I was always a “good girl” — growing up; I did as my parents said. Then, I did as my husband said. But then, one day, as I was contemplating driving into oncoming traffic, I just snapped. I took my one-year-old son, left my nice house and my not-so-nice husband and went to my local women’s shelter. Once my husband read the note, there were multiple phone calls and then an awkward conversation. I was told to come home — he would change and no one would ever have to know I left. Even 24-hours after leaving, I had already reached a point where I couldn’t go back — I had hope again. Hope that I could be happy, hope that I would find myself and learn to love myself again, and hope that maybe I wouldn’t have to spend the rest of my life married and alone.
When I arrived at the women’s shelter, I didn’t think I could unload a dishwasher properly; I’d look in the mirror after getting dressed and think “this will have to do, because you don’t look good in anything anyway.” I had been in counseling for post-partum depression for months and had made some pretty significant realizations: my depression wasn’t post-partum — it was situational. Through the use of the “power and control wheel,” my therapist helped me to see how unhealthy my marriage was. It was only because of that help that when I was feeling so guilty about upsetting my husband and was considering driving into oncoming traffic that I asked myself “Why are you letting him do this to you?” I left that night.
My family then found out that I was at the women’s shelter from my ex-husband (which is how I had begun to think of him at that point). They called and repeated so many of the beliefs that society pushes about abuse — “He doesn’t hit you, so it’s okay.” “Shelters are for poor women.” I was told over and over that the shelter wasn’t a “good place” for children.
Since then we have established custody arrangements. My son and I have moved into a two-bedroom apartment on the “wrong side of town.” I have filled it with happy colors and thrift store finds and I love it. I am on Ontario Works (welfare) but I finally have the energy and confidence to apply for jobs that I was lacking with my ex-husband. Being a single mother has actually given me more time for myself, as before I struggled to get four hours to myself a week and now I have every weekend off as my ex takes our son.
My family still thinks I am crazy for leaving my financially secure ex-husband, my nice house, and for “giving up on my marriage.” But I haven’t given up on myself. I am making steps to give my son a happy mother, to ensure he knows that it’s not okay to treat your partner the way I was treated, or to let yourself be treated that way. I no longer have a dishwasher to worry about loading “correctly,” and I am starting to look in the mirror and see the beautiful woman who has always been there — stretch marks and all.
It’s okay if my family never believes that I made the right decision. I am building us a new family of people who love and support us and more importantly I am learning to love and support myself.
If you are dealing with domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
Comments on My son and I left my abusive marriage and have never been happier
*Standing ovation* You are one strong, brave and awesome woman. GOOD JOB! So very proud. My abusive marriage ended 5 years ago and I am so deeply grateful for having escaped to become who I am today and create the life I have for my kid. It isn’t easy. But it’s better. WELL DONE! <3
I just have to say how happy I am that this got published. I’m dealing with a lot of new issues now and seeing all this support and just having something to be proud of (published on my favorite blog!) is awesome.
I hope you look in the mirror one day and see the super-woman that you are! Your son is so unbelievably lucky to have you as a role model. Keep your head held high, no matter what your family says. 😀 xx
Hugs to all the women here who have left abusive relationships!
My Father was very emotionally abusive and controlling to my Mom, brothers, and I. Sometimes my Mother would fight back and sometimes she’d just be so exhausted she just took it.
They are only together now for economic reasons, but I wish she left a long time ago.
Be Strong! You are doing the right thing.
Awesome! What a great story. Your colorful apartment full of thrift-store finds sounds fabulous, by the way.
I feel like God has touched my soul, and guided me out of the path of my abuser, For so long I felt like the devil had a hold on me and that he was going to take my soul… the physical abuse I have endured has broken my spirit but My Souls belong to the Lord. and the sexual abuse has taught me how to hate all Men, and to distrust them, then the Lord has touched me in a way that My heart is who I am which is kind, loving, respectful, caring and understanding of others even thou he bruised me badly. but everyday I have begged for the abuse to stop and just six days ago I am free of a twenty year abusive relationship and I thank God for reaching out and touching me giving me the strength to move and be free is hard but peaceful and fulfilling… I am very messed up in heart sometimes but I know I am human, and I make mistakes, but been through hell and back, and still have enough love to embrace the world at no cost… God Thank You, Thank you, Thank you.. now I can began to live…. for everyone who is going through or has gone through please be safe, take care, and God Bless you (hugs)
I just give thanks to God that I have been out of the abuse for six days, but been through it for twenty years. God it feel good having the weight lifted off your shoulders <3 I promise I will never go back as long as I live. I plan to start living for Freedom I kind of forgot what that actually means but I will survive in God hands… for those who are going through or went through please safe, take care and God Bless
I love this article SO much. This is sooo close to the exact same experience I went through. I felt just like you and came to the same conclusion you did at a critical moment. And I made the same choice you did and took two suit cases and my daughter to a womens shelter and never looked back. Things were hard for the first few years… but even at there hardest I was HAPPIER than I ever was in my abusive marriage. And I now have a good job, healthcare, a car, and rent a home for my daughter and I. But it took TIME. We lived in a single rented room in a town house for 6 months and my daughter slept in the walk-in closet. SO I know its tough but its WORTH IT! 🙂
My sister died because she didn’t leave her “husband” (I use quotes because real husbands don’t act like that). I am so happy when I hear about women who were able to leave.
I know I’m WAY late to this conversation, but I just stumbled onto this article and…as an adult who spent her childhood in a home with a wonderful mother who refused to leave my horribly abusive father….thank you. Your little one will grow up to appreciate your strength and courage in protecting the two of you. I have nothing but admiration for you!
I believe you DEFINITELY made the right decision. That was NOT an easy thing to do and you did it and I am so thrilled for you.
I was in an abusive marriage and I refused to give up (I didnt know it was abusive, I just knew I was miserable) until he started drinking heavily and dropped our then 18 month old. He moved out saying we would get counseling but he was shagging someone else within a week. Once I realized how fucked up it all was, I packed up the house and moved to the woods, 45 mins away. Everyone thought I was isolating myself and making this big risky mistake. Not me. The woods makes sense to me, nature made sense to me, my kid made sense to me and I tore everything else down and started over. It wasn’t easy but I would do it all again for the life I have now, 8 years later.
I wish you nothing but happiness and all your hearts desires. I support so many friends who stay with abusers because you cannot force someone to realize, but to be able to read about someone who gets out and starts over and knows its for the best for them? That makes me happy 🙂 Thanks for sharing and revel in yourself, your bright colourful home and your son 🙂 <3
You are so worth the move you made. How do I know? I made the same one. I let my narcissist husband push me into relapsing into a heroin habit I had been 15 years clean from to escape his non-physixal abuse, and when that didn’t work, a suicide attempt. I lost my children for four long months while I got clean again. We are separated and divorcing after only a year of marriage and it’s the best feeling. Well done. Good job getting out before he killed you by making you kill yourself.