This isn’t supposed to be me. I come from a long line of strong, opinionated women. Fierce. Independent. I’m not supposed to be scared to leave. Scared to speak up. Crying here in the bathroom because my husband makes me feel like I’m two inches tall and useless. I have a degree! I was going to be on Broadway one day! And now I have to report to him how I spent my day, who I’m talking to on my phone, why I want to go out alone…. He has never hit me, but he has punched walls. I put pictures up over the holes. He would never hit me. Would he? I’m a put-together, well-educated woman! This is not me! Whose life am I living?!
I had decided JUST before Covid hit that it was time to leave. But I have nothing. Everything we have amassed over the 20 years of our marriage is in his name; the cars, the bank account, the house, everything. Then when the lockdowns hit, I had nowhere else to go. So here I sit, crying in the bathroom. He’s been cruel again. Telling me I haven’t been pulling my weight. Telling me our son and I are worthless. We go through this every couple of weeks. I homeschool our son, care for the house, do the laundry, cook, pay all of the bills, make sure the business calls get taken care of, do all of the bookkeeping, while he does the physical work of the business. But that is not enough. It’s never enough. I don’t appreciate him. He says he should just leave or kill himself. He always says the same things…
I have been slowly taking money out of our account to leave. Returns are no longer allowed at the store, so I can’t buy things and take them back for cash, but when I buy groceries, I can take cash out when I pay. Slowly, quietly squirreling it away. I have my car in my name. Even though it hurts to be here, I feel stronger knowing I am starting my plan to get out. I can do this. For my son. He is too young to know who his father is, but I will break that cycle of abuse.
Notice: The names in this story are fictitious to protect the request for anonymity.