Posted by: Tina Watson | February 19, 2014

The Uncomfortable Truth Of My Late Marriage.

This may be hard to read, it has certainly been hard to write, but please bear with me through this.

I want to write this out mainly for me. I feel that recounting my experiences will help me continue to process and heal from them. I also want to get this out there because my former marriage has drastically shaped who I am today, and how I interact with the world. Knowing this should help you understand where I’m coming from and why I react the way I do to certain situations and people.

Roughly around this time last year a part of my brain decided that the only way I could escape my husband was to kill myself. By this point I was so depressed that I wasn’t eating everyday. For me, at the time, it seemed like it wasn’t worth the effort to feed myself. When my husband was away I would often end up on the floor of the shower, bawling while I tried to tear my skin off with my bare hands. It seemed easier to hurt myself that way, because if I went for any weapon, he would suspect something was up.

When he started to see the depths of my depression he would make it all about him. It hurt him to see me so messed up. Why couldn’t I just make myself better so things would be easier for him? After all, I was the love of his life, or so he kept telling me.

Earlier in the year I would have dreams about him getting into some sort of accident, or ending up in the middle of an armed robbery and getting shot. In the morning I would be so overcome by guilt that I could happily imagine my husband’s death, that I would claim I had terrible nightmares about losing him and ask to be comforted, in hopes he wouldn’t figure out that my subconscious wanted him dead. I was petrified of what he would do if he found out.

After we were engaged he had offered to support me financially so I could pursue going into business for myself, I had wanted to turn my jewelry making into an Etsy endeavor. It was a tempting offer, and the finances worked out, so I left a steady job with good benefits to forge my own path. Once I left my job I cashed out my stock and 401K and he convinced me to use it to pay off his debts in collections. I went along with it. We were getting married, and it made sense at the time to have a clean financial slate going into the marriage. Once I was home full-time however, all I had time for was keeping the house, helping him with his schooling , his VA stuff, and wedding planning. I was told that I would have plenty of time to work on my business after the wedding. I believed him.

Shortly after the wedding it quickly became apparent that there wouldn’t be any time for me to start my business. I would express regret at leaving my job with the bank, and he would retort that I was such a bitch when I’d come home from work, and that if I had stayed we wouldn’t have gotten married. He would remind me how unhappy I was working there, and that they didn’t value me as an employee, and tell me that we were really better off this way. I believed him. I didn’t know what else to do.

When we would hit times of financial duress it would become my fault, because I wasn’t working. Even though the primary source of our income was dependent on his staying in school and passing his classes. Even though he wouldn’t listen to me if I said we didn’t have room in the budget to buy that new phone/video game/fancy keyboard. If I said no to something he would bully me until I relented, or he would just go purchase it anyway. All of our credit cards were in my name.

He was a violent person, in his language, and in his habits. When he would get drunk he wanted to go out just to get into bar fights. He had a very short temper, and when he got angry I would get scared. I used to tell him when he scared me, but when I did he would get so offended that I would even dare to think he could hurt me. I used to try to counter that he was an alcoholic combat veteran with PTSD, and anything was possible. He would tell me that I didn’t love him enough, otherwise I would have faith that he would never ever do anything to hurt me. After all, I was the love of his life, at least that’s what he told me. I had no choice but to believe him.

The only car we had belonged to me, which I bought well before we were married. He would often take it for school, and then would be gone all day. I was stuck at home by myself, and if I made any plans I would have to rely on him coming home so I could use my car. If I drove my car too much, to see friends, or even run errands, he would yell at me for using too much gas. Despite that nothing would stop him from driving all over the county while he was out and about without me.

It got to the point where I couldn’t trust myself. If I listened to any of my instincts and tried to change things, he would find a way to tell me how I was wrong, and why. I believed him. He became the center of my life, and my sole reason for living. I was there only to support him, and my needs did not matter. I became more and more isolated, as every time I would try to go out without him, he would get upset and guilt me until I relented and stayed home with him. It got to the point where I stopped trying to go out on my own. I relied on him for all my social activities. I ended up alone most of the time.

On one of the few occasions I would have out of the house on my own, I remember being at a friend’s house with next to no cell signal. I freaked out about seeming like I was out of contact. If I had no signal when he would try to call me, I would get accused of all sorts of things. I remember my friend being alarmed at my distress about my signal strength. I know I said whatever I could to make things seem alright. Because they had to seem OK. If they weren’t I was a failure as a wife. At least that’s what I was told, and I believed it.

