Trauma to Trauma

Insight into Hindsight is not always helpful advice.  Because I do not choose to ever repeat history.  Did I say I was married for 22 years; we had been together for 24 years, one of those high school sweetheart type things.  I was having a hard time with school; my mother who was a widow 2x had a hard time coping and there was never enough money.  My sister used to babysit and give the money to mom to help with food; I didn’t know it at the time.  But she got married and was out of the house at sixteen, and moved across the state.  So it would be mom and me, and things were okay at home anyway, but when money would be short, she would allow my stepbrothers and their wives to move back in with their kids, always ending up in fights.  So we didn’t fare so well.  So when it was just mom and me, during the summers I went to work while 14 and still in school, telling my employers I was 16.  They never asked for a work permit.  Then, the money was still not enough because we had moved to a house,  so I quit school at 16 and went to work full time and met my first husband, who worked across the street from me.  We got married two years later, then had our first and only child.  I was an emergency ceserean section in the days when the insurance companies paid the doctors more for cesearean births.  It was a shock to me, after being told by the EMT’s that she was ready to be born, don’t worry, they had delivered babies before in the ambulance.  But I got to the hospital, labored for 6 hours, then they took her by cutting me open from my belly button to down below, then ripping me sideways about 4 inches.  Over the years, the scar disappeared, and the altered body image healed.  And when she was grown, and almost out of the house, I found myself wanting more children.  I had gone back to school, over the years, and gotten my diploma; went on to receive a bachelor’s degree.  But, my husband, he had worked for thirteen years at the same job, and suffered injuries; torn achilles tendons and a back injury on top of scoliosis.  He didn’t know it as a child, but they found that one leg was longer than the other which contributed to his injuries.  So when I got out of school and went to work, it was right after he was injured and so he quit working, and didn’t work for ten years.  I finally couldn’t take it anymore, because he became very depressed, sleeping all day, not bathing, etc.  So I decided to separate from him.  He went to live with his mother, got back in gear, went through voc. rehab and went to school to become a truck driver.  But he had a hard time with the classes, so I helped him to study.  He passed.  But it was seven years after I had begun my career, and I was burnt out.  So I decided since our daughter was out of the house, that I would go on the road, too.  I went and got the CDL to drive.  We were hired as a team by a failing company, didn’t know it then.  He had tried to get local driving jobs, had one, but quit.  So we were both headed for the road, driving long distance.  Before I left my job, I hired a man who eventually became my second husband and abuser.  My first husband and I went on the road, hired by a bad company.  They stick you through more “training” upon hire, for six weeks.  So I was teamed up with a woman driver, much older than me.  She lived in her truck, had no permanent home.  She was being paid by the company to train me.  But that didn’t happen.  By law, she shouldn’t have been driving.  She had suffered several strokes, was taking a blood thinner to prevent further strokes, that required blood tests to keep her levels balanced, but she never went for her draws.  I pushed her into doing it.  Her bladder had been affected by the strokes, so she couldn’t hold her urine.  So behind the driver’s seat in her truck she kept a portable toilet.  She would be in the driver seat, going down the highway, would turn to me and say, “it’s on cruise control, take the wheel, and have me climb over into the drivers seat so she could get up and go!!  Imagine, you’ve got 80,000 lbs. on the trailer behind you that you’re carrying, and she does this.  Then she would climb into the bunk in back, go to sleep, and not watch or teach me about driving. She was getting extra money to train me, and money for us to get a room between loads, but that didn’t happen.  Since she had no home, she had 3 grown kids in various states.  So she was stopping in to see them between loads.  We went first to her married son’s house, his wife had just had a baby.  They had no money for food, so I bought food for the dinner.  Then her son came on to me, saying his wife would not give him any, since she just had a baby.  I was shocked, and went to the truck, and locked the doors.  The trainer stayed in the house and went to sleep again.  In the morning we left.  We went to the next son’s house after picking up a load.  It was the middle of the night.  The trainer got out and told me that if there was a knock on the window, it might be the neighbor, whom she said she tried to help out now and then because he was a heroin addict, and would ask her for money.  So I stayed in the truck while she went in, locked the doors, and couldn’t sleep.  I dozed, and in the morning she got into the truck with her son and a german shepherd dog.  She said he had a fight with his wife, who kicked him out, and she would take him and the dog to a friend she had in another state and drop them off.  But when we got there, the friend would only take her son, not the dog.  And it turned out that the dog was sick, started throwing up the next day all over the truck, and had diarrhea all over me.  We had stopped at a truck stop and she went in briefly, and I tried to sleep in the bunk, but was awakened covered in diarrhea from the dog and his vomit all over the floor and the stick shift boot.  