Beating The Odds

Dec 13 22:00 2001 Monique Rider Print This Article

BEATING THE ODDSI met Joe when I was fifteen. We were married eight months after we met. I was 16 and he was 19. I could not drive and I dropped out of school right after the wedding. This was the beg

BEATING THE ODDS

I met Joe when I was fifteen. We were married eight months after we met. I was 16 and he was 19. I could not drive and I dropped out of school right after the wedding. This was the beginning of eight years of struggling,Guest Posting sacrificing, and heartache. I became more and more dependant on my husband. He became the center of my life. I had very few friends and no outside interests. I am confused as to whether he made me become dependant on him or if I allowed it to happen. Maybe it was a little of both. I was young and vulnerable and needed to depend on someone. To keep me dependant on him he used mind games, intimidation, manipulation and guilt trips. He wouldn't allow me to have a checking account or credit cards. He had me believing I could not handle the money - that I wouldn't be able to balance the checkbook and that I would run up the charge cards. He told me we were always behind on our bills because I couldn't figure the budget correctly. So, he controlled the money and, still, the bills never got paid. He rarely let me go anywhere alone. He said there were too many weirdoes out there who could hurt me. Eventually, I either went places with him or I stayed home. I was afraid to even walk across the street to the park - so I never went. He did not make me submit by becoming violent with me. He was, however, violent with other people. He was from an abusive family. His violence often emerged when he was drinking or on drugs. I witnessed many of his fights and beatings. I saw him break the glass out of vehicles with a baseball bat. Even though he was not violent with me, maybe just seeing the violence was what made me submit. Various weapons were kept throughout the house and hidden behind furniture. Such as clubs, baseball bats, and guns. He slept with a sharpened machete next to his side of the bed. Most of these weapons were used in his acts of violence against other people. He had quite a long police record and it seemed like we were forever paying his fines and restitution. If he could hold a job for more than six months, he was doing well. We moved around a lot because, either we couldn't pay the rent and got kicked out, or Joe couldn't get along with the landlords, so we would move. He constantly thought other people were out to get him. He thought the whole world was against him. Each negative thing that happened to him, he blamed on someone else. He completely isolated me from people. We had moved away from my family and we didn't get along with his. He couldn't get along with our friends for very long periods of time. During an argument that was his fault, where he did something wrong, it was usually me that ended up apologizing. I felt as if I was the one who did something wrong. He
would accuse me of doing the things that he, himself, was guilty of. Like being jealous, over possessive, bad with money, insecure. I then felt as if I had to strive to prove him wrong, to gain his respect. It was emotionally draining. I felt like I was making one sacrifice after another. I forgave him each time for being arrested, never coming home, or squandering the rent money. For eight years we struggled and never had a thing to show for it. Meanwhile, I became more and more dependant on him. I still didn't drive. If I worked, it caused problems so I would quit. Any type of stress would cause his drinking to increase. He would drink and take drugs in binges. His behavior was very unpredictable. I felt as if things had to be just perfect for him, so he wouldn't get upset.
Our first daughter was born in 1984. The stress of the new baby caused another drinking binge, which eventually led to Joe being arrested. He had gotten into a fight and was charged with assault and destruction of property. Joe was between jobs most of the time. He refused to get unemployment or help from Social Services. We lived off of borrowed money or money from side jobs that he did. Our second daughter was born in 1986. I finally decided to go back to work, thinking it would help our financial situation. I found a job that paid very well and had excellent benefits. I felt maybe this was the beginning of some stability for us. But four months later the problems started again. Joe was again involved with drinking, drugs, and very unstable people. He was upset because I was working - so I ended up quitting my job, hoping to improve the situation. It didn't help - he would go for days at a time without coming home. When he was home he could care less about the kids or me. I begged him to get help. He refused, saying he didn't know what was wrong but he had to work it out himself. Then I found out he was into drugs a lot heavier than I thought - he had shot up cocaine. Later, after questioning him, he admitted to having an affair. I was destroyed! He said it was still going on and he could not choose between the both of us. I left him a few weeks later, in 1987. The kids and I stayed with my parents. My daughters were 1 and 2 years old. I figured with a little time, he would straighten up and we could return. However, after two months I was still living with my parents and Joe and I were still not making any progress. My parents were getting very impatient with me. So, after some problems with them, I moved to my uncle's house. It took me still two more months before I decided I wanted a divorce. But within those two months my aunt and uncle taught me to drive and I found a job. It was my first step toward independence. The job didn't pay much and I didn't like it but the money helped. With some financial help from my sister I was able to retain an attorney, buy a used car and put a deposit down on an apartment. Joe was furious when he found out how independent I was becoming. He didn't want the divorce and immediately started causing problems. He refused to pay child support, he began harassing me over the phone, and he began making kidnapping threats against the girls. There was constantly someone watching my house or following me. The girls suffered most of all. They were confused about the divorce and their dad didn't help matters any. He was very uncooperative and was against everything I tried to do. He wouldn't cooperate with my lawyer or the court. The stress we were going through was beginning to affect the girls. They were having nightmares and behavioral problems, such as violent temper tantrums, screaming during the night and severe separation anxiety. I was determined to get them into a more stable environment. I found a much better job. I soon moved out of our one - bedroom apartment and into a two-bedroom townhouse. Slowly I began to establish myself and we continued dealing with the everyday problems of life. There were work problems, babysitter problems, and at times I had trouble putting food on the table. Of course there were always lawyer and divorce problems too. But we seemed, somehow, to make it through everything. My daughters are now teenagers and they are strong girls. We've come a long way. It's all in your attitude and drive. I have found out so much about myself in these past years. I am interested in art, writing, reading, fitness, and nature. I have obtained a degree in business management and have become a certified personal trainer. I am now remarried and own my own business. So many doors have been opened for me. The possibilities now seem endless. I have learned that things happen for a reason and there are always blessings in adversity. But you have to take the first step and take control. It's scary but it can be done.

© 1991, revised 2001 By Monique Rider
DEDICATED TO MY DAUGHTERS

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Monique Rider
Monique Rider

Monique is a survivor of adversity! She believes there are blessings in our struggles. Monique is also the owner of Trinity Coaching Services, a company that provides personal development coaching services. In addition, Monique is a competitive bodybuilder, wife, mother, and published author. To learn more about Monique and personal coaching visit: http://home.talkcity.com/workoutpl/trinitycoachingservices/ or email Monique at: Monique_Rider@msn.com

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