~ MY STORY ~
Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted.
Psalms 25 - 16
- I was raised in a loving, nurturing Christian home. So when I met my husband-to-be, and learned he came from an abusive home, I just knew that all he needed was lots of tender loving care to "fix" all his problems. Since my life had been filled with love, how could I think otherwise?? I was so young,
and so very naive.
- I was to learn quickly just how wrong I was. The abuse began almost immediatley after we were married. The first time he struck me, I was too shocked to even react. He seemed as shocked as I was. Horrified that he was capable of such a deed, and so very sorry. He begged forgiveness, and loving him as I did, I immediately forgave him. He promised me he would never do it again, and he didn't for a long time.
- The second time he struck me, he was a little more violent, and he struck me more than once. Again he sobbed, and begged forgiveness, and again, I forgave him.
- The third beating followed too soon on the heels of the second. My physical wounds healed, my emotional wounds did not. My trust in him was replaced with fear. With every beating, a part of me died inside. His fits of anger became more and more frequent, more violent. He had stopped asking me to forgive him, and replaced his pleas for forgiveness with deadly threats. My days were filled with terror knowing what would come...and my nights were filled with the pain and the horrors from all he did. This man who'd promised to love, honor and protect me had turned into my tormentor. How I feared him, and hated him!!
I'm sure by now you're thinking...."then why on earth did you stay with him?"
A simple question, but NO simple answer. He was so loving in the beginning, and I had loved him totally. I had also been raised to honor my commitments....my wedding vows.
Love is such a strong emotion, but I learned the hard way that fear is so much stronger. I lived in terror every minute I stayed with him, but feared more what he would do to me if I tried leaving him. I was now caught in a deadly trap and didn't know how to get out.
When I was 6 months pregnant with our first child, he joined the Service. For the last three months of my pregnancy, I was able to live with my parents while he attended Boot Camp. Enveloped within the safety and loving care of my parents once again, baby and I flourished, and I was able to partially heal from the hurt, fear and trauma.
When our daughter was 6 weeks old, I rejoined him, and the nightmare began afresh and with an even more sadistic vengence. We were transferred to another military base many worlds away from my family, their protection and support. And I was plunged deeper into despair.
I was not allowed to socialize with anyone, go anywhere, nor have any money of my own. He wouldn't even allow me to buy my own underwear. He hated his life and his outlet for relieving unhappiness was to starve me, threaten me, beat me, and sexually assualt me. He became a terrifying monster, and for me there was no escape.
When I became pregnant with our second child, I weighed 96 pounds. The night she was born, I weighed only 92 pounds. I was told that it was critical I get complete bed rest and a proper diet. He agreed to take me to my folks and let me stay with them for awhile. I thought I had truly died and gone to heaven. A miracle from God. I stayed with them for six wonderful glorious months.
Under the safety of their roof, and their loving care, I regained my health and strength. But, that fateful day finally came when I had to return to him, and back to the hell from which I had come. And....No, I did not tell my folks how he abused me. I was too afraid...and, more than that...I was too ashamed.
My husband enjoyed his reign of terror for three more years. He verbally, sexually and physically assaulted me almost daily. He committed unspeakable acts upon me. Just when I thought I could bear no more, God pulled me out of my hell in the form of another assignment, and we were shipped to a base very near my family. It was truly another miracle from God!!
Although he continued his brutality, just knowing my folks were nearby helped me survive. We frequently visited them on weekends, and I was even permitted to stay for a few days extended visit every now and then. The girls were getting bigger, and he was afraid there may be problems if they weren't allowed to visit with Grandma and Grandpa. He was very cunning....a real "charmer" and no one suspected his cruelty.
One day, he ordered me to find a job and go to work. Having thus far never allowing me to even socialize with anyone, this was startling!! I almost didn't believe him. He was actually going to allow me to be away from the home?? I soon landed a job, and for awhile he was more careful as to how often, or where he struck me. He didn't want me to loose time from work, nor want his tell-tale beatings to show to the public eye. I was never allowed to keep my paychecks, but he could not stop me from making friends.
