I recently shared an article that I have had published on Tiny Buddha where I talk about what it was like to be married to an emotionally abusive man.
Some of you already know what happened, and it has taken many months of coming to terms with how I ended up in that place, never mind actually find a way to verbalise it and begin sharing it. Shame, embarrassment and just really not knowing how to start that difficult conversation meant that I suffered in silence for the almost three years of our relationship. I have learned that the silence is all part of the abuse cycle, and by continuing to remain silent meant I was enabling the pain to continue.
As I explained on my TBF Facebook page I made the difficult decision to break that silence :
The loving and supportive comments and feedback I received in the first 24-hours were overwhelming and for all of those I want to say a huge thank you. However, I made the very difficult decision to “hide” my post because unfortunately it was shared by family friends of my deceased husband directly with his children and ex-wife. I then spent most of Sunday receiving pretty brutal messages, accusations and was vilified for sharing my experience. I am still getting text messages from his family attacking me for my words.
Please understand me – I know that I took a huge risk in sharing my story. I am not naive enough to think that if family members were to find and read it then they would probably be shocked and upset by my words.
But that does not mean it didn’t happen.
I stand by every word that I wrote.
I’m sorry he’s not here to defend himself.
And then if I’m absolutely honest I’m not sorry at all.
As truly awful as it sounds, if he were still here I would still be trapped in that horrible, dark and controlled place and I doubt I would have had the strength to leave him. That makes me sound so very weak but that is the very nature of the abuse. Scared to leave, scared to stay.
That is what he counted on.
However you know a person for the relationship you and you alone have with that person. No one can know the true nature of a marriage apart from the two people in it. It is easy to judge the state of a marriage from the outside. I very successfully hid my hurt and pain from even my closest family and friends throughout this time. I did all I could to shield it from my children. I have been criticised for playing a great part and being an excellent actress as it appeared that I was blissfully happy and in love. It wasn’t about acting. It was all about coping and surviving, the only way I knew how. “Put a brave face on it Thea”. “Suck it up princess.”
Just because you cannot see bruises on my face or broken bones on my body does not mean that lasting pain and damage was not inflicted.
A number of people have contacted me since I took down the post and have suggested that I put it back up. I am still undecided how to move forward on that. But if you haven’t read it and would like to, you can find it HERE.
If you read my article and it raises issues for you, please feel free to get in touch with me on email or via my TBF Facebook page. There are also a whole bunch of professional support bodies out there, but a great place to start in Australia is to call 1800 RESPECT.