Tag Archives: emotional abuse

Recommended: How Did You Brainwash Me? Kellie Jo Holly

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Excellent article over at Healthy Place. For years, I’ve struggled with the why of the equation. I really identify with this:

According to Ms. Brown’s book, abusers do not “feel” the way we normally think of what it means to feel. Due to childhood abuse or perhaps mental disorder, many if not most abusers detach from their feelings at an early age. Instead of feeling, they observe how other people behave, and then mimic those behaviors appropriately. (emphasis added)

In this way, abusers become expert behaviorists without taking a step inside a class room. They know what works and what doesn’t work to get you to do what they want, and because they’ve detached from their feelings, abusers do not feel guilt for their manipulative actions.

This is probably why abusers cannot take responsibility for what they’ve done to you or admit they abuse you (with lasting regret). They do not comprehend that any wrong took place and may think that your fear and tears are merely a “show” designed to manipulate them, and baby, they ain’t fallin’ for it.

In short, abuser’s use brainwashing techniques naturally because “the set-up” is all they know.

Not sure they can’t take responsibility as much as they won’t.  I believe we all have choices to make and free will. At some point, getting your way becomes more important than loving your neighbor.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Thanks, Kellie~

Recommended: Lundy Bancroft: When His Put-Downs Sound True

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Take a grain of truth, wrap with hatred and malice, slather generously with a critical spirit. Serve up constantly with breakfast, lunch and dinner and watch the wife and kiddies develop into raging lunatics, complete with oozing internal sores, easy to jab anytime you  feel like having a little fun.

Nothing like the delicious anticipation of watching a teenager self implode  while awaiting that prime moment you get to crush them for disrespecting your God-ordained authority.

Kiss, Kiss

I have a survivor crush on Lundy Bancroft, no lie. His latest article over at Healing and Hope, is brilliant with a clarity available only to someone who’s fought Goliath a few dozen times.

Here’s number three on his list of reasons *not* to accept  your abusers twisted viewpoint:

(I’d like to just quote the whole article but that seems a wee bit naughty)

3) Because he’s ignoring how profoundly his mistreatment of you has contributed to these problems, or even created them entirely. When you live with a chronically insulting and undermining partner, your self-esteem suffers, your friendships suffer, your concentration suffers. He’s certainly not helping – he’s making everything worse.

One of the reasons we accept the poisonous insults lobbed our way  involves the nature of the sandwich. We can hear the truth and identify. We cannot discern the malicious intent behind the words. There’s no point trying. Throw the whole thing away and start from scratch.

Thank you, Dr. Bancroft.

You can read the entire article here: When His Put-Downs Sound True

Recommended: Kellie Holly: After Leaving Your Abusive Relationship

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A few weeks after leaving the beast, my car broke down in the Walmart parking lot way after dark. Scary place at the best of times but sitting out there all alone in a new town with no way home, I arrived on the threshold of a full on panic attack.

I had no idea what to do. Years of programming made me think I couldn’t make a move without the husband’s input. My first impulse was to swallow my pride, admit I couldn’t function without him and dial the number. No doubt he awaited just such an opportunity.

Fortunately, better sense prevailed. I sent out a half dozen frantic texts/phone calls to anyone vaguely within driving distance and waited in my car until someone answered. I prayed for wisdom and . . . I. . . waited. I remembered that I now resided in the big city. I could call a cab if all else failed. I could leave the car where it sat until morning at which time, I’d do the same thing anyone else would do– I’d call a mechanic.

Eventually an old friend rode in to the rescue. We tried to jump the car and blew out a fuse. He drove me home and the next day, the mechanic took care of everything including my wounded pride by assuring me I’d handled things just fine. I did not contact the beast, I did not explain what happened, I simply charged his credit card for the bill and kept contact minimized. When he sent an angry email asking for an explanation, I told him the car needed repairs and nothing else.

Once you’re out, you must get free. It takes time, deliberate thought and patience with yourself. Only you understand how many nooks and crannies your jailer claimed inside your thinking and only you can root him out.

