Never Give Up, Happiness Is Just Around The Corner
Motivational Week Guest Post
Laura is a loving wife and mother of four. She has an amazing story to share about living through the horrors of domestic abuse and finding the courage and strength to save herself and her children. Please read her story and share in support of helping to end domestic abuse. Support links and contact info for Laura are provided below.
Life! It’s just that; life. It’s fulfilling, extreme, full of love and surprises, it takes a turn of the worst when you least expect it; it’s hard. It’s hard to juggle the ups and downs of life and remain the least bit sane.
My life is great! I have two jobs, I run my own business, I have 4 wonderful kids, and an amazing husband that loves me for me and all my emotional baggage. I also have the people that matter closest to me. I don’t give myself too much credit for “who” I am, but to be honest… life hasn’t always been easy.
I met my first husband when I was 16-years-old. We fought everyday from the beginning of our relationship... But I loved him. He moved in at the age of 17. For 10 years I heard: You will always be alone, you’ll end up just like you mother, you will be miserable for your whole life, your degree was a waste of time and money, you’re a bad mom… etc… etc. He would lock me in rooms when we fought to continue screaming and yelling at me. There was one instance in locked me in a room and stood in front of the door so I couldn’t get out. I didn’t have a phone on me and I was really scared. I made him mad because I would ignore him as he yelled at me and kept telling him to let me out. He slammed his fist into the door and punched three holes through it. He would follow me around and push everything on; he couldn’t ever let one thing go. He picked me up in the car once when I walked away and stopped at a park to talk. He was so angry with me he slammed his fist into the windshield and shattered it from side to side. Another time we were out drinking with some friends (I never drank to get drunk because I had to care for him) and the girls gave me a few shots of tequila and it was the first time I ever blacked out. It was the first time I had ever been that way and I swore it would be the last time. I hung out the window on the way home. We had a friend with us and I’m not quite sure what happened with the friend, but we were home and I was lying on the bed with one foot on the floor. I blacked out at some point and woke up to him trying to undress me to have sex with me (He was drunk too), I told him no. I blacked out again. When I came to, my lower half was undressed and again I told him “I said no”. The next time I woke up I was sitting at the toilet, naked from the waist down with him naked from the waist down sitting behind me. I told him that I felt like he was going to rape me. He got really pissed off and got up, stomped out and called the cops on me telling them that I was calling him a rapist. Of course he was the perfect little angel when they were around. I looked like the slob, head lying on the toilet, blacking out from time to time, and undressed from the waist down. It was the most humiliating time in my life, why would he do that to me?! I’ve been locked out of the house at 2 am in the middle of winter with no shoes, a tank top, and shorts. No one ever believed he was this way, because in front of everyone he was a fun, outgoing, perfect guy. When my daughter was just a baby back in 2006, he walked in from a night of drinking and started in on me. I locked myself in the bathroom. He slammed on the door and wouldn’t leave the door until I came out. When I finally came out he grabbed and dragged me to the ground. My daughter woke up and started crying and he wouldn’t let me get to her. He finally let go when I told him that I was going to call the cops on him, but immediately went and picked up our baby. It took me calling the cops for him to hand her back over. When my daughter was 2 ½, she stood on the bed next to him and shook her finger at me yelling “baby babble” while my ex husband yelled at me. It broke my heart. My ex would want me home with the kids but when he fought with me I was a bad person because I didn’t work. I didn’t help support the family. I would be excited for him to get off work... Why? I ask myself the same thing. It might have been from being lonely all day. As soon as he walked through the door I was walking on egg shells. Just don’t say anything to upset him or set him off.
In my honest opinion emotional abuse is far worse than physical abuse. Neither is okay, and anyone suffering should seek help immediately. Physical abuse leaves marks that heal while emotional abuse you can’t see and it doesn’t ever go away. I don’t know how many times I told my ex that I wished he would just hit me because then the pain would subside. Every time I brought up a concern with how he treated me, it was turned around on me and I then didn’t care about him, his feelings didn’t matter, and he became the victim in all of this. Every time I cried I was stupid for crying. I eventually quit showing emotion and acted as if I didn’t care that he was so cruel to me, I stopped crying even though I was torn up and dying on the inside. I was immature with everything else that I said. I was constantly told that I needed to grow up. I would ask him to quit drinking because he drank every weekend and that’s when the abuse was the worse. If we were with people he was the sweetest guy while he drank but as soon as we got home, the yelling and abuse would kick in.
