Friday, October 29, 2010

Why This Happened

When I put up the “Free Audrius Kazenas” page on facebook it was attacked by Audrius’ wife. She did not do so directly, instead she placed false allegations of child abuse using the profiles of her children to hide the source and false allegations that Audrius was a murderer and criminal in Lithuania through the relatives and friends of her lover. One of her children’s profiles was used to contact those who had joined “Free Audrius Kazenas” with more allegations of child abuse. We were under assault and finally, to protect the child whose profile was being sent to countless strangers across the country, I had to shut the page down. I have within my possession many legal documents that can shed a totally different light on all allegations and make it clear as to who has done what (he has been in immigration detention for nearly two years, which has provided me with ample time to do an extensive investigation) - and if Audrius does wind up being deported, all those documents will be published and become public, but in the meantime, for the protection of all concerned and out of respect for the court proceedings that are ongoing in this matter, I must keep those documents private.

However, Audrius has a right to at least respond. He went through hell the year of 2008, cheated on by his wife, left to care for three children and countless doges without adequate funds, unable to get the dental care he needed for an infected tooth that had him in agony, unable to do anything about any of it because of his legal status in this country. That year ended for him being taken from all of us who know him well, who were trying to help him manage, and being placed in immigration detention. Nearly two years later he sits in a prison cell still for the “crime” of believing and loving the wrong person and trying to do the right thing. Men are not always the enemy, not always the perp, but why don’t I let Audrius speak for himself:

“Hi everyone, I am Audrius and I have PTSD . . . Kind of an abused opening, but I am not trying to hide behind the condition, I am not trying to find the excuses for anything I have done or why. Few days ago I found out about the comments by some people who haven’t ever met me, of what a terrible monster I am, so this is my response to them . . .

For those who are not familiar with PTSD, it’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and it means that person affected by it feels differently about some everyday situations than the person who is not affected by it. Person who denies having PTSD doesn’t know that his or her reactions to potential triggers is not normal, not the reactions that would be expected from the average person. Person who admits it has to question and crosscheck every emotion and every action he or she takes. There is a lot of general information for those of you who are interested. I want to let you know what that means to me. I have been living with what is now called PTSD since I was 17. I didn’t know that at the time, at the time there was no such thing. I was told at 17 that I had nothing to be afraid of, that I died the day I put on the uniform - it just got postponed for a little bit.

Then the rules changed and everything had a new set of rules. And according to those rules I couldn’t trust what I felt, what I thought was right. I was told I was a violent and scary, bloodthirsty savage. I wanted to be normal, regular guy, so I tried to fit in. It lasted a month. Then I found an occupation in which I was told again what is acceptable and what is not. Following the rules was much easier. I thought I finally had it all figured out, so I started bending those rules, not by much , not the rules about conduct - but simple stuff like having backup and proper planning – nothing I thought was major. Because of that I messed up and somebody died. I paid for it dearly and in the process I found out that guys who put the rules in place don’t have to follow them.

After that I came up with my own rules. Then I met my wife, a person who I thought accepted me with everything I was and was not. At the time she was married, but she told me that her marriage already fell apart. She had her share of hits and misses. We actively met the first time because my brother was dating her at the time. I felt that with her I could be myself, first time in years I felt normal. She was everything I was looking for and we were engaged before she asked her husband for divorce. When it came to right and wrong, acceptable and not, what to say and what not, I trusted her more than myself. After all, she was the first to spot what was wrong with me and to name it – PTSD.

When it came to explaining myself to other people I trusted her. After all, she was “normal” person and I didn’t want to scare people. I wanted to act like everybody else, like member of society. Before I knew it she started to change me. Some of my traits were overly “macho.” Others, like smoking, unhealthy. I had to make choice between her and some of my friends. I thought that was a natural process – adapting – and since she better knew norm of social behavior I thought it was better for me to change.

And I was trying. Never quit smoking though, and lied about it, too. I knew it was bad for me. I knew it was something my wife was not going to accept. She told me so in marriage counseling, but like Remark once said: “Bad habits are the only form of comfort available in any circumstances.” I guess he never spent time in immigration detention. LOL.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and I know my responsibilities, but I used to scuba dive, sky dive and blow things up and get paid for that. When I came here, instead I spent eight years changing diapers, mopping floors, folding laundry and being told that I was too aggressive, didn’t know how to speak, how to dress and how to act in public. I never thought much about it. I believed that it was constructive criticism and my discomfort was just me being paranoid about it. Paranoia is one of PTSD symptoms, after all.

Couple of times my wife and I contacted an immigration lawyer to deal with my legal status, but because there was no guaranty that I would be eligible for relief, I felt it would selfish to press on the matter and we, as a family, decided it was better to wait. That was my life until spring of 2008. In very late winter, my wife started showing signs of alienation. She didn’t want to talk to me on the phone. She started spending more money and didn’t know where it went. She demanded that I pay “my share” of monthly bills, even though agreement before I came to U.S. was that until my legal status was sorted out, my wife was going to pay the bills and I was going to take care of the kids, the house and the dog breeding business.

