Mon. Jul 4th, 2022

Every other week I send my son to be abused.

Every other week I send my son to be abused. I’ve been doing it for five years. Five years ago I left to take my son and I out of a harmful and unhealthy situation. I had tried to keep a home together but after ten years, I came to realize the problem wasn’t fixable and nothing was going to change, because my ex wasn’t capable of changing. 

I didn’t recognize myself anymore. I was full of hatred and rage. I cried all the time. I hated life. I was confused. I was hurt. I was tired. I’d been choked, cornered, shoved, suffocated, pushed, thrown, spit on, cussed at, called names, degraded, negated, humiliated, and I had lost my will to fight for anything, even love. It took me ten years in an abusive relationship to realize I was fighting for something that was non-existent. It took me six times leaving before I left for good. It took a lot of tears and bruises. It took everything I had left inside of me. The day I left, I had my son on my hip and a bag of our clothes. That was it. I left because I finally understood he would never change. 

I left so we could be free.

It’s been five years. Five long years of repeatedly telling people that I was abused, that my son is still abused, his siblings, their Mom. I’ve said it so many times in five years that I’m getting tired of saying it. I shouldn’t have to keep saying it. But quite frankly, no one cares. No one cares because it isn’t them. No one cares because they have trouble believing it. No one cares because there’s nothing they can do about it. No one can stop it and I shouldn’t talk about it anymore. I should just focus on all the good things when my son’s with me instead. I should try to forget about it every other week when he’s here. I should try harder to get along with his Dad. I should try harder to get along for the sake of our son. I should just try to control the things I can control. The worst advice I’ve been given yet: I should just focus on myself when he’s with his Dad. I should take the time to enjoy myself when he’s not with me.

Every other week I send my son to be abused. 

But I should enjoy my time alone.

I get blamed by people for being overprotective, too sensitive, for overreacting, and for telling them I know what my son and his siblings are going through. I shouldn’t talk about abuse to my son or explain to him what I know or understand. I guess I shouldn’t talk about it so he can know how to protect himself when his time comes, because it will. I shouldn’t prepare him for how to react when he sees it happening, because he does. I shouldn’t prepare him for what to do when his Dad turns his anger on to him. I shouldn’t talk about it with him because I make it more real for him when I do. When I speak up for my son, I’m told I have anger issues. When I speak up about the abuse, I’m told I have control issues. I am blamed in every way possible for the abuse that happened to me, and for the abuse that’s still ongoing in my ex’s home.

Every other week I send my son to be abused. 

Read that again. 

If I lived there and didn’t intervene, I could be arrested for allowing it to happen. I too would be an abuser. But since I left I have no way to prove it. I left to protect us but I still have to send my son. It’s court ordered that I have to send him. If I go against that I can go to jail. If I go against that I could lose the custody I do have. Please, take all the time you need to digest this. Because I’m having a real hard time with it myself. 

Every other week I send my son to be abused. 

Every other week this man has his kids in his care to do and say as he pleases. No one stops him. No one listens to me. No one stands up beside me. No one says, “Hey, wait a minute, this is wrong!” No one assures my son and his brothers can be safe. In fact, I’m told it’s going to take something bad to happen first. This is a small town, a rural county. Everyone knows me and knows him. Everyone knows how he is and what he does. But I have to wait for one of the kids to be hurt. I have to wait for the kids to speak up about it, when every time before they’ve been let down and punished for it. It’s happened to them nine times in court, to be exact. And every single time he walks away untouched. These poor kids have resolved to just dealing with it until they each turn 18. But I continue to watch his 23 year old be controlled all the same.

Every other week I send my son to be abused.

No one sees my son hanging on to me when it’s time to take him to his Dad. No one sees the tears he holds back. No one sees my nine year old trying to be strong by telling me he’ll be okay. No one sees his own doubt wrapped up in hope. No one else sees the pain he tries to hide. No one else lays with us while he cries in bed at night. No one hears him tell me that he cries quietly in bed at his Dad’s so he doesn’t get in trouble. No one feels the breath get sucked out of us as we know our week is coming to an end, and every single week it happens. No one is here to feel the dread in our silence or the heaviness in the air around us. We try to pretend it isn’t happening but it happens nonetheless. 

