“I can’t imagine what he did to you.” The older couple stood on the stoop of the tiny house in which the kids and I found haven, bringing us gifts from my (then) soon to be ex husband. This couple had spent a week with my ex husband, trying to show him what marriage should look like and be like, showing him videos, admonishing him, etc. I still didn’t feel safe with them because they thought there was still hope for our marriage. They were the kind of people who just believe that we should never give up on marriage, even at the expense of the children’s health and my safety and sanity. But, I could still tell that they got it. They saw it. Even if they thought I should go back to him. I can’t imagine what he did to you. I wanted to cry and tell them everything, but that would be vulnerable and I did not want to make myself vulnerable to them. I wanted to tell them but I could not form the words. I wanted to tell them exactly what he did to me.
We have already started helping mamas this month. We received a nomination that truly broke our hearts and, even though we have been wrapped up in end-of-the-year-non-profit-stuff for January, we just had to help this precious woman right away. Her alias is “Eren”.
Do you struggle with understanding just “what he did to her?” I remember not being able to put things into words when people would ask me, “What was it he did that was so bad?” When Eren was nominated, included in that nomination was a piece written by Eren that brought me to familiar & agonizing tears. Finally, someone could put into words was abuse looks like and feels like. We have chosen to pay $1500 of Eren’s bills to help her and her four children move forward in life. Eren has greater needs, however, than money. She needs to know that she is safe with us, and we are working on that. She needs to know that God loves her because . . . I am not sure she knows that. Your donations are going to help this lady know that Jesus adores her and that she is not forgotten. That He does not condemn her. This is so important. Thank you. Thank you for giving so we can help our sister. Read the following (and prepare yourselves) because it is rough. It is graphic and real. She doesn’t sugar-coat and I am glad. But, do note this trigger warning. If you have ever wanted to know what it is like living with an abuser and why we do the things we do, here you are. From Eren’s own hand:
You lied to me about who you really were. You sat in front of the pastor who was going to marry us and lied about your sexual sin. You withheld all of it until a few months into our marriage. You continued to lie to me about phone sex, porn, masturbation our entire marriage. You would tell me I was responsible for keeping you accountable and then lash out in anger if I would ask you questions, and if I didn’t ask you questions you would lash out in anger and say it was because of me not asking you that caused you to be in sin. You would yell and call me selfish if I showed any hurt from your sexual sin. You would constantly tell me that I had no idea all the things you had done and all the lies you had told me. You would tell me how dark and twisted your sexual sin was and how it needed more and more extreme things to get the arousal because you had been doing these things your entire life.
The constant lies and threats of me not knowing the extent of your sexual sin caused me to take an HIV test when I was pregnant with my son. They would allow me to take it without you knowing. You caused me to be fearful for my health and the health of our unborn baby.
When our daughters were very little you would ask me if I ever thought you would do something sexual against them. I didn’t dare answer you honestly. But I did live in this fear because of the depth of your lies and perverseness of your sin. I would talk to the girls privately about their bodies. I was fearful for their safety in their own home.
You withheld my medicine from me after my C-sections. You would count the medicine before you left for work and then when you would get home. You accused me of taking them when I didn’t need them and wasn’t in pain. You wouldn’t give me the amount the doctor said I could have even when I was in severe pain. I had to go without medicine to drive and pick the girls up from school because you wouldn’t help.
You stole money from me when I left my wallet at your apartment when we were engaged.
You lied to me about your other daughter and because of that we spent our entire marriage paying 60,000 dollars in child support that you never paid.
You yelled at me relentlessly when I was pregnant with my first child. And if I would cry you would yell even more.
You called me stupid and dumb constantly.
You would mock me in front of the kids and it caused them to think this is how they should also treat me.
You made fun of the size of my head, you made fun of the size of my ears, you made fun of the size of my chest, you made fun of the size of my feet, you made fun of the size of my legs.
You made fun of my face,
You made me feel ugly.
You made me feel worthless.
You made me not even know why you married me because of all the things you said were wrong with me.
You told me I was mad at God for making me a woman. And told me I needed to deal with that and said I was hurting our marriage because I was lying about really desiring these things.
You told people at church I was having affairs with other women. And that you thought I was gay when we first met. You put that on me. I NEVER did or said anything ever to warrant that accusation. NOTHING! You made me worthless. You put shame on me and made me feel guilty for something I never ever did! Do you know how horrible I felt as your wife to hear you say these things?
You threatened to have affairs. You told me if you ever did, I would be to blame because of how difficult I was to be married to.
You told me there were tons of women who wished they could be married to you and I better start realizing that.
You threatened to leave me over and over again.
You threatened to kill yourself over and over. You told me that I wished you were dead. You accused me of trying to kill you.
You told me that you wanted to kill me.
You would try and scare me by acting like you were punching and kicking me and tell me you wished you could really punch me in the face as hard as you could. That my face just made you want to punch it.
You would look at me and try to scare me by saying “kill, kill, kill” over and over again in a creepy voice. Then when I would get scared and ask you to stop you would get angry at me for being scared of you.
You would ask me if I was scared of you. If I answered no, then you would do something to try and scare me. If I said yes you would get angry and tell me I was crazy.
You didn’t let me have a bed to sleep in. You made our kids think the couch is where a wife and mom sleeps.
You would point to animals like gorillas and walruses on TV and tell the kids “look its mommy” then they would also do that on their own.
You called me gay, and accused me of having affairs with women our entire marriage. You told me over and over that you knew I was going to tell you I was gay one day and run off with another woman. You treated me as if I had already done this. I told you to stop and I didn’t like that and you wouldn’t stop. You just accused me more saying I wouldn’t be bothered by it if it wasn’t true.
