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Curly

A Curly story

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Curly

It is a long time since I wrote my story and to the best of my knowledge it is no longer anywhere out there in cyberspace. Bits of it are there in my responses to others and some of it is just there in who I am now. My story is unique in it's own way and yet the same as many in others. Now just felt like a good time to do it again just as I am making big changes and taking some steps that are big ones for me.

The story of my abusive relationship began when I was 19. I had been quite sheltered and protected from the world up till that point. I had no real dating experience. I had very little exposure to men outside of my family. I was at the time learning to live my life independently in a big city away from family. My friends were in similar situations after having been in a boarding school.

I met a man. The attraction was instant. I “knew” he was the one. He was mysterious and exciting with a culture and race that differed to mine. He was a student here from another country to study.

The first incident I remember was at a party with him a month or so after we met we were offered drinks on arrival. A while later x asked if I wanted another drink and I said no as I didn't at that point. He did not ask me again. Maybe an hour later someone else offered me a drink and I accepted because by that time I did want one. X was quiet after that. He barely spoke to me for a couple of days. I had no idea why. I wondered if I had committed some cultural faux pas. He would not tell me.

In many ways he was amazingly kind and considerate in those early days. He would prepare meals for me and nothing was too much trouble.

We talked a lot about all sorts of things. He was interesting and appeared interested in what I had to say. In all that talk he did tell me some cultural things that he appeared to defy. That he was telling me who he was and how he would eventually treat me only became obvious later.

Even in the early days of the relationship some patterns were set. We often went to his friend's homes where he would expect me to sit quietly with nothing to do and no one to talk to as he and his friends talked and laughed speaking in a language I did not understand. He would get mad at me if I grew restless or complained. At other times he was supposedly only dropping in at a friend's for a minute and would expect me to wait in the car. The minute at times was as long as an hour and he would get mad if I came looking for him. I loved him. It never occurred to me that I could walk out of these situations and go home. I allowed this treatment partly thinking I was being unreasonable and also because I wanted to be with him. Seems quite silly now when it is clear I was not really with him those times anyway.

We saw a lot of his friends but we rarely ever saw my friends. He always had a reason or excuse. I gradually saw less of my friends as seeing them meant not seeing him. I really was totally obsessed with him. He was doing wrong by me yet in my mind he could do no wrong.

I came to learn that if I stepped on his toes in any way I would be treated to the silent treatment for a few days. I also learnt that I could never be sure where his toes were. The wrong expression, making a mistake, being right, wearing the wrong clothing and just being sometimes were “crimes”. I could not understand why I was so bad or why I kept failing him.

In those early days I would beg, plead, apologise and pretty much resort to anything to stop the silence. I had no pride or self respect. All that mattered to me was that he start talking to me again.

Silence was his most powerful weapon and he used it to punish and control.

Over the years other forms of abuse were used but silence was what he did best.

He broke things and threw things at times. A couple of times he threatened me physically so that I did fear for my life, the first of those being a hammer aimed at my head. Only once did he leave marks on me in all the years I was with him. I was pregnant with our second child at the time. It was in front of his sister and he was pulling at our then one year old son as though he were a tug o war rope all the while shouting and appearing out of control.

The elderly doctor I was seeing during that pregnancy was the first person to name what I was living with. He did try to warn me. He used the word abuse. I was not ready to hear. I made excuses for x.

Going back a bit there were other things along the way. I was accused of sleeping with a person I did not. x stole and kept a photo of mine that supposedly proved this. He kept that photo for over 25 years until I finally found it at a time I had the courage to take it back. It was a silly posed photo taken for fun with me and two male house mates in bed. Dumb maybe but quite innocent. That “crime” (his version) was dragged out and held over my head all the years I was with him.

There came a time when I thought we should settle down, marry and start a family. Even for me this was not until a few years after we first met but for him there was always a reason why not now. His reason was always because of some flaw or failing on my part. I remember being in my late twenties and x telling me that I was not ready for children yet. I now see it for the projection it was but at that time I had no clue. He did project a lot around many things. At the time those projections would have me going huh???? and wondering where his statements came from. Explanations were never forthcoming. He just knew these things.

