If it helps one woman...
I didn’t grow up physically abused. Middle class home, mom was home dad worked. I never saw my father hit my mom physically, but emotionally he was a monster. I was never quite good enough in anything I did, that goes for my siblings as well. That set me up for many years of abuse and never feeling good enough.
The first time a man hit me I was 15, he was 21.We lived together for almost a year. It ended with me leaving and him burning and giving away everything I had. He did everything possible to make my life hell. I left my home province because of it.
Fast forward 4 years. I met my now ex-husband. A one night stand turned into a pregnancy, a loveless marriage and 18 years of severe physical and mental abuse. He was a drinker and later a prescription drug junkie on top of it. It started with mental abuse, not coming home, calling me names, all the warning signs. I’ll never forget the first time he hit me, with my son in my arms who at the time was 3 months old. From there it just got worse. I was living in BC in his home town. I had no friends and was 10 years younger than him, and not a drinker at all. He said I was unsociable, an introvert, I didn’t know how to have a good time. As it turns out he had many good times without me.
Over the course of 18 years we lived in 3 different regions of BC. My home was always on the radar map for the police, who were called often, not only by me but my neighbors, who on many occasions got to listen to me scream as he was beating me. Looking them in the face was a humiliating thing for me on a daily basis, they knew!
My family was slowly being phased out of my life. He did not want my mother around, after a while neither did I. I did not want to subject her to him whose sarcasm cut like a knife. It wasn’t until I left that my relationship with my mother, who listened to me for years, was mended.
His family pretended it didn’t happen and didn’t exist. One night he was supposed to be home so I could go to work, he didn’t show up. I knew where he was. I went down to the local bar where he was sitting with another woman. I went up to him and he told me to fu** off. I slapped him across the face. He called the police and had ME ARRESTED. Wow, fingerprinted, photographed the whole nine yards. The female officer had my file and knew that I was abused. Goodness knows they had been to my house many times and my ex had been in the drunk tank more than once. She apologized to me but the system had to play itself out. I was released into the custody of my mother. I was not allowed to go home for the weekend. They got me a court date ASAP for the Monday. I went home anyway, he was passed out drunk and I grabbed my son who at this time was now 7. No charges were filed against me, the case was dropped by the crown. That did not stop him from trying to convince the police afterwards that I was crazy and unstable. So I found out in a series of voice messages he left for the officer. I called his sister and told her what was going on. Her response "he would never do that". Nice. More than once throughout this relationship I thought this is it he’s going to kill me, all its going to take is one more blow to the head or one more kick when he had me down. I have many horrific stories about what he did to me, and what I allowed him to do to me. Yes, I do take responsibility for my part, I stayed.
I'll never forget an incident that took place in his local watering hole. Friday 6pm, he again was going to make me late for my job. I went down and went over to him. Everyone we knew was there. He said some choice words then he spit on me. Everyone saw it and no one, not one person said anything to him, not one. Turns out as fate has a way on showing up, when he spit on me, my best friend’s brother from high school saw it. She called me the next day. “I know what happened last night” she said, “Kevin saw it” I broke down. It was the first time I really talked about it with anyone besides my mother.
My son saw and heard things a child should never here. Things a teenager should never see or witness. I know it affects him to this day. Two weeks before his graduation his father grabbed me from behind drunk and started slamming my head into the wall, he wouldn’t stop. This time my son was home. He pulled his father off of me. My son took care of me that night, battered, bloodied and bruised. Had he not been home I don’t think I would be writing this now.
It was also the last time my ex-husband laid a finger on me.
As Dr.Phil put it “children would rather be from a broken home than live in one." My son is a testament to that statement. He said to me recently, “why didn’t you take me and leave, why did you stay, we would have been fine mom, we would have been happy." I have many horrific stories I could tell about my abuse by the hands of this man just like any woman who has been abused, the song remains the same. I divorced him, in order to do so I gave up most of what I had worked for over 18 years. Was it worth it....absolutely. Near the end of my marriage, the beautiful house, all the nice things meant nothing. Four walls with stuff. The price of my freedom was in fact priceless.
I am now with a man who loves me and cares for me deeply. Something I had a hard time accepting simply because of what I had been through. We all have our reasons for staying in these situations, fear being the biggest one in my opinion, uncertainty, low self esteem, the list goes on and on. Is there light at the end of the tunnel? YES. It’s been a long road to recovery but the point is I am recovering. I have my days when old ghosts haunt me and I find myself slipping into memories of events I wish I could forget.
I will be 42 this year. It’s been 3years, 2months and 25 days since my last beating that could have ended my life. Left my parents without a daughter, my siblings without a sister, and my son without a mother.
As. you. are.
Stronger than you know.
More beautiful than you think.
Worthier than you believe.
More loved than you can ever imagine.
Passionate about making a difference.
Fiery when protecting those you love.
Learning. Growing. Not alone.
Warm. Giving. Generous.
Quirky. Sexy. Funny. Smart.
Flawed. Whole. Scared. Brave.
And so, so, so.much.more.