Everyone thought we were the perfect couple when we went out with our friends or when we were around anyone. Some even envied and were jealous of our relationship. I started to talk about what was really going on and no one believed me, so again I faked a smile and our life was perfect. The thing I feared most was going home. I would beg and beg people to let him spend the night so that I didn’t have to take him home. There was one time when our friend (We will call him CJ) was supposed to come stay the night with us because of the way my ex was acting. My ex was in the backseat of the car, I was driving and *CJ was in the front seat. I was taking *CJ back to the house to talk to his wife (They were both my best friends). My ex yelled and called me nasty names and degraded me in front of *CJ while my friend tried to tell him to stop. It was the first time my ex had ever let it show in front of anyone. *CJ went into the house and I ignored my ex the best I could while he continued on. When *CJ came out he said that he wasn’t able to come because his wife (my best friend) wasn’t able to because the kids were not feeling well. *CJ looked at me and I could tell he saw all the pain in my eyes while I cried. I felt like everything was falling apart and I wasn’t going to be safe from his abuse any longer. I smiled and told s that it was okay to go, that I would be okay; while having all the hope in the world that *CJ would just come with us so he could keep my ex away from me. Behind closed doors things were so much different and worse than anyone believed. The yelling, degrading, and screaming were worse. I was no longer attracted to my ex. We didn’t touch, we didn’t hold hands, we didn’t talk, we didn’t kiss, and we didn’t make love. I was disgusted by him. If we got in a fight everything became his, I couldn’t even have a cigarette because he would take them from me. I would try to take the car so my kids and I could leave, but that was his because he bought it. With the car I bought with my school money, it was his because his name was on the title with mine. Money was never in my hands, he made it or even when I brought it home, I was to give it to him for bills. I never got more than 10 dollars at a time to put into the gas tank. Any car we bought ended up his even if we were supposed to be shopping for me. It was a never ending cycle. An emotional abuser knows what buttons to push. My ex always threatened me that he was going to take away the kids if I left him. He told me on numerous occasions that our friends didn’t like me and only put up with me because of him. He would also resort to telling me my family talked bad about me behind my back. Who do you run to when you’re being told nobody likes you and that your family obviously isn’t on your side either? You don’t go anywhere; instead you sit in hatred for yourself and your marriage and you’re so called life, hoping and wishing to one day get away. You are stuck.
It seems as if the abuser has many insecurities of their own that they have to make you feel like a lesser person, make you feel weak and self conscious about yourself. This makes you feel like you can’t ever leave. You can be cheated on or bullied and never leave because they have done their damage on you. You feel worthless; you feel unhappy, alone, fat, ugly, hated... etc. You make excuses for them because you love them.
…because you think they will change.
…..because you believe that maybe... Just maybe, they will be the person you first fell in love with, the person you were supposed to spend your life with. But the truth of the matter is; the longer you wait the harder it is going to be to walk away. The worse you feel about yourself, the more hatred and resentment you will hold in your heart for this person. Abusers usually cover up their actions with an apology and regret.
• “I love you so much” • “I’m so sorry” • “I’ll never do it again” • “I didn’t mean the things I said” • “I can’t live without you” • “I was just mad”
Then you feel bad because they’ve broken you down so far that you don’t want to hurt them, because their feelings are all that matters and you truly believe this. So you stay only to endure the same abuse over and over. Things may go good for a week or maybe a couple months; making you think that it will all be okay or maybe they see the damage and hurt that they are causing. Maybe they are changing. But they don’t ever change. As much as you want to believe they will, an abuser won’t change. You get to the point they have instilled all these negative thoughts in your head, that when they aren’t attacking you; you are attacking yourself.
• “I’m worthless” • “I’m fat” • “I’ll never go anywhere with my life” • “Everyone hates me” • “No one will ever want me” • “My body is disgusting” • “I have no one” • “I’m a bad mom” • Ect…Ect…
I’ve thought these things more than you can imagine. These thoughts ran through my head at every waking moment. You believe these things because you hear them so many times from your abuser and from yourself. It’s embedded into your brain.
