My name is Nicole and for 6 months I was a victim of family violence. I feel like I should share my story because every day a woman is not being treated with the respect and love that she deserves. I was three months pregnant when the verbal abuse started, I’m sure most people aren’t aware of what that really is. Constant put downs, cursing, telling you that you’re not good enough and anything that makes you feel worthless. After about a month or two of that, it became physical.
I remember the very first strike, like most women who suffer domestic violence do. My husband, at the time, constantly did drugs ranging from marijuana to crystal meth and would have delusions that I was cheating on him. Every phone call, every email, every word was monitored and he had it in his mind that I was cheating on him when, in fact, I was nothing but faithful. The very first time he hit me, we were sitting on the bed and he had asked me if I loved him when I married him and when I told him, “Yes.” He didn’t believe me so I told him, “No.” and that’s when it all came crashing down.
He pushed me off the bed, pulled me back up and punched me in the head. As many times as he said, “Things will never be the same after this.” I kept assuring him that we’d be able to work through it when in reality, as the saying goes, you can forgive but never forget. A few months went by with many fights in between and the abuse ranged from punching, to kicking, to spitting in my face, to pulling my hair and escalated to choking. He would yell at me while I was driving, calling me stupid, telling me no one would ever love me and he was all I had.
He cut off ties with my family, claiming them to be against our marriage and said some very hurtful things to my mother. I constantly had to wear a sweater to cover the bruises on my arms and chest but when we were around his friends, he’d show them off like they were some kind of trophy. It got to the point where I would have dreams about us fighting and I would do anything, even if it meant harm to myself and my 3 year old son, to keep him happy. In actuality, I wasn’t doing the things he wanted to make him happy, I was doing it to keep him from striking me again and that’s not what love is, that’s fear. The very first time my son was around during the abuse was when I was 7 months pregnant, I can’t remember what exactly the fight was about but he told my son to shut the door and stay in the room while him and I wentto the living room to “talk”.
He told me to stand there while he hit me to prove the point of “this is the pain that you’ve put me through now you have to just stand there and take it.” He punched me in the head, kicked me while I was already down, hit me with my sons’ flute until it broke. That still wasn’t enough so he pulled a piece from a wooden chair and hit me in the back of the head with it numerous times. He had told me he was going to leave but, of course, I just wanted to beg him to stay and the reality of it was that I had already failed with my sons father and I just didn’t want to be alone anymore. I wanted to make things work, I wanted us to be ok, I wanted things to go back to how they were the very first time we met.
They call that the ‘honeymoon’ stage and that consists of apologies, gifts and kind words but that only lasts for a short amount of time, just enough time for them to have you wrapped right around their finger again. We went through that a lot, he’d come to pick me up from work for lunch, buy me flowers, stress to me how much he loved me but I’d make one wrong move and all that was over. It was right back to the nasty mess that it was before. The second time he hit while my son was around was when we took a vacation in Dallas. I had grabbed my clothes from the closet and forgot to grab his and he wasn’t happy about that.
He called me selfish, threw me on the bed, grabbed the plastic hanger from my clothes and hit me with it until it broke, leaving a gash on my arm. He then pulled me from the bed, pushed me against the door and shoved my head into a door hinge. When my son asked me why he hit me, he told me to lie to him and tell him we were just playing around. This was when I was when 8 months pregnant. The last time he hit me was on March 16, 2012 and he was coming down from three days of no sleep due to meth.
He asked me if I was cheating on him, I told him, “No.” He didn’t believe me and by this point I had already begun to lie to him and say, “Yes.” Simply because of the fact that he didn’t believe the truth. He kicked me, punched me, choked me to the point of unconsciousness at least 3 times but had his hands wrapped around my throat many more times than that. That was oneof his favourite things to do.
He sprayed Shout in my eyes, hit me with the brick part of a laptop charger and told me that he was going to kill me. Which, I had already gotten to the point where I was honestly hoping that he would because the violence would stop When I told him, “No, I didn’t cheat on you.” He assumed that I was using those words just to hurt him and the abuse still didn’t stop. Finally, after he calmed down a bit, I asked him if he wanted to go to the store and get some cigarettes because he was out, he agreed and we went to the store. At this point I had made my mind up that this was going to be the last night that he hurt me. After he got back in the car from getting his smokes, we went to his friends house because he wanted to get some weed. Once we got there, he took the keys from the car, took my phone and went inside.
Once I saw he was in the house, I got out of the car and ran as fast as I could to the first house that I saw. All I really remember from that point is just pounding on the door as hard as I could praying to God that someone would answer and he wouldn’t catch me. The woman who owned the house opened the door and let me inside. My current state of mind at the time was just to call my mom and have her come get me and just take a few days away from my husband but the woman called the police. When you finally get away for the very first time, you don’t look at it as being the last time you’re with them, you’re hoping and praying that the time away will change them.
I didn’t want to end my marriage with him, I just wanted him to cool down and then work things out.March 26th he turned himself into the police after he had already gone to two different cities in an attempt to run from them all the while harassing me with phone calls as well as having his friends and family do the exact same. A few days after this I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl who is my absolute world. Two months after having my daughter, my husband got out of jail and within the first 3 hours of him being out, his mom was calling me and letting him talk to me even though there was a no contact emergency protective order which was granted the same night of the abuse.
After begging me to let him see his daughter, I finally caved and went back to him for six days. During those six days of the ‘honeymoon’ stage everything was great, we were getting along, he wasn’t doing drugs and it seemed like everything was going to be ok. I had lost my condo, almost lost my job and was very close to losing my car which I eventually did lose because I couldn’t afford it without him and was living back at my parents house. On the 5th of April I went to my parents to get some of my things to take with me back to the hotel that his parents and I were staying at unaware of what nasty little words were waiting to slip from his tongue. When I got back to the hotel, I could already tell he was angry and immediately that fear of him possibly hurting me came to mind even though he didn’t but the verbal abuse was there.
After about 10 minutes of him yelling at me, the police showed up and arrested him for violation of the protective order. Its been 6 months since I’ve seen him and I finally feel like I’m going back to my old self. I’ve been going to counseling, attending church regularly and I finally have that peace of mind that everything’s going to be OK. There’s still a long road ahead but if I can make it this far, anyone can. My message to anyone who’s in an emotional or physically abusive relationship, get out now. You deserve so much better and, if you have children like I do, your kids deserve so much better.
Don’t ever listen to someone who’s putting you down, telling you you’re worthless because you’re not. We all have a purpose or else we wouldn’t be here. My self esteem was at an all time low but it’s slowly making its way back up and I finally remember what being happy feels like. Talk to your local women’s shelter, friends, family, pastor/priest, or anyone else you trust to talk to but get out. What he’s doing to you isn’t love, it’s insecurity in himself, the need to control and the need to manipulate. It’s a game to him and you’re the prey, don’t settle for that partial bit of good that you have when you aren’t fighting.
My family has helped me so much and I know that they would do anything to protect me as well as my children so please, lean on someone if you need help.