Such a big, ANGRY meme isn’t it? It just gets right in your face and TELLS you what to do and how to think. Oh wait, that was my marriage in a nutshell. Every. Single. Domestic. Violence. Story. Is. Different. Every one. There may be key elements in many stories like he was an alcoholic, he hit after he had a bad day or he controlled the money. (Oh and for those who want to say that there are women who abuse and other situations. Yes, they exist, but this is my story.) However, every woman, every child, every person touched by this insidious and hate-filled existence is scarred from it. Some rise up and take control and regain a full sense of self and move on to do great things. Some end their lives. Some never recover and continue to enter relationships that repeat the same behaviors.
My situation and the abuse I endured is way too long of a story for a blog post. It was fifteen years of control, verbal (mostly) and physical (sometimes) abuse that often came out of nowhere, taking me off guard, or something that I watched build and couldn’t run away fast enough. I am NOT ashamed that I stayed. I had two children with Autism, no money and nowhere to go. For people who say, “there is always somewhere to go”, I say bullshit. No there isn’t “always” somewhere to go. I tried to leave, I tried to plan. Incoming cable lines? Cut. Cell phones? Smashed. Computer searches for help? Monitor crushed. Computer thrown into the river. Keyboard broken in half. So PLEASE, until you’ve lived every single situation out there…Don’t judge.
I had a choice when he didn’t come back that day. Drunk and out of control, he smashed his beloved classic car into a telephone pole at 100 mph and it exploded, as did my life. I experienced so many emotions that there isn’t even a name for how I felt. It’s not simply “grief” or “loss”; it’s the annihilation of everything you’ve ever known. The devastation is emotional, financial, parental, societal to name just a few things. Everyone is so sorry for you. Where will you go? When are you going back to work? Did you have a big insurance policy? (I didn’t) Someone at the wake actually said, “Don’t worry, you’re still young. You’ll find someone willing to take on both you and the kids. Just give it time.” I’m still dumbfounded about that one. Wow, we were standing next to the casket containing my husband’s corpse and she was suggesting I date.
I was treated with contempt by certain people when, a year later, I started seeking companionship. I was a “slut” and “disgusting” for wanting to go out on a date. (I later received an apology, gee thanks!) I wound up in more than one failed, miserable relationship (not abusive) because I sought out the safest and most docile companions I could, not realizing I was looking for “safe”, not a life partner with equal qualities. There is LASTING DAMAGE from domestic abuse, even when you have your act together and your life looks amazing from the outside. I’m still in therapy five and a half years later.
There can be an inherent loneliness to being a widow, a single mom trying to do it all. I don’t have friends who call and ask me out for lunch. There are no “paint nights” for me. Dating is elusive and scary. I don’t have friends who come over when I need someone to talk to. I have former friends who abandoned me. There are times that I’m grateful that all the pain is over and I’m no longer with him. That in no way is any kind of endorsement that I’m glad he passed away. In another life, I would like to think that I would have found a way to leave and build a life with myself and the kids and get a divorce, finally get some peace. He would have moved on, possibly gotten help for his violent existence and his alcoholism. But that was not to be. He was destined to get in the car that day and leave this world violently…ironic I think.