With all the media focus on domestic violence lately it has really struck a nerve (or a few hundred nerves). After years of abuse physical, mental and a mix of both, I have come to some understanding to why I fell for their terms of a relationship and not my terms (ever). I had a so called normal childhood. Nothing out of the norm for growing up in the 60’s-70’s. I realize now that the “no hands on” or “emotions on” thing that went on with fathers of that era has really molded how I picked men (or they pick me with the “will do anything to please” sign on my forehead)! I was never taught what I should look for or should accept in a man. I just grew up think that man ran the household, made the money, paid the bills, fed the family and the woman cleaned, took care of the kids, cooked, grocery shopped…Wow, I was so wrong! My grandparents told me to, “find a nice man and get married”.
While in high school I had one serious boyfriend who drank with my dad and was 3 years old than me. Everyone knew at 15 years old we were having unprotected sex but no one confronted us. They just let it go. I thought we were in love and we’d be together no matter what. No one knew he was jealous of any other guy who looked at me. He was overbearing, strong, and kind of pushy. He never hit me but he did threaten me just by being so much bigger than me. He is 6 ft 210 lbs, me 5’4″ 98 lbs! He could pick me up and place me where he want too. Once he graduated high school he pretty much vanished from my life. Then things went downhill after we moved out of the school district to a rival school district. My life became hell. All my friends were gone, no more cheerleading, grades dropped, party life…I graduated 2 years later and moved on. I have reconnected with my “first love” as a friend a few years ago. I did get an apology for his actions all those years ago. When he was 27 years old he gave his life to God, stopped drinking and drugging, got married (still is married), lives in FL. At one point we lived less than five hours apart. I have seen him once since then. We laughed, cried and cried again! But things are good. Amazing what an apology can do-forgiveness underrated.
When I was 19 years old I met a man (from England) and got married a few months after we started dating. I had met him previously, when I was 16 years old, while he was on holiday from England (he was a cousin of a boy I was in high school with). One word comes to mind, nightmare! I can’t describe all of what happened. There was physical abuse, mental manipulation, threats, isolation, misunderstanding and then there was the good stuff, sex, fun, creativity, musically talent, and travel. He was one who drink on occasion and had more fun, no abuse. Weird, but true. So we were out a lot. I held a full time job, he painted houses and played music. Everything we had or did I paid for most of the time. But I never thought too much of it. One night, I woke up with him standing over me with a butcher knife. I’m still not sure if he was trying to scare me or if he really was going to stab me. In the morning, I went to work and never came home. I hid from him at friends houses then got a studio apartment. The day I moved in he found me. I can’t believe the neighbors didn’t hear anything, not me running up two flights of stairs, me in panic trying to unlock the door to get in before he caught me, or both of us crashing through the door and falling to the floor, all while I’m screaming, “No, stop, go away…”! No one looked out their doors or called police. I had no phone and this was well before cell phones. Another night of forced sex and threats…I had called police before on him I was told to go find a hotel and give him a day to cool off. Him cool off? I didn’t do anything but go to work, why do I have to leave at 2 am? Gee, thanks for your help officers. I slept in my car, it was February in New York state. That mess ended, finally. While the divorce was taking place I met someone else through a girlfriend. He was 9 years old than me, we had a child, he was a serial cheater, liar, I was pushed only once. He never touched me after that because it scared the hell out of him when blood splattered all over the wall. We were on and off for a couple of years before it ended. No great loss for me but my son suffered from not seeing him and no support. It is not fun getting support when someone “works” under the table, then moves out of state with no forwarding address. Today, my son knows where his dad is if he wants him but has no desire to contact him. My son and I wonder how someone can walk away and never look back.
I had a second son with another man I was married to, we were together about five years. He was a cheater too. What is with these men? He does talk to my son and helps out some.
When I left NY for FL in the 90’s I had had enough of the upstate, rural country life. It has it’s benefits but there is a lack of motivation, getting ahead, opportunities, and having fulfilled life in upstate NY.
I lived in FL for 17+ years. I love FL, the sun, the sand, and the beach lifestyle. I had to move back to NY for my sanity. After years of a relationship, marriage, just friends, living together not living together with my ex sociopath. I could fill a book or two about the struggles. I probably never will understand him. How can someone so smart and talented be so crazy, needy, mean, nice, caring, cold…the list goes on. I did love him and in some ways always will. Can I be with him? Never again! Not sure I could ever see him at all. Right now I’d be afraid to see him. I have a stepson and his family that I missing. I answer questions from current girlfriends or fiancees. I never lie. I do warn them. Is he a bad man? No. Is he a good man? No. Can he be trusted? No. Why does he never say bad things about you (you being me)? I was with him the longest, number four of five wives. I don’t know but I was the most understanding of his illness or I tried to be understanding. I don’t hate him, maybe that is the difference from the other women? I’m not his judge or jury, God is.
My children are both adults, have wives, children and are ‘hands on’ fathers. I’m truly thankful for that. I raised them to be good parents and people. No thanks to their dads and no thanks the their paternal families. Thanks to God for giving me the strength and grace. Thanks to my family for having my back.
To answer the question, “Why don’t you just leaving?” It is not ever easy. There are money issues, fears issues, failure issues, physical harm, embarrassment, judgment, scared to lose job, family, or friends, fear that no one will believe you. Or people thinking, “Here we go again…”, because of a past history of abuse, blaming the victim, etc. If you have never been in this type of relationship please don’t judge, assume, or walk away from someone in need. Ask them if they need help or a person to talk to. You maybe the person that can help someone “Just leave…” You maybe their lifeline to freedom. Just knowing someone has your back is a big helping hand up. To know someone cares.