Thursday, March 19, 2009

Domestic abuse

Isn't it odd that domestic can mean having to do with the family or household and it can also mean tame? Nothing about domestic abuse is tame but it sounds so much nicer to say domestic abuse than beating up one's husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend. Let's just use the term "significant other" for any visual pictures in the rest of this post.

I'm betting most of you didn't see Oprah today but she had some men on there who were admitted abusers and she had Robin Givens on who was married to Mike Tyson and involved in an abusive relationship. If you've never been involved in the unhealthy dynamic of abuse, then consider yourself lucky.

This topic has been in the news lately with talk of Chris Brown and Rihanna and his alleged beating of her. I do know that someone did physically hurt her, based on that photo. I do know that there has been abuse in Chris Brown's own life. The chatter out there is she may be going back with him. I don't know as I'm not a party to all things celebrity. I'm just a weebley blogger out here in the cybersphere.

However, I do know the story of domestic abuse. I lived it when I was married to my wasband. That's the reason we got divorced according to our divorce papers. The state I live in does not have a no-fault option but I certainly was embarrassed to dictate some examples of abuse which one has to do when they claim that for their divorce proceedings.

Let me preface this by saying that I am an educated woman, college degree, Masters degree, with a professional job. I'm not a dummy. I was a victim of abuse from someone I tried desperately to love, even after he hurt me.

The first time he hit me was on our honeymoon.

My wasband was a victim of abuse from his father. He grew up in a horrendous childhood. When we dated he was loving and kind and sucked me into a world where he was at the center and everyone else was far away rotating in the outer layers. Slowly but surely he separated me from my family and got me so that I did almost nothing on my own. We did things together and I rarely ventured into life without him.

The first time he hit me was not the first time he was abusive. He was verbally abusive and sometimes he was verbally abusive in front of friends. He called me the f-word, said I was a b!tch, and told me how I was all wrong. I think I was never right the whole time we were married. One time he had an outburst when we were at Disney World with my friend LP and her boyfriend at the time. There was a ride I didn't want to go on and I was going to wait for the rest of them. This elicited a response from him that I was a stupid b!itch and an f-ing azz. He just went nuts and my friends didn't know what to do. They just stood there silently while I wanted to crawl into a hole. I was embarrassed and demoralized in front of my best friend.

My wasband had an anger problem. He would not allow me out of his sight once he started on a tirade. I could see them coming on but there was no escape. We lived in a small house and he would block the front door. If I went into the bathroom and locked the door, he would pound on it and then start to take the door off the hinges. If I did not come out before the door was off, it was even more trouble for me. Once out of the bathroom, I was dragged down the small hallway and thrown into the bedroom. If I was lucky he would just yell a lot and tell me to stay in there and maybe he would maybe calm down in the other room. Most likely it was me trying to come out and talk and ask if I could leave. I just wanted to get in the car and drive away until he could calm down.

No matter how nicely I asked the answer was always the same; it was throw me down on the couch and then start pummeling me. He was a very smart abuser (as they go) because he rarely would hit me dead on in the face. He would hit me in places that would be covered by my clothes, generally in the chest, arms, and back. He would grab me and pull me down never letting me get away, screaming at me at the top of his lungs what a worthless wife I was.

Near the end of my marriage he knew I was planning on leaving. I had no help from my family throughout any of this for a variety of reasons. They hated him, hated me with him, and generally had nothing to do with me while I was married. I will say they asked me a few times during my marriage if he hit me and I always said no. I don't think they would have known what to do if he had anyway. They haven't always been supportive.

The victims in these relationships do generally experience calm periods. There were times when I could almost be happy. The abuser generally tries to make up for the tirades. In my house my wasband would sit me down and tell me calmly what I had done wrong as a wife.

One of those times was in the middle of a cold central NY winter when he had, surprisingly, thrown me out of the house without a coat on. I was being punished for something and he just dragged me to and then threw me out the front door into the winter and told me to make myself better. I had no boots, no coat, no car keys. I just stood there and after a while he threw out a coat and yelled some more. I started walking to my parents' house which was miles away. After a while he came searching for me with a car and picked me up. He drove me home and yelled about what was wrong with me. When we got in the house he wrote up, yes wrote up, a list of things that I needed to do to make myself better.

