I remember clearly when I became the dumb bunny. The stupid bitch. The cunt. While these names had always been used, for my abuser, once he had pulled me away from my paralegal career, once I had given birth, I had become the stupidest person on earth. To this day, he stills views me as one of the stupidest humans he has ever met.
I remember clearly when it became HIS house, not mine. He had told me I didn’t need to be on the deed. We were married. He was going to take care of me. I asked several times and even tried to insist when we signed our Wills that I be put on it. Even the attorney who now brings me into court on his behalf thought I should be on the deed. I was smart in not choosing to fight over that. The law protects me in NY and the house was half mine. But he would continuously tell me to get out of HIS house or I suppose you want MY house when we went to divorce.
And even though I clearly made some mistakes that my attorney should have caught, I still don’t consider myself a dumb bunny. I consider myself a shell-shocked abuse victim who could not think straight for actually, quite a few years and honestly, some days I worry that I am still broken because of the PTSD but I try not to dwell and to work through things. I allow myself bad days. Something I was never allowed to have as a target.
There were times he tried to make me feel dumb and useless. In fact, calling me useless was one of his favorite things to do and he often called the children and I together, useless. Our child had asthma and I wanted to take him into
Our child had asthma and I wanted to take him into emergency one night. “You overreact to everything. He is fine. You are so protective. You are over the top.” So, against my better judgment, I did not take my son to emergency but I did sleep with him and I was berated for doing that but I did it and got up the minute the office opened, which was 7 a.m and called. They had me rush our son to the doctor’s office. Of course, he leisurely showered and met us there. At some point, they were arranging an ambulance to come and transport my son and I, he was that sick. I went to sit down and wait and hold our son and he looked straight at me and said, in front of a nurse, “You can’t sit there you stupid bitch, you will break the chair. Get up!” This was a standard plastic chair like in the school cafeteria with the metal legs. The nurse looked at me. I looked back at her, red in the face from embarrassment. I didn’t move by the way. I just looked at him in disgust. I did feel dumb and weak at that moment, not because this man, who thought he was Adonis and didn’t even come close had insulted me, but because I had allowed him to bully me into not following my instincts on what was right for our son. Our son spent 5 days in the hospital that time. If he hadn’t bullied me into questioning myself, our son probably would have spent much less time in the hospital.
In the hospital, my son’s pediatrician pulled me aside and asked me if I was safe at home. I told her what had happened. She said, “I’ll take care of it.” At our follow up visit, we all went. The pediatrician very firmly said, “This woman knows your son inside and out. We allow her to have Prednisone in her possession for your son because we trust her that much. You need to trust her. If she says your son has to go to the hospital, then he needs to go. I don’t think you realize how serious this is. He could have died. It’s a good thing she stayed with him until morning and then called us right away.” The doctor validated me. She let him know he was the dumb bunny. And isn’t that what it is all about anyway? Them blaming you for their shortcomings and insecurities? There is a difference between empathetic and being a dumb bunny, a stupid bitch, a cunt. What they do is called coercive control. I was so afraid of his tirade that I didn’t do my job as a mom. That mistake never happened again. Somewhere while trying to do what was right, he made me feel guilty for wanting to take my son to emergency. He brought up the money. He made me feel insecure about my abilities as my son’s mom. It was a turning point for me. One in many, when the pediatrician stood up for me. Through my children, I was learning that I was not crazy and my intuition was not ridiculous. It was a 16-year lesson. Not quite as long as Moses, but long enough.
Here is my message. He can think I’m a stupid housewife as I quickly became in his eyes (once I chose to stay home with the kids), and he can think I am inferior because I am a woman, I don’t care, but he better not ever think I am weak because I proved every single day of my life spent with him, that I am anything but weak and no longer being his victim, makes me as smart as they come. I was in a war. I strategized. I stayed one step ahead most of the time and while I did get in the crossfire, I quickly recovered. I protected myself and my children. I walked a tightrope, juggled my life and my children’s, walked on egg shells, kept myself out of the line of fire and made it out alive.
I am encouraging everyone to wear purple tomorrow to show your support for the fighters, to admire the survivors, honor the taken and show that we will never, ever give up hope.