October 24, 2010

DV MONTH RE-POST - "He Spit On Me!"

He spit on me.
It was the most disgusting thing anyone on this planet had ever done to me. My husband spit on me, his wife, in front of our very young children.

And he didn't spit once, he spit over and over again. I don't know how many times in all, but at least 7 or 8 times, maybe even 10.

He spit in my face. He spit in my hair, on my chest, my head. I was spit on anywhere his spit landed.

It felt like slime and it smelled soooooooo bad. He had one of the worst cases of halitosis of anyone that I had ever known. He smoked weed, had some rotting teeth in his mouth and barely brushed them. I had not kissed him beyond a peck for this very reason for years.

Why did he spit on me?
Is there really ever a reason to spit on anyone?

You can be fined for spitting in most places and it is a crime in some places that is punishable by arrest. And that's for spitting on the ground!

But spitting on a person, someone who loves you, lives with you, your wife, the mother of your children? It's reprehensible and diabolical.

From what I remember we were having a conversation that was related to an altercation from either the day before or earlier that day. We weren't yelling or arguing, just quietly talking. I was in the bathroom and he was standing right outside the door. I don't remember how the conversation began or everything that was said, but I do remember that right before he began spitting on me, I said simply, "There are men who hit and men who don't. You are a man who hits."

Then as usual he changed in an instant. His face changed, his voice changed and I could see that evil glare in his eyes. He got loud and he said, "So I'm a man that hits? F#%K YOU!" Then he spit in my face.

I guess my look of shock was pleasing to him, so he spit again. I said, "Jeff, please stop," and put my head down to shield my face. He kept saying, "F#%K YOU," and continued to spit. I began to cry and squeezed past him out of the bathroom and walked into the kitchen all the while asking him to stop. He followed me and continued this scene of cursing, gathering his spit and projecting it onto me, while little Justina and Solomon sadly looked on.

I went back into the bathroom and he followed me and at some point he stopped and walked away. I was crying and began to try and wash the stench off of me. I used soap and water to try and get the funk out of my hair and off my skin.

I didn't retaliate, yell, argue or fight with him this day. I just cried.

I'm not a spitter so I wasn't going to go find him and start spitting back. What he did was so hurtful that all I wanted was to get away from him. When I left the bathroom I went straight to the bedroom and got the phone and called my dad. I told him that Jeff was starting trouble again and asked if the kids and I could come over and he said of course we could.

As I packed a bag for us, Jeff suddenly changed again. He was asking me not to go. He was acting like he was sorry and began pleading with me not to go. I told him that he had proved my point. I said there are men who abuse and men who don't and his getting angry and spitting on me, was exactly what I was talking about. It was the kind of man that he is.

He said he was sorry, I was right, he shouldn't have done that and all that other yada yada he said on the occasions when his behavior was exceptionally heinous, like when he cracked my rib and slammed my arm in the door when I was pregnant.

But I was going no matter what he said. I was shocked, hurt and humiliated. I felt a new level of degradation and disrespect. I couldn't stomach to be around him.

While at my dad's, he called several times to talk to me and tell me he was wrong and he was sorry. Words he didn't mean. They're included in the abuser's bag of tricks.

What I don't understand is, if you have so much contempt for someone that you have to curse them filthily and spit on them repeatedly, why would you want to be with them? If he hated me so much (for what reason, I'll never know) why not just leave me?

Well after 2 days, the kids and I returned. He was over his act of humility in about a day, and the abuse continued in its regular fashion of cursing, name calling, controlling, hitting and fighting.

I've wondered sometimes, how many people have ever been spit on? How many of  them were spit on by someone they loved?

Then I'd think about Jesus. He was spit on too. He was spit on by people He loved. The sinners He came to die to save, spit on Him in addition to verbally and physically abusing Him.

I was loving my husband, forgiving him and staying with him, when he didn't deserve me, my forgiveness or my love. I'm not Jesus or anything like Him yet. But I'm doing my best to follow His example in my life.

Knowing that He went through something that I went through, helps me see it in a different light. I'm in the company of the Savior. Granted, we experienced the same thing for very different reasons, but I'm sure the way it felt was the same - it hurt.

I'm pretty sure no one will ever spit on me again in my life. But if it happened again, it surely wouldn't be done by someone who is supposed to love me.

If it did happen again one day, I would like to believe it will be because I am being persecuted for the King.

October 20, 2010

DV MONTH RE-POST - "The Physical Abuse"

He was physically abusive.

According to my husband he only had one fight with a male in his life. He was in high school and had said something smart to an obviously gay young man that I guess he’d thought nothing of on account of the guy being gay. But to his surprise, this effeminate young man, jumped a fence or wall and got to him and beat him up, embarrassing and humiliating him in front of whoever was around to see it. From that time on, he only fought women and terrorized children.

