Dictionary.com defines a·buse as:
[v. uh-byooz; n. uh-byoos] verb (used with object), a·bused, a·bus·ing.
1. to use wrongly or improperly; misuse: to abuse one's authority.
2. to treat in a harmful, injurious, or offensive way: to abuse a horse;
to abuse one's eyesight.
3. to speak insultingly, harshly, and unjustly to or about; revile; malign.
4. to commit sexual assault upon.
5. Obsolete . to deceive or mislead.
6. wrong or improper use; misuse: the abuse of privileges.
7. harshly or coarsely insulting language: The officer heaped abuse on his men.
8. bad or improper treatment; maltreatment: The child was subjected to
9. a corrupt or improper practice or custom: the abuses of a totalitarian regime.
10. rape or sexual assault.
I wrote some of my story on the pages of this blog, sharing some rather intimate, but never sharing those feelings, memories and situations that lay deep within me.
I keep those things hidden but I made the decision to let the darkness out into the light. I planned on making this a Kindle book, after thoughts about this, I would rather just get it out. Charging for something so important is something I don't like having someone pay for.
I ask you share my story and blog with others that are suffering in silence. I ask you to please not give up on the person that is in a volatile situation. It's not an easy decision to leave. It can be a painful, hard and in too many cases deadly.
I receive emails and calls from time to time from other women and men that are in a volatile situation, teetering with the heavy decision of leaving or staying.
I offer an ear to listen.
A shoulder to cry on.
Offer advice of what has worked for me.
What I cannot tell a victim is that they must leave now.
You can talk or argue to one is blue in the face about leaving the abuser. Even though on this side of the fence it is safe, the other side offers familiarity, a comfort zone of a sort. In some situations the person may have had a terrible incident with an abuser but they will still not leave.
My story is one to give hope, inspire one to seek out safety and to want more from life for themselves and loved ones involved. I am not an attorney or counselor. I offer my experiences, techniques that worked for me.
I am comforted that those close didn't give up and continued to believe in myself, as I now come to you if the situation is one that is abusive.
“You are not your 'story.' Who you are is so much bigger than that. It’s okay to give up your past now. Most of us have a story about how we got to be the way we are, about what it's like to be 'us,' and about why it is so difficult sometimes to get through life. All of this is stuff that has nothing to do with who we are now.”
- Neale Donald Walsch
It was a cool fall afternoon in 2006, inside the house, there was a thick layer of steam is covering the windows from the huge pot of spaghetti on the stove. She lifts the lid on the rich aroma of garlicky tomato sauce; she stirs the pot and pauses to blow on the wooden spoon before it reaches her lips for a quick taste to make sure it’s just right.
She enjoys cooking. It is a form of stress release and a way of escaping the thoughts of worry that cloud her mind.
The TV is blaring in the background, with kids whooping and hollering about the funny commercial they just saw. Three kids ranging from age of 11, 8 and 7 years old are racing around the corner of the kitchen nearly knocking her over. She just smiles, they are growing so fast! With a quick glance at the clock, she starts to get a bit nervous. Soon he will be home and she will have to alert the kids to chill out in case he is in a bad mood.
The dog starts barking madly! Everyone freezes.
The kids scurry to the front room, turning down the TV and shushing one another.
She braces herself and hopes for the best. She pastes on a fake smile and greets him. He’s in a foul mood.
He begins to tell her to undress him. She takes off his coat, takes off his flannel shirt, and unbuckles his pants and hurries to unlace his shoes. She smiles and looks up to ask him how his day was. He ask her, “How the fuck do you think my day went?”
She tries to stay positive with doom entering her now heavy heart. She smiles again as she helps him take off his boots. He kicks her away. She absently slowly crawls backward.
He stomps upstairs to the kitchen, pauses at the top and sniffs the air, “What the hell! I can’t even come home to good food on the table and what did you burn?!”
Oh my gosh, the garlic bread! She forgot all about it!
She races to the oven. She keeps silent.
Grabbing the bread quickly and inwardly feeling shame and knowing he would get upset. Then she remembers the spaghetti was still cooking on the stove.
Crap! The noodles are super overdone. He’s going to be mad.
Hopefully he won’t notice. Of course he will.
She quickly emptied the pasta pot with tears stinging her eyes. He was quiet and watching her.
His eyes smoldered.
Courage took over and she asked him why didn't he call that he was so close to home? She says, “I’ll hurry and pop more bread in the oven.”
He just stood there watching. His hands clinched the counter that separated them by 2 feet, of which he would have no problem with reaching over and hitting her. The kids were silent in the other room.
