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SallyT On November - 16 - 2011

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Has there been too much topic on this subject? I don’t know or should there ever be. But, I would like to share with you another side of this terrible issue. Being married to someone that had a childhood so terrible that even he had blocked it for years.

I can’t imagine his childhood. Mine was wonderful. I had a calf that I raised to a bull that I rode like a pony. I will someday tell you the story about my dad selling him and my devastation from that event. Then I got a pony until I out grew him and then I got a horse. I got a brand new SS Chevy 327, 275 hp, 4 barrel a month before I turned 16.  I have already shared the story about my dad and his love for me and my children in a snow storm. Enough about me but I just wanted you to see where I was coming from before I ended up in this relationship.

I won’t go into my meeting my husband but it is a great story. He took on a woman with two children only a mother could love. And, he has loved them as his own ever since. To the point that the girls refer to him as Dad and the other as Our Father. He has been there for every traumatic event in their lives including wrecking 4 cars. (They called him, not me. That tells you something.) He is still the first they call. So, after many years of marriage, he had a breakdown.

The breakdown was brought on probably by my illness and almost dying twice. He says he can’t live without me and he thought he was going to have to. This left him feeling alone and stacked with problems to deal with. I had lost my job because of the illness. I had made more money (not a brag, just to give depth to the problems). We had live to the end of every dollar. I did recover but all those toys had to go for us to survive. Including the vacation home, the boat, and the classic cars collection that he loved and found escape when under their hoods.. Of course, they were our investments, not the stock market. Gone. Now, even though he wasn’t any of these things, he felt he was a bad person, let us down, and wasn’t doing enough to take care of things. He collapsed. He was at work in his truck and all of a sudden he didn’t know where he was on a route he had driven for years. He was put on medical leave.

Things started to happen, things he never had done before. Oh, he did drink and probably too much but not like this. He would leave and not come back for hours. He would take off walking and not know where he was going but he just had to walk. I would get frustrated and of course get angry. I didn’t understand it. I never thought he was out cheating on me because I felt it was something else bothering him and not another woman. (At least I didn’t think so then.) Now, he was letting me down. We started therapy. They gave him pills, cause you know a pill will take care of everything…….and a psychiatrist no longer sits down and talks with you while you are on the couch. No they send you to a psychologist for that. The psychiatrist is the only one that can write a prescription. Having to have both went through our insurance real fast!

While under all this “professional” care he was not getting better.  One night he was off for hours and we couldn’t find him.  A friend came and told us he had seen him and he was acting very strange.   My husband came home and told me he had this evil thing in his head that he could not get out.  I tried to understand something that he was even having problems with understanding.  Reading the side effects of the drugs he had been given they said that they may cause strange behavior.  Really????  He is already having problems, so, lets give him a pill that may cause “strange” behavior!   He had taken on a new personalty.  One that was a female that was mean, rude, nasty and telling him he was bad and no one loved him. Until one night I had had enough and knocked him down in a chair and sat on him. I said, “You tell that bitch to get the hell out of here. No, I will tell her. You get your evil ass out of here or I will knock you into another hemisphere. I love him and I won’t let anyone get or hurt him again. You got that, bitch. Oh, don’t think I can’t take you on. You don’t have a little boy here, you have one mean bitch on the other side facing you off now! Get out! Get out! Get the hell out!” I know this might be sounding crazy to you reading it but it worked. It really worked. He looked at me surprised and said “Honey, she is gone.” Now how did we get to this point. Let me tell you.

As I said he had been going to all these professionals and getting nowhere. One day I had a friend of mine come over and we were talking about things. My husband starting saying a few things he was feeling and such.  She looked at him and said, “You sound like someone who has been abused. How do I know?  Because I was. I was sexually abused.  I felt just like you are describing.” He told her that he had been talking with the doctors about his alcoholic father that beat him physically and mentally.  For instants, one time had tied him onto a horse and made him and the horse go round and round in the corral, whipping and yelling, for 4 hours. Of course he was drunk.  Oh, there are so many stories but I won’t go into them. But, during this “rodeo” night, where was his mother? She was standing at the kitchen sink watching out the window. She did not come out and stop it. When things would get bad, she would load up the sisters and go to town. She left this little boy to take it from the dad so she didn’t. He grew up thinking girls get to escape. Our friend said she understood that but she was hearing more. Something more that spoke to her from her own experiences. He told her about a re-occurring dream he had had for years about a house and a porch and opening the door to see the house went on forever. A woman in underwear standing at the kitchen sink. All of a sudden he shouted, “She hurt me! She did things to me in the bathtub! She’s laughing!” He started crying. Our friend that had lived abuse was able to help him pull this buried evil out to see it in today’s light. It was this evil woman that had been haunting him along with his father. There was another woman! Not one he was out cheating on me with but she was taking him away from me just the same.

