Nancy from New York
My mother was abusive, screaming at me, hitting me, and verbally abusing me. At 16, I I'd had enough and left home to marry a man I'd only known for a couple of months. Because my Dad had been submissive, I guess I was looking for a dominant alpha male. Unfortunately I got one! With in the first month my husband was abusive, we didn't even have a honeymoon period, he went right to putting me down, yelling and then hitting me. If I'd had any sense I would have left, but in some weird way when you've been abused all your life, it doesn't shock you, it almost felt comforting knowing he was going to provide for me. I know that sounds crazy, butthat's the way being from an abused home messes with your head. When it got really bad I tried to talk to my mother and she blamed me for my husband's abuse and asked me what I had done to deserve it! I tried to be perfect so I wouldn't upset him, but if I spent all day cleaning the kitchen till it sparkled, rather than appreciate the effort, he would ask why I hadn't done the living room. I couldn't do anything right and paid the price for it emotionally, psychologically and physically. Once when he was verbally abusing me and had me so scared for my life, I called the police. When they arrived they said there were no visible bruises and that we should try and work things out! I felt hopeless and worthless. If you're continually told you're no good at anything and a failure, you don't have the confidence to even think about getting out. You feel like you are alone. So, I stayed and endured the abuse.
We had two sons (one is now sixteen and the other nine). It was because of the youngest I got the courage to leave my husband. My sixteen year had taken on his father's behaviors and began abusing me, telling me I was a loser, I couldn't do anything right. He would say "No wonder Dad gets mad at you; you're such a pathetic looser." What made me finally get out is that my youngest son felt he had to stick up for me and stepped in the middle of a bitter battle between me and my husband. I was so scared that he would get hit or hurt and honestly didn't want him to become just like father and his older brother. We were living in house were abuse was normal and I wanted to get him out of it before he became one himself. Children in abusive homes often become abusers themselves.
One day a friend helped me to move my nine year old and my clothes out of the house and he put me in a motel until I could get into a shelter. Now that I am in it, I feel there is hope. They are slowly helping me feel that I am a good person and don't deserve to be hit or abused.that it's not my fault; it is the other person's sickness that makes them the way they are. I have only been her for a few weeks and know there is a lot of work to be done in the eight weeks I'm allowed to stay. I know that I 'm a survivor and can't be a victim any more. I guess that means changing the way I think and after a lifetime of abuse, it is not going to be easy.
Kenna Marriott is on the Board of Directors of a Domestic and Sexual Abuse Center in Florida. She is also on the Board of Directors of a center for the mentally ill. The names are withheld to protect the women in the stories. She is also an international award winning author of Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda.Lessons, Learnings and Insights From A Mother About Her Daughter's Battle With Cancer, available from the Focus On Women bookstore.
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