He was arrested on a domestic violence charge after assaulting another woman he lived with when she called the police and he spent the weekend in jail. The charges were eventually dismissed because he blackmailed her into dropping them. While they lived together, she paid for some stuff at Victoria’s Secret with one of his checks that she signed. So he told her that if she didn’t drop the charges, he would press charges against her for forgery.

When he first told me this story shortly after meeting me, he said that she was crazy and had made the whole thing up. He said that she just wanted to get him out of his apartment, as he was forced to leave due to the charges against him. He also said that she peed on his kitchen floor for no reason, she slept with a knife under her side of the bed, and she was forging his checks. Prior to him driving her across the country to come live with him, he said they had been good friends for a long time. Then I guess without provocation, she let the psycho out of the bag.

I believed him at first, because I had no reason not to. I had known him for a few weeks or so and he appeared anything but abusive. He was charming, polite, funny, fun, smart and a gentleman. So she must've been crazy, right? He kept telling me that I was beautiful and that I was making him fall in love with me. I believed him hook, line and sinker.

It wasn't until years later, after enduring physical and every other kind of abuse there was and being called crazy and off to the point where I began to think I was, did I begin to realize, that he actually abused that woman. I don't know if that was the first time he hit her or the last, but she called the police that day.

I understood the fear she must have felt when she peed on herself and why she slept with that knife under her side of the bed. I also had "went" on myself once, I had been that afraid too.

I confronted him after an abusive episode and told him that I believed he did hit that girl and that's why she called the police. And you know what? He admitted it. He kinda laughed about it as if he was just busted stealing a cookie from the cookie jar. I guess he must have been thinking, "Very good stupid, you finally figured it out." He nonchalantly recounted his version of the story to me, admitting to choking her at one point, smiling and laughing at times, as if proud of himself. Although I wasn't surprised at this information, I was still dumbstruck at hearing it.

I felt like a fool. I had been had. But it was too late now, I was trapped. I had children with this psycho. Why didn't I see this incident as a red flag from the beginning, no matter what the version? He played the pity card so well, I fell for it and had even felt bad that this nice guy had to endure a weekend in jail because of a crazy scheming ex-girlfriend. He was, excuse me, IS a very skilled liar, Ted Bundy style - doing it with a smile.

My husband took pride in the fact that he never punched me, in his mind that meant he wasn't abusive. When I would tell him he hit me, he would say, “I didn’t hit you, I mushed you.”

Well, he mushed me. He pushed me. He smacked me. He slapped me. He shoved me, squeezed me, and dug his nails into me. He threw things at me. He pulled my hair. He wrestled me. He fought me like someone he'd fight on the street. Over the past 10 years, I was covered with hundreds of bruises and had dozens and dozens of cuts and scratches.

He did all of these things in front of our innocent and frightened children. He didn't care what they saw or how terrified they were. He ignored their cries and screams. At times I was able to get them into the bedroom and close the door to shield them. But they could still hear those awful sounds of adults fighting. Sounds you sometimes can hear forever.

He was a family terrorist.

Once he slammed my arm in a door when I was about 7 months pregnant with our first child. My arm was very swollen, scratched up, sore and had just about all the colors of the rainbow. I had never seen a bruise like it. It looked really bad and felt terrible. I thought that I should probably go to the hospital, but I didn't.

I was afraid of what would happen to him and then to me and the baby. We were basically homeless at the time, renting a room from a heroin junkie in Washington Heights. He was making pennies working as a security guard, but they were the only pennies there were at the time. I was afraid to be alone and have the baby without him. To this day there is a lump in my right forearm from that injury. That was about one of the worst and most painful injuries he had ever given me.

He fought me throughout all of my pregnancies.
Most people are careful, helpful and kind to pregnant women. He isn't one of them. He wouldn't even open a door for me and rarely helped me with anything. I still had just as much housework and child-work as I did when not pregnant. He didn't care and had not one ounce of shame in his game. My being pregnant with his baby didn't matter in the least to him. He would fight me like a man no matter what stage of pregnancy I was in - early, mid, late term or freshly delivered. The harm he could have done to me or the baby wasn't even a passing thought to him. Then again, maybe it was.

He would fight me if I was holding the baby or nursing the baby and would even attack me if he were holding one of them. He would get angry and sometimes take whichever baby he was holding and shove them forcefully into me. The babies were no deterrence to him. If he wanted to hit me or hurt me, he would and no one, no matter how precious or fragile would stop him.

He fractured my rib. One day he started a major fight with me, it was an exceptionally scary one for some reason, and sticks out in my mind. Our third child, Joshua was about 6 months old at the time and lying on the bed. Jeff was tackling me onto the bed and we rolled on the baby. I was screaming at him about hurting the baby, he didn't care.

