Survivor Story: My Family Sided with My Abuser
Written by: BTSADV Survivor
I married my high school sweetheart. We started dating when I was 16. The very first week, he asked me to marry him. I laughed because we were just kids. He got very angry and squeezed my arm; he was dead serious.
Then the jealousy started. He was constantly in fist fights with other boys, saying he didn’t like them sniffing around me. He controlled where I went and whom I talked to. He bought me gifts like necklaces and then would rip them off me and destroy them when he was angry. He constantly blamed me for making him mad. He told me he just loved me so much and he was afraid of losing me. He threatened to kill himself if I ever left him. I also had an abusive mother, and he hated her. They fought over control of me.
I married him when I was 22. I had never dated another boy; I thought what we had was love. Moreover, I had been conditioned to please him, so I thought things were fine. By the time I was 25 I had two children. I learned very quickly not to set him off in front of the kids because he would go into a rage and frighten them. I didn’t want my kids harmed.
I was married to him for 30 years. During that time, he abused me emotionally, financially, sexually and physically. He made me work two jobs while he stole and gambled away our money. He ruined my credit and made me file bankruptcy. On Mother’s Day, my young children wouldn’t have so much as a card for me. If I complained, he would say “You’re not MY mother.” For three years he kept me isolated in the house with no car. He monitored my whereabouts if I did go anywhere, and he stalked my social media accounts.
After my kids grew up, he started forcing me to have sex as many as six times a day. When he was at work, he made me send him photos of myself in sexy lingerie or completely nude. He degraded and objectified me. He threw hot cups of coffee at my head and drove knives into the counter beside my hands. He kicked down doors, and slapped, shoved, choked and suffocated me.
One night a few years ago, I told him I wasn’t going to take any more of his abuse and that if he hurt me again, I would leave him. He waited until I went to bed, doused my living room with gasoline and set it on fire. My bed was directly above the spot where he lit the fire. I was upstairs with my dog when it happened. I barely got out alive, but my little dog was killed. He murdered my dog and tried to murder me.
He told my mother, siblings, and children that he was distraught and drunk because I was a cheating whore. He lied and said he thought I had left the house. He begged them to understand that he loved me so much and I had broken his heart. Here’s the incredible part. THEY BELIEVED HIM. He tried to murder me and then played the victim, and they believed him. I was faithful every day of my relationship with him.
My daughter was planning her wedding only months after the fire. She would not allow me to attend. She had a baby whom I have never met, and she’s pregnant again. She has shut me out of her life. My siblings attended her wedding, and they hold my grandchild. All of them, my kids, brothers, and sisters sat behind him in court when he was sentenced to prison. They wrote letters of support to help lighten his sentence. He only served 15 months and is out on parole. They remain in contact with him and shun me.
I am working hard to get over the trauma and the alienation. Some days I can barely function and others I am just full of rage. I will continue to share my story hoping that at least one young girl or abused wife knows they are not alone.
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