He had been a little boy around 9 when his dad left his mother and sisters back in Missouri and took the son with him to check out Wyoming to see about a job as a cowboy. (He was a Cop in KC and wanted to be a cowboy……) Anyway, they rented this room in this woman’s house and she watched the boy during the day. She was a very sick woman!

Now, you have a little boy with things happening to him that he doesn’t understand or how to explain. And, he would have to tell his alcoholic father! Or, a mother who didn’t do anything about anything anyway. So, he buried it. Until someone who heard more in his story than anyone else had because she could relate.

After talking to the doctor, the doctor said he needed to ask his mother about this time. (His father had passed away by now and probably the woman, even if she could be found.) His mother didn’t remember anything about that time. When he told her that the doctor had told him that his father was an evil man to him growing up, too. Her answer, even years later and even with a new husband, answered him, “Well, he was your father!” As I said in a post early on here, to me she is the worst of all.

So, how do you deal with this? It can be out of our lives for long periods and all of a sudden something reminds him of his father or this woman. Maybe a movie, or something he hears, or an event like Penn State and it is out in the front again. You listen all over again about all the hurts or stories of abuse that happen that relates to whatever made him think about it again. You keep saying you wish you could take it away, out of his head. You love him and he is a wonderful person, a wonderful dad. And, you try to make him laugh. He loves to hear stories about my funny family. He loved my dad and my dad loved him. They had too short of a time together. I feel my dad, if he had had enough time, he could have given him wonderful memories of a dad that loved you. They had so much in common. He now tells everybody that they were and are his family. So, hearing stories about them are his stories, too.

You just have to love them and even through your own frustrations. Hug them. You just have to take it day by day. You have to realize that it will never go away. Both you and him will live with it forever. But, with more wonderful memories you make of your own together, well, around the Thanksgiving table we all can laugh! We have some wonderful, happy, crazy funny stories now that WE have made and are a part of US and OURS.  And we laugh, and laugh, and laugh.

Written by SallyT

Retired, not by choice but the body said sit down! Married with two grown daughters and 3 grandchildren. Best friend is Mansion, my great dane. Love to laugh, love to make someone laugh, love to make new friends. I think I am a lot of fun but you can be the judge of that.

27 Responses so far.

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  1. peacekitten says:

    sally,

    thank you for writing your story. i don’t visit this site often but felt the need to comment on this post, and express my appreciation.

    although i had a wonderful childhood, one of the few things in life my parents never prepared me for was the extremely abusive marriage i had. i think of it as never preparing me for an “ugly life.” i guess since it wasn’t part of our paradigm, it was so far off the radar that they never thought it would happen to me, or that i would be left to fend for myself if it did happen.

    it lasted for many years, and when i finally recently escaped, i wasn’t prepared for all the things that came rushing to the surface. there are some hurts that go too deep, for which one never finds words, and sometimes doesn’t even want to. that’s where i find myself. even though i know only my abuser was responsible for the abuse, i still wonder what is wrong with me that i fell for the facade my abuser presented to me, how it was that i didn’t see it. my father died when i was a teenager, and i never told my mother, because her health was so fragile, and i didn’t want to worry her. the only person i had left that i should have been able to turn to was my older brother, who turned his back on me. he salved his conscience by offering me “help” that came with such a terrible price, he knew i would never accept it, and he left me to my fate.

    every day is a struggle, and my heart goes out to your husband. he’s very, very lucky he found you, and i hope you both make many happy memories together. reading this brought tears.

