A Woman in the Mirror: A Survivor Story
The following account is an excerpt from the decades of an abusive marriage this lady endured. We greatly appreciate her opening up her story for all of us:
We were in love, or so I thought he loved me. I now realize that he truly didn’t love me, even at the beginning. I did love him, deeply. My blinders are off and I can truly look through those veils that hide decades of abuse that might be lost in time if I couldn’t see with the clarity that I do now.
Before we married, he said some hurtful things to me which should have raised those red flags. Not a constant barrage of abuse, but a few seemingly precisely chosen remarks.
A few months into our marriage, his mother asked me how it was with him…how he behaved. I was surprised thought her question strange because she really didn’t seem to especially care about me, even though I did try very hard to get along with her and please her. I replied that we were happy. Her question revealed a thought at the time though. I started wondering why we were arguing so much and so soon after marriage. His parents didn’t get along…arguing and mean spiritedness between them.
Our first wedding anniversary arrived, and I was looking forward to a celebration dinner at a restaurant. He was still my sweetheart and I adored him. This first anniversary was a very important and special day for us and I thought he felt the same. We had a disagreement that day. I don’t recall what it was about but it was not especially extreme. Before starting to get ready for dinner, I noticed him outside still mowing then lawn. When I asked him why he wasn’t getting ready, he remarked that we were not going out because of the argument. That was his final decision on the matter. I was stunned and heartbroken.
About 18 months went by, and I often felt ignored. He lived in his own little world and I felt excluded; nevertheless I showered him with love and affection, did what I could to have him feel cared for and special. I guess I kept swallowing the pain and couldn’t bear it any longer, because one night I asked him why he gave me so little affection. I was starving for it. We made love virtually every night for over two years and yet I felt unloved. That night I persisted in wanting to communicate with him and asked him why he was not affectionate with me. His answer came in the form of a beating, and hard, on the face, repeatedly. I think he used his fists. We were in bed. I quietly wept myself to sleep.
Awakening next morning, I was not expecting what I was to see in the mirror. A woman I did’t recognize stared back at me. My face horribly swollen and bruised, my eyes blackened. I saw scratches on my arms and blood. I don’t know how I pretended everything was all right and fixed breakfast for him as usual.
Days, months and years went by and we didn’t discuss the incident. I didn’t tell anyone. It was like it never happened.