Oh Please Help Me

lovehadleyDecember 22, 2010

I screwed up, ladies. So terribly. I'm crying, shaking, so upset.

Today was SS's last day before winter break. Classroom parties are from 2:30-3:15, and of course, I didn't go, BM was there.

I talked with my hubby this afternoon and said "make sure she does not come out front with him." (Parents attending parties park in back of school, carpool line is around the front.)

DH said fine. But you know--what can he do?

At 3:20 the kids come running out; I'm in my car, with DD in the backseat, and I see SS coming down the sidewalk, which is literally 5 ft from my car. And who is RIGHT behind him shooting me a DEATH STARE?


I panicked ladies! Panicked! I have never been that close to her since she punched me; I felt like I was going to vomit, my hands started shaking and I started to CRY.

And, of course, she could see all of this! All of it!

I am completely, utterly humiliated. I was shaking and breathing really heavily, and she just kept coming closer and closer. She stops RIGHT NEXT to my car---like 2 ft away---and THEN kisses SS and gives me a hug, all while STARING at me the whole time. (He was facing her, she was facing my car.)

Oh, ladies, I screwed up. SS got in the car and I'm basically hyperventilating. DD is like "what's wrong mommy, what's wrong?"

And BM is still standing there staring! Thank GOD the line moved and I pulled forward. This is where I SCREWED UP. I was so upset, I called DH and started crying/ranting/accusing him of not protecting me.

The kids are silent. :( I feel SOOOO TERRIBLE for exposing them to that. I hate this. I hate what I've become. My poor DD especially...I am her MOTHER, her ONLY parent, her guiding force.

I'm sick over this. Thankfully, DH had the sense to tell me to stop talking in front of them and call him when I got home.

I got home, called DH sobbing, and he told me he was really sorry, he told BM to go out the backdoor and she said she would and he can't control what she does; and at some point I need to get over this.

I don't know how??? I am in such intense psychotherapy right now for a mental illness and I know the pain I'm feeling is really about DEEPOER issues. About being emotionally and sometimes physically abused by my mom. Emotionally abused by my dad.

BM is like my mom in my life---a violent drunk whom I cannot escape.

Hence my wretched reaction today.

I'm so upset!

I found out from DH just now that the *reason* BM walked SS out front was to *make sure* I was there.

SCREW THAT. Have I EVER missed a carpool??? NO and she knows it! LIAR. LIAR. She walked out there to cause exactly that reaction! Because she is a psycho!

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It's okay....take a long, slow, deep breath, or two. You didn't hurt the kids in any way and they will likely forget whatever you said to your DH. So don't worry about that part.

You probably did overreact by yelling at DH, because he can't control her in any way.

My best guess is that him asking her to go out the back only egged her on.

I have a feeling that once you work through all these other issues, BM will become less and less of a threat to you.

I agree with you, she walked out with him to, once again, push the boundaries you and DH have been so diligent at keeping up. She will do anything to breech those boundaries for no other reason than to know she can.

It's okay, Love. Everything will work out in the end if you and DH keep your united front.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2010 at 6:27PM
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This woman beat the sh!t out of you,
she's stalking you,
your husband loves being in the middle of 2 women "scrapping" (squabbling, fighting over him, whatever you want to call it), loves it so much that he keeps his ex all excited about doing it, & he has you convinced that it's up to you do deal with it.

which is why he not only "allows" but *wants* you picking his child up at school.

*Stop doing that*!

You're tied in so many knots that you are convinced that panicking & crying when "hugged" by your assailant (a crazy woman who might very well have a knife in her hand) means that *you* "screwed up".

which is what abused women & children always think;
"It was my fault".
"I shouldn't have made him mad".
"I should have taken a different way home from work".

Sicko people always make their victims think it's the victim's fault.

It isn't.

You need an *expert* advocate, such as one at a women's shelter who has vast experience with this kind of violence,
you need to know, to be convinced in your heart, that this horror isn't your fault & that it *is* the fault of your husband as much as it is the fault of the woman who's doing the actual assault,
& you need this woman stopped cold.

