Being a survivor of domestic abuse isn’t easy. Especially when you think you’re over it, past it, etc. I went through a PTSD rehabilitation program for something COMPLETELY different than what I went through that night, and the first thing I was asked to do was write a victim impact statement for the most traumatic thing I’ve ever been through. There were 20 things that came to mind before that night. After all, it was so long ago. My therapist thought otherwise. She said I described that night like it happened yesterday, in such detail.
I’ve always wanted to share my story with women, especially single mothers, or anyone contemplating becoming one. I have tried to write my life story several times; however, I always get lost in the stories. There’s just so many! I used to ask myself, how can one person go through so much and still wake up every day, and do their best to live their life, the right way. Then, I thought, what if I start small with something like a blog. That way I could tell my stories, slowly, and each one will get the credit their due. Here’s my story of that night…
The day I thought I was going to die…
I do not remember why, but I had decided I was leaving him. As I was adding items to my suitcase, he was removing them just as fast. He was begging and pleading and yelling…but I do not remember much of what was being said. I’m sure if I was saying anything, it was something along the lines of, “I can’t do this anymore.” At some point, he pulled my dad’s gun (he left it to my mother in the divorce, who in turn gave it to me) out on me. I fell to my knees and cried, begged, and pleaded for him to spare my life. My son saw and heard everything. He just stood in his doorway and cried. I remember him saying things like, “If I can’t have you, no one can” and “I can’t live without you.” At some point, he turned the gun on himself and said, “no, this is what you want, isn’t it?” Somehow, I made it to the front door. I do not even remember if I had my bag. I also do not remember if I ever even finished packing. I opened the door and of course, he slammed it before I could get the screen door open. He put both of his hands around my neck, picked me up off the ground, and slammed me into the front door. He squeezed my neck so hard that he left hand-imprint bruises around it. He slammed me into the door so hard that he broke all the blood vessels in my upper back. He then grabbed me by my arms and put my body through the wall that separated our bedroom from the living room. He grabbed me so hard that he left hand-imprint bruises on both of my arms as well. As a result, I fell on my face on the tile that was the entrance into the house. To add insult to injury, while still face down on the tile, he proceeded to grab me by the back of my panties and slammed me down on the floor again. Some kind of way, I made it up to my car and hurriedly locked my doors. I barely made it! He followed me screaming and banging on my window. I put my car in reverse and ended up actually running over his foot in the driveway trying to get away. I was so afraid and caught up in what I thought was the last minutes of my life…I left my son.
My Impact Statement
I think the reason he beat me the way he did that day was because I was trying to leave him. He was angry and desperate, which meant he would do or say anything he could to try and force me to stay. In his mind, he literally could not live without me, which meant either he was going to kill himself or he was going to kill me, so that no one else could have me if he could not. Because he was so controlling throughout our marriage, in that moment, he felt as though he had lost all his control over me.
The effects of this event still haunt me to this day. It has changed my beliefs about myself, others, and the world around me. I live in constant fear. I have a startle response when my husband, who has never physically harmed me, touches me the wrong way or accidentally scares me. The first guy I dated after we separated, I ended the relationship over text because I was so afraid to do it in person. It made me question everything I ever thought was safe about the world. How could the closest person to you, your husband, the man that is supposed to protect you, try to kill you…in front of your children? I did not trust anyone’s intentions for an exceptionally long time. I am still to this day hyper-vigilant in feeling like I must constantly protect my children. I still to this day question every single decision I make because I lost all trust in myself. I blamed myself for not seeing him being physically abusive with me because he hit the girl he dated before me in high school and broke her jaw, and he choked me and slammed me into a a wall when I was 16, in high school, while pregnant, with his child. This event took any power I thought I had over my life and the things that happened to me and to my children away from me. It took my voice. A voice I never really had to begin with. I struggle with the power to speak my opinions to anyone, whether personal or business-related. Because of this, l I feel like I have been pushed over and around, looked over, and passed up for certain opportunities.
I’m not sure if this specific event had any effect on my personal esteem; however, it was the climax of years of physical and emotional abuse. When you’re told repeatedly that no one other them will want you, by the only person in the world you communicate with on any type of regular basis, you begin to believe it…and I did just that. Because he was the first person I was intimate with, my experience with him is what shaped what I thought intimacy was supposed to be. There was no passion, no romance. There was no figuring out what I liked or wanted, when he wanted it, how he wanted it, etc. It was always extremely rough, and I bled often. He actually told me one time that the reason he “fucked” me the way he did all those years, was to “ruin me” in the event I was ever with anyone else. I don’t think I realized (until today, as a result of this assignment), admitted to myself, or whatever you want to call it, that I have struggled with associating sex with love, as a result of the way he treated me. Often times I’ve felt that if my significant other didn’t want to have sex with me, something was wrong in the relationship; I was unloved.
until next time...edie