I Had A Donkey

I came from a Catholic home where talks about my immortal soul were the preferred method for discussing sex before marriage, or rather the sex I should not have before marriage. Eldest of three kids, responsibility was thrust upon me early, often, and it was I that comforted my siblings as my parents screamed and fought. It wasn’t the occasional line crossed during physical discipline, but the verbal abuse that left the deepest scars. At 18, while in college, I married a man out of desperation to escape, guilt over having had sex, and a naive belief that love could conquer all.

He punched me one day and I walked. I slept in my truck at the university parking lot. I rented a motel the next night. On the third I had to go get my things, but he showed up. He begged and I wanted to believe. He never made the mistake of outright hitting me again. He needed someone to control and blame: he needed me. If something flew in my direction, it had been an “accident”. Much like before, though, it was the slippery slope of verbal abuse which trapped me. Time went by, children were born, and I tried everything, but no matter what I did or didn’t do he pointed out my flaws. He isolated me. I lied to myself for eleven years that in time he would mature, mellow, see how much I did for the family. I lied to myself that I still loved him. After child #3 I admitted I was no longer “in love”, but rationalized that love was still there. I just needed to get him to work with me.

One day, that obstinate voice inside me that would not be silenced said, “screw him” and began talking to old friends via the internet. The more of my old self I reclaimed, the more I chose to do things for me, the less capable I became of lying to myself. I saw him begin to treat our daughter in the same dismissive, demeaning manner. I woke up, and once I did, I could not stay married to him. I hated his guts. He was cruel and incapable of real love.

He tried all the old gambits, the guilt trips of how much he’d worked and sacrificed, calling me every demeaning thing in the book, putting the children in the middle…all of it. Having been threatened over the years many times with violence, having seen him in his rages, I lived in terror. He punched holes in the wall, ripped the shed door off, threatened to kill my newly acquired dog, showed up and banged on my doors until I was forced to call the police. The switch from vitriolic rage to smiles and charm turned my stomach and ratcheted the fear and anxiety even higher. No one other than me saw that side of him. His family, “friends” (more like people he maintained acquaintanceship with, but never let them get close), and co-workers all believed his sob story that I was a gold-digging whore bent on destroying him.

The divorce was final in December of ’09, but about that time I realized he wasn’t backing off. He stalked me online. He used my son to spy on me. I’m not sure of all the things he did, but the icing on the cake was walking into my house one day b/c I’d left my cell phone at home and finding him in my bedroom going through my things. I was far too frightened to call the police. I should have. If he went to jail, he’d be fired. If he was fired, the child support I desperately needed to survive would vanish. I filed a restraining order. I attempted to subpoena GPS records (w/o a lawyer, it didn’t work.) Nevertheless, once I quit showing fear, once I decided to fight no matter the cost, he backed down.

There’s a host of other things he did later, but at the end, I won. He has shown his colors to the kids, and the older two see him for the manipulator he is. The youngest does not see. In time she will. It saddens me that it will be a truth she must one day face.

I still have to deal with him regularly, but his power over me has dwindled to nothing, at least that he can see. Every time I must face him, talk to him, challenge him in any way, inside my gut is knotted in fear.

I pity him now, b/c he will never understand love. I’ve forgiven him, because if I don’t, he retains power over me. He truly does not see the harm he caused. The traumas dealt him as a child created a sociopath with no regard for rules unless they suit him and no ability to connect emotionally to other people. Every choice he makes chooses his karma.

I learned that it isn’t always the fist which hurts the most, but rather the verbal digs that strip away a piece of you bit by bit until you aren’t sure who you are anymore. I let go of the indoctrinated ideal of knowing only one man and being married unto death. I learned that I’m stronger than I thought, braver, and worth being loved as I am and that my children needed to learn that lesson by seeing me stand up for myself. It isn’t easy to stand your ground and demand respect when all your life you’ve sacrificed your happiness for others. It takes time to realize it is okay to be angry, to relearn how to argue constructively, to erase the fear, but it can be done.

For all those out there who tell themselves, “but he doesn’t hit me”, listen to that inner voice, the one to whom you feel you must justify his actions. You are worth more.  Love does not demean or degrade. Love does not lay blame. Love never requires justification.

About the Author

Guest AuthorAnonymous writer sharing a story of abuse, escape, and/or recovery.

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18 comments

  1. twindaddy · · Reply

    I’m glad, whoever you are, that you are now free of that tyranny. Bravo to you for standing up for yourself and reclaiming your life. It’s not an easy thing to do, and you are strong for having done so.

  2. “I pity him now because he will never understand love” – that insight and position was what helped me let go of a similar man. The anger got me out, but the anger was eating me alive for a while. When I hit pity and realized the richness life holds for the rest of us, then I felt free. Good work on getting out, DD, and on all you have learned. Kat

  3. “I pity him now, b/c he will never understand love. I’ve forgiven him, because if I don’t, he retains power over me. He truly does not see the harm he caused. The traumas dealt him as a child created a sociopath with no regard for rules unless they suit him and no ability to connect emotionally to other people. Every choice he makes chooses his karma.”