Then at one point he had me pinned down on the bed and began crushing me with all his body weight. He pressed on me and pressed on me until I felt like I couldn't breathe. Then I felt a cracking in my ribs and then a sharp pain under my right breast. I screamed and he finally got up. I told him that I was in a lot of pain and it hurt to breathe, that I believed he fractured my rib.

When I told him that I needed to go to the hospital, suddenly he turned caring and concerned, as if he wasn't the cause of it. He told me not to try to move. Then he went to the computer and looked up rib fractures I guess. He came back and told me that I didn't need to go to the hospital, that they don't do anything for it, that it just heals on its own in about 6 weeks. I just had to take it easy.

Every breath I took caused a piercingly sharp pain, so I had to breathe softly and shallowly. I tried to pick up the baby and it hurt. He told me that he would help me with heavy lifting until I felt better. He was actually kinda nice to me for the rest of the day and a couple days afterward.

I thank God it was a fracture and not a break that could've punctured my lung. That was the most serious injury he had ever inflicted upon me.

But the most disgusting thing he ever did to me was......

October 18, 2010

DV MONTH RE-POST - "The Sexual Abuse"

He was sexually abusive.

He had sex with me whenever he wanted to and as many times as he wanted. Other than my body, sex with him had nothing to do with me. It was about him gratifying himself. He lied to me about most things. But during the 2-5 minutes he used me to get himself off, he would tell me how much he loved my body. That is one of the few things he said that I believe was the truth.

He didn't love me, but he loved what my body did for him. It was basically vaginal masturbation.

I was never on the pill and never wanted to be. I simply don't trust man made drugs. I didn't want any injections or implants that secrete chemicals or hormones into my body. I didn't want to end up with cervical, breast or some other form of cancer one day. I had an IUD for 10 years prior to him and wanted to go back to that. But it cost about $500 and we didn't have insurance. He kept telling me we would get it, but somehow found other things to spend our money, excuse me, his money on. He bought condoms but rarely used them, at least not with me. That's why we have so many children together, not because I loved reproducing with him.

Having sex was not usually a mutual decision. I was usually awakened in the wee hours of the morning to being penetrated. He never asked me if I wanted to or if I was in the mood. There was no foreplay. As far as he was concerned, I was his property and he was entitled to do whatever he wanted with me, whether it was hit me or screw me. Was I being raped? I'm still not sure. It wasn't violent and I didn't stop him. But I didn't stop the predator that raped me over several months when I was 14 either and I'm pretty sure that was rape. I do know that I felt too threatened and afraid of both of them to say, "No," even if they hadn't verbalized a threat to me.

Which reminds me, my husband told me shortly before I left him, that I had so many children because I was raped when I was younger, and he was dead serious. I looked at him and thought, "You really are insane and think you can make me believe anything you say." I asked him if that were the case, how come I only had one child from one husband when I met him at the age of 28? I don't even remember what his response was, but I'm sure it was another of his stupid attempts to use his imagined Jedi mind control on me.

I never told him no. I never said I had a headache, stomachache, backache or toothache. I never said I was too tired or too sick. I never said that it was "that time of the month." I never said he was a pain in my neck or behind. I never said anything that would stop him from getting what he wanted. I was too afraid it would lead to a fight, which I tried to avoid if I could. I didn't want the children awakened to another middle of the night fight, causing them to tremble with fear under their covers.

I also believed that if I kept him satisfied, then maybe he would be nice to me and he'd have no reason to cheat on me. Well, I was wrong on both of those. I know now that he was unfaithful and there were times when he'd start a fight right after pleasuring himself with me.

I always felt used and if he fought me for some reason afterward, it made me feel even more degraded, humiliated, ashamed and brokenhearted. I was afraid and at the same time, this was the only time that he was remotely affectionate with me, so a part of me welcomed it, like an abused dog wanting a pat on the head from his neglectful master. I would usually cry silently into my pillow until I went back to sleep, if I even could go back to sleep.

This was my husband and when he was done "doing his business," instead of feeling loved, I felt like an unloved worthless piece of meat...

October 16, 2010

DV Month RE-POST - "The Economic Abuse"

He was economically abusive.

In the early days of our relationship when I was working, he would call me at work to argue with me after he had kept me up all night arguing with me. I would hang up on him and he would call back again and again. I got in trouble with my job once and was put on probation after he called me over and over again when I went in to work overtime on a weekend. All the calls were monitored because it was a PC help-desk. They were able to see that when I was supposed to be taking calls from clients, I was receiving repeated calls on an outside line from this maniac.

Later on when I was a stay at home mom, I didn't have access to anything that had to do with money. I was on the same level as the kids in the home. His name was the only one on any account. He and he alone held any credit cards there were. He and he alone knew the account and pin numbers for any and all bank accounts. He and he alone knew the account and pin numbers for the stock account. He moved the money and only he knew exactly how much was coming in and going out. He paid all the bills (if they got paid) and he made all of the purchases. He doled out small sums of money to me on an, "as needed basis." Once he started working off the books, I didn't even know how much he made.

