Saturday, August 08, 2015

Joel. Michawn. {Part 40 - The Rest of April}

So so so defeated when we left that counselor's house.  We had traveled 2 ½ hours one way to get there.  So, we went to eat before heading back home.  And I could not be alone with Joel.  I was desperate for someone who loved me and cared for me and was for me.  So I got in touch with a dear, close friend and her husband to come meet us.

We talked about everything, because she's that kind of friend.  We don't chit-chat...we plunge right into real life.  Ahhh...those are the best kinds of friends.  And that was so so needed at that time.

She and her husband started the work that would continue for the next few days after that.  When we left that counselor's house, I had just no more hope.  So so defeated.  But with our friends, there was finally someone to talk truth to Joel.  My friend has known us as long as Joel and I have known each other.  So...they know us.  Our time at the restaurant that night was a time of 'hold up here!' truth, and really kind of knocking down some of those things that had been just essentially made up about me.  They questioned me too, don't get me wrong.  But, the truth always came out.  My friend was like, 'um, no...I know this girl.  YOU know this girl.  You know her.  Wake up, Joel.  Let's look at reality here.'  So so needed.

Also, looking back on it now, his family was discussed...a LOT.  Because you know...he's obsessed.  He was told over and over by our friends that his family had to go.  That they needed to be 'put in the garage for now at least.'  That he needed to focus on me and us and our family.

Of course, now we know that he was in constant contact with them.  He was griping the whole time about how he couldn't talk to them and couldn't be in contact with them...yet that's exactly what he was doing all along.

But, the 2-3 hour pow-wow with our friends started some good things.  We drove back home and the next day was full of just hacking things out some more.  One thing led to another and we ended up going over the entire timeline of events again...basically from 2010 to the present.  By going over the timeline and each part of the timeline very slowly, talking out each part, he was able to see, again, just how neglected and not taken care of I have been by him.

So...after the 'reality' talk with our friends and taking a few hours to really go over the timeline, we were better again.  We were on the mend again.  For a few days.

Then Joel found out about his brother being in Mississippi.  Because, you know...he was in contact with them.  He got his brother to write me an email to ask if we could meet up with them to hang out.  I didn't know that Joel did that.  I didn't know that Joel was in contact with his family.  But, I got the email and it was all just a re-opening of wounds.  And Joel got mad that I got mad that they were contacting us again when they weren't supposed to.  And it all started being blamed for reconciliation not happening with his family.  Joel saying that I was wrong for not wanting to go to Mississippi to meet up with his family.  Joel saying I was an unforgiving person, etc. etc. etc.  Kick kick kick, punch punch punch.  Just getting beat up over and over and over again.  The spiraling down was happening...again.

This is the email Joel sent back to his brother faking to be mad, by the way.  I mean...just wow.  Major Crazytown up in here.
Hey brother.  Not sure why you disrespected Michawn by being a jerk months ago and not finishing the conversation to resolve things between us all.  
But distance what I need to put between you all and my wife/family.
Appalled that you think things are good enough to meet up and have fun.  
As Michawn said, please respect us in our wish and do not contact us.
As Michawn said, we are taking as much time as we need.
Wow.  And I'm the one that is accused of having deeper issues?

So...I was, again, being blamed for 'not doing it right' in regards to how I approached reconciliation with his family, and then as the hours/days went on, that again turned into me also being blamed again for all of this...i.e. I made stuff up, I took things the wrong way, I made mountains out of molehills, etc. etc. etc.

Well...because of all of that, I decided to go back to emails and other correspondence (Facebook chat, texts, Skype, Whatsapp, etc.) that showed, without a shadow of a doubt, that I was not making things up, I was not making mountains out of molehills, and that it was all there, just plain as day.

We're talking hundreds of examples that I pulled from correspondence.  Literally hundreds.  I spent 9 hours on a Saturday and 16 hours on that Sunday going through all the correspondence since January 2012 that could be shown to prove that I was not making this up!!  Proof that all I was being accused of?...I was innocent!!  Without a shadow of a doubt.

Proof that I had warned him of all of this well beforehand...I had let him know very clearly, months before we left Brazil, that I needed a break, that I needed rest, that I needed respite in a bad way upon return to the states.

