As I head into this new lawsuit with my ex-abuser, I can’t help but remember the first time I lied about him. I was a newly hired paralegal and we had gone to a party. Back then cocaine was all the rage and I was very uncomfortable being at a party with drugs. For one, I don’t do illegal drugs and have never used any drugs and two, I was worried if the police showed up, the house was right next to a bar in the City, I would lose my new job.
I can’t remember the particulars but I do remember being at his brother’s house where he was living at the time and we were arguing in the living room. No one else was home. He held me down on the couch and punched me repeatedly in the arm. Over and over again in the same spot. I don’t remember the exact words I just know that he was angry that I had wanted to leave and he thought I was ridiculous and was going to be a horrible mother someday because I had never tried drugs. (He did not do any drugs that night just to be clear) Within 15 minutes, once I had run out of the house, gotten iinto my car and home to my own house a few miles away, my arm was pitch black. Not purple, not blue, black.
The following day I had a doctor’s appointment. I had to take off my shirt for the exam. She asked me what had happened. I told her I fell into a doorknob. She gave me a funny look but back then, you didn’t push it. Now, if I go to the doctor, one of the first things they ask me is if I am safe at home or being harmed by anyone. Once you lie, because you are ashamed, it is easy to continue. All it takes is once. And I did lie. Continuously. And then one day, I stopped. I was done lying. Done hiding. I had nothing to be ashamed of. I did nothing wrong. That was too many years later from the first incident. I had finally had enough. But you know what? I got the best part of him. I have the best he had to give every single day. I have my children. And they are amazing and wonderful and the three of us have been through a lot together but we are living proof that you can survive domestic abuse both as the targets and the bystanders and you can move forward in your life. No matter what he did to me, I walked away with the biggest gift of all and he may not want to be a full-time Dad but I love being a full-time Mom and he can NEVER take that away from me.