Survivor Story: It Took 15 Years, But Now I Am Free

Written by: *Mary, BTSADV Survivor

Trigger Warning: This story contains descriptions of physical and sexual violence that some survivors may find particularly upsetting. Please consider your triggers and well-being before reading past this point.

A lot of abuse victims put on a happy face in an effort to hid what really happens behind closed doors. Mary is no different. She was able to hide the abuse from those closest to her for 15 years. Although she knew it was wrong, and that she did not deserve it, Mary was made to believe that the abuse was somehow her fault.

I continued in a marriage that looked good on the outside world, but inside I was destroyed and damaged. I hid it from family, friends, co-workers, and even my doctors.

It started in the first year of the marriage, before kids, and never stopped. When my husband was not hurting me, he was hurting our son. The worst part was I knew something was wrong with my ex, but I never knew there was a name for it.
My ex-husband acted like a best friend to everyone, but the second they could not hear him, he talked terribly about them. He spoke about how he hated his parents in front of our kids. He used people for money and thought he was above the law. My ex believed he could do no wrong, and any wrong that ever happened was always someone else’s fault.

He never provided help with either child or acted in a fatherly manner. I have pictures of him holding the kids, but solely as an object and never with love. The newborn photos I have are the same way. He held them like an award. He never once took the kids anywhere, and the kids did not want anything to do with him. If I ran to the store quickly, I would ask him to watch our oldest child, but every time I came back, they were gone. He said his great-grandma called want to spend time with our son, but when I picked him up, they would tell me my ex called and said our son wanted to spend time with them.

I never had a husband; I had a paying roommate. He lied so much about everything. When he had a two year affair, he tried to make it my fault, but I never got affection from him.

I was verbally, mentally, and physically abused. It was horrible. I got punched in the face first year of marriage because he wanted a puppy. This kind of treatment continued for 15 years.

I had swollen nodes in my neck from being choked so hard. There was a time I could not eat for days because my gums were bruised, and my lips were cut up from when he shoved a phone into my mouth for trying to call 911. But did I run? Nope.

A month or two later, he beat me as I drove the car, and he grabbed the wheel to make me wreck. That is the day my 11-year-old daughter and I finally ran to a neighbor for help with him chasing us. With the exception of divorce court, I have not seen him since.

I tried so hard to give him a family to love since he hated him so much. It turned out he is incapable of loving others, just himself.

*Name(s) have been changed – and in some cases omitted – to protect the identity of the survivor and others affected by the abuse.

**If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, there is help. You can visit the Break The Silence website at www.breakthesilencedv.org, chat with one of our helpline advocates at 855-287-1777, or send a private message through our Facebook page. For crisis services, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.

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