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Abuse / Survival Stories > Haunted by a secret



My name is Liz. I am in my thirties and I am a mother of one and married to a wonderful man.

I grew up in a very loving home, with parents that were wonderful role models. I always admired my parents for their hard work, respect of one another and the examples they were and still are to me and my three sisters.

Throughout my older teenage and young adult years, I was in what I would consider normal/average relationships. I had boyfriends, felt very confident, never jealous or unsure of myself and felt like I did not lack self-esteem in anyway. I was outgoing and funny and had many friends.

Years later in my mid twenties, I met a man who I loved and trusted. Then the abuse began. It was physical, verbal, emotionally draining and it made me crumble and lose sight of who I once was. I all of a sudden began to feel as though I could not leave him, made excuses, tried to believe him after he'd apologize. He made me feel sorry for him, for his horrible childhood. So here I was trying to make it better. I didn't see the signs I was suppose to see. I had never been in this kind of situation before, let alone have anyone mistreat me. The one man I loved the most (my father) had always cherished me, protected me, loved me, respected me. Now I was with someone who betrayed me all the time, used me, laughed at me, hid porn from me, He would tower over me to scare me because I was so petite and he was a big body builder, he'd make me squirm on the floor from fright while he laughed, I received calls from women who would call me a whore and then hang up on me. He told me he'd kill my dog, himself, wouldn't come home for a few nights so I would worry and cry for days. For a time I ended up paying all the bills and all the food. One day he put a gun to my head and pulled the trigger and said "click" and then laughed because he saw how terrified I was. I did not know it was not loaded. He made me feel so afraid to leave even though I kept telling myself that I would one day. I spent five years this way until he was imprisoned for abusing one gal that he was seeing while we were together.

That was my chance to flee and get away. And I did, straight across the country and I never looked back. He was in prison for five years so I felt safe. After I left, I was afraid of men, of relationships, of trusting once again so I did not date for three years. No sex, no nothing. The desire for anything related to a relationship haunted me and staying away from it was my safe haven.

I met a wonderful officer in the Navy who embraced me and loved me and cared for me and took me away from my non-existing life. It took him forever to conquer me and I know I did not make it easy for him. He says now that that is why he kept trying. We married two years later and here I am.
I have a wonderful life, travel, family, friends. I am outgoing, and confident with everything except for my trust issues.

My husband is the ONLY person I have shared my abuse story with and now you. Not my wonderful parents, not my wonderful sisters, not even my best friends. I suffered through it alone and I suppressed it all these years. Part of it due to shame, the other from reading and trying to understand what happened to me. I believe I pushed it so far back into my brain that I forgot about it for a long time. It wasn't until after we were married almost two years that I shared this with my husband. He could sense that there was something wrong with me on occasions and he noticed I would at times be a bit distant. Not mean, just "A not there" distance with him. He would raise his voice from across the room to ask me something and I would flinch and he'd wonder why I was so scared. I just could not keep it in anymore and I told him. I cried for weeks and he cried with me. He promised that he would never hurt me that way nor disrespect me.

Although my husband shows and tells me all this, I still hold this doubt in the back of my mind that he might just find some other gal more appealing than me, better than me, more attractive and want her like my ex did and then act on those temptations. I have shared this with him and although we are able to communicate well and he does not get mad at me for this, I still know it hurts him that I doubt him. A marriage cannot go on with that mistrust and doubt.

I know it's my past. I know I am scared but I cannot seem to fight this demon of negative thoughts about myself. For example, if we go out and I see an attractive woman in front of us, I assume that my husband finds her tempting even though he is not the type to stare or disrespect me. I know that this is what mt ex did and I know he probably liked the fact that I was so nieve to it all and stupid. I am told by my friends and family and my husband that I am attractive, athletic and pretty but I only see others that way. I live with doubt and I am ready for Plan B just in case my husband does end up wanting someone else. It's not that I am even jealous of what others look like, it's the fear of being betrayed.

I surround my life and keep busy by writing, volunteering with childrens groups, community assitance programs, running, hiking, power walking, yoga, reading, studying and being a mom. I wish that I could have one day where I feel no doubt and can trust my husband 100 %. He deserves it. But like I've said, I feel like I am a product now of someone that I let abuse me, control me, chew me up and spit me out over and over again. I feel like my ex still controls me. Here I am with a great man and it's like my ex wants to sabotage it for me through the fact that now I can't trust. I know that that is just how I feel, I know that I am capable of changing it's just a matter of how. I take responsibilty. And I know it is up to me to make myself better. I feel like I should have been stronger. What happened to the me I was before? How did I fall into these hands? How do I get over something that has caused my entire life to change? I feel like I hate my abuser and yet I let him and said nothing.

I am and have always been a caretaker. My friends come to me for advice. They say they can talk to me, that I listen, that I help them. How am I not able to help myself?

If I could do things differently, I would have left when I had the chance and I would have confided in someone. I just didn't know how at the time and he threatened me. Some sort of counseling would have been great. My husband has suggested that for the both of us because he wants to help me. He knows that our marriage can suffer if I continue to mistrust and doubt him. When I saw this website, I cried because I read stories and articles and I did not feel alone. I am hoping to find others that feel like me and can tell me how they have let "doubt and mistrust" go out the door and how they have let the past stay in the past.

I know that we do not forget, but I know that life can be much better when we are able to let go and move forward. Does anyone know how I can do that?

Thank you,

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