My Story: Chapter Seventeen
Escaping The Abuser’s Grip on My Life
Learning to breathe again
During the last year of my marriage while the abuser was drawing closer and closer to destruction I became desperate enough to reach out for help.
I began counseling with a counselor online. We began by diagnosing my relationship with God and I realized I had given up on Him years before. I began to seek Him again and as my faith grew stronger my marriage grew weaker.
I had kept my abusive husband in the place of God throughout our marriage. I’m not sure how this imbalance of power came to be. I had naturally looked up to him early in our marriage. He took more and more control of our lives until everything revolved around him. He was quick to regain the order he wanted if anything threatened to become more important than he was. He was happiest when our family revolved around him and I did my best to keep him from being unhappy with any of us.
I know now that I never would have made it through the craziness that was to come without my faith. I began to face the many fears I had allowed to take over my life. My biggest fear was driving so I asked if I could practice driving in the hopes of getting my license and he agreed.
I know now that only half-hearted attempts at driving practice were made by the abuser. I was taken far from the city on empty roads to practice. Once I was ready to try city driving the practice sessions stopped for months. I finally talked him into letting me drive again and he explained how difficult it was for him not to be in the driver’s seat. I kept going anyway.
A friend let me drive her around one day and that was the final straw for my fear of driving. I knew it had lost its hold on me and I never let it control me again.
We had been given a vehicle that the abuser slowly fixed up for my use but then gave up on before the job was finished. I found it ironic that we had to be given a second vehicle because the abuser was too cheap to buy another one. He made six figures and our family vehicle was paid off.
A friend came to visit, got the car working, and then took me on practice runs until I was ready to take the driving test. I passed on the first try and had my first taste of freedom and autonomy. I loved it! I started doing all the shopping myself and could take off when things were unpleasant at home. I began to take the children on adventures and our life began to look better. We were no longer stuck at home until the weekends when the abuser could take us somewhere if he felt like it.
After I got my license I began to attend a support group for those impacted by alcoholism. This began to open my eyes to the way I was being treated and what my life had become. The people at the meetings laughed, cried, and shared what had helped them live a good life despite the grip alcohol had on a loved one. I began to laugh again. I began to feel emotions. I began to breathe.
I asked someone to sponsor me and we began to work on my stuff. I had just begun to chip away at the mess that covered my heart when it was time to leave my husband. I continued to work with my sponsor long-distance while living in the shelter and I know this was an integral part in changing my life.
I believe the foundation set with the counselor and the further opening of my eyes through the support group helped set me free. I had to begin to see my situation through other eyes so I could see how wrong it was.
I did not tell my counselor or sponsor the truth about the physical abuse until a few months after I had left. I had to come out of denial before I could even see it for myself.
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