The Day My World Fell Apart
One area that the Power and Control Wheel I used did not address specifically is Sexual Abuse. I’ve seen other Wheels that list that specifically so I’d like to address that now. Or at least start to address that now because this is one of those topics that will require many posts to really dig down deep into.
Before I begin, let me say that for years I suffered from chronic pain. My back hurt constantly, I would have, on average, about 4 migraines a week, and my stomach was constantly hurting. Living in pain was something I’d resigned myself to a long time ago. I’d gone to chiropractors and talked to my family doctor about the pain. Since I have an unusually high pain tolerance, I’d ask about it but then downplay how much of an issue it really was. I think I’d become so accustomed to living in that much pain that it really didn’t seem that bad any longer. It was my normal so I really couldn’t accurately gauge precisely how bad the problem was.
A couple of weeks after The Incident, when I’d been at my parents’ home long enough to start feeling safe, I realized that I wasn’t in pain anymore. I hadn’t had one headache since I’d left. My back no longer hurt constantly and my stomach was perfectly fine. It was a revelation to me to live without constant pain. It felt almost weird because I was not used to not being in pain at all times.
Then something happened that would drive home to me how all of that pain was incorporated into my life. As I was reading WDHDT? I came to the Chapter about Sexual Abuse. The further into the chapter I read, the more my head hurt. By the time I was done with the chapter (I had to keep reading, I couldn’t put it down), I thought my skull was going to split open and my brain was just going to explode. Since I hadn’t been in pain for a few weeks, it hit home exactly what I’d been living with. That headache knocked me down for the count. It felt so much worse than previous headaches yet I knew it was exactly the same. I’d just had a brief respite from them so when one came back, the pain was intensified.
It was that day that I finally connected my headaches and body pain to the abuse. I’d had to stuff my feelings for so long that not feeling them was literally causing the pain I was in. That day, reading about sexual abuse, I refused to cry. I was not ready to accept any portion of that chapter had happened to me so I stuffed, stuffed, stuffed the feelings way down deep.
The next day I moved on to the next chapter and refused to even think about that again.
After the kids and I got back home, we went to hang out with friends for the day. While the children were outside playing, my friends were encouraging me to have a wine cooler one evening after the kids went to sleep. They could see that I was wound tighter than a rubber band and if I didn’t find a way to let my feelings out, I was going to snap. Since I didn’t drink, I very reluctantly took the wine cooler home and put it in the fridge for after the children went to sleep.
It took me quite a few days of arguing with myself whether I really was going to drink that wine cooler or not before I finally decided that I desperately needed to cry and I needed a tool to help me. I looked at that wine cooler as a tool, something that would loosen the tight reins I had on the control of my feelings. I got the kids in bed and pulled the wine cooler out of the fridge.
Then I chugged it. Which, in retrospect, probably wasn’t the wisest idea I’d ever had. As the the sweet languor spread through my body I could feel my emotions loosening and unraveling. From somewhere buried deep came the idea to research and learn. The alcohol gave me just enough courage to Google about rape in marriage. I came across Aphrodite Wounded. What I found there was devastating. As I read, I felt my world crumble down around my feet. What I’d suspected and then ignored and buried when I’d read the chapter on Sexual Abuse in WDHDT? could no longer be denied or ignored. It was time to admit that since Serenity was four weeks old, Bubba had been raping me on a regular basis.
That night, I pulled the plug on my marriage. I saw clearly that The Incident had so severely damaged my marriage that it was actually on life support. It had been kept together by artificial means. I took my marriage off life support that night and watched it die, knowing fully that I would never again allow Bubba to touch me. The mere thought of him even putting a hand on my hand was enough to make me feel like vomiting. How could I allow a man I trusted my heart, my body, and my soul with touch me again after seeing so clearly that he had been violating me for over 15 years? The thought was untenable.
The alcohol was also enough to make me bold. You see, I was Facebook friends with a man who I’d had a great crush on in high school. We hadn’t actually seen each other for over two decades – long before either of us got married way back when. In all the years of my marriage, I’d convinced myself that the crush I’d had on him was over and gone. But that night, with that appalling discovery in the forefront of my mind, I wanted to say hello to him. I wanted to do something to declare my independence – to show that Bubba did not, in fact, own me as he so thoroughly thought he did. Luke wasn’t online so I felt safe in simply saying, “Hello.” on his FB wall. However, a mutual friend of ours commented on my wall post and we started bantering back and forth on Luke’s wall. Then I noticed that Luke had signed on and knew we were busted for playing on his wall.
I knew my marriage was dead. I was looking around at the rubble of my life and thought I’d send Luke an IM. I needed a friend to talk to and since he was states away, he was safe. He’d always been kind and respectful and the few times we’d chatted on FB over the years, he’d always been supportive. I IM’d him and told him what was going on, that I was watching my marriage fall apart and that I knew it was dead. I told him of the abuse and about The Incident. Luke was so sad for me and my kids, he was upset with how Bubba had treated me, and he was encouraging that I was strong enough to get through this.
We began chatting on FB each evening and texting during the days. Luke had the amazing ability to make me laugh. During one of our weekly playdates, Luke and I were texting and I was laughing and happy. My friends commented to me that they’d seen me laugh more in the past two weeks than they had in the entire two years that they’d known me. That was shocking to me as I’d thought I’d kept an upbeat attitude in front of people. They explained that they’d just never seen me laugh like this and they really liked it and knew that Luke was doing me a world of good. They did caution me to not get involved with him though. As I’d very clearly told Luke that I was broken and just knew I’d never get married or even have sex again, I told them that he was completely safe. I could have a good time with him from a very safe distance and knew it would never go anywhere.
Chatting with Luke was the only thing that got me through the next harrowing month as I planned my legal escape from Bubba. Now that I understood the depth of Bubba’s abuse, I knew that staying married to him was impossible. He’d broken the marriage covenant thoroughly and completely. I knew that God was finally releasing me from the farce that had been masquerading as a marriage.