Every morning before I start my day, I have a blog roll I go through and read. One of those blogs is called Mommy Wants Vodka. The other day she posted about her autistic son and how hard it is on her heart. Today she posted about giving a voice to things most people don't talk about. She ended her post today with - Pull your skeletons out of your closets and let them dance the motherfucking tango.
So I will.
Some of you - the long time readers of my books and my blogs - know that in another life I was an abused wife. My first husband, the father of my daughter, physically and verbally abused me for four years before I finally had the courage to escape. Many of you - those who have never suffered through this kind of thing - probably think, what courage? What was your problem, were you stupid, why not shag it on out of there the first time he hit you? Those of you who have been there will know, it is never that simple.
I can't remember the actual first time it happened, though several incidents stick out in my mind. Trying to rationalize with yourself how someone who supposedly loves you, someone you love, can treat you this way. They apologize, cry tears, and swear on the bible - no, on a STACK of bibles, it will never, ever happen again. At first, you believe them. Then as it happens again and again and again, the apologies become accusations. It's YOUR fault, he shouts. If you weren't so stupid, so ugly, such a crappy ass wife. And after awhile, you began to believe the words, you begin to cringe if he looks at you with that hard, cold look in his eyes. After awhile, it's safer to keep quiet, keep your head down, to try to become invisible.
But even that is not enough. And when you find yourself hiding under the kitchen table while he strolls around the kitchen with a loaded shotgun, threatening to put it up inside your vagina and blow you away, or you're hiding in a locked bathroom with your infant daughter because he's wrecking everything in the house and you have to protect her, what little embers of love and hope wither and die and you know you have to get out. If not for your sake, but for hers.
There are a lot of you out there, I know. I see it on the news everyday. Yesterday a rookie police officer in Arlington lost her life because she was there when the man came back to kill his girlfriend. He shot her, killing her, killed the girlfriend, before turning the gun on himself. Luckily the eleven year old child was spared, but now she has no mommie.
I will tell you what I know, though I know this too will fall on deaf ears until you reach that certain point. He won't change, no matter how much you love him. You'll never be good enough, pretty enough, capable enough, to make him stop. Because the problem IS NOT WITH YOU. It's with him.
Get out, seek help, run. Do it quietly, without fanfare, like I did. You cannot confront these kind of people, because they view you as their possession, not a person. If you threaten to leave, they might kill you. After all, they think you're better off dead than away from them. Believe me, I know.
After I left my ex, I had to keep running. He stalked me for years. I lost jobs because of him and to this day I have numerous tape recordings of threatening messages on my answering machine. Eventually, I remarried, a good man, a kind man, and my ex went away.
I was lucky. Yes, I still bear the scars internally. Yes, even after all these years I still tear up as I think about those horrible, awful times. And when I hear about the other nameless, faceless women still living this kind of private hell, my heart cracks even more.