My wife decided to take new job, which would bring in less money, but she said she would be able to spend more time with the family at home because of it. In late spring she decided that she wanted to have separate bedroom. When we first met, one of the things she said about her marriage was that she and her first ex had separate bedrooms. I asked her if that was it between us and she told me that I am being paranoid, and she just needs more space. She said I was smothering her. She said that she was tired of me wanting to do everything with her. She said I wasn’t fun, I wasn’t interested in anything but dogs and guns. I couldn’t understand it.

My wife was working far from home and was staying with her mother, with her friends or in hotels for a few days every time. When she wasn’t working or sleeping, she was going out with her friends and I didn’t have problem with that. I was at home 24/7 and all I had to socialize with was kids and dogs. I thought it was normal to miss your spouse and to want to spend time together. It’s hard to find out that the person you love is not interested in you anymore. It’s much harder to doubt what you see, hear, think. It’s scary – to think that you are loosing your mind, to think that maybe you already lost it.

Among other things, PTSD affects your physical well being. Sleep problems are common, more than average health problems. There is a reason why I listed those. How to explain what does it feel like when you don’t trust your feelings? How does it feel when your wife calls home and after talking to kids tells them that she didn’t want to talk to you? Does that mean something, or are you just being paranoid? Maybe she just had a busy day. How to stop believing somebody you trusted with your life? What to think when one day before tenth year wedding anniversary your wife drives to Boston, and when she answers the phone there she tells you that she doesn’t have money to come home - and next day, when you drive to see her, she takes you to barbershop and takes children to lunch, after which tells you that you look like shit and sends you home so she can leave? Does that mean that your marriage is over or is that being unreasonable and you can do it all over later when you have some money? How does it feel to see your wife with bruised lip and beard rash on her breast and when she says that you are imagining things you actually question yourself – are you really seeing what you are seeing or are you hallucinating because of lack of sleep and toothache from infected molar that no painkiller can touch?

How does it feel to hear that your wife is not attracted sexually to you anymore because she just got used to you – and you shouldn’t be so conservative when it comes to sex – and she just would like to sleep with other man once in a while – and sex is not such a big deal . . . and you actually consider it?

I sound like doormat, I know. Love and trust does funny things to you. Especially when you put everything you had into relationship in which other side had invested considerably less. And that’s why it was a relief to talk to shrink who validated what I was seeing. It was even greater relief when my wife confirmed what I thought in early fall of 2008. She didn’t have to pretend anymore. My stepson was 12 and girls could be left in his care when my wife had to work at night. I am not one to judge her, but in my opinion what she did was disgusting.

That aside, we have children and I was willing to be civil. It didn’t work out that way. It wasn’t the first time she slammed me with the door, but it was first time I knew what she is and it was a first time when she hit me in the face. I am really sorry about that day. I shouldn’t have stooped down to the level of that. I didn’t hit her. I wouldn’t hit a woman, even one who did what she did. When I saw her in court I thought it was last time. I thought immigration was going to pick me up right there. It didn’t work out that way. They came later.

After a few months in detention, I got a letter from her. At first I thought it was about signing papers on house in Lisbon. Then I thought it was about kids. I tried to write to her how I felt. All she got from it was me blaming her. She wrote back to me how tired she was of me blaming her and how she didn’t do nothing that she was sorry for. I wrote to her that I forgave her and that it was not about what she did, it was about how I felt. It was about me. I don’t think I ever got that point across.

She decided to visit me and to help me to get my green card because of the kids, and then - who knows. She asked me, why my plans for the future didn’t include her and kids. I told her that I never wanted for summer of 2008 to repeat itself. She, in response, tells me that she didn’t have such a great summer as I think she did, in part because I was invading her privacy, maliciously persecuting her and making her feel like she was in prison. Again, who cares about me? I offered to put it behind us, but she didn’t know if she could because now she said she was afraid of me.

In early fall of 2009 we were making plans together, we were talking how when I was released it would be a good idea for two of us spend a week in some motel just two of us. When my court was delayed because of background check she started talking about me being insecure when I wanted to know her friends that she wanted to spend time with. Not to hang out with them, just to know who they are. After that she told me that she didn’t have to visit me every week and disappeared for three weeks, was too busy to pick up the phone and when my friend, who stood by me all this time tried to call her to let her know when I was going to be transferred she didn’t answer and accused me of trying to control her. When I was transferred, she was really upset when I used the one free call to contact somebody else, somebody who wasn’t evading my calls for nearly a month. When she brought kids to visit for a last time, my daughter told me about the house they were looking at and asked me if I will come to live with them. At that time my wife was dating the guy she is living with now. I knew it then, but I didn’t say nothing. I promised my wife, that summer of 2008 will never be repeated and I gave her a chance to end it honorably like a human being. I didn’t say a thing when she came again, when she offered to me to stay in the house with kids when she is not there.

