“The whole thing becomes like this evil enchantment from a fairy tale, but you’re made to believe the spell can never be broken.” ~Jess C. Scott

You know I usually write about something funny or even stupid, but today I feel the need to share something serious and even potentially life-changing.  I hope it’s not the case, but maybe someone somewhere needs to hear it.  It’s not something I’m proud of.  Hell, it’s actually mortifying to even discuss it.  But it’s part of who I am now, I guess, and it certainly explains some of my overbearing control-freak personality issues.

I grew up with a mom and dad who loved each other and loved my sister and me.  We were a pretty traditional family, but my mom wore the pants in the family, for sure.  When she and my dad would get into an argument, she’d say what she needed to say, he’d just “listen,” and the next day, he’d come home with flowers.  Not exactly perfect, but it worked for them.  She was the Type-A control-freak, and he was the laidback, easygoing one.  Opposites attract, right?

You could say that… While I was in high school, I was extremely shy, polite, and soft-spoken.  I was smart and ran track and had my tight-knit group of friends, but I wasn’t crazy preppy popular.  Well, what do you know???  I get hit on by one of the most popular seniors in the school when I was only a sophomore.  Go me… go me!!  I ignored him and blew him off, which I guess in weird guy language, means “Try harder.”  So he did.  I finally gave in to him and agreed to go out with him.

Boy, was he charming.  In fact, he was the most charming sweet-talker I’d ever met.  He knew just what to say, and I was a stupid naïve and innocent 15-year-old.  You may imagine where this is going.  I eventually ended up spending every second I could with him.  Of course, there was no way that we were going to mine or his parents’ houses… Could you imagine??  So we’d go to the park or the movies or the mall.  I guess those are the usual places where teenagers used to go.

Source: someecards

Source: someecards

It didn’t take long before I found out that he had not one other girlfriend, but TWO.  But by that time, it was too late.  I was IN LOOOOVE.  He told me he loved me, that I was the only one for him, and that eventually he wanted to marry me.  Okay.  Sounds good to me.  And if you tell me that things are over between you and her and her, then that must be true, right?  Wrong.  Right.

Source: That is SO High School!

Source: That is SO High School!

Anyway, I laid off of the accusations about the other girlfriends and “dated” him throughout high school.  During my junior year, I was shopping at the mall, and I happened to run into one of these other non-girlfriends.  She asked me a million questions about the love of my life, trying to figure out whether we were in fact an item or whether I was just making it up.  After I kept insisting that he and I were going to be together forever, she decided that the best thing to do was for us to confront him since he was obviously lying to both of us.  After all, they were going to be together forever, too.  Hmm… how is this gonna’ work?

He happened to work in the mall at the time, so we walked down to the store he worked in, he took a break, and we all went outside to the parking lot to get to the truth of the matter.  While we’re standing in the parking lot, he looks at her straight-faced and tells her that he hardly knows me and that there’s nothing going on between us.  WHAT???!!!  Are you kidding me?!  Of course, I call him out right then and there, and he becomes furious with me for not lying for him.  What does he do, and how do I know he’s so angry?  He backhands the crap out of my face.  Yep.  You read that correctly.  He hit me!  Now keep in mind this son-of-a-bitch was 6’4” and 275 pounds, and I was 5’4” and 90 pounds.

Needless to say, when he hit me, I landed on the hood of his car that we were all standing around.  I was floored.  I couldn’t even believe what had just happened.  I was in shock, and like an idiot, I didn’t call the cops.  I didn’t know what to do!  I had never seen anyone get hit before in my life.  Ever!  My parents fought occasionally, but they never even came close to getting physical with each other.  I picked my jaw up off the ground, snapped out of my shock, and left and went home.

Of course, I didn’t tell my parents about what happened.  They already hated him because he was a cheating liar, and I always stuck up for him and made excuses for him.  I knew they would skip the whole police thing, too, and go straight for the part where they killed him themselves.  So… I kept it a secret.

I ran what happened through my head a million times over the next few days.  I was devastated, but what’s worse is that I still “loved” him.  What the hell?

A few days later, I was at work, and I turned around, and he was standing right in front of me.  My instinct wanted to punch him in his fat face, but I reminded myself that I was at work and to act professional.  So I just glared at him instead.  You know… that “I hope you die” stare?  Yeah – that one.

Source: Cheezburger

Source: Cheezburger

So he begs me to just hear him out and says, “Off the record, I just wanted to tell you that I’m sorry for what happened the other day.”  Off the record?!  What?!  I was livid, so I just walked off and went back to work.  He called me that night and begged me to meet him so we could talk.  Like a sucker, I did, and he begged and cried and pleaded for my forgiveness and swore it would never happen again.  He didn’t know what came over him, blah, blah, blah.  Like an idiot, I believed him.  It sounded good, he was crying, and again… He told me how much he loved me and wanted to marry me and all that “good” stuff.

