I am a survivor of abuse who managed to make it through over 30 years of marriage with a nightmare of husband. I was abused right from the beginning of our relationship in 1984, physically, emotionally, and verbally. Of which all include stomping my head and back, blinding my right eye, punching, kicking, hair pulling and even severe threats of putting a loaded gun to my head. Once he went so far as to threaten to pour gasoline on me and set me on fire.
In September of 2000, I became diagnosed with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, panic disorders, and PTSD. I could no longer go to the places I loved or enjoy doing things that were apart of me. I stopped writing, drawing, or even dancing — things I had done since I was a child. The young, curly blonde, artistic, energetic girl was gone. He beat it all out of me. All that was left was a broken mess of a woman.
Words certainly cut a whole lot deeper than any mark left by someone. The hurtful words that are thrown at you never entirely escape your mind; words from someone who you thought loved you. Laying beside someone who you genuinely love and fear at the same time is a feeling one can not describe. You’re scared to move, say anything, or even touch them. Any of which could set them off at any moment.
My responsibility in life was being the best wife, mother, and lover a person could have. But to him, it was never enough. It was all about having complete control over me. He had power over what I did, where I went, and when I was required to work or be a stay at home mom. I belonged to him, and I had to do what he said to make him happy. There’s nothing like having to go to work with black eyes and bruises and having to lie about what happened, saying that the kids had done it or that I had fallen. No matter what happened, everything was always my fault. Whether the bills hadn’t been paid or if something broke. I was the one who had to fix it or figure out some way to take care of the problem.
In 2012, I reached a very low point in my life where I felt that the only way to be free of my monster and never-ending abuse was to end my life. After attempting to overdose, I was hospitalized and placed on a ventilator for a week. Once I stabilized, they transferred me to a psych ward. It was at this point when I found out that he had another child with his coworker. He had always accused me of having affairs when he was the one cheating on me. Even after everything, I treated his child as my own whenever he visited. Eventually, his coworker caught a peek at the monster behind the mask. I found a text from her stating, “I see why your wife is the way she is. You made her that way.” His only response to her was full of crude name-calling.
I attempted to move out in 2014, but he followed me and continued to torment me with threats. In 2015, I had finally had enough. I stopped letting my abuser control me. In August of 2016, I was admitted to the PTSD unit after experiencing triggers from all the abuse. At this point, I was very familiar with the hospital after my suicide attempts and constant beatings.
I was preparing myself for a divorce and to finally move on. My therapist told me that arguing with my husband was useless because I was arguing with someone who wasn’t truly there. I was arguing with a wall. One of my assignments from my therapist was to write two letters. One to myself as a young girl, and another to person I was when I was in the hospital. In both letters, I had to write down anything I would want to say to myself at both stages of my life. I told that little girl that she was one of the brightest, most vibrant, artistic, and best behaved little girls, but that eventually, she would go through hell. I told her I wish I could have taught her more about strength, courage, and faith. Strength to stand her ground, the courage to never be afraid and to know when to walk away, and faith to see that you are loved, you have always been loved and will continue to be love.
It has been several years now since I freed myself from my nightmare. At first, I couldn’t get myself to go on dates because I felt I was too broken for someone. Sometimes I still look in the mirror and think to myself, “Who would want someone like you?” But I know better than that. I have been dating for 2 1/2 months now, been at my current job for almost 20 years, and am in a very positive place in my life.
I have found me again! That young girl who loved to draw, write poetry and lyrics. I bought all kinds of instruments to teach myself to play like I always wanted to do. I go to concerts, listen to music, dance and sing all over the house, and even belt out songs while driving.
After everything I experienced, I discovered that no matter what happens in your life, don’t forget YOU! I love music, and that’s me. My advice would be to remember what you once enjoyed. Don’t let anyone take away the unique person you are. Love yourself more than anyone, and know you are worth more!
Robin is a courageous survivor. She would be more than happy to give any advice, encouragement, or answer any questions that you might have. You can reach her on her Instagram @brenleeh2_robin. If you, or someone you know, suffer from domestic violence, please don’t be afraid to reach out to her. She would love to be able to help in any way she can.
Robin contributes her survival to her eight beautiful grandchildren. These cute kids truly mean the world to her, including her sweet, angel grandbaby in heaven who was murdered by the hand of her father at 11 weeks old.