I Had My First Husband Arrested

Arrested bI know it is impolite to air one’s dirty laundry in public, but this story represents of lot of who I am, the decisions I make even today, and is the source of my strength.  I now know I can face anything, deal with anything, and come out stronger when all is said and done.  If I can do this, I know women everywhere can do this too, and don’t ever let anyone tell you differently.

I was not a popular girl in high school.  I wanted to be, and because I wanted to be I tried too hard, which just encouraged the other kids to make fun of me.  Graduation came as a relief, and then I blossomed in college.  In college the smart kids are respected, not called teacher’s pet or brown nosers.

Just before I graduated from college I met up with a high school friend I knew for a long time but had not seen since graduation.  Like me, he wasn’t popular in school either.  We dated, I fell in love with him and he fell for me.  I was only 23 when we married after a year of dating.  What I did not know was that during the year we dated he was working very hard to hide the “crazy” from me.

About one month before the wedding I saw glimpses of his temper, but we were under a lot of stress from planning a wedding on a ridiculously small budget, buying a house and moving, and his mother was driving us both crazy.  It was so easy for me to say that once our life calmed down again he would stop being so angry.

I didn’t realize at the time that those early emotional outbursts were actually a warning bell ringing loudly telling me to run for it.  My parents knew though, because they tried on more than one occasion to talk me out of marrying him, but when young people are still in that lovey dovey life is wonderful stage of a relationship, not only are they blind, they are also as stupid as a brick.  I couldn’t understand why my parents weren’t happy for me.  Maybe he wasn’t perfect, but who is, and we would be just fine.

It was three weeks after the wedding that we had our first fight.  I don’t even remember what it was about, but he screamed and yelled at me for hours.  Then once he calmed down he cried and apologized and said he wouldn’t do that again.  I spent seven years going up and down the roller coaster of his ever changing moods.  He would get mad, scream and yell, then apologize and want sex to know that all was forgiven.  In the beginning I would argue back, but after a year or two I stopped arguing back and just endured his verbal abuse.

I sometimes thought of leaving him, but no one from my family or his had ever been divorced.  Marriage was supposed to be for better or worse and I still naively was holding onto that belief.

The problem with being in a verbally abusive relationship is that after a while, the victim in the relationship begins to be slowly brainwashed.  If you are told over and over enough times that “everything is your fault, you made me do this to you, you’re a bitch, why can’t you be more supportive,” you actually start to believe it.  I remember thinking all the time that if I could just change then he would be happy.  If I got a new hair cut, lost a little weight, cooked the perfect dinner, etc., then he would be the happy guy I dated and treat me better.

I did try to leave twice, and both times he came a begging and crying and apologizing and like a complete moron I bought it hook, line, and sinker.  Yes, I was stupid, but remember I was also a little brainwashed by this time.  Plus, the kicker was, he had never hit me.  Sure, he had thrown things across the room, yes he had put a hole in the wall, but I wasn’t an abused woman.  He had never laid a finger on me no matter how mad and enraged he was.

The second time I tried to leave him I told him I would only take him back if he allowed me to have a baby.  My biological clock wasn’t just ticking; it was more like daily grenades going off in my head.  I wanted a baby more than anything in the world and he was very much anti-baby.  But he agreed to have a baby and wanted me to take him back.  I showed him the day I tossed my birth control pills in the trash.  He just shrugged his shoulders.

I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and the constant stress I was under kept my disease in continuous flare-ups.  I truly believe he thought I would not be able to get pregnant due to my assorted health issues.  Guess what, my girly parts work just fine.  Eventually I did get pregnant and that was the trigger that seemed to truly send him over the edge.

He ramped up the verbal abuse tenfold.  He would scream right in my ear until I was all but curled up in a ball sobbing on the floor.  Sometimes I think he was actively trying to make me lose the baby but whether he wanted it or not, I did give birth to a little boy who looked just like him at first (thank god not anymore).

Things became truly frightening once the baby started crawling.  He would leave the basement door open constantly even though I would close it ten times a day so the baby didn’t fall down the stairs.  He refused to believe me that the dog was a danger to AJ.  It wasn’t until she bit AJ in the face that he finally agreed the dog had to go.

