Nicole opening her heart in Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana.

Nicole opening her heart in Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana.

(The following was written by Nicole Polizois and is shared on this blog with her permission.)

FREEDOM IS KEY

This is a story about domestic violence, not the type on the news in recent days, not flashy sexy TMZ worthy blows to the face, and not the COPS version assuring braless hysteria.

This is a story borne out of an early childhood fantasy, one that lingers with me even now– about appearing perfect so I could be rescued by a man.

I found many men, but I married George. An abusive man, in other words, but not just any abusive man. George was the handsome, charming and successful man who declared his love for me on our first date. He always called, sometimes 35 times a day.

A child of Greek immigrants, abandoned at age ten by his abusive father, leaving George and his brother alone with a depressed and helpless mother. His childhood memories blank, too brutal to recollect. He grew up on food stamps and worked as a busboy. He had a paper route. He went to college on a full tennis scholarship.

He didn’t knock me unconscious in an elevator like Ray Rice did to his fiancé. However, he did spit on me in an elevator while I was eight months pregnant with his son on our way to Lamaze class (a waste of his time).

He spat in my face and then came the usual rhetoric:  “You’re a waste product.” You’re a shitty wife.” “You’re a piece of shit.” “Aren’t you embarrassed to go out in public looking like that?” “You look disgusting.”

Nothing I didn’t already feel.

No blow up preceded this incident. No alcohol or drug use. This was just George with no cameras to see, I had no evidence. No one would believe me. George kept his demons for only those who could never leave him. Everyone loved George, including my father.

The story is textbook. It escalated from there as it always does. It doesn’t ever get better. It doesn’t go away.

George would say, “I don’t have to OJ you, I’m going to get you to kill yourself.” I heard this so many times, as if recited out of a manual he carried along with his secret cell phone. His threat, if I voiced thoughts of leaving him.

I know why women “don’t just leave.” He picked me because I needed him like a drunk needs a drink. I needed him to take care of me. I believed him when he said, ”no one else would ever want you.” “You are going to be homeless.” “I’m going to take your son away from you.”

I am a statuesque blonde. I am educated and cultured. I have traveled. I speak languages. I roam with the best breed of cattle.  I have appeared on the cover of magazines.  We lived in a home overlooking the Pacific. I practiced yoga. The Harbor Day room mom. Stella McCartney’s top client. I drove an oversized black Benz. I helped raise millions for Oceana. I attended the lunches and Galas for Human Options. It didn’t matter.

There are few resources available. The law enforcement officers explained, “The Burden of Proof”–so unless the abuser is foolish enough to leave his handprints or is video taped, there is nothing they can or will do. Restraining orders are tough to get, and even when I had one, and he violated it, I was the one who begged the officer not to do anything. The last thing I wanted was to get him in deeper trouble. I still wanted to protect him. Attorneys, even the ones that advertise to be experts on Domestic Violence, will do nothing without a large retainer. They don’t, or won’t understand that the abuser has the financial power. The only accounts my name appeared on were the one checking account I had before our marriage and the $1 Million line of credit he extracted from our house.

His threat to leave me destitute was carried out, and no one could stop him. Forensic Accountants are a joke. The Family Court system is a dog and pony show.

FREEDOM IS KEY.

The moment I let that seep in, I really started to let it all go. I sold my belongings. I ached for the loss of my Mercedes, I still cannot drive by my former home. I remind myself it’s okay. It’s only stuff.

FREEDOM IS KEY.

I have discovered who I am without all of the things that hid or I thought was my identity. I became more than a fancy address and apparel. I stayed on my yoga mat even on the days I thought I couldn’t breathe. I started teaching again.

“Always fall in with what you’re asked to accept. Take what is given, and make it over your way. My aim in life has always been to hold my own with whatever’s going on. Not against: with.” ~ Robert Frost

While I practiced my yoga on a hot September morning two years ago, George lay on a garage floor. He shot himself in the head.

It isn’t the typical ending of a fairy tale, but my son and I are at peace. I am proud of my life now. I have a story I feel obligated to share. I held on in order to let go.

