Talk about a moment that changed your life
A lot of people might discuss when they graduated, or met someone amazing, the birth of a child, loss of a loved one…Mine however is a bit different. This entry, taken out of context might make me seem a bit like a psycho but as promised my answers are always unedited.
I will never say I don’t have flaws, honestly I think I am full of them. My most destructive is that I have always had a temper, I lack patience both with situations and people. I have never been a violent person, however there was a day in my marriage where I realized if I didn’t get my anger in check I might end up throwing everything away. Let me back track so this entry makes sense….
My ex husband wasn’t always a terrible man and I won’t pretend I was without fault in the deterioration of our relationship. There was a turning point where I started to resent him. I cooked, cleaned, paid the bills, did the laundry, grocery shopped while he just acted like a child then he stopped having sex with me. I can assume he grew to resent me as well. Anyways, the point of explaining this is that my marriage was abusive. My ex husband was an alcoholic, he was angry when he drank, often times violent, used to say awful things (as did I in retaliation) and a couple times it got physical. We brought out the worst in each other.
You hear stories of women who have been abused you think to yourself “why didn’t she just leave?” “How did she let it get that bad?” Well, I’m here to say it doesn’t always start out like that. It starts in little ways; the dishes being broken during dinner, the bruises on your arms from being grabbed, the insults about the way you look, picking fights about the way you say something, constantly belittling you, saying hateful things about the people you love, blaming you for their drinking/anger. There were nights he’d pick a fight during dinner and throw the dishes with food so that it would splatter over the counters, cabinets, walls, then continue to argue just long enough for the food to dry so it had to be scrubbed off not just wiped easily. I would spend hours at night scrubbing the walls, stains out of the carpet, sometimes even the ceiling, only to find he locked me out of our bedroom so I couldn’t shower or change before bed. It was probably the most demoralizing thing I have ever experienced, I felt helpless those nights.
Prior to my marriage I often wondered which kind abuse did more damage to a person and I’ve come to realize that the bruises on your skin will fade away, the ones on your soul though? They take a lifetime to heal and the wound can reopen at the slightest word or thought. I wish I could say the insults have been forgotten but I’m not sure they ever will be. When you show someone the deepest corners of your soul and they use it against you it’s not an easy thing to forget.
After years of being in a hostile environment it takes a toll on you both mentally and physically. I had gained weight, slipped into an even deeper depression and became constantly angry. The harder you try to pretend your happy the more exhausted you become. I withdrew from family and friends, I didn’t have the energy to fake a smile. My brother said something to me after the divorce and it was heartbreaking “Steph you used to have this spark, you’d light up a room and it’s gone.”
Domestic abuse is a vicious cycle, the worse it got the less I felt I deserved and the harder it was to leave. How do I admit to everyone I had been allowing this man to treat me this way, even now a lot of my friends and family don’t know anything about my marriage. When they asked what happened or why it ended… “It didn’t work out”. My own mother and father have no idea which is often why I think they aren’t always sensitive with their comments. I just don’t know how to tell them that I was so broken down I let a man treat me like dirt for years. It’s embarrassing.
I got a little side tracked with the background info…Back to the question:
There was one night in particular, I was food prepping for the week, he was drunk and yelling at me I tried to ignore it this time and he just kept getting angrier. With every insult that I ignored he grew increasingly violent. He threw dishes, grabbed all the food I had made and dumped it in the garbage yelling at me calling me names and in that moment I wanted to kill him. He grabbed my arm, twisted it and called me a stupid bitch and I snapped, I saw red, fueled by pure adrenaline I pushed him to the ground… (For background info- He’s almost a foot and a half taller than I am, and weighs close to 300 lbs). I’m still not even sure how I knocked him over with our size difference, I just kept punching him and hitting him until he pushed me off and I can’t help but wonder what if I had hit him with an object or what if when he fell he hit his head etc. For that split second I lost control of my entire body and could have ruined my life.
If someone had glimpsed at our relationship that night they might say I was the abuser, and perhaps I was. It was wrong for me to put my hands on my ex, that is never okay no matter your gender and I will not sit here and make excuses.
I moved out shortly after that, I gave in to almost anything he wanted in the divorce because was this man really worth going to jail over? Hadn’t he taken enough from me? For the first time in my life I understood those women that snapped, those women who endured far worse than I had and finally lost it. Women who had children to think about or who slept with one eye open for fear of being beaten and raped.
People are so quick to judge and say things like “I would never let that happen!” and I will admit I was one of those women but it starts so slow sometimes you don’t realize it until you look in the mirror and the person staring back at you is just a shell of who you used to be.
Will I ever be a victim of that kind of abuse again? Absolutely not.
Will I ever pass judgement on a person who is stuck in a cycle of violence? Never Again.
*Don’t judge people for the choices they make when you didn’t get to see the options they had to choose from*