My Story: Chapter Fifteen

How Did Our Perfect Life Implode?

Like father like son


The abuser was still spinning out of control after his job loss. He was at home with the kids looking for work. In a strange twist of fate, I took him food from the food pantry at the shelter to help out while he was unemployed. He was still using shows of violence and control to intimidate me and continued to demean me via text and email. We will leave him there spinning on his broken record while I catch you up on a little history of our relationship.

We had been married for over 20 years when we reached our last year of hell and our life together became too horrible to deny that there was a problem.

I had never felt at ease in our relationship. I ignored all the red flags he ever showed me and believed all his lies every time there was evidence that he was being inappropriate with other women, using porn after saying he would not, etc.

We had done well financially when I paid the bills. I was a stay-at-home mom and frugal, good with finances, and making things do. He took over the bills and no matter how much he made even up to six figures there were notices that we would have our power shut off, unpaid doctor bills, and times when we would have to live out of the pantry and freezer for a month so he could get caught up.

He always had money to take coworkers out for meals, buy alcohol, or fast food even when he said we couldn’t afford to buy our children clothes or Christmas gifts. The finances were completely under his control. I had to ask for anything that I needed, even a pair of socks.

I also did not have a license or my own vehicle so couldn’t go anywhere without him. I didn’t even go for walks and barely went into my own yard. Becoming so afraid of life and leaving my home was a gradual process and it took years for my life to become so small. By the end of the marriage, I was suffering from depression and an autoimmune disorder that made it difficult to even carry out a full day of work at home. Now I know I had given up on the will to live.

As the years went on our topics of conversation were slowly shut off. He would become angry about anything he didn’t want to talk about so I learned not to bring it up again. An example is child discipline. The children would do something wrong while he was at work and I would speak with him about it. He would give them some punishment that was over the top and unjustified. After a few times, I stopped asking him to help me with our children and handled the problems by myself.

He tried to undermine my parenting by telling me in front of the children that I was not a good leader, they walked all over me, that I needed to be harsher with them, discipline them more, etc. The kids were all afraid of him and did what he asked right away so he felt he was the better parent. The children didn’t spend much time with him or sit and talk and play with him as they did with me. I had a more balanced relationship with them and they were not afraid to tell me things that would get them in trouble, things they would never say to him

His father had been an alcoholic and he knew it was a risk to drink. He would flirt with this danger by drinking heavily for one weekend a month. In the end, something broke within him and he gave in and began drinking daily. He had had two previous runs with alcoholism when we had lost everything but that didn’t stop him from trying again a third time. We both knew from the beginning of his daily drinking that it would ruin our family.

He would drink on the way home while he was driving and sometimes arrived in an astounding level of drunkenness, barely able to walk. He never got into more than a minor accident while driving and always had an excuse of how someone else hit him when one of the side mirrors was broken and the bumper dented. Now I wonder if he ever hurt anyone when he had those accidents.

As all of these things began to get worse we reached and passed the point of no return. His displays of anger and control grew worse and over the smallest provocation. He stopped coming home on weeknights until the children were in bed. And then his late nights stretched out until after midnight or 1 am. Suspicions of an affair grew stronger with so much evidence I was a complete fool to believe he wasn’t cheating.

To read the rest of the story click HERE



Julia Freeman, Trauma Recovery Coach

I believe survivors of narcissistic abuse and domestic violence deserve to live in freedom and peace.