The 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.