NV at thisdmnhouse.blogspot.com wrote a post about domestic violence yesterday that really hit home to me and I had to comment.
You see I lived that life - twice. Two entirely different men in all ways but one - they both were mean. One hit, one didn't. One used manipulation, one didn't. Both used words that cut to the bone though and I'm sure you've heard about the women who say that at least if you can "see" the bruises you might believe what is going on behind closed doors - but the words are the worst. They take your soul, your esteem, your truth away from you. It took me years before I was able to look in the mirror and say I like who I am. I'm okay. I'm worth fighting for.
My first husband I hardly knew - we married young and after 6 weeks. He had hit me before we got married - but because I grew up trying to please a father who never could be pleased - I was sure if I loved this man enough, he'd stop and be everything I knew he could be. But he didn't. He couldn't. He grew up in a very abusive home himself and couldn't not get it that even though he wasn't beating me to within an each of my life - he was beating my very being out of me with the slaps, the pinching, the tearing of clothes, the going through my mail, the demanding to know where I was at all times, to hating my friends, to not allowing me to read, to not having a phone, to going as so far as to ask me who the father was of our child when I found out I was pregnant. I KNEW what was going on in my house was wrong - but I didn't know I was in an abusive relationship until someone had the guts to contact our family pediatrician and tell him their suspicions. I knew how to lie really well by then you see. So when my beautiful boy was 3 months old we went to his normal appointment and the doctor straight asked me if I was being abused. I denied it. Then I bawled. Then I said he never goes near the baby. See? All that in a short period of time. I was so shocked to hear the word abused I just babbled and lied and cried and denied all at the same time. But I rode the train home that day thinking the whole time that there was someone out there who cared more about me then I cared about myself. I left two weeks later. That didn't break the cycle because I still loved him - but it did get me away from him and on my own back near my family. And yes, it took years and a lot of therapy to get myself together again. I didn't know where I had gone. I didn't trust. I couldn't forgive. I couldn't love anyone but my son.
10 years later when my second husband hurt our cat on it's first weekend in our home everything kind of came in to place at that one moment. I didn't wait - not one single moment. I packed a bag, explained to Patrick that mom was afraid and we were going to stay somewhere for a while and left him standing there like what the hell just happened. All the things that had been going on became clear when he hurt that animal. How was I to know I wouldn't be next? I did try with him though - I did. I was a different person, I went to counseling while in the relationship, I was strong, I spoke my mind - but in the end he called me a bitch in front of my child as we were sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner in 1996 and that was the end of him. We lived as roommates until I could find an apartment to move to and we left. I never regretted it - this time I left with my dignity intact but full of anger that I let this happen again.
I'm not a dumb woman. People think I'm fairly intelligent - but still a lot of people don't know my background. Only those close enough to me that I feel I can share with them my story. I've not dated in many years. Can't make myself even try because I'm a bad picker of mates. But I am a wonderful friend, a great mother, a daughter who tries to do the right thing, a sibling who loves her brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews and I am free to do as I please. I've been able to purchase my own home by myself, raise a beautiful son on my own, I have an excellent credit rating and I pride myself that I am self-sufficient. It can be done. You just have to believe that you are worth it.
I believe you are worth it.