#metoo
#metoo

#WhyIStayed

With my abusive partner

#WhyIStayed

If you (or someone you know) are a survivor of or are experiencing domestic violence whether it be physical, mental, emotional, sexual, some, or all then you know how hard it was/is to actually leave. Everyone has their own reasoning—well excuses (I’m no exception, you’re about to read my excuses).

If you (or someone you know) are not a survivor or experiencing domestic violence, you may think leaving is an easy task. You may think if it was you in that situation that you wouldn’t stand for it, you’d leave right away. I was you. I was that person. Then it took me 2 and a half years to leave.

What you are about to read is rough, real, and true. I haven’t sought legal help, and I do not plan to (please don’t suggest it.) All I wanted when I finally left was an easy, no-fault divorce that we filed together.

Here’s my story:

I was married to a man for 2 and a half years. Blindedly happy for about a year. Unhappy, abused (in more ways than one, and not only by himself, but by his family).

I said yes to marry him because I did love him and care for him.

But that “love”, that “care”, came at a cost after we were wed. A cost that was hidden to many of my closest friends and family. (To whom I’m sorry for hiding this. Many of them are finding out now through this. I couldn’t bare to break their hearts with this information.)

I stayed because of many excuses.

1. I always believed in myself to marry and stay married no matter what. I didn’t believe in divorce.

On a daily basis, in my immediate family, I’ve only ever saw two happy marriages that have been long lasting. And I longed to be like my grandfather and my late grandmother, and my aunt and uncle. I understood hardships, disagreements, and arguments still happen. But the love they have continues.

2. People only see that “divorces are just a way out. Nobody wants to actually work at their marriage. Once they aren’t happy anymore they get a divorce.”

Understand this. I worked very tirelessly and stressfully to make it work. I did everything I could. I stayed for a year and a half trying to make it work. Trying to get him to see what I was going through.

3. I had nowhere to go.

A lot of my friends and family may get a little angry at this one. But I had three dogs. Not just your average size dogs, or a mix of sizes, I had three Great Danes. Nobody was going to let me stay there, as much as they said if I ever needed a place to go. Or the times I’ve called late at night because I was thrown out of my own house, without a coat, in the middle of a snowstorm, how many didn’t answer and the ones that did answer said, “go back in, make it work. Go to bed, stop calling” or “I’ve got no room for you”

4. I didn’t have a job.

He wouldn’t let me work. I wasn’t allowed to associate with males other than my family, his family, and ONLY his friends if he was present. If I did, I’d get accused of cheating. I also had no vehicle to get to and from work.

5. I didn’t have a vehicle.

He made me sell my vehicle. And without an income, I couldn’t buy myself one. Not to mention I didn’t even have access to any of the financials of our household. We did have one vehicle, and that it was his, he let me know that quite often, but he was never home so it was never there.

6. I had no control over finances.

Even when I did work, I didn’t get to see my earnings or where they went. Didn’t get to see bills or bank statements. I couldn’t even go grocery shopping.

7. I was stressed, depressed, unmotivated, and suicidal.

Every single day I was abused mentally and emotionally. There was no motivation for me to even get out of bed most days; I was always being “put in my place,” told how fat, disgusting, how I do nothing, how I need to get a job, how ugly I am. And he was always making jokes to his buddies about me having STDs just in case I’d come onto them. I was told how worthless I was. And for fun he’d start fights, just to throw me out and watch me suffer trying to find my way back in or get ahold of someone to come get me. (Which wouldn’t be a problem. But the closest person I knew was at least 25 minutes away from me and it would be at 2 AM). His family would tell me how much they hated me, how I wasn’t good enough, how I was using their son, how I was the one who was disrespectful, bad, “the devil,” and that I am worthless. What person would have the motivation to do anything after hearing that every day for a year and a half straight?

The physical and sexual abuse came whenever he was stressed, didn’t have a good day, or we were fighting. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve woken up to him on top of me. Half the times I’d just pretend to sleep just so I wouldn’t have to argue with him about it and it could be over.

I just wanted all the pain to go away. I wanted everything to stop. I was at home all the time and he was at work or at his family’s most of the time. Well at least that’s what I was told. I never acted on any of the thoughts of suicide. I couldn’t dare leave that kind of burden on my friends and family. Especially since none of them even knew. I have, however, written several suicide notes, sat there and cried, ripped them up, thrown them away, and laid back down and sobbed until he came home from work.

8. “You’re my wife. It’s your duty to submit to me!”

He used this as his excuse ALL the time. He got this idea because of one of the Bible verses read at our wedding ceremony. {Colossians 3:18, KJV “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.”} He was my husband. Who would believe me anyway? At the time I also started to believe that it was my duty. I mean, it’s in the Bible, who can argue with that? “What kind of husband does that to his wife?” Or “they got into a fight so she cried rape.” Or “if it really happened, why wasn’t it reported when it was happening?” Those are a few of the sayings I’ve heard people say when people read or hear about a rape in the local area.

9. I couldn’t make myself believe this was happening.

You never think that this could happen to you. You never think that the man you’re marrying could ever be so capable to do these to the person whom he loves and loves him back. You tell yourself that it’s your fault when it happens or that he just had a bad day. Until it starts happening more and more.

10. I was controlled.

In every way possible he controlled me. He took away my ability to see money, make money, drive, talk to friends and family about what was really going on; limited who I talked to, how I talked to them, and for how long; and who I was allowed to go see and for how long.

I left almost 5 months ago. I’m happy, I have my own car, a full time job, and still have my dog.

I haven’t seen him since. And I couldn’t be prouder of myself.

Two months after I left, I was able to sleep through the night for most of the nights of each week.

Three months after I left, I got a full time job.

Four months after I left, I was able to sleep through the night for all of the nights except maybe 1-2 nights out of the whole month.

Five months after I left, I am officially divorced and have no ties with him at all!

I’m still fighting battles with myself every day. Some days are worse than others. But I’ve come a long way.

It gets better.

relationships
Ashley Hamilton
Ashley Hamilton
Read next: The State
Ashley Hamilton

Pet mama 🐾. Domestic Abuse Survivor. 

See all posts by Ashley Hamilton