We finally married around ten years after we first met. We married because his friends thought it time and I had stuck by him all those years. The wedding was a non event with a celebrant. I was judged by him to still not ready for kids even then.

Time passed and I watched as everyone we knew started families. I wanted a child so much. He had never trusted me sexually even when I was on the pill. He still took his own precautions. Finally when one of his friends announced they also had a child on the way it was a last straw for me. I cried and cried. I told him I was leaving him because to have a child was important to me and the clock was ticking away. I was almost 33. I was pregnant that cycle. My oldest arrived before I reached 34. The second arrived just over a year later.

I was the mother left alone most of the day in the hospital with my new baby. I had an emergency c-section. I got to watch as other dads were around attending to their partners while mine appeared for half an hour during visiting times.

He was mainly a hands off father. He never bathed, changed or dressed the kids. He would occasionally hold them. He would make a point of spoon feeding them later as it is the custom in his culture to feed children till they are at least 7 or 8. He did not really ever listen to them or play with them.

Through all this the other issues continued with some things getting much worse. As he did none of the real parenting I made the choice to stay home with the kids. To put two into child care would have eaten up my earnings in any case. Financial abuse stepped up. He found ways to ensure that his income was largely tied up so that even though he was earning a professional wage we were living in poverty. I made my children clothes out of scrap material I had. We barely had enough to keep food on the table. Utilities being cut off was a constant issue.

Everything had to be his way. He spent money on things we did not need and could not afford. He took and used the financial safety net I had to buy himself a computer. It was a lot of money back in the 80s. Never happened according to him.

Once I was busy with kids I had neither the time or the energy to run after him to try to fix whatever the perceived wrong was that I was getting the silent treatment for. The periods of silent treatment got longer and longer stretching out to up to 4 months at a time. The silence went for as long as he decided. Complete silence without a yes or a no. Nothing. Just a sour face, body language that said see me I am ignoring you and tension. His family knew but accepted it as just him. They would be subjected to it at times too. I was by then isolated. My friends had given up. I was alone.

Other things got worse too. There were accidents where I was the one hurt and it was always my fault because I should have known what he did not tell me. Like the time he just let go of the cast iron bath, we were putting back in it's frame, so it trapped my fingers. Pretty much everything I did was wrong. My mother was in another city not far away but she would have nothing to do with x nor he with her. I could not tell her the truth. Too ashamed and thinking it all my fault. I had no friends and had learnt that I was not to encourage any. We saw his friends and family. His friends and family all being from his country, culture and language.

We visited. We had people over. For the most part other than “hello Kathy how are you” I was excluded. People who were fluent in English would follow x's lead and not speak a word or English. If we were the guests mostly I was just ignored other than when drinks or food were offered. There were a couple of exceptions. When we were the hosts I found it hard to know when to even interrupt to offer drinks or to invite everyone to eat because I did not know where conversation was at.

There were many people I met many times in their homes and mine over a period of more then twenty years and other than their names I never was allowed to know them and they did not know me. I was invisible. Unheard and unseen.

There were other things he did to me. Much of it covert and or passive. Crazy making. Some of it just plain emotional cruelty where he would have this sick smirk on his face. He enjoyed my pain and distress.

He used to torment our pets particularly my dog. The gentlest sweetest little Cavalier would have his whiskers pulled, lemon zest or chilli put in his eyes. Just mean things always with this sick smirk.

As the boys got older they also became targets. He would start by teasing them or just slapping them on the back so it hurt (for no reason) until he got a response or reaction from them. At that point he would slap them or punish them for getting upset. My oldest was whacked on the head by x in one of these episodes. He was 10 at the time and required stitches as x split the skin on his head. X did try to prevent me getting medical help even though the bleeding was not stopping. My son and I had to come up with a story for the doctor before he let us seek treatment. I asked my son to lie for his father. I do understand where my head space was at the time but this is one of the things I found the hardest to forgive myself for. My son knows it happened and he has a scar that is visible when his hair is short but he does not remember the incident.

