Why do women stay in toxic relationships? Why do men stay in toxic relationships? So many people ask that question. Especially those living it. I did. I did not know how to escape. I was afraid. Terrified. Horrified. Scared Shitless. Call it whatever you like. FEAR.
I was so afraid my ex husband would find me. He threatened to kill me. I believed him. I was not normal until about the age of 24 in that sense. Always living in fear. In those days we did not have cell phones, but if the phone rang and someone hung up, I was in panic mode. Terrified he was near. It sounds silly but it’s not. It’s REAL FEAR.
He was drunk each and every time he beat me but that is no excuse. I was so young that I did not realize that he was a coward. One night he came home drunk and picked up my son who was about 11 months old. I got down on my knees and begged for him to please please please put down the baby. I begged him to beat me. He did.
The next morning I went to work like always, taking the baby to the sitter. I called in sick. I had black eyes so would not have gone to work anyway. I called an attorney and filed for divorce. I left with the clothes on our backs. I later went to our home with a police escort and gathered up a few things. I took all the bills and paid them all in four years. I went to my grandparents and lived with them.
I was free of him but not the fear. It lasted for many more years.
That’s what spousal abuse is like. You shiver and shake and your tummy is rolling and you even vomit a lot. You have headaches and you second guess yourself and you think you are worth nothing. You know you are smart but feel stupid. You know you can figure this out but you are too exhausted. The person that is abused is actually mentally sick. But it does not last. Try telling the abused person that. They won’t believe you. I didn’t. I was paralyzed with fear. I would probably be living that Hell if the Bastard didn’t go for the baby. Getting out of the relationship is the first step. Then everyday after that is another step. Therapy helps, good friends help, and when your head is straight you will know that the abuser is a coward.
This particular part of my life surely made Anxiety thrilled. There was not one day during that time that I was not afraid of something…..