Part 4: Baby makes 3, and 4, and the Mistress makes 5
I was willing to deal on my own. I told him to get lost, because I didn’t want myself, or the baby to get too attached just to have him leave later. He told me no. He told me it was his baby too, and he was going to be there to raise it. He loved me, and we could work this out, let’s go ahead and move up the wedding and save everyone the embarrassment. I didn’t know what to do, and told him that. A couple months later, my parents found out I was pregnant. They weren’t mad, at this point, but, all they said was “I guess we’ll move the wedding up.” I felt like I couldn’t say I didn’t actually want to marry him, especially since they were handling this incredibly well, for them. I am not a hugely romantic person, I didn’t believe in soul mates, I figured, as long as we both worked at it, we could have a happy marriage together. We got married, and everyone could save face, and again, Punkie is a success story, happily married with a baby on the way at 18, like God intended. When we closed on a house before my 19th birthday, there was even more celebration about how successful their parenting was, because Punkie is living the American Dream. I told them recently, I never wanted to marry Joe, I only did it because they said I had to. Because they said I should have thought of that before I slept with him. Because I remembered them berating other people for not forcing their pregnant teens to marry the father, because that was the consequence of having sex before marriage. So, I accepted my fate. My mother said “oh, we didn’t mean any of that. We didn’t make you marry him.” True, no one held a gun to my head. I guess I never learned to tell when their demands, lessons, etc were meaningful and when they were just talk.
I had grown up and married my father. When Joe would punch holes in the wall, and blame me, I knew just what to do. When he’d throw things at me, I remembered, this was how a loving family acted. There was nothing to talk about, because, it was a given, like saying the sky is blue. Pointless, because, everyone knows, right? When he decided to keep me away from church, it was familiar, and when he eventually took away my access to our car and our money, I stayed quiet, because, I was going to be happily married, even if I was dying inside. Immediately after having our first son, my mother got pregnant again, and relished the comments about how adorable it was that we were pregnant almost together. Laughed and encouraged comments about how I better get busy if I planned to keep up. A while later, I conceived our second son, and shortly after, she got pregnant again too. I still think she wasn’t ready to give up the attention. The only thing in her life people knew was she had a bunch of kids, with weird names, and now, was pregnant at the same time as her daughter. I don’t think she could stand to not be the center of attention. It was humiliating. I said I was done after 2, I wasn’t going to become them, and I wasn’t going to be a joke. I only had my two boys.
Over time, my husband got worse. I was alone, and isolated, with post partum depression and 2 babies. He began cheating. And, I had no social network, no support system. I cried a lot for two years. I tried to go to the church, where I was told that he said he wasn’t cheating and I needed to trust him. The reason he was always home late was because I was such a nag. So, I shut up, and tried to “nice” him into not cheating. Instead, he cheated more, and began abusing me. Pushing, shoving…once, he threw me off the porch, cracking my tailbone. Once, he tried to run me over, while I held our sons hand. The final straw was the night I caught him sending naked pictures to a woman. I lunged for his phone, he threw me down and strangled me until I blacked out. Why did I put up with this? Because, this was what I knew. Because, I kept being “saved” only to be put in a worse situation. Because, my biological father left my mom when he found out about me, and my dad swooped in to “save” me, and I better be thankful he was willing to accept me. Then, Joe came in to save me from dad. While his abuse was ramping up, I was reminded, continuously, that if I left, I’d have to go back to them. I was told I was worthless, all his anger was my fault, nobody would want me. I was told how I drove my biological father away, just by existing, and was such a crappy person, I not only drove one, but two men into abusing me. That nice girls, good girls, didn’t get hurt like I did, because they never made anyone hurt them.
I had no money, no car, no job. I was 21 but had no high school friends to call, because I was never allowed friends. I had no family, because our relationship had been destroyed. One night, I called my parents for help, I cried and begged. Joe said if they came over, he’d have them arrested for trespassing, and my father’s exact words were “you aren’t worth going to jail for.” Eventually, I called the police, and they took Joe away. He and I have not been a couple since that night. Can you guess what I did? You know who is perfectly willing to befriend pretty, naive, hurt, scared, 22 yr olds? Men. In fact, my insanely low self esteem, and non-existent support system made me the perfect target. I was looking for friends, for help, for somebody to say I wasn’t worthless, I hadn’t been used up like a piece of gum, I wasn’t undesirable, I wasn’t “used”. I was getting my first real taste of being on my own, and had no idea what to do. I slept around, I got a job at a bar where I spent most my time drunk, I had various relationships that were based on everything but love.