I came out as a battered woman this week, and I came out in a big way – in the Washington Post. Check it out here.
It’s strange to have something that’s lived for so long on the inside now be on the outside. People now call me courageous, brave, amazing, and inspirational. I don’t feel it. Instead, his words go through my head. You’re exaggerating what happened. You made me do it. You’re crazy. You don’t deserve any better. You don’t satisfy me. You are unattractive. No one else will ever love you.
I can’t accept what happened to me because he would never allow it. It’s like I’m trapped in a purgatory of suffering the consequences of his reign of terror – because that’s really what it was, a reign of terror – without being able to feel vindicated for it. It really was my fault even though it was his hands, his words, his body, his actions. It was me controlling him instead of the other way around.
And here I am, 16 years later, a mother, wife, writer and activist, and his words still course through my head. I hear them while I’m walking the dogs, cleaning the kitchen, changing my daughter’s diaper, playing trains with my son, curled up next to my husband, going through the motions of my day job, sitting here writing. His reign of terror continues on.