Posted in 3rdMomof3, Surviving

Leave or Stay?

*Warning, this post contains sensitive material about domestic violence and suicide, reader discretion is advised.*

Have you ever considered leaving your abusive spouse? Have you stayed because of your children? Have you stayed because you are too afraid to leave? Have you stayed because your spouse threatened to harm themselves if you left?

I can answer YES to all 4 of those questions! A lot of people don’t know this about me. I usually don’t speak about my first marriage. It is too painful to talk about and too hard to explain over and over. Only those closest to me know the real story. (I want to begin by saying that this is NOT a story about my current husband or our relationship.)

It all started in 2002, that is when I first met my ex-husband. We began dating and were expecting a child after only a few months. We did the ‘right’ thing and got married. I was six months pregnant and standing in front of a court house doing what I thought I should do. In December I gave birth to my first born, my only son. He was the light of my life! He made the pain of the abuse bearable.

The first major assault occurred after my son was born. I stayed because I though it was the right thing to do. Until one night I made my ex mad. I must have said something wrong, right? I mean he wouldn’t have waited until I put my son to bed to corner me in the kitchen, unless I did something wrong… Right? It’s gotta be my fault that I ended up going to the hospital, right? It’s my fault that my ex decided to shove me so hard and I hit the stove with such force, that my upper arm immediately began to swell. And if that wasn’t enough and my tears & pleading didn’t get to him, he tried to shut me up by punching me in the back of the head multiple times. The last blow to my head caused me to briefly loose consciousness. When I came back to I realized what was going on. It took me a long time to convince him to take me to the ER, as I thought my arm was broken. I packed up my son and we headed to the hospital. I made sure I told my ex that I would just tell the doctor that I fell down the stairs. I must have been very convincing because he left me alone with the nurse in triage, while he went to the bathroom to change my sons diaper. I told her everything! She immediately called the police and had them wait behind the doors so that I could take my son from his arms before they arrested him. I was so scared that he would do something to my son if he saw the police before I took him. I grabbed my son and headed to the triage room again and didn’t look back. I could hear the police tackle him because he was fighting them, I could hear him yelling for me, but I didn’t turn around.

When our case went to court he asked me to drop the charges and say that I made everything up. I stood my ground, testified against him and they ordered anger management, parenting classes, a restraining order for myself and my son, and probation. You would think that would be the end of my story right? Unfortunately it’s not.

Time went by and he did all of the ‘right’ things. He attended his ordered classes, he got a job, he did everything that I had wanted him to do before. I saw him bettering himself… or so I thought. I decided to give it another try, for the sake of my son. He deserved to have 2 parents right? I ended up getting pregnant again, you know the saying that it only takes ONE time? That is very true!!! I was happy and sad at the same time. I was going to be a mom again and it was the one thing in my life that I could do right! But what if he hit me again? What if he broke his promises?

Well, you know what happened??? He did hit me! He broke every single promise that he had made! He told me he would kill me, my kids and himself if I ever left! I was so scared, I thought ‘if I don’t leave my kids and I are going to die, but if I stay we will die’. I knew that I had to make a choice, so I eventually got the courage to kick him out!

Fast forward to 2009. I was remarried and we were so happy. My ex didn’t see the kids and they didn’t remember him. I was so happy that I never heard from my ex and he didn’t ask to see the kids. My husband was their daddy, he took care of them, he took care of me… We were a happy family of 4. One night I got a phone call, a phone call from someone I had never met, someone claiming to be my ex’s cousin. I didn’t believe him when he said that my ex-husband shot himself, that he left a note and I was the only person he mentioned. I told him ‘Good, I’m glad he’s gone’! Again, at this point I didn’t believe him. It wasn’t until I received yet another phone call… This time it was my dad, he told me he was on the computer looking at my ex-husband’s obituary. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing… So many emotions filled me… Sadness, Anger, Resentfulness, Hurt, Sympathy for his family, and Relief for myself and my kids! Relief that I would no longer have to look over my shoulder, I wouldn’t have to worry about him ever getting visitations with my kids, I wouldn’t have to fear him any longer! I was finally FREE!

My husband gave my kids his last name, and we have added another child to our family. My kids became OUR kids and they have never known or felt any different. Our son found out about my ex a few years ago and he stated that that did not change anything for him. He doesn’t remember anything about our past life. As a mother and father, my husband and I have chosen not to tell our daughters. Our older daughter was only 6 months old when we met, so my husband is the only father she has ever known. Due to her inability to process information maturely we ask that if you know our family that you DO NOT bring any of the information in this blog up to her. We have made a beautiful life for ourselves and are incredibly blessed and I thank God daily that he brought us out of the trauma we were living in and sent my husband to rescue us! This year marks 10 years since our 2 older kids and I have been free!

If you are in a relationship that is abusive, it doesn’t get better, he won’t change, he will continue the abuse. Just like with me, it is NOT your fault! You didn’t do anything that deserves abuse! It may look like he’s changing but he’s not. He will tell you anything you want to hear so that you will stay. There are other options. There are places you can go, people that can help you leave. We as a society need to come together and put an end to domestic violence. I know it’s not easy to leave, trust me, but I didn’t want to end up another statistic. I knew that my kids and I would end up on the news as another murder/suicide headline. So if you need a friend please reach out, my email address is 3rdMomof3@gmail.com or you can reach out to me on my Facebook Page. It has taken me 10 years to tell my story, but as I see more and more of the same headlines, I just know someone out there needs to hear it. Needs to hear that it’s ok to leave.

If you are in an abusive relationship please contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-787-3224.