Fran’s story

Back in 1981 I was a stay-at-home mom (former RN), married to a prominent physician in the community.

I knew my husband was controlling, and did not manage his anger well, because he yelled a lot, and I was not perfect . He made me feel terribly small as a woman, wife and mother, and I thought I was very small and inaffective as a human being., and clung to whatever good I could. He had a few affairs along the way, I went into long-term counseling. He didn’t think he needed it. After being separated for almost 3 years, we got back together, which was a horrendous mistake on my part., as a mother of two children.

It confused our teen-age daughters, caused much instability for them, and after 2 years of being together again, he walked in one day, looked at me with a strange smile on his face, grabbed me by the hair, swung me around the room, pulled my left arm out of joint, smashed my head into the wall, & how I managed to survive all that, is beyond me.
I felt so guilty and was too terrified to tell anyone locally, but my family in Canada knew, and pleaded with me to go to the authorities. I didn’t think anyone would believe me, but my girls had witnessed the damage, and were quite shattered at the time, because after a few such instances, I realized I could die, I told my best friend, and hid at her place while a restraining order was served to him , and I filed for a divorce. the police had to take him off the street several times, because he didn’t want me in “his” home.

My girls actually wanted to stay with him for awhile, because I was almost a basket case by that time, and I let them go. However, they ultimately came home, to me because to punish me, he stopped paying alimoney, money for their dance lessons and school tuition, and left them alone in his place frequently to be with his girlfriends.

They came to their own realizations along the way. I retained my sanity, and eventually he became quite ill and is now in a retirement home. I don’t think his third wife even visits him which is quite sad.

My girls are now grown up and I would say are doing relatively well, he has since sent me a formal letter of apology, and I have come to forgive him , but have not befriended him since. I was left with some permanent damage to the brachial plexus nerves in my left arm and damage to one of my ankles that periodically causes problems for me.

Even though some couples develop later friendships because of the children, I decided my civility towards him and compassion regarding the strokes he has had, has been enough. We no longer have any friendship whatsoever, but one of my daughters calls him periodically just to say hello, and more out of pity for his present state than anything else. My oldest daughter in England is happily married with 2 young boys, but doesn’t communicate with either one of us. Once in awhile her husband and I talk to each other, long distance, and that’s about it. That part of it is a sadness in my heart that I live with.

This is what I have to say to other women.

“Do not think you can stay and change this scenario into something beautiful, by being different. You can alter your behaviour only so far, but this kind of diseased relationship will only open up the wounds and damage you and your children more and more and maybe take your life!

Get out, go forward, better yourself on your own, and don’t ever put your children in the middle of the situation! It is easy to do, when you are afraid, but very tough to undo the damage it causes.

Love yourselves, and don’t look back. Keep good friends and make some new ones that you can rely on, and be active in something creative. Get out of your own negative behaviour problems. You can be healed emotionally and spiritually, eventually.

Fran S.

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3 responses to “Fran’s story

  1. My name is Lisa. I was married for 11 years (together for 14) to an abuser. I left him in 2004 and I am stil haunted my nightmares of him. He went through a domestic violence program for 2 or more years which helped for awhile. But when he stopped going to his meetings the abuse returned. In the meantime, I’d gotten healthy enough to recognize the abusive patterns (through counseling of my own at Jewish Family Services). I told him he could go back to his group or get an attourney. He chose to not go back so I left. While I was married to him I suffered abuse on a daily basis. Mostly verbal, emotional, psychological but also physical. I was pushed down, hit to the point of being bruised black and blue with lumpy contusions, and spit on or at. He threw items at me and tried to physically intimidate me. He would rage and scream at me, call me names or sometimes ignore me for days. He was Jewish…raised in a Conservative home. I had been told on two occasions by two different jewish women that “there is no such thing as domestic violence in a jewish home…jewish men don’t abuse”. I think it is important for jewish women to know that t does occur. Everywhere to everyone. I went to a wonderful support group at my local Jewish Family Services. If you are being abused talk to your rabbi. Call Jewish Family Services. Get help.

    • I would like to add that we went to regular marraige counseling on and off for about 9 years. Please know that regular marraige or couples counseling does not work. He needs his own special abuse counseling group and you need a support group for survivors of abuse. When I would tell our couples counselor that David had spit on me, sworn at me or called a filthy name the counselor would turn to me and ask me what I had done to make David do such a thing to me, as though it were my fault. As though I had brought it on myself when I had done absolutely nothing. Nothing.
      There is a wonderful series of books that helped me tremendously at the time by Patricia Evans about verbal abuse (primarily). They were very helpful.

  2. Lots of Good information in your posting, I bookmarked your site so I can visit again in the near future, Thanks

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