What I would like to share is something that is very personal,something that probably has touched your life in one way or another. Something that happens often in the home. My hope is that through my experience I may touch one of you my dear friends to go and receive help or report abuse before it is too late. The latest poll in the U.S. says that there is a 60% rate of some kind of abuse in the home. Here is my story.
I was 18 years old when I meet my knight in shinning armor, with a great deal of rust around the edges. But I liked the fact that he had rust as well as shining armor. He was tall dark and handsome and swooped me off of my feet every time I saw him. I will call him Night. Night was 6 ft. 5″ tall about 200 pounds. When I meet Night he had a good job, a home, 2 cars, camper, jeep. I thought he was set. He had dark beautiful hair, and an athletic build. His manners were impeccable, so thoughtful and kind. Night was four years older than me and I thought there wasn’t one thing that he didn’t know about life, because he told me so. He had already been married once in his 22 years, and said that he knew just what he wanted in a women. Oh, how I wanted it to be me.
Night came from a home where his father had died when he was very young. He his mother and brother and were dirt poor, until a flashy man came into their life. He drove a fancy car and flashed his money around often. After about a year of dating his mother married the man and then reality set in. The drinking started when the man came home every night, fights would occur often, leading to much physical abuse to both the man and the mother. Night being the youngest receive a good deal of the verbal and physical abuse. Watching his mother abuse the man in every way lead him to believe that she was right in what she was doing by putting this drunk mean man in his place. Night said that he remembers times of being in his pj’s and being bare footed out in the deep snow at night while the man traps-ed around the house with a loaded shot-gun. The mother would not leave this man because of her financial security with him.
I have always been a deeply religious person, but when Night came into my life all sense of anything kind of sense flew out the window. When you have been hit by the love bug, well I know you understand. In my years of growing up there was an unwritten rule in our home, and one big secret. The rule was what goes on in the home stays in the home and my father physically, verbally, abused my mother and my brothers. These were heart sickening years for me. My parents were good for a while and then the abuse would start all over again. Because I really didn’t have any other relationships to judge, and being so very young I thought that this was the norm. I always hated the screaming and yelling that went on at home and knew that I would get out at any chance I could.
The chance came when Night ask me to marry him. I always wanted to be married in our Mormon Temple and there were a lot of promises that you are ask to keep. All of them are just being a good person, honest, chaste, no drinking, smoking, drugs, pay an honest tithing. Being that Night had been married before they ask us to wait a year to make sure that Night was ready to make such a commitment. We went to church, paid our tithing,and tried to be good. During that year I realized that Night had a very bad temper, he hit doors, threw things, got angry very easily and with anyone. It didn’t take much to set him off. I knew that through the great love I had for him that all of this would change when we married!
We were married in the Temple in Salt Lake City. The ceremony was so beautiful and we had many well wishers there to be with us. After a nice wedding breakfast Night and I went home to get ready for our reception that evening. Night’s best man was staying with him at his house so he came home with us. Night’s mother who lived across the street from him walked over to see how we were doing. She ask if we shouldn’t have a bite to eat before we went to the reception that evening. Being a new bride I was very over whelmed that day, Night ask me to fix a meal for his best man, mother and himself. I was in the middle of preparations for that evening but I stopped and proceeded to make my first meal as a wife. The meal was not satisfactory to Night or his mother, and they both let me know it.(His mother has attacked me verbally many times with Knight just standing by). From that day on his mother never stayed out of our marriage causing much heart ache for me and the children. I was so em-barest that I ran and hid in the corner of our bedroom. I sat on the floor and sobbed. Night walked into the room and saw that I was crying his face went bright red and his fists were clenched. That’s when the abuse started and it never ended.
I knew that my mother had been abused physically and mentally by my father and thought that if she didn’t do anything about it that I should just muster through. The problem with Night was that we when he was good he was really really good and when he was bad he was horrid. Night did not only abuse me but our children as well. He got a kick out of watching all of us jump at his command. Of course in our house hold we had one rule, what goes on in Night’s house stays in Night’s house. Always a constant threat.
That was a pretty big burden to keep to one’s self. As each one of our children turned 18 they packed their bags and left home. It was so sad to see them go, but I knew that they were trying to find their own source of peace. About half way through my marriage to Night I had a child say to me, “If you ever leave Dad I will not go with either one of you.” So I stuck it out for 35 years. I never tried so hard in my life than to make a good home for my family, but the abuse was always there, how could there be a good home?
After 35 years of abuse Night broke me. Because of issue about his mother’s interference in our marriage. Night would not physically abuse me again. I spent time in a mental ward, which was one of the greatest sanctuaries, and opportunities in my life. Here I meet other women my age that had dealt with the same thing as I had gone through, and I would look at the blank looks on their faces realizing that I looked just like them, all of the life had been knocked out of them. This was a time for healing, to try to make some kind of sense to my life. I knew that my children were suffering as well, for we had just gone through a suicide attempt with one of our children, and they all were hurting so deep inside and each one handled it in their own way. We were blessed to find good doctors and church leaders were there to help.
It has been six years since that night. My youngest son had the sense to call the police. I wish I could tell you that after I left him life was happy ever after, but it hasn’t been. FEAR is huge, any angry yelling, or even a TV show can bring on shaking and tears. I very seldom leave my house, FEAR. I’ve had to learn to love myself all over again and in a new way. I now suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), Fibromyalgia because of this. Through God,my faith, therapy, friends and a dear son and his wife I am whole today. Life is still hard, but I try to stay in the present, stay busy. My therapy is four loving grandchildren that love and need me, going back to school helped to boost my self esteem, Interior Design is my passion. Maybe someday I will be ready to love again, sometimes I feel like I have missed my change to ever love a man again,but if I don’t find love, I have my God a loving family and friends. Don’t wait to get out of a horrible mess like this. I have one child out of four left that will have anything to do with me, because I am their scapegoat. I hurts a lot! My family is my life this is why I stayed in an abusive marriage, thinking it was better for them. Now look what has happened.It is a tragedy.
If only I had known, and had some kind of support group. But abuse in the home is so hidden and deeply emotional and personal. I write this to you who are suffering from this horrible disease in the home. Don’t keep it a secret, shout HELP to the roof tops! There is help out there! Don ‘t wait to think that it will get better, because it won’t, and the outcome can cost you or a loved one their self respect,and even their life. If you are the abuser stop seek help! Remember, think, that abusers don’t love you because they don’t know what love is. Life is just to short to have such a dark secret kept, it will take your life one way or another. There is no shame in saying “I won’t put up with this anymore!” And you won’t be alone. Shame is one of the biggest problems for not seeking out help. There is never shame in asking for help. Seek help for healing through your Church, counseling, doctors, police if necessary. If you find yourself needing shelter there are local safe houses for you and your children.
Life can be bright again!
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