Dawn’s Story

I’ve debated back and forth with myself many times about whether or not to write this. I believe that I should. I believe it may even be necessary for me to share in the hope of helping someone else but also as another step toward healing for myself.I don’t want anything I say to hurt any of the family involved and especially my children because much of it has not been shared with them. I’m still unsure how much I will tell. It was so long ago now that many details have been forgotten but this is my story.

When I was 15 I fell in love for the first time. I watched him for a long time and he never knew how I felt. His parents and mine became friends so he ended up being in my house, close, a LOT and we became friends. We talked about a lot of things in that time and I learned more. It never occurred to me ONCE that he would even remotely be interested in me other than as a friend until one weekend. At the time my aunt lived with us in the basement room and when they partied I would come down to her room to watch tv in peace and quiet. That night my mom came down to see if it was ok if he came to hang out with me, then my mom’s friend came to ask the same thing, then HIS mom came to ask again. Three times I said, yeah, why not? what do you think hes gonna do to me? THEN, you’re paying attention…three mothers are VERY concerned about this, which says to me they are all aware of something I am NOT. Something about him. Could it be that he actually does look it me in that way? I still didn’t really believe that but that seed had been planted so I watched him again and listened and paid attention. That time was no different really than any other except that I had changed a little bit but we always had fun together and good conversations so i wasnt weirded out that he wanted to spend time with me but I thought hard about these mothers and their worries. So the NEXT time they came to party and he was with me I did something I wouldn’t have done before. I flirted. Oh MY GOD! I set that ball rolling and when I look back at it I still don’t know if it was meant to be or a mistake. HE was totally and completely out of my league. I had no idea how to deal with him.
Everything for me was a FIRST so, exciting and terrifying and all the emotions all tumbled up in a mess inside your head and your heart and your body. I know he knew all that and more than anything I am grateful that he was never aggressive or pushy or insensitive to me at all but the truth is he should NOT have tried to play with me. It IS much deeper and more complicated than that because he was messed up inside himself too and mistakenly believed he wasn’t good enough for me. I know that he loves me…always did, always will but he’s just a boy that found a new toy and couldn’t stop himself from wanting to play with it, even knowing he would hurt me. For the record, I did NOT sleep with him but it was close, very close and funny enough the opportunity came around again much later and I STILL did not do it. Maybe that is why I get his respect…I’m probably the only girl on the planet who has ever said NO! (He is BEAUTIFUL you know…he was always like a GOD to me and I couldn’t imagine anyone saying no-plus it was VERY hard to do that!) By then we had completed a circle and I finally could let go but that was long after the heartbreak led me into hell. You see, he was my first love and he didn’t want me. Whatever reason he gave was partly true and partly an excuse I guess. I still don’t KNOW. He told me he wasn’t good enough for me and I deserve better. I know that he believed that because we talked many times before any of this and I know he had a deep inferiority issue. He didn’t ever think he was good enough. It wasn’t really true but I could never help him see that. Hubby knows him and believes that he does and always has loved me and was trying to save me from himself. Sometimes people are so silly in the head! That was NEVER his place to decide FOR me but nevertheless he did. I know that he loved and respected my father too so maybe that was part of his reasoning…being with me and messing it up would mess up everything…better to break it now and save everyone the pain…cause I AM gonna mess it up…I mess up everything! I didn’t believe that would have been true then but now, maybe his choice was right. Anyway, he broke me. I don’t have the words to describe it. I never had very high self-esteem to start with so being rejected like this, when I loved him so much crushed me. I let him have it with both barrels once. Standing on the street yelling into a pay phone and my girl friend was embarrassed but you know what, I didn’t care. I was hurt, yes, but more I was angry that he had taken advantage of our friendship which meant MORE! So I let him know what I thought about it! We stayed friends. Obviously our parents were so it would be impossible to never see each other and I had already moved on. The thing is, in retrospect you see many things about yourself that you can’t see when you are IN it and I realized AFTER what had happened but at the time I just wanted someone to love me.I was lost. I was broken. I was vulnerable. I was a target; easy prey and my first husband pounced. He used all of that against me.

