December 28th – (After my lightbulb moment) Happy Anniversary
Once I made the conscious to decision to leave Scott, letting the hotel screen door slam as I walked out, I wiped my tears and pulled myself together.
I was eerily calm riding in the back of the beat up old Uber van. The driver barely spoke English and couldn’t find the hotel I booked last minute. I had called my brother, who has a place in Marco Island. He said I could stay with him for a few days while I figure out next steps. So I picked a hotel midway between Sanibel Island and Marco, near the airport in Naples where my brother graciously offered to pick me up in the morning.
After Scott left me in full panic mode in that small hotel room to go have dinner with his mother and kids, his last words echoed over and over. “Suit yourself. You’re being selfish. You’re overreacting. You’re a horrible wife and mother. How dare you abandon your family. You’re a fucking psycho bitch.” Plus much, much more. Happy Anniversary.
Then the messages started rolling in from Scott. Most would think your partner of 30 years would be worried. Show concern. Ask if I was ok. Beg me to come back. Or, even give me space to breath. Nope. Instead I was inundated with hateful, spiteful, messages. Even lists. List of all the times he ‘claims’ I left the family. Lists of times he claimed I overreacted. Lists upon lists of mean, hurtful, hateful words.
It was abuse – verbal and mental abuse at its finest. I’d already come to recognize the signs having read Patricia Evans “The Verbally Abusive Relationship” that really started it all on my path to understanding and breaking free. (If you haven’t read it, you should.) More on that to follow.
Both Scott and the kids had the following week off for “winter break.” So, I knew I wouldn’t be putting a burden on anyone with my absence. I just couldn’t fathom getting on that plane tomorrow. It’s difficult to explain how strong the feeling was — like a lightening bolt hitting me with complete clarity. Call it sick sense, panic attack, divine intervention, who knows. I had no doubt whatsoever I was doing the right thing. I knew I had to make a change and now. My life depended on it.
It didn’t really hit me until the kids called after their dinner. They wanted to know where I went. All I could think to say was that I wasn’t feeling well and decided to stay with my brother and family in Florida for a few more days while they headed back to the arctic tundra where we now reside in Michigan.
Now in the airport hotel room, the tears began to flow. This time in great waves. I cried for my children. I had stayed in this marriage thinking that by keeping the family unit intact, I was helping them. Instead, I was doing the opposite. I had hoped this vacation would bring us all closer together. But it only verified what I knew to be true but couldn’t accept; our family was dysfunctional. That’s not the message I want our children growing up with any longer.
I cried that my marriage had come to an end. The very foundation of my marriage was broken and couldn’t be fixed. That became abundantly clear when my knight in shining armor wouldn’t go to battle for me. He didn’t want to put a mark on that glossy veneer. Scott’s threats over the years haunted me. He said he would destroy me if I ever found the courage to leave. And I believed him. I cried because I was scared as hell. Now what?