Getting out of an abusive relationship is rarely simple.
For me it was an absolute doozey. I was living on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, in a country not my own, thousands of miles from my family, friends, and support system. Think: Canadian Citizen visitor, American born child, American born X.
When life had gotten to the point of being undeniably dangerous, and I had fled with my child to a neighbor’s house, putting my exit plan into motion took weeks.
First my X threatened my life. Then he told me that if I left the island with my child, he would have me charged with kidnapping. When I called the local women’s shelter, they told me I could not stay there because I was an illegal immigrant (even though I was legally in the states). When I contacted legal aide to try and get a lawyer, again I was denied. My family and friends offered to pay for a flight off the island, but I still couldn’t leave (see above kidnapping).
My mom mentioned finding a mediator, and a friend knew someone who was one. I met up with my X and the mediator, and my X was so belligerent, that even the mediator didn’t know how to communicate with him. My X spelled out what he wanted in a contract. Scared shitless of him, I signed the agreement.
Then the Game of Manipulations began. He stated more requests. He needed time to think before he signed the agreement. And he wanted alone time with my daughter. If I didn’t give him alone time with her, he wouldn’t sign. If he didn’t sign, I couldn’t leave the island.
He took my year and half old daughter to the fair for the weekend, and brought her back to me after midnight each night. Finally, he was ready to sign. But he wouldn’t let me ride with him to town to have the contract notarized. Instead he took my daughter while I hitchhiked there and back.
There was one last demand. My X wanted to have my daughter for a sleepover. I acquiesced. I stayed up all night fraught with terror that he might hurt her. That she might be traumatized without her mom. He called early in the morning telling me to come pick her up. That she had cried through the night. That it had upset his other kid so much that he had to send her to her room. He said it was my fault. That my daughter was going to miss her daddy.
A friend drove me over to pick up my child. Her face was blotchy, as though she had been screaming for hours. I kissed and held her close to my chest. As we drove off, I wished with all my might that I would never see him again.
And I never did.
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