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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Why I Stayed

After I got the boys off to school this morning, I came back home and sat down in front of the laptop as I often do, trying to finish waking up. I scrolled through my facebook newsfeed and I saw a link that several people had posted, and it caught my attention.


If you haven't read that article yet, do it. Do it now.

Read the tweets. All of them. 

Read the last paragraph.

Now think about what you just read. I mean, really think about it.

How many times have you heard about a domestic violence situation, and questioned why the victim didn't just leave? How many times have you said something along the lines of "If that was me, I'd kick him in the junk and walk out the door"? 

Do you know how many times I said that before?

Trust me when I say that it's not that easy. It's hard. Staying in a bad situation is hard, but leaving is even harder.

A bike ride with this kind of scenery -
perfect therapy.
I went for a bike ride after I read that article. I needed to get out of the house and away from the computer and get some fresh air and quit crying. I ended up going about 6 miles, which is about 5 miles longer than any ride I've done recently, and even with a minor spill along the way, it did me good to work through my thoughts.

It has been 5 years, 4 months, and 3 days since I left my second marriage. And reading tweets like that can still bring me to tears, remembering exactly how it felt. I could feel the pain in those tweets. I can still feel the pain of what I went through - both physically and mentally.

Why did I stay for so long?

We He made the decision that I should quit my job and stay home with the kids. I had no job, no income, no way to support myself and my kids if I left. So I stayed.

I knew that I could file for child support and apply for assistance and things like that, but knowing the bureaucracy and red tape of the system, I wouldn't get it immediately - and landlords don't accept "I'll pay you in a couple of months" before they offer you a lease on your own place away from the abuse. So I stayed.

When we bought the van, he put it in his name because it was "easier" - leaving me with no transportation if I walked out. So I stayed.

Sure, he was mean when he drank. But he was nice to us when he was sober. So I stayed.

He worked hard at his job all day, so when he came home and the house wasn't clean enough, it was definitely my fault because I didn't work hard enough to clean it. But I knew that I could do better to make him happy. So I stayed.

I just needed to be a better wife and mother, and he'd stop drinking and treat me better. I could fix everything that was wrong. So I stayed.

When he dozed off on the couch and I finally figured out that he was hiding flasks of booze in his boots, he responded by kicking me as hard as he could. But really, I had just startled him and it was a reflex, and he didn't really mean to do it. So I stayed.

He choked me in a drunken rage when I was 6 months pregnant with our son. But I had made him angry when I grabbed his shirt to make him look me in the eyes and be honest with me. After I bailed him out of jail that night, he swore that it would never happen again. So I stayed.

He really didn't mean to knock me down and fling my glasses across the floor when he hit me upside the head. I was already crouching down so I was off-balance when he hit me - otherwise it wouldn't have happened. And he really didn't mean to hit me - it was accidental. Honest. So I stayed.

He was with his first wife for close to 20 years. Obviously, if she stayed with him for that long, things must have been fine and this behavior must have started when he married me. I must have somehow broken him - so I had to fix him. So I stayed.

If I left, who would take care of him? I loved him, and I didn't want to hurt him. So I stayed.

I loved him. So I stayed.

It finally took him pulling a knife to get me to realize that I didn't deserve this anymore. My kids didn't deserve it either. No one deserves it - men, women, children, young, old, black, white - it doesn't matter.

If you know of someone who is being abused - the last thing that he/she needs is your judgment. That person needs your support and your love more than anything. It's so hard to get out of those situations - contrary to popular belief, resources are not always readily available. It is not something that most victims are willing to discuss with just anyone, and so often the allegations of abuse come as a surprise to those around them - and they're not always believed, making it harder to get the support that is needed to get out of the situation.

Stop judging the victims. Support them. Love them. Be there for them. 

20 comments:

  1. The smartest thing I've seen written yet for the victims of Domestic Violence. Well done.

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  2. Thank you for this. Your reasons and mine sound strangely similar. I'm still trying to figure my life out. I've only been away from him for a month and this is very helpful to me at this point. So thank you again.

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  3. Thank you for being so brave and honest.

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  4. It's been almost twenty five years that I escaped from the man who said he loved me with his fist. When I say escaped that is exactly what I mean, he had me trapped twenty five plus miles from a town on an isolated lake with my closest neighbor being a mile away. He always but always took the telephone and parts off my cat the morning after beating me senseless so that I could contact no one and would not be able to leave. He NEVER allowed me to have both of my children together at one time to go to town in fear that I would not return. I could go on and on with the horror and tell you more about the mental abuse I suffered but any woman who has lived with abuse knows the stories because she too has lived them. These last few days have sent me into a PTSD spiral like I have not had in a long time. Seeing the video was like seeing myself time and time again. I only hope that she wakes up before she no longer able to since she will be dead. Abuse kills a person like a slow poison ... it eats away at everything that you are and all of your dreams seem terribly dim. The best part is once you have left you find he has not and can not ever take any of those things from you completely. I used to sing " This Little Light of Mine" to myself at my darkest times after he had had his way with me be spousal rape, beating me, or screaming hate filled words at me. That little song reminded me that NO ONE can ever put me out because I had a little light that shined. Thank you for starting this conversation today. It truly is a topic more women need to open up about and share their stories and STOP LIVING IN SHAME because you stayed. Let that evil bastard have the heavy weight that comes with keeping your abuse secret. Let him carry that burden ... he created it NOT YOU !!! I feel it my duty to share my story along with the hardships I had to face once I was free with any one whom I know was were I was. She or he has to know it is not easy but all the struggle pays off. I can honestly say the hardest part has been teaching my children that what happened to us is not to be repeated by them. It is their duty to break the cycle and show that they too will NOT carry the abusers burden any longer.