Every other week I send my son to be abused.

Just keep rereading that sentence. 

No one hears the things that get said about me at his Dad’s. The things he’s forced to listen to and the questions he has to answer. No one sees the anger that pours out onto him from the very person that’s supposed to protect him. I know because I’ve seen it. All the things he says about me, he still says about his ex wife. No one’s there to stop it. No one’s there to stop his Dad from throwing things at his brothers. No one’s there to stop his Dad from picking up his brother, from throwing him down, or around, doing whatever his anger directs him to. No one sees this man holding his brother down, cussing, spitting, and yelling. No one sees this grown man leap at his own children. He does whatever he can to scare them because he loves taunting and intimidation. He feels bigger when he does it. He laughs while he calls them names and tears them down. It’s soul crushing. It’s debilitating. But no one knows what it feels like. No one hears the pleads to stop, the screaming or their shouts. I know it because I lived it. I lived it with them.

I lived with four kids and watched it begin to happen. It crept up slowly. For a while I was numb to it. I swore I’d never be this person, but here I am and here we are. I lived with four kids and I watched our home and lives deteriorate. As time passed, it got worse; he got worse. It would take the smallest thing to get him started. As he got worse, I reached a point where I couldn’t watch it anymore. Inside of me I knew it was wrong even though I couldn’t think clearly. I stepped between them when he started on them. I watched him as the kids got older, he started grabbing their t-shirts by the neck, as he pushed them against walls, or when he’d drink and lecture for hours, and then drink some more. When he would speak my skin would crawl. When he would yell at them, it made me angry. 

When he yelled at them, I would yell at him louder so he would yell at me instead. When he would nitpick at them, I’d nitpick back so he would focus on me instead. He blamed me for so much that went wrong for so many years, that towards the end I believed him; hell, even the kids believed it was somehow all my fault. I heard it every day and so did they. Every day I was threatened and cussed at. I began being told I had no say over his kids when he was home. I wasn’t allowed to have my own son with me when he was home. Every day my son was watching and every day it got worse.

He hurt me. And he’s still hurting them. 

He’s hurting them and my hands are tied. Every time a new attorney gives me hope, they take it away after one small win. But that one small win costs all the money I have. I’m tired of picking away at small pieces. I can’t afford to keep doing it. I’m limited by income. I’m limited on help. I can’t live on false promises. And in my failing to fight, I’m failing my son. I’m letting him down. I’m letting his brothers down. I’m allowing this man to hurt them. I’m letting him abuse my son. He has complete control over us. If they speak up they get in trouble. We are left to deal with the abuse. We are left at the hands of our abuser. My writing this means they’ll be in trouble – and this time it’ll be my fault.

Every other week I send my son to be abused.

I’m a pretty smart person. I’m smart enough to wonder how in the world I let this happen. I’ve been laughed at, invalidated, ignored and not believed by the friends and family that surround me, and by the very people I expect to represent me when they’re paid. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on attorney fees and I still owe thousands more. I’ve eaten up all the promises I’ve been given to make a change. I’ve been lied to, I’ve been cheated, I’ve been mocked, and yet my ex is still abusing his kids. I’m laughed at while they’re being hurt.

I’ve watched every adult I’ve ever confided in look at me with disbelief. I’ve watched my son breakdown at school more than once. I’ve watched every person mandated by law to report what they see and know, dismiss it like it never happened. I’m educated, I’m not vindictive. I’m reacting, I’m not reliving some random moment from my past. I live this every day and I watch it tearing my son apart. I’ve watched it destroy six people and I can’t watch it anymore. I’ve read and read and I can’t read anymore. I’ve been in therapy for two years and I can’t repeat myself anymore. I can’t allow this to continue because it shouldn’t be happening at all.

No one is protecting my son. No one is protecting these children. This system is broken. It’s letting this man hurt his own kids. It allows him to keep doing it. And I want to know why. Why is this man still in control over people he cares nothing about? He’s destroyed all of us and it’s still happening. He has had complete control, physically, mentally, emotionally, and psychologically, for more than fifteen years…I’m tired of saying that I’m fine. I’m tired of pretending everything’s okay. It’s not. This isn’t okay. I’m tired of sending my son every other week to be abused.

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