Another thing he liked to do was to humiliate me and do something really gross to me. He would take off his underwear and then shove it in my mouth until I was gagging on it. I was so disgusted but he laughed maniacally. He did this more than once in the last two months before I left.

The last few weeks before I left him he would drag me into the bedroom, push me down on the bed and then hold a pillow down over my mouth. All the way. To the point where I couldn't breathe. I tried not to squirm because that made him laugh louder. He would tell me how he could kill me and no one would care. By this point I almost believed him.

So why didn't I leave right away? Why didn't I tell my parents yes he hit me, hurt me, called me horrible names, took away my self-esteem?

I wasn't ready. I wasn't strong enough. I didn't know how. I was afraid. I didn't know how to live on my own. There's a million reasons.

I finally dropped into such a horrible depression and found a friend online and a friend in real life (BJM) who gave me enough strength to leave him. I set up my own savings and checking account. I looked for apartments that I could afford on my paltry salary. He made more than twice what I did at parochial school.

I finally moved out on February 1st, 2000. My friend, BJM, and her sister-in-law came and we filled up their pickup truck and my car with whatever we could that was mine and we left. My wasband came home and went in the bedroom with my cat who he wouldn't let me take with me.

I moved into a cruddy little apartment with my clothes, a kitchen table and some chairs, a TV, and a computer. I had a few cups and plates and bowls, along with some silverware. My friends helped me out the best they could that first night. I slept on the floor and was frightened beyond belief to start a new life.

Little did I know that was the first step to where I am today.

10 comments:

LISA EMRICH said...

wow, you are an amazing woman!! So very strong to be able to leave.... and very brave to write about it.

Perhaps someone who is in a situation similar to the one you were in might come by and read this. Perhaps it will give them the strength to leave as well.

Thank you for all you continue to do by sharing so much of your life with all of us.

Jen said...

Hi Weebs--

I'm glad we became friends on Facebook. I follow here, but I don't often comment because sometimes it's good to just be the listener. However, today I have to comment that I'm glad you have made it to where you are now.

Jen

Nal said...

You are a strong woman who has taken control of your own life and discovered your own power. And you share that strength by sharing your painful story by allowing people to see your vulnerability - and gain strength from it. Thank you for sharing something that is so personal to you and also so powerful that it sends a message to others - abuse is abuse no mater what form it tkaes. You are a survivor and you have and are taking ownership of your life... thank you for sharing this with the hope that many men and women out there will read it and gain the courage to be free. Brava my dear friend BRAVA!

Weeble Girl said...

Thanks for your supportive comments, dear readers, on here and Facebook and through emails. I always appreciate comments and look forward to reading them.

Thanks my friends,
Weebs

Cathy said...

Sharing your story has probably helped so many. I'm sorry you went thru all that but you sound like a wonderfully strong woman.

Stuff could always be worse said...

I thank you for such a description of abuse, it has opened my eyes to how horrifying life must be in that situation. I am not in an abusive marriage, so your story give me more understanding of it. You should write a book.

Weeble Girl said...

Again, many thanks for your supportive comments. They mean so much to me especially because it's scary to open up myself to so many people, ones I know and ones I don't.

Thanks for reading and responding! You're the best.

Weebs

SB said...

Wow, I had no idea. This story breaks my heart. I am so sorry you lived through this. I am proud of you for finding the strength to get out of the situation. You are far more valuable than how he made you feel. I pray you continue to be healed from this pain and also from the MS. You have such a gift and I know God will use you to help others!

Michelle Giblin said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I have been in your place. He never hit me but he sure made me hate myself. How can the person that says they love you tell you everyday they are pregnant with your child that they hate you. I don't know but having the strength to leave was the first step. He still hates me too this day. I can honestly say that I pray for peace for him because I am happy I can breathe in my own life again.

Anonymous said...

Julie:
Thank you for having the courage to share and the will power to leave!
I wish for you everything you deserve!
Celebrate each day. And remember: YOU ROCK!