Physical wounds go away for the most part. Yeah, there can still be pain from certain fractured/broken bones or excess scar tissue that could have been avoided yet become chronic and never go away. Even those in areas that you feel every day and know you will never be yourself because they are a constant reminder. (Try having a tooth going through your lip and not being allowed to get stitches – drinking through a straw sucks and you still drool!)
But words? Continued actions when apologies get so old you no longer hear them? Those are the deepest. Those are the ones that keep you up at night. That make you question whether you are worth anything at all. Until one day, they become so damn numerous. You realize that no matter how hard you fought to get where you are, no matter how strong you portray yourself to be, no matter how you have played it all so well to everyone…you realize they were right.
“You are a whore.”
“You should have died.”
“No one could ever want your fat nasty ass.”
“You are a horrible mother.”
“Sex with you sucks.” (but in the same sentence he complains he doesn’t get enough)
You can’t talk. AT ALL. No matter what, you are interrupting and won’t let him finish. 5 minutes of his silence does NOT change the fact that you STILL interrupted. And arguing? Oh – don’t dare ask what is wrong. That just gets the answer “yeah whatever you and your ‘intelligent arguing’.” However, you were only asking so maybe you can apologize and end the argument…”you’ll get your answer in the suicide note.” Hmmm. Okay…thanks.
You are kicked out, repeatedly. Your dog as well. You walk, with nowhere to go. Sometimes, there’s enough money for a hotel room. Other times, there is a friend. And then, there’s nothing.
Cops are called, see the marks, but you beg and plead not to do anything to him because you are leaving to calm the situation, and after all, it was your fault.
But leaving is wrong. You have to stay. You have to try to control your attitude.
When the arguments happen, suicide is the resounding threat. You save him from hanging. He still blames you for that a year later. He should be dead. You fight over the guns, praying it doesn’t accidentally go off. You don’t want to die, and you know him killing himself will kill you – one way or another.
And it Still Goes On
And on. Nothing changes.
And YOU are nothing.
And yet you fight. Those days come all the time, but – you fight. You find a reason to go on. Find beauty in every day and realize that if you end it, you will never enjoy that beauty again. The smile on your daughter’s face. Her graduation. Her falling in love and getting married. Your grandchildren. Then there are the little things, such as the sun kissing your face. Watching a Monarch butterfly take flight. A kitten curling up in your lap. Life IS worth living, no matter your situation.
So for a moment, you are subdued. Life will get better. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, but it IS another day, with new promises. New chances. A new you. If you can only make it through one more night.
But You Love Him
Here’s the caveat of the situation though; you love him/her. You believe in their good qualities. They love you. They are sorry. It will never happen again.
At this point, it is typical to be in a situation you cannot escape. They make the money. They have trained you well to be their maid. Take care of the laundry. Find their missing wallet. Take a break from your work or helping the kids because they made an offhand comment that they want a sandwich. Make one themselves? No, it’s too far away and too much work.
But they are drinking. And if they don’t eat, it will be much, much worse. That’s when the hate comes out, and you are the closest thing, so of course you become the object of the hate. Their turmoil is deflected from them to you. Their inner demons become your most feared enemies.
And the hate…oh the hate. The words of someone who you thought would never let you down are now the ones putting you in the darkest places of your mind. Suddenly, you are sleeping with everyone. Their friends. Their best friends. Friends of his teenage sons. The only ones off-limits are the sons…but you are sure that is coming soon. After all, they are getting old enough, so why not – you are a worthless whore.
They make sure you know that they can get anyone they want at any time, and assure that you know that no one would ever want you.
Still, You Love Him…
He was drunk. He didn’t mean it. He loves you. Wants to marry you.
Then comes one final breaking point. The choking and broken tailbone wasn’t enough. Getting to a point of slashing your wrist didn’t do it.
It was another night of drinking. The fighting started because once again, you said something wrong. It escalates. One son says the wrong thing. He goes after him. With a family past as violent as yours, this doesn’t bode well. You step in. He’s pulling his son’s hair. You pull his hair to yank him off. He grabs your hair. You push him.
He pushes you. The parakeet cage folds and the table breaks. You regain your balance and punch him. Five times. The kids aren’t going to get this. You are. You feel a couple blows. Knocked to the ground. Blood everywhere. Realize your lip is split. No clue how bad.
The kids leave, thank God. You make it to a mirror. Horror movies have nothing on this. You realize that the hole is not just a small crack. Your eye is swelling and turning colors but who cares? Your lip. Damn, your lip.
You say you need stitches. He says no. He’ll get in trouble. You say you will walk in by yourself and act ignorant as to who did it…how would they know anyway? Just please, please let me get stitches.
So it’s time for bed. “I just want to hold you one more night.” You lie there, every muscle in your body tensing at his touch. Please, please let tomorrow be different.
Ice, Neosporin and 3 weeks later, you have a tremendous amount of scar tissue in your lip. You feel it every day. You are angry. You can’t forgive him.
But, you love him. Apparently that wasn’t the breaking point, and so you stay.
After all, no one is perfect.
And the cycle continues.
It happens to the best of us:
Resources & Recommendations:
- Domestic Violence Helpline: 1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
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