Mental Health Blogs

Leaving an Abusive Relationship

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

blood

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.

This entry was posted in About Kellie, Abuse in Marriage, Stopping Verbal Abuse, Verbal Abuse Signs and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Leaving an Abusive Relationship

  1. Deborah says:

    I only wish my daughter would read this and take it to heart. I feel as though her husband is a walking time bomb. He now is verbal (extreme) but I fear what will be next now that he is into collecting guns.

  2. Kellie Holly says:

    I wish she’d take it to heart, too. Verbal abuse (and the emotional and mental abuse that accompanies it) “works” for the abuser for a certain length of time. However, there could come a time when the abuser feels unable to control his victim, so s/he steps it up a notch. Physical violence does not exist alone – it occurs after the verbal abuse stops working, after it stops filling the abuser’s need to feel in control.

    Your daughter’s husband may NEVER physically abuse her at all (though I think you sense it coming). However, he could use the guns to mentally and emotionally abuse her. It’s intimidating to have someone you’re scared to death of threaten you with a weapon, even if it is “only” to say, “Do you know what this gun can do…?” while giving her that look he has that let’s her know that the question really finishes with “…to you?”

  3. Dona Luna says:

    Ex broken in doors , to get to me when I walked a way, in an effort to leave his fury. I found his lack of compassion, silence and “lovemaking” that ended with “now I will sleep better” just as abusive. He never said , but he did not find me equal, and waited until I had been ill for 5 years, mis diagnosed with Bipolar manic depression, and very ill due to those many toxic medications, to walk out, and of course after finding the next woman who would take him. 11 years later, and with 3 sons who bought the drill and blame me for all, thought they admit to the disrespect shown by their Dad to me, and their cruelty on steroids, I am sans any prescription medications, for 5 years, fully recovered, and on my own, my journey ongoing; still working on loosing the negative feelings that connect me to ex and the reverb with our 3 sons, and the inability of forgiveness and tolerance and freedom to just be, that were missing in large then still exist.
    Letting Go Cutting the toxic cords

  4. Bron says:

    I am just now starting to piece the “issues ” together that I have always thought made me a bad person. Someone that others did not want to be around, did not listen to, saw me as ugly, fat, not good at anything. Especially girls who I so desperately wanted to be friends with, to share life experiences with and to laugh or cry with. I have never had those kind of friends because I just cant relate to them. I tend to force the friendship and they back off pretty quick.
    With men though its a different story. I was sexually abused by my grandad who wanted to educate me as to how a man should be kept happy – from the age of 5. I was sexually violated by one of our farm workers when he was left to babysit us because my dad always took the side of the underpriveleged, and gave these “less fortunate” people a job, home etc. We children quickly learnt to do as we were told, have no say and be a good christian family!! I have watched my mother die inside as she struggles to meet my fathers demands, pacify his moods which can last for weeks if he doesnt get his way. She has a wicked sense of humuor that we rarely see as she has pushed herself down to please my father.
    20 years ago I married my husband. I had had a couple of serious relations prior to this but nothing permanent and looking back getting maried at 23 years of age did not have the life experience to know if I was marrying my life partner. I was told by a friend 15 years my senior to not marry until I was 30 years of age – should have listened, should have experienced life more so I could make a more informed decision. Too late now.
    I remember crying myself to sleep on the eve of our wedding – dont know why I did that only that something didnt feel right – my gut was trying to tell me something. The arguements had already started but I was not strong enough to tell myself that I could call it off – and Id be ok.
    He is a talker – as we dated I watched him maintaining centre stage in the pub, at parties, in the family circle – making sure he was heard all the time. Most of the conversations revolved around his glory days. And still do! I watched him reduce his mother to tears a couple of times and that should have set off alarm bells but I blindly tucked my head back in the sand and did not say anything.
    His points to bring me to task on have included:
    - I did not sit next to him the night of our wedding rehearsal dinner. ( we had friends and bridle party together for the first time in a long time and we all wanted to socialise and talk) he chose to bring this up about ten years after we were married along with the following point.
    - Our honeymoon was not good enough in the bedroom. He was very hurt that I did not want to spend the entire week behind closed doors with him. The fact that we had gone to an exotic island and there were other things to do was also my plan so we did not have to be together.
    - I made the mistake before me were married of ‘sharing with him the names of the men I had had a relationship with and in what part of the country. This is constant ammunititon that he now uses every time we are in a new place. Were you here with him, what did you do, how often etc.

