Advice from a Friend Who’s Been There
A Minute to Myself (188)

The Pit of My Stomach

This morning on my drive to my first Teaching of Writing class I was thinking about my next blog post. I knew that I wanted to write about how different I feel now that I have been living in my own apartment since June 12, but I wasn’t really sure in what way I felt different. Sure, I have been smiling more and I don’t get anxious when I drive home, but I wasn’t sure how to pinpoint and explain the difference. People tell me I sound happier, but I can’t really assess that. It’s like when your kids are growing, you don’t notice it until someone comes for a visit and remarks on how much they have grown or developed or matured. So it felt like that. Until 9:10 this morning. Then I knew.

At 9:10, when I was in class, I saw that exman was calling. Then two minutes later, another call. Then again at 9:19. Then a voice mail message. For the next hour until I could hear the message, my stomach was a pit of acid, a tightness clenching and churning within. And I could feel my face sag and my shoulders droop. That’s what I had been missing. No, not missing because that would imply that I longed for something, no, that is what I had been living without. That is what my life had been cleared of. The minefield that had been my life was cleared. I didn’t have to walk clenched, worried about the next explosion or in fear that no matter what I did, he was going to explode.

Then, when I listened to his message a classmate turned to me and asked, “Are you alright?” because I could not suppress the anguished groan that escaped when I heard his voice and heard what he had to say. There was no curse, there was no insult, it was just his being mean, dictating a custody issue, but it was, as always, him playing to some imaginary courtroom with judge in full regalia. And he stated his name in full for better affect, I guess, for the judge; if he hadn't said it in such a venomous tone, it might have been funny.

A minefield. Yes, surely that’s what I had been living in. But that fist in my stomach, that’s what I have not had, that’s what’s different, that’s the tangible change that I am aware of.

I’m glad it came today, because now I am aware of how I have physically changed, and how I had been physically altered. It was so startling, so obvious: the call, then the tightness. Now I know what to fight, what to not let happen to me again, or at least not let stay with me until I forget how it feels to be normal, to be without a fist within while walking in the middle of a minefield.

How do I feel? I feel calm. Peaceful.



Hopefully now that you recognise what it is that is no longer there - what you are free from, you will recognise it and prevent it from taking a hold when he makes his presence felt. Even if it does churn in your stomach, remember he's still clinging to and living in his old ways, his old shit, that you've liberated yourself from.


Can't that monster ever leave you alone? Can't you change your mobile number? You're doing great without him finally. Can't he get a grip and let you go? You're calm fortunately. Stay like that. Hugs. A.


The last three years of my first marriage, I suffered from horrible, debilitating irritable bowel syndrome. It was awful. The day I finally got Ex-Husband to realize yes, I meant business, and he actually moved out, it went away. Completely, all at once. And it has never recurred.

I understand exactly how you feel - it's a bit like being released from prison, isn't it? And you'll get to the point where the thought of him, or the sound of his voice, or any kind of contact with him will only engender irritation, and even that will fade with time. Really and truly.


Oh Laura of course everyone see's the difference in you. You are no longer prisoner of someone so mean and brutal. I so get this. Living under that kind of stress day after day takes a toll on us and when we are released from it, it is amazing. I remember saying "I am married and living with the enemy." Someone that is suppose to love and honor me, did the opposite. When I was finally free of him, I became a whole new person. As each day went by I blossomed. There are people that tell me that I don't look like the same person.

He has no right or business calling and talking to you like that on the phone. I would save those messages, just in case you need them for proof of his continued abuse, even though your not married and living with him. The longer you are away from him, the stronger you will get. Granted you have to have limited contact with him because of the children you share with him. But, your children are old enough that that contact can be minimal and when it takes place, done with respect.


Then, despite the immediate anguish, there is some congratulations in order...Now, there isn't just light at the end of the tunnel...that tunnel is in your rear view mirror!!!!


I'm glad for you. You deserve some peace and no one deserves to have such a viscerally unpleasant reaction to anyone.


Wow, what an awful way to gain a sense of perspective. I'm sorry that he had to ruin at least part of your first day teaching your class. Enjoy each day without him, you certainly have much to be grateful for now that he's out of your life.


Now that you are aware, you can work on taking away exman's ability to invade your life. Let him rant and rave, he has no power over you. Your daughters are too old for him to be able to use them to any great degree; he's grasping.
You on the other hand have discovered your strength and courage and have repurposed your life. I have no doubt that you will handle this hurdle admirably - and take back your stomach!


As a teacher I have been experimenting with using 21st Century technology to keep my kids engaged and not bored with my voice. I wonder if this would work with slimeman's voice. (or, you could try it on him to see the reaction...)

Subscribe to and you can create an avatar looking and sounding the way you want. It can be made into a pod cast and you can send the recording to his phone or have him log into a website (wiki) to "check in" to hear the latest or recent issue. Although I would never suggest you would want to have fun with him, this may take off the edge in his voice. Plus, what a fantastic way to irk him in ways he could not have predicted.

Or, you can get the voice to text service that deaf people use (TTD? I think) and program it for only his calls to come to you that way. There must be something to avoid this torture. He is counting on still controlling you, Laura. The calls, even though they are about "the children" or custody, are completely manipulative. Manipulate back with a technology that could drive him nuts to get to you.

Worst-case scenario: he does not talk with you and resorts to his paid mouth piece lawyer to communicate his trivialities (at his own expense) or important messages.

Just a suggestion to get the creative juices going.....


Sorry I've been gone for so long - without internet access at home, I couldn't really access your blog. But you've been in my thoughts and I'm so glad you're now at peace in your own home. With exes like ours, there will always be bad moments, but at least you can sleep with more than just a wall or two shielding you from that venom.

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