Our pastor urged me to seek solace away from Charles until our marital situation could improve. My one bed-room apartment was roach infested in a very frightening part of town, but it was all I could afford. I took my daughter and son-in-law to help me move a bed, small table, a couple of chairs and some of my personal effects from our large marital home. Charles barricaded the passageway, as he touted it was “his house” and “his things” and I was taking nothing. I was seeking only the basic items to exist in a barren apartment.
He also refused access to my clothing and personal items. Even though some of the furniture were heirlooms from my family, I was still prevented from taking even a bed. Charles cited I could take two sports chairs and a card table from the garage. My daughter loaned me a bed. As days passed, I was desperate.
I sent an e-mail to the city of Ft. Worth inquiring about the legality of panhandling, as I had passed countless panhandlers on the city streets. I noted, I didn’t wish to break the law, but I was desperate, explaining my circumstances. The mayor of Ft. Worth, whom I will be grateful to, for the remainder of my life, Mr. Michael Moncrief, personally contacted me. He informed me that panhandling was illegal. I told him that I had no desire to break the law, but merely to find a way to survive.
The gift he gave me that day, was when he noted I was a victim of domestic violence and I needed to go to Women’s Haven in Ft. Worth, ASAP. I did and the rest is history. I never realized how abused I was until I became a client at what would become my “life saver.” I received a gift of support and understanding from the counseling at Women’s Haven. I couldn’t change Charles’ heart or attitude toward me, but I would come to better understand then and many years later, that his actions were and are typical of abusers.
When my car was broken down at the side of the road, even as Charles’ wife, he refused to come to my aid. At the time I had no roadside assistance plan. I made multiple telephone calls until I found someone to assist me. The comprehension for many victims of domestic violence is surviving solo becomes impossible.
My reality was if I wanted to survive, I had no choice but to return to my husband and home. I continued to hope, pray and believe that the love I had for him then and the previous 35 years, would override his desire to abuse. My love was not enough.
I was reminded yet again during my recent training to volunteer at our local domestic violence center, it’s all about control. Abusers will do anything they can to control their victims. I would realize 8 years later that I could no longer fight the battle. As the staff of Palomar has reminded us, “we protect the things we love.”
Charles ultimate abuse was his betrayal of beginning an affair while I was his wife. The other abuses during our marriage were minuscule in comparison to learning the truth behind his abandonment of me after our 44 year marriage. I learned of his mistress six years later. He proudly touted, he had never loved me, but that he had needed me so he would be successful in his career.
I then realized, that is why he never protected me. Ephesians 4:2-3 NKJ, “with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.”