This post is the story of a friend that lived in hell for years. She came out on the other side a better, happier version of herself, but she is still trying to erase the negative messages and hopeful that someone will come along who will love her and her children for they are. These are her words.
We were married on December 31, because I was, in his words, a tax deduction. He told me that I was wife #2 until we were married and then decided to let me know that I was actually wife #3.
I found out that I was pregnant the following October. I was very sick, with hyperemesis gravidarum. He mocked me when I was crying on the floor in the bathroom because I was vomiting every 30 minutes to one hour. I ended up hospitalized three times. One of those times, I had to drive myself home from the hospital. He did not stay with me at any point or time during this. At one point, he actually said he hoped I would lose the baby. He accused me of having an affair with his brother after our son was born because of someone’s offhanded remark about how much my son looked like his brother when he was born. Newborn babies look like newborn babies, period.
I found out in December 2006, that he was having an emotional affair with one of his classmates. It was actually getting physical, too, though he says they never did more than kiss each other. It is still an affair in most people’s eyes. I’m not entirely sure it was only emotional.
Our son was born in the summer of 2007 after an exhausting and harrowing delivery in which he had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. I got to hold him so long as anyone else was present, but his father would take him from me as soon as we were alone. When I nearly passed out during this hospital stay from acute blood loss, my husband became angry because I woke him up.
I developed severe postpartum depression and anxiety disorder because he forced me to go back to work three weeks after I delivered the baby because he was full-time in college and refused to get a job. He also wouldn’t let me be treated for postpartum depression, so I had to sneak to appointments with a psychiatrist who specialized in postpartum mood disorders. I also had to sneak out to see a therapist. He also forced me to travel halfway across the US to get his son for a summer visit during this time, knowing that he wouldn’t be home much and I was in a mentally fragile state. It certainly didn’t help that he forced himself on me again and again while I was in a state of healing from an incision called an episiotomy which my doctor had to do to get our son out quickly because his heart rate was dropping and the cord was around his neck. I still remember the pain and the tears this many years later
The verbal and emotional abuse continued through our marriage. He thrived on his ego-stroking job. He was stronger than me at that time. By the time I was pregnant with our second son, he was shoving me around regularly, usually against walls where he would get in my face and curse at me. I was ready to leave at 7 months pregnant with my 2 year old son. Then my husband got sick and I felt that I had to help him. It was like I would go to Hell if I didn’t. If I had only realized I was already in Hell and it was about to get worse.
I had our second son unplanned and three weeks early. I required a cesarean section, as he was in a transverse breech position. My husband had just gotten out of the hospital the week before, but rather than stay home, came to the birth. He never once touched the baby. The day I came home from the hospital, I remember clearly that he was sitting in the recliner. I walked in holding our newborn son with our toddler trailing after me, and he, knowing that I could not lift anything heavier than my baby, gave me an evil look and ordered me to help him out of the chair. His family was there and helped him, but it was another instance of how little I was regarded by him.
For further care, my husband was sent to a hospital in another state not long after our second son was born. Thus began my internal tug of war between working all week at home while caring for four children (two mine, two not) and traveling on weekends to play caregiver. I was unable to bond like I wanted with my baby, as he and my toddler ended up being cared for by their grandparents during this time.
My husband could not physically harm me, but the emotional and mental abuse escalated during this time. I could never be good enough, never do enough. Some things he said were so hurtful, I’ve blocked them from my memory and only remembered that horrible things were said. Conveniently during this time, he complained of memory lapses and that he didn’t remember what he said to me. He continued to use this excuse for every time he yelled at me from then until I decided to end our marriage.
He came home 8 months later and the emotional abuse continued, along with the crazy idea in his head that he was deathly ill with all manner of things (if only). He worked for a short time, then left his job and stayed at home, though he did not take up the duties of a stay at home parent.
In 2012, I ended up being emergently hospitalized with a completely obstructive kidney stone and massive infection. I had been assigned to a hospital room for hours before he would even take me to the hospital because he had errands to run first. He stayed at the hospital long enough for me to go into the OR, then he left. According to the nurses, he said he had to go home and take care of our kids. Meanwhile, my mother was at her home taking care of our kids. I ended up having two surgeries a month apart and was on antibiotics for two months.
Later in 2012, I got pneumonia. He refused to take me to the hospital, even with a 103.0 fever. He wanted to call an ambulance instead, not out of concern for me, but because he didn’t want to be bothered with me. I made two trips to the ER because I was unable to keep the antibiotics down. He showed up on my second visit to insist that the ER doctor put in a PICC line and send me home with IV antibiotics so he could take care of me at home. My pneumonia was in two lobes, so I should have been admitted to the hospital. He did not take care of me. I administered my own antibiotic and he still made me take the kids to school and do all the work around the house.
He continued to stay home, while I worked. I have no problem at all with stay at home parents, but he did nothing for our children or to assist me. Our children went to daycare, even though he was home all the time. He did not help me with household chores. My day consisted of dropping kids at school, working a full time job, picking up kids from daycare, making dinner, doing homework with kids, cleaning house, and falling in bed somewhere around midnight, while he was up fueling his addiction to porn and online games, spending upwards of $100 per day.
I was ignored in my own home. Yet, even though I was being ignored, I was expected to keep to my wifely duties and be at his beck and call. He even used verses from the Bible to justify his treatment of me. There were at least two times that he forced himself on me, which is rape in my book, I was just married to my rapist. Everytime I protested, he threatened to take the children. If only I had realized then that he would never take the children because it required too much work to care for young kids.
I finally had enough when he got in my face again about sex and I told him no. He grabbed me by the arms, called me an ungrateful whore and a bitch in front of the children, and locked himself in the bathroom. He shoved me around several times between that incident and when he actually left the house for good.
Two years later, I can say my children and I are getting to a good place. Everyone is in therapy. My kids still have a hard time transitioning between the routine and order in our home and the chaos in his.
A few things I have learned on this part of my journey: I was married to someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and possible sociopathic tendencies. Because of this, true co-parenting is not possible because he attempts to create chaos wherever he goes. I try anyway for the sake of my kids and their need not to be in the middle of this battle that their dad and stepmother are waging against me. The most important things I have taken away from this experience is that I am good enough, no matter what the negative messages in my head tell me. I can take care of myself and my children. I am a loving and capable mother. I am worth loving and I have friends and family who do love me.
I hope by telling my story, I can help someone else in a similar situation. I hope I can give that person the courage to leave their personal hell. I hope others can see that they are not alone. Too many people are living like I did and desperately need to get out. Breaking free was the best decision I ever made for myself and my children. I will never go back to living in hell again.