I had it, and told her the dog was going.  She said when we hit Denver, our next stop, she would drop him at her daughter’s.  So we were driving through Vail Co. area, me in the driver seat, when the engine check light came on.  I woke her up and told her, but she said we would have it checked when we got in.  But it got worse, so I made her get in the driver’s seat.  She then said, I’m having to muscle this truck because I have no power steering, and if I pull over, we might get stuck, so you better start praying.  I already was.  It was snowing, snowing so hard that it was like a white out and we couldn’t see.  But we made it into Vail, and she had it checked; it turns out that there was no more power steering fluid, which would have prevented the problem had she ever done what we were taught in school, that you check things out, you’re not just a robot behind the wheel.  That was enough for me; when we got to Denver I contacted the company, and they had me drive on in to Oklahoma City.  They put me up in a hotel, and I went to the “yard” daily to finish my training, doing day trips with another driver from OK to TX.  Then at the end of the training time, I was supposed to link up with my husband and we were to drive as a team. We did link up, but they gave us a truck they had purchased in a lot, originally designed for the east coast, not a lot of grades to do there.  The truck had no hydralic brakes, no Jake brakes, but they were sending us back and forth across the U.S., down steep grades like grapevine hill.  They even sent us to Long Island N.Y.; nobody takes a big truck over there anymore, they only send the day trucks up into the city.  We weren’t getting reimbursed correctly either.  My husband had enough of it; we were in Utah, and he decided to get out of the truck, leave all our stuff in the truck, and head for home on a bus.   I went with him, cried all the way home.   He did get a local driving job for a short time when we got back, but he quit the job because he thought they were getting ready to fire him.  I in the meantime, decided to go back to my former occupation; I was denied unemployment because I had quit the driving job.  So I started searching, and when applying for jobs, they would check my references, and my former employer found out I was looking for a job, called me and asked me back, so I did.  My husband at that point was not making an effort in my mind to look for work; so I decided to separate from him again, and he left.  (He did okay for himself for about 10 years; he owned his own truck, but lost it when it broke down, and couldn’t afford to have it fixed; the high cost of fuel contributed to his loss if you are reading this and aware of what happened to independant drivers in the last few years.)  But back to my story; my mom lived nearby and I felt the need to move; she lived in a little old dumpy trailer court, and was managing it.  There was a trailer for rent, so I moved there; when I moved in, it was still under renovation, had no carpet on the floors, no cupboard doors in the kitchen and the bathroom sink cabinet was not usable.  The owners were two brothers, one married, one not.  But he had a girlfriend who lived there.  He had my mom convinced that he worked for the phone company; his girlfriend told me different-he was a male dancer.  Had even had a tummy tuck done.  But he  was after me, and would come over to fix things, then make passes at me.  I told my mom, but she didn’t believe it, or couldn’t.  He had tried to pressure me by saying that he had plans to sell the property and put up condos, but didn’t because he just knew that it would kill my mom, (who was aging and her health was bad)
if she had to move.  So I had to get out again, found a place close to work, put down a deposit, rented a truck, and got ready to move.  My mom had tried to encourage that relationship with the owner, too.  And that shocked me; so maybe to protect myself, I ended up with my abuser.  I had hired him at work; when I went back to work there, he said if he had known at the time I left that I was going to go drive, he would have came and got me.  I was vulnerable and gullible.  I invited him to a dance.  He always reminded me after we were married that I invited him out first.  On the weekend that I was due to move to my new apt. he convinced me, (and yes, I let him at the time) to move instead, out of state, across the river to his place.  So I got back my deposit, and that’s what I  did.  I had been to his place, a nice trailer compared to mine at the time, but very little.  So I had to put all my stuff in storage there.  And that’s another story.  But the abuse began at that time, I just didn’t know it.  I was still in shock from the driving, the separation, the male dancer, and my mom.  I didn’t have enough esteem and had never been self-reliant, didn’t know how.  I guess what attracted me to him was that I thought that he had represented stability; he had a college degree from the same school as mine, and valued education (yeah, enough to be a career student, now with six degrees, and hasn’t worked for the last year after getting the last one.)  He started by tearing me down emotionally; then physically over the years, then the second family we started, he physically and emotionally abused them, and continues to do so because the system failed me when I got out.  Can you see why I stayed for nine years, because I just wanted it to work out, since my first marriage failed.  And I kept trying, but it just kept getting worse.

About mercy4women

Christian mother, survivor of domestic abuse and violence by the grace of God
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