Because my FIRST LOVE didn’t love me I believed I wasn’t worthy of love. I deserved whatever came next and I punished myself by choosing my husband, accepting, staying, enduring, believing all the crap he told me about myself. It is so easy to get manipulated, used and controlled when you are at your lowest and then you find out that you didn’t even know yet what LOW could be!

I fought everybody to be with him. The more they said, “it’s bad” the more I said, “you’re wrong and I’m gonna prove it!” But in the end it turned out they were all right.

I didn’t even like him you know. It became a funny story how in the beginning I hated him and then we fell in love. Honestly, I don’t think I ever really liked him. I learned that you CAN love someone with compassion and understanding and still not like them very much. There were VERY messed up parts to him. I don’t even know how many times, even in the beginning that I told him, “You need help. You are sick in the head!” and I MEANT it because it was TRUE!I was 17 going on 18 when I met him. The year I graduated from high school. By summer time I was pregnant with my oldest son and living with him in his sister’s house. We had a room. I was still working but not long after that I quit my job. I had actually had three jobs in a short time frame but before long was not working at all. I can’t even remember clearly the order of things, when what happened, first or second or third, but I know that when I was six months pregnant is the first time he hit me. He punched me right in the face. Years after I watched a movie that had a clip of a fist coming at the camera and I flashed back to that moment. It was a refresher course in pain and affected me LONG after it actually happened. He had said something that made me ANGRY and I tried to kick him. His response was to punch me so hard that I literally saw green stars behind my eyes. He thought he would knock me out but I was still standing and in some weird way that got respect. I was always stronger than he realized. I was always stronger than many people ever knew.

I SHOULD have left him that MOMENT but I was terrified. Terrified to stay, terrified to go and so young, so naive, so willing to believe all his lies. He cried and seemed to be sorry, begged me to forgive him, said it would never happen again and for a long while he stayed on his best behaviour, physically. There were always the words though. Always the threats. He used to tell me he had mafia friends in the city and if I left him he’d make sure I NEVER had that baby. It would look like an accident.

He wanted to move away one time and his brother tried to tell me it would be a bad idea.

He said he was worried I’d come home in a body bag. His own BROTHER!
He also suggested I get an abortion at the time which was NEVER an option for me…no matter how bad it could get it never would be.

Then there were the accusations. I could not even look at another guy without it meaning I wanted to go “get with him”. EVERY other man anywhere was a potential threat including his brothers, their frends, my friends, the doctor, and even strangers I might smile at. You learned to look at the ground and never anyone else. It took me a LONG time to understand that these accusations came from a CHEATER. His guilt made it impossible for him to trust me, Cheaters CANNOT understand the faithful.

Every nasty name you can think of came out of his mouth, including words you would NEVER use to describe me if you knew me. .He told me daily I was fat, ugly, useless, stupid and inadequate (by this he meant sexually-but he never stopped wanting me), He would insult me right after having sex and I didn’t understand for a long time that it wasn’t TRUE it was just another way he exerted his POWER over me because I listened to him, because I believed him. He LIKED to hurt me. He got off on it. That took a long time to understand too because I can’t fathom it. Love is sacred. It is soft and gentle and beautiful NOT any of the things he was doing to me!

Everything was sex. I can understand wanting it every day and there have been times when even I did but I’m pretty sure that 6 or 7 times EVERY day or more is excessive for anyone! Not to mention $900 phone bills to sex lines, magazines everywhere, videos hidden in the sock drawer. There came a time when that slowed down and I KNEW it was because he was going somewhere else. There are always signs. The thing is you have to open your EYES and HEART and SEE them! I refused. I turned a blind eye because I was scared and I wasn’t ready to face it.

I’ve done things I am not proud of during that relationship and along the way I became accustomed to things that I likely never would have otherwise. So I apologize for saying this like this but I KNOW the difference between love and a fuck and I choose the former thank you very much. I will NOT be any man’s TOY, object etc. EVER again. So yeah, I’ll fight that issue…all the way down the line and I WILL NOT back down from it. What people do behind closed doors is their own business as is what they like and don’t like but I’m ALWAYS going to side on the side of someone who just shuts her mouth, grits her teeth and endures to make him happy when it is NOT what she really wants because I KNOW that feeling. I KNOW that. I wish it on NONE.

YOU have to make YOU happy too! I did everything to keep him happy and I lost myself.

