Sunday, July 18, 2010

Behind Closed Doors - story of the escape from a lifetime of abuse Part 3

A  Woodlands resident’s story of abuse continued…. part 3… the second husband
An opportunity to free myself from the past and the abusive behaviors of others came sometime later. I took an offer for radio broadcast syndication to a national audience, a lecture series. That I continued Monday thru Friday during drive-time radio for six years. That is when I met my husband. I really craved a loving marriage in my life.
He was wealthy and belonged to the country club. He drove a Mercedes and had all the comfortable trappings of life. Inside though, I did not feel totally comfortable around him. I wasn’t sure what it was, but I just did not feel “at one” with him. My friends thought I was crazy and told me that I should press on with him, because he was “such a great catch”. This would be his third marriage and my second.
Five years into the marriage, on Valentine’s Day, he had his first outburst. Life had been practically bliss for us, but things were to change. I remember him taking his bare hands and shredding a thick cable-knit sweater off my body. Literally a pool of yarn surrounded my feet. I picked up the yarn and put it in a plastic bag and hid it from him for two years. Every so often I would go look in the bag to remind myself that indeed, that really did happen. Yet I remained in denial.
Looking back, there had been early signs that he had abusive tendencies. There were times where he had grabbed my arm or verbally manipulated me. Once he even said he hated my name. But with all the adornments of that life and in my own “hope for love”, I decided to continue forward with our marriage. The day we were married, I became violently ill. On the way to the chapel he had to pull over many times for me. Inside I was fighting this. How in the world did I ignore all that? The hope for love, the desire to have a relationship and to be married were all so overpowering that I wore blinders to even his most obvious transgressions.
I stayed another five years and endured untold violence, although none of my neighbors knew or suspected what was going on behind our closed doors. My own children did not know. Most of the abuse was inflicted while they were at school or over at a friend’s house. My hair had been pulled out so much that even I have to wear extensions to fill in the back spaces of my head.
Through the years I tried to get help for him. I thought he was severely depressed. That might have been the case, but still there was no excuse for what he was doing to me in our home. After a year from the Valentine’s Day incident, he finally saw a psychiatrist or in reality, what I would characterize as just a pill-mill. He simply gave him drugs as “treatment”. Unfortunately, the drugs he prescribed simply worsened his mania. My home became a fiery hell.
I stayed three additional years because of finances, my children’s school, our social network and a million other excuses. When in such a situation, one’s thinking is not altogether clear. Writing everything here now seems so neat, tidy and easy to discern. I ask myself, “Who would stay in such conditions?” There are many reasons why women stay in abusive situations. If they leave, then the abuser could have weekly visitations with the children, unsupervised by the victim. Their kids would be at risk. For me, my kids were accustomed to a prosperous life. I felt like I could not afford them that kind of life. Instead, I felt shameful that I could not provide them what they needed by myself. But the range of excuses is long and riddled with emotional holes. Some women feel intense responsibility while others feel a religious commitment or the requirement to raise a child with two parents no matter what. I suppose I did feel somewhat disloyal in wanting to leave him; after all, hadn’t he given our family five years of bliss? He provided well for us all. My children lacked nothing. So when the tide turned, I felt guilty even thinking of leaving him. I felt I was abandoning him. There is no past gift, memory or relationship that can substantiate violent and abusive behavior. If no counseling is sought, then one must leave!
To be continued ….

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