After this incident I asked my kids to try to not react to their father's teasing and tormenting. The oldest did this very successfully but his younger brother could not. The youngest became the main target and was tormented regularly. My youngest had issues at school. He had issues completing any tasks because he would be invariably judged lacking by his father. Things deteriorated between father and the youngest to the point where a few years on I had a 13yo who wanted his father dead and was thinking about ways to achieve this end. There were increasingly frequent and violent fights between father and son.

There were many things he did to harm the boys. X would make it clear that spending family time with them or that being part of the boys birthdays or other special occasions was to him a waste of time. He had no understanding or interest in who they were. He had unrealistic expectations for them. He ridiculed anything they enjoyed or were good at that he did not value. In his view they should study, eat and sleep and nothing else. He would say they are not real people.

There is much much more to this story. It covered 28 years of my life. I was 19 but almost 20 when I met x. The boys and I moved out never to return 2 days before my 48th birthday. At the time I held out some hope that there was something that could be fixed. Two months out I knew there was to be no going back.

I had known for a few years that what I was dealing with was abuse but I did not understand how deep that mindset is within the abuser. I did think that it was something that could be fixed. It took me some time to understand that it was not something that could be repaired.

I had thought of leaving, and even made plans a few times but had not made it out the door. When he knew of my intentions family and friends would show up to convince me to stay. In the end I made it out by telling no one. I did tell the boys about a week before as I just could not see it would be fair to not tell them that I could not stay with their father. I organised a self drive truck for a day x was working and the boys were home on vacation. The three of us loaded up what we could and what we needed, anything that had been mine before I moved in with x and anything that was from my family. We actually made two trips.

We did not go far and we did go to a house x knew of as it was mine. We were totally exhausted and had no clue how we were going to unload the final load from the truck. I had some wonderful neighbours. They did already know me. They basically took over and got everything off that truck. I had been slowly doing repairs on that house and had kept it empty for around 3 years. X had also pressured me many times to sell it. I am so glad I did have that house. It was tiny and less than ideal but it was mine and for the first time in years I had peace and could leave double standards and eggshells behind.

X came home to a house with no family and much of the contents gone. He found a note that stated “Enough is enough, we have gone.” He threw pretty much everything we had left out of the house and into the driveway. Family members did come when he called them and talk him in to taking some of it back inside.

X did play nice for the first couple of months. He did help us and try to convince me to come back. He was never one for calling or checking. He was an out of sight out of mind kind. He took to calling at least daily to talk. The man who could not talk in the past talked a lot and even said he did some things wrong. He cried often. Never cried before. He cried for him not for the hurt he inflicted on us. I listened to him talk. I listened beyond the words to tone and context and my gut said no, no more, nothing has changed. The day came when I said I will not be coming back. He made threats. Vague hard to pin down threats that he would harm the boys. He has not spoken to me since.

The 19th of April 2009 it will be nine years since we loaded up that truck. One of the hardest days of my life but also the best thing I have done.

There has been counselling, emotional turmoil and many struggles along the way over those last 9 years but it has been worth it. I have me back. I can be me. My boys are themselves and have been able to choose their own life directions. The three of us still carry scars but none of us regret leaving.

It has taken me a long time to realise that I do have a voice. I am heard. I am not invisible or worthless. I do have valid thoughts and opinions. I am a worthwhile human being. I still have moments of self doubt that have nothing to do with the facts or evidence in front of me.

Over four and a half years ago I was invited to the admin team of that other place. My first reaction was to say no. I was not worthy or capable. For some reason I sat with it and thought some and started to think that maybe, just maybe I could offer something. Those who asked me appeared to believe in me or why ask. I was not used to having anyone believe in me and it did feel good.