Proof that his family was extremely divisive starting all the way back in January 2012...and the correspondence back and forth shows that clearly.  Proof of how the wedding/festival conflict was handled oh-so-poorly by Joel and his family.  And how Joel then handled it poorly also by 'conspiring' with his family and trying to get out of his word to me.  Really snake-y correspondence.  Yuck.

Proof, through correspondence, that he was putting others over me...over and over and over again.  That he was not protecting me or meeting my needs, but that he was throwing me under the bus over and over.  Others' expectations won out.  Others' opinions and beliefs won out.

Proof that he just slandered me, to many people, accusing me of things that were just not true.  And when others spoke ill of me (mostly because of the way he had slandered me and made people think certain things about me), he didn't defend or protect...he agreed with them.

Proof that he constantly minimized reality in order to please others and so that his world didn't get thrown off track (although that always backfires since that just makes it worse).

Proof that, although he always constantly ensured me emphatically that he didn't agree with or take his father's counsel, and that I was making stuff up when I said that he clearly did and that was shown in his actions...the truth was that he did agree with and follow that counsel, as shown in his emails, saying things in his replies like, "Thank you so much for this email.  It all rings very true to my heart.  Very true." and "I'm going to read this and re-read this so that I can line up with this in my life."

Proof of all of the horrible things he did and said during the miscarriage (January/February 2014)...and how he handled that whole time.  For instance, when he had to (because I insisted, not because he wanted to) postpone his trip to Brazil, he was soooo worried about what the people would think there...the people with whom he had meetings set up.  He hated to postpone and resented me for it.  I wept as I read those people's replies to him.  How very tender and gentle and understanding and loving they were!  I couldn't believe it.  My husband was being anything but.  Yet they were sticking up for me and being for me during that time, even though they didn't even know that was such a need I had.  It was all proof of the way he should have been.  It was an eye-opener to me that, no...the people in Brazil (our landlords, etc.) weren't pressuring him to come or upset that he had to postpone.  In fact, they were telling him to please just stay and be with me and for me.  They were giving him personal stories of theirs, of loss and miscarriage...being so sweet and understanding and telling him that whenever it suited us for him to come, that would be fine.

Sooo much proof.  Proof of many, many things.  That is what I gathered in those hundreds of articles of correspondence.

He took off work that Monday and we started going through them all.  We only got through a few...because major conversation came from it all.  So, he took off the next day and we went through some more, but we were far from done.  It was very, very productive.  Incredible conversation came from it...understanding and many lightbulb moments.  Reconnection (again).  It was have to re-live it all.  But, I thought that if it would expose the truth by reviewing it all with the proof of what actually happened, then it would be worth it.

We had done the timeline...and that had worked for a few days.  Now...if I had the actual proof, from correspondence, from the horses' mouths themselves...maybe being on the mend would last for more than just a few days.  Maybe it would even be permanent.  That is what I hoped for.

He ended up taking off work all week.  We stayed in our room all. week. long...going over those hundreds of pieces of correspondence.  And at 11pm on the last day of April, as we were going over a few more and then going to go over the last 30 or so the next morning, Joel was, I thought, typing out more 'notes' on his computer as he had done all week.  I had no idea what he was actually doing. But, he was posting a status on Facebook.  It said...
I made the expectations of others so so big on myself...and for so long that in the process I just about killed my wife while stressing myself out for no reason to meet them.... because in all reality they really were no big deals at all. Im so so sorry for being so short sighted, moved by everyone else's expectation and putting them all priority over you my Michawn Madden Ebersole. What a jerk husband you have had for these last 4 years!! I'm so sorry!!!
We woke up to basically five kinds of comments the next morning...1) comments commending Joel for his humility and vulnerability, 2) comments saying that he shouldn't say things like that, that he should forgive himself and move on and not wallow in guilt or shame, 3) comments saying that people would be praying for us, 4) comments, as usual, saying that I should not be blogging about it all, and last but not least...

5) comments accusing me of getting on Joel's Facebook page and writing that myself.  They were serious too.  A barrage of comments and messages, from his family.  I have yet to address this, but I'm going to now.

"Joel- for someone who is normally so quiet you have a lot to say today. Such lengthy responses when you're normally not one to write such long and detailed posts."

"Hi michawn posting thru/as joel ;)..."