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  5. wow and double wow. Congratulations on doing something wonderful, for yourself and your kids. Congratulations on being brave and smart!!

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  6. I just have to say how much I adore you Amy. You are strong and amazing. I'm grateful to have found you.

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  7. My mother, who is 78, is currently in an elder abuse situation. My brother lives with her and controls everything from what she eats to who she talks to on the phone. My sister and I thought we had her out of the situation by having him arrested after an Adult Protective Services investigation 3 years ago. He broke the restraining order the day after he was released from jail. He was rearrested and she bailed him out of jail!

    It is hard for me to even talk about it. The local police (here in Texas) said there is nothing more they can do since when she has called me frightened, I call them, they go to her house and she says nothing is wrong - just a minor argument - says my daughter is overreacting. She will not be alive much longer but it is like she is already dead. I only hate one person in the world and it is my brother. I only claim him as such on this page. He is a sociopathic whack job.



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  8. Kindred spirits, that is what we are. You are one helluva brave, strong woman!

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  9. i admire your inner strength

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  10. I admire your courage for just hitting publish. Thank you.

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  11. Thank you! No one believed - he was so smart, he was such a good provider, we had such a nice house, we looked so happy, the kids were ok. No one heard the screaming, the awful things he said - except the kids. No one saw the bruises - except the kids. Everything that was smashed in fits of rage was cleaned up by me - and the kids. Excuses were made about why we always had new dishes, or why the decorations changed so often.
    It finally took me realizing that the horrible life he swore I would have with out him, minimum wage, cleaning toilets, would be better than the life I had with him.
    I left, I took the kids. I found that after years of being told that I was stupid, ugly, lazy and useless - I was none of those things. I am ok, the kids are almost ok, I am happy, I am safe. I have a future that I almost lost.

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  12. I was married to my first ex almost 3 1/2 years. He beat me, he kicked me, he got me drunk and sold me for drug money, he lied to me, he raped me. But it was all my fault. He had me convinced of that. I stayed for all your reasons. Only I had a car, I could have left anytime. But when I tried, my family and friends would tell him where I was. He was charming and everyone loved him. How could I tell lies about him (that he hit me). It was the mid seventies, police refused to get involved (its a family matter), Emergency rooms wouldn't get involved. No one would help. That's why I stayed.

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  13. I was with my first husband for a year...only married him because he said he would kill me and my newborn son. He started with mental abuse and didn't start the physical abuse until I was pregnant and gained weight...I thought I HAD to stay, we lived several states away from my family...he moved us back to Texas when I got pregnant, just to be away from my family and friends. I was not allowed to even get the mail or talk on the phone unless he was there. All my reasons are ones you stated, so I won't bother with repeating them. I left him, on Christmas Eve, just 13 DAYS after marrying him. Of course I told him we would only be visiting my parents for the Holidays...OF COURSE I told him that. He only "let me go" because he had lost everything of ours, even our home, due to drugs and drinking. It took me a few months to see what everyone else had seen...I had lost my "spark", my fight was gone...but once I sat in my attorney's office and said, "I NEED a divorce", I felt empowered. It took me over a year and a half to get it finalized, but I did it. And, I have NEVER looked back. I now have a wonderful and loving, a true loving, husband who treats me the way I deserve to be treated...like a Queen. I pray that anyone out there who is in an abusive relationship reads this blog and the responses and sees that it is possible to get out and that they are NOT alone. So, THANK YOU for posting this. <3

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  14. It started off small, he would throw away one of my shirts, than the left shoe if he didn't like them so I couldn't wear them. Then it was the name calling, the "you are fat and ugly" no one else will ever want you. The waking up in bed to find out he was allowing a friend to use me. The threats that no one would believe me, no one would help me and I couldn't do it on my own. That's why I stayed.

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  15. I stayed because I had no idea mental abuse was exactly what was happening..I wa just a screw up....He only shoved me against a wall once, but I was trying to walk away from him when he was yelling at me - Never mind the fact that he was 6'3" 285 lbs and I was 5'4" and 140 lbs...I made the excuses...I was told you can not be anything but a wife, mother, daughter, sister, etc....BEFORE you can be yourself. No, I did not have the physical abuse from him - just the mental part....those are the scars that no one can see and don't ever really heal...Thank you for sharing your story.

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  16. Well said, and I admire that you were able to leave that situation. Women be strong and brave, for yourself and for your children. God bless you all.

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  17. Any man that puts his hands on a woman is not a man at all. That is the way I was raised. My Aunt was killed by her abusive husband. She was my best friend. I miss her all the time.I am a 34 yr old male. Hearing stories like these churn my gut bad. BE STRONG LADIES!

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