I gave up my own power and independence and that was wrong. If someone can’t love ALL of you or at least learn to accept the differences even if they don’t understand them then they are NOT the right person for you and you are going to have a hard time being a WHOLE and healthy person without giving up a lot of yourself. We ALWAYS have a choice.

When I look back I see how fast things happened but how slow I was at seeing.

We lived together for a short time and then I moved home again. He went to jail. He had a few charges against him but they didn’t seem that serious and again I was young, naive and terrified. The worst charge was a statutory rape because he was dating someone MUCH younger and legally TOO young. I can’t tell you her side of the story I’m sure she had her own issues as well but THEY had a relationship somewhat like star crossed lovers and were always cheating behind my back…the whole time I’m pretty sure. Apparently she had him charged because he left her and she was pissed off about it. Childish mentality? Maybe. I really didn’t take that seriously enough. It was a HUGE red flag! Thinking about it now the whole thing still makes me sick. He just used me however and for whatever he wanted and needed at the time. NEVER really cared about me at all.

So I made visits to him in jail, usually with his mom, many, many times. At first at a local jail and then he was transferred to a correctional facility which wasn’t as much like a jail. Jail IS the glass windows and a phone…you can’t touch, or hug so you cry on opposite sides of the glass…together but alone at the same time. It is not pretty. In a correctional facility you can actually sit together on a couch and hug and kiss but it is still NOT an ideal situation and I’m not really thrilled with the fact that I KNOW these things having had a first hand experience with them! So he was in jail when I had my son. My mother was with me and I thank GOD for her and for that. I was so scared because when you are 18 and having a baby they tell you NOTHING. They make judgements about how young you are and how alone and they don’t really care what you know or don’t know. They don’t bother to show you compassion or understanding, they just leave you to your fear…like maybe you deserve it for being stupid enough to be a kid having a kid. So WRONG! However, my mom was with me and I’ll be grateful always for that. She has a special bond with him because she got to see him being born. She didn’t get to see me. She had a C-section and she was out when I came. So that was an experience we shared that I’m happy we got to have even though it was also traumatic and difficult for me too. Not too long after he was born my ex came home from jail and here I go again doing everything he wants, keeping him happy at the expense of myself and my son. I admit, I wasn’t being the best mother at the time. Babies need a home and stability, not to be going here, there and everywhere all day long every day. It upset my parents so much that my dad told me they had worked it out with my aunt and she would let us come live with her in her apartment but I couldn’t live at home because he couldn’t watch or accept my behaviour. I don’t blame him. So for a little while we shared an open concept apartment with my aunt. I loved her so much for never judging me. She always said she knew I’d figure it out in my own time. She was always a very forward thinking person and I miss her very much sometimes. At this point it was NOT a good thing but almost as soon as he got home I got baby…AGAIN! I was NOT happy, not ready, not good with it at all. HE was ecstatic and why not? Barefoot, pregnant, isolated, stuck…that IS how he wanted me. Once I thought I was pregnant a third time…he was so excited for another baby and I could see it clearly in that moment…he WANTED me stuck! I got on birth control right away after that. Once, after I had left him, when he thought I was going to be seeing someone he destroyed my entire case of birth control pills and laughed…like that is going to stop me! Idiot! It IS embarassing to call and get a new batch and explain that your ex destroyed them becase he’s a jealous psycho but you know most women have some experience with this, they DO understand and they help you out as best they can! 😉

Shortly after finding out I was pregnant we decided to get married because I wanted my children to have TWO parents, a family and a home. I WANTED to do right by them. In fact, I never wanted to do everything backwards in the first place…it just happened that way because I was too weak.

I was bitter about this pregnancy. I was chafing at the controls exerted over me. I was afraid, unsure, stressed to the max.