Kellie Jo Holly addresses this issue in a new post, After Leaving Your Abusive Relationship:

When I left my ex, my life didn’t change immediately. I obsessed over him and our marriage. I imagined conversations we might have the next time we met. I woke to his voice only to find he was not in the house. My heart raced around the time he would normally return home from work.

I was gone, but I hadn’t left him. My old routines remained. I continued to fear doing something wrong that he would discover. I cleaned the house, bought his favorite foods, and budgeted the money he sent me for four despite having only three of us in the house (our kids and me). When he called, I was afraid not to answer. When he emailed, I emailed right back hoping I met his time schedule for responding.

I continued to behave as if he would come home any second. I lived in chaos, attempting to attend to an abusive husband who no longer lived in our home.

I love Kellie’s writing. Here, she nails it– that semi-sick feeling when you realize your abuser moved into your brain without permission.

You can read the rest here.

Thanks, Kellie!

Recommended: The Lord is the Friend of the Lonely by Jeff Crippen

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Jeff’s written a powerful article over at A Cry for Justice titled, The Lord is the Friend of the Lonely Who Fear Him.

One of the themes that inevitably comes through in these stories is the incredible alone-ness of the victims. One recently told me how she felt after finally being able to leave her abuser, “I was grieving for my marriage, my home, my husband, and I was all alone in a new town.” Christians to the rescue? Hardly. Some of you are STILL alone. That is one reason we began this blog. We hope it is growing into a community of real Christians who “get it.” Don’t ever be afraid to contact us. We will believe you and do our best to affirm you and share some of the things we have learned. We will believe you. I wish we had a giant place and we could just tell victims, “come on down here. We have a place for you!” We should all pray that something like that might happen one day.

The works of the enemy thrive in darkness. Just as our Lord delights to see us free and whole, it is our enemy who keeps us bedded in shame, hiding behind closed doors, terrified to speak. Confusion, fear, torment– all from hell itself.

Whatever you’ve done, wherever you’ve been, no matter what happened–you did not deserve the nightmare of torment.

I’ve gotten to know Jeff virtually and I’d like to encourage survivors to prayerfully consider sending your story as he requests in this article. There is power in our collective testimony. As we break the isolation of our suffering and speak out, others will take courage.

No matter where you are on this journey, you have something to contribute.

You may have nothing left but you own the truth of your story, your life, your experiences.

Doom and Other Realities of the Abused Woman

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Today I’m remembering a life filled with disasters that never happened. For years, I lived with a sense of impending doom, usually of a mundane variety—a car just waiting for the most inopportune moment to break down. Kids plotting through the night hours  to break something (arms or legs usually).

Occasionally, I cranked up the wattage. The ringing phone meant  news someone crashed, burned, perished and/or drowned in a two inch mud puddle. Why else would anyone call? I could run the entire scenario through my brain in the twenty seconds it took to find the cordless phone.

Besides the ongoing drama of an apocalypse that never quite materialized, I also carried a suspicion that any unexpected beneficial happening would be followed hard on by an equal and opposite negative event. An unexpected five hundred dollar check in the mail meant the washing machine was about to go out and the replacement would cost six hundred easy. (The Good Lord was especially generous that way.) To ice the cupcake, I told everyone of His provision and testified to the goodness of the Almighty.

Life was out to get me, I was screwed. I made Debbie Downer look like Pollyanna. I thought this was normal. Hard to live when you’re busy watching for the bus with your name on the bumper.

A-n-y Minute Now. . .

One day, whilest walking in the neighborhood, I spent a quiet  moment reflecting on the mercies of God in a horrible world. My oldest was in Africa—the first kidlet to fly the nest as well as the country. As I trotted about waiting for the sky to fall, I remembered the Father’s assurances to my heart that this trip was okay—to sign the release forms, give my blessing and let go. Everything would be fine.

I expected a call any moment with news of my son’s departure from this earth. The phone bulged the back pocket just in case, ensuring I’d know first. I couldn’t bear the idea of hearing the news from  beast.

I was resigned. My blood pressure hovered around the rupture-an-artery mark.

Images of the funeral played through my mind unbidden. I chose the songs we’d play. I tried to imagine the tears, the grief. I comforted myself with my Lord’s promise and thought how truly things would be fine because this child would be released from his suffering here in the world and would surely be better off in heaven. I replayed the Father’s assurances, knowing I’d press on, everything would eventually be fine. I knew God was faithful.