Times were always tough with him, but there were some times that got rougher than others. Although I was staying at home with our children, I offered to go to work at least part time to ease things a bit. He was always against it. He said the money I made would just go to pay for daycare or that it wouldn't add on that much and it was more important for me to be at home with the kids. When he was working at his legitimate job, he'd say that he'll do overtime or something. Anything that he would come up with was just to keep me at home. He didn't want me to be out there making any money of my own. The meaning of the children's nursery rhyme Peter Peter, Pumpkin Eater, became my reality. My entire life was a pumpkin shell.

He didn't want me to do anything that he couldn't be in control of.

I rarely bought anything for myself. No new clothes, shoes, or anything. I didn't get my hair or nails done. Even when I received money as gifts from my mom or dad for my birthday or Mother's Day, I didn't really use it on me. I used it for the kids or the home. It allowed me to be able to purchase things without having to go to him. It felt good to be able to just go buy some toothpaste on my own instead of having to let him know we needed it. Because otherwise, either he'd get it himself or give me a few dollars to get it.

On the few occasions when I did need to get something for myself, he'd take me shopping and pay for it. When he went shopping for himself, which was way more frequent, he'd go alone. When I needed something, the whole family had to come along. I felt like a stupid kid. I felt like I was under pressure and rushed because the children were restless and he'd be giving off this energy and look like, "Hurry up." I also felt like I was being watched. I felt uncomfortable and couldn't shop in peace. I would usually end up quickly taking something I didn't want or say that I couldn't find anything and continue to do without, just to end the shopping experience.

On the one trip he took me on in the 11 years I was with him, he was actually picking out my clothing. Instead of giving me a couple hundred dollars and letting me go to the store like the grown woman that I was, he took me shopping like a parent takes a child. I felt like his daughter instead of his wife. He would pick out things and send me to try it on. I felt like his whore or something. I would pick out things that I liked and had to show it to him for approval. If he didn't approve, it was put back. I think of all the things that were purchased for me for that trip, I may have only actually picked out 1 or 2 pieces. He picked out ugly, cheap and cheesy, hookerish looking costume earrings for me and like a good abusee, I wore them.

He even picked out my sunglasses. I didn't even like them and told him I wanted to look around at some other kinds. He got an attitude and began to say something to the effect of, "What's wrong with these? They look good on you, they're fine, you don't need to look at anymore." I knew where this would go, so I just shut up and took the stupid glasses.

I felt like I was in some Lifetime Network, "bad man," TV movie. I remember thinking, "This can't be real. I can't believe this is happening. I've shopped for myself my whole life and at 37 years old, he is picking out my clothes and accessories?!!
This is bad, really bad..."

October 12, 2010

DV Month RE-POST - "The Verbal Abuse"

He was verbally abusive.

My husband called me the "B" word so many times over the years, I'd probably be a millionaire if I had a penny for each time. Sometimes he'd jazz it up, by starting it off with "stupid, f#c%king, ghetto" (or a combination of those).

Funny being called ghetto by someone that grew up in the projects of Harlem, who I was academically superior to and spoke better than. Anyway, he'd scream it at me right in the faces of our children, or my oldest son who was over for a weekend visit. I would not have been surprised if it were our babies' first words.

I remember once I was cooking some oatmeal for our daughter who was a baby at the time, maybe 9 months old. I held her on my hip with one arm, while I cooked with the other. My husband was screaming and cursing and berating me as usual for who knows what and got up in my face so close that I could feel his breath and his spit as he screamed, "F@c%king ghetto b#t%h!," at the top of his lungs. I often wonder if my baby girl thought he was screaming it at her, as her face was right there next to mine. Instinctively, I flung the cinnamon powder that I was holding in his face and he flew into a rage and hit me.

He'd call me stupid, dumb, idiot and on one occasion told our then 4 year old daughter to, "Call mommy a stupid, dumb, idiot." My daughter was crying and said, "NO!" Our son Solomon who was 2 years old at the time, happened to be sitting on his father's lap and hit his father in the face. Jeff then, smacked this baby in his tiny little face and made him cry. I screamed at him and took the baby from him. But none of this shut him up, he kept going and going.

He would call me crazy, tell me that I was “off,” and that I had issues. I would be sad or depressed a lot, obviously because of how I was being treated. At some point almost everyday I would go into the bathroom to cry. If he saw me and could tell I had been crying, he would ask me in his cruel way of saying things, “What is wrong with you?”

To this day, he won't acknowledge that HE was what was wrong with me.

Before one of the last altercations began, three days before Christmas 2008, he began to berate me because a couple of Nintendo Wii Systems that he asked me to post on eBay didn't sell as he thought they would. He told me that this happened because he followed me down the wrong path again. I reminded him that it wasn't my idea it was his, all I did was post them. He kept going on until we were in an argument. He said this was all another part of my stupid life. I told him that I could tell him about my stupid life, got up and went into the bedroom.

