Things really stared heating up after John was served. I started keeping a journal of everything that was happening at home in the hopes that a judge would someday look at it and see that it was dangerous for the children to have time alone with John.
John became even more short and rough with the children. If I left the room to take a shower… go to the bathroom… do pretty much anything that lasted more than 5 minutes… I would hear screaming and crying. The children would claim that John did something to them and he would become indignant and state, “I did NOT”. Frequently I would find red marks on the children where they claimed he grabbed them and he would still claim nothing happened. James would often have large tantrums when John was caring for him and either John would lose it on James, or James would hurt Quinn. I was constantly afraid for my children.
Things were very tense. One day John and I almost walked into each other by accident and I reacted by saying, “whoa”. He then stepped directly in front of me, put his face in mine and aggressively said, “You got somethin to say?!” while the children were right at my side. He would walk into Quinn’s bedroom in the morning while I was getting her ready, stand over me and just stare. Anything he could do to make me feel threatened without actually crossing the line, he did.
His manipulation and control became more evident. One day James needed to go to the hospital for an outpatient procedure. I told John I thought it was best that we take separate cars and met there. We had been to this hospital on multiple occasions and John knew where it was located. He had no reason to follow me…. but he did. He followed my car so closely that if I had slammed on my brakes he would have crashed into me. I pulled into Dunkin Donuts to get a coffee and he followed me through the drive thru… sticking to my car like glue so that I would know he was there and that I couldn’t get away from him. (I often wonder what the workers thought, watching this ridiculous man aggressively follow my car, ignore them at the ordering booth and drive through without placing an order. He looked like a fool. A dangerous, angry fool.)
He called me names every chance he got, whether the kids were there or not. He called me toxic. He told me he was the perfect husband. That I WAS happy with him. I DID love him. I was ruining our family. I was destroying our kids.
I started sleeping with the bedroom door locked. As soon as the children fell asleep I would hide in my room, door locked, shaking… crying… or praying. I lived like this for a year. That is how broken our court system is. He was unstable and obviously mentally ill. He could have lost it one night and killed me. He started drinking whiskey every night. I was living with an unstable, drunk, angry, abusive man.
I am lucky. Lucky he didn’t crack to the point where he did something drastic. (Because of our broken court system, some people don’t end up that lucky.) I couldn’t believe how broken the system was. I was terrified. This man was harassing me…. torturing me…. hurting my children… bullying all of us… and even though I was ending the marriage, I had to remain in a house with him. I had to live with him. I had to provide him with endless opportunities to hurt and scare me and the kids. My lawyer said I needed to stay or he could end up with the kids, the house and all the money. I couldn’t let this abusive man have any more opportunities to hurt my kids. I needed to protect them. So I took my chances and I stayed.
Because of the way our court system runs, I was now a prisoner on house arrest with a very, very unstable man.