I remember sitting in my mom’s kitchen and her telling me that I needed to leave him for good.  I looked at her and said “I wish he would just punch me in the face already.  That would be the last straw.  Then I would know what to do,” because remember, at this time I still did not think of myself as a battered woman.

Then it finally happened.  About a week after Christmas, on a Friday, he didn’t come home from work.  I called his cell but he wasn’t answering.  The baby had been sick that day and I was exhausted.  It was 11 o’clock pm and I finally went to sleep.  I figured at this point he was at the bar and when he drank he snored, so I put a pillow and a blanket on the sofa and locked the bedroom door to get some rest.

I was jarred from my sleep after midnight when he suddenly kicked in the bedroom door.  He was FURIOUS.  He grabbed me by the head and shoved me down into the floor, knocking over the night stand in the process.  Then he mashed my face into the mattress and I couldn’t breathe.  Just as suddenly as he came he let go and walked out of the room.  I stood up shakily and for some crazy reason I righted the night stand.  I don’t think I had really processed what had just happened and my first reaction was to stand the table back up and put the clock back on it.

I stepped out of the bedroom and into the hallway and saw him come back towards me.  He held up a kitchen knife and said, “What do you think of this?”  I lost it.  I tried to run past him to get to the stairs but he grabbed me around the waist and threw me back towards the bedroom.

For the next three hours he held me at knife point and kept telling ME to kill HIM!  He wanted to commit suicide but I had to be the one to do him in.  I was at a loss.  I remember talking and talking trying to calm him down but much of it is a blur now of just what in the hell I was saying to him.  About four in the morning his drunk began to wear off.  He was more lucid and I was able to talk him into putting the knife away.  It finally occurred to me that I was not going to die that night.  Until that moment I truly believed we were going to be on the news the next day as a murder/suicide.

I tried to take the baby and leave the house but he held the door shut and wouldn’t let me out of the house.  I had no choice but to put the baby back to bed and pretend that everything was okay now.  The thing I remember most about that night was a deep and powerful longing for my mother.  I just wanted to go be with my mom.  For the first time I was bruised, bleeding, and yes, I was now officially a battered woman.

With the dawn of morning my husband got up, poured a bowl of cereal, and acted like life was just fine.  He didn’t mention the trauma of the night before and offered to pour me a bowl of cereal, too.  As far as he was concerned, it was all over and done with now, but it was not over for me.

Later that day I went to “visit” my mom and made a hasty detour to the police station.  I filed a report, showed my cuts and bruises, and cried while clutching my son to my chest.  The officer wrote everything down and told me to go home and not mention anything to my husband.  I didn’t realize it at the time but it would take a week before they actually arrested him.  That was because they were putting together a restraining order to deliver to him as well.

I was called on Thursday and told to make sure the baby and I were out of the house by 5:30 on Friday, that they were coming to get him then and wanted to make sure we were safe.  My father went that night to buy new locks for the house.  All day Friday at work my stomach was in knots.  I remember throwing up once from the stress.  After work I told him that I was going to run to Target with AJ.  He just nodded his head and said fine.

Actually, I went to my parents’ house to wait for the phone call from Officer Fitzpatrick to tell me it was safe to go back home.  The call came just a few minutes before 6:00.  My husband had been taken away in handcuffs, was in lock up, and was given his restraining order barring him from coming anywhere near me.  Because he was arrested on a Friday, he wouldn’t be able to post bail until sometime on Monday.  He would spend the entire weekend in jail.  I breathed a sigh of relief and then my Dad went with me to my house to change all the doorknobs and deadbolts.

My now ex-husband called me from the jail six times that night crying like a baby begging me to drop the charges.  What he didn’t realize though was that the night he beat me and held a knife to me, he changed me.  I was no longer brainwashed.  I was a woman with a baby who did not want to die and I was NOT dropping the charges.  I was standing my ground.  I was strong enough to do what was right not just for myself, but for my son as well.

I truly believe abused women need to tell their story.  Not only is it part of the healing process, but maybe, just maybe, another woman will read this story and will find her strength and a way to flee from her tormentor. 

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Comments

  1. Awesome… I would have thought that you were writing about my life in most of this. You are right. I have felt that abused women are now being called to speak out about what they have been through so that they can help others… Bless you!!

