A few weeks back I opened up to a very vulnerable part of my story – the part that has been the hardest to face and heal from – abuse I suffered at the hands of my ex-husband – emotionally and sexually. I was overwhelmed by the messages, responses and comments as a result of my vulnerability. I was also made aware that when men open up about abuse, it’s not handled the same way as when a woman opens up about it.
I think it’s important that we use our stories and what we have overcome for good – so that other can grow from and heal from their painful situations too. So this week on the blog I’d like to share with you Ben’s story. Ben was one of the men who commented on my post applauding opening up about my abuse but he also made me aware that when he has opened up about abuse people don’t show the same compassion. That as a man he just should have been tougher, he should have stood up for himself better and so on. But what was he supposed to do when he was physically and emotionally abused – was he to retaliate back with physical force as his abuser did – as a gentleman of course that was not the route he would take.
I share this post today to bring awareness to another story of a human being who was abused, realized they were worth more than how they were being treated and how they not only survived what they survived but is now thriving and trying to help others with their story. My hope is that this story would give you hope too.
Ben and I have very similar stories – the one difference is – he is a man and I am a woman, only how people respond to our stories is very different. If you missed my story, HERE is mine. But for today, let’s jump into Ben’s story as he shares with us his story but also what he’s learned as a result of some of his greatest pain. I asked Ben to share with me the story of how he met his ex, how things unfolded and such so you could see the things that he now looks back at as signs or red flags – often times we don’t see the red flags or choose to ignore them. It’s only when we are out of the situations we’re in that we see things a little more clearly
Here we go …
So I met my ex-wife back in 2002 when I was in the Army stationed in Ft. Lewis Washington state through a mutual friend. The first time I walked in the room I took one look at her and told myself that I had to be with her, it was love at first sight.
We began to talk and things slowly progressed…Even though things where rocky from the get go I blew it off as this just being what happens being in a relationship. At that point in my life I had never been in an actual relationship so I didn’t know any better.
2004 I was discharged from the military and moved back to California. Needless to say I took her and her 2 kids with me. From 2004 through 2008 it was a rock slide of emotions, we were off and on seeing other people, back together, broke up, back together and was crazy. In August of 2008 we were separated and she was seeing someone else so I decided that the only way to get over her was to move away so I hoped in my car with my dog (lady) and headed to Colorado.
When I got there life was good I had family friends a job….but I eventually felt like something was missing, me and her started talking again and figured we would take one more go at it. I flew back to Cali went to the court house and we were married. We then all moved to Colorado where for about a year and everything was like a dream. We didn’t fight, we didn’t yell, nothing.
Then I lost my job and i became a stay at home dad, that’s when the real trouble started…I began to gain weight rapidly (because all I did was sat around eating and putting in applications for jobs all day) no matter how hard I tried I could not get a job and she began to resent me more and more. She started to degrade me on a daily basis about my weight and my unemployment she started going out with her “friends” all night long and not coming home. She was constantly being mostly verbally and emotionally abusive to me although there were a few times that she busted my lip (because she knows I would never hit her back) she would tell me things like “you are too fat to find attractive anymore” and that she was “disgusted to have sex with me”. I did not have sex with my wife the whole last year we were married. I eventually found out she was cheating, although she will deny it to this day, ” I found nighties in her car and sex toys in her purse, that she was definitely not using with me but again she was out all night with her “friend”.
In October of 2012 I knew it was over, I got up one morning (as she was walking through the door from a night out mind you), made her and the kids breakfast; kissed them all good bye as I sent her off to work and the children off to school. As soon as they were out of sight I got a U-Haul packed my stuff and left, unfortunately during the move the kids came home and asked what was going on I took them in the apartment sat them down and said “this is not your fault, I will always love you 2 but you know Mamma has been pretty mean to me lately right” and her daughter said ” Mamma is really mean to you all the time”. If a 13 year old can see that, then obviously there was something wrong. So after talking to them I had my mom take the kids till my ex got home. when she did she called me and all she asked was “where’s my kids and where’s my bed”. A week later she served me with divorce papers.
After that I planned to lose weight out of spite because the whole time we were married she complained and put me down about me being fat but would never help me or support me in losing it. So now I wanted to show her that with a little support I could have lost any weight she wanted me to. At least that was the plan. The real kick in the ass for me though was one day I tried to cut my toe nails and got winded after clipping 2. I knew at that point it was really time to do something and realized how much of a toll a bad relationship can have on a person.
I started thinking that it was my fault she was so mean to me again, like if I would have just lost the weight we would have still been together. This is the problem with an abusive relationship the one being abused always s feels like “maybe if I just do this or that they will love me and be nice, maybe if I wasn’t this they we could be happy” NO….no one deserves to be abused, the reason people abuse others is simply because they don’t love you, love is unconditional. If they loved you it wouldn’t matter if you did this, that or the other. They do it because the love is gone and maybe was never there to begin with.
I was losing weight like crazy but I still felt like I was nothing…it wasn’t until I realized how to love myself for the big guy I was that I actually started the change. Once I did that my life became so amazing. Now I get to share this with others and help them do the same thing I did.
I know I’m kind of all over the place with this but I’m not a great writer so here’s a few facts to fill in the gaps:
- I wasn’t unemployed the whole time we were married for the most part i made decent money
- Based on our height and body types during the marriage she gained almost as much weight as i did
It’s not your fault, no one has any right to abuse another person especially the one that they are supposed to love. Start by finding love for yourself, you will never be able to love another until you learn to do that. It took me so long to realize this, there are still days that I get those feeling that I’m not worthy and not lovable but I now it’s just the scars still healing. I am worth loving, I’m worth being happy and I’m worth more than she will ever know but one day someone will see it.
Want to follow Ben’s journey?
Check out some pics below of Ben then….and Ben now….