And right there on that road, I heard Someone I knew pretty dadgum well speaking straight to my heart.

“Is that really who you think I Am?”

Excuse me?

I Have an Enemy and it isn’t God.

And then without a word, my spirit flooded with the understanding of the goodness of a loving Father who tenderly cares for His children. I remembered times of actual sorrow and saw those compared side-by-side with the expectation of disasters that never materialized. I recalled the tone, the touch, the gentle fingerprints all over His loving care and how He held my heart in His hand. I saw How He prepared me for each transition and contrasted that to the gloom and doom of my everyday experience.

I saw—all at once—just  how twisted my thinking had become.

Never once had it occurred to me that I was being robbed.

Robbed of joy.

Robbed of peace of mind.

Robbed of blessing of every variety—spiritual, financial, interpersonal.

John 10:10 “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).”

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]”

Matthew 10:29-31 “Are not two little sparrows sold for a penny? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s leave (consent) and notice. But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, then; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Here’s the thing: For years, I did not know my enemy. I was living with the devil. Every good gift, every blessing was tainted and/or stolen. That tends to happen when you’re sleeping with someone who’d rather see you dead.

The fear, the torment, the pain had to go someplace. The more I denied my marriage was the problem, the harder I kept  trying to find a slot to file the overflowing animosity pointed squarely in my direction like a laser sighted missile.

The bible says that God is good and I believed that. Somehow, I blended the reality of my hell on earth with a religious explanation that made no sense whatsoever. I lived every day with someone who  both hated me and had no natural affection for his own offspring. Looking back, it’s not so surprising really that I thought my world was coming to an end.

Denial is a Funny, Funny Thing

Let me assure you—I don’t live in that cesspool  any longer. Once I recognized the enemy for who—and where—he was, I got the message pretty fast. Getting out of a toxic environment improved my outlook instantly. My kids tell me I look fifteen years younger. Looking through the pictures, I believe they’re right.

With every moment, this remarkable joy grows sweeter. It takes practice to learn to walk in freedom. Sometimes I still feel the pull of old ways of seeing both my God and this fallen world. But these days, I’m assured I can trust the future to the One who tends to sparrows.

When and if sorrow comes–as it does to all of us walking here below– I rest knowing Who will rock me in His arms.

Rough Week

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At one point, I promised writing on the bad days.  Since this is walking-through-pudding rather than stuck-in-concrete, I’m going to give it a try.

The trigger: an encounter with the anti-husband. Came home to find him driving past my home. No words exchanged, couldn’t get a shot of the license plate. But he knew and I knew. Mocking email came the next day.

Fallout: Confusion, anxiety, bad dreams, physical pain. And I’m losing my words again.

Confusion—every thought ends in, ‘but my husband would say. . .’  which generally ends in some type of blaming. Confused enough at the moment I can’t come up with an example although this has been going on for several days now.  I’m reminded of the scripture, “a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:8)

Anxiety—like swallowing a vibrating rubber ball. Stuck right in the middle, won’t go down, won’t come up. Checking, double checking the doors, jumping at noises, obsessing over trivial things like whether the laundry got rotated. Everything feels overwhelming—how will I support myself at this age? What’s going to happen to the kids?

Bad Dreams—one after the other. Dreams of children closed up in dresser drawers. Holding babies I’m not sure are still alive, getting left behind, tops of feet covered in blisters. Wake up, get water, visit the little girl’s room, go back to bed, dream starts up all over again without skipping.

Pain—neck is tight. Upper back is tender to the touch. Stretching my arms out wide causes so many joints to pop it startles the dog. Migraine threatening, hovering close. Old wounds inside are throbbing.

Word Loss—this one’s hard to explain. It starts when I can’t finish a sentence. This kids try to fill in my thoughts and I pick like multiple choice. “I need to head to the drugstore and get—“  Aspirin? Toilet paper? Shampoo?–  “Shampoo! That’s it.” If it sets in for long, I won’t be able to write. Answering email’s out of the question except for a quick reply. Editing this, or any other post is laughable.