We moved out of town to a furnished house we rented for the winter. I am glad that was the furthest from home that I went because further may have been deadly. Sometimes it was ok and sometimes we fought. I am forever full of sorrow for my son because he lived there. The tension could be thick and the fighting so BAD. Always threats, always insults, accusations. He ripped my favourite shirt once in the middle of a fight because it was CUTE and he knew I LOVED it. He always threatened to take the kids if I left him. He would say you can go but you’re leaving them here with me. Like hell I will! So I never left because I was afraid he’d fight me for them. It was a lie. It was just another tool he used to get to me. To control me and to keep me in FEAR. We fought once and I had a fit. He called our friend and asked him to come and get me because he didn’t know what to do with me. I was having a tantrum like a two year old. I have been known to do that when the stress gets to me too much. I can’t hold it in forever and at that point there was nowhere for it to go. When someone backs you into a corner and tries to keep you there…eventually the only thing to happen is that you are getting OUT of that corner. So our friend did come to get me…with cops in tow….they asked me if I was ok…they would have taken me out…you have no idea how many times I think of what would have been different if I had only gone then but I couldn’t. I wasn’t ready. I was so afraid of what HE would do. It was frightening enough to understand that our friend had brought them with him because he KNEW I was in trouble and how dangerous it truly was. He KNEW also that if he didn’t bring them HE would have been in danger too. When you look back you think how did I ever survive living like that? How could I stay in such a volatile, dangerous relationship. FEAR.

When I left my thinking was, “what would I rather do…risk leaving and being killed as a result because he made good on all the threats (but at least having a CHANCE at life)? OR stay and DIE more every day in the most important parts of myself?” To me that was a no brainer. I want to LIVE. MORE importantly than anything is that I want my children to LIVE, without FEAR! I would risk my life for them.

The stress took its toll and I ended up in hospital with a kidney infection. He didn’t care. He had no understanding or compassion at all that I was sick so I made him take me to my mom’s. She took care of my son and I climbed into her bed. Mom’s bed always makes you feel better! I was REALLY sick though and I had to go to hospital because I was pregnant and they were afraid for the baby. Because I have had so many infections and issues through the years my body builds up a resistance to antibiotics and they needed to give me something stronger than usual but it was difficult because it might have hurt her. They did manage to get me healed and on track again though with no harm to the baby. Thank GOD! that was horrible and having an asshole who doesn’t even care doesn’t help it just adds stress to an already bad place. I’m so sorry my being sick was such a huge inconvenience for you. God forbid you actually have to lift a finger to care for your own son!

Once again I say a heartfelt thank GOD for my mother. Sometimes she is my saving grace.

Anyway, moving on…sometime after my daughter started kicking I remember laying in bed having a conversation with her and I cried. I was sorry for being so bitter and not wanting her and I told her that I promised to love her and always do my best for her from that moment on and to the best of my ability I have. By the time I was ready to give birth to her we were living in the basement of my brother-in-law’s house. He and I had become friends throughout life with his brother and he remained on my side even afterwards. We lost him last summer and miss him dearly. He was a good friend to me.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to live in a basement with two babies? At first we slept in a twin bed which wasn’t very comfortable and we had two cribs side by side. They were like having twins! I had her fast. Usually you stay three days at least in hospital but I was ready to go home the day after I had her. They needed the bed because apparently there were lots of babies being born that week so my doctor let me leave with the promise I would rest and do NOTHING for the next few days. HAH! Fat chance of that! I’m actually married to a man who would HELP me? NOT!

Not only that but the day after I have given birth to a child he wants to have sex. Hello? Ladies please help me here…are we not VERY sore and tender and uncomfortable after giving birth to a child? Thankfully he actually listened to me and waited but he didn’t want to and he harrassed me a LOT. Actually his brother told me years later that he stood at the door and heard the whole thing. He carried guilt about that for so long because he didn’t do anything and thought he should have. What could he have done? Anything he said would have been taken wrong and got me in even more trouble. It is not rational living with a selfish, insensitive, psychotic, controlling person. As it was he didn’t trust my friendship with his brother. Ridiculous! He was my brother too!

