|Dear Dr. Irene:
I am one of the lucky ones. I got out of a bad situation that surely
would have become worse. I made the right decision to leave "the love
of my life" and have gone on. This decision, by far, has been the
most difficult and heart-wrenching one that I ever had to make, but was
well worth it.
This is a classic case of a girl who meets the man of her dreams. What
I didn’t know at the time was, happily ever after did not include the
I met the man of my dreams at my high school reunion. After being a
single mom and raising my 4-year-old twin daughters while going to
college, he was the sight for sore eyes that I had waited for. He was
kind, sincere, loving, thoughtful, great with my kids, and everything I
had wished and prayed for. We were engaged after a short period of time
and things were wonderful. The trouble began after a bout of depression
that I had been going through due to a hormonal imbalance from my oral
contraceptives. It was then that, instead of being there for me to lean
on, he was there to push me further down. I could not understand what I
could have done to make this man who had treated me like a queen to - all
of the sudden - treat me with no respect. I though at the time he was
having a hard time seeing me not be as strong as I had when we first met.
He began to verbally abuse me and make me feel very inferior. He once told
me that he couldn’t believe how weak I had become. All of this was
making my depression worse. Instead of helping myself feel better, I was
trying to convince him that I was ok and we then started counseling. After
going a few times as a couple, we started going on our own. In one of my
sessions after telling the counselor that he had again called me a
"bitch" for something very minute, he (the counselor) stood up
and left the room. I was wondering "what in the world?" he came
back with some handouts on abuse. He then looked me in the eyes and said
that this man was abusing me. I was so shocked. I had not believed it, nor
did I want to believe it. We shortly thereafter bought my childhood home
from my parents. The abuse got even worse. The day that we were moving his
dining set out of his house, he shoved me and then pinned me up against
the cabinets with the heavy oak table just because I couldn’t lift it up
as high on my end as he did on his. He started breaking things around the
house, calling me horrible, filthy names (in front of my children). On one
occasion he told my daughters, who at this time had never even known why
their biological father wasn’t around, that he did not want them just
like their real dad didn’t. The abuse kept on until one night he grabbed
the girls by their hair and slammed their heads together (like you see in
a wrestling move or on the Three Stooges) hard. They ended up with large
"goose-eggs" and cried the rest of the night. He constantly made
me feel inferior because he bought the house for me, bought me a $7,000
engagement ring, bought me a brand new mini van. All I wanted was that man
I fell in love with to come out from where ever he was hiding and love me
One day after months of trying to get him to feel better about himself
and come back to earth, I left.
I left my own house (that I had lived in for 30 years) to a man who
drove me out. I did not want to leave, but as he also rubbed in my face, I
could not afford a house payment that large, raise two girls, and also
enjoy a few incidentals such as "eating". I had never felt so
much pain in my life, I prayed for strength daily to help me and to help
me get my children through this. They were very angry at me for leaving,
not understanding what type of man he was, what type of father he would
have been, and not understanding what kind of women they would grow up to
be and who they would marry.
My wedding was supposed to have been this past weekend. I got through
the day much better that I thought I would have. I miss my house terribly,
but am planning on moving into my own house soon. My memories of my
childhood are in my heart…not in my old house. He has to this day (5
months later) not apologized for anything he has done. I think he doesn’t
realize that he is responsible for my leaving. From what I hear, he is on
his way in a new relationship. I truly wish him well. I am unable to turn
off my feelings of love. I have, in my heart, forgiven him, since he doesn’t
even realize he did anything wrong. I am truly a better person for going
through all of this. I know that a better plan waits for me out there
somewhere and I know that "the third time will be the charm".
This by far, has been the most difficult decision I have ever made, but
the best one as well. I have cried a lot of tears, but they have also been
very healing as well. My friend once told me "No man is ever worth
your tears, and if you find one who is, he will never make you cry".
I took my beautiful engagement set and had a necklace made and with the
setting, had the girls’ birthstone (sapphire) put in. All of this was a
gift to me. Because I am worth it.
I hope that anyone out there
who is being abuse will get some help. Because no matter how much
it hurts to walk away, the abuse hurts much worse. -Caitlin
Thank you for
your inspiring story.
with abusive people is that they don't show you their colors until
you're hooked. Your fiancée was obviously one of those guys who needed
you to BE THERE. When you went though your own difficulties - a
natural part of life - he got MAD! How could you do this to Him?
How can He possibly ever trust a woman who is not perfectly ready,
willing, and able to care for Him at all times? How dare you get
Bravo to you for
getting out. This guy has a lot of work to do. Your situation would only
have gotten worse and worse over time, as his unresolved needs
inevitably led him to raise the stakes higher and higher.
My best regards,
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, August 03,
1999 4:23 PM
story was helpful to others. If I can give anybody advice, it
is to keep going and pray for strength. The best decisions
that we can make for ourselves are not always the easiest, but if
they are the right ones...they certainly will pay off. I have
met a great person, who is first and foremost a great friend.
He is supportive of me, considerate, and most importantly...respects
me for "me". I had dated some other
"winners" and could see right through to the signs.
So, if anything positive has come from my abusive relationship it is
that I am more aware of these warning signs. Also, I am better
able to decide exactly what I want and need from a relationship.
Not that anything or anybody in life will be perfect (that's what
"healthy" compromise is for) but things that are important
are truly evident. I am by no means an expert (I am only experienced
in my own life) but I feel that the basis of any healthy
relationship is friendship, trust, respect, honesty, and with all of
those things the attraction that may be there will be even stronger.
I am so glad that I actually made that step in leaving my abusive
partner. Sure, all of my dreams were lost, but not forever.
I now have new dreams and with my strength, they will be so much
better than before....because I know that I can do it!
Best of luck and
lots of strength to anyone who is wrestling with making this
decision. True love is based on mutual respect....not based on
the "good times" because in true love, even the bad
times are spent together and love grows.
Yea Caitlin! Way to go! -Dr.
(Ps. Thanks for the update; I will
add it to your story)