As I said in My Life With An Abuser – The Beginning , My Life With An Abuser – The Courtship, and My Life With An Abuser – The Marriage – Years 1 and 2 this is my story of meeting a predator; marrying the predator; living with the predator turned abuser; and my escape from the abuser.
Staff Sergeant Potato Head was all about educational trips. (As a fact, he still is.) We would take off on weekends to go sightseeing. Wherever we went, we had to learn something about it. I really couldn’t fault him for that. Education is important. We would drive everywhere. Sometimes he would have a specific destination in mind and sometimes not so much.
Since slapping me around, threatening to leave me, and hiding my things were no longer options, he had to come up with other ways in which to control me. His new favorite thing to do was to tell me to get out of the car, while we were in the middle of nowhere, and to find my own way home. Yes. You did read that correctly.
I remember the first time he did it. We were on a freeway at least 100 miles from home. I had said something which set him off. He slams on the brakes (trying to brake-check me), unbuckles my seat belt, reaches across me and opens the door. He said, “Get out.” I looked at him as though he had suddenly grown two heads.
“I said, ‘GET OUT!’ You can find your own damn ride home!”
He then proceeded to push me out of the car. I had no clue where we were. I failed to pay attention to my surroundings, to the roads driven on, to the cities and towns driven through . . . I contentedly sat in the passenger seat while he did the driving.
I did as ordered. I got out of the vehicle. The moment I shut the door, he took off. I was in shock. I could not believe he actually drove away as though I were no one. Somehow, I did have the presence of mind to get out of the middle of the road and over to the side/Break Down Lane. I started walking. It was the only thing I could do.
I walked close to a mile before a vehicle pulled over. The vehicle turned out to be ours. I walked up to the passenger door and tried to open it. It was locked. He proceeded to drive forward and then stop. I walk up to the door. He does it again. I get to the car, the door is unlocked, I open it . . . And he hits the gas. When he stopped the next time, I just kept walking. I was not going to fall for it again. Finally, he stopped and got out of the car. He said he was sorry. He only meant it to be a joke. He was only trying to have some fun on a boring drive.
If that had been the one and only time he did it, it would be a non-issue. It wasn’t. After the second incident, I paid very close attention to details. I needed to be able to find my way home. I never knew if he would come back right away or let me walk for several miles.
By the end of 1986/beginning of 1987, our relationship seemed to ‘level out.’ He realized he could no longer control me with threats of abandonment or by playing stupid little hide-and-seek games. I learned what to watch for – the triggers. This helped to ‘keep the peace.’
At the end of January 1987, he told me I was pregnant. I didn’t believe him. However, it was confirmed a couple of weeks later. The pregnancy progressed without incident. We had orders to Japan. As I was pregnant and could not make the flight if I was past six months, I went ahead of him.
We did not fly together. He had to attend the Staff Non-Commissioned Officer’s Course. I flew over alone. I lived in the barracks until about two days before his arrival. The barracks was located at the end of the runway. At first, the jets taking off and landing bothered me. However, it did not take long for me to get used the sounds. (To this day, my daughter LOVES airplanes!)
I will say, for all the bad I had to put up with, he was an amazing coach. He had better be! He had already had two children, so in my mind, he was the resident expert! Throughout the whole pregnancy, he seemed to be on his best behavior.
Baby Number 1 was born in a Japanese hospital. I did not speak Japanese and they did not speak English. For a first time mother, it was a VERY unique experience. I was 21 at the time. He was 31. For the first year and a half of Baby Number 1’s life, things seemed to be well.