Shared by Anonymous

I’d known him my whole life, really.

Ever since our parents taught Sunday school together when we were both about 9-10 years old. We’d moved away, they’d moved away, but our moms kept in touch that whole time. They moved on average every 7-8 months, between states, even to another country as “missionaries”. Around the time he and I started talking, they’d settled in a state that was 2500 miles from my home. I was raised devoutly Christian. Still am, but not to the level of my parents (more on that later). My parents adopted lots of international kids, home schooled all of us, the works. They started adopting when I was 8, and adopted one kid or one sibling group every 2 years until the total was up to 11 children.

I know this doesn’t seem like it relates to my ex, but bear with me. Starting around the age of 8, one of my adopted brothers, who was the same age as me, started sexually abusing me. It was what most would consider “low level”, mainly looks, words, touches. He just got worse and worse, until I learned to stuff towels in the cracks of bathroom doors and dress like a nun. I won’t go into a lot of detail, but my parents never did enough to protect me, and for 10 years I grew up in a home where there was no safety, no rest, no peace. I just wanted peace, but I was being constantly violated in the one place on Earth that I should have been safe.

Then HE came along.

I was so desperate, at the ripe old age of 18, and convinced that nobody would ever take me because I was so “damaged”. So when he showed an interest, even from across the country, I leapt at the chance to escape my own personal hell. Just a few months later, I had just turned 19 and moved across the country to marry this man that I had known forever, but never really “knew”. After we first started talking in January, got engaged in June, we were married in October. Immediately everything started to fall apart. My new husband, who should have been wanting to spend time with ME, his bride, spent every free moment at his parents’ house, and tried to force me to do it too. When I begged him, with tears in my eyes, to stay home with me, both he and them treated me like I was being completely unreasonable. We had been supposed to fly back to my home state for a reception, but my new husband’s boss was threatening to fire him if he went, even though he swore he had put in for time off. Knowing what I know now, I very much doubt that. We went anyway, because we’d already bought the tickets, and after all he only worked a deli job, he could find another job.

Then, just two weeks after our wedding, after having been told for the past 7 years that I would probably never have children, I saw two little pink lines on a pregnancy test. Right around that time, we decided to move back to my home state. My husband had supposedly set up a 30-hour a week job opportunity that was supposed to go full time after a couple weeks. So, at 6 weeks pregnant and sick with a horrible cold, the two of us packed up what little we had and drove cross country in the dead of winter. It was one of the most miserable experiences of my life, but I didn’t mind, because I had the man I loved. We got to my home state, and my husband started his new job. Except there was no “30 hours”. It was 10 hours a week, and the money that I had been saving since starting my first job at 15 rapidly dwindled until there was nothing left. (Despite having worked full time for 3 years, he had no savings.)

Finally he took a temp job, and for a few months, things were okay. My belly grew, and I begged and begged him to be interested, but he refused. On the day I gave birth, he had been assigned by my doula to rub my back, and he stood there pretending to do it while I labored without pain meds and he watched basketball. He spent the entire 48 hours in the hospital sleeping, and if I dared to say anything, told me how HE was the one that had to sleep because he had been working a lot. A few short months later, he was fired from his job, and since he had been looking for another one for months without success, once again we packed up and moved cross country on the promise of a full time job. The day we arrived in our new state, and temporarily moved into a hotel room with an 8 month old child, I experienced my first miscarriage.

He didn’t believe I had been pregnant, so he utterly ignored me and I cried myself to sleep next to the man I was somehow still in love with. Well, once again, his promise of a full time job was nothing like what he had told me. We lived in that hotel for weeks until someone kindly let the 3 of us move into their basement. From then on, my husband bounced from job to job, we moved from place to place, until he finally decided to join the military. Then we bounced around even more between his training and more training and finally coming back “home”. Then he went down to his once a month weekends (reserves), and began bouncing around again. I lived alone, in a trailer with holes in the walls and holes in the floors, 5 miles from the nearest paved road, as a Midwest winter began to settle in. Finally, the day after Christmas, we moved out, and he complained the whole time that he had to spend his day off, “working”.

Things happened in that trailer. Abuses of our little boy that I will not describe. Only that I have held my child, as he turns blue and goes into a seizure and passes out, because of how badly his father frightened him. I forced my husband to drive me the 45 minutes to the nearest ER once when I couldn’t breathe because he was smoking, but lied to me about it because he knew I was allergic. 45 minutes to that ER again with another miscarriage that he didn’t believe had ever happened.

Finally, after moving more than 12 times in 2 years, after being emotionally, financially and psychologically abused to the point that I no longer wanted to live, after 8 miscarriages that had drained my soul and my body beyond the point of being able to bear it any longer, I gathered up my toddler and left him. I fled from the man who forced me to consent to sex because I knew he would beat our son if I didn’t. I fled from the man who forced ME to hit our toddler, because I knew that I could just do it hard enough to make our son cry, and save our son from being hit until the stress was too much and he forgot how to breathe. I will never forgive myself for that, but I did it to save my son.

After I left, he tried to have me arrested for kidnapping. Everything that had ever happened was my fault. The emails I received from both him and his parents were utterly horrifying at times. In one of his rare “pleasant” moods, he told me I could come back, but that I would be moving (alone) into an apartment his father would rent for me, I would be given just enough money to buy groceries but not enough that I could run away again, and I would get a job to support the “family” while his mother cared for our son. If I could prove that I was no longer a flight risk, I might, eventually, be allowed to be a “real” member of the family again. I think this “offer” was what really began to wake me up to how deranged this man was. Nevermind that he and his parents were so entwined that I didn’t know where one ended and the other began. Nevermind that I was “hateful” for ever wanting to spend time with my husband that didn’t involve them. Nevermind that my father in law had scripted everything my husband did with the sole point of entrapping me into marrying him…from the emails in our long distance relationship, to his proposal, to arranging our entire wedding night for us. It was even more violating than the sexual abuse I’d endured for 12+ years now.

I won’t go through the story of our divorce and continuing custody battle. It’s much the same as so many others have experienced. He only cares for our son in the visible ways and the ones that save him money. We are currently fighting to reduce him to supervised visitation over starving and mistreating our now 6-year-old this past summer. It will probably never be over. I just want peace, but after 18 years of war against men who want to use me, I don’t know if I am capable of feeling peace anymore. I just want peace.



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