Stronger After I Left Him

As you get older, in my case much older, you reflect upon your life more.  There is not much I regret in my life as I have tried hard to take what life has given me and make the best of it.  What I regret the most is not having enough confidence to get out of an abusive relationship earlier than I did.

Back in my day most women got married right out of high school.  This was the case for me too. I thought I had met my eternal love and we started life together.  My husband was a newly enlisted man and proud to be serving his country.

Not long after we were married, he was deployed over seas.  Unfortunately, during his deployment any free time he had, he enjoyed spending in the bars and playing pool.  The more alcohol he consumed, the more he wanted.

He returned to me a different man.  He seemed angry a lot and said many unkind things.  I thought it was a phase that would end.  It did not as he found local bars at home too.

After a couple of years of being back, he was gone more at night than he was home.  It seemed like I could do nothing right – the house was never clean enough, the food not what he wanted, or I had not done something else correctly. It was like I was living with two people.  When he was not drinking, he was kind and loving.  However, he was more than the opposite when alcohol consumed his system.

His anger escalated and his frustrations were exhibited physically.  He was smart enough to try to place his physical attacks in places that they would not be noticed.  I now feared for him to come home and wished that he would not.

I did not have any skills and was afraid that I could not make it on my own.  So, I suffered in silence.  I dreaded each time the door would open not knowing if I would greet my sober and loving husband or the raging alcoholic.

There were not the kind of resources available to me during this time as there are now.  My low self esteem made me believe that somehow I deserved what I was receiving which I later learned was a complete lie.

I discovered he was also having affairs. I confessed to one of my relatives which I trusted completely what had been going on.  Immediately, they advised me to get out of the relationship and that nobody should suffer the way I was.  They offered to help me financially through the transition .It took a while for me to accept any help.  I did not want others to know what I had been through as I felt embarrassed.  I realize now that the verbal abuse I had become accustomed to had shaped my low opinion of myself and it was not true.

When I finally got he courage to leave him I had been married for over twenty years.  It took a long time to heal from the wounds he had inflicted. It was through the support of friends, family, and my church that I was able to make the transition. I can now confidently say that I am so much more than I ever thought I could be.  I know that God made me special and gave me unique gifts and talents.  Now, I try to share what God has given me with others.

-C.C., Minnesota

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