Remember, as with most of these posts (esp. the past few), that this is part of the story. Am I mad that all of this happened? Yes. Am I bitter? No. All of this horribleness, if used for good in the end, drives away bitterness. Bitterness doesn't even have a chance. And that's what I'm doing here...that's why I'm here sharing our story. To turn it into something good. But, the story has to be told...the real, authentic, no-holds-barred, conveying-all-emotions-and-truth honest story of what happened. Keep that in mind as you read this.
Joel moved out mid-May. And I felt like I could breathe again for the first time in two years.
For many that might sound like an exaggeration. But, for all that time, what Joel had been doing felt very literally like he was smushing me under his thumb.
Because I had had that early experience in my life (late teens/early 20s) where I was very against 'submission,' after I encountered a submission (that wives were called to...where the husband was the authority) that looked halfway decent (because the husbands were also called to lay down their lives) I was always very mindful of where I had come from and always made sure that I always chose to submit. That was honestly pretty easy to do when, for the first 11 years of our marriage, it was mutual.
When in 2012 I had to have a break (from the lifestyle we had led since 2001...and more acutely from the very real traumatic events that had happened from Spring 2011 - Spring 2012), I had to retreat...and Joel did not believe me/agree with me/understand...it became harder for me to do (submit). But...I still did it. I remember consciously thinking, 'Ok...I am called to follow. I have to do this. This is what is right.' I was barely able to function, but I still kept stumbling along, yoked to the ox who refused to see me stumbling and kept trying to drag me to wherever he wanted to go. He was definitely no longer mutually submitting. He was definitely no longer laying down his life. He was definitely not keeping his end of the mandate. But I kept submitting.
That went on for a year...the dragging me along, injured, in the yoke. May 2012 - May 2013.
After that, I knew that I couldn't keep just 'following'...as the injured ox in the yoke, I had to stop...I had to dig in my heels and refuse to do more damage to myself. I had to do it...because NO ONE else (Joel or anyone else) was seeing me or stopping the damage or protecting me. I had to do it myself.
So, I stopped following. To a lesser degree in May 2013. To a greater degree in June 2013...after he literally just left me to go to his training even though I had begged him not to. Unfortunately the badgering from the male ox did not stop. The constant pressures to travel, to attend trainings, to 'be like we were before,' to make plans for the future, etc. just kept coming. Our family was completely and utterly broken...this ox was completely and utterly broken and injured...so there was no 'being like we were before.'
But the male ox could not see that. At all.
So, from May 2013 - May 2014 we lived together...but, we were apart. I was pressured constantly. I was never allowed to retreat, to heal, to recover. And so...in May 2014 when the male ox moved out...I felt only utter relief.
That relief...that being able to breathe again...that led to some MAJOR progress and productivity. I smile now just thinking of it. Is separation ever ideal? Is it ever God's best? No...but I can tell you with 100% certainty that living the way I was living before the separation was definitely worse. That was never ideal or God's best either.
That summer I went through the whole house and finally finished what should have been done as a part of the process of moving in a year and a half prior. The kids and I went through the whole entire house...setting up, purging, finding a place for everything, setting up an organized storage area, etc. etc. etc. It was a huge undertaking...but I was breathing again (as long as Joel wasn't around). I was motivated, I was healing, I was free from the oppressor who had lived with me May 2012 - May 2014.
I still had many of the effects of what had happened to me to deal with and heal from and overcome...but, I could breathe again...and I was finally starting to thrive again and starting to recover.
At this same time, we had been working with counselors #4 and #5. That went ok for a while. But I am not kidding you when I say that all of the first 5 counselors we went to continued to only focus on and go after the symptoms instead of the root issues, the root causes. They constantly picked up on symptom stuff instead of killing this ugliness that had become our lives at the root. It's like they didn't even believe in handling things that way...or couldn't see the roots down there in the deep darkness.
So, that went on until mid-July (which brought us to completing a full year of trying to get help through counseling). And then I was done with that. In all of my life when it comes to sickness (physical or spiritual), if someone (doctors, counselors, etc.) is going to ignore the root issues and just treat symptoms, then I'm moving on. You are not who I need to be collaborating with.
So, I moved on. Joel was yet again not happy with this and my actions. But, it was a waste of time. Sure...let's go after any symptoms that might still remain after you cut it out at the root. I'm all about that. But, usually when you kill something at the root level, most of the symptoms die too. Let's go after the root first!
Nobody was even seeing any root issues here, much less going after them.
I'll give you an example...
Basically my last straw with the #5 counselor was when she suggested to me that I just wasn't affirming Joel enough. I am literally sitting here as I typed that last sentence still shaking my head about it. After all that I'd been through, after being with that counselor for 2 1/2 months and her hearing my complete story...her suggestion was that I just needed to affirm my husband more?
Not only was it just ridiculous...to think that affirmation would fix our problem or could be the solution or root to what had been going on for years. But...as I told her...I actually had done that and lived that way. You reading this can actually go see for yourselves (if you're friends with me on Facebook) that not only did I continue to affirm him privately during all of this time, but I also did it publicly (on Facebook, when speaking with others in person, etc.).
I was sure to talk about and praise my husband for the one way he provided for us during the years of 2012 - 2014...materially (you who are friends with me on Facebook saw the many posts I made about the things he had done around the house, the things he had made, etc.). I was sure to never talk about the multitude of ways he did not provide for us. I only talked about him in a positive light. And always let him know how grateful I was for the things he did provide (materially here at the house).
I had done that constantly all of those years...those same years that he was betraying me (talking badly about me, slandering me to others...I'll explain more about that later), abandoning me in my greatest time of need, dragging me along completely battered and injured, pressuring me, etc.
So, this suggestion that I really just needed to affirm my husband more...I just knew that seeing this counselor any longer was a waste of my time.
By the way, I did stop affirming Joel, publicly and privately, around the winter of 2014. When all of the uncaringness came from him concerning the baby and then the miscarriage, I just couldn't anymore. I was done. As you read here.
So, affirming my husband more was not the answer to our problems. And I said goodbye to that counselor.
We're at the end of the summer in our timeline now. I'll pick up there next time.