Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I Almost Didn't Live to Tell This Story - part 1

****TRIGGER WARNING**** Do NOT read this blog post if:

  • you cannot stand reading adverse stories about U.S. military personnel.
  • you cannot stomach accounts of attempted murder
  • you have not fully processed your own experience with abuse and are in the beginnings of the healing phase.
This is my story. it is your responsibility to stop yourself from reading the things you cannot bear to read. You know your own strengths and weaknesses and by reading beyond this point you acknowledge that you are capable of reading this story without occurring additional trauma in your own life.

He was charming with just enough jerk nature to make me want to tame him. I was young and naive. We had our lives and our careers mapped out and our lives started out poor but happy. Finally, after an 18 month engagement, I married my high school sweetheart.

Shortly after our marriage he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and headed off to boot camp. It was the most daunting 3-month period of my young adult life. finally he came home and off to his training command we went, finally to live together the way a married couple should. We played house, we made babies and life seemed to be going well.

Little did I know that those little sweet innuendo's weren't so innocent at all. What started as "you don't need friends like that" had escalated into "your family doesn't love you." I had been isolated to such a degree that there was nowhere left to turn without even realizing what happened. In the beginning I had thought he was looking out for me. After all, who needs friends that only want to drink, party and stay out all night getting themselves into trouble and making their own lives harder. I didn't realize that it was in that statement he had began affecting my choices and imparting his own ideals onto me. He was systematically taking away my own sense of personal freedom and choice. He had been isolating me.

In our ninth year of marriage is when I finally started to wake up to what was happening. I had made a choice on my own, one I truly believed was for the best and had little to no  effect on him. At first he agreed with me and there were no issues. 3 months later his mother decided she didn't like the choice and that's when the problems started. His word choices turned more aggressive. He began talking down to me on a level he never had before. What finally gave me that AHA moment that something was seriously wrong was when he absolved himself of any involvement in my life if I didn't immediately change my mind on the issue and agree with him and his mother. (That's called intimidation/blackmail.)

That was the first time I stood up for myself. I stuck to my choice. I followed through on the work I had chosen to do for 2 long years. During that 2 years my marriage declined considerably. He began throwing objects at me, the scariest being a hard-shell briefcase. He began to kick me in the back of my knee to try and knock me down if I was talking to anyone else but him for more than 5 minutes - even in a group setting. He  seemed to have no difficulty doing this in front of people and then laughing at me the times I would fall down. He would always follow this laugh by some demoralizing  comment about how I shouldn't have locked my knees while I was standing.

During that 2 years I began looking for work and that only seemed to make things worse. Every time I got a job in which I wasn't home with dinner served when he walked in the door he made my life hell. The verbal abuse became intense and the sheer domineering pressure of him barking orders at me was usually too much to bear. I kept my first job only about a month. The second job I managed to keep for 2 years but only because it was a home-based party plan in which I could schedule all of my work for the hours he was gone.

To build up my resume I also took on a volunteer role with his command. This got him a lot of positive attention and calmed him down quite a bit. That was, until I received a commendation from his commander that apparently most Marines strive for but rarely get - a unit coin designated as "from the commanding officer." That made other Marines in his unit a bit upset that a non-service member would ever be awarded one of those coins. In the beginning he reveled in the jealousy of others but then decided he didn't like me having that coin either.

It was then I realized I had to step up my efforts to get out of the relationship. I knew at that point things would never get better. be continued...