So two idiots, one boat, no paddle – it was never going to end well.
Before I launch into yet another chapter of woe is me I feel the need to add a bit of a disclaimer:
My life as you will see was pretty bleak at times. What you may not realise is despite that, I was making choices – bad one’s. We all do the best we can with what we have – that’s a given, but unless we’re born with a pre-existing medical condition that renders us blind, deaf and unable to think – we are still responsible for our choices and most importantly we are very much responsible for our reaction to our enviroment. There are always a multitude of REASONS for behaving in a particular way, but there are no EXCUSES for behaving badly.
Before I met Tiger I had been in wonderful relationships – and trashed them! By the time I met him I had become selfish and often times cruel and detached. I had been given many opportunities to flourish and grow and to be loved by very worthy men and had not appreciated even one of them. By the time I met The Tiger I was ripe for a lesson from the Universe, and up till today he was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had.
The Tiger had been married before and had a son. When I met him he was not in contact with them (restraining order?).
A few days before we were married he received a phone call to tell him that his son who must have been 20ish had been killed in a motorcycle accident. To this day I have never seen a man cry like that. He ran to the bathroom and collapsed on the floor sobbing so hard he was struggling for breath. If I think back, that day was probably the impetus that our relationship needed to fast forward us to the church. He needed me, it felt like love…..lets get married!
We made the decision to get married on the same day we were married – hence the t-shirt and delightful ceremony. We literally called the minister and my folks and a few hours later TA DA! Mr and Mrs Idiot were official.
My new husband was highly intelligent, charming and totally convincing in all that he said. He was also broken and violent and had zero emotional control. His possesiveness I translated as love, and everything else that I suspected, was translated as his past.
As it turned out his past had included restraining orders, a stint in prison for manslaughter etc etc etc.
We had known each other for about 3 months before we married, he was fantastic with ‘The Seasprite’ (my eldest daughter), he was fun and ‘protective’of me. After we were wed we were happy for 2 weeks before the hell began.
Fortunately I can’t remember my behaviour at the time, only his. In retrospect knowing what I know now, I have no doubt that I found a thousand ways to increase his possesiveness and insecurity. It took a month for me to learn to walk with my eyes on the ground, because God-forbid I looked up and there was a man standing in front of me – an enormous fight would ensue.
I had married through desperation and he knew it. He in his own broken and crazy way had quite possibly married for love. Every fight we had came from a place of loss and fear, connected not only to our pasts, but also to the truth of the present. I was in it for the money and security no more, no less.
Violence became our constant companion. Mostly he was emotionally and verbally abusive, but as these things often do, it escalated. Domestic abuse is terrifying and as far as these things can go, I was lucky. Considering how strong he was and what he was really capable of, a few bruises here and there were child’s play.
I think the worst thing about my husband was how scary he was. I lived in a state of constant terror. He would wake me in the middle of the night to scream at me and the fights would go on for hours – literally. After 3 months I was emotionally and physically exhausted. I had done what I could to protect The Seasprite from hearing and seeing the madness, but growing up in a home of violence, I knew it was only a matter of time before things got really ugly.
During this time I had finally accepted the mistake I’d made and went off to see the minister to ask for help. My husband got to him first. By the time I spoke to him, his response was that I belonged in the gutter and that was where I was going!
I left ‘The manse’, bruised and battered, crying my eyes out. By this time I was reeling. The one person on the planet who should have helped had done this! The only good to come out of that was that ‘The man of God’ had convinced my husband to move out of the flat.
And so began ‘the stalking’. He would stand outside screaming and shouting and threatening violence. He would break into the flat, follow me, suddenly appearing on the corner of the road I was walking into, absolutely terrifying! The police were called umpteen times but their response was that they were not able to get involved in domestic disputes – I would have to be dead or obviously injured before they could act.
It was around about this time that I was rescued by my daughter. I had done my best to protect her, but hadn’t really taken the time to make sure that she was actually ok. I was too caught up in the drama of surving. One day I looked at her, really looked. What I saw nearly broke me. The pain and fear in her eyes stopped me in my tracks.
I knew I had to get help.
The following day I took her to school, dropped her off at class and went straight to the principals office. I didn’t care if he pulled a ‘minister’ on me, I didn’t care if I was called the scum of the earth, but I was going to find help if I had to speak to every teacher to get it.
Miraculously the principal turned out to be the most gentle and loving man on the planet. He didn’t judge or ridicule me in any way. He was instantly willing to help. While we were chatting ‘The Seasprite’s’ swimming teacher overheard what was happening and within seconds had offered to look after my daughter for as long as it took for me to get out of the mess.
I was gobsmacked. She was warm and loving and funnily enough had the same name as me AND lived at the top of our road. Not only would my baby be safe, but she would be close enough for me to visit whenever I wanted to.
I also did what the parentals had threatened, I went to the welfare. I swallowed my pride, I swallowed my fear, I went to ask for help.
I needed to hunt The Tiger and they were and still are, the best game rangers for the job.