Healing

  • I’ve talked via email with  a couple of friends about the inciting incident. Telling what happened, then listening to their advice provided concrete steps to take for safety.
  • Called the massage therapist and set up an appointment, hoping to break this cycle of physical tension. I live in a big town and we have schools I can afford. The piggies go unpainted this quarter.
  • I’m painting with the music cranked. Working through the process of a few watercolor flowers seems to help.
  • Praying. Lots of praying.

Thankful in All Things

A reminder’s in order that this was my continual state of being for most of three decades. This little spell’s  been going on less than a week. And what started it? The near proximity of the anti-husband. No words exchanged, not heated debate. His email hit the trash bucket without reply. In some ways, it’s a good reminder of how toxic he is.

I haven’t gotten to fetal-position on the bed just yet. I can carry on a pretty decent conversation. I’m still taking phone calls and telling friends I’m fine.

At times like this, I also have to remember—the wounds from emotional/verbal abuse are very real. Healing takes time. And ultimately, the divorce that terrified me years ago will cauterize this wound and give me the freedom to move forward.

 

Covering as God Never Intended

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For years,  I covered for my husband. I thought telling the truth about our family was disloyal. I refused to be anything other than positive, upbeat and supportive which meant for the most part, I kept strangely silent.

My husband did not reciprocate. He took subtle jabs in front of company calling me such lovely names as dimwit and ninny. I shrugged and walked away. To any of our former house guests, in case you’re wondering, those are called ‘red flags.’ Normal, loving husbands do not call their wife a ding-a-ling and no, it wasn’t a joke.

Another favorite pastime involved covering for the anti-husband’s words and actions with the kids.

“Your father didn’t really mean that.”

“You know your dad loves you, he just has a hard time showing it sometimes.”

“Maybe what he said was a little over the top, but your dad had a rough upbringing.”

The day I figured out that—

a)      yes, he really did mean every single word he chose to say with his very own mouth

b)       he loved no one but himself and

c)       his rough upbringing should’ve made him more compassionate not less

–was the day I started walking in truth.

Turning Lanes

I remember the day this Cover for Dad policy changed.  I’d taken to carrying the cordless phone everywhere, 911 on speed-dial. I’d calculated how long it took the police to arrive at our home and kept a close eye on the clock. Things were about to break open.

I knew it. I smelled it. I wasn’t going down without a big fat fight.

The beast had been carrying on for days.  Read that–hollering, yelling, stomping, screaming, slamming, cursing, muttering, raging, without taking a breath—for days. One afternoon things got particularly spectacular so I loaded the kiddies in the car and pointed the front fender southbound. After a few tense moments of silence I turned to the front seat passenger and said, “You know what your father’s doing isn’t right, don’t you?”

My son imploded. He sighed so loud I heard it over Travis Tritt on the radio. His shoulders slumped. He melted on the seat and ran into a puddle on the floorboard.

I’d finally told the truth and there was no going back.

I sat and listened while my son spewed and I did not say one Mom-ism the entire trip. All the kidlets knew—something changed that day. They still talk of it.

Apologies Not Accepted

I tried later to cushion my heinous crime just a little. I told the kids I was sorry for putting their father down that way. What I heard opened more than my eyes—I got a dose of reality nothing else could match. My kids unleashed. They said exactly what they thought of their dad and what kind of man he was (or was not in this case.) They were angry, furious, resentful, frustrated. And hurting like so many scalded pups in a washtub.

Not long after, my grown children took me aside and gave their silly mom an intervention. They said they didn’t want to hurt me but did I have any idea the things dad had been saying, about me, to them, when I wasn’t around? For years.

Well no, golly gee. I sure didn’t know that Bumpy.

The Truth Will Set You Free

Lying doesn’t help anyone. I may not have purposefully told windies but neither was I walking in truth. All my covering, dodging, and weaving just made everybody seasick. I added to the confusion. I was a linebacker, blocking so a man who refused to care for his own family could keep barreling on through, trampling everyone in the process.

I was not being loyal. I was not supporting my husband. I was providing cover, making it easier for him to get a clear shot. Big difference.

