I’ve got a bad habit of avoiding having to face the inevitable. A long time goes by before I am able to see and accept the reality of what is happening, my reality. Most of the time, I seem so strong. How do I deal with it? Easy. Don’t think about it. I’ve done it many times. Basically, all of my life. Not only the negative things, but the things that hurt me and cause me pain. I did it eight years ago when my son passed away. I hid my grief, pain and confusion in the deepest part of my mind and heart in order to avoid a confrontation with my feelings. It took me many years and when I finally allowed myself to feel grief it was devastating. Now I feel this pain and confront it everyday. Perhaps it was that defense mechanism of denial that kept me in a abusive relationship/marriage for 14 years.
Don’t think about it. Don’t hurt. Don’t feel. Don’t understand. Don’t deal with it. Simply live each day as it is. Until the day when again I had no choice but to acknowledge what was truly going on. ABUSE. My reality. Only because the weight was too heavy. FEAR. Those looks he gave me. Those eyes so full of anger shook my sanity each time. I was unhappy. I was scared. Not only for my safety, but for my soul as well. An unbearable weight pulling me down. Suffocating me. I couldn’t breathe anymore. I felt I was dying. He didn’t notice, no. He didn’t care. Everything that went wrong was my fault. Whenever the kids made too much noise, that look again. My fear. That feeling of panic. My reality. I felt very small. Almost invisible. I felt unimportant. I was nothing, a nobody.
Why? I was a fairly good mother. Actually, I was both a mother and a father to my children. I was a good provider. I worked long hours to pay the bills and clothe my family. I provided emotional support to everyone. A problem, a need, a question, a fear, a solution; mommy to the rescue. An open ear for his frustrations, for his fears, his lack of confidence, his aggression. So much bitterness and anger. Me, the wife, always there. My problems, my needs, my fears, all my problem. I didn’t have to be in this situation. I chose to be.
Why? Because he said I was weak. He told me I wouldn’t dare leave him. He would cry and then suddenly, that look again. I could feel his anger building, so close to erupting and I would shake with fear. He would scream so loud we’d all run and hide in our rooms and then, late at night he would lay in bed next to me expecting everything to be forgotten, as if it never occurred. Me, afraid to move so he wouldn’t know I was awake. Then I’d quietly slip out of bed and sit by the window, looking up at the sky, begging God to take my life, end it. I did not care to live. Wanted to no longer feel confusion. I felt sorry for myself. I went through the motions, existing day to day. No one knew. Everything appeared normal, when in reality I sunk deeper and deeper into my private abyss.
I was alone in my depression. He would allow no one near me. I had no friends because he did not trust me.
Whenever I begged him to see the harm he was doing to my soul he would again ask for my forgiveness. But the fear remained, always present, that look he gave, shaking my soul again. My reality. Meanwhile I would continue to sit by that window, facing my reality, crying for hours until I came to the realization that I would no longer have a life unless I did something to change it. I had many reasons to drown in my own self-pity. Yet, how could I think I wasn’t worth something. My children needed me and I could not die. I no longer cared to be used or hurt. I ended the pain.
It was awful. He fought. He broke things. He screamed, his face close to mine as I stood before him, my knees shaking. I was certain that I did not want to live this type of reality for the rest of my life. He threatened me and then left my home because the police was on its way.
Then he began to follow me everywhere I went. He was gone from my home and I was still afraid. I ran to another city. He found me. I was afraid again and I could not, would not live with this fear. We moved from state to state until I got tired of running.
One year later, I finally can feel safe. My children are safe. We now live in a shelter for battered women. There are many obstacles I have yet to overcome, but I now realize that I am worthy of living. That is my reality. Instead of letting the weight on my shoulders weight me down, I strive to make a difference, to change my reality into something better, more peaceful, more secure. The abuse had to end. I ended it. No more fear. We are now free to live. I look forward to a new life with this knowledge of no longer having to put up with abuse.
There is help. From that moment when I picked up my phone to call a domestic violence hotline, I was on the road to a different life, a much better reality.