How Linda Found Out She Was Being Abused
I did a Google search and learned that I was being verbally abused. At first I wasn’t sure if I was enduring abuse because my husband never hit me, but after reading some books I knew.
Words Linda Chose to Describe Her Abusive Experience
Helplessness, Anger, Frustration
Linda’s Story of Abuse
I met my second husband in October 2006 through a dating website. We talked on the phone and through e-mail for a week and then met at a mall and had dinner together. I had been divorced from Husband #1 for a little over a year, and had dated 4 – 5 guys over the past year and had decided that I’d try once more before giving up on dating for a while.
At first, I thought my Husband was nice, but was in no rush to get into a relationship, especially since he had 3 daughters, each from a different woman. He was very, very easy to talk to in person and on the phone, and I’m surprised to even say this, but convinced me to let me bring my 2 children on our second date. Up until that point, I never let anyone I dated or male friends meet my children, but he had a way of making me feel comfortable and so I stepped outside of my comfort zone.
After a month of getting to know each other, we decided to get serious about exclusively dating only each other. I met his Sister, and 2 of his daughters 2 months in and things went ok. Eight months after we met, he told me he wanted us to get married. I was flattered, but a little scared.
Two months prior (April) he and I had our first intense fight because he had slight lab abnormalities after a doctor’s visit and went on a month excursion of trying to figure out why. I am a mid-level healthcare provider and knew he’d be ok, but he asked question after question about his situation andaccused me of not caring. After another visit to his doctor, he calmed down about it.
During that time I also remember him flipping out because I wasn’t readily available to help him update his resume for his current job that was going through some changes. I didn’t answer his phone calls fast enough and he went off on me about it. I was at home helping my 2 small children, and at the time thought he just needed to get over it. But I was deep in love with him by then and we began to plan a beach wedding.
Eleven months into the relationship he heavily convinced me to allow him to move in with me and my children. I was so nervous, but prayed about it and in he moved. We started pre-marital counseling and after the first session, the counselor told us she thought we were fine, were headed in the right direction, and wanted us to get on the same page with finances and how to raise and discipline the children.
I felt good about things, but then all of a sudden, he was feeling a lot of doubts and wasn’t sure he wanted to marry me. Then I started thinking about the times that he forced me to go play basketball with him and my children and the time he belittled me for taking a long time at the grocery store when I was supposed to meet him. I definitely felt that I never had such a connection with a man, but I also wondered why we had such intense verbal fights. I was completely thrown off track and didn’t know what was going on.
Then that Christmas holiday, he and I had several intense fights where he talked to me very disrespectfully while he was in the car to pick up his 3 daughters that lived out of state, and where we argued about how I interact with his daughters. He told me he was going to move out after New Year’s, but then called our marriage counselor, and we had an emergency session with her on a Saturday morning.
It stopped us from fighting, but I definitely felt betrayed that he moved in with me under the pretense that we’d be getting married, and we weren’t going to get married. We had tentatively planned a beach wedding in January or February, but February came and went, and no mention of a wedding. By March I was full of resentment, we were fighting a lot and I was ready for him to move out. He knew how serious I was and begged me to spend a night with him out of town.
He apologized, we agreed to work things out, we signed papers to have a house built, and then in June we got married. In July, the control fiend in him kicked in with a vengeance. He got angry with me because I made an appointment for an interview without consulting him. I sensed (correctly so) that things were changing on the job I had at that time, and sent out resumes to look for a new job.
He told me I was supposed to interrupt the woman setting the appointment with me to let her know that I couldn’t set the appointment without discussing it with my Husband first. I said to myself, What the Hell? I am a very independent, educated woman, and what he expected me to do sounded so foreign to how I operate. I couldn’t figure out when or where he thought I needed so lean on him so much, and couldn’t use the sense that GOD gave me to schedule an interview.
