Snapshots of Life After Abuse, Part 1

Guest post by Nicole Bissett

“You wanna leave?” His slurred tone was full of venom. “You wanna move out and be on your own like your friend Dianne and bring home a boy toy once in a while…? Fine! You won’t get a dime from me. Not one dime.”

This was typical of my husband’s alcoholic tirades, but on this night, he wouldn’t leave me alone. We both knew it was over; it was just a matter of trying to work out the details civilly, which was clearly not going to happen.

All night, he had been trying to “talk” with me while drunk. I learned long ago in a recovery program for families of alcoholics that it was best for me to leave the scene in these times. I wound up sleeping on the floor in the small room we used as an office. I had to sleep in front of the door, because it didn’t even have a knob, much less a lock. I kept the cordless phone close by in case I needed to call 911. That was how I spent the last night of our married life together.

I won’t lie; leaving my marriage in 2007 was the most frightening risk I’ve ever taken, and there were losses that I needed to grieve. I no longer had daily contact with my thirteen-year-old stepson, Taylor, whom I had a hand in raising for six years. I had grown to love him, and missed him terribly. As a stepmother, I had no legal rights for visitation. Worst of all, word got back to me that he was being told that I never loved him. I lost my home, what remained of my financial stability, and the parts of my husband I still loved.

There were two distinct sides to him, and the good side made it all too easy to help me forget what he was capable of. He took me to plays; cooked for me; wrote poetry to me; walked on the beach with me; helped me with homework in difficult classes throughout my college years; drove me to and from school; and we could once talk for hours. This side to him was difficult to walk away from, which was why I started dating him again a year after the divorce was finalized. I don’t regret it, because he watched me succeed during that time.

I found work that got us off of all government assistance and into a two-bedroom apartment. For the first time in my life, I was fully self-supporting. Consequently, I grew in self-esteem.

I truly believe that the success of our relationship depended on my financial and physical need for him. By his own admission, he needed a dependent woman, which made reconciliation impossible.

Next week, part 2

The ideas contained in this post solely represent the perspective of the author. To contribute to ‘Survivors Speak’ contact Michele.


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