I wasn’t married to my ex, however, I was briefly engaged. His family treated me as one of their own. His eldest brother called me his sister-in-law. They all called me “part of the family.” As dysfunctional and psychopathic as my ex is, I loved his family. I really enjoyed their family dinners and how his parents would call me “honey,” or “sweetheart.” It was all very cozy, very comfortable.
I remember the first time he acted violent. It blew me away. Never have known a man in his right mind who would physically push or lay a finger on me, let alone a pregnant me. I knew his mother was the only person who could calm him down. He listened to her.
I remember he was raging and accusing me of cheating while I was four months pregnant. Four months pregnant! He was storming in and out of the house, preventing me from entering or exiting rooms, taking my phone to scroll through texts and printing six months worth of my cell phone records. He wouldn’t give my cell phone back until I had furnished my Verizon account password. I didn’t have a choice. He took my phone and locked himself in the bathroom and started matching my contact list with my Verizon account. He didn’t find anything. I wasn’t cheating.
He was now going on a six hour rant of insanity. All I heard was “whore,” “disgusting,” “cheater,” “liar.” When I finally seized my cell phone, I ran out of the house and frantically called his mother. Outside, I explained the situation to his mother, pleading for her to call and calm him down.
She was very cool. 180 degrees from the woman who greeted me with a big hug at every holiday.
“I’m sure you’re no angel Penny,” she said. “Did you say or do anything to provoke him? This just doesn’t make sense to me. I’ve never known him to act this way.”
That’s a lie. He was arrested for domestic violence against another woman. It was dropped because the girl failed to show. I believe he assaulted her. The rest of that story remains between him and her.
Anyways, I’m not sure what I was thinking. Maybe that she would be as disgusted and as shocked at his behavior? She wasn’t. She spoke to me with cool indifference. She kept asking me what I did to enrage him.
Fast forward to 10 months later, waiting for my protective order hearing after my ex pushed me and threw his head and fists into the apartment walls. I was with my mom in the courthouse lobby as instructed by my attorney. My ex or SH (Shit Head) was in another waiting room. His mother walked through the court doors and saw me. She brazenly walked over to us, I stood up and she hugged me.
It was such a bizzare place to be – in a court house, hugging the mother of my abuser right before I would ask a judge to grant a two year protective order and have his name enter the Hall of Shame of Domestic Violence.
A rush of fond memories at her home, sitting at her table and swimming in her pool, made me limp in the knees. She and her husband would watch me in open court as I testified.
“This is just so, so, so hard Penny. I-him-We- are all just so devastated,” she said, dropping her grip and squeezing both of my arms.
She is not a dumb woman. She knew EXACTLY what she was doing when she hugged me that day. Her intent was to soften my testimony.
I testified, leaving nothing unsaid. I painted the hell and mental torture I lived under for the past year. SH’s father actually snorted and grunted in the court room while I was testifying. And his mother’s eyes – those cold, piercing blue eyes. For the time I’d known SH, I thought it was his father who had passed on the “verbal abuse” gene. He did, however, SH also inherited a devious, manipulative and gas lighting spirit from his mother.
The judge granted my protective order in full, granted supervised visitation and delivered his summation (he was a bit too lenient in my lawyer’s opinion).
I hope I never know what it’s like to raise a sweet, little boy and see him become a monster. However, if it does happen, I’ll be damned before I blame his victim because the truth is harder to swallow.