Kiara's Domestic Abuse Story
Kiara was a Christian abuse victim for years, but did not recognise the verbal abuse she was subjected to, until the day it turned into physical violence. This is her domestic abuse story:
I was married to my abuser for 5 years. We had dated and eventually became engaged over a three year period. During this period he had been charming and sweet, rarely showing any signs of abuse. But as I look back now, I realize there were signs, I just didn't want to see them. He was often manipulative and would say/do whatever it took to get his way and sometimes became easily angered. This bothered me, but I just brushed it off, and always let him have his way. It was easier that way. As we drew closer to the wedding date, I started getting warnings from friends (mostly his friends) and family, specifically his mother, who warned me that he had a "bad temper" and could say horrible things when he was angry. I just brushed this aside as normal child/parent stuff. Friends would warn me that they didn't think I was supposed to marry him because they had a bad feeling he would be abusive, or just sensed something wasn't right. Hindsight is 20/20, but I didn't listen and we were married.
Literally minutes after the wedding I saw something change in him, almost like a dark cloud had come over him. I felt an awful fear when I looked at him, but thought it was just wedding jitters. From that point on, he was different. Our whole honeymoon he was in a bad mood and very short-tempered. When we returned and were packing to move to a new state, he became enraged over something and started screaming obscenities, throwing things at me, and saying he wished he had never married me. This was after 6 days of marriage, and it was just the beginning. From that point on he was this strange new man, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, incredibly sweet one moment, and explosive the next. I never knew what would set him off, and walked on eggshells constantly. He was extremely verbally abusive, manipulative, and played head games, often making me feel crazy. He became physically violent after a few weeks, throwing things, shoving me, and trying to throw me out of the house in my underwear. At one point he even pulled a knife on me. But I continued to stay, always praying, always hoping that he would change back into the man I had known before we were married. I thought, he hasn't hit me, so it's not that bad, I can stay.
For years during our marriage I went to counseling off and on and begged him to come with me, but he wouldn't. He said the problems in our marriage were because of me, that he didn't have a problem. That he got angry because of what I did or how I was; if I would just be better, than he wouldn't have to get angry. So I fixed his favorite gourmet meals, cleaned the house, said the right things and tried to change myself, thinking he would stop being angry. But he always found something else to be angry about. I also spoke with people in the church about what was going on and the response was always to pray about it and try to be more "submissive". During this time I slipped further and further into depression, often feeling suicidal, and also shared this with people in the church. Again, they just prayed, and said God would work it out. This was another area where he was abusive, spiritually, often saying 'Why would God answer you? Look at you! You're so horrible, God wouldn't talk to you. You're in sin and God won't bless you. He blesses and uses me all the time.' For some time this destroyed my faith and relationship with God to the point where I stopped praying or trying. I started to believe that God saw me this way and that I must deserve his (my husband) abuse since I'm a "bad person".
Our entire marriage was like this, the vicious cycle continuing and my depression deepening. On my 25th birthday and after 4 years of marriage, I suddenly looked at my life and thought 'This is ridiculous! I'm 25 and young and wish my life would end every day. I live in fear constantly. This has to be abuse! There has to be a way out!' It took most of that year, the anger fueling me more and more to plan how to overcome this and possibly leave. I knew he couldn't be "fixed". So I began to tell him 'Either we go to marriage counseling, or we get a divorce.' He would say yes to placate me, then say no when he realized I was serious and setting up appointments to go. This went on for months, and his anger was escalating as well. His tirades grew louder and meaner, his control tightened on everything even more. Finances, relationships, etc. I wasn't allowed to go to college because he had to "take care of his dreams" first. I'd get to go one day when he decided we had the money, which meant never. And through this I planned how I could leave without jeopardizing my friends or relatives and without losing everything I'd worked so hard for (I made more money than he did). The answer came unexpectedly, I believe at God's hand.
He came home again in one of his explosive, violent moods, upset that I wanted to go to marriage counseling. There was something different this night though; I felt it. He became physically violent and I tried to leave but he trapped me in the house. I called the police to get him to back off and when he did I hung up. I didn't know that it had gone through and they had traced the call. 15 minutes later they were at the door, taking our statements. After seeing a bruise on my hand and damage to walls and other things in the house, he was arrested. Through this process they enforced a No Contact Order, which kept him away from me and barred him from the house. I know now that this was the best possible way this could have happened. He would never have allowed me to leave and would have harmed anyone who had tried to help me. I had never considered going to shelter - I hadn't thought my situation was bad enough to warrant it. I had never realized that it was domestic violence, even if he never hit me.
I have filed for divorce since, and have been amazed by the responses I've received from many people within the church. I believe in God and know that He kept me through this and directed how this happened (the arrest)-He doesn't want anyone in an abusive relationship. I know this now, and it has helped me to walk through responses from church members where my husband started attending. They have called to criticize me for not giving him another chance, for not having enough faith in God to work out our marriage, and saying that God hates divorce. I have had to learn to shut my ears to what they say - they have no idea what it's like to live through an abusive relationship. To live each day wishing to die, feeling there is no hope for your life and you are trapped. To be told that you are worthless, nothing, and deserve the abuse you received from your childhood. Their lives have not been threatened by the person who is suppose to love and cherish them. They have not spent every moment in fear and dread.
I am free now. He has begged, pleaded, and threatened, wanting me to take him back, but I can no longer hear him. I have closed my ears and my heart to him. I am beginning to remember who I am, and realize that the things he said about me weren't true. I'm not stupid, lazy, or worthless. I have something to offer, and I can make it on my own. I have my whole life ahead of me and can't wait to live life! I also have a long, hard road ahead of me, I know, but it is nothing in comparison to the hell I lived through for 5 years. I have found freedom!
Return from Kiara's Domestic Abuse Story to Domestic Violence Stories
In This Section:
Domestic Violence Stories
Sometimes Christian women get so bogged down in guilt and the need to save our marriage, that we forget to save ourselves. This book is a must read for anyone in an abusive marriage seeking spiritual guidance. Solid, Christlike interpretation of scripture will offer much needed inspiration and encouragement.
To order in the US: Keeping the Faith: Guidance for Christian Women Facing Abuse
To order in the UK: Keeping the Faith: Guidance for Christian Women Facing Abuse
Many people suffer verbal and emotional abuse in secret for years, not really understanding what is happening or why they feel so rotten. Nor do they realize how easily such seemingly mild forms of abuse can be the precursor to physical violence. This book by Patricia Evans helps the victim understand how to recognize abuse, validates the victim's perception of what is happening and offers solid suggestions as to what to do to control abuse and to protect oneself :
To order in the US: The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to recognize it and how to respond
To order in the UK: The Verbally Abusive Relationship, Expanded Third Edition
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