As I became more involved with work, met friends for the first time in years, and began to feel some semblence of self-worth, I began to feel the stirrings of hope once again. Dare I dream that I did not have to stay with this tormentor forever?
He knew by now that I hated him. Any love I ever felt for this monster had been replaced with such loathing, that it was all I could do to look at him; to breath the same air.
He began to realize that he was loosing his power over me. He ordered me to quit my job, and I refused. The beatings started up again and became more severe and more frequent, but I had made up my mind that even if he killed me, I was not going to quit my job. It had become my only way out. It was my only form of financial and emotional independence. It brought sanity into my insane world.
The last time he ever tormented me is still very vivid in my mind. I've heard many abuse victims say the same thing. You somehow can always remember that last beating. I can't remember it all....can not dwell on each assault....each rape, each bruise, or cut, that cold loaded gun held against my head, the feel of my neck in a deadly grip, those unspeakable acts. But, yes, I can remember that last time. Maybe its because I am alive and I need to remember.....
I gathered up my children, and with only the cloths on our back, we fled. After seven long horror-filled years, I had finally found the courage at long last to escape from my abuser.
If you're reading my story, and you're an Abuser, let me tell you what happens when you abuse that person you "claim" to love. You may bloody their body; you may bruise them; even break their bones......but that is NOTHING compared to what you do to their soul.
With each blow, it rips away a piece of our self-worth, our dignity, our ability to love, our ability to trust. It leaves us with big gaping wounds in our heart that might never heal. We are forced to become angry because anger is our only defense against hurting. With each terrifying threat, horror fills us. Every nerve in our body; every single fiber, cell, molecule of our being is traumatized.
Abuse causes HATE, and that is almost as damaging to us as the abuse itself. It will rob you of the very essence of life. It can eat you up and spit you out....and if you let it, hate will imprison you in as deadly a trap as that of your abuser.
God is our refuge and stength, a very present help in trouble.
I was so fortunate to have found friends....to finally be able to speak out and tell someone about my abuse, and to discover that "I DIDN'T have To Live That Way". They gave me courage, hope, support, friendship, and restored a sense of balance to my life. And, most important of all......they reminded me of God's enduring and unconditional LOVE for us!!
The night I fled, I knelt down and asked the Lord to come into my life. I asked Him to take charge of my life. I placed myself in His hands, and I begged him to help me.
My ordeal of terror and trauma did not end when I left my husband. Months of stalking us, threatening calls, attempts on my life...all of that followed. But, I had GOD on my side, and HE armed me with a strength, and a peace in my heart that I can not adequately describe; filled me, empowered me, and soothed me all at the same time. He slowly healed all those damaged particles, and began putting those shattered, scattered fragments back together where they belonged until the *me* I had once been was becoming whole.
God has worked so many miracles for me over the years since then. HE never once let me down. He has never failed me. He gave me the most wonderful, loving man (YES, they do exist!!) and we've been happily married for almost 17 years now. My children are grown, and have given me many adorable grandchildren, for which I am so proud and thankful.
We all love the Lord with all our hearts, and never a day goes by that we don't give Him the praise and glory for all that we have. We are truly blessed!
I encourage you to seek help. Get away from your abuser, and to turn to the many many sources of help that are available to Battered Women today. And most of all.....I'd like to encourage you to ask the Lord to come into your life and help you.
He doesn't care who you are, or where you are, or what you've done. He Loves you!! He will help you. Just whisper His name, and He'll be right there beside you.
I still feel the effects of abuse. It is something that can never be over. It is part of your life, part of your being that can not be erased. But, it can become a faded memory with God's help and abiding Love. I have moments when anger and hate well up inside me.... Then I stop, and think back to where I was, and my journey to where I am, and my anger turns to thankfulness and my hate turns to pity, and I pray for that lost soul who long ago did damage to me.