“He was controlling while we were dating, but things really escalated after we were married. I became like a chameleon, losing myself in what he wanted me to be and do. The doctor put him on anti-depressants, but they didn’t seem to help. He tore photos of me into little pieces and scattered them all over the floor, destroyed an oil portrait of me, and had explosive fits. I was seven months pregnant and having complications when he flew into a rage one night, broke an appliance completely apart, and made me get down on my hands and knees to pick up all the pieces. He said it was my fault and that these things wouldn’t happen if I did what I was supposed to do. One day I came home and found that he had broken the dog’s two front legs. He isolated me from everyone and accused me of being a lesbian when I wanted women friends. He hid my jewelry and took my keys. I had to get rides to work, and he’d call and harass me on the job.
“I wanted out, but he had power and money and said that if I left him, he would get the children. I was afraid of what might happen to them, so I stayed. He took my cell phone, but I was able to get another one and started sleeping in cargo pants every night, hiding the phone in my pocket. I felt like something was going to happen, but I didn’t know what. Then one night he threw me hard against the wall three times, choked me, then took me outside and pushed me toward the car. I asked him if I could just please tie my shoes, and when he let go of me, I bolted. I pounded on a neighbor’s door for help, and when I looked back, he was gone. I found out a short time later that he had driven to the highway, parked on the side of the road, and stepped right out into the path of an 18-wheeler.
“I would say to anyone in an emotionally / mentally abusive relationship: Don’t wait until you get a bruise. He never left any marks on me until the night he choked me. It’s not going to get better. He may give you gifts, roses, and promises, but it’s not going to change. The longer you stay, the sooner you will lose your life. I have healthy boundaries now, and I’m teaching my children boundaries.”
From the Family Safety Center of Memphis: We help victims with any type of abuse. Mental and emotional abuse are just as damaging as physical, so we will assist them exactly the same. Our 24/7 hotline is (901) 222-4400.
Other resources include:
- National Domestic Abuse Hotline Toll Free: 800-799-7233 / 800-799-SAFE / TTY: 800-787-3224
- Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness
- Get Help: Resources and First Steps