This I Believe

Sandra - Statesboro, Georgia
Entered on July 17, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: fear, love, setbacks
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After living in an abusive home with an abusive partner I still believe in love. I now know that what we had was not of love but of control. I was with an abusive man for four and a half years and he constantly told me he loved me. He would hit me, kick me, choke me and beat me near senseless and later tell me how sorry he was and how very much he loved me. I wondered how in the world could he love me and treat me like a boxing partner. After a while I would tell myself there is no way this is love. I thought “this man is real confused because this can’t be love.”

There are so many kinds of love. There is the love I have for my parents, my siblings, my kids, my friends, and my spouse. All of these are very different in content. The love for my kids is unwavering and unconditional. The love for my friends normally consists of a congenial trust. The love for my siblings is genetically bound. The love for my parents includes respect and admiration. Finally the love for a spouse is the romantic, emotional, moonstruck, starry-eyed love I dreamt of as a child. I thought I had found that in my “Prince Charming” that had come into my life to snatch me up and whisk me away. Ok. So mine was more like the “Prince of Darkness,” I thought I’d found my prince. I had no idea at the time that he wasn’t at all what I dreamed he would be.

I was in love and it felt so good. Things were great in the beginning. My prince was so charming. He was delightfully witty. I loved when he’d tell me childhood stories. They were always indigenous and hilarious. He wanted me to give up my place I was renting and combine our resources since we were a couple now. I was taken he said. It made good sense so I did that. We would talk a lot. Open communication seemed to be easy for the two of us. It was like I drew him in through every pore of my body. Soon some rules began to be laid such as not talking to my girlfriends. He said they were all out chasing men and I didn’t need to be hanging around with them getting into trouble. That sounded reasonable. They were all single and I wasn’t anymore. Before long those stories I had grown to love turned into sermons. The sermons soon turned into lectures. The lectures turned into verbal bashing. Verbal bashing turned into screaming. Screaming turned into cursing and from there commenced the physical abuse.

My “Prince Charming,” that loved me so much, called me names (awful, unspeakable names) and cut me down. It went from every now and then to all the time – everyday. I couldn’t do anything right. In his eyes I did the laundry wrong, washed dishes wrong, vacuumed wrong, dusted the furniture wrong, used too many squares of toilet paper and the list goes on and on. It got to be such a nightmare that I crept around the house as if walking on eggshells all the time. One time he was taking a nap and I had on bell bottom jeans. I was walking through the living room and he got up yelling and cursing because the swooshing of my bell bottoms together kept him from sleeping. It got bad around our house. The tension worsened along with apprehension and anxiety, so did the beatings.

You must be thinking, what does this have to do with still believing in love? Everything I tell you. I may be broken in the physical sense but not in the spiritual sense. I still do believe in love. I am not currently looking for love. These events are pretty fresh still, but I want to experience love again. I will never give up on love. No matter what kind of love is in my life at the time, parent, kids, friends etc. I am always in love to some degree. And I could not exist without it. Why get up in the mornings if I have no love in my heart for someone or something. I think without love our bodies would shut down and eventually shut off. Some people may seem like they have no love for anyone or anything but that’s not true. If it were, they wouldn’t still be here. I believe that. Some people may have no reguard for others. Deep down inside even these people must feel love even if it is only a tiny spark. Without it I feel hurt, pain, anger, sadness, joy, happiness and such emotions have no basis.

I think it is out of love that people make both bad and good decisions. People do evil out of love gone bad and people do good out of being inspired by love. As profound as it may sound, I love my abuser. I pray for him. Hate and anger will not make him well, but the love of God and others can lead him to wellness. I urge others to try and love those who’ve wronged them. That does not mean to be in company with them or put yourself in danger. However, you can love them enough to pray for there well being. Never let anyone take the love from your heart. You own the rights to that. Don’t ever give those rights up. No matter what you go through in life, you can make it through with the love of God, others and yourself.

Love is the essence of life. No one can ever beat me out of it. I believe love for myself and my daughter got me out of the potential deadly situation her and I were in and love is definitely keeping us from returning to it. In some of my worst moments when I doubted love, I always came to the realization by being able to feel love, and experience love, I can still believe in love.