Not long before that I had started reaching out a bit more to people behind the scenes as well as on the board. I made a solid connection with a person who posted as free123. A friendship grew. We challenged, encouraged and applauded each other. I expanded my contacts and and friendships forming another very close bond along the way. I was wanting to meet these people for real. Free123 and Rocky had made a huge impact on me. In 2007 I eventually made it to the US but sadly a meeting with free123 was not to be. I knew she was seriously ill but I held on to the hope that I would get to see her up till the day she died. Both these people played a key role in me learning to trust again and to realise that I was OK and likeable.

Stormy also inadvertently played a part in my healing also with a post she had made to another member. It was a post about self forgiveness and it was exactly what I needed at the exact right time. It was what I needed to overcome one of my biggest obstacles to healing and loving myself.

My healing is my own but it is also tied up inextricably with this community. Many members past and present both here and long gone from over there played a role. When you post to one person you never really know how many others you may help with your words. Not every post will hit the mark. Some although wonderful in their content may not be what the intended recipient relates to but it could still be that it is just perfect for another who reads it.

The last couple of years I have started to rejoin the world in earnest. I had been almost a recluse for a few years. My trip to the US was a huge leap outside of my comfort zone. It was a gamble in that I was going to spend a fair bit of time with Rocky with no idea if we would be OK together in real life. I was going to be meeting quite a lot of people that I knew but yet didn't. That turned out to be the most wonderful and amazing thing I have done in my life. Not long before that I had also flown up to Queensland to spend a week with five other Australian forum members and that was equally wonderful in it's own right.

I am currently doing a course that will see me manning the phones as a volunteer for an organisation called WIRE. It is an information and referral service specifically for women. It's approach is about empowering women who call or drop in. It is about listening, encouraging and validating women and questioning them in such a way that they find their own answers.

I know x could control his behaviours and that he chose to do what he did. He did not use the silent treatment on me for most of the last 5 or 6 years I was with him because I had said I would leave him if he did. Instead though he stepped up other abusive behaviours. I do not believe he could change his mindset even if he wanted. I do believe it is hard wired in his brain. Now for the most part he is out of sight and out of mind. The anger is gone. I do not care about him. I see him for the broken man he is.

He did come very close to killing me from the inside out. On April 19 2000 a shell of Kathy ran for her life just before the last flickering flame of me faded. I was at a point where I existed. I did not live. I think it was only because of my boys that the flame was even flickering at all. For 28 years I had no name. X did not call me Kathy. He had no pet name for me. He did not call me insulting or rude names. He never used any name for me except when forced to introduce me. He would just start talking if I was in the room. If I was not he would bellow “Where are you?”

In early December 2001 I stumbled on to that other forum. It felt like home. People understood me and I them. Very early on I started signing my real name on my posts as I still do. I have a name and it is part of who I am. I am Kathy and I am not invisible and I am worthwhile. I matter.

My love and thanks of appreciation to all those who reached out to me and have helped me along the way. There are many I now count as friends. I do think I am fortunate to have stumbled across some of the most wonderful caring and compassionate people in the world.

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blank

Kathy, thank you so much for sharing this. Some of this I had gleaned from other posts in other places. Much of it I did not know.

You are so brave, so caring, so considerate. It is an honor to know you. Your koala hugs have meant more to more people than you could ever know. Thank you for being you. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and your strength, your compassion and your perseverance. You are a very special lady.

Many, many hugs.

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vpc

Kathy, thank you for sharing that. I've never read your story as a story before.

I've read bits and pieces and heard bits and pieces during our chats. I didn't read anything above that I didn't already know, but reading what you wrote, really gave me a sense of what your life with him must have been like.

I simply can't imagine it and can't imagine I would have survived 28 years of that.

What shines through, is who you are.

For those of you who haven't met Curly/Kathy, there is a joy that emanates from her. She sparkles and glows and has the most wonderful smile.

And your courage and tenacity is more than evident in your words above.

