I grew up believing that no matter what happened — a woman’s role was to keep her Family together. I believed that having a mother AND a father in the home together was the best scenario no matter what. Clearly, this was before I met pure evil – my son’s sperm donor “Luc”. While my family growing up was not perfect, the problems we suffered now seem as if they were “minor league” and life with Luc was like “major league” problems. While I was in it, however, I remember fighting like hell, turning the other cheek, and making excuses in an attempt to convince myself that it was still possible for me to keep this “family” together so that my son could have two parents.
The handcuffs I created (and he exploited):
Looking back on things, Luc picked a great target in me. I am honest, educated, have a great job, and I am loyal to those I love. Once I was pregnant, he knew that I would suffer through horrible abuse and hang on for dear life despite the “signals” he was dropping along the way. He knew how important family was to me and he used this as a weapon against me. As time went by and I felt my son kicking inside of me, I clung to the idea that I needed to keep my family together for my son. I remember feeling as if leaving wasn’t an option. It was as if my own misplaced loyalty had become invisible handcuffs that were keeping me in a situation that was headed straight toward disaster.
After the baby, Luc turns up the fire:
When I first learned I was pregnant, I was terrified. From the beginning, I was terrified that I would end up a single mother. Clearly there were things that already felt wrong that I wasn’t allowing myself to fully accept. When Luc learned of the pregnancy, his first reaction was anger (as if I impregnated myself). Almost as immediately as the rage appeared, Luc made it disappear when he realized my shock and confusion. Though briefly, the mask had fallen. While there had been a few red flags before the baby news, Luc turned up the fire of chaos after I became pregnant. If I didn’t know better, I would wonder if he had planned the pregnancy as a way to turn up my loyalty and keep me in chains. Before Luc, I had always been extremely careful about using protection to avoid pregnancy, but his bullying and rages had worn me down and I had given in to his insistence on not using protection.
I still have trouble with the idea that Luc had been able to take me from a strong woman and talk me into a vulnerable situation from which I would never recover while in his reach. I used to be that person who would judge women for staying in abusive situations – now I am one who is judged for “choosing” to have a child with a monster.
Though it was years ago, it seems like just yesterday when I was crying alone in the bedroom after Luc shut off the heat in the house (in the middle of winter) in order to get me to pay more of his bills. (Note: I was already paying his entire mortgage in addition to my own.) While me and his older son froze, Luc escaped to the basement where he turned on the heat and waited until I agreed to pay the bills. I remember realizing that night that no matter how hard I tried, this situation wasn’t going to last. That night, however, I stayed through the abuse. I told myself that even though Luc was mean, he hadn’t hit me.
The more pregnant I became, the meaner Luc got. Each month, the chaos fire appeared to be getting hotter and Luc kept pushing me further as if to test the limits of my loyalty. What started with “temperature abuse” (yep, I just created that term) turned into emotional abuse and sexual manipulation. During my pregnancy was when Luc dropped the bomb on me that he expected me to have sex with other men. When I refused to have sex with the gardener in order to obtain free lawn services for Luc, he told me that he was no longer attracted to me. Still, I didn’t consider this abuse as I never ended up with a black eye.
The flaw in his grand plan:
By the time I gave birth, it was clear that Luc believed there was nothing he couldn’t get away with doing to me. He knew that I was loyal and that because we shared a child, I would go to the end of the earth for him regardless of whether he deserved it. He knew that I wanted to believe he was a good person so bad that I was ignoring obvious red flags. What he did not anticipate, however, was that my love for my son would force me to have a life saving “come to Jesus” moment.
A week before my son’s birth, my doctor suggested we induce labor because I had symptoms of elevated liver enzymes. Luc, however, had other plans. He kicked and screamed and had his usual toddler style fit. He wanted baby boy to be born on a specific date and didn’t care that his life could be in danger. After listening to the verbal abuse on the phone from Luc, something snapped inside of me. While I had spent the last few months walking on egg shells around what Luc wanted to do, I made the decision without him to induce labor in order to save my son.
The moment my son was born and his little eyes locked with mine, I knew that it was my responsibility to protect him. This reality wore on me for the weeks I remained in Luc’s house after my son’s birth. Though it took only a couple of weeks after my son was born to finally leave (in addition to a terrible and unimaginable action by Luc), I still have moments every day where I feel ashamed I didn’t leave sooner. My “come to Jesus” moment came in the form of maternal instinct. My son’s life was more important than keeping together this dangerously flawed family.
My new normal:
The hell I lived through with Luc has taught me many difficult lessons. One of the hardest lessons I have learned is what in my own childhood led me straight into the arms of Luc. While I won’t get into painful details of my childhood, some of the behavior that would have sent many other people running for the hills appeared normal to me (or at least seemed tolerable). It shouldn’t have taken my strong maternal instincts to realize that I deserved to be treated better than Luc was capable of treating me.
Some people reading this might wonder if Luc’s plan had really backfired or not. Sure, I have been fighting him in the last year through our Custody War; however, I have ALWAYS been free since the day I fled his house. What I am going through now is no picnic, but I thank God every day that I was strong enough to walk out and leave that life behind. Luc expected me to stay and continue allowing him to be a parasitic vampire who sucked the life out of me. Instead, he sealed his fate as that angry little toddler whom I complain about in blog posts.
Having a child forced me to fast forward in my mind to a day when I would have a heart to heart conversation with baby boy. What would I tell him about the choices I had made? What would I want him to understand about this situation? In the face of a terrifying discovery of what Luc really was, I knew that I couldn’t be the kind of mother I wanted for baby boy and stay.
During that “future” conversation with my son, I imagine telling my son how important he is to me and how thankful I am for him. I also imagine telling him about how hard it was for me to make the decision to raise him by myself, but how I would do it again in a heart beat because it was the only way I knew how to protect him. I want my son to see my new normal. The normal where people love, respect, and trust each other. My new normal is psychopath free.