    As the years have gone by the majority of my memories of each of our homes are with me cowering beneath him in some part of each room, cupboard, toilet wherever, as he tells me how useless a person, bad mother, terrible wife, poor lover, how I flirt and lead other men on, that all I think, do say is to personally hurt him.
    If I dress up, I am doing it to show off, if I dress down – I have no pride in myself.
    Everyone is a bad bastard unless they prove otherwise to him. This is particularly so for my friends whom he has picked off one by one. They are all out to take my side and persecute him.
    We tried marriage counselling but the lady counsellor and I were apparently just manbashing him to the point that he refuses to go. She gave him the name of a male colleague that he could talk to or that we could include in our sessions so that it was a even playing field but he never called him. For me to push that case would be implying that he is the one who is at fault.
    4 years ago through my work I met a man who gave me an ear – and we connected on so many levels. We never discussed my marriage or his relationship but the conversations had a level of respect for each other and maturity that I have never felt before. I know I should have run a mile but I honestly felt that he cared and wasnt just after the usual. He and I bounced so much off each other and was the closest thing that I have felt to actually having a soul mate. We kissed and then realised we were going down the wrong path – pulled back and then agreed mutually to not be in contact again. I feel as if half of me is gone. My husband found out recently and constantly degrades the relationship to the point where in his eyes it was just a sex fest – insisting, usually in a physically violent way that it was me betraying him and that I tell him evrything that went on – in detail and then act it out on him.
    Consentual Rape – this is now how I would describe our sex life – every night right after he has verbally abused me for at least 30mins as soon as I get into bed.
    We have three children and will be empty nesters for the first time this year as our youngest now boards during the week at school. I am terrified that the physical violence will now escalate as he used to keep a lid on it in front of the kids. They were exposed to the verbal abuse though as this got them on his “side” .
    I apparently need to get my shit together – what ever that means?
    I am on anti depressants and he asks me every day if I have had my mental pills and when I will be ‘fixed’.
    It hasnt been until very recently that I am now starting to see all the flaws in the way I think.
    I have reached out to a few people in desperation trying to get them to help me. My sister, mother, sisters-n-law, – they have all been surprised as I apparently showed no signs and always seemed to have it together. My husband found out and has got alongside them – to ensure them that there is indeed something wrong with me and can they help him to fix me. He has started insisting in our arguements that the children are his and if I ever leave I will have no relationship with them. He has included them in the ‘sordid’ details of my affair as he sees it and I have no rights to defend my actions in his eyes.
    I want to know is this me? Am I so bad that I am turning into a nutcase and need more pills, psychiatric care. Suicide is a constant daily thought and that then just gets me thinking how selfish I am to do this to my kids and extended family. I am avoiding social outings as I dont feel anyone wants to hear from me and I can do no right when out anyway. If I sit next to him its because I dont want to look at him yet if I sit opposite him its because I dont want to sit next to him. If I attempt to move away from him to talk to someone then I am ditching him (and probably flirting) and if I stay glued next to him I am not being sociable.
    Trust respect and friendship and a gentle love – all the things I long for –
    I have 0 !! Thank you for the oportunity to write this down.
    I hope this may help someone else out there as all your wrtten entries have helped me to know that others are in a similar position to me. If only the world were perfect!!

  5. Pingback: Indie Music Artist Advocates for Battered Women | Radio Show Blog

  6. Trci64 says:

    Bron I cant say anything that would help except I read your story and it is mine. In a perfect world we would feel good about ourself. Instead we are our own worst enemy. They hurt us because we let them. They destroy our self esteem because we believe them.
    I understand consentual rape, sex is only to reassure him I belong to him, not an expression of love. Its easy to say leave but that is hard to do. My hope for you is that once your kids go your brain gives you permission to leave him.
    If you do try to leave make sure you have these new people and family in place, you need support to counter his training. I know what its like to feel so trapped that suicide feels like the best option. Reaching out to others is painful when you think you are being a burden. In reality if people dont want to help they wont offer. Ignore your feelings and accept their help. Force yourself to talk to others you need the practice even if you dont want to.
    Dont ever believe he can affect your relationship with your kids. If you want reassurance or to challenge that fear, ask your kids one to one about their feelings towards you, their dad and the marriage. As adults they will already have set ideas about you both.
    My mother left her marriage when her 15year old sons made her choose between them and him. Until then she believed she was staying because her kids need a father. No kids need a depressed mother and an abusive father it messes with our lessons and makes us prone to getting similar relationships.
    Good luck Bron I hope you find a happier place.

  7. Kellie Holly says:

    I hope you both find happier places… Have you ever heard of EMDR therapy? It is working miracles in the realm of PTSD. I searched “EMDR” here on healthy place and the link the search took me to is http://www.healthyplace.com/searchadvanced/?layout=default&searchword=EMDR The first entry is “Self Help for Trauma Relief” and it’s located at http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/tvshowblog/emdr-therapy-self-help-techniques-for-trauma-relief/

  8. Melanie says:

    Bron,I am praying for you and for others like us we are beautiful in the eyes of christ.You are an amazing woman as well to your children and Kh said a remarkable thing there is a happier place for all of women we just gotta GO! Stay focused and press for greatness.

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