My first memory as a child is of me sitting on my mom’s lap. She is talking into my ear and telling me that Mommy & Daddy are getting divorced, and that I needed to decide whether I wanted to live with Mommy or Daddy. My Dad begged her to stop. I was crying so hard and so confused. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t live with both. I was 3 years old, and my parents never divorced.
As I got older, the fighting continued between my parents. Harsh comments made to me and my siblings by my Mom, and my self-confidence was mutilated. When I was 10 years old we went on a short weekend trip, and a distant male relative sexually molested me. So, as you can see, the scene was set for me to be attractive to abusive, unhealthy men.
I was diagnosed with severe scoliosis at 12 years old, I was transitioning from huge framed glasses to contacts, and growing my hair out from a horrible hairstyle I didn’t want. I knew that I was ugly and that no boys would like me, but it was during this time that my Mom & sister began with what they thought was encouragement by sharing all of their many dating stories and tips. Both of them were beautiful, popular, and had no problem getting a boyfriend.
My senior year I caught a glimpse of the man that would become my now ex-husband. He was 7′ tall and handsome. We hit it off immediately, and I was “in love.” At our Senior Prom he proposed. We had plans to go off to our separate colleges, but to eventually find a way to attend the same college. Then, we would marry after we graduated. When we dated, he was fine. Then we went off to college and I got pregnant at the end of our first semester, freshman year. When I told him that I was pregnant, his response was “Is it mine?” I was devastated. He was the only man that I had ever been with and this was not like him…or so I thought. I had to come home to attend our local college, and we moved our wedding date up by 4 years.
At 19 years old, I was married, a new mom, a full-time employee, and a full-time college student. We only lived together half of our 2.5 year marriage. We separated twice due to his constant infidelity and his abuse. I remember coming home from the salon one time having had dark red highlights added to my dark hair. It was popular and I thought that he’d love it! He took one look at me and said, ” I didn’t marry a f***ing red-head! Go fix it!” Then there was the time that he threw a laundry basket through the wall because I asked him how the movie was that he went to with his best friend. However, the most disturbing thing was waking up to a butcher knife on the counter and I asked him why it was laying out. He explained that he had contemplated killing our son and myself the night before. My ex was verbally, emotionally, and mentally abusive. He attempted to get physical with me, but I stood up to him in that regard. I wasn’t mentally strong enough to combat the verbal, mental, and emotional abuse…plus I was used to it from my childhood.
So what made me finally leave?? I became aware of the physical abuse to our 2 year old son, and that was the final straw for me. I was finally done, but didn’t know how to leave. God opened the door for me to walk out. I got a kidney stone that blocked my kidney function, and it abscessed the inside of my kidney so bad that I was hospitalized for a week. When I got out of the hospital, I broke down and told my Mom that I needed to come home. She cried, I cried, and I went back home.
Now you’re probably thinking that I moved on to a healthy relationship, but that is not what happened next. I got reconnected with a guy that I had a crush on nearly all throughout school. He was 2 years older, and he actually liked me! That began a 3 year relationship that was just as abusive, if not worse than my previous marriage. During this time, my ex-husband dropped all contact with my son, and I was knee-deep in yet another destructive relationship. This relationship was the one that rocked me to my core because this is the relationship that I was violated in a way that took me back to that one event in my childhood. He forced himself on me. I felt powerless, dirty, and used. I felt like it was my fault. Yet, I still didn’t leave. It wasn’t until I had to dodge a punch, in which he followed up by picking me up and throwing me out of a hotel room. Physical abuse-that was my limit. I don’t know why, but it was.
I remember being alone in my apartment and the horrible thoughts kept swimming around in my head. My son was with my parents for the weekend, and I was alone. That is when I took a fistful of Tylenol PM, called my friend to say goodbye, and the rest is a blur. At some point my parents showed up because my friend had called them knowing that I wasn’t right in my head. I had already ran into the bathroom and stuck a toothbrush down my throat. I don’t remember doing that or know how my Bible got onto my bed and opened. My parents refused to leave my side that day. When I finally was alone again, I prayed harder than I think I have ever prayed. I realized that the common denominator in all of my relationships was me. I knew that I needed help. So I reached out to my church and started life changing counseling.
The counseling was God-breathed, and healed all of my wounds, as only Jesus can. It was there that I began to learn my value. It was there that I learned to set boundaries. It was there that I found, built, and nurtured my relationship with Jesus. I didn’t date for a year per my counselor’s orders. I was a co-dependent that needed to learn how to be independent. After that year was up, I was set up on a blind date with my now husband. This was nearly 2 decades ago and now I have beautiful blended family, plus a son together. The peace and love that I have now is beyond anything that I ever thought imaginable. My husband pushes me closer to God. His love for me is a constant reminder of God’s amazing love for me. We do not have a perfect marriage, but it is so so good because Jesus is the foundation that we built our family on. My husband also encouraged and helped me to set boundaries with my parents. So, at the age of 43, I have found peace. Do I still cry? Yes. However, now my tears are of thanksgiving and joy that God loved me enough to see me through and bring me to my perfectly imperfect happily ever after.