First, Some Background!!

I got married at 19. He was in his 30's. I was also about 3 months pregnant. The abuse.. I don't even remember when it started. I remember it was going on in the apartment we had on campus, so it must have been early on. After we moved to his place in the country (a quarter-mile from anything or anyone.. I hated it), it got really bad.

Physical, Emotional, Mental, anything. I would get kicked with steel-toe boots, my head slammed into walls, chased with the machete. I had a pistol pointed between my eyes and the trigger pulled. Thank the gods that it wasn't loaded. His hands around my throat, pulling me up till my feet weren't touching the floor until I passed out. That one was cuz I wasn't cleaning fast enough. I was told I was stupid, worthless, crazy, that I slept around, how could he be sure that our son was his (I never did, even though I got asked out by kids in my classes... I was taking a full load of college while this was all going on, too), and on and on. I was once told, as we pulled up to a couple's house we were friends with (the couple, not the house.. LOL), that I was to keep silent, otherwise he would make my life a living hell. (That one was because of my audacity to ask if we could go into town so I could take a shower- we didn't have running water or electricity at the farm - it had been about a week since I had last bathed)

When I finally got the guts to talk about what had happened the first time... he was able to get the police to drop charges against him by telling them I was lying because I was "crazy". (Granted, I have Borderline Personality Disorder, but still...) He was able to get me to come home from the women's shelter by saying if I didn't, he was going to divorce me and marry someone else and make damn sure that our son didn't remember me at all.

It took 3 years, a move across the country when I was pregnant again, and having to go through a miscarriage because of his abuse (whether it was through physical or the stress from the emotional/mental.. I don't know to this day) before I was able to leave and stay left. My therapist helped me through it. She got me a place to stay, helped me with the police and reporting stages, helped me with the divorce.

Somehow, through all of that, he ended up with custody of our son. I guess being a psychopath in the text book definition helps sometimes.

I had to deal with him this last Christmas, he happened to be in town visiting his family with our son, and I demanded time with the little guy. My ex tried to intimidate me a few times, but I just stood there, toe-to-toe, eye-to-eye with him and didn't flinch. I swear he shrank about 3 inches. After that, he was sacchrinely sweet to me. Even more disturbing, that.

Anyway, about 2 years go by after the divorce, countless hours in therapy, her trying to convince me that the abuse was NOT my fault, that I didn't do anything wrong go by. I meet this great guy, we click immedietly. We date for a good 6, 7 months, and then we're basically living together. We spend just about every night together, cept for when he had his kids from his first marriage.

We "officially" moved in together last May. We got engaged shortly there-after. We're looking at a marriage date of 2010.

Everything's going really well.

Yet, sometimes I find myself jumping at imagined noises, as it were. Occasionally, while we're sitting at the couch, he'll move just in the periphery of my vision, and I'll freak out. Sometimes, when we're in bed together, I start to feel like I'm suffocating. He's a bit of a snuggle-bug, likes to glom right on to me. Normally, I LOVE that. Makes me feel safe and loved. But sometimes.... I don't know. I just can't do it.

Of course I've told my fiance about my past. He's nothing like my first husband. If anything, he's the exact opposite.

Is it "normally" this hard? Will I ever "grow out" of the flash-backs, stunningly clear memories that float up at the most in-opprotune times? Why do I have the paralyzing fear that it WAS because of me... that I did somehow drive my first husband to it.. and I'm going to do it again, here?

kalika kalika
26-30, F
4 Responses Feb 23, 2009

One day the flashbacks will simmer down but it is a hard old battle to get past. I am so sorry for the pain that you have encountered in your short life however, your writing demonstrates that you are a strong lady who will continue to fight to get where you are going. Keep holding your head up and staying strong. Take care. <br />
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<br /><br /><br /><b>More Friendship Flower Comments</b>

I know only too well what it is like to jump a the slightest noise when you escapes the clutches of an abusive ex. I unfortunately can relate to your story too much. I ran from my husband over 15 years ago and moved some 1800 miles, but and for the first few years I was paralyzed in fear which made me a prisoner in my home. I still find myself looking over my shoulders when I go out in public alone. <br />
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One day the flashbacks will simmer down but it is a hard old battle to get past. I am so sorry for the pain that you have encountered in your short life however, your writing demonstrates that you are a strong lady who will continue to fight to get where you are going. Keep holding your head up and staying strong. Take care.

The reason you have the paralysing fear is because your ex put it there. Bruises fade, bones mend, cuts heal. But the damage that these men do to our self-belief doesn't go away that easily. We have such dificulty believing that people act the way that these men do, that we begin to wonder whether it's us that have the distorted perceptions of what is right and normal behaviour. They get us so demented that we end up not knowing which way is up.<br />
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I am trying to rely on my intuition to guide me these days. Occasionally I do something and afterwards my gut feeling tells me that maybe I didn't handle it as well I'd liked, but mostly my gut feeling tells me that I did OK.<br />
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Good luck with your new relationship. I'm just 3 1/2 weeks out of a 20year psychologically abusive relationship, but I hope one day that I can genuinely say "I am in a joyous, intimate relationship with a man who truly loves me." (Louise Hay affirmation)

Regarding the BPD/psychopath... I'm a dx'd Borderline... have had the symptoms since early childhood, but no one (myself included) thought it was anything other than me being overly sensitive, that I just needed to "toughen up".<br />
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My ex... he's damn close to the textbook definition of a psychopath. Think Ted Bundy, only not as good-looking. At first, when we got together, I thought I'd hit the jackpot. He was charming, sweet, seemingly had eyes only for me. It was only after he realized that I wasn't going to give up my life outside of him (he actually demanded that I not talk to my best friend of about 7 years at that time.. and another good friend of mine, who happened to have been an ex-boyfriend.. he demanded that I not take trips up to see my parents without him along.. made me drop out of college.. on and on), that he started being the controlling, abusive, scared little boy he really was.<br />
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And talking to his family, especially his mom and sister, he'd always been like that. His own mother was/is scared of him.<br />
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Thanks for the support, and the ideas. I certainly DO want this to be a happy, life-long, pleasant and joyous relationship. So I'll focus on that.<br />
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Thanks again!