Talking to the kids since leaving has been tough. I struggle with how much to say and when to say it. Mostly I just listen and let them vent. The beast says I’m poisoning the children, but saying  I’m at fault for finally admitting the truth goes beyond ironic and borders on the absurd. The fact that the man has no relationship with his progeny rests squarely on his shoulders because (duh!) he verbally, emotionally and physically abused and bullied the dog mess out of them. He refuses to admit he fed them a steady diet of arsenic all their lives and now, for some odd reason, they won’t have anything to do with him.

Several have tried talking to him. Each has come to the conclusion it’s hopeless. He fusses, he fumes, he refuses to accept responsibility saying they are–each and every one– a rebellious lot. Later when they quit taking his calls, he tried playing the god-card, starting with  the ‘if-you-don’t-forgive, you-won’t-be-forgiven’ line but since I taught them the ‘bring-ye-forth-therefore-works-worthy-of-repentance’ retort back in grade school, somehow his biblical fuming doesn’t work so good.

I guess they’re smarter than their mama.

Saint Ida and Her All Girl Band

Before you get the idea that Ida Mae is a saint and all the little kiddies are gathered about, holding hands and singing campfire songs, let’s put that to rest. The kids are damaged. I’m not going to talk much about them here, not yet. They have their own stories to tell and I imagine some day they will. I doubt I’ll get knighted in any version.

Some are doing better than others. Some of the girls have problems picking men. Some of the boys are mad as hell. Oh wait, some of the girls are too. They show, in various degrees, all the effects  of growing up in an alcoholic/abusive household.

One blessing—in every case, their faith is intact. For that, I am profoundly grateful. Now, I have to trust in my Heavenly Father’s care to finish the work He began in them, just as He’s completing the work He began in me forty-two years ago. It’s not easy. Some days it’s impossible.

But there’s always tomorrow and for that, I remain forever grateful.

Recommended: Anna Wood: Alone Except for God

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Anna’s written a heart-achy post over on her blog, At the End of Myself, At the Feet of Jesus.  Many understand the sadness of living without hope but few can articulate so beautifully. Anna nails it :

Some days tears come unbidden, time and again, as if they will never end. Other days, she feels numb, dead inside, and no matter what happens, no matter how her abuser tries to hurt her, there are no tears left to be cried

Often sadness threatens to overwhelm her: the loss of the love she’s never known seeps deep inside her and flows out in aching ways.

She hurts daily for her children: for what they haven’t had and for what they have had to endure. Sadness threatens to drown her as their pain mixes with her own and flows into black. If not for God, she couldn’t hold on another second.

I can relate. You can read the entire post here.

Thank you, Anna.

 

Recommended: Barbara Roberts: Stormie Omartian Doesn’t Get it About Domestic Abuse

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Another one of those Oh-My Gertie, Get My Spectacles moments.

This morning, Barbara Roberts wrote a deceptively simple little post over at Not Under Bondage. I settled in, grabbed the coffee anticipating a lovely time rolling my eyes at the clueless nature of Christian celebrities who think they’re qualified to author books on marriage and stuff. Nothing better than a little wink-wink, nudge-nudge with my friend across the ocean.

Oodles of books have been written advising Christian women how to have great marriages. Trouble is, most of them are clueless about the dynamics of domestic abuse so they give atrocious advice which could be toxic or life threatening to a victim of abuse.

So far, so good.

Then that sneaky little Australian Bulldog links to this.

Ever read a book  on the subject of marriage and want to smack it against the bricks? Yeah, me too.

Barbara honey? You find the *best* stuff!

 

Sex in an Abusive Marriage, Part 3

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Around the ten year mark, I knew—really knew—I could never please that man in bed or anywhere else. I decided to focus my attention on pleasing God instead. In seeking the Lord with all my heart, fully believing that in Him is fullness of life, I would be a better wife, a better mother and whatever problems I had in bed would eventually be addressed as I grew in grace and truth.

The problem with that? My husband was not growing in grace and truth. He was headed the other direction entirely. He was drinking again and his use of pornography continued. He was busy raising his hands and singing in church every Sunday and terrorizing us the other six and a half days a week. I suppose I thought my gentle and quiet witness would eventually win him over.

It did not.