To make a long story short, this was the beginning of my battered woman syndrome.  I know it’s a controversial concept, but believe me when I tell you: IT’S REAL!!!  And terrible.

As you now know from yesterday’s post, I left home when I was still pretty young.  I was 17 when I graduated from high school and moved out the very next day.  Not because I hated my parents or my life, but just because I’ve always been independent like my mom.  (I’m definitely my mother’s child…)  I couldn’t wait to start college, I had just found out I was pregnant, and I didn’t think I should stick my newest responsibility with my parents.

Considering the fact that I was pregnant, scared, and had no idea what I was doing, I moved in with him.  It was the right thing to do, right?  I didn’t want to raise a new baby as a single mom, and abortion sure as hell wasn’t an option.  I felt like it was my only choice.  And things with a baby would only make our relationship better, right?  It had to.  That’s how things were supposed to work.


Things got worse while I was living there, before I even had Gerald, and continued to get worse as the years went on.  He hit me countless times after that, including while I was pregnant.  As always, he would cry afterward, promise that was the last time, and beg on his knees for forgiveness.  I would blame myself and had myself convinced that I did something that deserved what I got from him.  I even covered for him on several occasions.  I was that dummy who used the excuse that I fell down the stairs or bumped my head.  All while this was going on, he was also having multiple affairs with the underage girls who worked for him and didn’t know any better.  So why the hell did I stay with him?  That’s what you’re dying to know, right?  Why the hell I would stay?

Well, my reasons were classic textbook, actually.

– As effed up as it may sound, it gave me something to make him feel bad about.  And whenever he felt bad about it, he would be extra sweet.  Psychiatrists call this being positively reinforced by the “honeymoon” phase.

– I was financially screwed without him.  I was working full-time and still only making enough to pay daycare, which I had to do so that I could finish college and get my degree.  I was terrified of being homeless with two babies.  And, like the moron that I was, I was terrified of going to my parents for help.  My pride forbade me from allowing them to tell me, “We told you so.”  I didn’t want to hear it and face the fact that they were right.

– I honestly believed that I could keep the peace as long as I was doing everything right.  So I went to work, went to school, took care of my babies, and still managed to cook dinner and clean the house… the stuff I thought would keep him happy.  And calm.  I didn’t understand at the time that the bastard was bipolar, and nothing that he did was any reflection of me.

Source: Positive Outlooks Blog

Source: Positive Outlooks Blog

– Probably the biggest reason I stayed was because I was truly scared to death of what the psycho would do if I took the boys and left.  He seriously was the type of crazy who would pick up the kids for visitation one day, and then I’d never see them again.  I really thought he would either kidnap them or kill us.  I was terrified of him, and he knew it.  He used it to his complete advantage.

– Sadly, by that point, I had also felt so badly about myself that I thought that I’d be a burden to anyone.  I thought I’d be alone forever, with no help and no support.  I mean, who would want to support a naïve girl, who’s still nearly a baby herself, plus two little boys?  I had rejected myself before I even gave anyone else the chance to do so.

– In hindsight, I also recognize that I was severely depressed.  I had no idea of that at the time.  I’d never dealt with anyone who was depressed or had any emotional issues, for that matter.  I just didn’t have the psychological energy to leave or to fight back.

Pretty pitiful, right?

So what made me finally grow some balls and leave?

The day he beat my kids.  Yep.  I’m serious, sadly.  I got out of the shower one day, and he was beating the crap out of the boys with a belt or a cord or something because they didn’t clean their rooms good enough for his standards.  I freaked out on him, so he stopped.  Then, I told him I was taking them to the water park for the day, and I drove them to the police department.  I was shaking like a leaf, and I had no idea what I was doing.  It was a Sunday, and the police station in the small town we lived in was “closed” and the doors were locked.  I had to call 911 and tell them that I was outside of the station with two kids and couldn’t go back home.  They let us in, took pictures, and wrote a report.  When they told me it was safe, I started driving the boys and me back home.  On my way, we passed by the police car that he was handcuffed in the back of.

I’ve never been so scared in my life, but I knew, even in that moment, that it was the best decision I would ever make.

Source: someecards

Source: someecards

You may think that this crazy battered woman cycle is just a bunch of psycho-babble crap, but please believe it.  It’s a vicious vicious cycle.  And it’s real.

Ladies, if you’re in this situation, get out!!!  Get help.  I didn’t know at the time, but there are so many abused women’s shelters and safe-houses that can get you help.  You’re not alone.  And please, don’t ever be as prideful as I was.  I was too ashamed to open up to anyone, including my family, because I was scared of what they would think of me.  I’m a strong person, and I didn’t want to be seen as a victim.  In fact, I still hate that part, and the only reason I’m sharing this is because had someone shared something like it with me, I may have built up enough courage to get out of my situation years before I did.

