There are typically events in a person’s life that define them. They are things that make or break their character and shapes who they become. Regretfully, these are some of my defining moments.
No one ever “wants” to be in an abusive relationship. No one ever “plans” on it. I mean, come on, I had a prince charming waiting to sweep me off my feet. I didn’t sit around as a little girl or even a teenager saying to my friends, “When I grow up, I hope that someone will beat the shit out of me.” These words are extremely painful to write and even harder to see right now as tears roll down my face. This is such a painful memory to relive and if my kids are reading, I beg you to stop here and pick up at the next blog. I absolutely hate this part of my life. This chapter closed 19 years ago. You would think this would be so easy to bury and forget, but the scars are those deep ones that never really heal. A simple word or situation can hurl me back in time and plunge a knife so deep into my heart, that it makes me gasp for air.
I am and have always been a tough girl on the outside. I can go nose to nose with the bitchiest of people and I am the queen of the one liner insult that can knock someone over…” It’s so disappointing you are mean” I said to someone once, “Usually god makes the ugly girls nice.” BAZINGA! Ugh, not a proud moment, but it gives you some insight on how I can fire back. I was the master of the verbal lash back. However, I was a coward when it came to physical violence. I think it’s important to point out that it’s not like I never had a fight. I do have 9 siblings and we were always smacking the shit out of each other for something, but I never threw a punch. I pulled hair! That was my specialty. I can recall someone offered me out in grade school. For those who don’t know, this is where you meet at a place and time and start beating each other up. It was the most barbaric and asinine thing I ever heard of. I still have no idea what I did to piss this person off. I was so scared. My friend told me to accept and not worry about it. We showed up at the scheduled time behind the shopping center, and as the girl walked up, much to my surprise…MY FRIEND BEAT HER UP! Honest to god, if my parents weren’t so strict with being home on time for dinner, I may still be standing there with my mouth wide open. I did not see THAT coming. I sort of thought I accepted, and we were going to talk things out! NOPE!
My next experience with violence came in high school. I went to a party with a guy I was dating. A friend from a different crowd showed up and I talked to him for all of a few minutes until he left. The guy I was dating drug me outside by my arm screaming at me for talking to this person. He threw me up against a car, hauled off and threw a punch right at my head. It never totally connected because the guy that I was talking to earlier had seen this unfolding, pulled him off me, and proceeded to beat him up. Ok, so apparently I knew a lot of people who were fighters, lol, but I was not one of them.
When I first started dating my first husband, I was a single mom. We were only a few months into the relationship when we had an argument at a bar. On the way home, he grabbed my hand and twisted it while he drove with the other. It hurt so bad that I literally had to lean forward to offset the movement and my face was touching the dashboard. As we arrived at my apartment, I jumped out of the car and told him to lose my number. I cried for hours. The next few days were filled with phone calls and heartfelt apologies on my answering machine. I couldn’t bare to pick up the phone. A few days later he showed up at my door with flowers and in tears apologizing and begging for forgiveness. Being so young, so naive, so stupid, I accepted his apology and we continued to date.
Sadly, abuse never digresses or stays at the same level. In order to gain control, the abuser ups the ante. Whether in the form of physical or verbal abuse, it gets worse and literally obliterates all traces of who you used to be. I was so embarrassed. I couldn’t really tell anyone what was going on and even more pathetic, I somehow started to believe that I was to blame. Since we didn’t ALWAYS have bad times, I started to think that maybe I was crazy and overreacting. This is the sickness associated with abuse, you actually become detached from reality. There were so many days I thought he would kill me, but not as many as I wished he would so that it would finally be over.
In looking back, I can remember and still feel in my heart the day he broke me. I felt like such a loser, so undesirable, so useless. After a big argument, he drug me into the bathroom and threw me on the floor. Being a baseball player, he did what he knew how to do best…he started throwing things at me. Whatever was not attached to something in the bathroom was being fired at me at a high speed and precision. Each time something hit me physically an insult crushed my soul emotionally. “You’re a fucking loser” as the toothpaste hit me in the face, “a whore” as the toothbrush bounced off my head, “Ugly piece of shit” as the razor hit my legs. You get the picture. I had no idea we had so many things in the bathroom! I shit you not, I think he hit me with a spoon. What the fuck was a spoon doing in the bathroom?!? It felt like it went on for hours. I could get over the physical stuff after days like this, those bruises healed quickly…but I began to believe I was a ‘worthless piece of shit who was lucky to have someone like him love me’, so I decided I needed to work harder to fix this. To add insult to injury after this incident, I had found out I was pregnant.
