In 1985 I was a very young bride. The man I married had been my boyfriend on and off since the beginning of my senior year of high school. I had come from a home where my mom and dad only showed kindness to each other. I could not understand that someone who loves you could purposely hurt you.
Our life grew and I started to disappear. It started slowly. I was alienated from my family and friends because I was mortified for them to know the hell that had become the norm. He did things I was ashamed of. I put on the smile that the world needed to see.
It wasn’t always ugly. We had bright, happy times. I guess that is what kept me there. It cycled. Sometimes he was sorry. As time went on, he was sorry less. I was ugly, ignorant, a whore. I couldn’t see it then, but I had become so incredibly depressed. Sleep, when it came, was my only savior.
One night I opened up to my brother what was happening. It was like grabbing a life vest in a hurricane. He helped me leave with my two young sons. I could not let them grow up to think this was how you treat women.
I’d like to say that it was happily ever after then. But I learned that men like him will do anything to keep you. While trying to establish a life of my own, I was stalked, harrassed and threatened. I got into therapy and reconnected to the outside world.
On April 30, 1993 the man that I was divorcing and had a protection order against, broke into my home and assaulted me while my young sons were a room away. He had a knife and said he was gonna kill me. After begging him for hours to take my boys somewhere safe, he left me tied up and gagged with the promise to return and finish things. When I heard his car leave my house, I started working on my constraints. I freed myself. I ran, barefoot, in the dark to my nearest neighbor and banged on her door with all the life I had in me. He returned. The police were not there yet and he fled, taking my boys on a two day, several state flee to Mexico. Thankfully, state patrol in TX caught him and my boys were unhurt, although confused and scared.
There’s alot that happened in the coming days and months, even years. For a LONG time I couldn’t be alone. I couldn’t sleep in the dark. The anniversary threw me into a backslide. I became a frequent fixture at my therapist’s who became my dearest friend.
He never gave up trying to get to me. From behind the bars of a cell in the Ne State Penitentiary he tried for the better part of the next 15 years to derail my happiness. He lost that battle. I am a survivor. No one will ever again make me feel that I am less that I am.
As a strong christian woman, I knew I had to forgive. Wow! That was a hard one. I struggled with this for more years than I care to admit. I prayed, I read books. I spoke with my pastor. Then, one day the hate was gone. I can forgive him and it doesn’t make what he did okay. God took away the anger and fear and opened my world to live fully. If I held onto what he did, I could never live the life I was given. I forgave him for me.