This is the first part of a series of articles about my life as a survivor of domestic abuse. I want to share my story but writing it takes a lot out of me emotionally. Therefore I will be submiting in segements. My hope is to show the stages in which my abuse happened so that even one person out there can understand how and why this happens to women. The stigma that the abused suffer is just another blow.
When you smiled at me that night with that fox's face I believed that you were the man who truly understood me. I believed you were a man. It was your wit and easy smile that lured me in. All these years later people still ask what I saw in you and its taken me all of these years to sort through the dust and remember that. I was very young and I was searching for something I didn't even know I sought. I wanted to belong, to be secure, to be loved by a man who didn't want my body or my sex or just to be seen with me. I was attracted to the fact that you were confident in yourself and that you didn't seem to notice my breasts or my youth. You spoke to my eyes and seemed to appreciate the intellect that I prided so much in myself. The people around you seemed to appreciate you and I never thought that just under that calm facade lay a beast, waiting to strike...
When I married you it seemed no one was happy. It made it easy for you to villanize the people closest to me and push them from my life. They didn't understand our love and if they didn't love you, I shouldn't love them. The ones who loved me most and tried the hardest to make me see the truth were the first on the chopping block. I easily fell in line with your plans to dominate my life. I believed myself to be a strong and worldly woman, I could never do something I didn't want to do. You decided we would move away from the bad influences in my life and I was the farthest I had ever been away from my family and friends. My loved ones were out of the picture, all that was left was the two of us. My ideals were slowly being stripped away, my deepest most heartfelt beliefs; belittled, crushed, maimed and eventually, lost. As the months passed you took many things from me, even the little things were deeply felt but I was so lost and scared and now isolated from the people who cared for me I simply gave in. You burned my "inapropriate" clothes, threw out my makeup; you took my books. I was forbidden to read my writings to anyone but you.
I became pregnant.
Children added a whole new demention to my loneliness. I was so broken that being a mother to them was something I was incapable of. Knowing I was a bad mother further pushed me into depression. You had become distant and cold and your rules were absolute. Visits with my family were limited when I was able to go. I had a set time to see them and when I was there I was so anxious and worried about going over my time my stomach would do backflips and I would always leave early. They worried about me because they could see the damage this life was doing to me. I was pale with dark circles under my eyes, my hair was falling out, I was severely overweight, unkempt, I had unexplained bleeding episodes, blood from my nose, blood up from my throat. I was slowly dying and the instinct to save myself had long since abandoned me.
Eventually there was pushing when things didn't go your way. You would roughly shove me in arguments. Into walls, over furniture, onto the floor, once down a flight of stairs. "It's not like I hit you". But, you did, didn't you? Day after day, week after week, year after year, I became a worthless nothing. I was stupid, naive, ugly, a bad mother, a worthless wife. I was crumbling.
Eventually, I got away. That's a story for another time but know there is always hope.
People often say things of abused woman like "She deserves that treatement if she chooses to stay". I hope to show them that NO ONE chooses a life like mine was. Abuse is almost always a systematic breakdown of one's true self. Your self-preservation instincts are ground down, your self-confidence is stripped away. You are left in a place you could never had imagined you would be. No one meets a man and thinks to themself "Wow, he's completely insane and hateful towards me. It's love!"