Early this morning I was preparing a speech that I plan to give at a meeting of abused women. I have told our story countless times; to doctor’s, therapists, nurses, friends, to my children’s schools. I have pondered the idea of writing down every detail, so that when doctor’s leave or therapists move on, I don’t have to repeat myself. Again.
Curious? Well, here it is:
My ex-husband and I were introduced by mutual friends as a blind date. We hit it off and dated for almost five years before getting married. He adored me, especially my strength. We argued at times, but what couple doesn’t? Things sometimes got physical, but I was used to that, what with a father who had a notorious temper, at least within the walls of our home. Rarely outside. This was familiar to me.
I didn’t see it as a problem until we had our first child. She was a difficult baby, who I now know had stomach issues. At the time, all I knew was that she cried if you set her down. I remember distinctly the ex screaming at her to “Shut up!” I hated that he would scream at an innocent baby, but what was I to do? I had become the doormat.
Many years later, after three more children and the loss of one in utero, I saw the truth. The ex was not just physically and mentally abusing our daughters, but, while I was in the nursing home recovering from a broken kneecap and shattered pelvis from a car accident, he was also sexually assaulting them. I wasn’t there to protect them. No one else believed them.
After one terrible night of abuse and drinking (him, not me!) I had his AA sponsor get him out of the house and into rehab. He actually called my mother to take him, rather than accepting the ride offered to him by the sponsor. My mother took him, even though I warned her that he was dangerous. She simply didn’t believe me. “Oh, he would never hurt me,” was what she told me. Needless to say, we were all traumatized. I reported the abuse to our doctor, who could see the defensive wounds on Child #1’s arm, and the ex wasn’t allowed anywhere near us.
Then came the trauma of Child number 3’s abuse. She was very mentally disturbed due to all the abuse the ex heaped on her. She was only 12 when she first went to a mental hospital. They traumatized her more. She cut herself up with anything she could find; scissors, knives, glass in any form that she could smash to get shards. It became a test of hiding places to keep cooking utensils where she couldn’t find them and I could still use them to cook. I packed up all of our plates and glasses and bought plastic. I cut her down from the closet rod where she was trying to hang herself. In return she broke my finger, while swatting at me to let her hang and die.
It took years to figure out the right combination of medications and therapy to help her. It was a long and arduous journey. I was told by health and human services that she would always be disabled. They thought that I was abusing her, when in truth, she was abusing all of us! And yet I loved her with all my heart. Sending her to mental institutions was for her protection and also ours. If only they had actually helped, rather than making her feel abandoned and worthless, not to mention more traumatized.
This is what led me to essential oils and hope for all of our futures. The changes I’ve noticed have been very reassuring, especially to a mom who had all but given up hope.
So, now you know. I try to teach my kiddos that God sees all, and in doing so, the people that hurt us will have to answer to Him for their behavior. Some of us believe that. Some of us have lost our faith. But here’s the thing…God never loses faith in us, so I will keep on going, keep on praying. I will strive to make a better life for Child #3 and all of my children. I am a mom. It’s what I do.