|I have a story to
share with those who can relate to the feeling of no self-worth, no self
confidence...the feeling of no longer having an identity...
I was 22 yrs. old when I married him. We dated on and off for 4
yrs. The funny thing is, I thought after dating him for that
amount of time, that I really KNEW him. I was blinded by the fact
thinking getting married would somehow "make it better."
It only made it worse. While we were dating, he would call me
names for no reason and then say he was joking. He told me "how
stupid I was" for not recognizing his joking; that I could not take
a joke and that I had no sense of humor. I had to quit talking to
all of my guy friends because of his possessiveness. One guy in
particular, Jack, now the love of my life and my soul mate, tried to
tell me what I was getting into. But I wouldn't listen. I
didn't see the bad side that everyone else saw.
After a couple years of dating, I had finally had it. I could no
longer take the name calling, shoving, and pushing. We broke up. After
10 months, we got back together. I thought he had changed.
Actually he did change: his abuse got worse, much worse. Soon, I
no longer knew who I was; I had no identity; I was had lost the bright,
bubbly personality that everyone liked. I could not be
"me." I became who HE wanted me to be. The sad thing is
that I married him 2 years later. I thought that getting married
would change things. I thought somehow my life would turn out to
be happy. I was wrong.
We bought a house before we got married and moved out of the small town
we both grew up in. I thought I really wanted to "get away
from it all." The fact is, I was trying to hide from it all.
After only a few months of being married, he became violent towards
objects. One night, in one of our endless arguments, I locked him out of
the bedroom. I wouldn't open the door because I didn't want to talk to
him. As I lay on the bed crying, begging him to admit it was
"his fault" for the situation of the moment (which it really
was), he snapped and punched the door. Is this how love was really
supposed to be? At the time, I thought so.
As the months went by, I slid into a deep depression. I would
visit my parents on weekends, 25 minutes away from where we lived.
He hated my mother. I remember her telling me NOT to marry him. On
several occasions they had "words," and it got so bad he
wouldn't go with me to visit them anymore. He would visit with his
parents, and I would stay with mine. He constantly put my mother
down and call her names like "b - - - -", just like he called
me. He would say that "I was just like her..." What was
that supposed to mean? What was wrong with my mother?
Absolutely nothing! The real reason he didn't like her was because
she could see through him, and he knew it. So, he found any and
every reason to put her down and disrespect her - in front of me. I
never told my parents about the abuse in our marriage, but they were
worried. They noticed I was no longer "Cara." I actually
had began to think that "this was what I deserved." My
once-bright light was fading more and more...
On AOL one day, I found a long-lost friend's email address. It
belonged to Jack, the guy I mentioned earlier, whom I had been best
friends with until I started dating "Mr. Verbal Abuse."
We began talking again. Everyday we wrote each other. I slowly opened up
to him about what was going on in my life. He helped me to see
that the life I was living wasn't what life was supposed to be about. My
life was in fact, NOT "what I deserved." I'll never
forget the day I made my decision to leave. He came home from work and I
told him I wanted out. I couldn't take anymore. I knew that
there was a better life out there for me. I knew I could be happy
again. I just had to end what was bringing me down.
I filed for divorce 2 weeks later. My parents were very supportive,
and to this day they still are. I'll never forget the looks on
their faces the day they helped me move my things out. They had
not been out to visit us in almost 1 year because I didn't want them to
see what was happening. I made excuses every time they mentioned
about coming to visit. Now I was through making excuses.
They saw the hole he punched through the bedroom door, they saw the back
door he knocked down, they saw one of the kitchen chairs he destroyed
when he threw it across the room. They finally saw. They finally knew.
I live with my parents now. I may get my own apartment, a place to call
"my own," but not yet. I am still recovering. At 24 years old,
I no longer feel like I am 40. I have friends and I am slowly but
surely getting my identity back. I am surviving and thriving.
I know that it's OK to be me. Leaving was the hardest thing I have
ever done before in my life but I DID IT! I finally got the
courage to get out before it was too late.
The life I am living now is the
life I deserve. I am with Jack, my best friend from high school.
We have been dating for several months. I have never been happier.
My parents both love him, and there are no "secrets." He
comes over to visit - and he loves my mother! I know in my heart
that one day we will get married and it will be "real."
I will finally know what it is like to be happily married with no
strings attached. I believe we are soul mates, and the best part
is that he loves me for who I am. This is what life is all about:
love, happiness, and respect. These are things I never thought I would
find. Little did I know life was right in front of me; all I had
to do was reach out and take it.
I hope there are others out there who will read my story and "see
the light" before it's too late. Remember, abuse is NOT
"what you deserve." No matter how badly you hurt, you
only will hurt more by staying in an abusive relationship. Love is
not about not knowing who you are, or about having to give up your
identity. It is not crying yourself to sleep every night. It
is not wishing and hoping that "it will get better."
Abuse will only get worse. Get help, talk to a friend, get
counseling. It will save your life and yes, your life is WORTH
living! Make the change for yourself. You are put on this earth to
live YOUR life. Make the best of it and live it for YOU. A true love
will respect you and love you for who you are. He or she will not
try to change you or hurt you. You will become a stronger person
by accepting the love and respect you DESERVE... -Cara
excellent advice, very well said. You got it right now Lady! Good luck
to you and thank you for sharing your success story. -Dr. Irene