Strong Enough Now

I've been stuck in my head a few days after watching the mini series Big Little Lies. And my ex last name was Wright. My ex husband was my high school sweetheart. The first time he hit me I was 15 in my bedroom. He was jealous of a boy I was friend's with. I forgave him when he cried and told me he was so sorry. I had no idea this would be the start to a 17 year cycle.

I divorced him at age 32, three and a half years ago. I was calculating in my head the number of attacks I have survived. The number is somewhere in the 60's. His cycle was every 3 months or so while we were young and into our twenties. Once I became pregnant at 26 it lessened. Although, I do remember him hitting me in the car very early in my first trimester. The car was a place he hit me back handed a few times, when I was 19 he split my lip and I had to tell my family a lie – that I had been hit in the face at a concert – as they took my bloody face and clothes to the ER, asking me over and over if it was my boyfriend and I stone coldly denied it was him and defended him. To this day I have a scar I wear on my lip.

Once our son was born, he'd pick fights less often, maybe every 6 moths or so. I remember being choked, slapped, shook and kicked sometimes punched with a closed fist. Sometimes I'd have to stay home a few days until my black eye looked OK with makeup. Just like the character in Big Little Lies, I fought back. And unlike her, I would call the police when I thought he was capable of killing me, but when they came, I took the blame, so afraid of the consequences that would come my way if he got taken to jail instead of me.

By the last three years of our marriage, he used his words more than his fists. And when he admitted to sexual problems and his numerous infidelities and encounters with prostitutes, I found a therapist and came up with an “escape plan”. I was weak and didn't know how to live without him. So I stopped seeing the therapist and decided to stay for my son. I left him after one last huge fight that my 5 year old son witnessed. He saw his parents attack each other in a hotel room, ripping my husbands shirt off him after he twisted and pinched my arm, screaming at him I was done and I was going to hurt him for all the years I had taken from him. I knew it was out last fight. A knock on the door and the police decide to detain me. My ex had a way to make sure I looked crazy and he the calm one. I spent a night in jail and moved out the next week. My charges were dropped. And my ex husband didn't fight me for custody of our child. We agreed to share custody.

Three and a half years later, I survived. I am strong. I am in a loving relationship with a new man and my son is doing great. I worry about the time my son spends with his dad and his new wife, I've heard from my son there have been fights, there has even been an arrest. My ex was finally taken to jail after a night of harming her. As far as I know the charges have been dropped. All legal advice I get it is California is a no fault state, it'll cost me a lot of money to try and fight for full custody, and it'll be very difficult to prove there is any problem or abuse. I hope I can combat any violence that my son may have learned with the love and stability I am able to provide him now, that I could not when I was married to his dad.

Submitted by: Anonymous

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