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Monday, July 11, 2011

Year in Review 2008

This year was quite a journey.  I went from being verbally abused to being physically abused.   I called 911 for the first time in my life.  I went to a hotel with my kids because I was afraid of my husband.   These are things that should have never happened, and yet I know in some respects I was fortunate. Fortunate I have a mobile phone, a car and a job. Fortunate I have enough money to buy essentials at Walmart and spend the night at a hotel.  Fortunate a friend was there to help me and support me in my decision not to go home.   Fortunate I did not believe all the terrible things he said about me.  A lot of abused women have none of these advantages and I cannot even imagine how much more trapped they must feel.   Living like this is a terrible and isolating experience.  My family had no idea.  My work friends had no idea.  Only my friend Anna knew some of it and she did not know how bad and frequent the abuse was.  She was very helpful and supportive and continues to be.  

I still struggle with why I was not able to leave him at the end of this year.  I remember telling Anna that I couldn’t take it anymore and that I would leave him after the holidays.  It didn’t happen and I don’t exactly know why.  I guess I was just not ready give up on trying to “fix” him, so he could become a good husband and father.   He did so many things that were so obviously not okay.  I felt if somehow I could explain it to him, or get him into therapy and they would explain it to him, that he would understand.   I thought, “Surely he will eventually see reason and realize what he has been doing is wrong and stop doing it.”  I just could not fathom that he would never see it.   I would have glimmers of hope, where he would seem to understand that hurting me was not right;  but it never lasted, sometimes not even a few minutes. The longest it lasted was probably half a day.  Then his pervasive abusive beliefs would take over again and we were right back where we started.  

Based on my journal, there were 127 incidents in 2008.  In 51 of them he was either physically intimidating, threatening, or outright violent.   This is staggering when you think about it. There is not a single month without a violent incident.   I started keeping the journal to find a pattern.  But the only real pattern is the pattern of abuse.  It’s all very typical of these types of personalities.  I’m sure there are psychological reasons for this, but I find it eerie how similar the behaviors are amongst these abusive and controlling men.  It’s like there’s a handbook “How to be Abusive 101” that they’ve all memorized.  I know it's not really funny, but sometimes it helps me to inject humor into the situation. 

What I think is important in the future to help stop the abuse is to get more people to understand this pattern.  Most people’s idea of domestic violence is a black eye.  I never had a black eye, and only a handful of times were there actual bruises, but it was severe domestic violence nonetheless.  The intimidating, manipulative, demeaning, isolating behaviors combined with the denial of them and blaming you for them are what make it so dreadful.    Perhaps if more people understood the pattern, they would be able to get out of the relationship sooner, or encourage a friend get out.  

I did make some emotional progress this year towards ending the relationship by spending the night away, calling 911, and I even saw a lawyer once to understand my options .   It would be more than a year before I would finally get out, but my strength was building and that is what’s important.   Just as the abuse was a process and not an event, the leaving him was a process as well.

1 comment:

  1. I just read all your posts, and I will continue to do so. I wish so badly you and I could be are extremely strong! I definitely understand why you don't have contact information on your blog though. If by chance you'd feel comfortable reaching out to me, feel free to do so thru my blog. I'd love to hear fromn you.

    I was in a toxic relationship for four years. Leaving was the most difficult thing I've ever done. I am still processing it all, which seems crazy to me since it's been almost two years. But anyhow, we deserve better lives and better relationships. Thanks for your example of strength and being willing to share your story.


Comments are intended for support and helpful discussion.