Editor’s Note: The following article is an excerpt from my manuscript detailing my own abuse. Please see “My Story of Abuse” under the category link.
After six months of dating, Michael confessed to me that he had broken his ex’s back accidentally. Seems they got into physical altercations with each other pretty easily. Michael has a very bad temper and they were arguing. Michael tried to leave to keep from hitting his ex and she jumped onto his back while he was trying to get out the door. There was a staircase as soon as you opened the front door and Michael told me he got ahold of her and tried to set her down on the steps; she stiffened and hit her back on the steps breaking it.
He confessed to smacking her in the face because she wouldn’t leave him alone. I was really taken back and thought what have I gotten myself into—he’s an abuser! So, I tread lightly from that point on with Michael. I was beginning to re-think this relationship even though I believed I loved him. I had gone through a lot in my life and a man beating on me was not acceptable.
Michael started getting very critical of me and growing more intolerant of Joshua by the day. I think he didn’t approve of the type person Joshua was—boys were supposed to be rough and tough and play sports. Joshua was none of those things and to top it off he started playing piano (self-taught). He took to it like a duck to water and had an incredible ear. He was quite good at playing and composing.
That didn’t set well with Michael either—sissy’s played piano. So, he was really getting under my skin. He wanted to start disciplining Joshua and I quickly put a stop to it. His own son was scared to death of him and I wasn’t going to subject my son to such a tyrant. Things were not going well between Michael and I. Then, he would push to get married and I thought there’s no way in hell I’m marrying you.
We decided to do something fun just for the two of us. So, we took up western-style line dancing classes. The first couple of classes were fun and we were trying hard to be proficient at dancing. We practiced at home between the lessons. One evening we were practicing and I accidentally stepped on his foot—I laughed, but he was ticked off. He screamed at me for a few minutes and I left and went back upstairs to Joshua.
We had been discussing taking the boys to Disney World in Florida. It had been a shared dream and we wanted to go soon before Joshua was too old to appreciate it. Michael told me we would go dutch on this vacation—I agreed and it was most costly to stay down there for a week. But, I really wanted to take the boys, so I agreed. And, I thought a change of scenery may be what our relationship needed.
Michael was also upset because I’d picked up about ten pounds cooking extravagant meals for him and the kids. He kept taunting me about the weight gain and watched everything I ate. One night, I was doing dishes after dinner and Michael just come and stood behind me. I asked him what he was doing. He said, “I’m standing here watching you.” I replied, “Gee Michael I feel like I’m a mouse and you’re the cat waiting to pounce on me when I do something wrong. He said, “Well, I wouldn’t have to wait long for that—would I? My discomfort with him was growing instead of lessening. We had been dating for a couple of years by now.