Marsha, 49, mom of 3, Oklahoma, PR Specialist.
Can you describe who your abuser was and how the abuse began?
[Marsha’s abuser was her soon-to-be-ex-husband.]. My abuser is the textbook definition of a narcissistic sociopath, and a master of manipulation. The first time he abused me was less than one month after our wedding day on April Fools Day 2017. Following the incident, he sent his son to our home to prepare an ice bath for me, so my bruises and swelling wouldn't be evident to our friends at the country club where we golfed every week. I realized that day, while sitting in the ice bath... that my life was about to become a nightmare.
Can you share more about your story, as much as you are comfortable?
In the five years I have known my abuser, I've had nails ripped from my nail bed, dislocated ribs (on Thanksgiving), a dislocated jaw, had to walk on crutches at least 3 times... to mention only a few incidents. He alienated me from family, friends, peers, professional contacts and my own dignity. He turned my childhood best friend against me, by convincing her that I was having an affair with her husband (which is absolutely not true).
The last day I was alone with him, I was supposed to have surgery. He hit me in my back and kicked me twice, causing internal bleeding and a lumbar contusion. He had 3 run-ins with the police that day. Once at the doctor's office where I was supposed to have surgery, then he was pulled over for speeding while chasing me home, then when he was arrested by the police for the assault.
Immediately following this event, he made his relationship with a "friend" of mine public by Facebook announcement. Numerous mutual friends commented that they were glad to see him "happy" again.
He stole my car, had me evicted from our home, and manipulated police officers into giving him the rifles from our safe... when there was a court order for them to have been confiscated. He currently has a warrant for his arrest for violations of the protective order. Although the original protective order was dismissed by the court because he successfully made the court believe that I was attempting contact with him.
That day, while at the hearing for the protective order he had my car taken from the courthouse parking lot. Immediately following court, my parents took me to DVIS [the local domestic violence organization]. They demanded I stay there until I had found a shelter, because they were concerned for my safety. I packed one suitcase and went to a shelter 200 miles from my home that day. That night he and his new girlfriend broke into our home and stole everything we owned. My family came to the house the next day to discover the robbery, and to pack what was left of my life into storage units.
He found me at the shelter 200 miles away in less than 10 days, and had his new girlfriend try to enter under the guise of having domestic issues of her own. Because of that, I was forced to leave the shelter, as my presence was now an endangerment to others. I moved into my mother's home and have found peace in solitude and silence since then. I am still living out of my suitcase that was packed in July (it is now December).
How did you feel during the time of the abuse, and what happened or changed to help you get out of the situation?
I felt like I was a liability to everyone that I loved. I felt helpless, horrified, and insane... because when he decided it was time for "love bombing" I was given a huge home, a beautiful car, bags, clothes... everything a very loved and adored woman would have. I believed that I was the problem, because I had not been able to please this man who "obviously loved me so dearly."
The detective who worked my case was an immense support. When I called her following the last incident, she answered the phone "Hi Marsha.... I knew I would be hearing from you again at some point." She remembered my case, my husband and my situation and was a source of strength that I cannot express my gratitude in words. DVIS [the local domestic violence organization] has been a source of incredible support. I have a counselor that is astute beyond comprehension. She has been a God send. The court system is very unfair, calloused and prejudiced toward victims.
What is life like now that you have gotten out of the abusive situation? How has it become better?
My life is so much better now! I never realized how complicated and messy my life was.
I was so busy trying to hold on to a nightmare...when I wound up with absolutely nothing. I am actually more peaceful and free than I have been in many years.
What else would you like to say to any women reading your story who are currently experiencing domestic abuse?
Let it all go. Jump into the abyss of nothingness. It is a very safe, quiet and peaceful place. Every day isn't going to be wonderful... but it is so much better than watching your self-worth, mental and physical health, body and life deteriorate before your eyes. I was afraid I would lose those things if I left, because I was afraid of leaving my lifestyle. What I didn't realize is that my lifestyle (and the abuser that was attached to it…) was killing me every day of my life.
I haven't had a bruise, crutches, been called a bitch or a whore, in 8.5 months. I'm not trying to escape my life anymore. The other side of this is so much better than you know. You CAN survive.
Vive la liberte!