He blows up and says, “Call you?! What so you have time to get the dick out of your pussy? I know your fucking someone.”
He yells she’s useless!
She burned his dinner!
She must have done that because she was busy talking to her boyfriend or fucking him.
The words are stinging.
She tells him he is being silly. He comes around the counter and angrily dumps the contents of the colander in the garbage. He then whips around and tells her to eat the garlic bread as it is, since she burned it. And demands her to make him his dinner and not to burn it this time.
He throws the colander at her and she throws her hands up in defense. She could hear one of the kids crying. He spins on his heels, yells that she must have told the kids not to talk to him because they did not come to give him a hug and kiss when he came home.
He pushes her.
He pushes her again.
She falls to the ground, scrambling to try to get back up, in an instant, he stops by the plates on the counter that were to be set on the table for dinner, and throws them at her.
She gets hit, stifles moans because he would get more enraged.
Broken glass surround her.
She catches the kids as they are quietly trying to sneak up to their rooms undetected and she breathes a sigh of relief.
She doesn't like when they see her like this.
Huddling in a corner, bruised, crying, whimpering and ashamed.
Without warning, it as though a veil seems to have lifted, he smiles at her. He asks how much longer for dinner and he walks to the other room to watch TV. She is still on the floor, achy, befuddled, teary-eyed and stunned. The tirade from start to finish was 10 minutes. It seemed like an eternity.
“Hey, Honey bring me a soda.” He also tells her to have the kids come down to watch The Simpsons.
He looks at her and asks for a kiss as if nothing happened minutes before.
Fast forward to the present.
Yes, you guessed it that was me.
At this time, I am sipping a delicious cup of coffee, looking out the window and watching the shadows from the trees change as the light comes through the window from a glorious morning.
It’s my birthday. I can honestly say there was a time that I didn't believe I would see another birthday, due to the dire situation. That seems like a life time ago!
The lived then seemed as though the years would never go fast enough and now it is hard to believe that those times are a mere fraction of the life I am living at present time.
From time to time I share posts about me and my past on a social media page. After a particular blog post and update about my divorce proceedings, someone had asked, “Why are you just digging up bones? Why bother?” I interpreted it as, “Why are you whining and harping on this again! GEEZ!” She didn't mean it that way and after I explained myself I did have to step back and think that, sometimes it seems as though it would be easier to leave the past in the past. Ignore it. Perhaps it will just fade away.
Sharing, providing information on the subject of abuse can open up flood gates that would otherwise remain closed for a victim suffering in silence.
Why me Lord? I had screamed in my mind on more than one occasion.
My faith held strong and I knew God would get me through this storm. He would keep me safe and keep me from losing my sanity.
Psalm 27 KJV
27 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
As a young child in the 70’s, I was no stranger to violence. I watched my then Stepfather choke and beat my Mother often. The sounds of fists hitting bare skin, cries would escape her mouth as she tried to remain composed, so not to further alarm me. I watched in horror, afraid to move and unable to protect her or myself not much longer.
My Stepfather, Frank, became a man possessed by drugs and alcohol, before Mom and he met. As the years went by he became so paranoid, depressed and angry about everything.
I felt that Mom was lucky, she had a job and later a side job that let her have some freedom and escape from the darkness. When Frank was high or drunk he could be the “life of the party”, even if it was just he and I alone. He would make me laugh, sing silly songs while strumming on his guitar or snapping pictures of me doing something totally ridiculous.
By the time I can remember he began a ritual of beating me. It didn't matter when, what or why. It just was.
Over the years I couldn't wait to go to school to save myself from home. I wasn't a great or even good student but I did like school. School was a welcome refuge for me. I would linger at school and take my time walking home. I would feel a sour feeling in the pit of my stomach. I didn't want to go home.
I was too young to understand at the time that the dark depression that gripped my Stepfather was from losing a job, not finding work as well as the influence of drinking and drugs.
He was notoriously unfaithful while he was married. I can remember Mom crying. Fighting about some woman or finding out that he had caught a case of the crabs.
Mom cried while she treated the bedroom and us for them. She told me that “Frank got them while he was skiing.” Of course at a young age of 6 years old, I was then terrified of skiing! Not to make light of the story at all but that sort of thing conjures up a wild thought in my mind at that young age.
Frank would yell too much, he was either drunk or high and I was embarrassed. Growing up we moved about 7 times and I changed schools more times than I could count. I didn't have too many friends and those that I did have only a few of them knew my secret about my home life and to be honest they had not idea what was going on between closed doors.