He followed right behind me, said something I don't even remember, and when I turned around, he hit me in the face. A terrible fight ensued. My poor innocent children who had seen too much of this, began to scream and ran right into the fight when we tumbled our way into their bedroom. They began to hit at him, kick him, throw things at him and pull his hair. He hollered at them to stop. I yelled for them to stop and go into the other room. I didn't want them involved and I didn't want them getting hurt.

He would tell me that I was nothing and would never be anything. He would say mean, hurtful things about my mother and tell me I was going to end up like her. He could really yell and had a filthy mouth full of poisonous venom. He had a low life ignorant street vocabulary and he’d curse while saying a lot of mean and nasty things.

He was like a septic tank that was constantly backing up...

U.N.I.T.Y. - Queen Latifah

October 11, 2010

He Wasn't Always Bad

You know, in spite of all the evil and harm my husband caused me, he wasn't a bad guy all the time. That's one of the things that made it possible for me to stay with him as long as I did. It was almost like living with someone that was bipolar or had a split personality. He was smart, talented, creative, funny, and thoughtful at times. Because he wasn't damaged at all in the way he was damaging me, he could be very laid back and more playful with the kids than I was sometimes.

The best birthday gift Jeff had ever treated me to, was a trip to a spa called, Lord & Whisper. I just came across the keepsake mirror that I got as a gift from my experience there, while cleaning out a box the other day. Seeing the mirror made me feel sad, because I remember that day so clearly, it was such a good day. I had been asking Jeff for years, to treat me to a day at a spa as a Mother's Day, Christmas, birthday, or "you just had another baby for me," gift, and he had finally done it! After the spa, we went to Prospect Park in Brooklyn where we sat out in the beautiful summer sun and weather and listened to poet laureate Amiri Baraka and others read poetry. Then he took me to a very nice soul food restaurant for dinner.

Ironically, it would be the last birthday I'd ever celebrate with him. Five months later the kids and I would be gone forever.

This back and forth in his personality, created hope. It created the hope that things could actually be better one day. If he could just get over the abusive stuff, he'd be a good husband and father. I enlisted God's help, believing that nothing was impossible for God. So I prayed over him, our marriage, our family and for myself for years and years. I was determined to get the victory and have a powerful testimony about how God can change the worst of the worst of relationships. But only God knew that hoping my husband would change was a road that was leading to nowhere.

In the early months after leaving my husband, there were times I wept because I missed the times that were good. I missed all that I hoped our relationship could be. I missed what I hoped to be able to give my children - a whole family, not a broken one.

Unfortunately, my husband wasn't on the same page as I was. He wasn't going to allow God's loving power to change his nature. He was going to hold on to his abusive nature even if it killed our family - and it did.

Sometimes I missed him, and no matter which way I thought about him, the good Jeff or the bad one, it hurt a lot. The pain was deep.

 But time does heal wounds and God heals what time can't, faster than time ever could.

October 9, 2010

DV Awareness Month RE-POST - "The Psychological Abuse"

He was psychologically abusive.

He was jealous, possessive and controlling. Early in the relationship, he went to Vegas with his friend for a week, and I'm sure whatever happened in Vegas stayed in Vegas. When I asked him about what they did when they weren't having a meeting with someone, he told me he stayed in his hotel room - in Sin City.

Yeah, right.

I was offered an opportunity about a month or so later, to go to Jamaica and do a photo shoot for a swimsuit calendar. When I told him, he discouraged me of course. You would think that a guy would be proud of that - his girlfriend in a swimsuit calendar! Don't guys like to show off that kind of thing?

Well he told me that the guy who made me the offer just wanted to f#c% me. I told him that I wouldn't be going for that and that he could come if he wanted to; they were going to pay my way, so we could pay for his. But he held his position and didn't want me to do the shoot or go period. He was just my boyfriend and I had only been with him for about 4 months. I was a grown woman, and this was my life. I didn't have to listen to him. I could do whatever I wanted to right?

I didn't go.

He isolated me. He didn't want me to go see any of the friends in my life that I had prior to knowing him. He didn't want me to communicate at all with a very close male friend of mine that I had known for about 6 years before I met him, because according to Jeff, my friend also wanted to f#c% me. He didn't want me to go do anything social that didn't involve him, while he kept doing everything he did prior to me. I often wouldn't even know he had gone to something until after he came back.

He went to a Christmas party at the studio that he was working with when we met. This party was wild and had a LIVE SEX show go on. He watched it. Those were the kinds of parties he went to, but I couldn't go to my corporate office Christmas parties or after work get togethers anymore. One year I arranged the Christmas party for a company I worked for, and we were supposed to be going as a couple. But he didn't want to go (probably because he felt insecure and inadequate being unemployed) and didn't want me to go either, so he started a fight.   I ended up cut up and bloodied.

