How much of my life with domestic violence do my readers need to know?
As I mentioned last week, dragging these events out of my past hurts. To write them, I must revisit a time when life suffocated me, when hope disappeared, when I gave up on my dreams. Unlike many of the women I’ve met with similar circumstances , I’ve healed. I don’t dwell in these dark memories.
I moved on and returned to the person I was before him.
No. That’s wrong. I never regained that person. I became someone different. Someone new. Someone independent and determined to get back the life once promised her by her parents. Someone determined to prove to him I wasn’t the weakling he tried to make me.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Cor. 5:17
It didn’t happen fast, but through my faith and the love of my family, I found healing. I don’t live or crouch in the shadow. I became a new creation.
People tell me my story helps others, so rather than recount every occurrence of abuse, I’ll share a few episodes to give you an idea of what I lived through and found the faith and strength to walk away from.
If any of these strike a note of familiarity within you, I pray you re-read the Bible verse and the paragraph above it in this post. If I can step out of that life and walk with God to create a new one, you can, too.
My domestic violence highlight reel:
- He refused to take a call from his employer. When I hung up the phone, I hurried back to the kitchen because I didn’t want to burn dinner. He asked what his boss said. I didn’t answer fast enough. He backed me into a corner, screaming at me, and … that’s where my memory dies. Everything else from that day is scrambled. I eventually figured out that when he hit me, my head slammed into some overhanging cabinets. The doctor called it temporary amnesia.
- He got angry at our daughter when she was about nine months old and picked her up and popped her bottom. His mother and I told him to stop, that a baby doesn’t understand. Every time we said stop, he popped the baby’s bottom again claiming the diaper padded her, so she didn’t feel pain. Neither of us could get near him to take the baby away. His mother kept fussing at him. Each time she fussed, he popped the baby. While she begged him to stop, I begged her to stop.
- My mother invited us to Thanksgiving dinner. We accepted, but on the morning of Thanksgiving he said we weren’t going. I pointed out we wouldn’t have a Thanksgiving meal if we didn’t go. He got angry because I had not planned to cook a turkey that day. We went, but he made us return home once we finished our meal.
- He got angry and banged his fist on the wall so hard that a clock fell off the wall and shattered around our six month old daughter who was laying on the floor. Somehow, she wasn’t hurt.
- I came home from the grocery store. He decided to help (shocker) put the groceries away, but he wanted to stand at the table and THROW the canned food at me. Our children–by then we had two toddlers–sat in the floor of our small kitchen. I worried they might get hit by a can and asked him to not throw them. He hurled each can at me, shouting because I’d told him what to do. I grabbed the kids and rushed around the corner to hide until he had thrown everything across the room.
- We went for a ride in the car. At one point, I leaned into the back seat to check on them and realized the radio was too loud. I asked him to turn it down. He started yelling and hitting me for telling him what to do. My children clung to my hands, crying. Should I yank free from them or hold their hands and stay in his line of fire? I stayed in his line of fire because my children screamed louder when I tried to pull away. He drove down a deserted, dirt road and told me he was going to kill me and leave my body to rot in the woods.
So, there you have it: a highlight reel of my four years of marriage to an abuser.
Don’t ask why I stayed. Be glad I left. Most women never leave. They fear their abuser more when they can’t see what he’s doing.
Have you ever tried to help an abuse victim and failed? Share your story here, and let’s find a way to help the victim.