I married a cute surfer boy, back in 1977. I wasn't thinking long term, only that he was a cute surfer boy, and sure, everyone else was getting married, and surely my marriage would turn out like my parents, so, why not?
Well, as you can imagine, I found out what a major mistake that was and went through 23 years of tormenting abuse from an alcoholic wife beater. I stayed because I was too afraid to leave. I stayed because he threatened me with death of my father, if I told anyone about our life at home. I stayed because at the same time my brother was had both a wife and a girlfriend pregnant at the same time, and my mother was dying of cancer. I couldn't bear to tell my father that my husband was abusing me verbally, physically and emotionally. I sold my family heirlooms to support him and our baby while I worked 2 jobs, and my husband stayed at home for 2 years deciding he didn't need to work since he could collect unemployment. He hurt me physically, put my head through a window one night, and drew a gun on me to threaten me into submission. Sex was more like rape and I was too afraid and frozeen in time to leave. I was finally able to get out when my son was done with high school and it didn't get any better.
My mother was dead and my father was in depression. I took my son to live with him back in the house where I had grown up and we helped my father to pick up the pieces. In the meantime however, my finances became a horrible mess and I lost of lot of money through mismanagement which now I know was the result of my PTSD and fear of my husband. I went through years of counseling.
My son graduated from college and I filed for divorce. At that time my brothers found out about my marriage and they at first were shocked. However, because my husband could be so charming and persuasive, he convinced my entire family, and his, that I was crazy and had thrown the money away and was irresponsible and needed psychiatric help. My family believed him because they are very materialistic and my sister in law sided with my then ex husband and she told everyone it was my fault for the break down of the marriage. The only people who believed me and my son were the priests at our church when I got an annulment which was granted to me in 3 months, rather than the customary one years time.
Skipping ahead, my ex has now passed away due to heart disease and overall bad health which took his life at age 60. Since then I have had mixed emotions and today I was finally able to put it into perspective. I am no longer divorced, I am no longer in annulment and I am no longer married to him in any way. Even through divorce, you are always married to that person who is the father of your child, even if not on paper. Now the black cloud has lifted and I can live my life in peace. That was 11 years ago when all of that happened and I am single now and am considered a 'divorced widow' by the Social Security office.
I am totally estranged from my family, as they still believe him and not me and my son. I showed them evidence of hair my husband had pulled from my head when he put me through the window, they said that wasn't enough. They welcomed my husband into their home as their guest, and I became the outcast. My son refused all contact with them when he found out they didn't believe us. He and I are all we have now. No one in the family has contacted my son to offer condolences for the loss of his father, which, even though there was no relationship,they could at least say they are sorry for the loss.
I just had to vent my emotions and put in print that I have made it to the other side. It's as if finally the deamon has left me once and for all. I can live my life uninhibited and hopefully the nightmares of the abuse will leave me too. I struggle in friendships because I trust no one. But I think now I am back to the beginning, and I can reclaim the woman I was before I got married all those years ago. I thank God for my son who has been at my side all this time. Thank you for listening. God bless you all.