My pregnancy with my second child was a nightmare. The fighting and stress were unbearable. Once I survived the hand twists, the shoving, grabbing and dragging, the throwing of things, the squeezing of my face until my teeth cut the inside of my cheeks and the insults, then more force was needed to control me. The day I came home from the hospital was the day the abuse moved to a new and more dangerous level. My baby had colic. She was crying nonstop. It was the 3rd time she had woke up and I was so sore from stitches from an episiotomy that I could not physically get up to get another bottle. I gently tapped his arm and asked him to get the bottle that time. I was sitting up in bed, holding my screaming baby in the dark when suddenly I experienced a massive and violent blow right in the nose. I can recall holding the baby so tight so not to drop her as I scrambled to feel if my nose was bleeding. I literally saw stars and could barely breath between the sobs. A few minutes later, the bottle was tossed at me and he returned to bed. This was the day I knew I had to work even harder…not to make him happy any longer, but to GET THE FUCK OUT.!
It was not as easy as it seemed. It was very hard to just get up and go. I was a college student, had 2 jobs and now 2 kids. I tried on so many occasions. I saved money, tried to avoid all occasions that I thought could end up in an argument, I even left once. I let him visit with the kids a few hours and when I returned to get them and he would not give them back. I called the police and they let him keep the kids (my ex was in law enforcement and the police took his side) . I all of a sudden did not have my children. This was the very second I became the smarter one in the relationship, or so I thought. I did whatever it took to get him to let me move back in. I moved back in to protect my children, earned my degree, got a great job, and planned my escape.
Over that last year of our marriage, I avoided most eye contact and all physical contact after learning about his multiple affairs. He worked nights and I worked days and for a short period of time, I had some peace. I started to go to counseling since I now had health insurance. I grew stronger and bolder every day. The final day of our marriage was a typical day. I dropped the kids at daycare and then he picked them up later and started dinner. He was not working at this time as he was out on a disability after a significant car accident. As I walked in, there was my now 5-year-old sitting at the table crying. She had cut her bangs for the second time and he was belittling her…” You are bad and now you are ugly!” It was like she was an eggshell and I was watching her crack. He was doing to her what he did to me! It infuriated me. I put my things down and yelled,” God gave you a second chance at life and you don’t even….” I never got a chance to finish, he finished it and said “Deserve it? Deserve it?” With that he smashed a plate of food into my face so hard that I was convinced my nose broke this time. He drug me out of the kitchen into the bathroom, smashing my head onto the glass shower door. I have no idea how long that lasted or how I even got away, but I ran as fast as I could back to the kitchen and scrambled to grab a knife from my block of them sitting on the counter. I found myself pulling the biggest one. I could feel him right behind me. I closed my eyes and I jabbed my arm backwards with the knife in hand in an effort to hold him back. I had no idea he was so close and before I knew it, the very top of the knife entered his neck. I was horrified. He was shocked. I am not sure if it was because I fought back or that I just stuck him in the neck with a knife but in my horror that this was actually happening, I almost started laughing. I finally fight back, and I just stabbed him in the neck with a knife? What the fuck? I most certainly did not intend on that. My three kids were sitting at the table eating, completely unphased and never moved. It hit me at this very moment that they thought this was NORMAL and it sickened me to think that they would allow someone to do this to them. I held that knife as still as I could, told my oldest who was 8 years old to grab my pocketbook, get everyone seat belted into the car, and hold down the horn until I got into the car. I had no idea if once I let that knife go whether he would bleed to death or finally kill me. Once I heard the horn, I backed him into the corner of the kitchen, let go of the knife and ran. I never looked back. In case your wondering, I didn’t killed him, it was a simple poke in the skin! Also, please note that although I was elated that I fought back and got out of there, this could have ended very differently. So differently that you could have been watching this story on SNAPPED instead of reading it.
I try each day to remember I am not that person he said I was. But it is not automatic. I have to work at believing it. It is not easy. I have very simple advice when it comes to abuse. NO ONE EVER, EVER IS TO PUT THEIR HANDS ON YOU IN ANGER and the same goes for you. Abuse in an insecure person’s way to feel bigger and better about themselves. They need to step on you, squash you in order to find their importance and significance in life. No matter what you do in life, no matter how much you may be at fault for something, you do not deserve to be physically or verbally assaulted. Repeat that to yourself over and over again. You did not cause this. It took me almost 10 years to learn this lesson and break free. If someone does this to you once, RUN! Do not stay like I did. Love yourself enough to walk away. I do not recommend fighting back either. The Grace of God was with me that day. It could have ended so much differently. You will survive, I did… Persevere Bitches!
If anyone is reading this and is in this situation, please go to the following site for help. My love and prayers are with you