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Where Angels Fear To Tread... Building a Permanent Relationship From the Foundation of Domestic Abuse.

Where Angels Fear To Tread...
Building a Permanent Relationship From the Foundation of Domestic Abuse.
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Have you ever heard a heart break? Watch a person's soul shatter during a fall? Looked into the eyes of someone whose flame was callously turned to ash? Did you ever die inside, one piece at a time, at the hands of your abuser? The man who promised to love and cherish you, honor and protect you, until death do you part.

  The Ember of Self-preservation...

In one of our good times, we had purchased a business together. Leroy already had his own business so this was mine to run and manage. The business was growing and was making a good amount of money for a few years, and then a small, economic slump hit and most of the small businesses in our area took a hit. It was not too bad, but it was enough to make a big difference in the profit margin of the business. Leroy delighted in holding the business over my head and using it as leverage to further erode my confidence and independence.

What he failed to think of, however, was that I had been to college and had taken many classes on business management as well as the legal courses to go with my paralegal degree? He had no idea how to run a business with overhead, inventory and employees. I had a bit of independence at the business and somewhere deep inside, an ember came to life, and I learned to keep things hidden from him. I would hide anything I knew would set him off, I became good at avoidance and keeping secrets. My self-preservation was making its presence known. Over a couple of years, I had the majority of control over the business. As far as my career went, my confidence was slowly growing and I was learning to fight for it. The business was all I had to keep me sane, it was the last bit of me left.

The more pride I developed in my work, the more I learned to fight back and stand up for myself. I was broken and battered and bruised--but there was still a part of me deep inside that had had enough! I quit hiding the bruises and bald spots in my hair and quit making excuses for my wrenched and sore body parts. Leroy learned to abuse me where it would not show, where no one would know.

He also started to kick me out of the house when he was finished with the abuse. I started to stay at the shop instead of begging to come back--I had a place to go, I had something he could not take away. I was getting mad!! It was time for me to stand up for myself and get a life back!! The ember inside me was growing, and it did not stop until it raged out of control. I might have lost the naive, innocent, trusting person I was when we got together; but I emerged a woman. What does not kill you can make you stronger; it can also make you fight to be the person you were destined to become.

I had not lost my fear of him, not by any means. I do not know if I ever will lose the cautiousness and doubt...but that is later in the story. Like every epitome, every rising of life from the ashes; there are pitfalls and hurdles along the way. It amazes me to this day the part desperation can play in success or failure. I wonder....how many fights and hurdles were overcome due to desperation alone.

  The Catalyst, Redemption and What's Love Got To Do With It....

The catalyst in this situation was absolutely monumental. Born out of terror and extreme desperation, the end results were cataclysmically worse and phenomenally better than anyone would ever have predicted. The speed in which it happened and the rapid, out of control force driving it, was comparable only to a runaway train, on a steep downhill grade at full throttle.

The economy in our area declined steadily and my business was hit pretty hard. I went from having a solid and steady profit to running in the red. The only reason I did not give up was my absolute terror of my husband's anger and abuse if he ever found out. You know there is a problem when you would rather face the IRS than tell your husband the business is broke. I quit paying taxes, telling myself I would make it up next month. A few years of this, creative robbing Peter to pay Paul financing and sheer desperation kept the business going and his suspicions dampened.

Until I could not pay my rent and had an eviction notice. I immediately started running around town, talking to anyone and everyone I could think of about a cheaper place for my business. I dug, begged, drove and called enough people that I found one in a few days. It was not close to as nice as the one I had to vacate, but there were many other bonuses gained in the location. I played them up and made it convincing that my move was just a very smart business decision--not a necessity. I managed to move, with the help of my one employee, one complete business in three working days. Telling my husband that I had already moved everything after it was a done deal.

The new location ended up being great for visibility, allowing for more effective advertising and the usual moving promotions to bring in business. And my world was quiet for a while, before the storm, that is. The IRS got tired of waiting for me to afford their payments and called Leroy at his work. They let him know just how long it had been since they had received a payment and just how much I owed them--and they wanted it NOW! Little did I know when I left work that day that the end had come? Judgment Day was here, and one of us was going to lose everything.

I will never forget the last time Leroy beat the hell out of me. The events from the time I walked out of my shop to the last beating are permanently etched in my mind. Every time I think of it, the only feeling that comes over me is an overwhelming relief and redemption. Never again will I ever put up with a man hitting, pushing or punching me, those days are over. I have become strong, I have become whole and I have become me.

