Last month, I posted that my stalking, abusive ex was sighted close to my home. His flouting of the court order to leave me alone, sent me into a tailspin. I felt lots of things, but mostly, I felt very, very fearful as I waited to see what he would do this time. I knew that he was trying once again to set his usual tactics into play – bombardment, drama, pressure, and guilt – to get me to cave and let him back into my life.
Sure enough, it didn’t stop there – he had to go to the next step, which, in his case was calling me. I did the only thing I could do – which was notify the police. He was arrested – again. He was released – again.
Sure that his frustration and rage would now be sky-high, I spent weeks feeling terrorised in my own skin. I avoided going outside as much as I could. I wouldn’t go out alone. If I was home alone, I was watching and waiting, sick with anxiety. My life went into a holding pattern.
But then, slowly, realisation began to dawn: by living my life according to what he may or may not do, I had given him my power. The power that I worked so hard to achieve, by leaving him, establishing no contact, starting to build up a positive life for my child and I.
I thought, if he was watching the house, what would he see? How would he interpret my behaviour? To him, I’d appear as a woman on hold. A woman devastated and unable to function without him. A woman on the airport carousel simply waiting to be reclaimed.
I knew that am stronger than I was behaving. After all, I had lived with his abuse – and didn’t crumble under its weight. Despite being afraid that he would carry out his threats if I left, and in the full knowledge that I was pushing the big red nuclear button – I cut myself free.
So, yet again, I swallowed my fear and my mental exhaustion. I got on with life – this time, with a new urgency and sense of purpose. I joined a gym again. I started swimming again. I went (with company) to the city I had avoided since I left. I went out to dinner with family. I stuck to my support group, persevered with my domestic violence course. I took the baby to classes, shopping, and for walks in the crisp sunshine.
And, you know what? It feels good. Whatever happens next, I know for sure: there’s nothing that he can do anymore to control me. I’m off his carousel. I’m not lost luggage.
Text © Avalanche of the Soul, 2013