The 30 Year Old College Student

As Jalene approached her 30th birthday, her desire to complete her college education increased.  She realized that with Chuck’s mandate for her to earn an income, she preferred to perform a job she enjoyed rather than merely bringing home a paycheck. She would attend classes while Marie was in school and Christian was in pre-school three days a week.

Chuck balked at Jaelene’s plans. He had required she drop out of college 10 years earlier. Jalene was determined.  Chuck was not going to prevent her now from returning to college. She quietly stashed away some of her meager earnings, so with the upcoming semester she could enroll in one or two classes. When Chuck understood he could not dissuade Jalene from returning to college, he seceded.

Jalene’s days were long, but she endured. She awakened early to prepare her children for their day, awaited for the other youngsters to arrive and drove all of them to school. On the days Christian attended pre-school, she delivered him to his awaiting teachers and quickly dashed to her own classes. She departed from the university in enough time to pick up Christian, return home and await the arrival of Marie and her after school charges.

Once a week she co-led the Camp Fire Girls and often hosted school parties. Additionally, there were other school and church events which Jalene was involved with. By the time she tended to the evening routine of preparing dinner, assisting the children with schoolwork and their nightly baths and preparation for them to head off to bed, it was a long, full day.

Because Chuck seldom assisted Jalene or interacted with her or the children, her own college studies were during the early hours of the morning. She sometimes remained up until 2-3:00 a.m. to complete her studies after she had fulfilled her duties as mom and homemaker.

Jalene endured tremendous stress working part-time jobs to earn additional income for the family, being involved in the children’s school activities, maintaining all the duties of mother and homemaker and now the role of a college student. Nonetheless, Jalene knew the end results would be of great benefit to her, if she could just “get through this difficult time. Chuck became more abusive toward Jalene as he realized she was gaining a new understanding of independence.

Her scope of life was broadened with not only her college classes, but the opportunity of interacting with a diverse group of individuals. Frequently, Chuck would disagree with Jalene during casual conversation about current events or happenings in the community. It greatly angered Chuck when Jalene could validate what she had noted was true.

She was disquieted when the children would “chime in”, “Daddy is right”, even though often times he was not. Jalene quickly realized Chuck’s determination to make her appear inferior to him would always be the victor over the truth.

When the children were young toddlers Chuck informed Jalene that he had no desire to discipline the children. She was with them all day. Therefore, she could address any concerns she had with them. The children learned rapidly that they could speak to Jalene rudely or treat her with great disrespect and there was no one who whom punish them. Jalene was deemed  the “mean parent” very early in the chidlren’s lives. She attempted to instill morals and Godly principles in the children, but she had no back up from Chuck.

At age three, Marie put her hands on her hips and said, “I will tell my Daddy when he comes home.” She did and it remained for the duration of Marie’s life. Well into her 40’s and beyond, anytime Jalene said anything which Marie disagreed with, she “ran to Daddy”. Each of the children knew that whatever the situation and no matter the reality, Chuck would “side” with them.

Not having a husband whom loved, supported or cared about her always compounded her anxiety. Chuck was becoming more abusive with each passing year. Another young mother in the community, Sarah was aware of Jalene’s problematic marriage and the strain she endured. Sarah recommended that Jalene seek counseling.

As the sorrow of Jalene’s life cascaded onto the ears of the counselor, Jalene realized the past 30 years of her life were indeed atypical. She was born into a family of poverty to extremely abusive parents. She naively left home to marry an abusive, gay man. When attempting to have her marriage annulled, her parents and pastor informed her she must remain as she took vows before God and that is what was expected of her.

Now without physical or emotional love from her husband, she realized she must learn to live with the circumstances she was facing. Additionally, the more the counselor learned of the abuse from Charles, the more he became aware of the serious abuse of her youth and young adult life. Jalene was absolutely on a surreal life’s path.

If you have not followed Jalene’s journey, her story  began in April 2016 when she was a child in OH.

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