So I guess it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. I can tip toe around the meat and potatoes of the story but that would be leaving out the entire point of why I am doing this. I’ve been holding this life of madness in for so long I’m hoping that by putting it out there in the universe – I don’t know – maybe God will finally lead me out of this nightmare.
This has been a 25 year roller coaster ride. I’ve been dizzy and nauseous for most of it. When I started out I thought I was so great I could take this broken man and fix him. Help him to see this was not the answer. That I was not his enemy. To the outside world he was this former bad boy turned upstanding guy, with a wife and child. Everyone saw a change. I saw a change too…from the quiet guy I had a crush on to a controlling maniac that used abusive words, threats, weapons and fists against his own wife. What a piece of shit.
At the root of most of it was trust. He always seemed not to trust me. If I was working he questioned who I was interacting with. If I was home he wondered if I was talking to people on the phone. Did I let anyone in the house. When we got into arguments he’d start over nonsense. Maybe (to him) I had an attitude when I answered him. Or I jumbled my words which meant I was lying. Who was I on the phone with? Then it turned to why isn’t the house clean? Why was I late from work? Always, always something.
It started out with a slap, maybe shaking my body, pushing, cursing….always cursing. I’m a stupid bitch, dumb whore, fucking slut, etc. The name calling I could take. It bothered me but my mind was strong. I always knew it was him and not me. I knew I didn’t do anything wrong so for sure it wasn’t me. Early on in the marriage, sometimes when he would really go at me I’d argue back…that never worked out. But you know, sometimes I had to say what I had to say…sometimes it was worth the fist. He hated to hear me speak. He still does. And as time went on I knew how to push his buttons. The less i argued back the more it drove him crazy. It meant that all of his yelling and screaming was a waste of time. I wasn’t listening. I didn’t care. And I loved that it pissed him off. Sometimes I’d look at him all interested like he was telling me an amazing story. I’d shake my head and widen my eyes and even through in a… “Really? Wow.” Eventually he’d shut up.
After he saw that arguing didn’t phase me and a slap in the face or a punch in my head didn’t deter me from doing whatever caused him to snap….he’d start looking around the apartment and would grab items to hit me with. Sometimes it was a boot or a hanger. After a while it was extension cords. He’d grab it and whack my leg or back with it. Then as it would start to bruise and welt up almost immediately … he’d gently say “see what you made me do…go run that under cold water” and I’d refuse. I don’t want lessen the way this bruise is going to look tomorrow so you feel better. I’ll take the punishment but so will you when you go to hold me in the middle of the night and I flinch and scream out in pain. Believe it or not…that fucked with his head. Sometimes I’d pretend to be sleeping and he’d rub my head and say sorry in a very quiet voice before rolling over and going to sleep comfortably….while I lay awake in massive pain.
One day, he hit me with an extension cord and the bruise ran from my shoulder to my wrist. And because he had the wire folded over the bruise was a double line so it took up the entire front and side of my arm. It bruised immediately. My entire arm was black and blue. When he went to work that day, I took my daughter and went back to my mother’s house. My daughter was about a year and a half at that point. I went home and told my mother….not in it’s entirety…but that he hit me. I didn’t show her my arm. I thought she’d understand because….YES…she too was abused, by my father. However, not to excuse the act, but in no way did she suffer at the hand of my father the way I was getting beat by my husband. My father was more of a cheater and when he’d get caught or she accused him then he might lash out with a slap. It was never as intense as the shit I landed in.
Of course when my husband came home from work and couldn’t find me he went straight to my mother’s house. I stayed in the back room with my daughter. If I recall properly, I believe I sat in the closet so if she spoke too loud he wouldn’t hear her. He pleaded with my mother to let him see his daughter and how he was sorry for hurting me and such. I remember my mother saying something to the effect…”she’s not ready to see you right now, give her a day or two, I’ll speak to her. The baby is fine.” My brain is like…she’s sending me back to him. Why would she do that? Is she saying it’s okay that he hit me? Is she saying if I went through it so can you? Or so SHOULD you? I don’t know. I ended up going home the same day.
Here comes the apology. He’s so sorry. He’ll never do it again. But then with the flip of a switch something triggers the monster and now he starts to threaten me. “If you ever leave and take my daughter again I will quit my job and hunt you down. I will not stop until I find you. When I find you, I’m not going to kill you…that would be too easy. Instead of killing you I am going to slice up your entire face so that when you look in the mirror you won’t be able to recognize yourself. And every time you look in the mirror you will remember me and what I did to you.” Imagine all of that in such a mellow tone of voice as if we were sitting having a normal conversation at the dinner table.
What people who are not the victims of abuse don’t understand is the power of the words. Why would I stay? Yes, I was afraid but it wasn’t only that. I knew him. I knew what he was capable of. I knew what he’d be willing to do and far he would go. In essence…I believed him. With 100% faith in my heart and mind, I believed he would do what he said.
That day, the cold hard slap of reality opened my eyes. What the hell did I get myself into?