Abuse and Survival – Open Closets

I have been putting off writing my post about survival. It’s hard digging up past memories. But one of the goals of this blog is to share my experiences and maybe help someone else get one step closer to their own survival. It’s hard to say the word – Abuse.

Abuse is abuse!  A person doesn’t have to be hit, beaten, shoved or slapped in order to define their relationship as abuse. I was never hit, never beaten. But I do remember once being shoved across the bed during a very heated argument.  I rationalized that away.

Many Forms

There is another form of abuse that is just as debilitating. Mental abuse has a way of belittling, degrading, making a woman (or man) feel small, weak, useless.

In my own case, now that I look back on my past, it was more harmful than if he would have hit me. Bruises go away.  Messing with someone’s mind and emotions last a very very long time.

Too Much

Unless it would help anyone to hear details (which I have 20 years of details) I will leave most of them out of my posts. There are a few that are very relevant to my awakening and healing.  I will share those.  But the every day, belittling, taking my power details I will leave out. 

If I wrote about all of that, I would have pages and pages of stories.  And I don’t want this blog sight to be about slamming my ex husbands.  I want it to be about how I rose above it all and reached a moment in time where I was finally happy and in love with ME.  It’s important for me to share what it feels like to forgive and to heal.

Surviving marriage number one:

There is never a moment where you just all of a sudden say “I deserve this” or “I am not worth anything” or “Hey, I’m being abused”.  Nothing like that just pops into your head.  It is a slow process of daily put downs.  There are always fights.  We fought horribly when we were dating.  That was a sign!  I missed the sign. He would get very angry if I tried going out with my friends or even my sisters.  Another sign!  He would threaten to break up with me if I did.  One time he threatened to make copies of a seductive photo that he had taken of me (in private…. and was meant for only him)!

We Were Just Kids

By the time he proposed to me (I was only 19 years old), I was already feeling that no one else would want me.

We married at age 20.  Even though dating was rocky, I thought I could change him.  I thought marriage would calm him down and help him realize that he didn’t have to be so overbearing and jealous.  That is the mistake most of us make.  We think things will change AFTER the wedding.

They Don’t Change

Trust me,  whatever you are experiencing BEFORE the wedding just multiplies tremendously afterwards.  They have you where they want you.  You belong to them.  According to them, there is no getting out now.

I cannot say that the entire marriage was horrible.  That is what happens in abusive relationships.  It’s not constant.  There is the really bad.  There is the tiny chipping away at the person, and then there are the wonderful moments. These wonderful moments are what keep us going.  When we reach the point where we want to run away as fast as we can, he will do something wonderful and it makes us second guess.

Two Beautiful Beings

My children were the loves of my life.  They were the good that came from those first 17 years of my adulthood.  When I was feeling useless or small, I would remember that I created two beautiful human beings. I threw myself into raising them.



My biggest regret is that I allowed them to see the horrendous fights.  One night I was upset because I knew he was cheating on me but couldn’t prove it. I confronted him about it when he came home after being gone all night.  The fight got bigger and bigger.  Cussing, yelling, screaming just went on and on.  All of a sudden I must have gotten too close for his comfort and he shoved me in the chest, sending me flying across the room, across the bed and onto the floor.

The Closet

In that house we had a large closet that was open on both sides.  One door opened into my sons room and the other side opened into ours.  When I fell onto the floor I happened to glance over toward the closet and saw my two year old daughter sitting quietly in the middle of the closet, sucking her thumb.  My daughter is 30 now.  She doesn’t remember that at all. She also doesn’t remember a very large portion of her childhood.  It will be during her own therapy sessions one day that she will be able to unlock those memories.  But only when she is ready.

Back then we had wonderful family trips.  We would take his boys and our children to Gatlinburg and Florida. Our family spent many many nights at Little League games.  It wasn’t all bad.


The Beginning of the End:

The first time we tried to save the marriage was after his mistress called me and gave me details about the past years of their affair. I started packing my bags and he started begging.  We ended up in counseling. It didn’t help him but without realizing that it was happening, it created a very slow strength in me.  To this day he says that the therapy sessions were the beginning of the end of our marriage.

Getting Stronger

The more we went, the more he was adamant that it was not helping.  But the more we went, the stronger I was getting.

After we completed the sessions things were better for awhile. But the strength that I had started nurturing began to have an impact on me.

I decided to get a job. (He hated that)
Starting school again to finish my degree that I had neglected since marrying was something he really hated!
I joined a karate class with my amazing Master Cowan.
And I started slowly cultivating a circle of friends.  My group of women friends have been there for me no matter what.

Final Straws

The second to last straw that led to my leaving was the night that my sister came over to spend time with me. Our children were in the living room playing and I had just finished making my husband dinner.  He worked 3rd shift at the time and I would have dinner waiting for him before he left for work.  I tried and tried that night to get him to wake up and eat. By the time he came into the kitchen, the food had been sitting for awhile. We were all having a great time in the living room and just out of nowhere I heard a loud crash. 

Dishes were smashing on the floor and I saw milk being splattered onto the wall.  Then I heard him knock the chair over as he yelled  “My F… ing milk is warm”.    He had taken his arm and just swept everything off the table onto the floor.  He stormed out the door for work leaving me there to clean the mess.  My sister was in shock.  NONE OF MY FAMILY KNEW ABOUT MY HORRORS.  This was the first.  She kept my secret until I finally had to open up to the rest of my family.

Telling Loved Ones

Once I told my family my parents were also in shock. I had hid it well.  But my Mom said that she always noticed that the vibrant, beautiful young girl that she raised had turned into an empty shell.  She said my eyes were just blank for years and she couldn’t figure out why. Abuse wasn’t as out in the open back then.  No one talked about it.  She began to ready her mothers house for me. My Grandmother was in a nursing home at the time and her house was empty.  But I was terrified.  Terrified of messing my kids up by leaving their home and their Dad.  Terrified of what he would do to me if I left.  I was just TERRIFIED.

The End

The final straw came the night I had to work late.  I was only 15 minutes late getting home but the second I walked through the door he began screaming at me. Calling me every name he could think of – in front of  our kids!   He wouldn’t leave me alone. No matter where I went in the house, he was right there, almost bumping my back with his chest.  It felt like I was suffocating. I was trying hard not top yell back.  I was so tired of the fight.  But he wouldn’t let it go.

At one point he decided to grab me by the arm and yank my purse off my shoulder. He was going to look for evidence that I had been up to no good I guess.  He walked to the living room, stood in front of my kids, yelling that I was a fat whore and a slut, and dumped the contents of my purse on the floor.

A Calmness

SOME SORT OF CALM CAME OVER ME.   My mind will never forget that moment.  I calmly told the kids to go get as many of their items as possible and put them in a garbage bag.  I then gathered my items, put them back in my purse, told the kids to get in the car and we drove to my Grandmothers house.

One thing that will never leave my memory though was the sight of my husband slumped over on the floor with tears streaming down his eyes, begging me to come back.

Here is an amazing book that helped me with my courage!



Forgiveness Comes Next

I don’t want to end this with the rough moments of survival. I want to also express what it’s like to reach the other  side of healing!   Click here for more!

Views: 1376

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *