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19 May 2011
My Abuse: I Forgot.. And Then I Forgot I Forgot
Fair warning. This is emotional, painful, written once and not checked. It is a dark secret pulled out of the closet. But I want it on public record. I don't ever want to forget again. There are no names. This is MY story.
I forgot.. and then I forgot I forgot.
This is what I forgot.
I forgot how he would get mad at me for using words he didn't understand, for being smarter than him. I forgot how he used to yell at me, and I would fight back. I was strong then. I would hold my ground.. verbally and physically. And then he would push me out of his way. Worse was when he would physically lift me up and throw me out of his way. That was in Aurora on Grove street. This all got worse when I was reunited with a lifelong friend, and she got me into Discovery Toys. I found where I excelled and could have made a decent business out of it.. toys fairs. I remember my strength.
I made the decision to be who he told me I was because I was pregnant and I was afraid he would hurt the baby.
In Mesa, I thought I had gained back a modicum of control.. I stood up for myself. I made him go outside so we wouldn't disturb the kids.. My daughter was so afraid whenever we started fighting. I wanted to protect them from his anger. We stood on the driveway fighting, screaming back and forth. He threw me up against the van in the driveway, and pinned me against it, his arm high across my chest. Then he balled up his fist and drew it back. I remember the fear thinking he was going to punch me in the face. I remember wondering who would look after the kids while I was in the hospital. I remember praying that my three kids would be safe. All that in a split second.. I watched his fist come towards my face and at the last moment, angle right next to my face as he hit the van. I felt my hair get caught between the van and his fist, as it pulled from my head. I remember the temporary gratefulness.. until he started to pull his fist back. The fear started again and grew stronger as his fist moved back. Then we heard a voice, a yell. It was someone from the campus housing office out for a walk. They had witnessed this. He let go of me and stepped away. He told them that there was nothing going on, that everything was okay. I knew better than to say otherwise. I remember how their face looked funny, a bit twisted up, but then they left. As they walked away the fear returned. "How dare you make me look bad! How dare you do this in front of anyone else," he angrily muttered to me. With that he grabbed me and dragged me back into the house. I remember looking back at the van and seeing the dent that he left.. the one that was right next to where my head had been. I remember thinking, "so that is how tall I am." I concentrated on that thought to keep at bay the fear of what would happen when no one was looking.
That is the one that I remember in all it's detail now. Now I can let it go.
The elephant. That's what the elephant has been about. I had to remember what I needed to let go of. Thank you elephant. Thank you Ganesh.
Perhaps the other times will come back to me now, perhaps I can let go of them now that I remember that they are there.
The time he was so mad at me for telling him he was wrong while we were in the car driving that he pulled over and got out of the car. He slammed his fist down on the roof so hard, that when he got in the door wouldn't close anymore. I was so grateful the car was between he and I at that moment. I was afraid to get back into the car. But that was where my children were, so I did. I had to protect my children. I had to protect my children.
Is it any wonder that we lived in fear of him hurting us physically? I am so grateful that any physical abuse he inflicted was so minor. Throwing and pushing me to the ground. It could have been a lot worse. It was worse. He did the same to my daughter when she was younger than ten. He told her that she was the reason I was "sick". In truth, I was "sick" because I had just had a cesarean section and was ordered to bed rest. He told her that she was to blame for everything wrong with me from the time she was four and a half. He told her not to tell me or she would get it. Twelve years later, when he was no longer in the house, she finally had the strength to tell me. How did I not see it?! How could I not see that my baby was being hurt? It hurts that I didn't protect her from that.
And where is he now? I left him. I didn't know how I would survive with three kids.. still believing everything he told me about myself. I was no longer able to see me for who I really am. I am still just learning to see the truth. And I had forgotten. I forgot.. it was the only way I could protect myself. I forgot. And I treated him like nothing had happened because I couldn't remember what had. And I kept on believing him, because I couldn't remember what I forgot.
I have been healing. I have been growing. It has been a long journey, filled with struggles. And I kept going, one foot in front of the other. Never worrying about what was ahead, just knowing that if I didn't concentrate on moving the next foot forward, I would lay down and die. There is so much more to who I am than he ever saw. I am grateful for that. It is what has always given me the strength to go on. Maybe now that I remember I will have more of that strength back to move forward in new ways. Maybe it will give me the strength to look ahead and see where I am going. Maybe it will give me the strength to choose a direction. I feel like I have been running away from him in a straight line, not caring where I went, just getting as much distance between he and I as fast as I could. I think maybe I am safe now. I know that I can take care of myself again. And I know how to ask for help if I need it.