  2. Thank you. It wasn’t necessarily easy to put this story out there for all the world to see. No one wants to admit to being a victim, but I truly believe women need to speak out, and if I believe that, then how can I not share my story.

    • Tina, first of all, I want to thank you for sharing your story. It is never easy the first several times you tell it, but it gets easier with time. It will help you process what happened and get some closure and healing in addition to helping others in a similar situation. More people, women and men alike, need to come out and share their stories, especially those who suffered verbal abuse. Society in general has a misconception that abuse is only physical, and we need more survivors to share what happened to them so it is not excused any longer.

      As a survivor of a four year relationship when I endured endless verbal and physical abuse, I can tell you that the emotional battering is far more damaging precisely because of how it wears you down and strips away your confidence, esteem, outlook on life, personality, and your sense of peace and well-being. In short, it is insidious. And the damage from this, except for more severe physical abuse, is much harder to recover from.

      And Tina, you are no longer a victim, because you broke the cycle. You are a survivor! And I thank you for coming here to tell your story so other women can find the strength to do the same.

      • I was afraid to post this, but the wonderful support and positive responses I have received, many through e-mails who wish to be anonymous, has confirmed that I did the right thing. I agree that sometimes verbal abuse is worse than physical. Even once I broke free from it, I was a mess for several years. I was terrified of men except for my male family members. But time does heal and I am very proud to say that I am not a victim anymore!

  3. Paula Olbrys says:

    Oh, Tina, I am so sorry that you had to go through that…You just told the story of my life with you-know-who. The children, especially my daughters, witnessed this for way too long, luckily they both have men in their lives who truly love them, I am so happy you and your son are safe, that you had your babies, and that you found a man who really loves you. I’m sure your mother looks down upon you, and is so happy with the life her beautiful daughter is living right now…Good job, Tina, I’m so proud of you!

    • I remember very well what he did to you. Our houses back then were pretty close together and with open windows during the summer there weren’t a lot of secrets. I’m glad you walked away when you did. I’m also glad K & K are so happily settled.

  4. Thank you for your post. I’ve kept my story quiet while my ex airs the dirty laundry on Facebook (his side, where he’s a victim) and dealt with the backlash because I chose to remain silent and protect my children. After reading your story, I wish I could speak up about my own.

    • Don’t be afraid of your own voice. There is something very freeing and liberating in sharing your story. I’m not saying you have to post it in Facebook, but definitely let your inner circle and family members know the true story. Never be afraid to stand up for yourself and defend your name. You can be strong without becoming a vindictive bitch. There is a difference. Good luck finding your balance and I am sending my prayers and good wishes to you.

  5. So much of you story mimics mine – except the part about having him arrested. I was 23 years and 4 children with my abuser. It took going back to college and getting a “normal” job (not restaurants) for me to realize that I had the strength.

    Women need to realize what abuse really is. There are 5 types : Physical, Sexual, emotional (also called verbal), monetary and social. The first 3 are easy to identify, the last two are harder to see. Monetary is when the money is controlled so that the victim has limited or no access without the abuser present. Social is when the victim is isolated from any and all support systems….like family and friends.

    Abusers are so sly…they always have good reasons for why things should be like they want it. It took me 15 years to realize the extent of the abuse that I endured (mine chose to use all 5 types) and 23 years for me to get out. I pray that others find the way to get out sooner.

  6. You are such a strong woman Tina, and from watching your videos you seem like such an amazing teacher, mother and woman in general. My mother was in the same sitation except her relationship was very short and turned ugly very fast. She had a baby with him, and he beat her while she was pregnant. Only to come running back when he found out it was hes child. She too got a restraining order on him. When i was younger and naive i wanted to know who my dad was so bad. My mum being native Aboriginal (Australian) with darker skin and me being blonde haired, blue eyed.. I was always so confused and hated explaining my heritage to people (when I didnt even know that half anyway). I guess i am a lot like AJ in the fact that we both have incredibly strong mothers, who love us unconditionally even if we have physical traits of a past that they want to forget. I am now a 23yr old woman about to start teaching year 3 next year in Aus which is how I found your insiprational videos on youtube! I am so thankful that you shared your story and that my mum shared that story with me when I was older, even though she didnt want to, it took months of questioning, digging and finding letters. Its good to get a little closure. Thank you so much for sharing, you are such a strong woman!

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