I walked in the door, put my purse down on the couch and felt it...the punch that set me free. I was on the floor, blood gushing out of my mouth, staring stupidly at my two teeth lying on the rug. WHAM!! My head whips around and he is on top of me, choking me, I cannot breathe! I struggle and loosen my neck just enough to gasp in a quick breath. Leroy grabs my hair and is pounding my head into the floor, the wall, the corner of the couch--and I am helpless. He is screaming at me, the words of fury spewing out of his mouth, spitting and as I caught a glimpse of his face, the world disappeared.

When I woke up, he was pacing the living room, clenching his fists and rolling his shoulders. And for the first time, I knew no fear. I stood up, went into our bedroom and grabbed my loaded pistol. The cold, calm feeling of ultimate power came over me as I clicked the safety off and walked into the living room. He turned to face me and was crouching to rush and tackle me when I pulled the trigger. I did not stop until the gun was unloaded. When I was finished shooting all six bullets in the floor between us, I turned around, went back into the bedroom, grabbed my jewelry box and left the house.

I was shaking and bawling so hard I could barely drive. I had to stop a couple of times and throw up at the side of the road, but I managed to get safely to the local S.A.F.E. House, a shelter for abused women. My business was shut down for a week while I dealt with the aftermath of the beating. My ordeal was not quite over yet.

Leroy was frantically looking for me and eventually he called my employee to ask her to have me call him. I was filing the divorce papers when he caught up with me; he had a meeting with his attorney about the domestic abuse charges. I agreed to talk with him and his attorney which is how I found out about the call from the IRS. When I spilled the whole story of the abuse, the fear, my desperation and overwhelming sense of terror at angering Leroy, his attorney looked at him and told him that he was going to jail and there was nothing he could do about it, other than try to bargain down the time.

My husband voluntarily checked himself into an alcohol treatment center after he left the court house and sobered up. Part of the healing and treatment is apologizing to those you have wronged, hurt or have been affected by your alcoholism. I agreed to meet him and listen to what he had to say. To make a long story a bit shorter, I truly believe that the words he said that day were the most honest, heartrending and painful words that ever have come out of his mouth.

He told me he could not give me back the years spent with his abuse, or give me back all the hours spent in his bottle but he could promise that he will never make me feel that belittled, full of terror and alone again. He promised to prove to me that I would never feel his hands or fists in anger again and that he wanted us to try to rebuild our trust and faith in each other. When I walked out and pulled the trigger, he realized that at that moment he had lost everything and it was due to his anger and alcohol. I agreed to try to get to know each other again and see how it went. In the meantime, I borrowed money from my dad to pay the IRS. I stay current now!! Leroy signed his part of the business over to me as a good faith gesture. The divorce was never finalized.

The statistics show that most abusers do not change, the re-abuse and the cycle repeats itself again. We got back together 6 1/2 years ago and he has not hit me again. He started drinking a few years ago, but now I stand up for myself and leave if I feel I need to. The arguments are milder for the most part and they are definitely not as often! That bond that kept us together? I do not know how to explain that, it is love--a deep, encompassing and lasting love.

Forgiving him and leaving the abuse in the past was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Once I honestly and sincerely forgave him, our relationship reached new heights. I believe that we are meant for each other, that we complete each other. I also know that there is always a chance for him to abuse again, but I believe the feelings he shares for me is stronger than his desire to control and subdue me. Just like an addiction, the only thing that can make him change is the desire within himself to change. He has proven that he has the desire to change his abusive behavior and we have built a strong and lasting relationship out of the ashes.

We have been married for 16 years now, and our love is stronger than ever. I am looking forward to the next 16 and the 16 after that....

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Comments

Flora  

Thank you for sharing your story.

My abuse was entirely emotional so I can only partially understand what horrors you went through. I'm glad you learned to stand up for yourself. I am also incredibly glad to hear that "Leroy" has learned better coping mechanisms. I wish you and he nothing but the best!

08/06/2012

Wow girl you have been through some serious shit! I'm sure this is cathartic for you and for the second time congratulations. I hope to read more from you- maybe take you on as a mentor ( if you do advanced reviewers). Thsnkyou

08/07/2012

You have one of the hardest lives it seems but you are such a strong and beautiful women to share this with everyone.

08/08/2012

Thanks for sharing your story. As Flora states above, most of my abuse was emotional but there were times when it became physical and I was in fear for my life. I was able to leave the situation for good a few years ago but today I still carry the emotional scares and it affects every realtionship I try to have. There is no going back for me.. I'm would have ended up dead if I would have stayed in the realtionship I was in. I wish you all the best for you and Leroy..Bless U

10/02/2012

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