One day back in 1987, her mother jokingly said to her, “go to University to find a man”. She had always dealt with poor body image and low self-esteem so at the time, what her mother said to her, made sense.
She met him in one of her classes, and they hit it off right away. They started off as friends and eventually, fell in love. She did notice the ‘red flags’ in his behaviour but she was in love and some part of her thought, she wouldn’t be able to find anyone else to love her so she ignored them.
He grew up in an abusive home so it was ‘normal’ for him to act out towards her the way that he did. She thought her love could change him and by giving him so much of her love, it would fill in all his broken pieces and make him whole again; but it didn’t and never could and she knows that now.
It was her fault and she made him do it, well, that’s what he always told her. She could never do anything right, she was worthless, horrible and disgusting. He called her every name in the book so often that she believed him.
When everyone was asleep, and her thoughts were her own, those words of his would play over and over in her head like a broken record that just kept going round and around. How did her life get like this?
She managed to keep everything a secret from her family and friends. She was embarrassed and ashamed and pretended all was well because she knew what the consequences would be to her and that was more frightening than anything else.
During their life together, she endured major physical, emotional and verbal abuse. Many times, he threatened to kill her and knowing that would mean her children would live their lives without her, she stayed and endured every word, every blow for every day of that 15 year marriage.
One day, she decided to take the kids away for a couple of weeks. During that time, she decided she was done, for good this time. She remembers being back in the house, and walked into the kitchen. For no reason, he slammed her head against the cupboard. At that moment, something happened to her, it just clicked. She looked him in the eyes, and said, ‘that is the last time you will ever do that to me again’. And it was…