Orla's Domestic Abuse Story
In Orla's domestic abuse story, her prince Charming did not turn out to be a frog, but an abuser. Having escaped the abuse herself, she now finds herself in a position of not being able to protect her daughter.
I met my now ex-husband in the spring. He was "prince charming". We met on the internet and he traveled many miles to met me and help me with a major house painting project. This appeared like a miracle since I was a single gal remodeling a house all on my own. He took me out dancing and knew how! He appeared to be my dream come true, everything I had been waiting for and wanted in a guy. He told me I was beautiful and amazing and promised to make my dreams a reality. He was exciting and we seemed to agree about everything from how to raise kids to politics. He showered me with money, bought me new outfits, a brand new truck, would slip me hundreds to spend however I wanted. He told me he loved me on our 4th date. He met my parents who seemed to instantly like him. Little did I know these were huge red flags. After only a few months I found out I was pregnant. He promised to take care of me and wanted to marry me. I agreed hoping for a long engagement to get to know him better, but he wanted to marry me as soon as possible.
After the engagement was official my princess lifestyle slowly started to change. He continued to be "the prince", but I went from princess to servant. My needs, even though I was pregnant and had suffered a hemorrhage at 14 weeks and was supposed to be on bed rest, were secondary to his. I was supposed to shut up and not complain. After all, his mother wasn't emotional or ever complained when she was pregnant. The kind words he used to say to me became put downs. Instead of calling me beautiful, I was chunky monkey. And his sense of humor changed from cute to degrading. One joke he loved to say was, "you don't have to beat your wife (or dog) every day you just have to make them think you will". If I objected to something he wanted me to do, especially sexually, he would say "you will do what I say and like it". When I would speak up for myself, he would say they were just jokes and I was much too sensitive and if I was going to be with him I would have to toughen up. I almost called off the wedding more than once, but my concerns were not heard because my family and friends saw him as a funny, giving guy, so I doubted my instincts.
Two nights before the wedding he got drunk and told me he was going to explain to me what a wife's duties were and ran a list of demands for me. I adamantly objected to one of his demands and he got so mad he threw a bottle of lotion at me. Being the person I am I thought I could talk my way through things and we would come to a compromise that suited his needs and didn't infringe on my personal boundaries. Little did I know how difficult it would be to compromise with a psychologically abusive guy. I had no concept at that moment who I was dealing with. We argued for hours and every time I would try to explain my position he would say horrible things and call me names. I wanted to leave, but didn't know how. He passed out finally and I called my parents in tears and told them to come get me. They said they would be there in the morning.
The next morning came and I told my parents and prince charming I was calling off the wedding. Somehow I was convinced by prince charming that he didn't remember a thing from the night before and promised it would never happen again. I was encouraged by my parents to follow through with my commitment to marriage and that I just needed to be more assertive and we needed to find our love for one another and love would conquer all. You may ask "why didn't I just trust my instincts and leave?" I ask myself that every day. I could have saved myself the nightmare my life has become. But how was I to know at that moment I was about to marry an abusive guy. Abuse was something that was never displayed in my family. I came from a well respected, hard working, loving, middle class family. I believed in the fairy tale, that love would conquer all. I knew something wasn't quite right, but I couldn't describe it and certainly didn't know what the truth was. I thought abusive guys would be easy to spot and avoid. They were poor, greasy, rude, tattooed guys who lived in trailer parks. They were not middle class, good looking, charming men who lived in a nice home and came from a family whose parents had been married for 40+ years. So I got married with the hope that it was all just pre-wedding jitters and prince charming would once again be a loving man.
After the honeymoon, prince charming went away for good. I cried almost every day over something he would do or say to me. The money that was so freely given during our courtship was nowhere to be seen. I would have to explain all expenditures. He would only put into the joint account enough for me to pay one bill at a time. I had naively signed a pre-nuptial agreement, which gave him all the control. When I told him that I wasn't raised that way, marriage was about trusting, sharing and discussing the finances together he would tell me that the men in my family were all weak and a real man made the decisions and ran the house. Once we were living together I realized just how much alcohol he consumed on a daily basis. He would drink until he passed out every night. After only two months of marriage he assaulted me. I was seven months pregnant at the time. I was so scared I locked myself in the bathroom. He got frustrated that I wouldn't come out and left the house saying he wasn't going to put up with me and was leaving me. After he left I locked all the doors, but didn't call the police. I called my best friend instead. I couldn't believe what had happened and didn't know what to do. I was scared and embarrassed and shocked. The next morning he called and said he was sorry and maybe we should try marriage counseling, it had helped in his first marriage. I thought "ok that for sure was going to work".
This is where my angels started providing a path out. The first angel was my marriage counselor. Luckily she was informed and aware of domestic violence and advised me to go to a domestic violence center and talk with someone there. I thought, "no way that couldn't be the problem, it is the alcohol or maybe he is just stressed at work". I trusted her advice. At the domestic violence center I met my second angel, an advocate who talked with me about prince charming and gave me worksheets to fill out regarding our relationship and a book to take home and read, all of which opened my mind to the hard truth about prince charming. One month later I left and filed for divorce. I assumed the justice system would protect me and my unborn child from him. Again I was naïve. I knew nothing about divorce or the family court system, none of my close friends or family had been through a divorce. Prince charming turned into this monster who threatened to ruin me financially if I followed through with the divorce, took away my transportation, told lies about me and used his lawyer and the legal system to further his abuse. I was shocked at how he manipulated everyone into believing he was the victim. It was a grueling, horrible 9 months until I finally got divorced.
During those nine months I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, she was my third angel. I know that if she had not come into my life I wouldn't have found strength and followed my most powerful of instincts, to protect her. The divorce is final and I am protected from prince charming. Sadly, my daughter is not protected. The fact that he was abusive to me is not enough evidence to keep a father from his child. I have to wait until he abuses her and then still may not be able to protect her if the court continues to rule in his favor. Luckily my family and friends supported me and have stood by me and my daughter every step of the way. They are all my angels too. So my divorce is final and I have left an abusive relationship, but am I really free from his abuse?
In This Section:
Domestic Violence Stories
Full of practical advice from someone with extensive experience in the field of domestic violence, this is strongly recommended for all collections. discusses the indicators of an abusive relationship; its effects on children and teens; substance abuse; how the workplace, medical, and religious communities can help; treatment programs for batterers; antiburnout tips for helpers; and advice on living underground. Frequently used as basic coursebook:
To order in the US: When Violence Begins at Home: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Ending Domestic Abuse
Living with the Dominator by Pat Craven is the book to accompany the Freedom Programme in the UK. This book should be compulsory in schools - the information is so clear and so obvious and such an eye-opener! After studying domestic violence issues for years, this is the one book which finally enabled me to click it all into place and answer all my whys. Just read it:
To order in the US: Living With the Dominator (Kindle version only - and well worth buying a Kindle just to get this book!)
To order in the UK: Living with the Dominator: A Book About the Freedom Programme: 1
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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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