There are conversations you never think you will have, like talking to ladies at church about hot sex. There are conversations you could dream of having but assume they will never occur, like what you’d say if you ever found yourself sitting next to Meryl Streep at the theatre. Then there are conversations that you couldn’t dream of having and as you are having them you have to keep checking to make sure you’re really awake.
Tonight I found a message several hours old from my ex husband. It read “If you get this in the next 10 min please call me. It’s important.” It’s been years since the two of us have spoken on the phone. When I responded the reply was “Problem at the restaurant I thought that you could help with. Can you talk?” As I mulled over the possibilities in my head I came up with POS problems, marketing solution, employee theft, etc. I thought of several possibilities that I would have handled if I was still involved in the operation. I also assumed that there was something that went wrong and I was somehow going to get blamed for it. This makes historical sense. So imagine my surprise when my ex husband, king of control and manipulation, asks me what to do about a female employee who he thinks is in trouble with her child’s father.
Let’s take a moment to recount why I became a domestic violence advocate. I WAS IN AN ABUSIVE MARRIAGE. A marriage that involved me and the man who called to ask for help for someone else. When he began to tell me “there is this young girl at work, she’s only worked a couple of days…” I rolled my eyes and thought “here we go again.” The last time he started a conversation with me like this we were still married and he was letting me know he was being investigated for sexual assault. This time, no, he is trying to understand and provide assistance to an obvious situation of intimate partner violence.
To listen to the man who inflicted emotional terrorism on you in a multitude of ways, who repeatedly threatened you physically, controlled and isolated you, to listen to him recount with concern the same actions in another man and want your help to protect this young woman is numbing. My body is shaking but my mind is numb. Is this, too, part of his twisted web of appearance and manipulation? Did he find a way to get to me by targeting my weak spot?
I am confused, nauseous, anxious, and exhausted. I’ve started with a great therapist. I saw her today with little to report and feeling really good. Now I am wishing I had an appointment tomorrow so I could sort through the nonsense of this evening. I am seriously at a loss right now for what to do. Perhaps I do nothing but try to forget the conversation ever happened and hope it never comes up again. Something tells me that it will be a restless night of flashbacks and I’d better try to schedule a session before next week.