Joel (Joel, not me) continued to answer them and assure them it was him typing these things.  He continued to get comments saying that they didn't believe that...or just comments that were speaking directly to me instead of Joel (since they thought it was me on there).  Then he got a message from one of them:

"Not going to get involved with that comment thread but anyone with slight to moderate linguistic experience should be able to easily tell that the particular usages of grammar and punctuation are almost identical to the ones Michawn uses in her posts and comments after a quick scan of her Facebook page not to mention that another brief scan of your page (Joel's page) shows no indication of this style of writing...ever. Not sure if she's posting in your behalf with your permission but that is most certainly not your writing style."  

Joel wrote back:  "it is me....all me. I hardly ever write but I am doing it now and I am being very careful with my grammar. Tell the others to stop please.  I want to fix my marriage and am doing so.  so you understand that all coments like that really really don't help
I just read your comment to Michawn
she is laughing.....because....she would never make all my typos
take care"

The reply he got:

"But when someone who has never shared more than one sentence on Facebook writes paragraphs that use identical usages of grammar as their wife such as lack of capitalization of sentences and "..."  it comes off the wrong way to people who would consider themselves daily emotionally and mentally tied to this situation"

Let's review Joel's status that he posted, shall we?  It's interesting that I see that he capitalized each sentence, did he not?  And, if Joel has never shared more than one sentence on Facebook, then how does this person know Joel's writing style?!?

Although if he had just scrolled down just a couple of swipes on the mousepad on Joel's page, since Joel really doesn't post that much, he would have found this from his birthday:  "Thanks to all of you who wished me a happy birthday on social media.....and those who wished me a happy birthday mentally. I do the later thing the most so I totally understand and I appreciate your thoughts (smile) Just want to let you all know that you all are super important to us even if we don't keep in touch on a regular basis."

I'm not seeing the difference in writing style here between this birthday post and the post about me.  Hmmm.  (I mean, com'on!!)

It was all just so ludicrous.  Truly.  Amazingly ludicrous.

And...why?  Why would they do that?  If my brother and his wife were having problems, even if I did think that the wife was posting stuff on Facebook in my brother's place, attacking the wife and being bullies to them both would be the farthest thing from my mind.  Unbelievable.

Also...if I was the type of person who played games and did things like post things on Joel's behalf, why would I not be doing that all these years?  If I wanted to live in make-believe, I would have just started posting things I wanted to hear from Joel long, long ago.  LOL.  Why would I go through all of this hardship?  I could have just pretended he was a certain way, posted on Facebook,  for him, to make him look a certain way, and lived in pretend land.  Why wait until April 30th of this year?


I think we can all tell that I despise anything fake.  I'm pretty sure that people can deduce, from anything that they see about me, that I am all about being real and honest.  Therefore, writing fake feelings on my husband's page on his behalf...just. ludicrous.

And I'm the one who gets accused of not being logical and not being able to reason?