 Second Decade

Things ebbed and flowed. Some years were better than others. I did my best to perform on autopilot. Most is a blur.

I remember horrible things vaguely, routine things not at all. Gradually over the years frequency diminished. With newborns, colicky babies and toddlers scared of the dark it’s not surprising but it always, always made the beast angry. He thought I should leave a hungry infant crying and hop in bed. That was not going to happen. He believed I should leave three children under the age of seven unsupervised, their little paws banging on the bedroom door while we locked ourselves inside and got busy. Not in a million years.

Looking  back, I set boundaries and imposed limits but I did not feel one bit good about the process. By this point I knew I’d feel bad no matter which decision I made and the beast would be unhappy either way. If a man’s going to be angry no matter what, what’s the point?

Always the focus was on him. His needs, his demands. At some point, I told him to quit talking about my appearance and get use to it. I was getting older  and I wasn’t going to morph into Cindy Crawford. If he didn’t like me at a hundred pounds, he wasn’t going to like me after three kids and a hundred and fifty.

Rather than concede that I’d insisted he shut the crap up, he reframed this as some sort of major concession on his part, another proof of his great restraint and self-sacrifice as he refrained from speaking of my deteriorating physical appearance. He did however, decide to become overly concerned with my health and came up with all sorts of creative suggestions on ways to help me tone up and lose those extra pounds and inches. I stopped listening. One time I counted. He told me to work out on average five times a day. He also had plenty of pet names, each highlighting some feature he found repulsive. If I asked him to stop he said I was too sensitive, he was just joking.

Decade Three

Around year twenty,  I had major abdominal surgery that went terribly wrong. After surgery, I went septic. I came within inches of dying and to this day, I believe the only reason I stayed this side of the veil was sheer determination. I wasn’t leaving my babies, not with him.

A year later, I could barely stand long enough to cook dinner. Damage to my internal organs caused chronic pain that never let go. I came dangerously close to an addiction to narcotic pain killers, tempting for more reasons than one.

I was home less than two weeks before the beast began asking for his marital rights, said I couldn’t possibly be in that much pain. We resumed sexual relations after three months and I thought I would die. Nothing—and I mean nothing—was ever okay after that. My internal organs were broken. My lady parts damaged. But worse was the emotional backlash—I  almost died and I could not understand such callous disregard for something that kept me bedridden for months from someone who said he loved me every single day.

He thought I was slacking, that I could get up and do my job if I wanted. His anger during that year permeated our home, taking what had always been bad to ever higher levels. He resented everything. He took to finding fault with the children while they tried to cook or clean, punishing them as a way to get me out of bed, an over-exertion I paid for days afterward.

By year twenty five, other body parts are starting to scream in protest. Joints, neck, back. I lived with chronic sciatic nerve pain and ongoing issues from the botched surgery. Migraines came without warning and stayed for days. I had all sorts of symptoms of auto-immune disease but I knew the truth. My body was turning out the lights and I knew it.

God Knows My Heart and I Am Screwed

By this point, I’m numb. I don’t care anymore. I don’t care if I please God, I don’t care if the earth opens up and swallows the beast, I don’t care if it swallows me. Sex is no longer an issue because I hate it with everything in me. I take off my clothes, do what I have to, say no to anything I don’t want to do anymore and flip him off as I walk out of the bedroom.

I am angry. It takes me days to recover afterward. Sometimes I curse him in my head the entire time he’s inside me, then repent until I fall into a stupor. I decide that if God is going to send me to hell for this, it doesn’t matter because I’m already *in* hell and it can’t get much worse.

Occasionally I try to talk to this person I’m beginning to suspect might not be human.  He refuses to address anything going back more than a few weeks saying I’m being unforgiving, he said he was sorry and bringing something up for years back is proof I’m at fault. Nothing’s changed. I shut up.

The last year, for reasons that have everything to do with the mercy of God Almighty and nothing to do with anything in me, the Lord mounted a rescue operation. Hopefully I can tell that story someday.  The point is this: When the Lord arrived to deliver me from my oppression, I still shouldered all  the blame. I saw myself as a whore, as an unclean, unlovable woman. I was ugly, defective. No one would ever love me, no one ever *could* have loved me, so what was I complaining about?  Something was desperately wrong with me. Why else would this have happened?

