mental abuse kicked in even harder. He knew I had abandonment issues because of my father. He used to threaten to leave me just like my father did. That went on for almost two years. Then one day, I had my “Aha” moment. I had finally had enough of him threatening to leave me. I got tired of him telling me there would never be someone who would love me or want me the way that he did. So, one night after another one of his rants, I said, “Fine! You want to leave. Leave! Make sure you don’t let the door hit you in your ass on the way out! As a fact, come on! Let’s go upstairs.” At this point, he was shocked. He asked me why we needed to go upstairs. I told him I was going to help him pack because I was going to make sure he was gone. I let him know he may not want me but I didn’t care. I would be fine all by myself.
My momma taught me (and my siblings) we do NOT need another person to survive on our own financially or anything else. I KNEW I had my family in my corner. I am thankful to have a very close relationship with her. I can tell her (and my siblings) anything and not be too harshly judged. They love me unconditionally. I didn’t learn that not everyone is blessed with that kind of family until I was almost 25 years old. It breaks my heart to know there are parents out there who place conditions on the ones they are supposed to love unconditionally.
There is so much more to this story. In getting it all out, I’m hoping I can find the inner strength and determination I seemed to have lost as I have gotten older. I believe it’s in me. I just have to wake it up, dust it off and bring it out into the light. While sharing my story, I hope I can help just one other person find his/her “Aha moment.”
For now, I must stop so I can get in my “Upper Body Fix” and then get ready for work. Have a terrific Tuesday!