I replied to all the different kinds of comments except #5 on Facebook that same day...esp. the guilt/shame comments, saying...
i think that people sometimes confuse ‘guilt’ and ‘shame.’ they are two very different things. ‘wallowing in guilt’ is a little closer. but…
~Guilt is feeling bad about what you do. 
Shame is feeling bad about who you are.~
or, a more in-depth definition of the two…
~Guilt is an awareness of failure against a standard. Shame is a sense of failure before the eyes of someone else.
In other words, guilt is about disobedience to a law or code, but shame is how I perceive others see me (or how I see myself).~
so, as has been said already, guilt definitely has a place. and when you know what it means, it’s not something you have to ‘be careful with.’ shame, yes. guilt, no. thank God for the realization of it. and for true repentance that comes after that…and true healing that can then come. Praise God!! *Finally!!!!* (lots has happened this month…april…the whole story will be told on the blog eventually)
I also responded, still that same day, to those who would accuse me of 'inviting' such things by writing about it (and this bears repeating here again since so many in the past month have felt free to strongly voice their uninvited opposing opinions)...
joel is not around at the moment and won't be able to comment for a while (a couple of days). but i will go ahead and reply here. thank you for some of the nice things you said. but, i do also want to address the other things too, and address *everyone* who might read this with these things. 
i find it interesting that someone feels it's ok, or even remotely appropriate, to 'correct' me about anything in this way and about this subject. i just wonder honestly...who do they think they are? while i always want to be teachable, and i the same time, i will not tolerate such behavior. i find it interesting that someone believes that the doors are open to that (which is, in a way, an attack) just because i am telling our story publicly. if you have a problem and just can *not* keep it to yourself and can't move/scroll on, or you feel like the 'Lord told you to talk to me'...then do it as the Lord says to...privately. 
but, i want to be really clear, and i have been on the blog, that i *will tell my story.* i will. some might not like it. if they don't...they don't have to read it. but telling my story doesn't invite or open doors to attack...that is, again, blaming the victim here. what brings about attacks? people who are sinful and, as you said, say 'mean-spirited' stuff. who says mean-spirited stuff? people who are mean-spirited (or are at least acting in that way at the time about a certain thing). 
the person who actually talked about this first, publicly? joel. while i was quiet and didn't tell my story for years. the real reason for joel's public apology last night? we had spent all week going through emails and correspondence from the past 3 years. lots of which were joel...talking to others about me. completely slandering me. so, after we had gone through yet another email like that last night, he just got on facebook. i thought he was still typing in his notes. but no...he showed me this and said, 'i'm about to post it on facebook, if that's ok with you.' 
it was a nice, sweet surprise. really very sad and disappointing the mean-spirited people tainted it. but, it was *not* because they were invited to taint it. it's because they are mean-spirited. here we had had a grueling week going through all of that...had almost reached the end...he had posted that sweet post...and we were celebrating. only to be met with hatred this morning. and why did he do it...'publicly?' honestly because many people who would read it on facebook are people he had slandered me with. 
so, let me be very clear to you all. we have been very gracious. but, by no means is our opening up and telling our story an invitation or a door opening up to you to tell us how you think we are wrong by doing so, or to attack us in any way. no more. we're not asking for your suggestions on how we live our lives or how we heal our marriage. in any post really, but *clearly* not in this post!!
hopefully, by blocking/unfriending some of those mean-spirited people, that will cut down (and hopefully *eliminate*!) the 'drama' that we so do not like or invite or open doors to. 
but, we are going to share our story. period. the good, the bad, and the ugly. it helps us. it helps many others we know. if you don't want to read it or hear it, just simply move along. or hit the unfriend button. 
thank you. the end. any more attacks or 'suggestions' about how anyone thinks we should be doing things...those will just be deleted. just fyi. thanks!
sorry to be so blunt. but, sometimes blunt is needed. and lines have to be drawn. we love that many are finding the blog and our story helpful. hopefully the 'drama' will not come around anymore...and we can focus on only productive, healing, supportive comments and discussions for us all.
As you can see, Joel was already gone for the weekend at that point.  As was stated in a previous blog post, he called his sister while he was away (even though we had discussed it extensively and he had promised that he wouldn't).  His sister, a couple of days later, wrote me a Facebook message.  This was my firm-yet-still-gracious reply (when you look up the word 'longsuffering' in the dictionary, my picture can now be found there after all of these years)...
i’m going to start by responding to some things you said here.  i’m going to respond briefly to the accusations made on friday.  and then i will conclude with the reality of the situation.  we’ll get started…
“FB sometimes enables us to do/say things we never would in person” - actually, mature people don’t do that.  if they wouldn’t say it in person, they don’t say it anywhere.  
in a moment of irritation you gave into your flesh?  that’s what’s so crazy about it all.  why were you in a moment of irritation in the first place?  why the irritation?  
“i know we’ve not been helpful at times” - sadly, the truth is that you guys have never been helpful.  you’ve only harmed.  so, don’t fool yourselves.  