Once I hit the point where suicide looked like the reasonable answer I started to reach out for help. Eventually I found a therapist through a local clinic system that was able to offer me 10 free sessions. I also found a therapist in a nearby city that was willing to see students for $10.00 a session. I started to see them both. He was upset that I had to use money and gas for some of the appointments, but I was able to use some of his statements regarding his unhappiness with my depression against him. I continued with therapy.

I started to stand up for myself at home more. As I did that, he got more hostile. There used to be apologetic periods after fights. Once I stood my ground these stopped. We hit a point where I asked him if he even wanted to be married anymore. He refused to give me a straight answer. So I held fast, and suggested he stay with his parents for a couple of nights. The time apart would allow us both to think without constant fighting. So he left. I made sure to take my car key from him. That made him upset. I went to a LARP session with our roommate. When I came back, he had taken all of his stuff and moved out. That was a little over 10 months ago, and I haven’t seen him since.

I know I’m lucky that he never got physically violent. There are times I wish he had, simply because I feel I would have seen his manipulations and emotional abuse earlier, and would have avoided the situation I ended up in. I also know I’m lucky that he left without me needing to seek help from a women’s shelter. But that doesn’t void the pain he caused with his actions. It doesn’t void the constant spiral of self-doubt that I have to battle when trying to accomplish anything. It doesn’t void the second-guessing of everything folks say to me, because everything he would say could mean something completely different the next day.

Several months after he left I would still get panic attacks if I thought I saw him on the street. I pulled myself together enough to file for divorce, but had such a hard time trying to get help to serve him papers. I was afraid to tell anyone we were mutual friends with, in case they would tell him and he would get angry and lash out at me. I opted not to file a restraining order when I filed for divorce, again out of fear. Once he was notified I was dead sure that he would try something in retribution for the restraining order. He ended up getting served by the county, when he went to file on his own five months later. We’re about to head into the final stages of divorce, and I’m petrified of seeing him in court. I have friends willing to stand by me and be a buffer, but I have to fight every day to not just bury my head in the sand and hope this all goes away.

In the aftermath of my late marriage I had several friends approach me with guilt. They felt bad that they did not notice that I was slipping away from them. Some were even jealous that I got to be a full-time housewife. I want to emphasize that it isn’t anyone’s fault for not noticing what was happening. My soon to be ex-husband is a skilled manipulator, and I often felt that I had to present as a perfect wife, or else everything would fall apart. So I never spoke up about anything. There are times I want to beat myself up for letting this happen to me, but I know I can’t do that. Emotional abuse is an insidious force that can be incredibly hard to defend against, and it is important to remind myself that it isn’t my fault that I was abused.

With therapy, and the tools I’ve learned since, I try to see myself as a survivor of abuse more than a victim. It isn’t easy to do, and there are still some very unhealthy habits that I have yet to break left over from my marriage. I’m consistently working on learning to continue to stand up for myself, and to continue to believe that my emotional experiences are valid, and that I’m not crazy for having them.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read. I’ve been hesitant to discuss my experiences from my marriage this frankly, because I’ve found a lot of people get uncomfortable and don’t know what to say in response. You don’t have to say anything. Just be there as a friend. Be patient with me as I continue to work on becoming the strong independent Tina that I know I can be.

If you feel you are in an abusive relationship, there is a way out, and you can get through it. You can reach the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or online at http://www.thehotline.org/

Posted by: Tina Watson | October 25, 2013

Triumphant Return! Or Something Like That.

At Much Ado About Sebastopol

It has been quite a while, hasn’t it?

The last year or so has been one hell of a roller coaster ride. I’ve battled severe anxiety and depression, gotten out of an emotionally abusive marriage, faced poverty, and near homelessness. But I’m still here, in one piece, and rebuilding my life better than before. As things are stabilizing, I’m hoping to bring BFGG more silly gaming adventures, geeky craft tutorials, and perhaps a venture into vlogging.

So welcome back! Let’s hope this sticks. :D

Posted by: Tina Watson | November 15, 2012

Oh My Minecraft

For a good chunk of ye olde internets Minecraft is a phenomenon that isn’t new at all. In fact I have several friends who are dedicated Miners (or Crafters? Steve-Heads?) and while the game always seemed interesting I have a pathetic laptop so I resigned myself to admire the work people were putting into things like HyruleCraft and just not play the game.

Then Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition was released. On May 9th. I tried the demo on the 10th. Paid the 1600 MS points for the full game on the 11th. Spent hours and hours and hours mining and building and dying in lava. It is fairly safe to say, I just might have a Minecraft problem.