I declined with the smile and told her that I will not do “open marriage” and either we are a couple or not. I didn’t know how to make more clear suggestion, without asking her to tell the truth. She was afraid of me again and full of accusations – how I embarrassed her all over town by helping my friend’s wife (my friend was injured in Iraq). While she was saying these things guy who was about to move into my house with my wife and my kids was “helping her to move” and he was “just a friend who had kids too,” blush, eyes down, blink, blink. Last time I saw my wife, she told me that after I will get a green card she doesn’t want to “hang” and she will want to get a divorce. I was pleasantly surprised. I thought maybe, just maybe, she is going to be honest. She asked about visitation schedule with the kids and I told her that I will be more than willing to work that out. She asked me if I thought I would find somebody, and I said I was going to really soon. She asked me not to exclude my stepson and I said that I wouldn’t. She asked me not to drop any new “siblings” on the kids, well, wording was a little different, but I am not going to use it. She asked me how we and the kids would deal with our significant others. I told her that we are adults and there is not reason why we can’t be civil to each other and other adults in our lives and remember that kid’s birthdays are about kids, not about which parent has them this year. She made remark that I am not making it hard and I told her that I didn’t want to make it harder than it had to be. I pretty much knew what was going on. She promised to put money on my phone account so I hoped she just was uncomfortable telling it to my face. Then I hoped she at least was going to write. It never happened.

I sent two letters to her mother’s address. One with my new address, the other – Christmas greetings to my kids – on plain paper because I was moved right before Christmas. I didn’t have money in my account and in the new prison I’d been moved to it was too late to get free Christmas cards. I found out about her “being in love” right before New Year. Because of the way I found out, I wrote her a letter, but never mailed it. After all, it’s her business who to love and I gave my word.

When I went to court on December 16 my lawyer said that my wife’s application for my green card was approved and when lawyer spoke to her she said that she is going to be in next court hearing. My friends raised money to pay the couple thousand dollar fine for being here illegally and fees for the application to be processed. After my friend paid those fees, three days before court, my wife told my lawyer that she changed her mind. I heard how she was telling people in town how she feared for her life if I am not deported.

I don’t know her current address and I don’t want to know. I miss my kids very much, but I am being accused of everything under the sun without anything to support it, so I chose to voluntarily impose on myself a restraining order. I will not jeopardize my future being able to see my children by giving her a shred of anything to use as a claim that I am threatening her. I have known that woman for number of years. I wish I could stop being cautious whenever I am dealing with her, but so far she broke every promise, every agreement she made with me. She faces no danger from me because I do not want to ever see her and if I do I will just walk away. I wasted eight perfectly good years of my life on her and that is enough.

In 2008 she cheated on me, she lied to me, she left me with nothing – she even emptied kid’s college savings accounts so she could have fun with another man while I was borrowing from neighbors to buy milk for the kids. Yes, she broke my heart and I forgave her. And then she lied to me again, broke promises that she just made and did all she could to make sure that I am sent to the country where I would be killed.

November 04, 2008, when she was crying and complaining that I was stronger, better trained and bigger than her I gave her phone and a loaded pistol and offered her to finish what she was doing to me. Her response was, “I am not you!” Yes, she is not me. She picked a coward’s way – a traitor’s way of doing it. To me, there are things that are more important than my life and one of them is my self respect. On that day I came pretty close to loosing it. I now know she thought that I was her doormat and for a few moments, before I realized what she was, I tried to prove to her that I was not – as if her opinion of me still mattered. It’s never going to happen again.

I know who I am and who I am not. I am not a traitor. If I take somebody’s side I am not going to backstab him. If I help somebody, it’s without strings attached. I think “knight in shining armor” routine to get in someone’s pants is low and pathetic. It’s using somebody’s trouble to get what you want. I am not a coward and if I walk away from a fight it’s not because I am afraid, it’s because I don’t like hurting people. I have strong beliefs about certain things and I would never change them. I know some things about my wife and I don’t use her name for a reason. She is not very honest. She is not the most moral woman in town – any town. She is not very faithful. Her last great love with my brother and both marriages has an episode with more than one man.

I did not want to get into all this, because I am ashamed of what I was connected to, but allegations of a child abuse were a little over the top. And child abuse is illegal. So why don’t you press charges and have me brought to justice here in the United States instead of shipping me somewhere on some made up charges? I don’t think though it is a right thing to put a minor’s name on public controversial web page, but maybe it’s just me. However, for the future references, kids that I had in my care never had to be taken to see the doctor because of the injury. They never had an accident, they never got lost, they never dangerously fell when I was watching them. They had a lot of friends. They had sleepovers in our and in their friend’s houses. They were not isolated and locked in and there is a number of adults who knew them pretty well, some of them law enforcement officers who know signs of abuse.

It’s odd that all these allegations came out now, isn’t it? How ever I felt about circumstances in my life, what ever shape I was in, safety and well-being of the children always was a top priority for me and if I felt that for whatever reason I couldn’t take care of them properly I reached out for help and received it. People who helped me, who are helping me now can vouch for that.

I was accused by my wife that my beliefs are too extreme. She told me that she acts the way most people act. If this is true, I feel sorry for them.”