Needless to say, we stayed home.

He didn't even want me to go to any of my family's functions. On Thanksgiving for years, he didn't want to go anywhere and didn't want me to go either. One year he acted all pitiful and said that he just wanted to spend time with just me. Another year he said, he just didn't want to be around my family. I believe my son was with me that year, so I just left him and my son and I went.

The only Thanksgiving he ever seemed interested in celebrating was our first. He spent that one cooking and eating with his ex and their daughter in her apartment, while I spent it alone. Even once we had our own children, the holidays were always tense and sometimes he flat out ruined them by making them into a day of horror with arguing or fighting. Christmas of 2008 the kids and I spent with my sister and her daughters after he came back from his business trip and started a terrible fight just 3 days before Christmas. Prior to that, the month had actually been going nice and I thought we were finally going to have a rare, happy, wonderful holiday. What was I thinking? He could turn happy to horrible in a matter of seconds.

Getting back to his control early on, eventually over time, I learned to not go anywhere, it was too much of a hassle. I would spend all my free time with him as if there was an invisible chain around my neck, like the one Jabba the Hut had around Princess Lea in Star Wars.

One year for Valentine's Day, I picked him up at the mall he was working in and saw that he didn't have a gift for me. So I jokingly said to him, "No gift for me?" He explained to me that he didn't have time to shop for a gift for me. (He worked at the freaking mall in a store that engraves gifts!) When I pointed that out to him, he got angry and began yelling and cursing and when we stopped at a red light on a street that was a semi highway, he jumped out the car screaming that he would, "go get me a #$%& gift," and began walking back in the direction of the mall.

It was snowing pretty hard and we were already about 1/2 a mile away from the mall. I couldn't believe he had just reacted that way. But instead of turning around to get him, I just drove on home. I was mad that he went psycho like that and was determined not to go back and get him.

When he showed up at home hours later with a gift from Victoria's Secret and gave it to me as if nothing had happened, I told him that he shouldn't have gotten it. The spirit in which a gift is supposed to be given was ruined by his reaction and that now it didn't feel the same. Well, what did I say that for? He immediately flew into another rage and began to scream, curse and tear the gift up and throw it at me.

He broke my things or things I had given him as gifts. He had come to live with me after losing his apartment about a year and a half into the relationship. When he'd go into his terroristic tirades, he'd often break the things in my apartment. He would throw them, leaving a hole in the wall and the object in pieces. He broke my house phone that cost me about $125. He broke the mouse to my PC. He broke my French blinds. He broke a watch that I had given him for Christmas.

He was clearly always in control of his actions and very aware and intentional about what he broke because he never threw or broke anything that he owned, paid for or meant anything to him.

During this time period of about 2 years, I was working and except for his 5 month stint at the mall and a month or two at a couple of supermarkets, Jeff was not. He was living with me, but not contributing and while I was at work, he'd be getting high all day and making beats. I remember being so afraid sometimes when I came home from work, that as I'd be putting my key in the lock of my own front door, I was trembling and my heart was racing. I didn't know what to expect that night.

Would I get through the night in peace or did I just unlock the door to Hell, again......?

October 7, 2010

DV Awareness Month RE-POST - "The Emotional Abuse"

He was emotionally abusive.

His behavior was very hurtful to my heart. It was like he went out of his way to make sure that I didn't feel good about myself. Very rarely would he compliment me. I could go to the hair dresser and come back looking pretty darn good. Most men would naturally compliment the women in their lives when they come back fresh from the salon. It would be strange and unnatural if they didn't.

Well, the unnatural is what Jeff would do to me. I would walk in and when I saw him, I thought his face would light up and he'd tell me how good I looked or at least that my hair looked nice. He would say nothing. It would be as if I just came back from the laundromat or something. Not a word. It would hurt my feelings, but I'm sure that was the intention behind his silence.

He would find more fault and reasons to criticize me, than to encourage me and lift me up. He operated under, "If you have something nice to say, DON'T!" When our daughter was about a year old, I wrote what I thought was a cute little rhyming story for her and was proud of it. I shared it with Jeff and I don't remember what he said, but I remember how it felt, it stung. After he was done ripping it apart, I felt stupid and small and didn't want to share anything I wrote with anyone ever again.

He didn’t support any of my dreams or goals. He didn’t support the things I liked to do or was interested in. Our lives became about him, his interests and the things he wanted to do. He would criticize what I watched on TV if it were not something he’d watch. Yet any of the trash he looked at was fine. I have always had an interest in the law and eventually got my A.S. in Criminal Justice, which was to be the first leg on my journey to law school. So naturally, true crime shows interested me. He would make comments about me being so morbid.