Things weren’t always bad. He was there for all the baby appointments. He bought me flowers often. He was there when I almost died in 2011. He was there when I broke down from the problems with family or others. It just got to the point that the bad outweighed the good and I finally saw him for who he really was. It took many years for me to finally realize that I didn’t deserve it. At that point I was so broken down I stayed for many more years. I told him I didn’t love him anymore. I told him that we seemed like we were just roommates. I woke up one morning from a dream and that was it for me. In this dream he was destroying everything important to me right in front of my face and fighting with me like he normally did but I continued to yell at him that I was done and that I didn’t love him anymore. I was tired of playing his game. I told him it was over. He stayed at the house and wanted to try marriage counseling. I told him I didn’t think it would work but agreed. Three days later we went out for my birthday and he went home with another girl, the same girl I watched him smack on the butt the night before. He came home the next morning; I lifted my head and told him that he was no longer allowed in my house. He tried his abuse on me, but I just laid my head back down and felt a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders.
It took everything I had to walk away. Here was a man I spent 10 years with, a man I believed to be my best friend. It took everything I had to take care of myself first and him last! The first thing I did was stepped away from him; it’s hard when you have a house, a car, and kids together. I let the car go back to him and got one in my own name, which was really my only tie to him because it was in his name. That gave me the biggest security and highest high I have ever felt in my life. When he called I didn’t answer or I passed the phone to the kids. I did not speak to him! He threatened one more time to take the kids away from me. He did not get two words in after that threat because I lost it. I took back all my control.
This image was one that really stuck with me after I left my ex. All I had to do was say stop! I was the one in control of stopping the abuse. I was the one that had to make him stop treating me that way. I wish I would have realized it sooner. Just say stop! Say STOP to the disrespect! Say STOP to the abuse. Say STOP to hating yourself. Say STOP to all the negative.
My advice to others:
You will be okay! It will take time, but you will make it through. Be independent and make your life what it is worth. You only have one life to live and you shouldn’t live it in depression or fear. Don’t think that you can’t walk away. Change your attitude; instead of thinking I will never go anywhere or I can’t do it, say “I will find a way through this”. “Let go; let go of the hold they have on you, let go of the guilt you feel when you’re thinking about leaving (I’m sure they don’t feel guilty treating you so badly), let go of it all and just start over. I promise things will be hard at first but they will most definitely get better. Last; but not least, NEVER GIVE UP!!! Your life is so precious and worth all the happiness in the world. If I could do it after 10 years… you can do it too! • You are beautiful • You are amazing • You are intriguing • You are worth so much • Any man/woman would be happy to be by your side, respect you, and shower you in unconditional love • Your life matters
I still suffer from the anxiety and depression. I also suffer from the lack of self confidence. In my current marriage, I need reassurance on a normal basis and if one thing goes wrong I feel stupid and like a complete failure and I want to run away because that’s all I know to do. In any “fight” we have, we don’t yell at each other; thank goodness because I’ve had enough of that and I’m able to cry and talk about anything that I’m feeling. I feel bad for my husband to have to deal with my insecurities but he is the most amazing and gentle man I know. I’m not sure these negative feelings will ever go away but they are getting better.
The best thing to come from this is the fact that I believe in myself now, I push myself and know what I’m capable of. Most importantly, I know my worth and what I deserve. Nobody will ever take that away from me. I am in control of my life.
A trusted non-profit resource. Covers mental and emotional health, healthy lifestyles, children and family. http://www.helpguide.org/topics/abuse.htm
National Domestic hotline. www.thehotline.org 1-800-799-SAFE(7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224. This website allows for a quick escape just in case anyone comes up behind you. You can keep it a secret that you are looking for help.
Do you see it with a loved one?! It can be hard to tell a loved one that you suspect abuse. http://abuseintervention.org/help/friend-family/
Your always welcome to contact me also. I’m not expert but I can listen and I more than likely understand. It’s always nice to have someone to talk to about it, I never had that so if I can be that for you… Please let me! :0)