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When I met my husband I was so overcome with love. I was 20 years old. I thought I knew EVERYTHING. I thought I had life figured out. Man was I wrong!
My husband swept me off my feet. He was kind, charming, loving, romantic. He took care of me and made me feel like I was the most important person on this planet. I had never been treated like this before and thought, well this is it! This is how you know he’s the one! We married 6 months after we started dating. My husband said he couldn’t wait. He needed me to be his forever and always. At the time I thought it was so romantic.
As time went on he slowly changed. So slow in fact that four years later without realizing it, I was in a very abusive relationship. Mainly mental and verbal abuse. But some physical. My husband slowly started cutting out my friends and family. Saying things like “they are so negative” “why do you allow them in our lives? They never help us.” “Your friends are so mean” all things that were NOT true. But somehow I believed him. I started staying home, canceling plans. Declining family dinners. All because the love of my life was looking out for my best interest.
Then it was work. I couldn’t get a job because I needed to be a stay at home mom. Him and I both had a child going into our marriage and then we had one of our own. So we had three kids under the age of 3 and I was to be their everything. Which again, I was all over! I loved the thought of always being home with my kids. So I didn’t think about it. But then I realized that it was being used against me. When my husband and I would fight. Which seemed daily. He would say things to hurt me. One of them was how without him I would be nothing because I didn’t bring in an income. I felt that was such an unfair thing to say. He asked me to stay home, I did, then it was thrown in my face!? But after every fight he would calm down and come beg me for forgiveness. Tell me I was his everything and that was the end of it.
The romance ended, the kindness ended. The man I fell in love with vanished. I was in a relationship with someone I didn’t know.
Divorce wasn’t an option for me. I wanted to stay with my kids, I wanted to be a good wife. But the main reason I thought it wasn’t an option was because I had no money, no family and no friends. I was completely isolated.
But things got worse fast. The mind games got worse. Then the physical abuse started when his anger got worse. If I defied him in anyway I would be punished. He said, “You're my wife, it’s my right.” This sentence made me cringe. We are living in 2015 and that’s his mentality!? Far from the man I married.
We started going to counseling together. But I was always prepped on what I could and could not talk about. Again, this seemed off to me. But I just wanted to fix us. So I went along with it all. Again, this all happened so slowly that I ended up in a place where I didn’t know I was headed, I didn’t know how I got there and I sure as hell didn’t know how to get out.
I used to wake up ever morning to my husband saying “the kids are up, go tell them to be quiet.”
Why didn’t I get to sleep in? Why couldn’t he go get them? I would get up and go tend to them. Make breakfast, clean the house, do laundry, all of it. Everything on a mom's list, and then some! I would do it. All while my husband slept.
When he was awake it was worse. I couldn’t do anything right. He would yell, swear, storm off, leave for days at a time. He was constantly drinking. But over years of being together, he had slowly ingrained into me that I wasn’t worth anything. No one would want me, I had no money, no where to go. I was positive he was right. He had isolated me from my friends and family. I felt so alone. I felt that if I left I wouldn’t survive. So I tried everyday to do anything I could to make it a tolerable day. It was no way to live. I was sad, all the time. Beat down. Mentally exhausted. Not only from being a young mom and trying to stay afloat in life. But from the mental games that my husband loved to play with me.
I tried to leave a few times. Each time I panicked that I would be alone forever. It was irrational attachment. My husband was a sinking ship. But I was actively choosing to be on that ship instead of floating on my own. I had no confidence in myself. Or what I could offer others.
In the spring of 2016, I had finally had enough. He left to stay with his parents on the premise that we were going to take a break. But I knew he wouldn’t step foot into my home again. It was hard. I won’t lie, twice I begged for him to come back. I look back on those moments and I feel so sad for the person I had become.
But I managed to make it through. I lived. I kept breathing. I survived. It didn’t end me. In fact it jump started me.
I never want my son to treat a women the way my ex husband treated me, and I never want my daughter to be treated the way I was. I didn’t want them growing up thinking that’s how a relationship should be.
Turns out I am wanted. I am sexy. I am valuable. I have a wonderful career and make a great living. I am with a man who respects me, lets me know daily how loved I am. Not only with his words but with his actions. I was to young to be living in a world where I was constantly walking on egg shells. If I had known how happy I could have been. I wouldn’t have been so scared to leave my marriage in the first place.
It’s hard, and the unknown is terrifying. But I promise, you will survive.