Paula's PortfolioThe following entry was inspired by a post today on the Facebook page for My Emotional Vampire:

Stage 6: Triggering Event

Once the victim is motivated to leave, there is most likely an event that takes place triggering the actual leaving of the relationship. This event is most likely to be a severe physical episode or fear of imminent severe harm. In some cases, the identification of being in an abusive relationship is motivation enough to leave. No more! He really hurt you this time and there are no more excuses. ~MEV

My triggering event occurred the first week I moved in with My X Asshole (a.k.a. the boy in my story):

My son (who was 5 at the time) had spent the new year with his grandmother, my mother, while I moved into My X Asshole’s house.

A few days after the new year, my son arrived and my mother informed me that he had choked on an orange wedge that morning and was still a bit too scared to eat anything that required him to chew for fear he might choke again.

I relayed the message to My X Asshole and explained I was going to run out to the market for popsicles, Greek yogurt, and pediasure. I wasn’t gone long and upon returning, my son was sitting alone crying at the dining room table with a plate of grilled chicken in front of him. Upon closer observation, I noticed there were several pieces that had been chewed up and spit out. My son was crying so hard that he was hyperventilating.

I addressed My X Asshole who was sitting very comfortably in his over-stuffed leather chair in front of the fire watching TV. His lap dog on him licking himself:

Me: “What’s going on? Why is he sitting here with food? Did he asked for chicken? He clearly can’t eat anything like this, yet. He’s not ready.”

Asshole: “He has to eat something besides yogurt and popsicles. There is nothing wrong with him. He can eat the chicken. Your son is spoiled.”

Me: “No, he can’t eat the chicken. It’s pretty clear he can’t. Did you notice that he chewed it up and spit it out? It’s because he’s too afraid to swallow solid food. I’m giving him yogurt.”

I pushed the plate of chicken away from my son and began preparing a dish of yogurt for him. I couldn’t bear to look at his sad face. I was so angry, but kept it inside.

Then I heard My X Asshole get up from his chair and walk towards us:

Asshole: “Why are you defying me? Why are you undermining my authority in front of HIM!?!?”

Me [chuckling to keep from crying]: “Defying YOU!?!? You are the one who is clearly disrespecting my son. Besides, I am the parent; you are not. You have no authority over my son or my decisions when it comes to my son. He has me, his father, and his teachers to answer to, not you.”

(Keep in mind I had MANY conversations in the past with My X Asshole about co-parenting. I made it perfectly clear to him that it is recommended that the boyfriend/girlfriend of the parent NOT dictate any of the “rules.” The parenting should and only come from the parent. The girlfriend/boyfriend simply needs to help enforce the “rules” set down by one or both of the parents. As you can imagine, this narcissistic asshole HATED relinquishing control and HATED this reality of co-parenting.)

Asshole: “This is MY house and MY rules. He WILL respect me and so will you or you can leave.”

I allowed the argument to escalate a little. I’m sure I mouthed the word “cocksucker” at him so my son couldn’t hear. I’m sure he called me a “bad mother” a few times and maybe even a whore, two of the boy’s most over-used insults. I finally shut down and ignored him. It was so tiring trying to defend myself and my rights and responsibilities as a mother.

I let my son eat popsicles all night. I admit my decision to allow him the endless supply of treats was part spite and part necessity. It took my son two days before he ate solid food again, but it was on my son’s terms, not My X Asshole’s.

I began plotting my escape that night. I could handle his abuses against me but not against my son.

Before this incident, my son told me many times that he hated this man. I always told my son that he shouldn’t hate anyone. I always brushed his hate off as simple jealousy, a feeling he would outgrow. But after that incident, I allowed my son to hate the boy. If my son mentioned hating him, I’d say nothing or say, “If you feel that way, there must be a good reason.”

I had my reasons to hate this man, too, for a VERY long time. I wished for him to die because I couldn’t remove the sight of my son sitting in front of half-eaten and vomited food from my head. He was 5 and scared. What kind of monster scares an already scared child?

