May 10, 1979:
The beginning of my 15 year relationship with an abuser.
Had he been introduced to me by that title, I would have ran the other way.
The man I met was caring, understanding and generous. He was open and honest, I remember many long, late night heart to heart talks. He had a good sense of humor and we enjoyed the same things; we had the same life goals. He was my white knight who came to rescue me from the chronic dysfunction I grew up in. He had been severely abused as a child, which is what I thought allowed him to empathize so well. Ultimately it was both of our histories of damage that lead to the destruction of our life as husband and wife.
I was 17; very sure of what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be. A wife, a mother. I wanted to bake cookies and sew cute little baby clothes. I wanted to love my husband and know that he loved me. I wanted to have lots of babies and live happily ever after until death do us part.
4 years later, I was begging him to believe me, to stop hitting me and at one point begging him to kill me. “Please, just get it over with.”
The violence was always followed by his begging me…for forgiveness. Gifts, roses and loving gestures. Kissing my wounds and promising to never hurt me again.
The classic Honeymoon Phase.
The transformation from brutal wife beater to loving husband always amazed me.
It happened in an instant.
The site of blood was an immediate trigger that brought back the man I loved, the man that loved me. His demeanor changed, his facial expression softened, his voice calmed. Mostly, I remember his eyes. I saw sadness and pain in his eyes.
Those moments, looking into his eyes, often filled with tears, were what helped me stay. They were what hindered me from leaving. They were my glimpse of hope that the loving man I married and was so in love with, was still in there.