Thursday, August 06, 2015

Joel. Michawn. {Part 38 - Those Weeks in April, 1}

(**I was supposed to be relaxing and recovering and healing this summer.  So, I wasn't blogging.  But, that all changed at the beginning of July and I started blogging again.  And I needed to catch the blog up from where I left off.  This is a part of that catch-up.  These stories are not fun and heartwarming stories.  But, they are stories that need to be told.  I document all of my family's journey here...the good and the bad.  So while I know these things are not easy to read, they are important to share.  Just wanted to reinforce that belief.  And I've been saying that and living that out my whole life.  Having said that, I also want to reinforce something can now stop contacting me to tell me that my sharing all of this is wrong.  I obviously don't agree with you.  And I obviously am not going to stop sharing this story...the story of this hard time in our lives.  I understand that it is rare for one to do that.  I understand that telling the truth is very sad, by the way.  But, this is a good thing.  And I won't stop. not contact me with those criticisms anymore.  Thank you.

I also want to say a big thank you to the people who continue to send messages like this:  "I hate that you have had to experience this, but it has truly helped me," and this pastor's wife who said, " you are having to fight against the stupid world for being 'vocal' and shining light into the real reality of marriage! Hang in there, hold your head up and fight ! God loves u and u are not alone!"  You guys mean more than you know.  Thank you for being people who, regardless of the naysayers, can see my heart and know why I share.)

Even back in April I planned on doing a blog post called 'Those Weeks in April.'  I even told a friend to be watching for it (that friend, btw, is not my friend anymore...I have lost lots of things and lots of opportunities and lots of people in my life through all of this sadly; although truthfully, were they ever really my friends? find out a lot about people when you go through something like this).

April was an incredibly hard month.  I spoke to that in my first post in May, saying, "Whew...April was hard, y'all.  Daaaaaaang.  If you only knew. Deeeeeeep breath.  Praise the Lord it's over. is better.  You'll hear all about it here in time."

I had to back up and talk about 'those 7 months' in the last blog post before I talked about this...because to speak of April without also telling what I now know was also going on during that time would be incomplete and inaccurate.  Now that that's done, let's unpack April a bit this time.  Next time we'll finish up with April.  And in the blog post after that, I'll give you an update on we're doing and what's going on now, present-day.

Things started getting hard again in January and it just got harder and harder as the months went on until we got to April...and that's when some poop started hitting the fan.

This whole time we were supposed to be rebuilding us.  Getting stronger as a couple.  Growing together again.  Reconnecting.  Becoming friends again.

Joel was supposed to be about the task of establishing and rebuilding and gaining my trust again.  He was supposed to be making me priority again after years of not making me priority...and reassuring me that I was priority.  There was supposed to be no doubt in my mind that he was with me and for me and would never put anything above me again (other than God...I shouldn't have to add this part, but I know some will jump on it if I don't) ever as long as we lived.  It was me and him.  Just us.

Except it wasn't.  I know that now.

It became worse and worse.  All of those things that we were supposed to be accomplishing...that Joel was supposed to be accomplishing (I was doing my part)...that all just gradually flew out the window.

I had been badgered for years, since we'd been back in the states, about traveling and going and doing and keeping up appearances and sticking to a furlough schedule.  Then after we stopped traveling I was badgered about how I was wrong and how there was something wrong with me and how I just needed to be more disciplined or more Godly or more this or more that.  It was constant badgering.

When we separated, that eased up.  Praise God.

But, I had let him back in.  I had trusted him again.  I had trusted him with my life and my heart and I had trusted him to be my teammate again.  My partner.  I had trusted him to take care of me like I took care of him.  I had trusted him to not beat me up anymore with his constant badgering and accusations.

