Abuse Hides in the Dark. Turn on Your Light.

Explained Myself to End Verbal Abuse

woman typing an email to explain herself to her abusive partner

I believed that if I explained myself well enough, he would see that I wanted only the best for us. I wanted him to hear me, to stop judging me, to stop yelling and cursing at me. I hoped my explanations would let him see my pain and be sorry about his part in creating it. That was never to be.

At the time of writing the following email, I had decided to stay and try to work it out with my ex. I’m giving him a huge benefit of the doubt by promising him that I will stay in the marriage and wait for his return from deployment at our home as usual. I had confronted him about his use of verbal abuse, and he wavered back and forth between caring and not caring about my concerns. In hindsight, he did not care at all. He pretended to care so I wouldn’t leave the marriage while he was deployed.

During his deployment, Will called often. The morning of this email, we’d gotten into an argument on the phone. He called back after I hung up on his yelling ass, and we tried to discuss what caused the argument. The second conversation also went south when he re-started calling military women “fucking whores” and segued into calling me a “fucking whore”.

After hanging up on him again, I sent him an email describing what he already knew – what we’d discussed multiple times before. I’d described my military rape to him and asked him not to call me a “fucking whore” more than one time for sure – but during our second conversation of the morning, he acted as if I’d never told him word one. He tried to accuse me, a “fucking whore” of cheating on him WITH MY RAPIST.

I Explained Myself to Someone Who Would Never Care

At this point in my relationship, I understood SOME things about abuse. but I did not know I was wasting my time writing this email, wasting my time when I explained myself to him. By writing the following email, I am hoping that he “gets it” this time because he’s promised to work with me. But that’s not going to happen.

There is absolutely no give and take in this reconciliation attempt. It’s me apologizing and explaining myself…again. Here’s the email, then his response:

Subject: Let’s fix this

2 messages
Kellie ****** <******@gmail.com> Mon, Nov 16, 2009 at 10:32 AM
To: His Name <****@us.army.mil>

First, let me address the “sticking point” as I saw it. I think I heard you say that I expect you to separate yourself from your experiences in the military, that I expect you to “not be” a soldier, to not be you, specifically when you’re talking to me.

If that’s what you thought, I’m sorry, that’s not what I was trying to say. I’m asking you not to say “fucking whores” to me.

You are not alone in your experiences of injustice in the military; I experienced them first-hand too. Kiefer raped me within the first 3 days after arriving in Germany. I know he put something into my drink. I remember having one beer. Then I remember that he carried me most of the way back to base. I remember seeing the stars between a couple of street lamps. He put me down onto wobbly legs, and I stumbled through the gate, not really walking, more like being floated as, I assume, he wanted the guards to think I could walk on my own.

And then I remember a few seconds of consciousness while Kiefer was fucking me, saying, “No no no!” and falling back into a haze. I remember waking up in the morning, my clothes neatly folded on the chair beside my bed. I was wearing my pajamas. The rapist must have put them on me. That’s it. You and I weren’t even together yet.

When you call me a “fucking whore” in reference to my past, hell yeah, it hurts. And hell yeah, all the other times you called me that before today stick with me. Even without the other injustices I experienced in the military, YOUR words hurt me now – not only in my memory.

Other injustices? Like when a male soldier said, “Tell the truth, First Sergeant – she got promoted because of her tits, didn’t she?” (instead of acknowledging my valedictorian status entitled me to the promotion), or guys hitting on me all the time and telling everyone they’d slept with me when they hadn’t (like when your best friend told you I’d invited him to my room), or Sergeant Valley trying to get me to “watch movies” and then you and my first sergeant ripping control of that sexual harassment situation out of my hands, … those are on the tip of my tongue and I haven’t even started thinking about the other injustices yet! Hell yeah, that shit sticks in my mind.

I explained myself to someone who told me that asking him to stop saying "fucking whore" to me or in reference to me is my way of trying to control him.

When you refer to those military women of whom you only know half the story as “fucking whores”, yes, I take offense. I wish you wouldn’t be so quick to jump to those words. By asking you to stop saying them, I am not trying to “take away your experience as a soldier”. I’m not asking you to be “someone else” to make me happy.

I am asking you to stop saying “fucking whores” to me.

I’m sorry I yelled, but I’m not sorry that I cried even though my tears made you madder. I am sorry if I haven’t been clear enough about what “fucking whores” means to me, or if you never before thought that “fucking whores” may be an inappropriate thing to say. As you want (and deserve) for me to honor you as a whole, I want and deserve the same for myself from you.


I Explained Myself for Nothing

As you’ll see by his response, he wasn’t interested in what I had to say. I explained myself for absolutely nothing. He promises to stop using the phrase “fucking whores” in my presence and says he is sorry for bringing up old emotions. He didn’t acknowledge any of my experience, sincerely apologize, or tell me why he became upset on the phone. (Hint: he probably wasn’t upset at all but wanted to regain control of the conversation by abusing me into submission.)

The message does not address my emotional outcry. It says he won’t say those words to me and then jumps to our health insurance company and what  I think about his emails to our oldest son.

I explained myself to a brick wall, and this image is of a woman using a megahorn to yell at a literal brick wall.

There is absolutely no give and take. It shows me explaining myself … again … to the fucking brick wall I married. This is the entirety of his response.

HIS NAME SFC USA USASOC <******@us.army.mil> Mon, Nov 16, 2009 at 10:16 PM
To: Kellie ****** <******@gmail.com>

I’m sorry for stirring up all those old emotions and I will stop using that phrase when I’m talking to you. I will let you know if I get anything about TricareOnline. Let me know your thoughts on the e-mails between me and [our oldest son] please.

See? Nothing is his response. He gives me nothing.

Explaining yourself to an abusive person does not work.

Featured photo by Thomas Lefebvre