Your "Dear" husband is doing you a horrible disservice by critiquing your "handling" of things (which, by the way, keeps you on the defensive so that you *can't* disengage, you're too busy defending yourself & finding fault with your own behavior).

If your counsellor cannot or will not address this as a separate problem, call a battered women's group & get some help;
your husband is as much to blame as his ex, & your mental health & physical well-being are both under attack.

Get out of this hellhole before you lose your mind.

I wish you the very best.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2010 at 6:31PM
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I can understand how you felt when you saw the BM. Bad memory can come back so fast. As long as you are married to your H, his baggages, children and x-spouse, will always be there. You cannot control how the BM will act, but you can control how you feel about her and the whole situation.

I believe circumstances do not make you, they reveal you and your inner core. I am sure your therapist has many suggestions for you to do. One of the ways that I have applied for many years in my life is yoga and meditation. These 2 things in addition to your therapy will help you LIVING MORE IN THE PRESENT MOMENTS, instead of letting the past haunt and the future worry you.

There are so many books out there about living in the moments, you can check out books from THICH NHAT HANH, Wayne Dyer and the likes from your local library.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2010 at 7:40PM
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Over the course of a lifetime our kids are going to see us mess up, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. On the one hand you modeled fear of a situation that scared you out of proportion to the actual event. But on the other hand, even though you are frightened, you keep on going, picking your stepson up, taking care of him, coping and doing what you need to do despite your fear.

I don't believe courage is the lack of fear. I think true courage is when I'm afraid, but I keep going and do what I need to do in the face of my fear. You are modeling courage for both those children.

Your therapist should be able to give you tips on how to explain this episode to your kids. Kids are tougher, more resilient, and more understanding than we give them credit for most times.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2010 at 10:07PM
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Oh Love - I am so so sorry!! you are NOT a horrible person much less a horrible mother. Have you called your therapist? Hopefully you can get in soon!!
your reaction is completely normal for what you have been through!! BM is terrorizing you and trying to provoke you. She could have stood at the door not walked to your car. She is in the wrong. How is SS tonight?? And DD?

After I was attacked by SM I wad terrified of her. We would go to court And she would glare at me from across the lobby to intimidate me.
I looked over my shoulder every where I went. You can imagine my utter fear when we were ordered to therapy together. Fortunately, the therapy helped my anxiety of being around her. Now I don't feel scared of her.

I really have no words for you except don't beat yourself up over how you reacted. She assaulted you and you fear it happening again. She was completely out of line. But mostly she does this because she feels like she has power over you by using your fear. I wish it were easy to say to not let her know she intimidates you but that is not easy. I hope you gain strength to deal with her one day. Big hugs to you. I hope your night gets better. I would definitly sit down and talk to the kids about your feelings. This way they will understand why you were so upset.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 1:07AM
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When someone touches you and you don't want them to, it's called abuse.

You reacted normally.

Take a bath, read a book, get a massage. Relax as best you can. You did nothing wrong. You were caught, literally, in a very public, very awkward situation in which you felt you had no control.

I agree with all the women here. You are fine. You did nothing wrong. And I wholeheartedly agree that once you have therapy more underway you will be able to handle other external psycho behavior much better.

I finally stood up to dad and SM today. After so many years. And I did it several times, in a non-combative way. I stood my ground.

This would not have been possible for me a year ago. It takes time. You will get stronger, you will be able to handle these types of situations with more grace in the future. Don't beat yourself up. You are a good mama and your kids KNOW THIS. You show them you love them in so many ways.

Deep breath. Big hugs. Know you have many women here silently cheering you on.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 1:15AM
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"kisses SS and gives me a hug, all while STARING at me the whole time."

That sent a chill down my spine! I'm at a loss of words... except, CREEPY! No doubt she wanted a reaction... and she apparently doesn't care that she put her son in a position, it wasn't YOU. She knew what would happen & it didn't bother her to put her son in a car after shaking up the driver.... what if you were so shaken you had an accident? What kind of "mother" does that?