Yet here we were again.  January - March it gradually got worse and worse.  What was the constant badgering and accusations about now?  I was the reason we weren't reconciled with his family, he said.  If I had 'done it their way,' we would be able to talk to them still.  If I had 'met them on their level,' it all would have been O.K.  I was the reason he was separated from his family.  I was to blame.  I hadn't approached them in the right way.  I hadn't spoken the right words to them.  I hadn't dealt with it correctly.  It was all me.  All my fault.

First of all, keep in mind that this whole time he was accusing me of being the reason he couldn't talk to his family...he was talking to his family.  Unbelievable.

Secondly, I, the victim of their bad behavior, bent over backwards to do my part to reconcile.  They, the perpetrators, bent over not at all.  Not. At. All.

So, was not my fault.  I was beaten up constantly with the accusations and badgering and the realization that, wow...this is happening again?...and the devastation that that brought because that meant that again...I was not priority, and again...I was not being taken care of.  It was beyond devastating, y'all.  Just beyond devastating.

But...I knew the truth.  And I refused to accept that I had done wrong in that situation.  Because I had not.

So, then came April.  And with it came the first wave of Facebook attacks.  And with those attacks came more blame.  And more blame.  I was not only to blame for his family's failure to reconcile.  I was now also to blame for their anger and their attacks.

And again...all this time he was talking to them behind the scenes.  Behind my back.

After the attacks, I got a message from a friend that said that, if Joel had told his family some of the things that he told them while he was in Brazil, then they could understand his family's hard time letting some of those things go if Joel hadn't asked forgiveness for saying those things in the first place, and hadn't made things right by making it very clear the real stories and explanations behind the things he told them.

First of all, I made it very clear in my response to our friends that Joel had asked forgiveness, from me and from his family, for saying things about me that either weren't true at all or didn't give the full story and made me look bad.  And I made it known that we had tried to clear things up with his family and work it all out...clear my name of any false accusations and tell the full stories of some of the half stories that had been told to make me look bad.

We tried.

They refused.

So...there was nothing we could do about that.

But, my friend and her husband wrote out what exactly Joel had told them.  And in that message, I saw that they still had questions themselves.  Some of it was just no-brainer type stuff that Joel had brought Joel was concerned for the kids in all of this.  Well, yeah.  He should have been concerned for the kids...who wasn't?  Since he was blaming me for it all, of course the concern for the kids came out of what I was doing.  Here's what I mean...

I needed a break...some healing, some rest...physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually.  I was never given that rest.  I needed that rest because of all the things that had happened that last year in Brazil.  And then I continue to need to to this day because I still haven't gotten it...all I've gotten is opposition and more and more stress and abuse...unbelievable amounts.  But...he does not see that he's played a role in that at all.  As I responded to my friend asking that yesterday:
he knows that i’ve been stressed, but he sees no role he’s played in it.  he thinks i’m just not disciplined enough or that i’m ‘giving in’ to feelings that i could control...i could decide to not be stressed if i wanted to.  i could decide to just be 'happy' if i wanted to.  that has always been his stance.  i could decide to just look over what his family said and did if i wanted to.  etc. etc.  it’s all within my control...and i just choose not to do it.  and i choose not to do it because i want to control and manipulate him and our circumstances. 
So he just doesn't take care of me.  And it was all my fault because I was choosing to be hurt/injured/damaged/in need of a break.  Anyway...

Some of what Joel's 'concerns' were that he shared with our friends in Brazil were half-stories...and I could tell that I needed to tell the rest of the story which would clear it all up and satisfy any doubts.  Joel got a copy of the message and he started answering it as well.

But, when I got his copy of his answers to their concerns, it was basically just him re-voicing everything that he had told them while he was in Brazil.

I couldn't believe it.  I really couldn't.  So...he still believed those things?  He still was only focusing on parts of the stories so that he could be justified in his actions and thoughts?  Some of the things that he had said 'concerned' him were just natural consequences and things that had happened because of his sin.  Because he didn't take care of his wife.  Yet...I was the bad one...and he was spreading that all over town (and Brazil).  But the worst part?  He was still saying the same things?  Still just re-voicing those same concerns...not at all seeing that it was all just a result of his sin.