“I’ll be honest that, sometimes in my concern and sympathizing for Joel, i struggle with feeling frustrated/angry at you.” - again…that’s what’s so crazy about it all.  had your family actually talked to us about everything that had *actually* happened over the past few years, you would all see that there is *nothing* to be frustrated/angry at *me* about.  but…you guys refused to discuss anything.  while most of our emails that went back and forth when we first got back together and were trying to clear things up were not between us and you guys, you guys were included in many…and what *we* didn't include you in on, i’m quite sure you were either forwarded or told about.  you had the same chances anyone else did to discuss things and get the record set straight.  unfortunately, the first we hear from you since that time was on friday.  and you clearly have the same screwed up feelings and beliefs and attitudes that the rest of your family has, and has displayed continuously.  had you, or any of the rest of your family, actually listened to us in the beginning about the TRUTH, the whole ‘frustrated/angry’ feeling and ‘struggle’ you have wouldn’t even be an issue.  you all did it to yourselves.
after all of this for the past few years…and then trying for months to work with you guys only to be met with resistance and mean-ness and actions that just literally portray a HUGE amount of disrespect and hatred (and your comments on friday proves that you had the same thoughts/beliefs), we said, fine.  we tried.  no more.  we’re not spending our time on this when this was supposed to be the easy part that we were just getting out of the way so we could then focus on us and our healing.  it wasn’t the easy part…but we tried…and then we had to move on.  so we explained that clearly…gave multiple chances before that…and then set boundaries.  
and all of those boundaries have been continuously crossed.  you guys are seriously relentless.  it’s unbelievable just how disrespectful you all are…not just momentarily in the ‘heat of a moment’…but, *always.*  
after all of this, no…you are not my sister.  you guys are not our family. family doesn’t do that to each other.  family doesn’t treat people like you guys have treated us (yes, even joel…how completely disrespectful and hateful to continuously not listen to him and heed his pleas for discussion and to think of him as so weak of a person that he would be ‘controlled’ by someone else).  no…you’re not family.  we have already chosen others to fill those roles in our lives…it will no longer be you guys.  after friday, joel said simply, ‘no…we’re done with them.’ 
i hear what you’re saying here.  but, actions speak louder than words.  you never reached out.  then you do, and it’s to accuse.  very publicly and obnoxiously…and on a post of your brother’s that was incredibly special and signified a ‘breakthrough’ for us.  
to accuse me of hijacking his FB…or controlling him in any other way or in any of his other correspondence…simply ludicrous.  J wrote him and said that, ‘anyone with slight to moderate linguistic experience should be able to easily tell that the particular usages of grammar and punctuation are almost identical to the ones Michawn uses in her posts and comments…’  we read that and just laughed.  apparently he has ZERO linguistic experience!  we started looking at all the many differences.  1) first and foremost, i would NEVER make all of those typos, lol, 2) we just don’t speak the same way…i would never put things the way joel does, and vice versa, 3) he *always* capitalizes…i *never* capitalize (unless i’m posting something really short and do it on my iPhone and of course iPhone capitalizes automatically), 4) even little things like when he uses a series of periods to separate phrases (like i just did there in #3), he uses 4 periods…i *always* use 3, etc. etc.  there are more things i could list, but that should be enough to prove our point that it was just *completely ridiculous and disrespectful and OBNOXIOUS like i’ve never seen obnoxious and hateful* for you guys to say those things.  and…why would you want to be bullies anyway?  we’re just floored by your incredibly immature behavior in general.  again…not just for one day.  but for years.  
you guys being ‘so sure’ that what you were saying on friday was right is just more of what your family has been doing all along…so sure you’re right…when you guys aren’t right about anything.  
i am glad that people are seeing you for who you guys really are though.  i saw a friend of mine last night and she was like, ‘wow…joel’s family is crazy.  i would’ve never known exactly what was going on…but, they have all outed themselves.  what is wrong with them?  they sound like they just hate you.  and when they hate joel’s wife, they hate joel.  but, at least they are showing their true colors.’  
now, in going forward, the respectful thing to do is to 1) not contact us in any way, shape, or form…don’t even reply to this message, 2) stop thinking the way you guys are thinking…it’s completely false (and we tried to discuss it all so you guys would know the truth about that, but you refused) and highly disrespectful and divisive, 3) stay away and encourage all of your other cohorts/family members to do the same…we’re done with being understanding and giving grace in this area.  if anyone as much as bats an eyelash wrong at us, they will be deleted from our lives.  unfortunately, somehow this message still got to me.  so i guess i need to ‘block’ instead of just ‘unfriend.’  hopefully you’ll be respectful enough to just not reply to this though.
Of course, now when I read things like this and know what I know, I see that they were being encouraged to keep contacting us.  The boundaries we had husband had turned his back on me and run back and hopped the fence again.  And had been on the other side of that fence the whole time.

For him to be able to say to me on Friday, "no...we're done with them" and promise me that he wouldn't call his sister...and then hours later turn around and call his sister...and never stop being in contact with them:  these are very, very disturbing facts.

It's sin.  Sin that he continuously gets away with...for which no one holds him accountable.

He was playing me.

He knew it.  They knew it.

I'm the only one who didn't know it.

So...that's how our April ended.  And these last few posts gives you just a little glimpse into my world with Joel and his family.

The here-and-now update is next, I promise.  It will be posted tomorrow morning.

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