January 14, 2009

Part of My Story

Since I've committed to writing my story of Abuse I've been thinking a lot about my first marriage. Though I myself have not suffered "real" physical abuse I did suffer A LOT of emotional and psychological abuse.

My husband spent a lot of time telling me I was worthless and could never do anything right. He would wear a shirt one day that would be dirty when he got home on the few occasions he actually went to work, but the next day he would insist on that shirt again. Of course, when I would tell him he wore it the day before and it wasn't clean, it would be all my fault because I didn't wash it. The fact that we did not own a washer or dryer never entered his mind. In his mind I was supposed to anticipate that he would want it and wash it out in the bathtub that night then hang it on the shower to dry so it would be ready for him when he wanted it. I spent quite a bit of time in that marriage crying and trying to convince him that I was worth his love. Now, looking back I know it was not worth it, but at the time he was my husband and I loved him.

We also fought about money a lot. What few times he held a job the money he made would go toward buying drugs instead of paying bills or buying what the kids needed. There were to many times to count where he would come home from work, bring his paycheck, tell me to put it up for groceries or bills, then come the next day or so and want it all back because he needed a fix. And many times we pawned things we owned for him to get his fix.

The straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak, was my middle son's first birthday. My husband had gotten paid that week and I had planned a nice, very small, party for JWM. But the day before the party I was told to give the money back and that JWM didn't need a birthday party because he was only a year old. I had to sell some of our food stamps to my mother for enough money to buy a small gift from the dollar store and we only had cake and ice cream for the party. I finally realized that my children would be better off without him in their lives. So I left, and though it was hard and I almost went back a couple of times, I stuck it out and have done so much better for my kids than if I had stayed.

Unfortunately, I see some similarities between what my kids do and what their father did. Some people may not think of selfishness as a form of abuse, but I do. Especially when that selfishness could possibly deprive others. I'm sad to know that sometimes my kids are selfish and have to spend money on (or steal) things they don't really need (thankfully not drugs anymore - though a few times that has been an issue with them) because they feel they "need" them and they "deserve" them. And I can understand wanting things because you never had them in your life before. But I also realize that sometimes you have to sacrifice what you want right now for your family. Maybe those things can be gotten later when you've saved enough to buy them without putting a strain on your budget and without causing others in your life pain because you couldn't wait. I sacrificed a lot for my kids and I'd do it all again. But I tried my best to be patient when it came to things I wanted for myself. Someday I hope my own children will pay attention to the lessons I taught them and the sacrifices I made for them instead of only seeing and feeling what their father showed them in his short time with us.

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