Let me just give you an example (this was written about a week after the first Facebook attacks; the first part with asterisks and quotations was one of the listed concerns Joel shared with our friends and then my answer to that concern follows; yes, it is again about his family; yes, I get tired of hearing the belly-aching and accusations directed toward me about his family too, esp. after all they said and believed about me and after they refused to reconcile...I mean, cut the cord; but this is my real life, people):
**“Joel was not allowed to take the kids to visit their grandparents- even w/out you. I know you addressed that in your blog and think I read that some of the readers (his brother included) felt that you had kept them from seeing the family. I understood even then in APS that Joel wanted to see his parents and take the kids but was not allowed. If he did take them w/out you  then he was afraid things would get much worse.” 
this is all true.  i sacrificed and took that horribly miserable road trip from louisiana to pennsylvania and back in april 2013 to be with and see his family.  even though my husband had refused me any sort of rest or recovery that i was needing so badly, i went…for his family.  and for him.  if he had truly been who he was supposed to be being…as someone wrote in a blog comment in response to this whole situation (this was in response to the Facebook attacks at the beginning of April)…"I read your posts and they hurt my heart because I KNOW what massive stress feels like myself, and can imagine that all that you've been through - moving all those times, miscarriage, living a life thousands of miles from any support system - would put you at risk of illness going by the Holmes stress scale. And the ones who should have loved you the most have been negligent at best, and downright brutal today on social media. I'm so, so sorry about that, friend. Jesus would have treated you like a bruised reed, or carried you in his arms like a lamb... And so many who call themselves His followers have been so incredibly rude and hateful and really all too happy to keep kicking when you're already down.” joel is in that group.  he repeatedly, daily, kept kicking me when i was already down.  he was relentless.  no break.  no understanding. i desperately needed a husband, a teammate, a partner…who would look out for me and take care of me and meet my very basic needs.  that NEVER happened.  unfortunately, it’s still a struggle to be honest, even though it’s better and more understanding is there.  it’s a process.  but, at that time…there was NOTHING.  just heartlessness.  you yourself said (when his story he was telling everyone about me was that i was depressed), ‘michawn, even if you were depressed, wouldn’t it be the loving thing to do to meet you where you are and take care of you instead of getting mad about it and talking bad about you?’  
so…after the trip in april 2013 (which was only 2 years ago…that’s not that much time…if we were still on the foreign mission field, that is not at all unreasonable or anything), yes…we were done traveling (although joel never stopped asking and trying to insist that we travel).  i held my ground.  he wasn’t going to be that person that treated me with care, but he wasn’t going to go so far as to just leave whenever he wanted to and go wherever he wanted to either.  and he for sure wasn’t going to take my kids.  yes, things definitely would have gotten much worse had he tried that.  so yes…all true.  sadly, seeing his wife in need, he shouldn’t have wanted to leave her.  he’s working on being that kind of husband. 
Well, in April, I still thought he was working on being that kind of husband.  Turns out, not so much.

I also wrote in another section...
roots run deep.  sometimes he goes back to that way of thinking…esp. when things get hard.  we’ve established that two of the main roots we have to deal with are 1) he never did the leave and cleave thing (and was never really taught that…pretty sneaky of his family), and 2) if things are hard, he doesn’t follow through…he runs from those things.  why did he buy an airline ticket to his brother’s wedding behind my back when he had given me his word that he wouldn’t go months earlier?  a combination of those 2 root issues.  so…he still goes back to those things, those ways…and starts accusing me of things again…blaming me for the hard things. 
Anyway, that incident, and seeing the fact that he was still voicing those same 'concerns,' was another real eye-opener.

His reaction to the Facebook attacks (and the fact that he blamed me for them) and the fact that he still had the same 'concerns'...we were in crisis again.

We went to a pastor/lay counselor that week.  I'll tell you the story of that, and how the rest of April went, tomorrow.

No comments: