Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Behind Closed Doors - story of the escape from a lifetime of abuse Part 4

A  Woodlands resident’s story of abuse continued…., part 4conclusion and advice
Later on, I discovered two things about my reality. One, my kids knew about the abuse all along, and two, they didn’t care at all about that kind of quality of life. They would have eaten peanut butter sandwiches so we could all be free of him. The glass I was looking through was contorted, telling me lies, twisting the facts in my head.
Even though I grew up in violence and knew what violence looked like, I had repeated experiences, even after years of counseling.  Most often, no one knows what goes on behind closed doors. From the outside looking in, everything looks so grand. One day while golfing with some friends at the club, the wife of our friend commented that my husband was always so sweet and kind. She asked, “Is he always in a good mood?!” I remember replying “not always”.
There were times I wanted to shout out to everyone that I needed help, but I knew they would never believe me. He was too outwardly gallant and aristocratic. Yet at the same time, I felt so ashamed that I had let this happen to me again. After crawling out from under the rock of my past, I still let it happen.
Thing is, when being abused for your whole life, there is self de-valuing that takes place psychologically. I didn’t think I deserved to be beaten, raped, molested, or assaulted, but I also didn’t believe that I was too good for it, if you know what I mean. It wasn’t like abuse, pain and suffering were surprises. I knew of them. They were familiar. I didn’t resist, but I did not invite it.
When I left my abuser, I was working for a local company making $30,000 a year. I was scared out of my mind to live on my own, but I knew I had to leave. I did not know how I was going to manage, but I knew there was no other choice.
The night I left he was on a rampage - yelling, cursing, and literally jumping up and down like the Tazmanian Devil. I remember opening the door to go upstairs to collect my kids, but being surprised to see them already sitting on the coach with their backpacks packed. All I said was, “let’s go”. Ironically, it was the week of Valentine’s Day. We stayed in a hotel for two weeks while I sorted things out. I bought big red velvet candy boxes for my kids who were then 15 and 16. I had never felt so free and so safe in all my life.
If you see yourself somewhere in this story, my message to you: there is a way out and there is life on the other side. Life won’t be without struggle, but it is your struggle not something imposed on you. There is something so empowering about getting your legs again to stand on your own. Overcoming these trials will make you stronger.
There is nothing on this earth more precious that waking up in quiet and harmonious surroundings. There is no one yelling at me. There is no one threatening me. There is no one degrading me or pulling my hair out or cursing me. To tag a well-known commercial:  Waking up in sheer peace and comfort: Priceless.
If I had stayed, he would not have killed me, but my spirit would have been a stiffened corpse. My spirit was parched of sweetness and hope. While preparing for work, I would fix my hair and let out a laborious sigh. I never even noticed that until one day.  I just realized that I was sighing like I had a stack of bricks on my chest. I remember thinking - this is crazy! Leaving that craziness would come shortly thereafter.
I have read that the same biochemical reaction occurs inside when one is both excited and frightened. I was afraid to focus on the excitement of living my life. Yet I also realized that I was surrounded by friends who wanted to help me. It was important that I allowed that to happen. They did help me. Moreover, I realized that it feels good, comforting and even a relief to accept help from friends. I was loved more than I ever realized. I am ever so grateful to myself for deciding to go with the advice of my friends.
The adage is that life is too short. Being on the other side of all that abuse, now I can say “indeed, life is too short to live it in violence”. If this is where you are, begin making your plans. Make copies of all important documents and give to a friend or family member. Stash money away so you have something of your own when you leave. Have a plan of where you will go and have a bag packed with essentials so you can leave quickly in the night if you have to. Create code words or phrases with your friends or family so they know when you need help. Mainly, find the love that you are craving inside yourself and let that love give you the confidence to live a life free of abuse and violence, pain and suffering.
You are worth the freedom from pain whether it is emotional or physical. In my opinion, verbal abuse is far worse than physical. As infinite as the brain is, we cannot muster or recreate the pain we have suffered. But a hurtful word is easy to access. Pain runs deep in the psyche of our soul.
Validation may never come from your abuser, but you will feel validated when on your own, living life on your terms, free of violence and safe from harm. Let peace validate you!
The victim of this story is of course the author. She lives right here among us in this little town we call The Woodlands. She is someone’s neighbor; now free from the abuse she has suffered from so many sources. Her story may be unique, but there are countless similar stories everywhere. This is the second story of a multi-part series on abuse behind closed doors. Let others know about this and the other articles published or to be published. Everyone deserves the right to be free from abusive behaviors and to have peace in their lives. Your feedback is appreciated by myself and the victim at IndianSpringsGuy@sbcglobal.net or preferably as a comment on this posting. 

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