I recently received the attached letter from a reader who chose to share her story with me in response to my request to share your stories as a way to help others. As I read it, there were so many things with which I could identify and I now understand that while her sharing was her way of helping others, she, in fact, needs for us to share our stories in order to help her. Here is her story.
He would get angry when we didn’t agree and before I knew what was happening, I would be pinned to the wall. My little thin boned wrists felt like they would just pop and break.
DOMESTIC ABUSE HURTS!!!!! I have had a very interesting life. My only sister had a genetic disease. I realized when I was about 18 that she had a terminal condition. I could only watch as she suffered being called names at school because of her physical deformities and her wheelchair. She was jealous of me too because she wanted a normal life, but didn’t have the physical ability. My parents loved each other very much and had a great relationship. They are still living and doing well, but this has been the best thing about my life. The other is that I was blessed with a lot of creativity and used it to play musical instruments a lot and do a lot of crafts. My outlet now is singing and playing guitar, playing bass with a band, and playing with a bluegrass band. I married at the age of 21 and he was so perfect. Not long after, though, he was controlling, not at all like my dad. He would get angry when we didn’t agree and before I knew what was happening, I would be pinned to the wall. My little thin boned wrists felt like they would just pop and break. Displays of anger were frequent; door slamming bad enough to break the frame, throwing objects, especially things that I had made or were given to me by my friends was common. He would often hold me to the wall and spit into my face as he grumbled under his voice words that I shudder to remember f…b… I was scared he was going to snap during his sleep and just break my neck or something because the anger was so bad that he would even be angry when he talked in his sleep, which was quite frequent. He would always answer me in a very angry manner. He cut me off a lot. I supported us for 5 years while he went to school. He always controlled the money, down to the little things. I had to beg to get a car that was decent and he finally said yes, only to change his mind and say no. My car broke down not long afterward in the middle of nowhere. That was before cell phones. This was my money, but I didn’t dare cross him. I never called the police after an incident (which occurred approximately monthly) partly due to embarrassment. I was very Baptist and we just didn’t do that sort of things, I had to keep up appearances. I loved him too and didn’t want to embarrass him. I never said a single word to my parents for 10 years!!! I would sometimes cry but wouldn’t tell her why. I had very strong faith in God and felt that I didn’t have a Biblical reason to leave. I went through 5 pregnancies. Lost 1 to a miscarriage and 1 to a stillbirth. Those were really tough days. My sister also passed after 6 weeks in the hospital on a ventilator just before my first child was born. I began to develop a lot of physical problems. After 10 years, he finally quit the physical abuse, but continued with a lot of emotional and verbal abuse. He demanded food on the table at a certain time, insisted I work part time, and managed to take care of our 3 children’s needs and carpooling. He was out of town nearly every week also, so I had full responsibility for appointments and practices, etc. I was so exhausted. I got up and cooked breakfast every morning and tried harder and harder to satisfy him. The harder I tried, the quicker he found something else that I was doing wrong. Like, one night, I was in a panic about dishes being dirty from food I had prepared for a Christmas party. I was up at 10:00 trying to wash them and he got angry because I was making noise. I kept an immaculate house, but he always found something wrong, like that dinner should be on the table by a certain time. One day, I had prepared a chicken salad meal, bought croissants, made pretzel/strawberry jello salad, and served it to him. It’s a favorite meal at a nice restaurant in town. He turned his nose up to it, saying how that wasn’t a meal. Anyway, he is Mr. Wonderful to everybody around us, the nicest guy you’d ever meet. I can imagine another girl will fall for him really easily. He’s good looking and smart and makes a lot of money. I was scared to leave because I had no self-confidence and was scared of having to work full time because of my nearly debilitating fatigue. When the kids were younger, he would have done everything he could to get custody and I was so beat down that I would have probably figured they’d be better off without me. It has been a year since I finally divorced and I am still really depressed. I had felt suicidal a lot during the marriage; it seemed the only way out. I now am still heartbroken. He has never shown remorse for hurting me and even when he didn’t want the divorce, he would never ask forgiveness or anything about hurting me. I am supposed to trust God, but now I don’t seem to care about anything. I used to be passionate about worship and playing music, and now I really don’t care. I even just wanted a bluegrass gig to get over with and I usually love gigs. Also, I had a very nice boyfriend for a while, but just cannot move on to have a relationship. Sorry to leave on a sad note. If you’re in that situation, just realize you have to take one day at a time and there is hope, I know that it is around the corner, but it’s discouraging right now because I don’t like being alone and my last baby goes off to college in less than a year. I just am scared and I don’t know what I’m going to do. Anyway, I knew if I stayed, I would die, I just had a feeling in my gut and I just said that I may not understand the Bible totally, but I just have to trust that God doesn’t want his children to voluntarily stay in an abusive situation. I am so ashamed when I see all our Christian “couples” friends. I feel like such a failure. I will say that sometimes I feel happy and I have not been nearly as poor as I thought I’d be, in fact, I have as much materially as I did before, except for the nice vacations. I even had a good vacation with my parents last week, so I am going to survive somehow and I love my house. I believe that God is going to bring a wonderful man into my life one day when I am ready. This hope keeps me getting up in the morning, and seeing my little girl who I love so much.
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If you or someone you know is affected by Domestic Abuse, you can call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) 1.800.787.3224 (TTY)
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Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.