Yes, you are no longer invisible and you were never meant to be invisible.

I'm so glad you are the courageous woman that you are. And so glad to have you as a friend.

V :wub:

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percolate

Kathy,

I am so glad you found your voice. I'm familiar with your story but it's still very powerful! And your courage in leaving will give others hope that they too can escape and find their own voices.

I am so glad that you've begun to grow wings, we've all gained from your reaching out and making contact with others.

You are a special friend and one that I wish lived closer.

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Stormy

(((((((((((((((((((((((Kathy)))))))))))))))))))))

I am happy to count you as a friend. I am particularly glad that you escaped before that last flicker of 'you' was extinguished. Your voice is priceless. Thank God you found it again.

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Becky

((((Kathy)))) I have tears in my eyes! This is so eloquent! Thank you for telling your story.

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Curly

:grouphugg: Blank, V, Perc, Stormy and Becky I love all of you. You all know how to say positive and affirming things to people. You are all special and unique. I do count myself extremely lucky to be able to call you all friends.

I came from a space where I really had no one to call friend. No one close that x did not influence. That said some of those who were there during that time have maintained a friendship despite him. His sister and her husband and kids in particular now have a friendship with me that he can no longer influence. While I was with him his hold on them did make a difference. Culturally he has a power over position with them but once I left they were in a better position to make their own choices in relation to me.

I did not believe I knew how to be a friend. I did not believe I had anything to offer as a friend. I thought I was the most boring uninteresting person on the planet. When I first came to the other board it would have never entered my head that one day I would be one of the admins or that one day I would count members of that group as my friends. It certainly never entered my head that I would not only get to meet some of those people but get to stay with them in their homes. Perc many times I wish this world would shrink so that those I care about were not so far away. I love that I have been able to meet or at least talk to so many but sometimes nothing beats a real hug or being able to see people face to face and make eye contact.

These days I do appear to have a reputation for smiling and/or laughing and giggling. I guess I have come a long way to actually feel I do have good reason to smile and laugh. I do like being around people now. Not the centre, but rather with people. I am finding it easier to trust again although I do not know if I will get to the point of trusting a man to get close. I am not sure if I will be ever able to open myself to an intimate relationship that way. At this point it is not something I feel I need although at times I do think it would be nice. I am still very protective of the space I had to fight for, the space to be me, to find me and know me. I know there are good men, wonderful men out there. It is me trusting myself to know that is still an issue.

Just talked to Rocky before and I mentioned I had done this. She had also thought about writing her story before we came to Our Place. I had been thinking of it then too but never quite got to it. I am glad neither of us did. I much prefer that my story is here. Rocky's too if she is able to do it one day.

Yesterday doing it just suddenly felt right so I did. I don't know if any of the new people do wonder where those of us who have been around came from. I do think it can help if our stories are there written from a point further down the road. I think for those of us who have some time and distance between us and the abuse showing others where we came from and where we are now can bring hope that life can be better.

I believe many people tend to think of people who experience DV or abuse as being weak. My experience here is that those who experience abuse tend to be incredibly strong people who are also amongst the most intelligent, compassionate and wonderful people around.

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tenderheart

Kathy

Thank you for sharing this story. I always wondered about you and your story and now I know. Thank you for putting it back out there. It was very touching in many ways...sad and troubling too...but I'm so glad you found your way out...and that is the best part.

I wanted to know how your children are doing now? If you care to share...I would be interested in hearing. And...how about your dog? When people are cruel to animals it makes me even more angry because animals are very helpless in so many ways...what a mean man for what he did to her, too!

Hugs to you Kathy...

TH

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Curly

TH The truth is that my sons each in their own way do have some issues that I certainly believe are the result of the abuse they grew up with. They were 13 and 14 when we left so not little ones.

