I had a brilliant day at work. My MD is happy with the progress made by my department. it was a long and yet fruitful day at the office. I left with a smile.
Now I stand outside my home, at the door, key in hand. I know my husband will not be home and yet nervousness kicks in. What will this evening hold in store for me? Will it be a quiet, happy evening where we sit down and chat about the day? Will I be given the opportunity to share my exhilaration with the man I married? Will dinner turn out perfectly and not provide an option for complaint? Will I behave the way that is expected of me today?
I enter our home. The one we have built together and I look around. Nothing makes me smile. I cringe as I look at the perfectly set-up home, nothing out of place. Sparklingly clean. Everything as it should be. And yet there is always something that I seem to do wrong. Am I that bad at running a household? Am I that poor an example of a wife. We are in everyone’s eyes just that…. the perfect couple. And yet I seem to fall short.
What does today hold in store for me?
I hear the key in the door. I freeze. I put on the perfect smile. “Hello, darling”, I say. A couple of hours later he is on his fourth drink for the evening. He doesn’t want dinner and I am tired but still wait with the hope that the meal will still be had. Together! And then it happens……
He comes into the kitchen where I am clearing up and tells me that I am the rudest, most arrogant person he has ever come across. I know what is coming next. I stay silent with the hope that the silence will calm him down. But today, that was the wrong strategy. He screams at me to say something. All I can say is “No, please. Please, please, please, not again today”. Tears were running down my face even before I felt the punch. It should hurt but it doesn’t. The physical pain will begin only the next morning. I know. It is what my evenings usually are about. The repeated breaking of my heart is all I feel, all I hear.
I always wondered about women who were in abusive relationships. Why could they not just leave? What made them stay? Why did they allow the continued reduction of them as people into nothingness? I stood on the same side as these women. Getting out was not easy.
The first time, it happened in front of my child was the last time. I would not let my child grow up thinking that is what a normal relationship was. Believe me, it wasn’t easy. I had no money, no place to go, no friends, no support system. I was a mother who was in an abusive relationship.
I had fears, plenty of them – how I would feed the little one, how could I leave it up to a maid when I had to work, where would I find the strength, what would my child grow up thinking about men as fathers, what about abandonment issues, would my child blame me when they grew up, should I stay for the sake of my child……I could go on and on.
But today, I would not do anything different. I was a victim of physical abuse! A mother, a woman with no self-esteem, no financial means, nothing. That is what I had been reduced to seeing myself as.
Now, my child sees me and aspires to be the person I am today. I am a happy, social, loving, caring, independent woman. And that to me, makes the getting out all worth it.