I never thought I'd be posting under an anonymous name. I never thought a day like yesterday would happen. Not to me. I'm normal.
It was a normal day, and I drove my normal car home from my normal work to my normal house and my normal husband. We had a normal dinner. We watched some normal tv. Then we started talking. Soon it was an argument. That's normal too. For us, anyway, every now and then.
But what happened next wasn't normal at all. My husband exploded. My funny, sweet, kind husband. Angrily shouting. Blue veins popping out on his forehead. He was leaning forward, a few inches from my face. We were sitting side by side on the couch. I put one hand on each of his shoulders, and held him out at arm's length. Maybe I pushed him backward. If so it was wrong. I honestly don't remember.
He is much bigger than me. 80 pounds heavier. And I am pregnant. How it happened, I don't know. But all of a sudden he was beating me. Standing with one foot on the floor and the other knee pinning me down, he beat me. I was punched in the arm, the back, the chest, the top of my head. Before he walked away he punched me in the stomach. My pregnant stomach.
He walked away and I cried on the couch. In pain, in disbelief, in fear for the baby we both had wanted. He came back, told me to stop my crying. I could not. He yelled more. Then he got quiet, put his hand on my leg and told me he was sorry.
If I could afford a hotel, I would have left last night. Instead I locked myself in our bedroom with the phone after tossing his pillow and some blankets out into the hallway. He slept on the couch. The couch he beat me on. I left for work before he was awake. My face is perfect. The rest of me aches. Nothing hurts more than my broken heart. There is one ray of sunshine left, the baby is still kicking today. Heartbeat in the 140's. We were so happy to be pregnant, we bought a home machine to listen.
But today I am lost. Totally and completely. I have known this man 6 years. We lived together nearly two years before we were married. I never thought he would be capable of this. His temper before consisted of yelling things he regretted later. I have done the same. He has never punched walls, hurt the pets, or had problems with work or with family or friends. He has never been jealous or controlling. He does not drink, and does not do drugs.
I wish I had the courage to use my real user name. I do not. I know it sounds stupid to say this and post anonymously. But I am posting this because it declares to the world that I have become something I never thought I'd be: a beaten wife. With an abusive husband. I went to work today, it was only a half day. Those few hours were excruciating. To the rest of the world I am still normal. I chatted at the water cooler. I griped about the shopping left to do, the presents left to wrap, the cookies left to bake, and upcoming visits with the in-laws. Now I am someone totally different than who they knew. At least I feel completely different. The old me died last night.
For some reason I just wanted to say that. Even if I can't say it as myself.
She got some sound advice, mostly on getting the hell out of that situation
Thank you all for your thoughts, kind words, advice and encouragement.
I am at home now, as I was when I wrote the post above. At that time TH ("the husband" since I do not want to use DH) was not home from work but he is now. He is wrapping Christmas presents in the living room. Carols are playing on the stereo. It is very surreal.
I used to think I would never put up with such behavior, one strike and you're out, literally. It was an easy enough thing to think when it was hypothetical. I could not understand how someone could stay with a man who'd hit her. I still can't. In threads past I have replied, or at least thought it, if I didn't write it, that of course the only next step was to leave. Permanently. But here I am. Maybe I'm just not tough enough. But I don't want to leave. I don't want to be beaten either, I just want my life back. Yesterday I was on top of the world, whether I knew it or not. We were happy. We were not perfect, but we were in love. We were decorating our baby's nursery. We were looking forward to Christmas. We each took off next week to spend time together. Now I am in a black hole. We had a life we had built together. I did not plan to be alone. I certainly did not plan to be alone and a mother.
He has apologized. He has cried. He has also tried to downplay what happened. I looked him in the eye and told him he could not make excuses, that he was a wifebeater and would go to his grave a wifebeater. It was only a question of whether he would have made that mistake once, or twice. I would never be nearby enough for there to be a third time. That was when he started crying. Such brave words, words I never thought I'd hear myself say because I thought I would never leave the door open for a second time. But here I sit. I wonder if I'm crazy? I know I didn't deserve this. I know it's his fault. But I had a husband, a family, a home, a life. I don't want to start over. I just want everything to be the way it was.
This came totally from the blue for me. Today I googled "domestic violence warning signs" and nothing rang a bell. Not one damn thing. I mentioned his only expression of anger in the past had been yelling stupid things he regretted later. These seemed so tame at the time. I thought this was normal. I have done it too. Is it really so odd? If we argued (say over visiting family) he might say "I never liked your sister anyway!" and apologize later. I've said stupid things too. I've slammed a few doors in my life. I thought that was normal. Has my judgment been so wrong all along? I know most of his old girlfriends. He has never been a violent person.
I have some questions. I don't know if anyone can answer them. Police reports have been mentioned. If we stay together, will his legal past come up with his credit history? What about a background search if he wants to switch jobs, or loses his job and has to apply elsewhere? It would hurt me and the baby too to endanger his job or credit rating. He makes more than three times what I do. What happens when our baby is born? Will there be a problem with DCFS? Will my baby be taken away if I report him, but stay with him?
I have no idea if this will happen again. That's the plain truth. 24 hours ago I'd have said it would never happen once. TH was my best friend. It is so nauseatingly bizarrely unbelievable that I could be asking questions tonight about the consequences of reporting my husband to the police.
After more advice she posted the following
I haven't been able to log on the past few days. We visited the in-laws and their computer with internet access is in the living room. I am overwhelmed to return to this outpouring of support. My simple 'thank you' seems so small in comparison. Some of you who have posted are nearby. I am grateful to know I am not as completely alone as I feel.
Physically, I am well. The baby is active with a good heartbeat. Emotionally, I am still a wreck. There are moments now of normalcy when it seems nothing ever happened. And there are moments when it is so real I cry as if it were five minutes ago. Days of smiling fakely for the IL's have left me feeling numb more than anything else. I want to reach back into that "once upon a time" and rescue the family we were supposed to be.
I have a bag packed at the door, I told TH it was a hospital bag in case I go into labor early. I have not opened an individual savings or checking account because I am afraid a statement would be mailed here and TH would find out about it. I have transferred "our" balances to "his" credit cards. We never added each other as a user but kept our own cards separate. Now my credit cards are empty should I ever need them. And I made copies of his car keys and have them in the "hospital" bag.
Whether our marriage will continue I can't say. I could only forgive if he were truly sorry and I don't know if he is. I can't see into his heart anymore. Now and then he still seems like my best friend. Mostly he is a stranger to me. This is not the man I knew, not the man I loved and married, not the man I wanted a baby with. I want to believe that man is not gone forever.
A friend sent this to me.
I want to make two points. A man who so loses his temper and hits a pregnant woman in her stomach is on the road to murdering her. Pregancy can be one of the most dangerous times in a woman's life. It doesn't take much to go from hitting to murder, as a Washington Post series showed.
Second, waiting to get hit again is silly, because it will happen again. He will hit her, and hit her even harder. Maybe just kill her outright. Anyone that mean can do anything at any time.
Apologies are bullshit. He punched her in her stomach. He was trying to harm her and her baby. Preganancy changes people, and turns some of them into murderers. Laci Peterson is testimony to that, but hardly alone. The WaPo estimated around 1300 pregnant women a year are murdered by husbands and spouses.
Once someone crosses the line into violence, they stay there unless forced to change.
posted by Steve @ 2:57:00 AM