So often, there are people who want to blame the victim of domestic violence. I have been asked several times what I did to deserve or cause Richard to abuse me. Because I have a bit of an attitude, they believe that is what caused the abuse. No one deserves or causes abuse, the problem lies with the psychological problems of the abuser. That being said, it would happen often when I would take up for myself and oddly it was often when I was in my menstrual cycle. Any time he felt slighted or that he was being looked down upon, he would turn very mean. He would get very arrogant around my co-workers when I worked outside our business. Anytime I relaxed my guard, wham I would become a target for his anger and never knew when it was coming so it never ceased being a shock.
Why didn’t I leave? Because leaving took an effort physically, mentally and emotionally and as terrible as it could be, we had built a comfortable life and enjoyed each others’ company. We had a lot of common interests and when things were good, we had what to the outside world looked like an idyllic life. I knew if I left, I would be forced to live with friends or family and I didn’t want that. I had been out of the business workplace for many years and hadn’t kept up with my computer skills. We were together for 7 years before we married and only stayed married for 3 years so any settlement would be based on the three years only. Honestly, I think I only went through with marrying him because I knew otherwise, I would have nothing if I left and all the work I put into earning the money to pay off debt, pay down his mortgage, purchase art collectibles, buy a cabin cruiser boat, cars and the blood, sweat and tears I put into building a business would be for nothing. The three years that we were married were the best and worst of the time we were together. I finally belonged to him and he showed his love in so many ways but I also was owned by him so I was his marionette, he pulled the strings and I danced. Our sex life was never fulfilling for either of us so it only happened maybe twice a year and when we would break up and get back together. We were great as friends but lousy as lovers and doing without didn’t bother either of us in the least. After he would physically abuse me, there would be apologies and if I would leave, carrots would be carrots dangled on a string to lure me back. Was alcohol the problem? No, it was a big problem but not the problem. When he quit drinking, his anger escalated because he didn’t have alcohol as an anesthesia for his emotional anguish. Forcing someone to quit drinking as I forced Richard doesn’t work because unless they work a program like AA, they are just a dry drunk. When we would break up, he would start drinking again and often he and his mother would use it to get me to go back implying that I would rescue him. The times I would catch him sneaking alcohol and any time I became aware that he was drinking again, whether we were together or not, I would have the weirdest reaction. I would start screaming and/or crying uncontrollably which evidenced that I was as affected by his drinking as he was.
The end finally came when we were spending a few days on our boat as we did most weeks. Richard became angry with one of our cats and I defended Mouse. He threw me on the bed and was choking me when our other cat hissed at him. He obviously thought more of the cat than me because he threw me on the floor and continued choking me. I quietly said as best I could, “Please stop.” and kept repeating those words calmly. He stopped and started kicking and telling me to get out of the boat. I calmly walked to the back of the boat and sat down to pull myself together and think about what do do next. These were my thoughts: “If I leave, this time it has to be for good. I cannot keep doing this to myself, my family or to him. God help me.”. I stood up and walked back into the cabin and started packing up everything I normally left on the boat. The only thing I said to Richard was “I don’t want to do this anymore.” My cats were confused so I reassured them while I urged them into their carrier and I went to the marina pay phone and called my mother. I told my mother that I was O.K. but that I needed her to come and get me. I told her that she needn’t get out of her car, that I would see her and come out. She asked if I was safe and I told her that I was. Then I sat and waited while wishing to hide from the people walking up and down the dock, thinking that they probably heard everything. I had turned myself over to God so I didn’t even allow myself to wonder what was next. My mother had been very ill and she was on very strong medication so she asked a neighbor to drive her to pick me up. There was little conversation on the drive, I believe I was in shock or on automatic pilot. When I got to my mother’s house, she gave me three Benedryl and I slept.
There was pressure from my family for me to file for a divorce right away and pressure to get a settlement that was representative of everything I had done for him and us but I would not let anyone influence me. They had to be my decisions so that I could never blame anyone else for my choices or their results. The one thing I knew was that I felt a sense of relief and it grew stronger as each day passed.
I would not talk to Richard for a time until I had made decisions and felt strong enough to stand up to him. My mom and I didn’t even answer the phone (no caller I.D.); I knew that Richard and his mother were trying to get in touch with me. I was always afraid that he would convince me to go back with him. During that time, I got involved in Ala-non for friends and families of alcoholics and found a lot of support helping me to get stronger every day. The issue of where I would live was the easiest to solve because my mother had lived alone since my dad died. She had been very ill and needed help with the house and getting around. She told me that she could support me financially but she didn’t want to cripple me. When she said that to me, I knew how very much she loved me and that she would help me emotionally to become whole again but without enabling me.
I was led to a minister who specialized in abuse counseling and he became my counselor and mine and Danny’s couples counselor. I was introduced to an affordable program at the local community college to reboot my skills and rebuild my confidence. I met Danny in Ala-non and we dated for three years and because we both knew we had a lot of baggage, attended couples counseling throughout that time and have been married for 20 years. Though I am not hyper-religious, I never forget that moment on the back of that boat when I asked God for his help and how everything fell into place. All I had to do is be open to the opportunities that presented themselves.
My mother still hears from Richard from time to time and she does converse with him because she says she feels sorry for him. He says he finally hit bottom, losing everything, and is no longer drinking and I hope for his sake that he has turned his life around. Mom says he appears to be very much alone as his mother and brother have died and he only has his sister who lives in New York for family. He is sarcastic and demeaning when he brings up my marriage which says to me that little has changed. He uses the excuse for wanting me to contact him of my remaining as the trustee to his will as well as being named in the will. However, when I attempted to contact him with Danny’s permission, the call went to voice mail. He followed up with a call to my mother saying that he decided that he couldn’t handle talking to me because it would be too painful. I was glad that he made that decision because I feel claustrophobic and trapped when I think about seeing or talking to him again. I now recognize his will and my possibly benefiting from his death to be another carrot dangled to lure me back to him. I would guess that he can’t believe that it is really over. I t i s r e a l l y O V E R , thank you God!
If you think you are in a relationship with a Misogynist, I highly recommend the book:
Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them : When Loving Hurts and You Don’t Know Why by
This is what the Library Journal has to say about the book:
Forward is a therapist, author, and talk-show host whose specialty is abusive relationships. This book grew out of her realization that her own marriage as well as those of many of her clients followed a pattern. Many men need to control their relationships completely and consequently are mentally (if not physically) abusive. They denigrate their partners, resent them if they have any outside interests, and become furious for trivial reasons. Women with low self-esteem are drawn to these men because they can also be charming and devoted. Forward devotes the first half of the book to an analysis of the problem, the second half to breaking the pattern and getting outside help. No bibliography, but competent and interesting, and sure to be popular. Recommended for public libraries. Margaret B. Allen, M.L.S., West Lebanon,
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
If you are in a relationship with an alcoholic, any relationship, any alcoholic, give Ala-non a try. When you are with Ala-non, you are never alone, support is just a phone call away. You can search the internet for Ala-non and obtain information for meetings in your area.
There is never any excuse or justification for abuse. Make a phone call:
CRISIS CALL CENTER 1-800-273-8255
THE NATIONAL DOMESTIC ABUSE HOTLINE 1-800-799-7233