My younger one was extremely angry for a long time. For a few years he had nothing at all to do with his father. I neither encouraged or discouraged his choice to not see his father. My son did take out a lot of anger on me. He did try slapping me and I told him right off what would happen if he ever did that again. I told him that if he ever laid a hand on me I would involve the police. Maybe a year later he blocked me to rant at me. I tried to get past and he pushed me. I went to the police. It was close by. He was gone by the time I came back. I did not ask them to do anything I just talked to them and told them what happened. No official report. It was however enough for my son to know that I would carry through. He did come back the following day.

My younger son's behaviour toward me was atrocious. He was rude. He yelled and ranted. He defied my attempts at discipline. Sometimes the only way I got him to stop his tirades was by leaving the house. He is a bright boy and he was in a selective school but he was doing the bare minimum. He was threatened with expulsion. He was in other ways not a bad boy. He was liked by other people. His anger was for the most part directed at me. He did finish school and well enough to get into the course of his choice. He is now 22 and has settled down a lot. I can have conversations with him now where there was a time I just wouldn't or couldn't because the second I opened my mouth he turned the conversation in to being about how stupid I am. He is quieter and calmer now but I do think that he still has abusive tendencies. He is still studying and working part time. He has a few friends. He has some interests. He did have a girlfriend for a while but has nothing going that way now. He has his moments when he can be helpful and considerate. I can joke and have fun with him. He is using my maiden name because he does not want to carry his father's name. He does however occasionally see his father.

My older boy was for the most part easy to get on with, easy to live with and rarely caused me any distress. He was involved with sports and other activities and doing quite well at school although also probably not up to his maximum potential. The main issue I have had with him are with some passive aggressive behaviours. He finished high school with very good results and got into a very good course. He did let things slide and just got by up until the last year or so when he has suddenly decided to apply himself to his studies. He is 23 but has never had a serious girlfriend. He does however have a wide circle of friends and he maintains these friendships over long periods of time. He is popular and out going. He does see his father more regularly than his brother but it appears to be more of a shared interest connection than a father son relationship.

Both boys are not exactly what I would call emotionally available though. There is no closeness between the brothers and neither of them are what I would consider close to me either although they are both still living with me. For them to still live at home is the norm here in Australia. I do think that their emotional shut down is directly related to the way their father treated them. They were punished or ridiculed for showing or expressing any feelings.

Neither boy would go for counselling. I did try for several years to get them to go but here the policy is that therapists will only see teens if they are willing. A youth worker did work with Brandon for a bit and may have had some success had the program not been cut.

TH I know you have been having issues with your son. I can't say if your son will also settle down. I just know mine have settled down a lot. They do still have issues and scars. At this point I do not know if either of them will ever form healthy relationships, marry or have families.

In some areas I did have to let my sons face up to the consequences of their own choices. I could not physically drag my son out of bed (youner one only) and force him to school but if he refused to get up and go I left him to face the music at school. I did not cover for him. Had they come to expel him I would have let that happen. Harsh as it may seem I think sometimes you have to step back and let them mess up and deal with the consequence.

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Buzzkitty1

Thank you for sharing your story, Curly. It was very compelling to read. I'm sorry for all you endured, but so glad you are where you are now.

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Curly

Buzz I am glad to be where I am now too. I would prefer that I had not had to live the way I did all those years and I wish my kids had not grown up with what they did but I also know that I have the most amazing friends in my life now and without living what I did I would have not met any of them.

TH I forgot to reply about the dog. Actually there were two he tormented but not at the same time. The first one did die indirectly because of a choice x made. The second one Charlie was bought by x because he knew he had messed up big time. Charlie eventually died of heart failure at around 12. I refused to have another dog from that point on. Rightly or wrongly I explained to the boys why I would not bring a dog into the house. They did understand I believe as they used to be distressed by seeing what their father would do to Charlie. We still had cats but they did a better job of avoiding x. Charlie was way too trusting and forgiving for his own good. A few years later x's sister got a dog. They named him after Charlie.

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tenderheart
Buzz I am glad to be where I am now too. I would prefer that I had not had to live the way I did all those years and I wish my kids had not grown up with what they did but I also know that I have the most amazing friends in my life now and without living what I did I would have not met any of them.

