How Pamela Found Out She Was Being Abused
At first my husband would get angry and shout at me and call me names. Sometimes he would walk very fast up to me like he was going to hit me and then just stand there, staring down at me breathing heavily. He would bang doors and cabinets around until I was jumpy and then hit something to make a loud noise and laugh at me when I jumped and then get angry when I would tell him to stop.
I never knew what state he would be in upon coming home. He would turn things around and say I was the one abusing him, and lie to his family about me. He posted a video on YouTube and commented “cant do anything” and showed it to friends. He finally progressed to throwing things around and at me.
My eyes and ears were opened when I witnessed him verbally abuse our son and twist things around to his advantage to make my son feel responsible for the abuse. He had done the same exact things to me. I knew my son wasn’t responsible and I defended him. That’s when I realized I hadn’t been responsible either.
Words Pamela Chose to Describe Her Abusive Experience
Fear, Confusion, Hopelessness
Pamela’s Story of Abuse
I am scared to death, but today I am publicly breaking my silence. I’ve broken it privately to some already and found it was the wrong people to talk to. I received typical answers like
- “Are you sure you’re just not being dramatic?”
- “Well, you know how he is.”
- And perhaps the most disheartening, “I went through the same thing with his dad. I’ll help you, but only if the two of you learn to work it out and stay together for the kids.”
I will never understand how someone who went through the same thing would want someone to stay in that type of situation. I felt stupid for even talking about it and started to believe, once again, that I was just over reacting.
A moment of clarity came to me a few weeks ago. There was an incident on a fishing trip where my husband started screaming at my son for playing with a stick in the water and scaring the fish away. I stepped in and he started to scream at me, but threw a rock beside my head instead. He explained he was just angry and was tossing it in the river. He never throws things directly at me, but still, I was standing at the edge of the river right where he threw the rock.
What made this time different was that I was defending my son and wasn’t giving in. He had told my son it was his fault that he had screamed at him, and grabbed him, and had gotten up in his face. I was very angry and told my husband “He didn’t do anything to make you do what you did. You could’ve handled it different!” My husband shouted “Don’t you start your (explicative)”. It was then that the rock flew past me and we all went silent. It was also then that I realized I hadn’t done anything to make him react that way either. I had only defended my son from being attacked, shamed and blamed.
It wasn’t just me being stupid, or crazy, or wanting to be a “goody two shoes” so I would look good and my husband would look bad. I hadn’t done anything wrong. My gut feeling had become reality. I was definitely being abused, and it was getting worse. I took the kids off to a grassy part and played games with them the rest of the time and mostly stayed silent. In my head though, I was thinking “This has to stop. It’s not just me anymore. This has gone too far.”
When I got home, I got on the Internet and started reading. As I read stories from others, I saw myself, my husband and my family in all of them. I started thinking back on all the different incidents that had happened and felt a depressing sickness.
One of the most memorable incidents is three days after having my daughter, my husband got angry with me because I was complaining about being sore. He didn’t try to comfort me. Instead he said that it couldn’t hurt that bad, and told me to quit lying around and do something. I told him I didn’t feel like it and he grew silent, just breathing heavily and sighing whenever I would move around a bit and groan from pain.
He kept on and on about wanting us to play horse shoes and I finally gave in to get him to stop banging things around and slamming doors. I also thought “Well, maybe he’s right.” While we were playing, I had bent over to get a horse shoe and he slapped me on the bottom where my stitches were and almost knocked me to the ground. I got angry and started crying because it had hurt, and he got angry with me for crying.
He claimed he had forgotten about my stitches. He said he was playing and told me, “That didn’t hurt you. I barely touched you.” He also got mad later when I had to call for different pain medicine because my stitches were infected. He said I was just like his mom, and gave me a sob story about her hopping from doctor to doctor, even though the doctor I had called was my OBGYN that had delivered my daughter a few days before.
I felt guilty for getting the medicine, and snuck into the bathroom to take it. I was ashamed to take them in front of him. In my mind I believed I was a drug addicted sorry excuse of a new mother who was weak and couldn’t handle a little bit of pain. How could I handle a new baby? I felt like I had let my husband down. After that, infected stitches and all, I was the one who hand washed the cloth diapers that had piled up since my daughter had been born, and hung them out to dry while my husband slept on the couch.
I thought I was making it up to him, proving my worth. In reality, I now see that I had been set up and manipulated. My thinking was already foggy at that point.
There are probably a thousand more stories I could tell, and I probably will at some point in time. This is just a beginning. My focus right now is surviving and eventually getting out. I’m also working on taking care of myself, instead of trying to cure my husband. I’m learning how to keep my mind untwisted and remembering that “my version” of how things happened are valid.
I am currently reading all I can on crazymaking (which he uses a lot of) and how to deal with that. I now have learned some of the signs to watch for when I am being set up. I am learning to stay one step ahead and how to distance myself mentally and physically. I am learning how to reach out to the right people. I am still struggling with feelings of shock and horror over how I have been systematically broken down over the years and blinded to the truth.
My husband is very cunning, and to most outsiders is one of the nicest and most caring people you could ever meet. He even had a Christian web page where he offered people advice, help and a “friend to talk to when others won’t listen”. But he is also the one who at a family dinner joked about how he would never hit a woman “because that leaves evidence,” and slapped me on the back and said “don’t have to hit ya, isn’t that right?” while laughing. I remember standing there in horror because I realized then that he KNEW what he was doing, but I just faked a smile, and pretended it wasn’t happening in hopes of not causing any trouble.
I still at times struggle with whether or not I am wrong about being abused. Then I realize I wouldn’t be peeping out the window every two minutes, afraid he will come home and find me writing this, if I weren’t being abused. Deep down I know the truth.
But I am reaching out, asking for help, finding counseling. A journal of past and current incidents serves as a deprogramming tool for me. If I feel a trap I run to the journal to remind myself of the truth. Also, two web sites have become my survival manual. I use them daily. Help is out there. I do feel empty at times. I am exhausted. But I am no longer helpless or hopeless. Breaking my silence has hopefully started me on my road to freedom.