I was 15 when I met my ex-husband. We had a child when I was 17 (pregnant at 16) We were SOOOOO in love (insert eye roll and wishing I could go back in time and slap myself.) When my son was about 4 months old I had postpartum, and Ex was zero help. I was also still in High School. Trying to do my best to graduate. (I was NOT the “type” of girl that got pregnant in high school.) I was exhausted. My son never slept at this point.
He was crying; I was standing, rocking him in my arms, trying to calm him. Ex came STORMING into the room, screaming at me. I lowered our son from my chest to my stomach, and as soon as I did that, he slapped me across the face.
I immediately called my mother. By the time my mom got dressed and came to my house, Ex had convinced me he was so sorry; it was such a mistake, he’s just very tired, it’ll never happen again… And I stayed.
I finished high school without incident. During the summer (my son turned 1) we fought, so much. He’d get in my face and scream at me. He’d push me, lunge at me, hit the wall beside my head, etc. But he never actually hit me. During one of these fights, he shoved me down, and I hit my face on the door. Soon after, the purple started showing on my eye. He denied he did it. Denied he even pushed me. MADE ME QUESTION if it had really happened.
He came home from work the next day, and I was putting on makeup on the other eye, to make the black eye look like eye shadow. He started yelling at me, saying I accused him of giving me a black eye and all it was was makeup. I was the crazy one, and I made this all up…
Fast forward a few years, many fights later. Many bumps, bruises, and me questioning how clumsy I actually was. By the time we had another child. She was 1, and my son was 4.
I was 21, and I felt so worthless. He was the only man that would ever love such a broken woman. I had a nice body, but I had stretch marks. No one would ever want to see me naked, but him. I had zero self-esteem.
We moved to Oregon for his job. This was literally a month after I found out he had been cheating on me, for almost our entire relationship. I blindly loved him and believed he loved me. He was the ONLY person who could love me.
One drunken night, we got into a really bad fight. One thing led to another, and he was physically on top of me, strangling me. I thought I was going to die, so I started punching the back of his head (up until this point, I had NEVER hit him.) He then sat up, reared back, and decked me across the face. He chipped my tooth, and I was devastated.
I quickly got up and left the house. I called the police, and they met me to get a statement and took him to jail. Instead of anger management. We had to go to court ordered marriage counseling.
During these sessions, I learned a lot about myself, relationships, and what is okay and not okay behavior, on both parts. I WANTED us to work. I wanted our family to be whole. And I was going to try.
A few weeks later, his mother came to visit us. During her whole stay, it was like I didn’t exist, to both of them. So, on her last night there, I thought I’d open the communication with him, and tell him how I felt. He waved his hand in dismissal of me and my feelings, and I had it!
So, the next day, I packed my stuff, my kids’ stuff, withdrew half of the money from our account, and I left. I drove across the country to Texas.
I’d be lying if I said I never thought about going back. Taking the first initial step to leave was so hard, and it was SO freeing. I’m sure I cried for half the drive back home. But I stayed strong. I stayed strong for me; I stayed strong for my kids. I was completely destroyed. A shell of a fun, life loving person. A broken, beaten, destroyed shell.
That was 6 years ago. Yes, I still have to see him because of our children. No, I do not feel he is a threat to them, yet. I picked up my pieces, found confidence, and moved on with my life.
I am now in a very happy marriage with someone who loves me like there’s no tomorrow. He doesn’t call me names, he doesn’t intimidate me, he doesn’t threaten me, and he doesn’t hit me.
NO ONE deserves to be in an abusive relationship. “It’s not abuse because he doesn’t hit me” is NOT okay. There are many forms of abuse. There is physical; there is emotional, there is verbal, the list goes on. You are worth more than that. You have done nothing to have that done to you. You don’t deserve to be called names. Your feelings are valid, and you CAN get out. It’s not easy; it’s not fun, it’s hard… But it’s worth it. It’s worth it for you, it’s worth it for your children, our future children, and it’s worth it to your future self.
Please don’t think this is normal, and it’s okay. it’s neither of those things. You are strong, beautiful person. You can do anything you set your mind to.
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