TH I forgot to reply about the dog. Actually there were two he tormented but not at the same time. The first one did die indirectly because of a choice x made. The second one Charlie was bought by x because he knew he had messed up big time. Charlie eventually died of heart failure at around 12. I refused to have another dog from that point on. Rightly or wrongly I explained to the boys why I would not bring a dog into the house. They did understand I believe as they used to be distressed by seeing what their father would do to Charlie. We still had cats but they did a better job of avoiding x. Charlie was way too trusting and forgiving for his own good. A few years later x's sister got a dog. They named him after Charlie.

First, I am heartbroken about the dogs. Dogs truly are a mans best friend...yanno? They keep going back even if they are treated like dirt, abused, kicked around...poor things. It just upsets me.

I am also wanting to respond to your answer about how your sons are doing. I do have to get moving here though cause i have to take care of my grandma and drive some groceries down to her today and it's later hear already...so I'm going to go and when I get back I would like to respond to what you said about your sons.

Thanks you so much for taking the time to answer me on that question. I appreciate it, Curly.

I'll write later as soon as I can.

Hugs to you Curly.

TH

PS: You are an amazing woman for getting out of that mess and being who you are today. Many would have crumbled and you just seem to be stronger. For myself, I know I am really struggling to hold on to me and my abuse wasn't half as bad as yours. I'll write soon.

(((((Curly))))

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woundedbuthealing

Kathy,

Thanks so much for sharing your story. You've always been so encouraging and helpful to me, and I've appreciated your involvement here so much.

Your story is an inspiration to me. You endured a great deal, and have emerged as a strong, loving, and giving person. It gives me hope that one day I can be as inspirational to others as you've been to so many here.

Hugs,

~wbh

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tenderheart

Curly,

Hi. Thank you for responding about your sons'.

Yes. I am having issues with my son so to hear what has happened to yours gives me some perspective. I know it's not what will happen to my son...but it could essentially happen the same way.

I am sorry your boys had to suffer how they did. I am so angry at your ex. AND...what bothers me the most is how our kids can still have relationships with their abusive fathers after how they saw them treat their mother AND treat them! But it must be some type of law because I have sort of known for a long time that kids will love their parents no matter what. They could burn them...and the kids would come back.

My son has been treated so horribly by his father that he, like your younger one, has talked about things I'd rather not discuss on here. He, my son, is filled with anger, too. My son's dad was and is the most antagonistic ahole I have known besides my ex-abuser. He would antagonize my son to tears many times during his upbringing...get in his face and threaten him...try to goad a kid on to hit him so he could call the police on him and then lie to the police about it to get him in trouble. Luckily, so far, my son hasn't touched his dad...but believe me there are two years to go...and then some. One day I fear his dad will push him too far.

I often tell my son to get back, to get even by "succeeding." The best revenge is "success." That is a saying I hear Oprah say...and I truly believe it. There is nothing more than my son's dad would love than to see my son fail so he can berate him and cut him down some more. I want my son to be in his dad's face with success and rise above ...way above his loser father. But my son doesn't seem to get that yet!

My son also refuses counseling. Counselors won't force a child to talk if we make them go...but they will force them to sit in the room even if they choose not to talk. Eventually, the kid cracks...but I bet it takes time with the real stubborn ones.

My sons moron dad has turned my son completely against counseling. My son doesn't like to sit in a room and just "talk." My son says exactly what his dad says, "It doesn't even work..." Duh...it's not going to work if you don't try to get the help and then to help yourself with the new information you get.

My counselor is going to try and help me find ways to get my son to willingly come in so it sticks. I don't have much faith...but what else do I have. If my son doesn't get help now...it will fester over the years and ruin all his relationships.