"My best guess is that him asking her to go out the back only egged her on"

Of course, she probably said to herself... "I'll show them they can't tell me what to do!" and without a second thought on how it could affect or harm her son, she defied your DH's request.

The responsibility for what happens belongs to BM & BM alone. You were a sitting duck, sitting in a parked car. Your DH was not there, although I agree with Sylvia to a great extent & think you might let DH pick up his son since he cannot control what BM does. BM is the ONLY one with the ability to either leave from the back or turn & walk away as soon as she saw you were there... but that's not why she was out there, she wanted to make a point. She made her point & the consequence should be that YOU don't have to ever be put in that position again.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 1:42AM
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You had an involuntary and totally understandable reaction to a situation which triggered frightening memories.

Would you blame a soldier who has a flashback and acts as if he's still in battle?

Forgive yourself and move on. Work with your therapist to develop new strategies and with your husband to make sure you are never again in a situation where BM can pull this kind of stunt.


    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 4:35AM
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Oh, Love honey..... (((((HUGS)))))

First of all, what did you do that was so horrifically wrong? You didn't go off on a crack binge and forget to be home when the kids got home from school. You didn't lose your temper and start hitting them. You didn't bring home a strange man and have the kids walk in while you were in bed with him. You yelled in front of them - not at them, but in front of them. So? That is not ideal, of course, but no one is perfect and you can't expect yourself to be.

As for the "he can't control what she does; and at some point I need to get over this." I'm furious with your husband right now. You will get over it - eventually. You are doing everything you can do but it takes time - and it's very difficult when you keep having to see your attacker over, and over, and over again.

I'm not at all surprised you panicked. As the other posters have said, it's completely understandable. You did nothing wrong.

I'm actually very impressed by your courage. You didn't get out of the car and run away, or drive off. You stood your ground until you got SS into the car. You drove them safely home. That took incredible strength of character, given the circumstances. You should be proud of the way that you behaved. You cannot control how you felt - but you could and did control your behavior.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 8:28AM
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Shakti2574's suggestion was a fantastic one! Love, have you ever done yoga before? I started about a year ago and it helps to relieve the stress so much! Get a DVD and do it at home, it's much more relaxing that way.

Daisyinga said "I don't believe courage is the lack of fear. I think true courage is when I'm afraid, but I keep going and do what I need to do in the face of my fear. You are modeling courage for both those children."

THIS COULDN'T BE MORE TRUE! No one has ever said we aren't allowed to be afraid! I'm sure firefighters, police, and military personnel are terrified to go into that burning building, or serve a warrant on a dangerous criminal or head into a warzone, but they do what they do because they are able to put the needs of others ahead of their own. That's what you do every day with SS! You put the needs of SS and DH before your own fear every time you do anything for him. And you are showing those kids how to be unselfish.

A dear friend wrote this quote in an e-mail today "Paul Tripp (minister and author) defines love something like this: A selfless or self-sacrificial act performed for the benefit of another with no expectation of repayment and given to one who is undeserving." I would say that you love to your SS every single minute of every single day.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 9:05AM
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Shoot. I responded to this this morning but I must not have hit submit.

Thank you all of you. Your words and validation mean so much!

I did talk with DH about it extensively last night and we agreed that on the rare occasions that BM is at SS's school--ie on a holiday party day, Halloween parade, etc--HE will pick SS up. It's not worth the risk (for now) of me running into her because of the reaction I have.

He acknowledged that, while he doesn't feel it, he also understands my reaction and knows it is upsetting to me.

I do agree that as I work through my issues, particularly my pain from my mom's drinking/abuse, it will help me to not be as bothered by BM. Right now, it's like it sends me right back to being ten years old, unable to escape the female alcoholic in my life.

Again, thank you so much for your kind words! I feel soooo much better!

