My son, now 15 vividly remembers his father’s abuse towards me when he was barely 2-4. we talk openly and tonight he asked me some hard questions, ones I knew must be answered…
First he asked me, did Dad ever rape you? No I quickly responded. Why would you ask me that? He said, because stuff I have seen on TV. and I remember you screaming lots and I just always thought he did. I again insisted that he hadn’t, which is true and told my son never to think that, because I always told him the truth and I hated that the thought was even in his head. He told me point blank that is was too late, he had already thought it for so long without asking that it didn’t matter.
I am writing a book, sort of a kick a woman in an abusive relationship in the literal ass type of book, the one that tells her the truth, yes, even if that man isn’t hitting your kids, they are getting sucker punched every damn day and their scars will last much longer than yours. Punches go away after time but the image in your child’s young mind will stay forever.
It has been over 10 years since my husband was removed the night he last tried to kill me. He has long since died, self abuse and his heart finally had enough of him too. I had prayed for many years as he laid down stairs of our apartment (that we still live in God save me we must get out now) that God would somehow inflict him with a disease and make him die so that I could escape with my son.
My son asked me today was I happy right away when I found out his father died. He was stunned when I told him no. At first I thought it was a trick he and his family were playing on me so that I would let my guard down. After all he threatened to kill me only 3 months prior at the renewal of the 2nd restraining order. I told my son it was really a year or so before I even felt safe for the first time in a long time. The fear of my husband remained long after his presence on earth. Even in nightmares years later he still seemed to have the last word.
I felt more determined than ever today to make our life better as my son smiled and said even on days when I am sad (his is bi-polar and suffers with major depression, gee wonder why, guilt, mother guilt, will eat me alive) I feel happier than I did when we lived that way. I miss Dad, but I am glad he is dead so he can’t hurt us again.
He asked me (knowing that he already knew, told him before) did Dad hit you. I said you already know that, why do you want to hear it again? He told me that he remembered his Dad hitting him. This was the first time I heard this in the 11 or so years that passed. I felt sick. He said when you were at work and Dad was passed out that I would try to wake him (my son was barely 4) Dad kind of punched me in the shoulder to get me off him. He said this happened a few times, his eyes filling with tears. We then discussed that last horrible month we were all together. Prisoners under one roof. That was the month my son most likely lived the way he did the day his Dad punched him in the shoulder. I had let my husband back in the home (hell knows why, I don’t, stupidity and upbringing, yeah, I will blame it on that) after he was finally gone after nearly killing me. I worked and he stayed home. I lied to myself each day that my son was safe. I would stop at a pay phone and call the Samaritans Suicide hotline to blurt out that I may die tonight and that I was so scared to go home often on my way home from work. They would plead with me to stay on the phone but I told them I had to return home to my son. Once inside that door he wouldn’t let me out except to go to work the next day. It was next to impossible to get out with my son when he was awake. I look back now and wonder why didn’t I ever pack up my son when he was passed out drunk for hours? Fear maybe, yes, I will blame fear again, or yes, my stupidity again. Even my own words sound crazy as I write them. I was in such fear of this man that I told no one, I mean no one outside the walls of my home knew what was going on, well the police, they were there often, so they knew too.
Tonight I then reminded myself that I finally outgrew the fear of staying more than the fear of leaving that cold October night in 1993 or 94. My son talked about remembering the picture he colored and trying to show it to his drunken father as the police escorted him out that night. The night him and I sat on my bed with the window wide open and the screen popped out in case we had to jump while my husband smashed the entire downs stairs and rummaged for the knives he had thrown above my head while I sat hostage on the couch only moments before. I told God I was ready to die tonight because I couldn’t take one more second of this so-called life. I wasn’t living I was surviving.
I write this tonight because after everything my son and I discussed tonight I realized how much we are still surviving, we don’t live. I am trying to get us to that place where we can enjoy life and what we have. Most days we really do but my son, I too, seem to suffer still today from the terror of a very evil man.
I told my son that we must work hard now to get rid of the images in our mind so that someday he can become the wonderful man he was meant to be. He fears becoming his father more than anything. He thinks because his father was so mean that he will be a terrible father too. I tell him today and each day that he only seems to have the good that was deep in his father. So deep we never saw it! But he is the most kind, compassionate young man of fifteen. He already fears the anger he has inside. We are getting help with that too. I told him that all those years of sadness with his father that He is what kept me going when I didn’t think that I could. I told him that sometimes we wonder why we are here and what our purpose is. I told him that I knew for years what mine was, to be his mother. I wanted to be a completely different mother than what I had, watched her beaten and abused by several stepfathers. Instead I was that mother for my son. But I take strength that I finally removed us from that when he was 4, not fifteen like I was. Maybe I am just making up excuses to make myself sound good to him and I, but I am more determined to break that chain of violence in our lives than anything else that I can think of. I promise him that he will be the best father in the world because he is the exact child that I asked God for 15 years ago.
Ramblings thoughts of an exhausted, somewhat sad woman tonight. Don’t worry I am not always as sad as my words may seem tonight. I am a fighter and will be damned if I am going to let anything rob my son and I of the happy life we deserve. Especially the aftermath of such a terrible experience.
Domestic Abuse Hotline 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)
Voice: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) 800-799-SAFE (