You accused me of having affairs with other men our entire marriage.
You accused me of being attracted to any man or woman that I spoke to at church, and made it nearly impossible to have any sort of friendship.
You kept me from being able to see my family. You restricted relationships with my family so much that I missed out on knowing my nieces and nephews. You wouldn’t let them come over, you wouldn’t let me go see them. You told me it was sinful to desire to see my family and want to be around them. You told me that I was your wife and not part of that family anymore. Because of this my family was kept from their daughter, sister and aunt and our kids grew up without family in their lives.
You destroyed any friendship that I sought out during our marriage. You would say I was sinfully trying to get something from these women. You told me you were supposed to be enough for me, and I shouldn’t need any other relationships outside of you and if I did then it was sin on my part. Then you would make it even worse by asking me all the time how come I didn’t have any friends and never wanted to do anything with any of the women at church. You told me lies and said other women I knew from church had come to you and said awful things about me. They thought I was arrogant and better than everyone and cold and mean and judgmental. No one ever really said these things, but you told me they did and you made me feel awful and cry and think I was really making people feel like this. You let me think this for months and months and then you just laughed and said you were lying to me.
You told me you didn’t think I was really saved because of what you saw in my life. You told me all the sin you saw and that I should question whether I really knew Jesus or not. You were supposed to lead me and keep me safe. All the sin you were accusing me of never happened. You made me feel guilty when I didn’t do anything you were saying.
You would go into my email and read everything and send messages out, like it was from me. You would demand to know all my passwords and if I changed them you would yell at me and demand to know what I was hiding from you. You set up Facebook profiles for me without my knowledge.
You wouldn’t speak to me for days at a time.
You would call me all throughout the day and if I missed your call you would leave mean voicemails and swear at me.
You would just hang up on me if I was trying to talk to you on the phone and then wouldn’t answer my calls again.
If I forgot something at the grocery store you would tell me I did it on purpose because I hated, you. When I would try, and tell you it was an accident you would say there’s no way I could be that stupid, so I was lying.
You lied and told me my dad had an affair.
You would tell the kids mommy shouldn’t treat you the way I do, and that I was in sin and it was right for you to yell at me and get angry.
You made the kids feel scared for me and want to try and protect me and comfort me. Our 7-year-old daughter would come whisper “what daddy said isn’t true mommy.”
You caused our kids to start wetting the bed again because of the fear and stress they were living in. I was awakened multiple times a night because they would have nightmares that they lost me or I was killed.
The kids were scared of you. Our son would ask me over and over, why daddy didn’t love him.
You rejected our kids.
You asked one of our sons who his dad was, and told me I had cheated on you and got pregnant.
You made it so the boys couldn’t even play in their room in the morning. You would get so angry and yell and call me selfish if you were awakened by the kids. We had to whisper and not go upstairs till you would get up.
You neglected the kids and I and wouldn’t leave your bedroom for days or weeks.
The kids would have to ask permission to just open the door and say hi or goodnight from the doorway.
They would ask me if they could slip notes to you under the door. Sometimes you wouldn’t see the kids for days at a time when you were in the same house as them. This made my son cry inconsolably for three days in row. He wouldn’t eat, would barely walk, wouldn’t leave my side. He was crushed by you.
You treated me like a prostitute. You called me a prude in our bedroom. You laid there like you were dead, naked in the bed and told me to get to it and do my womanly duties.
You told me to go upstairs so you could “bed me”.
When I told, you it was painful to have intercourse after the C-sections you called me a liar and said I was making excuses to not have sex with you.
You accused me of thinking of other men and woman while we were having sex.
You told me I had to ask you to have sex. If I didn’t ask enough you would blame me for you looking at porn and masturbating. Almost every time I asked you would say no, when you did agree you would make it seem like you were having to do the most disgusting thing ever. You would say fine, let’s get it over with.
You told me multiple times to get out of the bed and sent me out of the bedroom naked because you would get angry at me and say I wasn’t making you feel good and I wasn’t doing what you wanted. You humiliated me. You rejected me.
You would tell me to “clean up my mess” after we would have sex. You would send me out of the room to go make you food and bring it to you in bed after we were done and continue playing video games or watching movies while I went downstairs to sleep on the couch. You made me feel dirty and used by you.
You slammed your fist on the table and chair and couch and threw the clock across the room and it smashed into the wall. You did these things and blamed me for causing it. You yelled at me in anger and told me to shut up. You pointed your finger right in my face and threatened me to start respecting you or you were going to take the kids and leave me.
You told me you were going to tell the pastors at church what type of wife I really was and you weren’t going to put up with me any longer. You told me the pastors would believe you and would take away my leadership roles at church.
You called me the most selfish human being you have ever known.
You lied about our entire marriage and your treatment of me and the kids in court! Over and over and over you lied to your attorney and the judge and other people involved.
You lied to our children. You lied to them about me. You lied to them about church. You lied to them about other people. You lied to them about what you had done. The impact of this in unending. I see it and hear it and feel it every single day!
You’ve continued to this day your torment of me through email. Even though you have said repeatedly that you know you’re not supposed to send me personal messages. You have continued your lies toward me. You have said you would stop sending me messages, but you haven’t. You threaten, intimidate, manipulate, control and hurt through your messages to me.
I don’t even know how to try and put into words the cruel and twisted and manipulative and scary place you made our marriage and home. It was so awful I wanted to die instead of trying to endure another day. Evil is the best word I can use to describe it. But you made it even worse because you kept telling me and everyone else it was good. What went on in our marriage can’t be described fully to someone outside of it because most people can’t fathom treating another human being the way you treated me. Their mind doesn’t go to the dark places yours did. You sucked the life out of me and crushed me. I am terrified of you.