When I went in the hospital to have her he “went to get cigarettes” and two or three hours later still hadn’t come back. I was giving birth to his child…ALONE. Then my sister-in-law came in to check on me and when she found out he’d left me there she stayed. She is and always will be my sister because of that. I was so stressed I forgot to breath and she was there to help and remind me. Sometimes when you least expect it people show up and BE all the strength you need.
It wasn’t very long after she was born that I left him. The first time. Cheating. Making my life hell. Who needs it? I’m trying to mother two babies here and I don’t mind saying that was HARD work! My son was 11 1/2 months old when his sister came and he JUST started walking. So I am at home, alone for large chunks of time, trying to nurse a new baby and chase one that just started toddling, trying to climb stairs and otherwise running like a toddler does and the stress showed. She started losing weight instead of gaining it and I had to start supplementing with bottles because she was starving. All the stop/start, up/down stress of chasing him couldn’t let us relax long enough to get her fed properly. Soon after I just gave up nursing and bottle fed her. It was easier and she didn’t care as long as she got fed. I can remember my brother-in-law being impressed at the care I was taking of both of them. She had cradle cap and I rubbed oil on her head and combed it out every day. What else would I do? I am her MOTHER! I wasn’t doing anything but being a mother anyway.When I moved out I rented an apartment from a couple of ladies who ran a management company and I told the truth. I didn’t know if we would get back together…probably we would, because I had kids with him so I didn’t want to say NEVER and then be a liar. THEY could see the writing on the wall and so they put ONLY my name on the rental agreement as a way to help protect me if he did move in and I needed to get him out. Which he did…and then I did.

His mother said to me once, “he’s only hit you when he’s drunk” like that is an excuse or even remotely acceptable. The thing is that it wasn’t true. I used to actually think that myself. Like being drunk is an excuse for ill behaviour. It is NOT. The first time he ever hit me sober was an awakening for me though. I KNEW what it meant. There is NO difference.

Drunk/sober/otherwise hitting is hitting. It is wrong. It is havng no respect for your wife, for any woman and most especially for yourself. NO self-respecting man would EVER hit a woman. WHY would he have to? You can feel the difference. You can feel the respect he has for himself and for you deep in the fibres of your being. AND you can feel when they do NOT as well.

It took me a long time to trust what I KNEW and to trust myself and to believe that I could take care of them and ME. WITHOUT him.

Just before I decided to leave him he brought his newest girl friend into MY house and she pretended to “make friends” all the while knowing she was sleeping with MY husband and probably they were laughing at me behind my back. I kicked him out.

He was gone awhile and then he came back. I TRIED. I tried to forgive the cheating because this time I KNEW…the evidence was right in front of me but I couldn’t. It was eating me alive from inside out. I wanted to lie down and die it hurt so much. How could someone you love, have children for, live with, share good and bad with daily and intimately betray you so deeply and yet so callously at the same time? SIMPLE answer is because HE doesn’t LOVE you.

I tried but I got so tired of the bullshit that I gave myself a reason to get out and stay out for good. He was on about something…in a mood…I knew…so I said something…who knows what it was…by that length of time you know which things you can say and which you can’t.

FIGHT is ON. It wasn’t good. I knew it wouldn’t be but when I pushed with that word or whatever I said I didn’t know just how bad it was going to be. He shoved me into the closet and my arm got pinched in the door…big bruise. I knew if I could stay on my feet I would be ok but what really are the chances of that? I am strong but not THAT strong…the man could drag four cops down the street for God’s sake! Even being shorter than me, smaller, weighing less…he still could hurt me more than I EVER could have hurt him but I surprised him enough that he said, “you’re stronger than I thought you were”…yeah and that ain’t the only thing you didn’t know about me either!!
Needless to say I did NOT manage to stay on my feet and once he had me on the floor I was SCARED like I have never been in my entire life. This WAS my life. He tried to choke me. At one point I think he had his knee on my throat but I can’t remember for sure. I tried to tickle him. I needed something that would soften him. It did. But then he thought he’d try and kiss me. Oh NO! NO NO NO So I turned my head away…hmmm that is not a good decision…HELL is ON….I can say hell because I saw his face. Sometimes the look in his eyes and on his face still haunts me (most sad is that I have seen it on my son’s face and it breaks my heart) I call it his demon face because he truly looked like one. Something evil lived deep inside him. (NO I do not believe that evil is inside my son…just the genetics that made his face similar to his father’s) He grabbed either side of my head and started banging my head on the floor, I don’t know how many times (afterwards I had two black eyes from how hard he had been hitting my head and my whole head was bruised and sensitive) and I did what a girl does…I screamed. I lived in an apartment building with paper thin floors and walls…everybody could hear everything…somebody called the cops…after I screamed he ran because he knew he’d get arrested. I went downstairs to the neighbour I knew from church and called my mom to come and get me. (Oh yes that was another thing…I NEVER had a phone…he wouldn’t pay to get one-first thing I did when he was out was GET A PHONE! second was CHANGE THE LOCKS-boy did that piss him off!) The next day cops called me and asked if I wanted to charge him. I said no. I’m done. It will NEVER happen again. It did NOT and as I said WILL not.

