I have been racking my brain for a while on how to approach the first post for this blog. Abuse is not an easy topic to talk about especially when you are sharing your own story. And it seems that the only time abuse is brought up is when there is absolute physical evidence as a result of this destructive behavior. There are so many layers to this topic, many of which I hope to dive into as I continue to post. But first I need to...breath and when the time comes, I will have a chance to address all that I have to. Now, where to begin? Well, for starters, I guess I can tell you a little bit about myself.
I am a woman of African decent who is nearing the age of 30. I have a BA in Visual Communications with a minor in Communications. I worked as a graphic designer for an engineering firm, the county’s school system, my church and as a freelance illustrator. I enjoy watching cartoons, reading , writing, drawing and playing video games. I also take pleasure in creating comics, animations and studying my Bible. I am a first time mother of a wonderful baby boy. He is truly a blessing and when he looks at me, my world just lights up. I thank God for my little man everyday; he is the blessing of my second relationship and current marriage. I have only been in two relationships during my lifetime.
The first relationship lasted for 7 years ( 5 years of which I was married) and ended in divorce. Throughout that relationship, I have never experienced abuse. The only time I can remember any extreme hardship was nearing the end of the marriage. I will not go into detail, however I will state that this was a painful experience.
Shortly after ending that relationship, I became involved with my current husband. We hit it off and we quickly became a couple. I fell hard for him. At the time, I did not see the signs of what would eventually lead to verbal and emotional abuse. It’s strange. It started off as little comments and statements directed at my character and who I was. I was called “The Saint” because of my beliefs and I followed through with what the Bible said (until I started compromising). I was also called “perfect”; in which I would correct him, letting him know that I am not perfect nor am I a saint (not in the way he was implying, at least). I didn’t know why this bothered me; maybe it was the tone or the constant labeling, but these seemingly innocent pet names were later used to express his irritation towards me.
Perfect now meant I was a square and in addition was no fun. I was called a robot because I wanted to respect my parents’ wishes (I was living in their house at the time and wanted to abide by their rules). My intelligence was insulted because I “believed every thing I read” when it came to my faith in what the Bible said. I wasn’t doing anything “special” by following Christ because I was accepting what I have been raised around. According to him, I was programmed and indoctrinated. I was not a free thinker.
The attacks on me and my beliefs left me confused. My husband claimed to be a Christian after all. He said he wanted a “good girl” and it was nice having someone who didn’t sleep around. He exclaimed that it was refreshing to finally meet someone he could trust. So why was it that these very same qualities he claimed were of importance to him were now nuisances? Why was I considered naïve, childish, boring, annoying, a loser and, on many occasions, crazy because of my personality?
As time went on, my confidence slowly faded. With every put down, I felt a piece of me chip away. I have never experienced anything like this. Sure I have been called names before, but this just felt different. For some reason his insults cut deeper than anything I have ever experienced.
The woman I was before he came along did not hide who she was. She did not have to prove anything to anyone. I was 100% comfortable within my skin before him and he assured me that he wanted me. If that is the case, then why was there always something wrong with me? How come whenever I brought up something that bothered me, I was deemed annoying? Why did I feel the need to defend myself even with the smallest things? Why was I drowning? I hated who I was around him.
I hated being this person who put up with his mess because deep down I feared that the things he said about me were true. I hated feeling like an idiot whenever I expressed my interest. I hated that even though I postponed the marriage because of this behavior and mistreatment, I took his word and let him into my life. And when I finally had all that I thought I could stand, I went looking for help. I wanted to make the decision to stay or go.
I am still on that journey to making the decision.