Sometimes life destroys you. Sometimes it burns you to the ground. In March 2021 that’s what happened to me. In just 4 weeks I went from happily-ever-after to widowed-mother-of-five after making a dark and twisted discovery about my husband. Rather than be consumed by the fire, I choose to be transformed. This is my story. Watch me rise.
For years I lived in an abusive relationship and didn’t realize I was being abused.
In fact, I thought I was the abuser.
This is what narcissistic gaslighting does; it makes you question everything you know, including your own behavior and sanity.
Now, I knew we had problems. We weren’t happy. We weren’t very kind to each other. And we fought just about every day.
But he didn’t hit me.
The first time I saw him put hands on someone was before we were even married. We were staying with his dad while we searched for a home after he was discharged from the military. I don’t recall what started it, but when I saw the two of them fighting, I knew he was in the wrong.
But I was pregnant, estranged from most of my family, and let’s face it, in love. So, I left with him anyway.
Of course, once we were alone I brought it up to him. How can you put hands on your dad like that?? I don’t know what exactly he said, but I know he had the words to smooth me over.
After all, he didn’t hit ME.
The first time he put his hands on me was after the baby was born. Our marriage was off to a rocky start and a newborn wasn’t helping it. I don’t remember what the argument was about, but I remember being backed into the bathroom and crashing into the tub behind me while trying to pull his hands from around my throat.
He was mortified after that. I told him and he knew – never again would he put hands on me or I would leave. No second thoughts.
But for now, I would stay. It wasn’t like he hit me.
Then there was that time when the baby was almost 2 years old… I was angry about loud music, a drunk and absent husband, and a toddler who was still awake despite it being after midnight. I stormed down the stairs, baby on my hip, to where the noise was coming from and was greeted by my intoxicated husband pointing a pistol at us, a sinister smile on his face.
I bolted up the stairs and out the door, running barefoot with the baby until I felt safe and that he wasn’t coming after us. It wasn’t long before I realized that I had nowhere to go, no one to call, not even shoes on my feet or a diaper for the baby.
I made my way back home where his mother and her friend were just returning from the bar. I frantically told her what had just happened and she shooed me away once he justified himself by claiming there were no bullets in the gun.
They told me to just go to sleep. I was overreacting. Everything was fine and would be better in the morning.
So I went to bed. It’s not like he hit me.
Over the years he threatened me, insulted me, belittled me, ignored me and constantly reminded me that without him I had nothing. I was nothing.
He threw intimate moments of my past pain and trauma in my face during arguments. He slashed and/or flattened my tires to keep me from leaving. He barricaded himself in the house and threatened to kill any law enforcement that came on to the property if I took the kids and went to stay with family for a while.
He set me up for failure time and time again. He made me and everyone around us feel that I was the root of our unhappiness. He had us all convinced that I was completely mentally unstable and that was the cause of our stress.
He cheated. He lied. He broke his promises, to me, to the kids, to others… over and over again he would let me down. He would intimidate all of us and somehow always talk his way out of it.
But he didn’t hit me.
Abuse isn’t always black and blue. If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out to Flight of the Phoenix Collective. We’ve got your back.