I chose this picture for a few reasons to share along with my story. My smile isn’t fake. I was happy in this moment. We were on a mini-vacay with my daughter and his daughter while I was pregnant with our son. One big, blended happy family. Except we weren’t always happy. Who is though, right? Not long before this beach trip though, he had dragged me down a dirt road by my hair when I got out of his truck to avoid going home with him because he was so angry, and I knew a fight would happen as soon as we got there. I don’t even remember what he was mad about at this point. What I do remember is him jerking me around, wrestling me to the ground, dragging me by hair, and finally ripping my shirt completely off of me (while wearing no bra) when I tried to get out of the truck again. This all happened just a year and a half ago in 2019.
He and I had been together since late 2016. He was charming. He made me feel special when I hadn’t felt special in so long. He spoiled me. He needed me. He needed me to help him work through his demons. He needed me to love him despite his issues.
The emotional abuse was always there, I guess. He was very possessive and controlling. He would throw and break things when he was mad. Punch walls. We had been together for just over a year when I was 6 weeks pregnant. He started a fight over something that he thought was a lie and was me cheating on him. I was always cheating on him. He kicked down our Christmas tree that was still up. He smashed ornaments. Special ornaments. He broke my kitchen table and three of the four chairs. He took my drawers out of my dresser and broke them one by one. He punched walls. I picked up his PS3 and dropped it hoping it would wake him up, and he would see how ridiculous he was acting. Instead, he picked up my tv and slammed it on the ground and stomped on it. Then he stomped on his PS3 even though it wasn’t broken. He wouldn’t let me leave the room. He kept grabbing me in a bear hug and squeezing. He pinned me down on the bed yelling at me. I kept screaming hoping a neighbor would hear and come over or call the police. Well someone called the police. The police came in and looked around. They saw I had been crying and my face was red. They saw that he had a knick on his hip and was bleeding a little. We both went to jail that night. Luckily, they didn’t call DHR and let my sister in law come get my daughter. While they didn’t call DHR, my ex mother in law did when she saw it in the paper. I found out at my 8 week prenatal appointment that I was miscarrying.
Three months later, he cheated on me with his daughter’s mother. I left for a week. He came and picked me back up from my sister’s, and I was pregnant again within a month. The first two/three months were great. He doted on me. It went downhill fast after that. He worked out of town a lot. So if I wasn’t talking to him every second of the day, I was cheating on him.
Our son was born in April of 2019. He stayed home for two weeks with us and left for one week to go to work before he quit and came home. After being home for one week, he put a gun to my head while I was holding our newborn baby. The very next week, he raped me while I was again holding our newborn baby. This time, both of our daughters and one of our nephews were sitting just two rooms away in the living room. I begged and cried and fought trying to get him off of me. I didn’t scream this time. I didn’t want to go to jail again. I didn’t want to scare the kids. He took my phone when he was done and walked out to sit with the kids. He came back in about 15 minutes later and asked me if I wanted some grits and told me he loved me. Once he was sitting down again in the living room, I started looking for an old phone we had. I found it and connected it to our WiFi and messaged my sister. I told her not to message back because he had my phone. I told her what happened and that I was going to call the police once his mom came and picked up the kids that afternoon.
My sister didn’t wait though. She called the sheriff’s department and told them what happened and that he had a gun in the house. They sent out at least five officers and an investigator came, too. They came in the house and took him outside. They asked me what I wanted to do, and I almost told them I didn’t want to do anything. But I had him arrested and pressed charges. My sister and my dad were up there within two hours to get me and my kids.
This was in May of 2019. It’s not October of 2020, and I have stayed away. I haven’t even considered going back. I haven’t let him manipulate me anymore. He would have killed me if I had stayed or if I had left and gone back. I want to live. My kids want me to live. My family and friends want me to live. I have so much more than just one man to live for.
It’s not easy by any means. It’s dangerous. I still live in fear that he will snap and hunt me down like he promised to do so many times if I left. I finally realized though that if I stayed he WAS going to kill me. If I left, he MIGHT, and I would rather die trying to do better for myself and my babies if it even came down to that.