Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Where's The deux ex machina When You Need It?

I’m in a lot of pain right now. I want a job – I never thought it would be so difficult to find one. I understand now why so many men feel worthless when they’re unemployed. The vast majority of the jobs I put my resume in for never even bother contacting me. It’s very frustrating.

Everything seems to be piling up. My STBX’s actions to start everything (the false charges) have been weighing on my mind lately for some reason. I get upset thinking about what she did, even if mental illness was a part of it, and as you’ll read below, it might have had less to do with it than I originally thought. It makes me angry – being a victim, that is. I wonder sometimes what I did to deserve all of this. Intellectually, I know it’s not a matter of “deserve”, but I can’t help thinking about it anyway.

I feel like I’ve fallen so far in the world. This time last year I lived in a nice condo and had a job I liked. I took my son for walks when I got home from work, I played with him before his bedtime and read him a story (well, showed him the pictures, anyway) before he went to bed. I often gave him his bottle before bed and put him down to sleep. I just loved spending time with him. I was concerned about my wife’s mental health, but foolishly thought that it would work out.

In August it all came apart. Not long before dinner one night my STBX told me she was taking our son to visit with a woman from our church. She was taking the dog too, which was not unusual, the dog loved this woman. I kissed her goodbye and waved goodbye to my son as she drove off. Right after she left I went to Lowe’s and bought a new bookshelf to put up in my office. I got back and started putting it together and the phone rang. It was the STBX. She asked me what I was doing. I told her I was putting the shelf together. She asked me where I was and I told her I was in my office. She told me she had called to ask me about dinner. A few minutes after we got off the phone there was a knock at my office window. A man asked me to come around to the front door. I had no idea who he was.

He told me he had divorce papers and a restraining order to serve me. He told me that I had to leave the house immediately and that I could not come back. He also told me that I had to give him my keys. I was standing there in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. I didn’t have my wallet on me or my keys. I asked him if I could go in and get some things, and he told me that I could. He gave me five minutes, which he didn’t have to do. I think it was because I wasn’t getting upset with him and giving him a hard time.

I collected what I thought I’d immediately need, basically not much more than my overnight bag, a change of clothes and a suit for work. I drove away, not knowing what I was going to do or where I was going to go. I also didn’t know what the restraining order had been issued for, but I did know the basics behind why restraining orders were issued in general. I knew I’d been accused of something, I just didn’t know what. I quickly found out that she had cleaned out the checking and savings accounts and had been paying my credit card bill with the monthly minimums for months – it was close to being maxed out. Basically, I had no money.

The next morning the police called me. They told me that they wanted me to come in and tell “my side of the story”. I put that in quotes only because I didn’t know what story I was supposed to be telling – I didn’t know what was going on. He told me that he was particularly concerned with “the time you had your hands around your wife's throat”. I remember distinctly the moment I was told this. I found I couldn’t say anything. I just could not digest what he had just told me.

Every so often I’ll hear something from a friend or my attorney that will put something in perspective. Sometimes it just confuses me further. In the days after I was ambushed my STBX called me repeatedly. I would not answer it because she could claim whatever she wanted about what was said. I find it surprising and ridiculous that answering my phone, even if I didn’t know it was her calling, could be construed as harassment, thus violating my restraining order. Over the next few days her messages got more frantic, telling me that her attorney had said it was “ok” for me to talk to her on the phone. My attorney was adamant – do not talk to her on the phone. Up until a little while ago I didn’t have any idea what she wanted to talk about. I was talking with a mutual friend and I told her that I would now talk on the phone with the STBX since the restraining order had been long ago dismissed. She told me that she remembered talking with the STBX around the time I wouldn’t answer the phone. From what I can understand about their conversation, the STBX wanted to discuss what I could do if I wanted her to drop the charges (which, incidentally, she could not do without being charged with making a false report). I’m quite sure she had ideas of forcing me to accede to her financial demands (she wanted all equity in the condo and wanted me to take all of the debt). I’ll never know for sure what she wanted, but it infuriates me to know that she did all of this to me as a power play – a way to get me under her thumb so she could get what she wanted. I think she knew that given an level playing field I’d win custody of our son which played into this also. I know that custody and financial issues are the main reason false domestic abuse charges are made, but I had always believed she did it because of her mental illness. I feel even more betrayed now.

Writing this out helped some – I really need to get out of this dark mood. The last few days have been very difficult for me, it seems as though everything I’ve worked for up until this point have been taken from me. I don’t even have many of my old friends anymore. My STBX’s paranoia effectively separated me from many of them. I haven’t talked to some of my friends in years. I took an online stress test tonight. It was no surprise when I pegged the “meter” high. It advised me to reduce my stress level immediately (as if I have a choice) and get help and exercise.

I suppose I should just post this and be done with it. I could keep rambling for another hour if I don’t. According to WebMD I should go get some exercise, though.