With the latest update for Minecraft 360, that problem just got worse.

There’s a good reason this post has taken me so long to get around to it, I keep getting distracted. By distracted I totally mean lost in yet another ravine. While we’re still missing quite a bit from the PC version the addition of random villages, ravines, abandoned mineshafts and strongholds are a lot of fun to explore. My creative world has 5 villages, and so far 2 ravines with mineshafts in them, but no strongholds yet. I’m hoping to eventually connect the villages via a rail system and then build them out.

ZOMG, the cobblestone, all the cobblestone.

A castle gate – pre-update build.

The one issue I’ve found with the latest update is my two pre-update survival maps are being taken over by ice and snow. The Starks aren’t crazy, Winter really is coming. I vaguely remember some early PC players talking about this winter spread after an update years ago, so hopefully it will be fixed with the next big update. Until then I’m scrambling to greenhouse all my farms so they don’t get iced over. I’ll castle in and survive the winter. The stackable food changes helps with this a lot. As well as being able to get more than just feathers and leather out of chickens and cows.

Despite the appeal of building ALL the things, Minecraft popped up at very opportune time for me. I don’t want to go into to much detail lest this turn into a “Very Special episode of BigFatGeekGirl” but things were not so good in my world and Minecraft provided a very necessary sense of order. When everything around you is chaos, it really helps to have a place you can go to where you are in complete control. Even as odd as the water and lava physics can be, once you learn how they work they are easy to manipulate. And so Minecraft became a haven.

With that I’m off to hopefully find a stronghold in my creative map. If I do I’ll share the seed because then it will really be the best Minecraft 360 seed EVER. Until then check out this awesome creative build from Redditor Colonel_Popcorn: MouseCraft!

Posted by: Tina Watson | May 11, 2012

N7 Special Ops, I love you all.

I’m finally writing about Mass Effect 3, but I’m not talking about the single player campaign.

Multiplayer Goodness

Image from masseffect.bioware.com

I’m here to confess my love and admiration for the multiplayer experience.

For the longest time I’ve been afraid to play online games, despite my love of gaming. I’ve heard so many horror stories of harassment (examples are illustrated at Fat, Ugly or Slutty) that I chose to avoid it rather than try to blend in.

But then Mass Effect 3 came along. I was SUPER excited to play this game. J pre-ordered me the Collector’s Edition for Christmas and I was going to take my various bad-ass FemSheps and take back Earth! Fuck Yeah! Then I hit a point in my first play through where even though I was being as good and diplomatic as can be and doing ALL the side quests, I was not satisfied by my readiness rating. I needed to be super prepared to kick the Reapers asses like a Girl Scout on PCP.

So I started bugging my friends who were playing. Most of them were engrossed in their SP campaign and didn’t want to try multiplayer yet. Finally I get a friend to join in. We start out as little level 1s on Bronze, an Adept and Engineer, chugging away. We wipe at wave 3. Get a level, still wipe. Manage a few more games of wipeouts then he has something else to do. My readiness had raised a paltry 2%. Then I saw that hard work go away when my rating dropped back down to 50% the next day. That pushed me into trying public matches.

I’m really glad it did. Seriously you guys, I’m having more fun with multiplayer than I am in my current renegade play through. I have devoted hours and hours into multiplayer, and even some money.

The best thing about this though, I haven’t been harassed at all. I use my headset, I am not hiding my female gamerness from the masses. Everyone I’ve run into has been really cool. We joke around, get our strategy on, and share the joys and pains of a tough match. A good chunk of the people I’ve played with have been added to my friends list. Some of them have become actual friends. This weekend I’ll be spending a lot of time with them as we kill ALL the Banshees for Operation: Silencer.

Maybe the Mass Effect fans are of a different quality than the avid players of other online First Person Shooters. Maybe I’m incredibly lucky to have encountered the players that I have. No matter what the circumstances, I’m thankful for the friends I’ve made on Mass Effect Multiplayer.

So to all my fellow N7 Special Operatives, you fucking rock, thank you for not being dicks, and let’s go kill us some goddamn Banshees!

Posted by: Tina Watson | November 14, 2011

A Round-up of Awesome

For your reading/viewing/listening pleasure, I present a round-up of things I’ve found to be particularly awesome recently! Hooray!

First off, in a wonderful combination of Comic geekery and Kitchen geekery, there is the Wonder Woman Kitchen Aid stand mixer.

An Amazon mixer for this Amazon

Found via LaughingSquid

Next up we have a Star Wars/Macgyver mashup. - Keep reading, my friends…>

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