Two years after I left him he was still threatening me, insulting me, harrassing me. It took me that long to learn how to hang up on him when he was on the phone verbally assaulting me. TWO YEARS. He insulted me for the last time and I did hang up on him. He called me right back. I said, “You talk to me civilly or you don’t talk to me at all. I am done with your bullshit. Period.” Insulted again. Hang up. Call back. Alright. Got it. GOOD!

Still didn’t stop him bugging me but at least he wasn’t verbally abusive anymore.Sometimes I would have rather he punched me or hit me than all the verbal and mental abuse because those bruises heal. The deep, damaging scars left behind from the rest are and have been hard to heal.
I spent years after he left crying, aching, feeling lost and lonely, sometimes desperate, wondering if I made the right decision, often thinking I made a mistake, hurting, trying to climb with slow baby steps out of the deep hole I had dug for myself.

One day there was a newspaper story in the city paper and before I saw it I got a call from his family.

He had fought with his new girl friend who was two months pregnant with their second baby.He’d stabbed her and then drank industrial strength drain cleaner. I trembled in shock when I got off the phone.
I cried some more. In a moment of TRUE clarity I saw that I HAD done the right thing. It COULD have been me. If it had I would likely have ended up dead because even while he was with her he was STILL obsessed with ME. I remembered all the times he’d threatened me with knives and told me he wasgoing to buy a gun and I knew that my decisions had SAVED my own life. Maybe even the lives of my children though I never really thought he’d hurt them like he did me. (She lived and her baby lived.)

He didn’t. He didn’t die right away. He lived for another year some time in the hospital, some time at home with his mom.

He was under 95 pounds, very ill, using a throat tube to talk, liquid diet. Finally he went for an operation that was supposed to correct internal issues and he died due to complications.

While he was home I allowed him to see the kids and spend time with them with the stipulation that he wasn’t alone with them and some family member was there. Sometimes I know they did NOT obey my rules.I don’t know if it mattered at all. Some of the things my children told me about their visits made me angry.

I don’t know if they even remember much of it now but I know they had time to decide for themselves just what kind of father he was and NONE of that EVER came from me. I BELIEVE if you have nothing nice to say you should say NOTHING so I didn’t. However, that CAN backfire because it can lead to your children thinking the subject is completely taboo and that wasn’t my intention OR the truth.

I would have answered questions. Depending on what they were.

I didn’t go to his funeral. I sent the children. One of our mutual friends picked them up and took them.I know some people probably judged me for NOT going but I am at peace with it.I would have cried. I still had love for him. After all of that I had decided he did NOT deserve ONE more tearfrom me. EVER.

So I didn’t go.Sometimes I hate myself for saying it but I KNOW my life is easier because he is gone.

I would NEVER have been so happy with hubby now if he hadn’t been. I KNOW he’d have made life miserable for me.

He’d have used the kids as his reason and excuse and even though I KNEW that he was using them I would choose to allow it because I wanted to do the right thing for them. SOMETIMES, I BELIEVE the right thing is to kick him out the door, close and lock it behind him and NEVER open it again.

I know that VERY many people cannot do that. For very MANY reasons. What SHOULD be done, what CAN be done and what IS done are often very different things and that’s OK because we don’t have a rule book and a lot of situations work one way and don’t work another…we each have to choose and decide with our hearts and just live with our decisions.

So in some ways it is fortunate and easier NOT to have to deal with him. Sometimes it is also hard when the kids want to know things about him. HIs family tells them good things and they have their own ideas so they sometimes get confused. Sometimes to the point that they think I have lied about how bad he was or misled them in some way.

I have not. I do understand however, that his family wants to keep the good memories alive and cherish those.
I really don’t blame them for that. He wasn’t completely bad. He did have moments. I tell my kids that he loved them because I know that as much as he could he did. Somewhere along the way he just got lost and very messed up.

I couldn’t HELP him. I had to save us instead.