My concern that I would never find someone who would love me and my kids was ridiculous.  My second husband loves those boys more than their sperm donor ever did.  Unfortunately, our problems stemmed from outside stressors and things we had never dealt with before, and we just didn’t know how to handle them.  But I can say, without a doubt, that he accepted the boys like they were his own.  He still does, as a matter of fact.  (He’s “Father Figure” in my posts.)

Our fears are exactly that.  Our fears.  And sometimes they’re not nearly as big and unsolvable as they seem.  If people don’t know that these fears exist, they can’t help.

Having gone through all this has definitely affected who I’ve become.  I’m [obviously] no longer that shy, soft-spoken little girl.  If I think something, I’ll tell you.  And I’ll be damned if I’ll allow anyone else to hurt me or my kids again.  Hopefully someday I’ll find the perfect balance between the two.

Yes, I still hope Sperm Donor steps off a curb in front of a bus, but I’m past the point of actively plotting his death.  I’ve finally learned that wasting my energy and emotions on him only allows him to keep that power over me that he once had.  No more, buddy.  Never again.  He’s not worth it.  I’m better off focusing that energy on my raising my boys right and helping others.  And for that… I’m a better person.

Source: Your Daily Enlightenment

Source: Your Daily Enlightenment

“Once you tell your first lie, the first time you lie for him,

you are in it with him, and then you are lost.” ~Anita Shreve

May 2008

May 2008

36 responses to ““The whole thing becomes like this evil enchantment from a fairy tale, but you’re made to believe the spell can never be broken.” ~Jess C. Scott

  • donofalltrades

    They say what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, so I’d assume you’re a freakishly strong bitch. I’m happy you got yourself out of that shitty relationship with your sanity intact. Your boys are handsome youngins and look like they’re no worse for wear from being around their dickhole father either. I’ve never touched a woman like that in my life. It’s never even crossed my mind as being an option. I think men like that are sick in the head, like child sex predators. They can’t be fixed. As a police officer, I’ve literally begged women to leave these sorts of idiots hundreds of times, knowing that they wouldn’t. St. Louis has a program where we have women who are abused get contacted by abuse survivors so they have somebody to talk to. They don’t want to hear from a male cop that they should leave blah blah blah, but hearing success stories from these other women instead really seems to help.

    • aliciabenton

      The freakishly strong bitch part is right. Well, the bitch part is anyway. 😉

      I agree that they can’t be fixed. If time in jail, losing your job, and the embarrassment of having to disclose that you’ve been arrested for child abuse doesn’t change you, nothing will.

      I remember thinking that women who stayed in relationships like that were crazy. Little did I know that I’d be one of those crazies someday. :/

      What you said about it never even crossing your mind hit the nail on the head. That’s what makes you (and other good guys) different… You would never even think to do something so stupid. Unfortunately not all men (or women) are that decent.

      The program y’all have sounds great. And like you said – sometimes the only people the crazies want to listen to and really connect with are the other crazies who’ve been in their shoes. All places should have a program like that.

      Thanks for your comment. You made me feel better today. 🙂

      • donofalltrades

        It’s not crazy to be scared of these men. They’re almost always shifty and can be very charming when they need to be. A lot of them are really devious, almost cleverly so with how they manipulate a woman into believing that she needs him. But, that’s enough about abusing women for me today. I’m off to find a post about boobies or drinking now! Lol, but thanks for sharing your story, I do love to learn what a makes a person who they are.

      • aliciabenton

        Lol! My post tomorrow will be much less depressing. 😉

  • xdanigirl

    You are a brave, amazing, strong woman!!! I just don’t even know what to say. You are so amazing!! I’m glad you got out of that relationship otherwise you probably wouldn’t be bring such amazingness and joy to my day!!!

  • TheDoGooderMama

    Your words are so powerful! It is awesome that you found the strength and courage to share your story. I cannot imagine the struggles you have faced, but you have clearly come out stronger and wiser.

    • aliciabenton

      Thank you so much. Your words mean more than you can imagine.

      I kept it a secret for so long because I was embarrassed, but I hope that maybe I can help someone who feels the same way.

  • ardenrr

    I’ve been trying to think of an adequate comment that isn’t ‘Hooray for you! You’re so strong! yada yada’ — They are obviously good (and true) comments but seeing you everyday and seeing the type of woman you are now, it just didn’t seem right for me to say.

    One thing you should know, I never would have guessed that you were ever in a situation like that. I don’t feel that you hide it, I just feel that you have overcome it and have finally turned into the woman that you are supposed to be. You’re awesome but you already know that 🙂

  • AHMommy

    Thank you for sharing your story, as hard as it was to do.

  • Dad, It's OK!