  2. choicelady says:

    Sally T -- it’s taken me several days to get up the nerve to read this. I’ve been following the Penn State disaster, but I can’t listen to a lot of the commentary. I have NO idea if this was part of my past or not -- I flinch at such stores but have no such memories -- but I do know I was raised by a mother who at minimum ignored every peril that confronted me and possibly, at worst, tried to kill me off through “diseases” that she inflicted -- Munchasen Sydrome by Proxy. I think -- think -- I’ve come to terms with what she did. She hated me, and I don’t to this day know why.

    But reading this, I am horrified by the pain inflicted on your husband by adults who saw him as property they could abuse. And it hit me in the gut, and it made me cry, and I am gladder than I can say that he’s getting through this. Not past it -- through it.

    The Penn State horrors still have not come to terms with the legacy to the children. We talk deeply and meaningfully about the failure of adults to care, but we have NOT dealt with the children, and we will continue to fail still others. Thank you for being there passionately for your husband! I’m glad beyond words that the two of you have each other and that, hand-in-hand, you can walk through the rest of your days together in strength, healing, and love.

    May all of Sandusky’s victims find someone who loves them that much. It is the least -- very least -- all of us deserve.

    • Emerald1943 says:

      CL, thank you for sharing some of your personal story too. I admire anyone with the courage to do so.

      You talked of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy and that you couldn’t understand why your mother hated you. I doubt seriously that she did. It was an illness that you had to endure, not your illness but hers. In my nursing career, I saw one case of MSP. The insatiable need for attention by the mother is the culprit, rather than a hatred of the child, an illness that is difficult to diagnose and treat. It hides itself very well behind a facade of caring and devotion to the child. I’m sure that you are aware of the clinical and psychological reasons for it. Why it manifests in such extreme behaviors is a mystery. Knowing the reasons doesn’t always give us the answers that we may seek.

      I would, if I could, give you comfort and closure as I would to all who suffer from deep wounds inflicted by those who should only love and protect. I don’t know how to do that except to tell you how valued and wonderful you are! And I mean this most sincerely!

      Thank you so much for sharing with us…and for your friendship! :-)

    • SallyT says:

      CL, I am very sorry if my story brought you any pain. I would not do that to you for any reason. If anyone in your past ignored you or left you feeling alone, know you are not now! You are very admired on this site. I have seen it! I extend it! Please know that! I wish for all those boys that were rob by this sick man, Sandusky, that they are able to survive this pain, learn to live beyond it, find love and understanding.
      Thank you for the kind words. They mean so much to me.

    • SueInCa says:

      Hey CL
      You know I love you

    • KQuark says:

      (“\(.:.:.)/”) (Bear Hug)

      Well I think you are one of the most wonderful people I’ve had the pleasure to meet online or in person for that matter.

  3. kesmarn says:

    Sally, I read your wonderful post this morning, but had to leave before I had a chance to comment on it.

    Thanks so much for sharing your and your husband’s story with us. What a journey the two of you have been on together. You’ve been real partners and helpmates to each other, and you wrote about it so beautifully.

    That forges a rare and strong bond, I think. What might have broken a weaker relationship has strengthened yours.

    It’s good to know that your husband is feeling healthier now, and that you are, too. After 5 or 6 more decades, you’ll be ready to ride off into the sunset together, “I reckon.” 😀

    • SallyT says:

      Thank you, Kes. Your kind words are much appreciated. Here’s to decades ahead for both of us, along with you and yours, and our Hoverounds into the SunSet.

  4. Emerald1943 says:

    Sally, it takes so much courage to share a story like this about someone that you truly love. I want you to know how much I admire you for the courage, both to share the painful story, and to stick by your husband during his darkest hours.

    That you had a break-through is remarkable! I can only believe that it’s due to your wonderful sunny personality and gritty determination to hold on to him that made it possible.

    You just keep on holdin’ on, gal! A great story, well told! And an amazing accomplishment for you and your hubby! I have the feeling that you will have many, many more happy times and happy stories of your own to share! Love is the answer to so many problems..you’ve shown that!

    • SallyT says:

      Thank you, Em! What would I do if I didn’t hear from you at least once a day? I wouldn’t like it! Hope you are feeling better and that headache is out the door.