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 1:31PM
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There was nothing wrong with your reaction. This was someone who physically assaulted you...quite frankly, you shouldn't have to be in her presence EVER. Someone else should be picking up the children.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 1:40PM
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"Someone else should be picking up the children."

First of all, it is just my SS. My DD is my child.

DH has residential custody so SS goes to school in our district. BM lives about 25-30 mins away, so really, she is never at SS's school on our days.

The only time she has been there (aside from HER custodial days) is when there's been a school event---holiday class party, field trip, etc.

I know what you mean and if this were a regular or even moderately frequent occasion, I'd NOT pick him up. I am in total agreement with that!

I just am not going to pick him up any more on days that I know BM is going to be there.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 2:01PM
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Don't beat yourself up - as was said previously, it's not like you went on a crack binge...or jumped out of the car and wiped the smile off her face in front of SS and your DD. I wish you a happy holiday and lots of peace! =-) Be good to yourself.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 2:06PM
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sorry, I did know that you were picking up your daughter, too, just didn't think of it.

"I do agree that as I work through my issues, particularly my pain from my mom's drinking/abuse, it will help me to not be as bothered by BM."

wrong wrong wrong.

You *need* to be "bothered" by BM.

She's a danger to you, & the part of your brain that is in charge of self-preservation *knows* that.

There's an excellent book called "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin DeBecker.

The core message is that people, especially women, get beaten, stabbed, raped, shot, & murdered because we allow our "rational" brain to argue with our perceptive brain *& win*.

One little exercise he does in his safety seminars is:

Say you're working late in your office in a high-rise office building.

You're the only one on your floor.

You leave your office & lock the door & punch the button for the elevator.

When it stops & the door opens, you see that there's one person inside, a man.

What do you do?

He says that every woman in his seminars knows the "right" answer;
you don't get on that elevator.

but when they discuss it a little further, almost every one of them will sheepishly admit that she'd probably look at the guy & try to figure out if he looks dangerous;
then she'd realize that he knows that that's what she's doing;
then she'd feel embarrassed that this no doubt perfectly nice man thinks she's the sort of person who suspects somebody without "evidence";
*& then she'd get on that elevator to show the guy that she's a nice person*.

This woman is dangerous,
you know it,
& you keep trying to make your perfectly healthy response (terror) into something that has nothing to do with the threat she poses.

This assailant "hugging" you is assault & has nothing to do with your mother.

If you haven't broached this subject with your therapist, you need to do so right now, & if you have broached it & the therapist & s/he hasn't supported your healthy response to threat...
get a different therapist before we hear about you on the news.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 4:33PM
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Yeah, Sylvia. I don't disagree with what you're saying.

I thought that as I wrote it---that I DO need to be bothered by BM.

Because she is volatile and unpredictable and has been violent.

So yeah, I do take back a bit what I said---I guess what I meant is that in regards to her PETTY stuff, I hope I am not phased. I hope I don't care one iota what she thinks.

BUT---as far as my phsical safety goes, you are 100% right and I do need to protect myself. The man in the elevator is a great example.

I don't know what will happen with my marriage; it is not my focus now, not in a bad or good way, just not the issue at hand; my focus is my well-being which is the SAME as my DD's well-being.

Thank you for reminding me that I DO have reason to be *afraid* of BM. I shouldn't rationalize or think, "Well, she is harmless NOW."

I don't know. I think I've shared this before but my cousin is a cop (detective now) and I remember him telling me a long time ago something he uses on duty: if someone threatens you, believe them; take their threats at face value; don't analyze or think about what YOU would do if you were them; BELIEVE THEM and protect yourself accordingly.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 4:53PM
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"if someone threatens you, believe them;
take their threats at face value;
don't analyze or think about what YOU would do if you were them;
BELIEVE THEM and protect yourself accordingly."

We should all, every one of us, needlepoint this on a sampler & hang it on our dashboards, or have it tattooed on the palm of our hands where we can see it all the time.

Thanks for posting it, lh!

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 5:12PM
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