My Truth Never Told To Loved Ones
I was playing in the barn the week before my 16th birthday. I fell from the rafters and landed on my head, breaking my neck in three places. I was lucky. There was no permanent damage. The pain and soreness dissipated after a few months. I became convinced that my survival was because I had an important purpose on this Earth. I was grateful for this second chance. I tried to be better in God’s eyes. I trusted others and allowed myself to be vulnerable. I worked hard in school but struggled to achieve high grades. My mom didn’t trust me to go out, and I had few friends. I became depressed.
It was during this depression; I met the man of my dreams. I thought he was an angel. He lifted me up and gave me hope. I left my rural community to attend college. I was excited about this new chapter in my life. My boyfriend and his friends arrived for a weekend celebration. My boyfriend got drunk and raped me. I confided in a friend what had happened to try and make sense of things. He called it flat-out “rape.” Although, my heart told me this relationship was not right, I was afraid God would disapprove if I left. My truth is I lost my virginity to this man and could not imagine how I could now commit myself to anyone else. I tried to repair things by avoiding situations where my boyfriend might drink heavily.
My boyfriend controlled my life but at the time I didn’t see it that way. I wasn’t allowed to have any guy friends. My dream to work abroad disappeared because he told me he wouldn’t wait for my return. I believed this was the price I had to pay to keep him in my life. I didn’t want to admit we were having sex before marriage, so I refused to take birth control. I was confused and crying. How can something so good (sex) be wrong before marriage? In disbelief, I realized I was pregnant the last semester of my senior year. Six weeks later, I was married, and my new husband deployed to an international conflict zone.
Pregnant and alone, I proudly graduated a few months later. I went home to live with my parents until my husband returned from combat. I had three more children in the next five years. Emotionally and physically exhausted, my anxiety got worse when my husband abused alcohol and stayed out late. My fear of alcohol increased as he drank and drove. In addition while sober, he began beating our children justifying it as a form of discipline. I felt I was going to bed with my enemy.
After the birth of my third child, a military psychologist labeled me with post-partum depression. She proposed anti-depressants and told me I had to work harder to be a better mother, spouse, and daughter. My depression continued to aggravate as I disagreed with the belt strapped punishment my husband gave our young children. My hopes vanished that someday I would have a happier relationship. My husband left the military, but the abusive behavior worsened after he became a cop. No matter how I tried to state my disapproval about his beating our children, I was not heard nor respected. I tried everything and nothing worked.
Although, he finally moved out I was unable to save my children from the beatings. I could not be at peace leaving the children alone with him. I saw many counselors and agencies trying to find him help. I was afraid to say too much because I thought they might think I was an inadequate mother. I didn’t want my children taken away from me. I fell through every crack and loophole in the government system. And worst of all, I felt abandoned by God. Finally, I found someone who would listen. They charged my husband with assault for beating our children. I wanted to keep my children safe, but at the same time I felt guilty and responsible for getting him in trouble. He had said it was nobody’s business what went on in our family.
I was always afraid he would still harm the children. I tried to find a way to survive and calm my anxiety. I went from being his wife and secretly became his mistress. HOW? WHY YOU ASK? I wanted to protect my children any way possible. I felt I could influence his future actions and find peace in knowing his state of mind.
He kept his cool despite being suspended from his job with pay and found a new girlfriend who was also a cop. In the public eye, his behavior was perfectly composed. He played on local sports teams and bought a new motorcycle. Behind the scenes, I was his mistress and his aggressive behavior worsened.
His cruel sexual behavior – became pure psychological warfare! Let me give you a list of what unfolded. He would say that we must role play in bed. He would tell me I was his little hoe, his whore, and his little slut as he yanked my hair. Also, he would say that he was my master. He encouraged me to have intercourse with others, only to shame me afterward and force me to tell him everything that occurred. He would call to talk to the children but ended up talking to me to tell me that when my clothes or underwear touched my skin it was him who was really touching me. He would demand that I dress in a certain way for him. He would drive to my place and come have intercourse while the children were sleeping. On one of those occasions he told me he would pooh on me! Sometimes he fish-hooked me from behind with his finger in my mouth. Other times I was choked until I gasped for air. Other visits he slapped my butt so hard his handprint would leave a bright red mark for days. He went as far as telling me that his deviant sexual behavior was to protect me from other men. He believed that I would know how to handle a man that would want to harm me… He was my trainer!?!
This cruel behavior caused my depression to increase. I longed for a new relationship to escape from his spider web. Extremely vulnerable, I longed for friends to pull me out. I started going out to dancing clubs, strip clubs and saw cocaine sniffed off my body. These new friends saw me as “pure” although, in reality, I was so naïve. I refused to take drugs or abuse alcohol to deal with pain and stress but continued to self-abuse in other ways, skipping meals and refusing to sleep at night. I started to admire the power strippers, and exotic dancers had over men. They seemed strong and unharmed. There was a time, I envisioned becoming a teasing burlesque dancer. I too wanted to be strong and powerful. I never had the guts to pursue this thought. I obsessively searched online for a solution. My conservative values and life dreams were destroyed. I maintain an appearance to my parents and the rest of the community as a surviving single mom. Deep down, I was desperate for healing and moving forward but could not tell them all the harm I had suffered and was still enduring.
My father told me he regretted not giving me more tools to confront the wolves of this world. I had been a docile sheep, but I never blamed my father. I just expected people would treat others as they wanted to be treated.
Today, I am a survivor of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have a new psychiatrist and take medication to help me with my anxiety and depression. I acknowledge that abusers do not stop because you plead with them to do so. Abuse does not stop because you pray. I have since made peace with God as I know healing is happening a little more every day. I use my energy to find resources encouraging my children to heal, speak out, deal with anger issues and improve their self-esteem. I have a new loving partner who has helped me arrive at this new chapter in my life.
I am stronger now, but some days I still feel very weak. Small incidents can trigger my anxiety to overflow into severe symptoms. Writing my truth and typing without my hands shaking is proof of my progress. I don’t know if I will ever be able to share the whole story with my parents and my children. But finally, I dare to share my story anonymously with the world. It is a huge step. This is MY TRUTH.