For years to be subjected to psychological violence and do nothing? From the outside, this situation seems at least strange. The mother of 6 children, a resident of California, Jennifer Williams-Fields, talked about what prevented her from breaking off with her husband abuzer and why it lasted 20 years.
"I wanted to leave, but I didn’t know how ..." Stop. Stop asking the same question: how could she even stay in this relationship? Not that there was no answer - just to understand and comprehend it is very difficult. And your questions and judgments in the spirit of “I am guilty” - just make us ashamed even more.
It’s probably difficult for you to believe in it, but my meetings with my future husband were not much different from yours: he was nice, gave me attention, said compliments. Of course, the “alarm bells” sounded at the beginning of our relationship, but I was young and naive - in fact, like all of us at a certain age. The difference is only in what all turned out in the end.
Emotional abuse does not occur suddenly: it is a slow, continuous, methodical process, something like a tap in the kitchen. Kap-kap, drop by drop.
The first drops are easy to miss: “it's just a joke.” You are told that you are too sensitive and that nothing was meant. Or maybe I'm really like that?
Crane continued to release drop by drop. I begin to notice them, but I don’t attach much importance to them. Jokes about me in public - well, here it is, my partner, the soul of the company. He asks where I gathered in this dress or with whom I meet, but he just loves me, that's all.
He tells me that he doesn’t like my new girlfriend - and I agree. In the end, the husband is more important to me than a friend, and the friendship gradually fades away.
I can not completely relax. I constantly listen and wait.
The sound is already beginning to annoy - but not to sell the house because of the current tap. Even when a harmless slap does not seem harmless at all, I easily convince myself that he did not mean anything like that.
He forgets that he is stronger than me. When I catch him on another lie, he says that I am insane, since I do not believe him. Or maybe I'm really losing my mind? .. I am not quite sure of the opposite.
I try to somehow compensate for this current tap of our marriage. I will be better. I will be the perfect wife. I will make sure that the house is always clean and that dinner is waiting on the table. And even if it is not for dinner, I make sure that the food does not cool. Sometimes it bothers me. One day, again without waiting for her husband to work, I in the hearts give dinner to a dog. True, when he finally is past midnight, I no longer feel such a determination in myself: I jump out of bed at the first call and cook him dinner.
He wakes me up more and more. I can no longer completely relax and fall asleep in deep sleep. I constantly listen and wait. In the mornings, I bounce on the children so that they do not wake dad. We start walking around on tiptoe.
Drops drumming with might and main. I'm afraid to substitute a basin and understand how much water is leaking. The negation is turned on. If I had not said this, he would not have gone mad. It's my fault, I just have to keep my mouth shut. I knew it was better not to argue with him when he drank.
He is right: I am truly ungrateful. He works, and I sit at home with the children. He cannot go home immediately after work: of course, he needs some time for himself. In the days of rare meetings with friends, I hasten to be at home before him. I never ask him to look after the children: you should not give him any inconvenience.
We even appeal to family counseling. Although neither he nor I really explain why we came, the consultant shares his concerns with us. This consultation becomes the first and last.
I try so hard to be a flawless wife that I don’t notice how water pours onto the floor.
But I know how to fix it. For the outside world, I will become very active, not forgetting to maintain order and comfort at home. And never dare ask for help.
I am almost the perfect mother. I by all means create the illusion of an exemplary family. My children are constantly busy with something (of course, only I am responsible for all the activities). In the church, I am advised to have books and audios about how to better understand the needs of a spouse and pray for him. I begin to talk to other mothers about how things really are, but if they ask a question, I deny everything. No, we are really all good. As proof, I present family photos in social networks.
I finally understand that I fear him.
I do not know what scares me more: that others will reveal my secret, or that my husband will find out that I shared the truth about our marriage with someone.
And finally, one day I wake up and understand that our house was flooded. My head is under water. I'm scared. I see the fear in the eyes of my children. What have I done ?! How did I let this happen? What have I become? That night, when he throws a phone at me, almost getting into my head, more than anything, I want to collect the children and leave. When he gets up from the kitchen table and throws a fork at me in front of the children, I want to leave.
And where will I go? And if I can escape, what will I do? What we will live with the children? He is right: I will not survive without him. I need his money.
- What, you will leave and you will hang out? He shouts. - I always knew that all you need is this!
He knows how to turn everything upside down. It is no longer about his actions - now "under investigation" by me.
I am no longer the one that was on the first date. He scared me, made me weak. He won. I chose him and bore him children. It's my fault. My main concern is child safety. Over the years, 20 has forgotten that there is another life. I stay.
Flooding continues. I'm leaving again under water. In the midst of another scandal, I say that I have enough. I respond to his aggression. But even stumbling and drunk, he is stronger than me. I see it in his eyes when he steps on me. The very nature of it is given the ability to kill. His gaze scares me.
“Get out,” he grins. “But the children will stay with me.”
I have to shut off the water - if not for my life, then at least for the sake of common sense. Despite my best efforts, my secret is breaking through. But despite the advice of friends, I just can not get up and leave. It is not so easy.
I have no money. He found my stash - money that I saved for almost a year. Most likely, hacked my mail. I should have guessed. He always followed me. I wonder what he did with my money? I definitely didn’t spend it on our children. Most likely, he drank or lost cards to impress another woman.
I'm stuck. I stay.
Lord, do not let me dive completely. My family cannot be saved anymore - but please save me and my children.
I was lucky. I divorced, although the wounds are still deep.
Violence is not always manifested in the form of a black eye or bruising on a woman’s body, but the effects of psychological violence are also devastating.
I went to a psychologist, and I was given several diagnoses at once: depression, anxiety, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). My husband, an abuzer, kept me in fear, and depression and anxiety made me unable to take at least some steps to break free. At first it seemed to me that PTSD was already overkill, but three years had passed, and some situations or even sounds made me scary memories. For example, when our boss started shouting at employees, I became physically ill. I was again on the floor of the barn, cringing, trying to at least somehow protect myself from the wrath of the man towering over me.
My daughters became witnesses of how cruelly a man can treat a woman, and my sons got a bad example of what it means to be a “real man.” This is what I truly fear.
I stayed in the name of the children - and now I blame myself for the impact that everything that has happened can have on them.
I REMAIN BECAUSE ...
... was isolated from the world.
... financially dependent on the abuzer.
... did not get enough sleep and could not recover normally.
... I was told about my worthlessness - and I believed.
... lived in constant anticipation of the next attack, and it exhausted me.
... I was afraid to leave more.
A completely separate story is the situation in which women find themselves who do not leave their rapist husband because they are afraid of deportation from the United States. Some do not want their relatives at home to know about their situation. And they are very much afraid of condemnation, they say, everyone will say - she wanted to stay in the US so much that she married a rapist, and now she is crying! This is probably the saddest moment of all the stories in which the main character is an immigrant who is humiliated for the sake of the cherished green card. What is the way out in such a situation - in the investigation ForumDaily "Green card hostages: how to find protection from a sadistic husband and avoid deportation".