I was in a verbally abusive marriage for 23 years. I saw red flags but didn’t know what they were telling me. My boys were 13 and 18. My x told me I paid more attention to the kids than him one day. As tome passes, they got closer to him. If I said no, he said yes to them. Every Christmas I would be assigned to get the gifts. Every Christmas Eve, he would say I got the wrong stuf and he would rebuy all new gifts. You get the picture. I was fat, stupid, couldn’t cook, etc. I could do everything but the kids eventually thought I was worthless. They learned to be very disrespectful to me. Jonathan threw a hamburger at me since it was “the wrong kind”. I was a prude when we got married. My x talked me into swinging. You feel disrespected and hurt that your spouse would jump at every chance to be with someone else. Soon he was telling me that he was just like that and demanded an open relationship. I thought I could play the game. I got so drunk I would get sick and pass out. I didn’t want to be a part of swinging. He wanted to hook up at least 3 times a week. I hated it. The women were all so owned by their husbands. He chose my hairstyle, clothes, portioned my food so I was thin. My oldest son became really abusive with me by practicing bossing me around. The kids knew not to challenge my x. He would bark them into the ground. I had the same abuse at work so I couldn’t get away. The guys at work put mouse poop in the refrigerator near my lunch. They wired my orders backwards. My x did the same thing at home. I went on anti anxiety meds and anti depressants to cope. I was floating through life. My goal was to stay for my youngest son but I just couldn’t take it. I had already had a nervous breakdown and was out of work for 6 weeks. My x was worried about me losing my job , not my health. One day my x wanted me to get rid of my outside cats. I was down to one. I had given them all away but this one cat. I caught it for my oldest son. He said he would take it out to the country. (we lived in the country, but my x was co controlling and manipulating). My son put it in a burlap bag, and beat it to death with a hammer. He was 28. My 13 year old watched. My x went into the house and never looked back. My son is going to have some serious problems in his years to come. My son got married a year and a half ago. I found his announcement on the Internet a few months ago. He has only texted me in the last 10 years because I was going to remove him off my health insurance when he graduated college. My x filed to the courts saying I had to wait until he was 26. My youngest son just graduated college. I am going to remove him this fall since he is an aerospace engineer. He can hold his own now. When I left, I had reason to believe my x was going to kill me. He threatened to bury me in our pond. He said in front of the 13 year old that he’d hoped he would shoot me in the ankles and make me dance. So I dropped my son off at school and never came back. My x got a good lawyer and took everything but my pension and 401k. I started over. My x said my youngest son wasn’t used to live in an apartment, as we had a 5000 square foot home on 23 acres. I got my son every other weekend. During the visits my son was hateful to me. After about 4 visits, I got my son for thanksgiving. We went to my mom’s house. Within 5 minutes, my son said he was sick and my older son came and got him. They must have been waiting. So I never saw him for visits again. He said he was better off without me. The divorce went on for 13 months. My x wouldn’t give a good answer to his income, value of his businesses, property value, etc. he sold the house for 300.000 more than his appraisal said it was worth. It was a mess. I felt very lost as my kids were and hopefully will be my life. The judge ripped my x apart because he had damaged the kids so much. My youngest was supposed to get counseling but my x said counseling was for wackos. During the 13 months, I got breast cancer, having a double mastectomy and a rebuild, then a hysterectomy. My x told the kids and judge I made it up. He wanted me to put the divorce before my surgery. I did it without my kids by my side. I’ve since sent genetics from me and all my sisters to my x brother in law since he’s an oncologist. My dad’s dad had it too and my boys have a 50 percent chance of getting breast cancer. I’ve been texting my boys to check in with their uncle so they can get tested. For 10 years I’ve been texting my kids with very little texting back. My x was a little man, and a narcissist. His dad was the same way. He’s turned all our joint friends against me. I would do the same thing again because I got away. I’m working and pulling myself along. I have a lot of mental pain and need to release my hurt. However I’m very proud that I took that step. I never saw my x as a little man until I left. He had a big truck, big boots, he slammed the door hard like a big man. I was in the child mode when I was around him. I can see the whole picture now that I am out and away from all the medications I was on. When I was married, I went back to college online. My x was so angry at me for spending my time studying rather than be a work horse for him. I did get my bachelors degree shortly after the divorce. My x texted me asking if I got it. I didn’t use it due to my lack of confidence. He would use that against me with you’re dumb insinuations. I carry the health insurance for my youngest now, used to for the older one too. I caught my x using my insurance through my younger son. He had a medication that was never prescribed for him. I found out through the insurance company and they put a stop to it. My x was a nightmare of a man and I believe he is evil. I don’t know what my kids will have to go through to become nice again. My boys are now 24 and 29. Time will tell. It’s been very hard for me to let go. I have grown tremendously since I left and I have my own mind again.