Never Question Your Intuition
Our marriage was happy. We had ups and downs just like any other couples, but we loved each other, worked very hard at our relationship, and talked often about our plans of growing old together. We had a beautiful home and a beautiful life. We were passionate and bold, envied and successful, strong in our faith, and unconditionally and wholeheartedly in love…or so I thought.
I often had a strange feeling at night. I would go to bed, and my husband and our oldest daughter, P, would stay up watching movies, cuddling, spending dad and daughter time together. I never thought much of it except that it was sweet that they wanted to spend time together. She was 13 and growing up fast, and their bonding time was at night while everyone else was in bed.
However, occasionally, I would suddenly wake up with a little voice in my head telling me to “go check on them.” Then I would feel incredibly guilty and angry at myself for even having thoughts that there could be something inappropriate going on. I had been molested as a child and would chalk it up to my own past hurts and insecurities getting the best of me.
Sometimes I would get up, just to satisfy that voice—and when I would walk into the room where they were both sitting, watching a movie or snuggled up asleep on the couch, I would take a big sigh of relief and tell myself how ridiculous I am for having such ridiculous thoughts…and that maybe I need to go get some help.
But then, one day, there was a knock at the door. It was two officers from the local police department and a DCF worker asking if they could come in and speak with us. A private conversation between P, the officer, and DCF worker resulted in my husband of 14 years being handcuffed and escorted out to the patrol car waiting in our driveway.
The DCF worker sat me down and explained to me that our daughter had confided in a friend at school that day that her dad had been molesting her for years…seven, to be exact. I felt the blood rushing from my face. I was in complete shock. I started to cry in disbelief, although there was that little voice again, saying, “Told you so.”
And then, anger set in…followed by guilt.
Why did I not see this? How did I not know? How could he???Confusion, anger, guilt, excruciating pain….I felt it all in those first five minutes. I was crushed. His last words to me were echoing in my head: ‘I love you so much.’
His arrest—and eventually, his confession—led to our three children being taken into state custody, our losing our home, and my finding myself sleeping in my car at night because I was now a stay-at-home and soon-to-be-divorced mom that was homeless. My so-called friends and much of my family turned their backs on me. My husband’s case was all over the local news, and our friends didn’t want to be associated with us in any way.
It was heart-wrenching. I literally had nothing left. I didn’t even know who I was anymore.
My husband was gone. My children were gone. My in-laws were hurt and angry and finger-pointing. I felt dead inside, as I was not even allowed to speak to my children on the phone.
The next year was incredibly lonely and scary. It was a whirlwind of lots of court dates for both the criminal trial and for family court. I was fighting harder than I’ve ever had to fight in my life. But I needed my children, and they needed me.
I spent every day reinventing myself, trying to figure out who I was and who I wanted to be. I had to find the strength within myself to carry on. Looking back, this may have been the most challenging part of all, because I came to a hard realization that I had been in an extremely codependent marriage. I didn’t even know what my favorite color was or what kind of dressing I preferred on my salad. It had always been about my husband and what he wanted and who he wanted me to be as a wife and mother. I felt void.
However, now that I had no choice, I would work wherever I could (including a very shady bar) just so I could put money away to get an apartment. This was a requirement from the family court so that my children could one day be reunited with me. I found solace at my church, where I had sought counseling and was able to get food when I was desperate. I even made a new friend who let me sleep on her couch and listened to me cry over how much I missed my children. She cried with me.
Finally, one year later, after finding a job at a temp agency and securing a one-bedroom loft apartment, the court decided to grant me reunion with my children. I was beyond happy! But I was also terrified.
Now I’m a divorced single mom with a temp job and bills to pay and three traumatized children to raise on my own. They aren’t the same children who were taken into state custody that day…and I’m not the same mom or woman they remember.
My (ex) husband was sentenced three years later with the maximum penalty of 26 years in state prison. He confessed to showing our daughter pornography and using instrument on her. Although he had frequently molested her for over seven years, he was convicted for only five counts of child molestation.
My children and I moved out of the state as soon as we were financially capable. The memories of him and all that happened were too much, and everywhere we went was a constant reminder of what once was and what is now our reality. My in-laws still somehow blame me for their son’s conviction. I guess it’s easier for them to blame me and P for their pain and loss.
It’s six years later now, and my beautiful P has a daughter of her own. I pray every day that she listens to her inner voice and that she never questions her own intuition. Ladies, that gut sixth sense that you feel? Listen to it, and never ignore it—it’s real, and it’s telling you something.