He used to say, “I want to be your everything.” He called himself my lighthouse, as if I was lost at sea, and his light saved me from crashing on the rocks of my own life. He would laugh, and say he rescued me, that I’d be nothing without him. He was disgusted by my hometown, and claimed he elevated me from a life of mediocrity. He talked of how he had a superior mind and genetics, and I was weak and sickly.
The bad part is he believed every single word of what he said. The worst part is, he convinced me to believe it, too.
He didn’t just physically assault me; that happened sporadically. Every day he demolished my spirit, controlled my mind, dug a grave for my self-esteem, and buried me with his words. I became a prisoner to be ruled, an unworthy subject that was handpicked by the king himself, who allowed me to be a part of his kingdom.
When I mentioned marriage counseling, he claimed he didn’t have a problem, I did. He boasted that he had conquered and renewed communities in lands overseas. Prominent people knew his name. Dangerous men wanted him dead. “I’m kind of a big deal,” he used to say and chuckle. In the beginning, I thought he was joking. But in his mind, it was true.
I was supposed to be grateful to him for his sacrifices. I was supposed to bow down in reverence of his accomplishments. I was privileged to be allowed in his world. “You got lucky, babe, when I found you,” he used to sing and point at me.
He wouldn’t touch me unless it was in anger or to smooth things over with a quick kiss. He’d only be overly affectionate to gross out my young son. He’d wrap his arms and a leg around me in the kitchen. He’d widely open his mouth, stick his tongue in my mouth, make moaning noises, and look sideways at my little boy. My child would run in to rescue me, trying to pull him off of me, saying “nooooo” in his little voice, but laughing the whole time. Child laughed, because man laughed. Laughing meant no crying for either of us. And the twisted part of me was glad to have some kind of affection, even if it was highly inappropriate.
There was a period of nine whole months he didn’t have sex with me. Wouldn’t have sex with me. We went on vacation, and I thought maybe this would be good for us. We’d have alone time with no responsibilities. We could relax and just be together. I tried to be affectionate and seductive. He snarled his nose in disgust and walked away from me. From the other side of the hotel room, he looked at me from the corner of his eye and said, “No one wants to f–k a fat chick.”
I was nothing. I was defeated. I was dying inside. I was in the deepest, darkest pit of my mind, heart, and soul. There was no light. My heart bled on the inside. Despair doesn’t begin to cover it.
I dealt by drinking nearly a 12 pack of beer or a bottle of wine every night. This disgusted him even more, but I couldn’t stay sober and stay where I was. So I stayed drunk and hoped he’d change.
But instead, little by little the change came from within me.