Leslie’s Signs of Being Abused
[My story of abuse ending began when] I told my best friend about some of the things that were happening regularly in my household and she recommended I take some time to meet with her mom, who worked in a center for non-violent communication.
Her mom spent an hour discussing things with me and explained the cycle of abuse and what to recognize. I stayed a little longer though, but the abuse continued to escalate despite couples therapy and my personal counseling.
Leslie’s Emotional Signs of Abuse
Fear, Loneliness, Weakness
Leslie’s Story of Abuse
Any given day I could wake up to Prince Charming or to unhappy and going-to-ruin-your-day-and-
Every week or so my husband decided to freak out about something. It could be money after one of his big shopping sprees at Guitar Center – “Why did you buy so many organic groceries!” It could be my clothes – “Wives aren’t supposed to dress that way!” It could be my cooking – “You don’t cook meals, you just throw food on a plate!”
I started to feel like I was always doing something wrong. With one year old and two year old boys, I was terrified to leave. What would happen to me? Where would I go? I was a stay-at-home mom. Who will take care of our kids?
He spent a good deal of time claiming no one would ever believe my objections to his behaviors in our home. When I finally forced him to leave, many people didn’t.
Luckily I had my brother and parents to support me. They also witnessed some of his less-than-attractive moments and believed me because the experienced it first-hand.
My husband is a local celebrity musician and well-respected by so many people; of course, so many people who don’t know him at all. He was severely abused as a child and told me that since he wasn’t hitting me with a chair or beating my face, he simply wasn’t being abusive. This was wrong!
On one occasion we were traveling out of the country. Some friends had a wedding and we were out dancing and having fun with approximately 80 people from our residing town. He decided to go home early and expected me to join.
After being pregnant for 18 of 21 months I refused and told him I wanted to stay with our closest friends and have a good time. Our kids were not with us and it was my first opportunity to have any kind of adult break. He told me I must return with him because, “What would people think?!” He told me wives are supposed to leave when their husbands do, but being a strong, independent woman I absolutely refused. These types of refusals made him irate.
Not more than 30 minutes after his departure I sustained an injury that broke part of my front tooth. All of our friends were there to witness the accident (caused by another individual in our group) and one my immediate statements following the incident was, “He is going to kill me.”
One of his best friends asked if I wanted to go back to the hotel with her. I was terrified to go back and stayed out with friends for the remainder of the evening, avoiding what was going to transpire after my return. I held my head up high and spent the evening out dancing with the huge group of friends in town.
When I finally reached the hotel, I woke him up to tell him about what occurred. He told me it wasn’t a big deal but that in the future I should just listen to him and come back when he says.
The next morning we attended the wedding and he was in the party. Everyone who witnessed the previous evening’s mishap commended him for having a “cool” wife who was so laid back about the injury. (I didn’t get mad at the offender, it was an accident.) They also told him that if anyone could pull off a missing tooth and still look attractive, it was his wife.
Later he approached me during the reception and told me I was a disaster. He told me he was “fucking sick of hearing about how wonderful” I was and how so many people thought highly about me.
Didn’t I understand it was HIS friends’ wedding and not another opportunity to have some publicity stunt for myself? He said I was selfish and disrespectful for not listening to him in the first place about leaving early. It was always “[my] way or the highway” and he was just getting dragged along for the ride.
Later at dinner he proceeded to tell embarrassing stories about my experiences through pregnancy and giving the image that I’m pathetic, in general. He was always a funny guy so people were laughing, totally unaware of the maliciousness behind it. When he continued on and on, people stopped laughing. I kept asking him to stop and he would just look and me and say, “What? You’re embarrassed about the truth?”
He continued, for the remaining days of the trip to teeter between ignoring me and chewing me out verbally about trying to steal the show with the tooth incident.
As we continue to make our way through an ugly, two-year long divorce, he continues to bring this vacation up, most recently in court documents. My husband has threatened to take away my children for years.
He told our mutual friends I left him because I was having an affair. He would tell me I deserved to have what I wanted (love with someone else). He threatened to bury me and even prevented me from getting work by asking friends of ours not to hire me specifically.
It took SO MUCH COURAGE to stand up to this man. I would have never believed I could do it and hearing other people’s stories has helped me tremendously to see that what I was experiencing was not unique or my fault.
Abusers are totally inauthentic and predictable with their tactics. The more I learn about abuse, the easier it is to recognize and remove myself. And for this I am so much happier. Life is so much healthier with that understanding.