    Very good post, but this especially resonates with me. He does have a responsibility to break the cycle, but because he didn’t I am making sure my son is the first one to do so. Your kids, even if they are hurt now will be better for this because they have you as an example of strength.

    1. You’re right. He does have the responsibility. Abuse is NEVER an excuse to hurt others. I have known many who broke that cycle.
      I will say that he chose to avoid disciplining the children b/c he recognized in himself the likelihood that he might do exactly as his parents had done. Similarly, he moved away from physical violence with me, and used that as justification, not just to me, but to himself as well, that he was a “good” man. He tried in some ways, but fell so very short.

  4. prayingforoneday · · Reply

    I got your message Via Email xx
    I need to share a story with you here, with a Happy Ending.
    http://prayingforoneday.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/growing-up-with-a-criminal-family/
    As a young kid I went through things kids shouldn’t, I seen things I could not allow my kids to even think (All 4 of them) We share a story you and I, although different. When I met my Partner Dawn 22 years ago, I ended up being a Dad at 17 years old, Dawn was 16 and she was from a posh family where there was no harm, no love, just nothing. We bailed and got our own house. We both bailed you and I. The blog above tells my story. I am guest blogging MORE of what I went through as a kid, then to adulthood. I seen my Mum get kicked, punched, stabbed, raped, and I seen other woman have the same done to them and worse. I looked through doors I shouldn’t have been. I was SHOWERED with love and money as a kid, it was to keep me happy and make me shut up and not say to people why my Mum was in hospital, had black eyes and worse, I was THAT CHILD like your kids.
    I am now a man, with a family, kids, home, mortgage, car payments, etc, etc…If I was a violent man, would I use “My past” as an excuse? no, I think when you go through bad stuff as a kid you SHOULD go the opposite way. You say your ex had a bad childhood? The he should have known better. I stop my car now, today, yesterday if I see a man hitting a woman, if a friend of mine was and has happened lifts his hands to his partner, Dawns friend, he has to then deal with me.

    Let me just say this Mel, I know it won’t and can’t happen, but if I lived near you, your “Ex” would be missing a kneecap and more. He would be beaten into a new day of his life, perhaps a new week. There is no excuse for what he did, there was no excuse for what my Father did to my Mother, there never is an excuse and “Sorry” was just a word to me for many years..
    I am very defensive over Woman, Some woman think I am hitting on them, I don’t ever, that leads to hurt. I just am programmed now to protect woman and I do. With you being so far away all I can do is tell you there is another side to the coin, another good story at the end of evil..

    I am sooo sorry you went through this. And your EX is a lucky man I was not in your area, I would have cleared him out of your life in under 1 minute and that would have been with words. As men like him don’t hit men like me, you will have to believe me here, they hit woman, they are scared of REAL men.

    You are over it now (I hope) If I could jump on a plane and have a “Chat” with your Ex, trust me Mel, I would get even for you. And make sure he understood what a man is and what a man should do, and that in-spite of what I went through with my “Criminal Family” that still exists that I turned my back on, and all the damage that was done to me that has left me in AGONY every day of my life. I live for the moment now. It took time, but I got there. We all do pal.. xx

    I had to let you know this Mel. You ain’t alone.
    I just wish I could email him or call him or meet him. But that would only make things hard for you..So I am just talking here.

    I am sorry

    Hugs xx

    1. Thank you, Shaun. This post isn’t my story, though it rings true to much of what so many abused partners experience.
      This post is actually a guest post from someone who wanted to share her story, but not her name. She’s a strong woman who is speaking out to comfort me and others who have experienced and are experiencing the horrors of abuse.

      1. prayingforoneday · · Reply

        Yeah I seen that after I posted it and figured “Well it’s said now” Next time I will pay attention, promise 🙂

        And yeah it was for anyone who has had this experience. Sorry Guest Blogger… oooppps… xx But I say the same, sorry this happened to you..

        Shaun

        1. The sentiment is appreciated. While a part of me shares that gut-reaction of, “he needs a taste of his own medicine”, in truth, he had it and then some. It destroyed the innocent child and created an individual who will walk through life with only the most shallow of connections to others, one who is mired in fear and insecurities. I walked before he could do irreparable harm to either me or our children, which is why I can say w/all honesty, I hope something opens his eyes one day.

          1. prayingforoneday · · Reply

            Well done you for being so brave and honest. We all make mistakes, part of the Human condition. I could share a LIFE story with you. In-fact I will be, I am guest blogging for Mel early July on this subject…

            Power to you..
            xx

  5. Wow such courage to stand up to him and reclaim you life. I hope this finds you with much happiness now. 🙂

    1. I’ve had my ups and downs, but yes, my life is full of love and happiness.

  6. I’m truly sorry for all the abuse you lived through at the same time.

    1. As the song goes, “What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.”
      Thank you.

  7. Thank you for sharing, and I thank God for your freedom. Go well, and be blessed.
    Faith xx

speak loudly, donkeys are sleeping

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