Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Validation (or "One of us is crazy. Is it me???")

Pretty much every abuser puts his victim down endlessly. My ex husband, Rob the Great (Alcoholic) was no different. (If you're new to my blog, I call my ex Rob the Great because he constantly told me what a "great guy" he was and how he had so much to offer and, really, I should be so happy that I had a guy like him in my life.) He told me things like: without him, I wouldn't have a job; my job was in the dumbest part of the company; I couldn't survive a power outage without him; he was the best dad ever and our children liked him more than they liked me; I wasn't fun like he was; he made so much money and was so successful; if I left him, he'd find another girlfriend in a second because there were so many women out there looking for a great guy like him and, really, I had nothing but baggage and I would have a really hard time; he was so incredibly honest.

When we got in fights, he'd remind me of all of his wonderful qualities. When I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and fled our home and moved to Utah to enter treatment, the endless horrible texts and emails were incredible. I would read them or forward them to friends so they could see it for themselves because, really, it was hard to believe (Rob comes across as a really nice, sweet, helpful guy until you get to know him).

And then I got this email from Rob:

From: Rob
To: Lizzy
Subject: This is YOU baby!!!!
Everyone in my life hates you and is glad you're gone. Nicole can't believe that you took the girls after I started all over and agreed to raise kids again. The girls love me and miss their dad and I'll tell them it's your fault, baby, that they were taken away from their loving dad. Kalie hates you. She is getting so much more from me now that you're gone. If you think she's being helpful by telling you anything, it's all lies. She's so glad you're gone. When we go to court the room will be filled with everyone supporting me. My mom, Kalie, Nicole, Chris, Joanie, Aussie Mark, Kevin. The landlords are on my side. Even the woman at the Marriott thought you were really weird. So, baby, you just get better and can't wait to see you in court with all my friends ready to testify that I'm a great guy and you're a crazy, lying thieving nutjob. Have a great day!!!!!
A few email exchanges later, I sent Rob an email reminding him about the time in which Kalie told him, sobbing, that if he drank again during the weeks she lived with him, that she would move out and not come back. And then he drank in front of her a few days later and Kalie, true to her word, stopped living with him, decreasing his custody from 50-50 to 90-10.

Rob responded with this:  It never happened!! You're a LIAR and Kalie is going to write a letter saying it never happened!!!

Clearly, one of us is crazy. After a while, I started wondering if I was the crazy one and not Rob. I needed validation.
Immediately after getting this email, I contacted our landlords. "I'm sorry to hear that you're on Rob's side. Can you tell me what that means, exactly?" I asked. He was baffled. "On Rob's side? We don't have enough information to be on either side and we're just the landlords. That said, we hear you are sick and we pray you'll recover soon. We both like you very much and are so sorry."
Next, I sent Kevin a text message. Kevin is a friend of Rob's who coached Morgan in soccer for several years and was our Realtor in San Diego. "Hi Kevin. I hear you plan on going to court to testify on what a great guy Rob is and how crazy I am. I am sorry to hear that and wish you all the best. You know how much I struggled with Rob's drinking because you and I discussed it. I want you to know I never lied or exaggerated. I survived hell, escaped it, and am now sick." Kevin responded immediately. "I would never go to court to say anything bad about you! I know how much you struggled and I have not one thing bad to say about you. I don't know why Rob would put words in my mouth like that."
I then contacted the Marriott Residence Inn in La Jolla. I knew that Rob lied about this one. The girls and I stayed at that property three times over the years when Rob and I got into an argument and I needed to seek refuge somewhere. Each time, the stays were for one night and after checking in, we quietly retreated to our room, had breakfast the next morning, and left. I forwarded the email to the manager and talked with him many times. He interviewed every front desk manager at the property and told me that no one has any idea what Rob was talking about, nor would anyone ever give that kind of feedback.
Several months ago, I talked to Kalie, Rob's younger daughter. I told her that if there was anything in this blog that she found untruthful or hurtful to her or her mother, I would remove it. "No," she said. "Every single word is true and don't change a thing."
There was no need to contact anyone in Rob's family after I got the call from one of them. I've written about it in this blog but on that call, this family member told me that they all knew Rob was an alcoholic and needed help and they were incredibly disappointed that instead of getting help, he was simply acquiring a new girlfriend.
But the coup de grace was this email. It came to me several months ago via email. Someone had stumbled on my blog and sent me a private email. I've changed a few words and names so as to keep this person's identity private.
I know [a woman who knows Bob well] and that's how I know Bob. Even though he's nice and helpful enough, I always thought there was something off about him. Several in our circle thought the same. Of course we won't tell [our friend] this because we don't want to get in the middle of it. One night I did a Google search and found your blog. Wow what a story! I cried when I was done reading. Everything confirms what I thought but couldn't quite put my finger on. He's an alcoholic. I am so sorry you went through that and I worry about [my friend]. I am hopeful she'll figure it out before it's too late. Stay strong, Lizzy! You are an inspiration of strength and resilience. What comes around goes around. Some day Bob will feel the pain that he has caused you, your children and his first family. I'll be praying for your health and full recovery.
That email came at such a perfect time-- a time when I was having panic attacks about my health and future. As bad as I feel for any woman who gets involved with Rob, it is no longer me. I was so relieved that I was no longer the one listening to his screaming fits and pathetic excuses for his behavior. I was no longer his enabler. Instead of getting help for his disease, Rob finds a new honey. I was that new honey but no more. Sad that someone else becomes the "distraction" but at least it's no longer me. Let someone else help Rob teach his children that marriages are so unimportant that when one ends, just hop right back into another. That, really, is a "great" message to teach your children (if you want them to have unhealthy relationships themselves, anyway). Let someone else be Rob's cover. I was done.
Validation was necessary. A reality. Fact check. No, I wasn't the crazy one.