In 2005 I started writing and publishing a newsletter for my family. I would write short articles on spiritual matters, family, news that you don't hear on regular TV, and anything else that would be helpful or of interest to other people, and my mom would print it on her professional printer and mail them out. I got a lot of positive feedback from my family about them. I wrote this newsletter for a year and not once did Jeff look at them and give me a positive word about it. Yet, some people in my family would take their newsletters to work or show their friends and then some of them wanted to get on the mailing list too.

I like listening to gospel music for a number of reasons. It lifts my spirit, it ministers to my soul and it allows me to offer praise and worship to God. After rebuilding my relationship with God, I became less and less interested in secular music and really didn’t listen to it. Not to mention that to me, most of the music out in the world was crap and the singing lousy.

He had gotten me an MP3 player for Christmas about 2 years ago and when I finally figured it out, I filled it up with gospel music. Well I had it with me and was listening to music as we walked around one day at the Botanical Gardens with our kids. Instead of just enjoying the nice day and beautiful scenery, he had to find something negative to focus on with me. So he asks me in a condescending tone, “Why is that all you listen to?” I gave him the same reasons that I just mentioned in the previous paragraph. But he wouldn’t drop it. He kept needling me and saying stuff until we were arguing, ruining yet another family outing that was supposed to be fun.

He would disrespect me when it came to other women and let me know that he was a man and he could look at naked women if he wanted to, when I expressed to him that it hurt me when he did. He would let his ex disrespect me and call any hour of the night, and kept his daughter away from me because his ex didn't want her around me.

He spent our first Thanksgiving with his ex and their daughter and I wasn't invited. He made these plans behind my back and when I complained about it, he cursed me out and hung up the phone on me. I bought Christmas gifts for his daughter one year when he was broke. I also stayed up until the wee hours of the morning wrapping them by myself along with gifts I had for my son. I think Christmas is for the children and I didn’t want her not to have gifts from her father. As we got ready to go into NY and give them to her, he let me know that I wouldn’t be coming upstairs with him. He told me that I wasn’t welcome. He screamed, “That woman don’t want you in her house!”

But I responded like most abuse victims do. I pleased my abuser and did what he wanted me to do, confused within myself as to why I couldn’t just say no. When we got there, I guess he sensed that I might leave while he was upstairs, and I had it in my mind to do just that. So again he pleaded with me not to leave. And although I tossed the idea around while he was up in the apartment with his ex playing Santa with the gifts I bought, I obediently stayed and waited, feeling like a fool the entire time.

He took the Christmas presents that I bought and wrapped for his daughter to their apartment alone because he said that I wasn't welcome inside.

But apparently my gifts were...

October 6, 2010

The Bacon Incident

Sometime during the last spring I would ever spend with my husband, I had to once again go to my dad's house due to another altercation. The morning after the night we spent there, the kids and I were served a very nice breakfast that consisted of fruit, eggs, pancakes, and bacon. The kids had never had bacon before and they loved it!

The reason they had never had it, was because bacon wasn't allowed in our home. No pork of any kind was ever brought into our home.
Was there some religious reason? No.
Did someone have an allergy? No.
Weight watching? No. My husband believes that pigs are nasty, non-sweating animals and therefore made a unilateral decision for our family.

The kids asked me if I could buy some bacon so they could have it at home. I hesitated in my mind at first, knowing that I couldn't because of the "no pork" rule. But then I got defiant inside and thought, "This is crazy. I don't have a reason to tell them no. I don't have a problem with it. Why can't I buy bacon? Who died and made him the boss of what we ingest?" So I told the kids that I would get some the next time we went shopping.

Well, the next time came a day or two after we returned home to what was supposed to be a repentant man. At the supermarket together as a family and all is well. We passed the bacon. I picked one out and put it in the cart and kept it moving like it was normal, because it should have been.

He saw the bacon. 

Here's where our nice family time begins to come to an end. He asked me what was I doing and why was "that," in the cart? I explained to him that the kids had some over my dad's house, liked it and asked me to buy it and that I told them yeah, no big deal. Now for most normal people, that would be the end of it, (well, most normal people wouldn't ask about it to begin with.).
But that was just the beginning for him.

He continued on. I reminded him that if you live by the 80/20 rule and ate a good diet 80% of the time, the other 20% would have very little impact on your health. But that wasn't good enough for him. He kept going and going.......all the way to the register. I loaded up the groceries on the conveyor belt as the growing argument continued. Suddenly, he snatched the bacon off and threw it to the side of the register. I was on high alert and could feel myself trembling as the adrenaline surged through my body.

I started to be obedient and just leave it there....but oh.....there's a fighter in me! I picked up the bacon and put it back. The argument escalated as the bacon was rung up. The argument continued out the store, across the parking lot, into the car. He was yelling and cursing and being his usual ugly self. The now very loud argument continued on the drive home and into the house. I don't remember any of it. 99% of the arguments he started were so stupid, pointless, and petty, I can't even tell you what they were about. I didn't know why they were happening!

