My heart is aching as I sit here at my desk. Around me nurses are taking care of their patients, having coffee etc., all going about their day with no clue of the week I just had. I’ve…
I’ll give you two options:
- First, go ahead and click on the link above titled “I Admire Your Strength to Know Your Worth” Read it (it’s not long) then come back and continue reading my post. (recommended)
- Second, read my post to the end and then go back and read the above link.
Like it says in the title, this is not what I planned on writing about. I was wanting to go down a different road. Maybe something not so serious. Maybe a little humor.
I was reading this morning and came across the post above. My heart sank. The words she wrote were words that have been in my head before. Not that long ago. The feelings she described were feelings that I could completely relate to. So much, that it really brought back some strong emotions and memories. It was then that I decided this was what I was writing about.
If you’ve never been in an abusive relationship, then you might not can relate. When I was in the midst of what I can only describe as a nightmare that you can’t wake up from, people would always give their opinions.
“I wouldn’t put up with that…”
“If it were me I would be gone…”
I know those people were only trying to help. They cared and were looking out for me and my kids, BUT….BUT…..pay attention to what I’m about to say. UNTIL YOU ARE IN THE SAME EXACT SITUATION, YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW YOU WOULD REACT. Just because you think you would have handled a situation differently; you really just don’t know unless you’re in it. And when I say the exact same situation, I mean it very literally, because if fate… or the cards…or the stars…or the planets…or however you want to look at it… aren’t lined up exactly the same then who’s to say you would’ve handled it any differently.
In the early part of my marriage things were ok. Looking back now I wouldn’t say they were great at all, but you know what they say about hind sight. I got married when I was twenty and had my first child at twenty-two. I had no clue what life was about. So in the beginning it didn’t seem so bad.
He skipped from job to job….ok, but he kept a job most of the time. Then the drugs started. I’m not sure that I can look back and tell you and exact time that I remember things drastically changing. I just remember that I started suspecting he was taking something. His behavior changed. He had massive mood swings. He lied about everything. I remember staying so angry. We had this beautiful little girl that had some struggles the first few years of her life and he chose to eat pills and not go to work. We began struggling to pay our bills. At this point, had I not had a child, maybe I would’ve walked away, but who could really say for sure.
The drugs got worse, the lies got worse, his behavior got worse. He would steal from his parents, but had he not stolen that $20 I wouldn’t have eat that day. That in no way makes it excusable, but when you’re hungry, or your lights have been cut off you tend to brush things to the side and just be thankful you have a meal and electricity.
Then, something happened. For most, it would’ve been time for excitement and planning. For me, I felt guilt. How could I bring another baby in to this miserable situation? That following July, I was blessed with a precious baby boy.
I would love to say that bringing another life into the world made him change, but it didn’t. He only got worse. He had become very sloppy by then. His lies were obvious. He was very mean. If he didn’t get what he wanted or if anyone questioned him he was verbally abusive. I was exhausted mentally. I could tell my body was starting to get weak. I was tired. He went through job after job. And in between jobs could go for months. Every time we couldn’t pay the rent, we would be evicted and move to another trashy place unfit to raise kids. I got so used to moving that I finally just stopped unpacking. We were married for 12 years and based on the locations I have listed as addresses on my credit report we averaged a new place to live at least once a year. Sometimes two places in a year.
The drugs got so bad that I expected to find him dead any day. He would fall asleep during dinner with his food in his lap sitting in the recliner and would stay there for days. If he did move he would only walk out to the garage to smoke a cigarette and fall back asleep while the cigarette burned. We had several close calls with fires. Most of which I didn’t know about until after the fact when I would see where he had put it out. Sometimes he would have burn marks between his fingers where the cigarette would burn him as it reached his fingers.