Something else I have learned from the whole ordeal is this. We as women want to FIX him, help him, heal him and we don’t want to give up until it is done. SOME people cannot be fixed or healed. It is NOT our responsibility. It is our responsibility to offer and to be willing to help but it is HIS responsibility to accept and to decide to change himself.

If he will NOT then we MUST let go.

This is really only scratching the surface because there is so much more that was said and done but much of it is very difficult to share. I don’t think I ever told anyone everything except for my husband. He had to do a LOT of work to be with me. He is NOT a very patient man but he WAS for me to work through all the damage that had been done. So whatever else we go through in life he’s always gonna be “THE MAN” because I KNOW what he had to go through to keep me and that it wasn’t easy for him but he did it anyway. THAT is LOVE.
The worst for me is seeing a friend or a woman I know and knowing she is in that same hell. Knowing that only SHE can see it and know it for what it is and choose to leave it. WAITING and WATCHING and HOPING that she will SEE. It really breaks my heart. I KNOW.

I truly ACHE inside for all of you who haven’t seen, who haven’t found your own voice, who haven’t learned to speak yet.

It isn’t about the words and the insults and the hands put to you in ways they shouldn’t be. It is about YOU. It is about knowing and recognizing that you are a human being made in the image of God and as such deserve the right to be treated with respect and dignity and love. Anything less is NOT good enough. YOU are NOT less because you are WOMAN. He is NOT more because he is MAN. WE are meant to be EQUAL participants in relationship and life. Otherwise WHY are we here? We are NOT their slaves, doormats or property. WE have a VOICE.

So maybe you won’t be offended when I speak my mind in group in response to the questions because it has taken more than half my life for me to learn that I have a VOICE and I NEED to use it. ESPECIALLY when I am scared.

It is still hard for me sometimes. I have to ask hubby and David if what I wrote is ok or too harsh or offensive because I don’t want to HURT anyone…EVER. I WANT to HEAL. ALWAYS.

I want to help you find YOUR voice BECAUSE I know how it feels to have lost it or never even know that you have one.

I have one other thing to explain and my purpose is so that you will understand better where I am coming from because I KNOW that we are on different sides of the world, living in different cultures, with differing belief systems and ideas.

I have a back story. We all do. I understand that you come to your beliefs partly because of how you are raised by your family and the religious background of that and partly by the experiences that you yourself have gone through in life.

I want you to know who I am.

I believe in GOD. I believe in LOVE. I believe in FAMILY. I believe in FIDELITY. I believe in working things out. I BELIEVE in marriage. I believe in “till death parts us”.

BUT I also believe that we are HUMAN and we make mistakes. SOMETIMES that includes who we marry. I do NOT believe GOD ever intended for us to stay in a marriage without love and joy. He set rules out for us. DON’T be unequally yoked. Why is that? BECAUSE HE knows how much sorrow there is in being stuck attached to someone who is not equally responsible to bring love and joy into it.

KNOW who you are marrying before you do so that you won’t HAVE to have to leave them!

Though what do you do when they change in the middle of your marriage and become a dangerous stranger, someone that you don’t know and maybe never did at all?

YOU take care of YOU. GOD is a loving, merciful, forgiving GOD. HE won’t curse you or hate you or hold it against you forever because you had to save yourself from hell.

I BELIEVE that. I have to believe that.

I do NOT believe in religion and I no longer follow one.

Perhaps you will choose not to listen to me for that. So be it.

YOU cannot judge my relationship with GOD. That is between ME and HIM.

I know HIM. Maybe NOT the exact same way as anyone else but that is ok because I am NOT the same as anyone else. I am ME and I have to take and use the experiences in life that make me, ME.