The anger turned to pity, and the pity turned to more anger, and finally, the anger subsided. I know that the boy cannot hurt my son EVER again. I have much peace in knowing this to be true and that my son doesn’t even remember the boy’s name anymore. It’s probably why I will never use the boy’s real name in anything I ever write publicly.


abuse, Child abuse, Children, Cluster B disorders, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Family, Health, Kids, Lessons, Mental Health, Narcissist, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, NPD, Peace, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Psychopaths, PTSD, Relationships, Sociopaths, Spirituality
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Join the conversation! 26 Comments

  1. Sadly, some mothers protect the boyfriend. You did right by your son. How luckyhe is to have you to protect him.


    • Thank you, Ivonne. I couldn’t allow it to continue. It hurt me knowing that I was hurting my son by allowing this man to remain in his life. So much pain swimming around. I wanted out…


  2. There is so much power in this story. What struck me the most is how at the end you supported your son’s feelings in such a constructive way. HOw reassuring to a child to hear, “if you feel that way, there must be a good reason.” Too often, we try to make children feel “good” about things, rather than acknowledging their feelings. I am sure in some ways it is difficult to revisist this time, but we learn through stories, and this one will stay with me. thanks!


    • It was difficult to write. My husband couldn’t finish reading it. It hurts him too much because he and others like him can’t imagine being so hateful in his actions toward a child. The way this man treated my son is not normal, healthy, or acceptable. His actions and treatment speak to his issues, not any faults in my son or in my ability to parent. Thank you, Kimberly. I knew I had to get my son away from this man. But I still tried to explain and justify his behavior. I couldn’t stop pitying him and allow myself to REALLY be angry. It took a while. But I finally allowed myself to see this man for the monster he is. It’s not easy admitting we somehow ALLOWED such a person to infect our lives. 🙂


  3. You are such a good mama for going out of your way to get little one things he would be comfortable to eat! I love this post and hope it encourages others to finally draw the line, I know that can be a very difficult thing to do, examples like this are so helpful!


    • It was VERY difficult. My son was hysterical. I have no idea what this man said or did while I was gone. I try not to imagine it and I wasn’t interested in forcing my son to re-live it by questioning him. Instead, I wanted my son to know that I cared and I confronted this man while my son was present. Many would say that doing that is not healthy for the child. I say the situation leading to the confrontation was the unhealthy action that lead to my contempt-filled reaction. This wasn’t a case of what came first. I knew what came first and I wanted to make certain that my son knew I knew what came first. By this point in this toxic relationship, I really didn’t care what this man thought. I knew he was going to keep thinking all of the dark and twisted things he had thought before that helped him justify his poor treatment of me and my son. This man was and remains a disgrace. I finally asked myself, “Would I be proud to have this man as my son?” The answer to that awakened me from my depressed and inactive state. I was out of that house within a few weeks of the incident I described in this post. Thank you, Bonnie. 🙂


  4. Hell hell and more hell.


  5. I can certainly understand the ‘shame’ Paula…been there, wish I never was, but I was! and yes, writing about these pains are helpful; that’s why we do it

    to Bert…I’ve been there too! we are carried away with the immediate emotions and the kids are always in the middle, and we can’t stop ourselves sometimes. only you know if the relationship can be saved or if that’s even worth it, ONCE we understand that all arguments are about CONTROL AND POWER can we defuse something and see where we may be able to work with in it, BUT, the other person MUST also be willing to let go of the control and power…only those in a relationship can judge that.

    Paula, long ago there were right and proper ways of DEALING with those who misused their wives and children…it was a walk with a brother or father out back of the barn! And I’m guessing Bert that women folk KNEW how to deal with a wife and mother who misused her husband and children. Perhaps it still happens in private, but society has gotten so out of touch with the dangerous behavior patterns that affect everyone.

    Jeanne…indicates what can happen within a religious community where everything revolves around the ‘man of the house’ and the communities ‘ways’. These people are just plain trapped! damm if you do, damm if you don’t!

    I have no answers…just wished the assholes in the world would just disappear!


  6. this reminds me of my childhood. i’m so glad you got him and yourself out. i know you know it would have only gotten worse. xo


  7. This “triggering moment” (to LEAVE) SHOULD have happened for me when our first child, hardly more than 1 year old, had climbed, then fell, hitting the back of his head. I was not allowed to use the car without permission. I was not allowed to use the phone without permission. We had no money and huge medical bills. But as “Lex” (ie, Lex Luthor) adamantly and aggressively refused permission to get our baby to the hospital, I looked at my baby’s *eyes* and saw that this was a _bad_ hit. Turned out later, we found out that it was a 3″ fracture in his skull. Three inches for a baby is huge. It was terrifying for me. We had just moved to the area and “Lex” was in control of who we knew, who we talked to, and every detail. My family of origin was excessively abusive, so I couldn’t flee there. And this was a “respected parachurch minister” that I would flee. I should have anyway. I hadn’t healed from the violence I grew up with…..but I started to throughout the marriage. I fled when there was no choice: he WAS going to kill me. Yes, I got ousted from the church and the church supported him. Yes, I fought for the safety of my kids still, with joint-custody. I hadn’t realized that domestic violence shelters existed (when our firstborn was a baby), or, that they were meant “even” for me. So much education needs to happen. SO much.