Sure, we tried to get him help. He even went to rehab a few times, but as soon as he was back out things went right back. If he had drugs in his system, he wasn’t as hard to deal with. As soon as he ran out or didn’t have the money to get what he needed, that’s when the anger began. He hated everyone. He was so mean. At the time, he never laid his hands on me so I had no clue what he was doing was abuse. My mind was overloaded. He would scream and scare me and the kids and when we got scared I think it gave him more power. I would lock myself in a room to get away from the screams, but he would bust through the door and would stand over my body, slumped over in the corner crying, screaming and saying the most awful things until I would start hyperventilating. The room would spin. I couldn’t breathe. My muscles would lock. I would choke on my own spit. My face and hands would be numb and I would lay there gasping for breath while my kids would watch and cry “daddy is mommy dying?”
One afternoon I was getting ready to leave work. A friend of mine walked in my office and closed the door. He said “I feel like I need to tell you something that’s been on my mind. And you may get mad at me, but I’m still gonna say it.” The words he said to me that day changed my entire outlook on life. I’m certain that others had said the exact same thing to me over the years, but maybe it wasn’t the time. The next few words he said that hit me the hardest and what I think was what made me make up my mind was “You are 30 years old. Other than your two kids, what have you got to show for your life? Do you actually think things are going to change? If not, then why are you staying? Yes, you’re going to have to restart your life at 30, but it’s better than restarting at 40.” And that simple, yet profound statement was the beginning of me taking my life back. We had that conversation on a Wednesday and on Friday I told my husband I wanted a divorce. I told him to leave. We had exhausted all other avenues so we had moved in with my mom so as soon as I told him I was done, she made sure to help him out the door.
The next few months were brutal. He was constantly calling. The kids would cry because they missed their daddy. I felt so alone. I had help…I had my kids…I had my mom, but I still felt alone. And the panic attacks, well, they had taken over. My body was so overwhelmed and exhausted that they would come without a trigger. I was having 2-3 a day and they were so violent and were causing seizure symptoms. My body would twist up and I would gasp for breath. My mom became an expert at massaging my muscles so that my twisted feet and crumpled up hands would relax and go back to normal. My mind was so beaten down. My personality had changed. I wasn’t the happy person I used to be. I was depressed and tired.
The last word that I would use to describe the next few months of my life would be easy. The one thing I can honestly say is that once I made my mind up and told him it was over, I never regretted my decision. Once I was out of the constant abuse and fear, I was able to see so much clearer. I could see where all of it was coming from. The children were still sad and I was still lonely, but each day I got a little stronger. The kids would cry a little less. I would smile a little more. I began laughing again. I started getting the real me back.
Unfortunately, for my kids, he has chosen to stay on the same path. Once I wasnt the punching bag anymore, the mental abuse turned to them. They have suffered a lot over the past few years because of him. I hate that this has been put on their plate and we still struggle daily, but God has put an amazing man in my life and father figure for them.
I got remarried 3 years after my divorce to a Godly man whom I adore. I also gained a bonus son. When we began our relationship I didn’t know what to think. I had no clue that this was the way a man was supposed to treat a woman. Sure we argue and fuss like the next couple, but it isn’t the same. There’s no abuse. We both go to work every day to take care of the family. He makes sure all the bills are paid. The lights always come on and there’s always food in the pantry. He makes me smile.
Let’s go back to the link at the beginning of my post. In her post she says:
“I want to talk to someone who’s been in my situation but had the strength to walk away. I admire any woman who can understand my fears but unlike me knew her worth and left. I need to see what’s on the other side of the rainbow. That’s what holds me back. I have this intense need to know what happens if I take that step.
I am not this weak woman I have become.”
I have always said that God would allow my abuse to be used for good. That maybe I could connect with others being abused and encourage them to take that step. I was not that weak woman I had become either. I saw no worth in myself. I was miserable and broken. I admire this woman who see’s things aren’t right. She’s scared and unsure, but she’s not as weak as she thinks. She’s strong enough to reach out.
I had an intense need for myself and for my children to take that step as well. What happened after I took that step?
I took another step.