Fourier Analysis is a mathematical tool which can do a number of things: separate out signals from noise; help identify patterns or trends in data; filter out all unwanted data and focus on a single signal; use approximations to make generalizations; make approximations of real world signals (think electronic music); combine harmonics to get a stronger signal. That's what I'll be trying to do here!! Won't you join me with your comments?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Don't You Remember...?

This is the third part of a continuing series (Part I, Part II) I am doing for Soap Opera Sunday, sponsored by the beautiful 'Twas Brillig and the fantastic Walking Kateastrophe. Please visit them for more stories to make you laugh, cry, worry, commiserate, reminisce, live vicariously and enjoy reading.

Just a response to those who commented on my last SOS entry. I wasn't "clever" in noticing the books were not consistent, I was imagining myself every month of the year in that hellhole, and trying to see if we closed for holidays so was checking out Thanksgiving and realized there was no November. I wasn't clever, but I do believe I had a guardian angel on my shoulder! Now get out the tissues...

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Many of you reading this can probably see what is coming. At the time, I could not.

Back in the busom of my family, I was determined to overcome the setback of the move to California. After two weeks of staying with my Mom, we found a cheap apartment and furnished it with the castoffs from various family members. I went to work as a hostess in a local restaurant, BF usually drove me there and picked me up. He found a job as an assistant manager at a fast-food restaurant. We settled into a typical young couple married existence.

The abuse started slowly, and I didn't really recognize it. It began with comment like "Don't you remember...?" and would involve incidents or things that I had said shortly before or shortly after my car accident. And no, I didn't remember. But BF came up with such convincing descriptions of what had happened or what I had said, that I would nod and agree and store it in my mind as one of the "missing pieces". That the pieces did not really fit with the rest of my memory I just ignored or didn't realize. But they were crucial to the control that BF was gaining over my life.

For instance, when my mother was asking about when I was planning on going back to college and finish my degree, BF chimed in with "Don't you remember, last Thanksgiving you were talking about dropping out? You said that the courses were too hard and you were tired of studying. You didn't seem to think you needed to get a degree in order to get a good job. And besides you were making really good money as a waitress."

My mother looked at me in shock and I said, "Oh yeah, I don't know if I want to go back right now Mom, I'll think about it."

My Mom pressed on, saying, "I'm sure your adviser would be able to help you get started again. I know your accident has shaken you up, but you could start out slow".

"Yeah, maybe," I said.

BF said, "But you were talking about dropping out before your accident, remember?"

I didn't, but I was so sensitive about not remembering I just said, "Well, we can't afford it right now anyway and I don't want to think about it right now." My Mom dropped the subject.

Or on a couple of occasions, he was late picking me up. I waited outside the restaurant patiently.Once,after an hour, as the restaurant was closing, I went in to call him. He wasn't at work. I called home. No answer. I finally called my Mom, and she came to pick me up. I said goodbye to all my co-workers as they were leaving, assuring them that my ride was coming. BF arrived at the same time my Mom did. He was full of concern that I had not called him. But I thought we had agreed that he would pick me at the regular time, which was always the same. And it was just after his work shift and was on his way home. So there was no reason for me to have called him. But he insisted that is what we had agreed, ending his argument with "Don't you remember?" I was angry and embarrassed that this was happening in front of my Mom, and apologized to her for calling, admitting my mistake. BF then hugged me and said he was glad I was okay because he had been worried. But if he had been so worried, why hadn't he called my work? I checked the next day, he never called. But I let it go.

And so it went. Didn't I remember I did not want to talk to my best girlfriend from high school because we no longer had anything in common? Didn't I remember that I was still afraid to drive a car so there was no need to worry about buying a vehicle for me until I overcame that? I couldn't "remember" where I had left the checkbook, so it was better for BF to handle all the finances and he would give me money when I needed it.

My Dad dropped by one day and took me out to a parking lot. He stopped the car and got out and told me to slide over behind the wheel. We took it slow and after a while moved out onto the street. After an hour I was even driving on the highway. I wasn't afraid. I'm not really sure I had ever been. But at least this was not something BF could argue with. So plans were made to buy a car for me. But BF spotted a Dodge van at one of the car lots we visited and decided that I could have his car and he would get the van. When I was not very enthusiastic about this idea, he insisted that I practice driving his car to get the feel of it. It went okay, so this was the plan.

The next day he went to the dealership to start the process of buying the van. As we didn't have a lot of savings, he would have to get a loan. Two days later he got a call, and learned he could not get the loan as he had no credit record. He was furious. The next day, he left without telling me where he was going. He later returned driving the van. He had traded in the car for the van. I was in tears. What about a car for me? He said that I could drive his van and drop him at work sometimes. But we tried. I couldn't drive the van. I had learned to drive a standard car, but was more familiar with an automatic. I could not get the seat close enough to be able to work the clutch properly, and kept grinding the gears. It was not at all comfortable and BF got very impatient with me. I burst into tears again. What about a car for me? He turned on me in a rage. "What's wrong with you? This is a great solution and you just aren't happy? Why can't you understand? You used to be smart? I guess you just aren't anymore."

There it was. He was right. I didn't understand. I did used to be smart. But now I was "damaged" and I didn't deserve anything better. All my own self doubts, as well as those that BF had instilled in me came crashing down. I felt so low and worthless and I just couldn't fight him on anything.