But when God shows up, His goodness comes along. Healing began, starting with  those tears I’d bottled up for close to two decades. The love inherent in the Lord’s sweet presence awakened all those emotions I’d stuffed for years.

Emotions are Pesky Things

Now that my coping mechanisms were starting to fail, I couldn’t function sexually, even in the limited damaged capacity of years before. Frequency dropped. When I couldn’t figure out one more reason to say no, I’d sit on the toilet afterwards leaning my head against the tile trying to will his semen into the sewer where it belonged. I scrubbed myself raw in the tub an hour at a time, then head to an upstairs bedroom and cry myself hoarse screaming silent into the pillow. Still, I was too afraid to stop having sex with him entirely.

I prayed and prayed beforehand. I begged for divine help. I prayed that God would deliver me somehow, someway, whatever it took. Somehow, it never occurred to me that God had already given me a way of escape–something called, free will. I had the power all the time. I had the right to say no more.

I did not know I had a right over my own body. That I could refuse and if that jerk didn’t change, I could continue refusing until he left. In the emotional, mental state I was in, I had no business trying to service a man who I suspected was servicing half the town anyway.

But I was afraid. I knew deep in my heart that if I ever stood my ground, there would be hell to pay. I knew he was dangerous and I sure knew he would never put up with me cutting him off. I knew that whenever I refused his demands, the kids paid. I was weak and afraid.

God provided a beautiful little home, a sweet place to stay. He prepared the heart of someone to take us in. All I had to do was the hardest thing in my life. I had to walk out.

As I pulled out of the driveway, one of the first thoughts I had– I’ll never have to have sex with that jackass again.

Summing Up

If you read part two, you’ll note I got stuck somewhere between Wife Gives Up and Husband Blames Her Forever. I spent the last two decades in a quagmire that wrecked havoc on my soul and didn’t fix anything. Its an ugly place to live.  I allowed someone who despised me to abuse my body, to assault my inner being over and over. Physical intimacy should never be forced. Thinking about it makes me sick to my stomach.

The sad truth? I’ve heard stories much worse than mine.

Don’t tell me a man can’t rape his wife. Don’t tell me a man can’t sexually abuse the woman he married. I’ve heard the stories. I’ve lived through the fire. I’m a mild mannered woman but I will shut you down if you’re ignorant enough to try to argue with someone who lived through the hell and knows firsthand. Honestly,  I really don’t care anymore, but I’ll go to the wire on this one for every other wife who’s whispered her story in the dark.

For those who’re reading, all I can tell you is this. You cannot fix what you did not break. I tried to please my husband. My husband did not try to please his wife.  All his focus centered on his wants, his needs, his desires. Never once do I remember any consideration for my needs or desires. He was a horrible lover. Why did that never cross my mind? I don’t know, but it didn’t. I thought it was my job to take care of him when in truth, it’s husbands who are repeatedly instructed to love their wives.

The problems were not mine. A woman cannot respond when there’s nothing to respond to—no love, no tenderness. I did not ask for much. I didn’t ask him to keep his hair or have a killer six-pack. I never asked him to buy me flowers or take me on dates. I asked for kindness. That’s all. . . just a little consideration but apparently that was way too much for him to give.

Did I do everything I could have those last two decades? I don’t know. I did everything I was capable of doing. I wasn’t mentally, emotionally or spiritually able to do more. I’m not trying to justify my decisions and it sure isn’t fun to tell this story. Believe me, I could be graphic but I still have to look myself in the mirror.

If these men are this miserable, why don’t they just leave? I came to the conclusion my husband did not want to be happy. More to the point, he did not want *me* to be happy. He fed on my misery.

Shame on him.

I’m tired. Very tired of carrying this. I don’t enjoy bringing up the subject but ignoring the gorilla in the pantry doesn’t save the groceries. I write this story to say you are not alone. If you see yourself somewhere in my story and understand  it’s not all your fault then it’s enough reason to stand naked in the kitchen and brave the monkey.

That’s it! Thank you for your prayers. At some point, I may revise this but for now, let’s call if finished.