Anyway, I went to the interview, a month later had a second interview, and ended up taking the job offered to me. Then life got really stressful for both of us. I was on the verge of changing jobs, he was on the verge of changing jobs, and we were in the middle of building a house. The stress of dealing with a new job and drama with a mortgage company was terrible. Then he started yelling as loud as he could at me for no reason, any reason, in front of the kids, or with the kids right outside the door of the room we were in. I felt like I was living in Hell.
At times I was afraid of him, afraid he’d hurt me or my children, had to sleep with my children as the three of us cried ourselves to sleep, and 4 months into a marriage, 2 months into a new job, and on the verge of closing on house with a 30 year mortgage with him. I was so, so confused. So with prayer, I held it together, and we moved into the house a month later.
Then it was Christmas, and he was not used to spending as much on his children as I was on mine. Oh, I’ve failed to mention that I earn twice as much money as him. So, he and I went Christmas shopping, and he was trying to control what I bought for my children. I later bought more things for them and hid them in the house. On Christmas Eve, he and I began to put things under the Christmas tree and he got livid and went into a rage because I bought more things. He trapped me in our walk-in closet and wouldn’t let me out for what seemed like an hour, but was probably 5 minutes. Never in my life had something like that happened to me.
I was ready for a divorce. I didn’t understand everything that was going on, but I knew it was wrong. I felt like a prisoner in my own house and was scared for my life, let alone my children’s lives on Christmas Eve, the night before we celebrate the birth of Jesus. I felt numb and didn’t know what to do.
For the next 5 months I walked on eggshells and never knew what would set him off. I tried any and everything I knew to keep the peace. We had intense yelling matches, he trapped me in or out of rooms in our house, and by Mother’s Day I was ready for a divorce and for him to leave…….but we were stuck in a new house with a new 30 year mortgage when the economy was tanking. My children and I had been traumatized and I told him he had to leave. He refused.
Again in April, he went on a 2 week rampage, yelling at me for any and everything under the sun. For the first time I hated him, felt like he was the Devil, and wanted him out of my life, and out of my children’s lives. He and I had another session with the marriage counselor that I suppose was helpful for him, but all I wanted was to get away from him and for him to leave.
We celebrated our first wedding anniversary and I was numb. For the next 6 months I was filled with ANGER, RESENTMENT, and DISGUST for my Husband. He stopped the obvious yelling and control and slowly started to be nice to me. I felt cheated that he misrepresented himself, I was angry at myself for marrying him, I was angry at myself for exposing my children to another loser, and on and on and on.
Then in December I told him we needed to get help or get a divorce. We decided to try marriage counseling again (even though I knew it wouldn’t help because he had personal issues to deal with before we could work on our relationship), and we agreed to go to a weekend marriage retreat. I decided to let go of some of the anger and to really try to make things work.
In February (5 months ago) we went to the retreat and both of us had significant healing individually and together. He stopped trying to control me, he hadn’t yelled at me since June of the previous year, and we wiped the slate clean for a fresh start.
Now, I’m at a point of feeling stuck again, but without so much anger. He wanted to be the man of the house, but I am still the one handling the majority of household affairs. Instead of arguing about topics that we can’t ever resolve (money, discipline of kids, sex) we just don’t talk about them.
I still don’t feel comfortable with him being close to me and rarely if ever initiate any intimacy. I truly have forgiven him, but don’t know how to heal from the experience. I feel like my children and I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and are having troubles healing. Sometimes I feel guilty because he has been nice to me for a year now on the surface, but the same underlying problems are still there, we just ignore them.
I know I have every right to divorce him after what I’ve been through, but that’s easier said than done.I truly believe that GOD can repair any marriage, and continue to pray, but something in me just can’t move forward and work to re-build the marriage. A part of me can’t understand how badly he treated me before and won’t accept that it won’t happen again.
I am certain that he will have to continue to deal with horrible events from his childhood, his military experience, and am convinced that he has a personality disorder. So that’s the story. I’ll continue to pray for guidance from above and let go of trying to plan and know which direction my life will go in. I have to trust in the LORD that he’ll order my steps in the right direction.