When I was 10 years old and I was punched in the face for not bringing home my lunch box from school the night before, which was nothing new. It could have been a cloudy day out and that was a reason to abuse me.
I had a friend, Amy that lived across the street from me and we would walk with to school together most times or her Dad was wonderful to drive if the weather was rainy or cold. It was cold that day and Amy was always pokey in the morning. Her Mom opened the door and I kept my head turned so she couldn't see my puffy lip. It was nasty outside so she insisted I come in.
She took one look at my face and tears filled her eyes. “Who did this!” she asked.
I replied, “I walked into my bedroom door, that’s all.” She knew me well enough to know I was lying.
I looked down at my feet feeling so ashamed.
“Melinda, who did that to you?” she asked in a more demanding tone that was still gentle and loving.
I stammered that I wasn't supposed to tell! She quickly embraced me and said, “Honey we can call the police! And you can stay here! Does your Mom know?”
I sobbed and begged not to tell the police that my Dad would hurt my Mom if anyone knew!
She stepped back and looked at me with such caring and said, “Honey, I will do whatever you want me to do. He needs to be in jail! And if you ever need a place to come to you come here. We will take you in!”
I felt better unburdening myself. But I was terrified she would tell either my Dad, Mom or the police about what was going on.
She never said a word. I was relieved my secret was still safe.
The last time he laid a hand on me was when I was 12 years old. At that time my middle sister, Mandy was born. Mom went back to work and Frank became Mr. Mom.
I recall being home on one occasion with both Frank and was just a bit over 6 months old, Mandy would not stop crying while in her high chair for breakfast. She was really upset and she did not seem hungry. He began screaming at her to eat, which of course made her cry harder, in turn upsetting him even more.
I could see his veins bulging in his neck and his face turned red. He was screaming at her. He jumped up pulling his arm back to slap her and to this day I don’t know how I managed to move so fast but I seemed to move like lightning to grab her out of his grasp. We struggled for a minute as he tried to get her out of my arms, I held tight. He had his fist up to slap me, threatening me to put her down.
For a brief moment I heard a voice yelling to leave her alone and if he ever hurt her he would regret it. I was surprised that voice was mine. He backed down. Defeated and as if someone had splashed cold water on him.
I went to my room that I shared with my baby sister. I rocked her and soothed her to sleep. He never laid a hand on me again. I don’t believe he ever touched her in anger again.
A year later our lives would change for the best. I had seen my stepfather a few times afterwards and he later ran to a different state to avoid child support. He remarried and his new wife would call my mom from time to time crying to her about being beaten and the kids being abused.
Mom had quietly told her to call the police and that she warned her about him. As far as we know they are still married together. We haven’t seen them in years and I would like to keep it that way.
Mom later remarried when I was in my late teens, to a great guy that never lifted a hand towards my Mom or us kids. Chet is really the only father figure that I can call “Dad”. It was really neat to see how the relationship flourished and everything was “normal”.
The adjustment was rather difficult for a variety of reasons, which included typical teenage hormones. Chet or Dad as I now refer to him, has been there every step of the way throughout my life. Offering pearls of wisdom both wanted and unwanted. All in all he has been a beacon of light for us.
"Remember how far you've come, not just how far you have to go. You are not where you want to be but neither are you where you used to be.- Rick Warren
As a teenager in the late 80’s, I had begun to develop a fancy free and foot, I had big dreams and no intention of being tied down, figuring I had my whole life ahead of me to travel the world and experience whatever the wind carried to me.
So when love came into my life I received much more then I bargained for. The relationship at first blinded me with a swirl of emotions that I perceived as love.
My friends longed for a relationship with someone that would be as smitten to them as he was to me. Truth be told my guts were sending me out signals of warning. I asked my friends and some of them just thought I was crazy.
They wished they had someone that showered them with gifts, waited for them before or after school or after work and followed them on wherever my destination led me. They wished they had someone that wanted to know every move they made.
I decided to break it off with Mr. Wonderful but came up against a road block when he informed me he would burn my house down and kill those that were close to me.
I grew distant from friends.
Any attempts to reconnect with anyone, was questioned or just grew into an argument about why I wanted to see or hang out with someone.
I was becoming isolated.
I desperately wanted to have my old life.
I grew scared.
I was terrified at the death threats to me, my family, to himself if I told him I wanted to break off the relationship.
I grew weary of the constant fighting.
I grew tired of the constant battle to know who I was talking to on the phone or at work. I hinted around to those around me when I had a chance. Speaking in code or as if I ‘had a friend’ that was in a dire situation.