  5. SueInCa says:

    Sally
    I read your story this morning but was not sure how to respond. It touched me very deeply and I just was not sure how to react to that. I am lucky. I guess, I have never known someone personally who (at least) admitted to such a situation and quite frankly I am not sure how I could handle it. We all have our stories of what we may have presumed as abuse, restriction for a week, the phone taken away, no social activities for a week etc, but they truly pale in comparison to your husband’s story. I know you remind him all the time how much he is loved and hopefully someday it will help to lessen the scars somehow. I am praying it will for him.

    • SallyT says:

      Sue, I feel so bad if my story made people feel uncomfortable. I didn’t mean to do that by any means. I just wanted to enlighten people that abuse never goes away but you can help victims by just being there, listening, and supporting them. And, by all means giving them wonderful memories to call up instead of those terrible ones.
      Yes, when you know someone that has had a childhood that was rough, you have to stop and think, “Gee, all I got was the car keys taken away.”
      Let me add that before his dad past away he told me, “My son grew up to be a wonderful man. I didn’t make him that. He made himself that. I wasn’t right about things but I did love him.” He also apologized to my husband but didn’t ask for forgiveness. My husband will tell you that his dad was an evil man but he always had a roof over his head, clothes on his back, and food on the table. He will give his dad that.

      • SueInCa says:

        Sally
        Not at all, I just did not know how to respond, like you said, the car keys taken away, not a beating like you describe………..Makes you feel petty for complaining about something so small, but it is good to check yourself from time to time

  6. escribacat says:

    Sally, your story reminds me of an old saying “You’re only as sick as your secrets.” Your husband is lucky to have found you.

  7. Chernynkaya says:

    Sally, I just came across this article, about Goldie Taylor. She’s a sometimes commentator on MSNBC and she writes for The Grio. She was a victim of sexual abuse by a coach in HS, and the whole Penn State horror show made her come forward. I know this is very different from what your husband went through, but it shows how these events bring up old wounds that are repressed but ready to erupt.

    http://www.stlouisbeacon.com/issues-politics/95-Education/114242-former-cheerleader-says-coach-sexually-assaulted-her-in-1984

    • Emerald1943 says:

      Cher, I didn’t get a chance yesterday to comment on this. I watched the live show when Goldie Taylor told her story with tears rolling down her cheeks. She said she decided to face the issue head-on when learning of the Penn State story. I have to admit that I had tears rolling down my cheeks too! She’s a brave lady to take on this chapter in her life now. I wish her all the luck!

  8. Chernynkaya says:

    Sally, I am speechless. I hear about things like what your husband went through form time to time--I guess we all have--but they never stop being shocking and horrifying!

    I know this is unrealistic and impossible but when I hear stories like this I just want there to be some way to sterilize some people to prevent them from having children. They are too broken and they will repeat the cycle and create people who are also broken.

    Fortunately for your husband, he found you! It doesn’t take away his anguish (or yours at witnessing his pain), but having someone who loves him as you do and who can offer real help makes his situation vastly better than most.

    It takes so much courage to face the past and to confront the pain--I really applaud you and your husband. In spite of all he’s endured, he is so lucky to have you there for him.

    • SallyT says:

      His father’s life had much baggage. He carried it forward. If stopped with his son. He only carries bad memories but does not need to cause others to feel pain. The other happening, with it out, gave a reason for this haunting that he just couldn’t understand. Now we work on the healing. He would never wish for someone to have that pain ever.
      Thank you, Cher. I am lucky to have him here. He took very good care of me while I was ill and he still does to this day.

  9. funksands says:

    Sally, what an experience! I’m not really sure how to respond to something this personal. I have someone I’m extremely close to that is also a victim of abuse. I will back up your last paragraph 100%.

    • SallyT says:

      Perhaps it was too personal but please understand I just wanted others to see that abuse never goes away and others live those memories with the ones they love. It is a terrible crime commented on anyone but especially a child that can’t fight back. Also, to maybe help people understand how a person can come forward about abuse so many years later. They do bury it but it does not stay under. It haunts and leave them wondering why they have these thoughts, strange thoughts. It will either surface and they find help and understanding in dealing with it or it could destroy them in keeping it down.
      I am sorry that someone close to you lives with this pain but I am glad that you understand that new memories of happiness can help to shadow the pain for them going on with life.


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