January 22, 2010, I left my husband. When I returned the next day after a judge granted me an ex-parte order, the law arrested him and removed him from the house. They handcuffed him in front of our teenage boys. I was left with two grief-stricken and angry boys who didn’t understand what happened.
None of us understood what was happening. None of us could have foretold the future we’re living today.
Signs of Something Bad
But I do know what happened this night, one year ago today. I typed it into this very computer as it happened. In part I wrote, “My heart is beating quickly because I recognize the signs, but there is no way to get out from under them. We are here. Together.”
I recognized the verbal abuse early in the night. He said that I only thought of myself, that I didn’t appreciate how hard he worked, that I am twisted and sick and don’t care that I’m twisting his boys’ minds. I was not participating in the conversation. I quietly wrote as he snapped his belt at the cats and growled to himself. Although I tried to appear unaffected, I was thoroughly intimidated and scared. He said he didn’t believe me when I was calm and needed my anger to know I cared. My strategy to avoid my abuser wasn’t working.
I wrote, “My heart is failing, and I have to be the one to save it. I am unsure that I can do even that.”
I grabbed my purse and drove away. It was a temporary solution. I returned home that night and he took the opportunity to violently shake and shove me. He hit my throat with his forearm when I called out for help. I left the second time with the police who said they couldn’t remove him from the home because there were no visible marks on my body. Yet. They should have added, “Yet.”
Life After Verbal Abuse
Now, all this time later, I sit here in the same chair typing into the same computer, but in a quiet, peaceful house that is mine. My cats came along with me and they’re calmly sitting in my view.
I am not worried about when he’ll come home and what mood he’ll exhibit. I am not fearful of verbal outbursts because there are dirty dishes on the counter, unfolded clothes in the dryer, or because I have a differing opinion.
These days, I find myself feeling and thinking for me instead of trying to feel and think for the two of us. No longer am I under a microscope or falling off a pedestal. I can breathe my own air and live my own way without his countless criticisms and judgments. My life is fulfilling and a true adventure. If that night hadn’t happened, I may not have found this serenity; but I wish with all my heart that night had never happened.