    • Powerful story. Thank you for sharing. We all learn from one another.


    • Jeannie,
      I have read many horror stories of women who marry “men of God” only to discover they are “men of the devil.” Similar to you, the church and congregation takes the side of the abuser because they are so good at manipulation, charm, and projection. Why haven’t people come to suspect the charm? It’s the biggest red flag of them all. I am glad you were able to leave and hopefully you and your children are in a better place. Thank you for sharing your story. ~Paula


  8. I’m often in the gray zone.(or so I think) I see things in my relationship that are really bad. I often wonder whether I am the cause and the asshole. It is more difficult when roles are reversed. In either case, she’s often not an asshole.
    Last sunday I promised to make pancakes, but when the queen came back from work, she occupied the kitchen. She said to our daughter that i would make special shaped pancakes, but I did not feel like that at all, since I don’t even have an idea how to do that. So I said she could make them herself.
    Some words. She made the batter. More words. I said she could make the pancakes too. Child caught in the middle of the fight. Then she lost it and sayd she would throw away the batter, and she was really doing that. Little Girl cries really bad. I can save the batter, use B words as I’ve never done before at my loudest rage, and make the pancakes.
    Who is the biggest asshole? How can I protect myself from provocations. Can I still save this relation?


    • Bert, I am a big supporter of couples counseling or at least long conversations that can help you both get to the bottom of your relationship hurdles. We all have them! Sometimes it’s as simple as setting a few simple boundaries for each of you, understanding that you both may need to work on your patience, and above all, not taking anything that goes wrong too seriously. I often stop and laugh in the middle of stupid arguments with my husband. It’s never worth it to fight and put your children in the middle. My son will sometimes interject and say, “Guys. Please stop fighting. Arguing doesn’t help.” We end up looking at each other, smiling, and chalking it up to impatience and silliness. If you and your wife are able to stop an argument out of respect for each other and your child, you can save your relationship from future major blow ups. At least that’s what I hope. 🙂


    • In my case these conversations are often dangerous places, where i often get hurt and sometimes abused for being too open. It shouldn’t all come from one side, but i will try again when things cool down, as they always do, sometimes after one week of silent treatment.


    • I don’t like knowing you are dealing with the silent treatment. That’s abuse, too. It’s disrespectful and it always made me feel like what I had to say or what I felt did not matter. It’s childish and is not conducive to healthy relationships in the least! 😦


    • we talked yesterday, on good terms. i will try to check my barometers of tiredness in time, and she will try to do something about the silences …


    • That’s great to hear!


  9. I pressed the like button to let you know I read every word.


  10. Paula, it’s difficult to ‘like’ this post…but…it is a very important message to be heard. I’ve seen far too many similar ‘episodes’ in my own childhood, in those of my children and of many friends and it’s always a kick in the gut!

    That sick person who wrote that libelous book, against me and family, actually documented what she DID to her own children and sees nothing wrong with that, nor that it was child abuse and exploitation of their lives for her ‘book’, and she blamed her own disgusting behavior on the fact that she was adopted and separated from the birth family (whom she destroyed before and then again in print)! Her issues, her rules, and no regard nor respect for the young lives that were forced, by their young innocent dependence, on her for survival to be mistreated and abuse because SHE was ….fill in the blank.

    You are so blessed to have your son and your husband again and to be able to write about your experiences for the benefit of others. Thanks…


    • What is wrong with these monsters!!! She is sick if she can somehow justify her poor treatment of her children. I wish we could lock these fools up on an island together and let them destroy each other. Leave the rest of us alone. 😦


    • Writing about this can bring shame but I am grateful for my life today and feel the need to share the nightmare, even the parts in which I share blame. Thank you, Gert. XOXO


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