I have been seeing my daughter’s school therapist off and on whenever she can fit me in. Today she joked about how he should take me on a date, so I told Ben. He didn’t respond. Later on we had a ball game to go to and I had asked him if he could get me a water. He didn’t respond. I asked if he had heard me and he still didn’t respond, so I let it go (he had the money on him and I had left my wallet at the house). About an hour later I told him I was going to go to the house to get a drink and he got mad. I told him I had asked him twice and he didn’t respond. He got up and walked away from the game. My child ended up hitting a home run, so I texted him and told him he missed an awesome hit. He sent a message back saying, “No, I didnt,” so I left it alone. On the drive home my boss texted me, so when I came to the stop sign I texted her back. Then took off. As I was driving, Ben opened the door and started to step out (I was going about 15 miles an hour). I asked him what the hell is wrong with him. He said he isn’t going to be in the car with me if I’m texting. But I didn’t do it while I was driving. I was stopped.
Anyway, he started trying to argue with me about how I’m always mad (even though I’m not) and how I don’t discipline the kids enough and everything else you can think of. I pulled up to the store and told the kids I would buy them an ice cream since they had been so good. He said I was spoiling them, and he got out of the car and took off walking. When we both finally got home, it was WW3. He began yelling at me extremely loudly saying I need to go to my other boyfriend and that maybe he could take me on all the dates I need to go on. He told me that I am crazy and I need to be on meds and that he will tell everyone I am on drugs even though I would never do them because I don’t like drugs at all and I lost a sister to them two years ago.
I am an emotional wreck right now. He told me to leave, but if I start to pack then he is going to go crazy and I just don’t know what to do at this point. I do not believe he can change. I do not want to keep going through this. It is making me sick. Please give me some advice on how to move past this pain and get on with my life. — Emotional Wreck
You are a mother and a full-grown adult and you need to start taking responsibility for your actions and putting your children first. Do you think it’s in their best interest — let alone, yours — to have this emotionally unstable male figure in their life who screams at their mother in public, threatens her, and opens the door of a moving vehicle while they’re inside? It is not. From your last sentence, it seems that you know it isn’t healthy for any of you to continue with this unstable relationship and that you need to move on and give your children the safe home, free from fighting and emotional abuse, that they deserve.
As for how to move on and “get past the pain,” as you say, this wonderful article, written by a guest columnist with experience working in a domestic violence shelter, has some great tips. You don’t mention any physical violence (yet), but what you’re describing sounds a lot like emotional abuse, which can often be a gateway to domestic violence. The fact that you left your boyfriend and then came back when he “promised to change” is a classic pattern that I hope serves as a serious warning to you. It’s exactly this kind of pattern that exists in many, many homes of domestic violence. Please, for your sake as well as your innocent children, heed the warning sign before something more dramatic happens. As I said, this article has some very helpful tips to help you move on. Pay particular attention to numbers 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, and 16.
Since you’ve already been talking to your daughter’s school therapist, tell her of your plan to move on and ask her for resources that may help you get on your feet. Without knowing the details about your financial situation, how easily you can find a new home for you and your children, or whether you have family or friends you can stay with while you look for a place of your own, the best advice I can give you is to ask for help from trusted members of your support network. People who care about you and your children would not want you to stay in a situation that sounds as unhealthy as the one you’re in.
Please, please gather all the strength you can muster and get yourself and your babies away from Ben. Do it before something worse than a few bad fights happen. And for the love of God, QUIT TEXTING while you’re on the road. It doesn’t matter if you’re at a stop light. It’s incredibly dangerous to be sitting in a car in the middle of traffic while you’re punching away on a cell phone, oblivious to the cars around you. All it takes is one second — ONE SECOND — for a car you don’t see to slam into you because you’ve got your eyes on your phone instead of the road and weren’t able to move out of harm’s way. It doesn’t matter if YOU are at a complete stop. Other cars are still moving and there are a lot of morons on the street. There are drunk drivers, and old drivers, and drivers who grew up in Manhattan. There are drivers who have sudden seizures or screaming babies in the back seat or a text from their boss they have to check right now. And those drivers may not be as careful as you need them to be while you’re sitting at a stop light checking out your phone. Don’t count on others to be responsible and safe. Count on yourself. And that goes ditto for creating a home where you and your children don’t live in fear of another blowup.
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at [email protected] and be sure to follow me on Twitter.