On my 21st birthday I was beaten by my first husband. I recall the day very well. Your 21st Birthday is supposed to be special. Some people celebrate, go out for a family meal or get a gift such as a special key but for me I was given a beating.
The truth of the matter is that I was unwell on my birthday, I was living in New Zealand and I felt really unwell. I spent the day at Uni and when I returned home in the afternoon my husband wanted to go and watch the All Blacks game. Watching rugby was a huge part of x-husband’s life. In fact rugby was far more important to my x than I ever was. The Rugby had a huge influence. When the All Blacks were playing, it was the perfect excuse for him to go out. When the All Blacks won it was a reason to party until the morning with his mates. When the All Blacks lost it was the end of the world and I would often suffer verbal abuse as a loss would put my x in a bad mood.
I didn’t really want my X husband to go out on my Birthday. I would have loved to just spend time together but the rugby came first! Seriously, he even watched the rugby game in the hotel, the night we got married! Yep…tell me about it! I was like what the heck!
Anyway, on my 21st we ended up going to my husband’s parents so he could watch the All Blacks play. I wasn’t too worried about him watching the game but I did want to spend time together after. Once the game ended my x husband had other plans. He was upset, his team had lost and he decided he would drop me home as he was off out. I kicked up a fuss. It was my birthday. Why couldn’t we spend time together for just one night?
We got into an argument and before I knew it my husband was beating me. I was laying on his sister’s bed and I pulled the cover over my body to shield the blows. He kept punching me over and over and his sister was screaming at him to stop. I kind of went numb and froze and protected myself the best I could.
After his sister intervened, my x husband stopped punching me. He then told me to get into the car and drove me home. On the way home we began to argue again. I asked why oh why could he not just spend one night with me? My husband planned to go out. He was angry, angry that his team had lost and angry that I wanted to spend some time together. When we got into my home something was said and once again the violence begun.
I went and laid on the bed crying feeling sad that this would be my memory of my 21st birthday. My husband got his way and went out with his friends. He often went out 4 to 6 times a week and I really was miserable. I was neglected and all I really wanted was to be loved back by the man I had given my heart and hand in marriage to. The truth is he did not love me. He just wanted me at his own convenience, to wash his clothes, help him with his studies and to cook his food.
I was in an abusive relationship and whenever I spoke out I would get put down and verbally abused. I was fat, no one loved me, I was a bull dog, ugly, fake and a loser. This is what I was told and over time I began to believe it. So much so that when I left and became single I was in shock at how nice the people I lived with treated me. I was not used to it. I was not used to being treated equally or normally. I was not used to being accepted as I was and it took a long time to get my confidence back.
Why do I share this story? Because I am a survivor. I have been through two abusive marriages and come out of the other side. I have survived and unlike many women who remain in these situations, I got the courage on two occasions to leave and get out and protect myself.
Leaving an abusive relationship is an incredibly hard thing to do. The day I left my first husband, I walked to my mother’s doorstep and collapsed at the front door. I was an emotional mess. Deciding to leave took many many months and I attempted to separate on several occasions before I got the courage to leave for good. Was I judged for this? Yes. People don’t know what went on behind closed doors and just saw a couple splitting up. I was told I was being silly, kicking up a fuss over spilt milk. Yet I know what went on. I know that if I had not separated when I did I may have ended up going crazy, or harming my x husband.
I’m sure something terrible would have happened. He owned several guns and I was so miserable and desperate to be free from the abuse I don’t know what would have happened. I do know that I celebrated my freedom from my x husband by bungy jumped off the Auckland Harbour bridge. Now that was a scary moment but to me was symbolic of not being trapped, controlled and abused anymore.
Leaving an abusive marriage or relationship is the best thing you can do for yourself. It is never easy and requires determination, courage and strength. You will need to be a super woman or super man to not go back to the person you love. You will need phrases and mantra’s to keep you strong. One of my phrases which I stuck on my wall was “I am woman hear me roar”. It was something I often said to myself along with the popular quote of Shakesphere, “Be true to thine own self”. These were the phrases I used to help me stay strong.
It’s not easy but it is possible to leave abuse. I know, I have been there and worn the hat and come out on the other side. If you need to leave a relationship then do it. Put yourself first, be true to thine own self and reclaim the life you once had. You don’t want to live in misery. No one does.