THRIVER, not just a SURVIVOR
He was handsome , he was charming , he was a doctor and he told me he loved me We met in France when I was visiting friends, and from that first day he made me feel wanted .. It was all so romantic and It all happened so fast. When I returned home he wrote me 3 times a day and even phoned , telling me that he loved me and his plans for our future and his wanting to marry me.. He actually wanted to commit !!! So after only 4 weeks I said yes to his dreams of happiness .. I had been living in NY for 15 years trying to pursue my dream of being a singer, while working at a Hotel on Park Avenue to make ends meet.. I had loyal friends and an interesting life. I also had had 2 failed relationships but I wanted to try again and to give all my love to someone who actually wanted to commit… Gees I was is love.
I was in heaven!! So I proceeded to sell all my furniture , gave up my apartment, quit my job . and my musical aspirations and left for life with a man I had fallen in love with one Christmas week in romantic France. I was 34 , but you would have thought that I was born yesterday!
After selling almost every thing I had, I shipped 21 cases to Spain where he had planned to go into practice with me assisting in his research. The future looked brilliant.
But literally from day one , he began his campaign of power and control.. When I arrived at the villa a man working on our new door bell asked me what ring I would like.. I was so giddy with happiness that I sang out the chime ( sings chime ) the moment the man left he flew into his first rage. He told me that I had humiliated him and that I had acted like a clown .. A voice inside me told me something was wrong . but I had 21 cases en route and I was willing to give it a chance and I didn’t want to loose everything I owned .. First excuse..
That first week I realized that his drinking was a ritual which started by 10 each morning and continued throughout the day, all day. He said it was ” part of his culture”. His daily rages , always the same and so exhausting for both of us would include judgments on my character and how I was unacceptable, and that he wanted me gone . Hoping to calm him I agreed to leave, but he told me that if I tried to leave he would kill me! That’s when the beatings began . Time after time I would try to leave but He would lock me in the bathroom for hours beating me and regaling me with wild accusations of infidelity and threats of death . Always ending in apologies and tears .His two young sons from a previous marriage who would come to visit would watch in silence while I pleaded and screamed for my life ! They must have seen it all before! I will never forget the day I escaped from the bathroom dripping in sweat and looking at them and saying THIS IS NOT NORMAL !!!… He truly enjoyed publicly humiliating me.We lived in a multimillion dollar community with judges and people of power and wealth … I would scream at the top of my lungs for hours . And no one came to my rescue! .. .He once locked me out of a hotel room naked during a battle in the country of Sri Lanka.. Thousands of miles away from home .. I remember several visits to France and Belgium visiting his family when he would beat me in their homes late at night .They were in the same house , in the next room . in the silence of the dead of night an no one would even knock on the door to stop the madness .. The next morning they wouldn’t even look me in the eye to acknowledge that this brutality had even happened.. God I felt so alone! He was drinking so much that his work suffered and so did our finances, so I would take cash advances from my credit cards to pay the bills, he also wanted to take my credit cards and my passport away so I couldn’t leave But I was able to talk him out of that… I kept asking myself what I had done to trigger all of this , was it my fault ? , Didn’t I love him enough? I thought that when he saw my bloody face that the light would go on and that he would somehow snap out of it . He had told me that for the first 3 years of his life his parents had left him all alone in a Belgium monastery ..so he had no real love from his family …I thought that if I loved him enough it would heal all his pain . I was wrong ! I had heard of all this happening to others but I thought I could handle it… I tried to hide this all from everyone , but during the first month while on the phone with my mother and step father he began to scream in the background telling them that he had hit me. I never planed on telling them , because I truly believed that it was all going to work out!!!! After months of this and my cover blown I left, humiliated and empty handed.
He called and called crying and pleading for my forgiveness ..I can remember the image I would see in my head of him lying on the floor in a fetal position crying out needing my love He promised me that he had changed. My heart bled for him , I believed him ,so I returned.
He had changed , but this time the change was his NEED to punish me for abandoning him.. I grew numb.. The violence grew worse until..Flash !, the light bulb went on in MY head, when Nicole Brown Simpson was found murdered and It was all over CNN in Europe .. 24 hours a day …. That week he turned to me and said .. He’s going to get away with it!
I felt ill! It was then I realized . when someone tells you that they want you dead .. It will happen eventually accidentally or intentionally happen to either one of you. All I knew was even though my life was constantly in danger, I could have killed him, (because after all, he had to sleep sometime.) I knew there was no way I was going to spend the rest of my life in jail for murder. A week later we relocated to France, going back to the town where we had met and all the people he knew. They all knew of the goings on, so I felt even more isolated.
We had everything in this world to make us happy, youth education, health, living in the Southwest of France for God’s sake! A life people would give their right arm for, but it made no difference. The humiliation and exhaustion from the days of drunken battles could not balance the three hours in the morning when he would awake and be a calm loving mate. This is no exaggeration. There was never a day that went by without his going in to a violent rage that lasted into the night. I don’t know Where he got the energy to keep it all up, but I was a wreck! I finally got the strength to leave Thirteen days after Nicole’s Murder on a rainy day when he had to go to an elderly female patient who had promised him money for a project he needed funding for. It was then I made the hardest decision of my life! I decided to leave a man I had wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I called a Taxi! I will always remember the loneliness I felt in that cab and how I couldn’t speak his language. There in silence I sat for the long drive to the railway station with the horrible emptiness I felt. I made it home with only the clothes on my back and an overwhelming feeling of sadness and despair. It was like death. I remember calling a friend and sobbing uncontrollably like never before. I cannot tell you when the pain finally subsided after having to declare myself both emotionally and financially bankrupt, but I know it began when I started to make right decisions concerning my life. I read and reread everything I could about domestic violence and realized that I was not alone and that it was not my fault and that if I ever did encounter some one of his nature, I would be able to spot it and walk,NO not walk, but run away as quickly as possible. This now also goes for people I am not romantically involved with.. Now Signs of cruelly or dishonesty from anyone raises the red Hag of unacceptability.After a long hard look at my life , I know I had no choice hut to leave and that no matter how hard it was to pick myself up and start again , it is easier than to live a life of misery. There are so many questions that go through your mind , Why did I leave only to return for more grief over and over again ? Is it me ? Maybe be he’s right . maybe I am no good ? I hope that you who are listening can understand I was alone in a foreign country with no one to help me..but it is just as hard to be in your own land and your own home feeling all alone, scared , helpless and trapped. I started to rebuild my life when I discovered that God put me on this earth for a purpose and that was to hold out my hand to others, with my life and all my talents just as you can do . Not just with my singing voice but by being a voice of encouragement in telling you that you are valuable and a gift to the people around you. Money is not even the issue! You are not alone .. I didn’t have a place like Safe space to escape to. Now as I spend my time with these wonderful people , they are helping me and they don’t even know it.
Now I just don’t survive, I thrive !
Thank God for Safe Space.
A final thought ..Last year I received an Email signed “Your friend from France” , It said how pleased they were of my well being .. When I returned the message to ask how we knew each other .. He revealed his identity . He had found me ! Almost 14 years later ! I saw that he had not changed., but I had.. I deleted his message swearing never to open that door again ! Please I beg you ! Do not be ashamed to call ! We will Hold Your Hand !!