No one seemed to know it was ‘me’ that I was speaking about, or if they did no one said anything.
Everywhere I went or turned, he, showed up. Or he would call and wouldn't leave until he knew all the details of the situation. Leaving me to ponder how I was going to get out of this relationship.
There came a time when we were both 18 years old. Rob had been informed he could apprentice with an uncle that had a business in electronics, in California. I saw this as a glimmer of light! He shared the information with me while we were parked on the side of a quiet road on a rather dreary early afternoon.
I was stunned at first, trying not to seem giddy at the prospect. I hesitantly asked him details and so on. He was quick to add that he was unsure, if I wanted him to stay he would.
I shared my thoughts about going to college and my dream of back packing across Europe. This travelling wish came after viewing ‘American Werewolf in London’. Now it was not the scary part that drew me but the romantic idea of just walking to a place I have never been alone, taking in sights, places that I have only dreamed of.
My thoughts were quickly dashed as soon as the words excitedly tumbled from my lips. I was cut short, hearing my words trail off as Rob interjected that it was stupid. He was going to maybe see if I could go to or maybe he just wouldn't go at all.
We went back and forth for hours; all at once it began to rain. I asked him to take me home as nothing appeared to be going anywhere with this conversation. It was clear to me that nothing I would say or do would make a difference about my life. He refused so; I jumped out of the car as things were becoming very heated.
No sooner then I left the car, I could hear him calling my name, insistent that he would take me home, to just get in the car. I hesitated, but we were in the middle of nowhere and I had no other way to get home. I hopped back in, wet from the rain. Next thing I knew he was forcibly pushing himself on me.
I protested, asking him ‘what do you think you’re doing?!’ begging him to stop. He had never done this before.
I lay stunned in the back seat. I cried silently wishing he would be done quickly.
He grunted as he finished, looking down at me with concerned eyes, asking why was I crying? He told me to stop being a baby and to get dressed. He jumped out and slipping into the front seat, announcing to me that no one would believe me so I just should keep my mouth shut about this situation.
I sat up in the back seat, feeling bruised, hurt and as though I was hit by a truck. He glared at me from the rear view mirror, seeming to dare me to say something.
He quickly added that he wasn't going anywhere nor was I. He said if he went away then I would go with him. He sneered and added that I was his, leaving him would be a mistake on my part.
He dropped me off, acting as though nothing happened. I had wished my parents were home but the driveway and house was empty. He wanted to come in but I said I was tired and would see him the next day. He smiled and gently caressed my face telling me he loved me and we would never be a part. He was sorry if he was a little rough, it wouldn't happen again.
He lingered in front of the house as I unlocked the door and breathing a sigh of relief that I was home. Still feeling shook up by the turn of events, I crumbled to the floor, dreading the next day, contemplating telling my Mom but worried if I wasn't believed.
Though, my parents were not thrilled with him due to some arguments and other situations. Pushing the whole incident down and trying to convince myself this was an isolated incident, perhaps it would never happen again.
There was a tiny voice that echoed that I was wrong and I needed to just run.
I didn't. I remained silent about that day, I hadn't thought about it again until now. Red flags for an abusive relationship are not seen or maybe dismissed in the beginning of the relationship.
In all honesty, Rob’s sisters did warn he was difficult. Rob advised me that his siblings were jealous that he was the baby in the family and most of the situations were just normal rivalry between them.
I was told there were some heated moments, the family were no strangers to abuse, as Rob’s family had situations that were escalated enough for family and friends to intervene.
Rob’s sister recounts about the times where Rob chased her around with a knife during a disagreement. On another occasion he squeezed her parakeet to the point of death because he was angry with her, yet another incident led to the police being called for Rob because he and his father had gotten into a heated disagreement.
As our relationship grew, I saw a side of him that could be sweet as pie and the next moment he would seek revenge against any poor soul that may have glanced at him funny.
He was in construction trades; Rob had some knowledge about trades from his father. Those in class with him, knew him well enough to ignore Rob or stay out of his way. One situation happened between Rob and another ended up with Rob dangling a classmate out of a window in a house they were working on. Yet another incident was with someone else and Rob ended up Rob threatening to kill the boy, because he had told Rob he wouldn't hand him a tool. Rob considered the boy to be dense and an asshole.
The more and more I learned, heard and that was shared scared me more. Sometimes people are attracted to a “Bad boy or Girl” image, I wasn't as enchanted with the notion. I wanted out.
Hearing about these situations only verified my resolve to put distance between he and I.
Chapter 4 coming soon. . .