ABUSE

What is the definition of abuse.  I guess some people would say it’s only when someone is physically hitting you.  You would be wrong. Abuse can be physical, verbal or mental.

I should know since it happened to me. I was reading a diary entry today where the young woman was describing her boyfriend pushing her around, putting his hand over her mouth so she couldn’t cry out, etc.

I was 20 when I met my soon to be husband.  I was engaged to him only 6 months before we decided to get married.  It wasn’t until 1 month before the wedding when we were sitting at his parents home that he became so angry and lashed out at me verbally in front of his own mom.  Trust me I was so scared. I had never seen this side of him before.  I had always thought he was a calm, easy going man. 

I didn’t tell my family about this incident. I really started to think I needed to back out of the marriage but I was scared to admit to anyone that there was an issue with him. I went ahead and walked down that aisle knowing that he had a bad temper.

Six months after we were married his true self came to surface.  He struck me across the face, drawing blood near my mouth.  I ran away from him crying.  He followed and of course apologized, telling me it was my fault. He gave me gifts in the coming weeks to show he was sorry and for a time I thought things would get better.

I was wrong, things only escalated. He yelled, screamed at me and called me filthy names. Names I had never heard before.  He still lashed out physically.  I wanted to tell my family but I was so ashamed.  I remember my dad telling my brothers and I, “You make your bed, you lie in it.” So that is what I did, I kept quiet, not telling anyone, not a priest, not a friend, and definitely not any family member.  I kept my secret for 11 years.

Then one day I went to my mother-in-law and told her I was leaving her son. I hadn’t even told him yet.  I told her that he physically and verbally abused me.  She admitted that her son used to hit her and his sister when he was in high school.  She just assumed that he no longer had that anger problem. Boy was she wrong.

I went to my parents next and told them. I cried my heart out telling them the ugly details of what he had been doing to me for the past 11 years.  My dad promised to help me by coming over on Jan 2nd and moving me out.  My husband would be at work and I was going to call in sick so that I could get everything done that day.

As it turned out when I called my mom on Jan 1st to see if my dad was coming the next day she said, “Your dad and I have been thinking, we don’t really know you and why you are wanting to leave your marriage. Is there another man in your life.”  I was livid. I couldn’t believe that my own parents didn’t believe me.  How could they, they had never seen him treat me badly. They had never heard the nasty words that he called me.  They thought I was trying to get out of my marriage and that I was making this whole story up.

My husband was outside and heard the tail end of my conversation with my mom. He cornered me in the kitchen and asked if I was telling people our personal business.  He was ready to explode. 

I ran to the neighbors house and asked to use their phone. I called my mom back and told her that dad needed to come now, come and get me, that my husband had heard me talking and I can’t stay in this house tonight.

When my parents came my mom stayed with me in the kitchen. I was crying so hard. My dad was in the bedroom with my husband.  I heard my dad say, “She tells us that you are hitting her, is this true.”  My husband said, “She knows the rules, Shut your mouth or I will shut it for you.”  My mom heard that remark from the kitchen.  This is when both my parents totally once and for all believed my story.

My dad called the police.  Both officers were in the kitchen with me and my mom.  My husband came to the kitchen.  My poor mom looked him straight in the eye and said, “I thought I knew you. I thought you were kind.”   He got close to her face and said, “You don’t know me, you know nothing about me.”

I’m glad that my parents were able to see for themselves what he was like.  I’m glad that they were there for me.  For a long time I was hurt that they didn’t believe me when I first told them but look at it from their view point. They only saw my husband calm, kind, loving.  He would shower my mom by giving her flowers for no reason. Lucky her, he never gave me flowers.  During the divorce he was so mean to my mom, now she knew his true self.

For any young, or older woman out there. Abuse is abuse and you should never excuse it, think it is your fault, blame yourself when the man tells you that you provoked it. You didn’t provoke it, he just could not control his anger and he lashed out at you because he wanted any excuse to hurt you.  Abuse is not love. If he is abusing you he not only doesn’t love you, he doesn’t even respect you. He only wants to control you. And control is not love.

My son was nearly 2 when I decided to leave.  My husband hit me in front of my son and that poor baby was crying, not understanding what happened. I never wanted my son to grow up seeing this, thinking that hitting a woman, or being verbally abusive to a woman was normal. 

My son is 33 and he has 3 beautiful children.  He is a loving husband and he is the best father.  My grandson who is nearly 5 told me recently, “Mommy bosses daddy around all the time.” I know from what that child said then my son is not mean to his wife, if anything he is putting up with being bossed around a lot.

Don’t put up with abuse because you love someone. Love yourself more and don’t stay in any relationship where the other person tries to control or overpower you. 

Through the years when I was married I begged my husband to go get help, go talk to someone about his problem. He said he didn’t have a problem, he said I did. He refused to seek help. When I left him he ran for help and begged me to come back. By then it was too late.

I never remarried. Being with him left lasting scars and every time I thought about even dating I would start crying. He on the other hand was married 4 more times after we divorced. His second marriage lasted 1 month. The third 3 years. It ended when he smashed a hammer in her car window and she realized he had anger issues. His 4th wife was needing a kidney transplant and he was mean to her during her illness so she was smart and left. The 5th wife died of pancreatic cancer 3 years after they were married. And my ex-husband died 2 years ago this coming Oct. 

Save yourself, don’t try to rescue or save a man who is abusing you.

 

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