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Abuse / Survival Stories > Cinderella lost her slipper



My privileged name is Perny, my Christened name is Jane. Im 54 yrs old. I raised 2 adopted children and 2 bio's, their ages so spread apart I've seen all the Disney movies four times. The man I married and embarked on this monumental parenting job with began using drugs sometime in the mid 80's while these kids were all under the age of 15. I can't prove it, but he became so peripheral to our life, so much money disappeared and he became so ugly; for the sake of holding onto my imbibed belief that people are basically good, I like to think it was the cocaine that ruined his life and altered ours.

After 17 yrs of marriage you expect some tart verbal tennis with your spouse now and then. I mean you know all the buttons to push and I've even witnessed seasoned couples do this with hilarious results. But there wasn't anything funny about the way this man criticized. And it wasn't just me, he criticized everything'he was global, non selective and down right vicious with verbal attacks. I don't exactly have a "prayer book" in my mouth but I was no match. The verbal abuse escalated into weapons and the wounds destroyed any love I had once felt for him. One night it escalated to a beating. To survive the attack I had to play dead. The kids weren't home. The next day I got an attorney and enrolled myself into the national statistic list of divorcees. God it was wonderful!

When I say his problem was drugs; that's in retrospect. At the time I was pretty busy with life in general, working full time and chief cook and bottle washer. I just thought he was an asshole. I knew life couldn't be any harder without him. Don't even think self esteem had anything to do with my decision; I was not on "top of my game". I was a fat, sarcastic, child lovin woman who regarded my husband as just another mouth to feed.

The most confusing things happened after I filed for divorce. He would call, crying, begging me to let him return. It was so weird. Seriously! After the women he'd eh hem' seen? They had called the house (if only I had had 3 way calling back then, man that would've been rich!) And all the "Fuck you's" he'd spewed at me over the past 2 yrs. He honestly thought his membership in the "It never happened club" was going to get him back into the house. (The It Never Happened Club is my gf's invention. She says her ex husband is the president. Ha!)

Despite it all, he had never been cruel to the kids so I didn't see that as a necessary concern in the divorce. I agreed to liberal visitations. He did contribute faithfully to the housing expenses (up until the last few months) so he got half of the full equity from the house whenever and if it were sold. The divorce by all legal considerations was benign. I wanted out so bad, was so sick of fighting with him it was an easy compromise. Just go away from me was the bottom line message.

Within 3 months this trust flew in my face. My youngest son, just turned 3 disclosed to me an inappropriate knowledge of sex which I ignored. It haunted me for the rest of the day after he said it, but my response to him was typical denial. It was Mother's day. My oldest son had a soccer game after Mass and after that we were going to have our first cook out of that Spring. I was giving the baby a bath then toweling him off when he asked me to "kiss my penis the way daddy does?" I said: "It's not nice to talk about your daddy like that, sweetie." I got him dressed and the five of us all went to Mass.
Sitting in that church pew with the four kids; my mind was all over the place. Certainly not in tune with the Priest's glorification of Mary the Mother of God, or even on the beautiful flower I was handed to pin on my dress when I entered the church. The three older kids were maliciously compliant as usual, pinching and teasing each other and the baby, he was playing w/match box cars going "vrmmm" on the kneeler. I cannot tell you why, but when the song: "Ave Maria" started my face turned into a faucet. I couldn't have stopped crying if God Himself spoke out loud and told me it was a mortal sin.

My oldest daughter took the baby and I went outside to smoke a cigarette. It was crystal clear to me that the baby didn't make his statement up, or learn it from one of the older ones, or hear it on tv. I believed him!

The legal problems were as twisted as the crime. With a 3 yr old I was told, "yeah we've got a crime and we've got a criminal, but we don't have a date or a witness." He was too young to put on a stand, I/and or attorney would be accused of "leading" him. The judge opted for "supervised" visitations IF my ex would complete a therapeutic sex offenders program. I went crazy inside. There are no words to describe the panic and fear this court decision caused me. I can't tell you how many hours I wasted planning the murder of my ex husband. It was obvious I was as sick as he was. I give any and all restraint I used during those days to the Blessed Mother. I am not a particularly religious person but since my own mother was dead I carried a medal of Mary with me at all times and the prayer the Sisters had taught me as a child was the only mantra that kept me out of prison.

"Remember oh most gracious virgin Mary, that never was it known, that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto you, oh virgin of virgins my mother. Before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful, oh Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions but in your mercy, hear and answer me? Amen.

I print the prayer for only one reason. It saved my life. I do not infer that this is a coping mechanism for all women, it simply worked for me. It does also validate in me the knowing that you must never underestimate how powerful your words are.

Hell, I don't know if it was the prayer or my ex husband's drug problem that created the miracle that happened. He NEVER WENT FOR TREATMENT. He never saw the baby or any of the kids. Since 1988 he's been invisible. but ohhhhhhhhh he proved still vindictive.

In the months that followed the court decision the distributor cap disappeared from my car, one week it would be the battery gone, or the radiator drained or something poured in the gas tank, just lots of vandalism to make it hard for me to get to work. The man hated me, probably as much as he hated himself.

I worked in a factory 8pm till 8am for about 11 mos. It paid the bills and the kids and I got into a "mode" of survival that was pretty doable. On my off days I had all four burners going. Every week I cooked a turkey and a roast, made gravies, sliced the meat, mashed potatoes and kept peanut butter and jelly on hand for the non adventurous. I broke under the physical demands and declared myself officially not satisfied with my life in 94'. I applied for food stamps, gov grants and loans and attended college full time.
It was the best time of my life! I loved it! But I was afraid at first. Very afraid.

I was 43 yrs old! Algebra was a foreign country to me! I was even worried I wouldn't get to classes on time the campus was so huge! Before school started, I went to a thrift shop to buy some new clothes (new to me). At the check out there was a box with nickel items. One of them was a medal of the Blessed Mother. You know I stretched for that purchase! I put the metal on a chain and attended the first day of class. After that class was over I learned that my 2nd class of the day was in the very same room! And so it went- the Blessed Mother went with me to school every day for 4 yrs. I never attended a church, but I kept her with me. When graduation time came I had to work so I couldn't walk down the aisle for my associates degree. It was mailed to me. I ripped open that envelope, admired the parchment with the gorgeous calligraphy stating that ME, I was assigned the Arts degree on December 8 from the University of Kentucky! The feast day of the Immaculate Conception!

The PSY prognosis for my son was good. The sexual abuse he endured was not long term, but who knows how long it happened to him since he was pre-language before he could report it? They told me if it caused any long term problems they would emerge during adolescence and by God they did. His recovery from drug addiction is a whole other story. Ugly as the one I've shared with you above and even worse. But I've got the Blessed Mother on this case, and the FINE women at www.womensselfesteem.com working on me and my journey issues and I'm not afraid. If your life is hurting you, make a change, make a radical change and eat the fear. You won't be sorry.

Love Perny





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