Her Story – Feature 9

For the longest time I wondered why I was so unhappy in my marriage. I wondered if what my husband said was true, that my expectations were too high, I had a misguided concept of what marriage was supposed to be. I know that people argued. I have siblings and I love them all. We argued a lot when we were growing up and we still do now, but that doesn’t make me unhappy and they never press me into the wall to make their point.

I would think about why I was always sad, and wondered if it was true that I think too much. What is it to think too much anyway? I thought thinking about things was a good thing. We were only married for 3 years but I had spent the last 2 years feeling less than adequate and absolutely sad. The only thing I seemed to be able to look forward to was put downs, negative comments about me and everything I did and said and his angry outbursts. I couldn’t seem to get anything right. I kept trying but just didn’t seem to be able to do anything “good enough”. I felt depressed all the time and the only comments I got from my life partner was that nothing was wrong it was all in my head. I was apparently making everything up to get attention. How could I be seeking attention when someone’s calling me names, and intimidating me all the time? When I told him I didn’t like the name calling, he told me I had no sense of humour. How can I be expected to laugh when someone is calling me derogatory names?

When I got pregnant we were both excited about the addition to our family, but as my body changed with the pregnancy his behaviour towards me changed. He had nothing pleasant to say. It was almost like he was baiting me to get into an argument and when that didn’t work he’d get mean and call me names and put me down. When our daughter was born, he barely helped with anything but still expected me to do everything I was doing before and when I didn’t he’d get extremely angry and scream obscenities, throw things and punch the doors and walls. When the baby cried at night and I asked him to check on her, his reply usually was “Oh no! That’s all you, women take care of the babies” then he’d go back to sleep. The strange thing is that when we were dating, we had all these ideas about being parents and how we were going to be a team and share the night time feedings and changings. So his new attitude surprised me a whole lot.

As the months went by after our daughter was born things started to get progressively worse. He would push me very hard as he was walking by and when I asked why he did that, he just replied that I was in his way. Or he would throw whatever was close to him and hit me with it to get my attention. One day our daughter was crying and I was trying to finish up what I was doing before going to her and he threw a glass ashtray and hit me in the shoulder as he was telling me to make her quiet. He would trip me as I was walking by him then point out how clumsy I was.

The worst night of all was when our baby was sick and she wouldn’t stop crying regardless of what I did. He came into the baby’s room and started punching and kicking me as I was holding our daughter and trying to comfort her. He was screaming at me “shut her up! Shut her up before I have to shut her up myself!” I tried very hard to protect my daughter. I didn’t want her to get hurt so I shielded her with my body. When he stopped punching and kicking me and left the room, I could barely move, I was having excruciating pain in my hip and my legs were not working. I put the baby down on the floor and pulled myself over to the phone and called my brother to come and get me.

It seemed like forever before my brother and his wife got to our house. I was in so much pain that I just stayed on the floor with my hand resting on my daughter to comfort her. I was very badly hurt that night. He broke my leg in 2 places and dislocated my hip. My brother and his wife told me they would keep my daughter until I left the hospital and that we can stay with them until I was better and on my feet. I never went back to the house.