Looking back, I find it interesting that my brain itself was healed a long time before my "mind" was. While I no longer had the memory lapses and was able to think and reason and make decisions for myself, I didn't. I accepted what BF said about me and gave him almost total power over my life. Yes, he was over a foot taller than me and probably outweighed me by about 100 lbs. But he had never graduated from high school while I was only about 3 semesters away from finishing a science degree. However, I let him make me think he was smarter than I was and more capable of making all the decisions affecting my life. And whenever I stood up to him or argued with him, he would get angry and I would be bullied and humiliated into going along with him. Or, if I did something he could not change, I would end up paying a very dear price for it in some way so that I often regretted my defiance.

And so we went along as we were. I got a different job, this time as a waitress at a restaurant that was not too far away from where we lived. The work was hard, but I made good tips and it was a friendly place. When BF failed to pick me up on occasion, I walked home. He would show up later and not say anything about it, as if this is what we had agreed upon.

About a year after we had moved back to Texas, BF changed jobs and started working as a maintenance man at the university that I had been going to. I went with him on days I wasn't working, hanging out at the library or the student center. And the inevitable happened, I ran into my old adviser. He bought me a Dr. Pepper and we talked about what had happened. He was sorry to hear that I was not planning to come back to finish and made a suggestion that I had not considered. "Why don't you just audit a couple of courses? You just sit in the class and listen to the lectures. If the professor lets you, you can do the homework and even take the tests. If it is too hard for you, then you'll see that and there won't be any record of it. I can even talk to a couple of professors for you and you might not even have to pay any fees, just go to the class and see if you are still interested." I told him I would think about it and get back to him. But of course BF didn't think this was a good idea.

I then had an opportunity to get a job working in an office full time. But I couldn't take it because I couldn't always count on BF to bring me and pick me up on time. I mentioned this to my Dad in passing. He showed up the next day to take me to a car dealer friend he knew. There was a very nice car on the lot that I really thought I would enjoy driving. But again, I only had a limited amount of money saved up from my waitress tips and we did not have any real savings in the bank. But I did have a good credit record, so my Dad encouraged me to apply for a loan, and even offered to co-sign for me if I needed it. I got the call the next day, that my credit was approved and I did not need my Dad to cosign! I called my Dad and he came and drove me to the lot and we picked up my new "wheels". BF was not yet home, so I drove over to the office where I had the job offer and talked to the manager. He said I could start next week and even agreed to let me leave early on the days when I needed to work at the waitress job in order for me to give a 2-week notice.

When BF arrived home from work that evening, I was full of news and very proud of myself. I had worked out a budget on how to pay off the car loan and the monthly insurance out of the new full-time salary I would be getting. I would still be bringing in more than I had been waitressing. I thought he would be pleased.

He wasn't. He was furious. How could I make such decisions on my own? What kind of a wife was I? Did I think how it made him look? How was I going to be able to work full time and take care of the house? I couldn't even keep on top of all the work at home just working parttime. Etc., etc., etc. He worked himself into a full-blown rage and was stomping around and yelling. I tried to calm him down and grabbed one of his arms. He shook me off with such force that I fell down. I got mad and said something to him in anger, I don't remember what it was. I do remember looking up at him as I was trying to get up from the floor. His eyes were black with anger. His face was rigid in a grimace of disgust.

And then he kicked me. Hard.

15 comments:

Summer said...

Oh my gosh! This story just keeps on breaking my heart.

Dedee said...

I'm not exaclty sure I can handle what's coming. I'm already crying.

See you next week!

anno said...

oh, sweetie, I'm so sorry. This is some tough reading, but I am interested in learning how you get out of all this...

Kateastrophe said...

Holy.Crap.

This story is just breaking my heart for you. Obviously, you are in a better place and able to tell it, and for that i'm glad, but I feel awful that you had to go through this. Can't wait to see how it ends!

Jen said...

Oh, FA, I'm so sorry you went through this. But you know, you've mentioned you should have seen this or that coming - you were so young and you'd been through so much. And you were right in the middle of it.

I'm glad you're a strong woman and have a completely different life today.

Luisa Perkins said...

FA. How awful. What a creep. There are no words. What an inspiration you are, to have come back from all this.

MiniVan Diva said...

I am sorry to say I've seen those dark, black, angry eyes looking down at me, waiting for the blow to come...and it did. I'm sorry to hear you had to go through this too. I'm sure you've heard, "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger," right? I'll keep reading...

Heather said...

Ack! I'm dying to know how this ends and how you got out of this.

Wow, what a scary situation to be in. Sorry you had to go through it.

You really have me on the edge of my seat, just rooting for you.

Goofball said...

I am so sad you had to go through all of that ! This is a very nasty thriller, unfortunately has been a real one

Brillig said...

Ohhhh, I'm so angry. And sad.

And yet hopeful, because I know where you are now.

I would, however, like to track him down and give him a swift kick myself.

Real Life Drama Queen said...

I have been in your shoes. Just the first time you are leading too. I left immediately, after waking him up long enough to knock his ass out with a frying pan.

I feel for you. I am sorry you had to go through all of that. I am very, very happy you have a wonderful life today.

Jenn in Holland said...

Wow.
Thanks for the tissue warning.
I imagine this is really working through some demons for you, yes?
It is powerful. Perhaps in addition to catharsis for you, you are offering others a glimpse into what abuse actually looks like in all of it's forms. And maybe this teaching you are doing will save someone from a similar situation.
Good for you FA. Keep telling it true.

jennifer said...

Wow... you're brave. I'm a bit shaken now, and angry, too. Good for you for writing all of this down.

Robin said...

I'm so sorry. I don't think I'd be able to read this if I didn't know that your happy ending was still out there waiting.

Rebecca said...

what an absolute control freak he was. This is a compelling story and not least because it all really happened to you. Can't wait to read how you 'survived' this time in your life. (which you obviously did -and brilliantly!!)