FREEDOM IS KEY.

by Nicole Polizois

Category:
abuse, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Guest Post, mindfulness, Recovery, Relationships, Self Improvement, Self-care, Spirituality, Yoga
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Join the conversation! 10 Comments

  1. Nicole! You are amazing. I am grateful for your courage, your truth, and always edified when I attend your class!

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  2. You are definitely helping Paula and I thank you for it and reading your newest post let me proudly correct myself because I take pride in each step I take to recovery. Therefore, I was made to feel I was a trophy wife but by no means I meant anymore to him than the girl before or after me or during me. Nasty thing that former ego went through.

    My love and putting him on the pedestal was real because there were no plans for anyone else nor was there anyone else. I followed my love with action and what stings the most is every time I gave love he was using it as a weapon to make me appear crazy. She will not let me go. Look she keeps telling me she loves me so she is obsessed about me. It appears so crazy that someone would use your love to plot your demise.

    It a horrid thing to hold on to that ego but you got to let it go or you will always compare yourself, think you got to save him by giving a bit more love etc and this cycle will repeat over and over again to the point of damage of yourself.

    You know Paula I use to feel afraid to say I hate you because I did not want to be the monster he was but now I embrace it. I hate what he did to me and have every reason too and I am nothing like him because I fought with my conscious before I hated him whereas he fought with nothing. No apology for silent treatments, no apology for times I would be calling over and over where are you because I was worried but this was a ploy to make me seem crazy, no apology for lying to my face about cheating, but always it is all in your mind or when he could not get out of a situation you led me to yell or that person is just evil and trying to break us up, or you have no respect for my personal space when I started calling hotels and restaurants for the truth etc.

    It is scary no accountability but always because of you or someone else it is this way and I believed it and wanted to be better and did something he could never do which was apologize and be better.

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  3. Hi everyone,
    30 years of living with a lot of “why’s” . Feeling it was my fault, feeling numb, feeling crazy…I know now the answers to the “why’s” that filled my every waking moment..The answers have come from wonderful people who have shared their experiences. I am now out of that crazy-making environment. I am learning to forgive and love myself and reconnecting to my buried strength. ” I am not where I want to be but I am not where I use to be”.
    For all the wonderful people who have unknowingly helped me through sharing their own stories, I say with much love, Thank you!!
    ~Victoria~

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  4. Aw Paula, I feel you are courting my soul with these postings. My therapist suggested I take a break from reading daily and go on a retreat that offers yoga, silence etc but check in with her almost daily and in a lot ways I agree because so far a lot of suggestions are working for me. Yet, I am glad I did what I want because I felt like this was my story but with taking out certain details, so you imagine how I feel about now. Not bad but GOOD. I am not alone. I was the trophy girl and no I not say it with pride at all but truth of my story. As FORMER me would say this was not supposed to happen in my world. But I not take that small detail, ego in the trash now and clean surface because it did happen. So what I take is that I stick to what I said before when I go back to practice I can say I really do understand and make a difference in so many ways.

    Life is so good and I know you make these postings for everyone but I tell you of late I feel like every post is like a silent intervention just for me and I will be darn it is working. You are so courting my soul. I am not crying no more. I am greedy and embracing everything. I am learning to feel and learning not to feel as bad when I mouth I hate you if I think of his shitty behavior.

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    • I’m so glad you are finding these recent posts helpful and validating. And I absolutely understand and have done the same mouthing of “I hate you” when I find myself remembering the shitty behavior that was never followed with an apology or tinge of remorse or accountability. 🙂

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  5. Nicole,

    Thank you for sharing your story. We all think a man is going to rescue us because many women grew up on fairy tales in which the handsome and charming prince saves the princess. Princesses are still the most popular characters for kids parties. Tie that in with the sociopathic men that are out in the world and it is a recipe for disaster. I am glad you and your son are now safe and at peace. It is time for new stories for young girls so that they will grow up with better role models and be empowered.

    ivonne

    Liked by 1 person

  6. yes freedom is key!
    in 1987 I vowed I would NEVER be abused again
    I’ve been 27 years abuse free
    and have been doing yoga 16 years
    thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for sharing your story Nicole!
    So happy you found peace.
    You are a beautiful soul!
    I don t see you much, but I think about you all the time.
    Love you,
    Sylvie

    Liked by 1 person

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