I don't remember clearly what happened once we got home, but I knew instinctively, that it was about to get violent. I don't remember how I got all of the children out of the house so quickly without him stopping us, which is what he usually did. But somehow the children and I were down the stairs, out the door and in the car in seconds. I drove to the church. It was a Friday night and the youth service was going on and so was the support group I attended.

After I parked and was crossing the street with the children, walking toward the church, one of the marriage counselors that was working with us, happened to be driving by. He leaned out his window, with his customary huge smile and said in his usual cheerful way, "Hey, what's going on?"

Still in disbelief about what had just happened, I looked at him, shook my head and said, "Bacon."

October 4, 2010

DV Awareness Month RE-POST - "A Tale of an Ugly Abusive Violent Man"

My husband is a violent, yet cowardly man, that has committed felony criminal
and terroristic acts in his own home, against his wife and children.

He has no shame, guilt, or remorse for terrifying and hurting his family.

Another black man destroying his vulnerable and fragile black family.

He'd smile to everyone else and his favorite words were, "Peace, blessings."
But his children and I knew him very differently.

To us he was an abusive, violent, sneaky, lying, unfaithful, mean, nasty,
whoremongering, manipulative, and ugly man, inside and out.

He is a poor excuse for a man, husband and father.
Unfortunately I married him and gave birth to 4 of his children.

He is completely devoid of love and uses people as a means to his own ends.
There are really only three things that he loves: money, sex, and weed.
He has spent his entire adult life pursuing and gratifying his insatiable desire for all three.

He was incapable of loving his wife and children. He hurts the people that love him and are the most vulnerable to him. He abandons the ones he brings into this world
and is supposed to protect from the cruelty of it.

He is doing to his beautiful children, what his father,
the one he doesn't know, did to him.

Our newborn baby, his third son - will not know him, which is actually a blessing.
He won't get the opportunity to hurt him or traumatize him.
He treats him as if he doesn't even exist, which is just fine.

He is one of those sorry people who can't break the cycle of destruction and
choose to perpetuate it for another generation.

He got extremely lucky the day he met me and I gave him the time of day.
I was a hurting young woman carrying a lot of pain inside;
it made me easy prey for him.

I may not be the most beautiful woman in the world, but I was way too beautiful for him. Being with me was a dream come true for him and a long terrible nightmare for me. It would be so easy to hate him,
I have so many reasons to and he is sooooo hateable.

But I choose not to for one reason only – my relationship with God.

I suffered a lot of things from my husband over the years we were together.
I was subjected to every kind of abuse there is,
but God kept me and I have survived it all.

I am still damaged from the trauma of war,
but God will heal me everywhere I've been wounded.

Over the next few posts, I will talk about the various forms of abuse that he inflicted on me almost day in and day out for almost 11 years, when he never deserved to be with me for 1 second.

So stick with me, don't get mad at me and please forgive me,
but I'm going to tell the truth and sometimes the truth is ugly.

October 3, 2010

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

I can hardly believe it's been almost 2 years since I picked up my children and left my violent and abusive husband. God has been wonderful and amazingly good to us. I still can't believe how far he has brought us in such a relatively short time. I shudder at the thought of where we would be right now or what we could have gone through without His positioning us for every good thing he's given us. I thank Him everyday!

Unfortunately, there are so many women out there that are still suffering in their situations. There are children that are still witnessing the awful horror of violence in their home. There are men that carry their heads low, ashamed to admit to anyone that they are victims of abuse.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Please use this time to try and raise your sensitivity level and awareness of those around you that may be silent victims. If you haven't been a victim of abuse directly, then you probably know someone who has. I lost a cousin at the hands of her violent boyfriend. A close friend of mine lost a co-worker and friend to a violent husband.

It is so easy to judge another person when you haven't walked in their shoes or don't understand their choices. But understand this: ANYONE can become a victim. Young and old, rich and poor, celebrity and unknown, high school dropout and PhD. There are more victims than we ever can really know, because so many of us live in silence about it. We feel alone and we feel ashamed. We hide the bruises and smile when we need to.

If you can, donate your time, used items or money to a domestic violence organization so that they can give it to those in shelter. Having to pick up and leave with sometimes only the clothing on your back and little to no money, leaves those in shelter with a need for so much in order to just have basics.

I will be re-posting some of my previous posts in which I talk about the abuse that I lived with for 10 years. I am a survivor. My children are survivors. God is healing us, but it is going to take some time, the wounds are deep. But we're gonna make it, overcome it and have a victorious and glorious testimony because of it. I love how God can take anything and turn it around for our good and the good of others.

Pray for those in danger. Pray for the babies living in fear. Pray for those who are looking for a way of escape. Pray for the abusers too. Pray for God to deal with them as only He can.