    Wow. I think that the ability to share your story is amazing. My wife was in a similar situation prior to me, and I was so disgusted when she mentioned being hit, that I’ve never had enough courage to ask for details. It boggles my mind that anybody would ever willingly inflict pain on their significant other; it’s just not something that has ever crossed my mind, even in the worst times of my previous relationship.

    I can relate to the rest. I know from personal experience about the other stuff that comes along with being in a bad relationship. The sadness, depression, and lost of self worth can be devastating, but the fact that you pulled out of that deep, dark place and have become so much stronger is quite the accomplishment. Good for you!

    • aliciabenton

      I commend you and your wife for being able to have a successful marriage even with her history. It’s so hard to do. It’s hard not to carry that baggage over to your next relationship and to not take things out on the next one.

      It’s amazing how much power we give others and how much of ourselves we lose all because we “think” we love someone. Anyone who makes us give up who we are doesn’t love us at all.

      Thank you for sharing a part of your story 🙂

  • bensbitterblog

    My heart was breaking as I read this. This must have been really hard to write and you have a lot of courage for doing it. I’ve always had a deep, real bitterness for grown men that hit other people in general, but women and children specifically. Good for you getting out, that must have been really hard to do. I’m glad you made it out and you deserve happiness whether that is with a man who truly loves you or without one. Sounds like you have raised some strong young men there too. Double props.

    • aliciabenton

      Wow Ben… this is the first nice thing you’ve ever said to me. 🙂 Maybe because my depressing post was right up your depressing alley!

      I’m just kidding. Thank you for your kind words.

      I’ll cherish them even more so than usual only because they came from you!!

      • bensbitterblog

        Actually I did say one nice to you on your Facebook Picture thing. I said for a moment I wasn’t being bitter. I expect you won’t do anymore heartbreaking posts so I can go back to making fun of you and the SEC.

      • aliciabenton

        That was only sort of nice…

        Tomorrow’s will be much less depressing!!!

        Oh yeah… you need to start following @SECSportsUpdate on Twitter. You should get right on that.

      • bensbitterblog

        I can’t wait to be less depressed tomorrow. Just make sure the next dude you date isn’t the battering kind aigt? Make sure he gives you a hard time like me, but he better treat you right or I will come across the country and torture him by making him watch an SEC game.

        I will be start following Criminal Minds, better known as the SEC, on twitter per your recommendation.

      • aliciabenton

        I’ll make darn sure of that!!

        Ha ha! Close enough, I guess…

        98 more days until football season starts, btw, and then I’ll REALLY start talking trash!

      • bensbitterblog

        It’s pretty funny that South Carolina fans tout the SEC as being so great since they can’t actually win the Championship themselves, so they just associate with other teams that win it. Sorry that was harsh.

      • aliciabenton

        Please… South Carolina could beat ANY non-SEC team any day. The other conferences just can’t compete.

      • bensbitterblog

        You are talking about their water polo team right?

  • queenlorene

    The requirement that all healthcare centers ask about personal safety and domestic violence was started for stories like yours. Women in this situation are so lost and need a clearinghouse of people with the resources and contacts to move the victims to the right place and deal with the abuser. I wish was available for you when you needed it.
    As an aside, don’t get the site into a humor rut, keep it eclectic, as you are doing so well. I love your blog doubly now, you are a real person who has shared an incredibly tough situation–successfully!
    And if you ever want to look up Christian topics for inspiration, GaylordDiaz’sBlog is fantastic. He’s the REAL DOODE, a long time Christian minister with decades of Biblical wisdom and none of that sanctimonious crap. I write to him all the time by email and he does everything he can to encourage me when I am struggling.

    • aliciabenton

      Yeah, I ended up in the emergency room once because of something he had done, and they asked me, but I was dumb and lied for him. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

      Thank you so much for your sweet words and encouragement.

      I will definitely look up GaylordDiaz. Thanks for letting me know!!

  • The Jogging Dad

    From someone of limited vocab, all I can say is: you are one TOUGH cookie!

  • mollytopia

    Damn girl. That is some serious shit right there. Thank you so much for telling us all that – I know it wasn’t easy. I’m so happy you finally had the courage to get away from that dickbeater. You and your boys deserve the very best of everything. Always. And you know what? You broke the cycle. Before it was too late. Your boys will be gentlemen. Because you’re strong as an ox.

    • aliciabenton

      Man, I don’t usually get emotional very easily, but you’ve got me all choked up! Thank you so so much for your sweet words and encouragement. I pray often that I can break the cycle and that the boys will never EVER lay their hands on a woman or their children when they have them. Thank you again – your comment means the world to me. xoxo.

  • Daily Prompt: Never Again | Imperfectly Perfect

    […] abusive.  You can read all the gory details of his abuse and the vicious cycle I found myself in here.  In addition to beating the crap out of me, though, he also did some other pretty psycho […]

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