Trace’s Story of Abuse

How Trace Found Out She Was Being Abused

I actually found a list. It said something like – Are You In An Abusive Relationship? When I realized I fit the list in almost every category, I decided I had to remove myself. It took years but I did it. We divorced in 1995 but had a separation first. He didn’t see how he abused me.

Words Trace Chose to Describe Her Abusive Experience

Terror, Low self-esteem, Anxiety

Trace’s Story of Abuse

 He controlled the money, what I bought, who I could see, even when I could speak. I wasn't allowed to find a job the first three years we were married.My first husband Dave was so controlling I did not see it at first. I had no idea. He controlled the money, what I bought, who I could see, even when I could speak. I wasn’t allowed to find a job the first three years we were married.

Dave was very good at making money but a very insecure person, deeply terrified of abandonment. Dave’s mother had abandoned him so he was raised by her parents. He was defined by this experience so he constantly talked about it.

When Kathy, a first cousin, met Dave, she told my aunt Betty I was being abused. She’d only guessed. I never told anyone.

David had hit me in the face twice. Dave and I argued about his money. He had millions tied up in real estate. Eventually all was lost to bankruptcy. Our lives were bankrupt, too. As it unraveled, I could not confide in adoptive mom Edie; I didn’t tell her any of the bad stuff. Plus she didn’t believe in divorce.

It was obvious to me Edie liked Dave more. She told me if we broke up, it would be my fault.

Dave and I finally separated in 1993. I stayed with friends until I got a job and my own apartment in Seattle. Dave’s wealth was gone. I didn’t want money. I wanted my car, my computer and a few pieces of furniture.

Later mom said I wasted all those years, when I should have had a baby. She was more outraged I never saw a dime of alimony. It would have been nice to know what she was thinking while it was happening to me, when I really needed her opinion. I knew mom and I would never talk about what was really important until it was too late.

I’d changed after counseling in Seattle, I was a different person. I couldn’t live with Dave anymore. We stayed friends. That was all I could manage. After we separated, Dave changed. I became stronger and he actually softened.

I liked the new Dave. I told him he was swimming against the current, trying to swim upstream when all he had to do was let go.

Our divorce was final in January 1995. My book about this and opening my adoption is called One Small Sacrifice: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects.

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