This is how I got to here. My father grew up Pentecostal. He even went to bible college. I know he knew religion but we didn’t talk about it a lot because he struggled with it too. He had a lot of guilt. My grandfather loved GOD. I think that he could be a hard man sometimes and very ABSOLUTE which was sometimes hard on my dad. He had RULES and church and GOD were a big part of them. He pressured. I know because I felt it sometimes myself. I understood. Grandpa loved GOD. I could feel it in him. So much that he wanted to save all of us that he also loved. I think that he controlled TOO MUCH. MY dad therefore wanted me to CHOOSE. He gave me the choice. GOD is THE FATHER and I learned ABOUT the love of a father FROM my father. How beautiful is that? I am so grateful to him for that because I BELIEVE this is how EVERYONE should come to GOD. By choice. It is why HE gave us free will. HE didn’t want mindless drones. HE wanted free thinking individuals to know what choice IS and then CHOOSE HIM because HE should be CHOSEN! So, I have gone to pentecostal churches, united churches, catholic churches, anglican churches, salvation army churches, baptist churches, and possibly even others over the years. My mother is united. I’ve been to the church she and dad were married in. It’s very cute actually and has a lovely feel. We went to the united church here but I didn’t like it. The minister there married me the first time I was married, and came to see me in the hospital when I had my daughter, and I served lunch to him when I worked in the bakery/deli and was pregnant with my youngest son…he’s a lovely man. I appreciate him but I don’t care much for that religion. When I was 12 my next door neighbours became my friends and I started going to Sunday School, church clubs, Youth Group etc. with them. I found HOME in a Baptist church. Actually a couple of my uncle’s came to visit and went to church wth me there and said that it felt like a very homey, comfortable church. It did. I was happy they felt that way. You see, I come from a long time Christian family and God and religion is important to them so is NO stranger to me. I’m not really interested in the structure of it. Or the control if you will. I don’t much like being told what I should or should not do and maybe part of that came from finding my own way through that messed up relationship to the place where i choose. ME. Nobody else.

I felt GOD. I walked the walk. I talked the talk. I was THERE.

When I was younger I had many conversations with GOD. It was easier then. I even used to boss my parents around that some of their behaviours were inappropriate and they should smarten up! To each his own. Eventually to exist in this world you have to learn that because we all are NOT the same…even though we are.

Every one of us at some point is a prodigal child and we leave and go our own path, make booboos, fix them, make more, and return to GOD. We are forgiven.

GOD has BEEN with me through the hardest times. I can’t imagine a life where HE isn’t there somewhere. I know I’m a stubborn child and I forget OFTEN that HE does care and IS taking care of me but somewhere there will always be someone who comes along to nudge me and remind me or some thing. I hear. I see. I understand.

Still I CHOOSE.

I agonized over my decision to divorce. I didn’t believe in it. I read bible verse after bible verse. I prayed. What I came to was a decision that created peace inside myself.

Right or wrong in anyone else’s eyes in that moment I am right with myself and I am right with GOD. That’s it.

THAT is what I look for in decisions. If I go against myself I can’t be right. If it seems to go against GOD then I will stand in judgement and I am ok with that. It is between ME and HIM.

NOT anyone else.

I got baptised when I was 21. That again was something my father decided. Some religions baptise children or “dedicate” them to GOD but my father believed it to be a SERIOUS decision in obedience to GOD’s WILL and not his decision to make for me. I happen to agree.That was my choice and I chose it because it WAS right.

I stopped going to church sometime after my father died. I think I was bitter among other things. So sad for losing him, not understanding all he had to go through in his life, probably angry for it. I walked away from that life but I wouldn’t say I walked away from GOD. I would never say that. I took a break from religion.

THEN, hubby and I met and I learned a whole new kind of religion. HIs mom is a Jehovah’s Witness and until he was 18 he was too. So we had a lot of discussions and arguements about religion and beliefs and for a long time it could be difficult and was probably one of the very rare things we would fight about.

I don’t believe in religion because the basics are all the same and then each one adopts it’s own set of beliefs as well. So they are different but at the core it is the same and it is the same reason everyone chooses one…they want to belong, they want a place of fellowship with like minded believers and family. I don’t NEED a religion or a church building to have that and it NEVER takes away from my love of or belief in GOD.

Hubby and I have both come to the same belief by different paths and that is how I know that it is possible for people to do. I HAVE learned to agree to disagree AND to accept OTHER people have a different set of beliefs than I do FROM him! THAT was NOT easy!!

Thank you hubby for not only being my best friend but teaching me how to be MORE than I was before I found YOU and more open to differences!

So I will say my religion is LOVE and I strive to be open, hopeful, helpful and kind to anyone and everyone I can for as long as I can.
That’s all I can do. That is who I am.

I hope you understand me better.

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