Curly, it makes me sad to know your boys didn't get help. They may be okay...but deep down they are wounded from their childhood. My counselor says (and I knew this already but he just reinforced my thoughts) that the more anger there is in my son...the deeper he's been hurt...the more pain there is within his heart." Yes. Anger doesn't just happen. It comes from someplace...in this case...it's the pain and heartache.

Thank you for sharing how your sons' are doing today. I am not holding out hope for my son to go to counseling...but I still hope and pray that a miracle of some sort will happen here.

My heart is sad for what your young boys had to endure. I wish we could somehow go back and make it better for them.

Hugs to you, Curly.

Love

TH

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Esme

Tears are rolling down my cheeks after reading your story, but there are tears on the inside as well. You are an incredibly loveable interesting compassionate wise person who gives so much of value to others... herself.

What he did was criminal, a crime against a human spirit. With no light within him, he invaded you with the tendrils of a vampiric parasite to feed off of your heart.

I have faith for your sons, Kathy. You're walking a new path that is groundbreaking, and leaving markers to guide the way, if they so choose. It's clearly a better path to take, and it's now there, forevermore, for them to choose. You have given this to them.

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Misari

Kathy, you are an inspiration i am very glad i have come here and had the oppertunity to meet you. Thank you for being exactly who you are!

~prays for all the sons and daughters that get hurt and broken, i pray that they all find themselves and stop the cycle~

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habitual dieter
I believe many people tend to think of people who experience DV or abuse as being weak. My experience here is that those who experience abuse tend to be incredibly strong people who are also amongst the most intelligent, compassionate and wonderful people around.

(((( Cathy ))))

YOU are certainly all of the above!!

You have helped so many here and at the other place with your wisdom, myself included.

I suffered the silent treatment and i know how soul destroying it is. I was never one who could 'detatch ' from it.

I wanted to cry while reading your story and visualising your pain and anguish over the years.

Thank you so much for sharing your story here.

Many hugs.

Joanne

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Curly

I originally shared my story to reduce the past's hold over me. With each telling of my story or parts of it the telling became easier. Now in some ways it is almost like telling the story of another person although I know it is my story. At this point most of the pain is gone. Only occasionally is there something that triggers me.

I don't think my story is the typical abuse story but then I am also not sure if there is a typical abuse story. The only constant I know of is that is some form or other what is done by one partner to the other is about control in some way.

I think our stories are important as they do show up the similarities and also the differences in the way we were abused and also the way we experienced and dealt with it. I think our stories are important also because if those just starting on the journey of discovery read them they are likely to find things they relate to so they know that they are not alone and that what they are feeling is normal for an abnormal situation.

Personally I have taken some big steps this year. I completed the training to volunteer for WIRE. I am now doing my probation shifts as a phone worker responding to women callers with all kinds of issues, many of them DV and abuse related. It is not a counselling service but is rather about listening to them and encouraging them to explore their options and find their own solutions. Once at that point then we can offer referrals to any services they may need to achieve their goal. For a person who has been afraid of making phone calls this is big.

At this point though my biggest challenge is still to actually believe in myself.

I have no desire to change my life. I was unhappy and in danger of losing myself but I have a lot of things and people in my life now that I would not have had if anything had been different. This part of my life has so much of value that I would not want to have missed.

If my story or the stories of the others here help others I am certainly happy for that.

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Guest Dani82

Hi Cathy, I know i haven't been on here long,

It's just i was reading your story, my heart goes out to you. I hate to think that you and your children were treated so badly, I am really glad that you found the strength and courage to leave.

Reading this, and seeing how strong you have become, it shows me that there is still hope out there for my own situation.

All the best, Dani

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Sylvia

Oh, Kathy, Kathy, Kathy.

Thank you so much for sharing.

Incredible journey we have been on, isn't it?

Thank God that part is over.

Bells were going off when I read your story. I can relate to so much

of it.

The first incident with the drink and silent treatment--Ding Ding

Not having a name--REFUSED to say my name, esp. when he was in a rage. gives me shivers remembering that.

Being a recluse - I have been SEVERELY isolated. I opted out of life.

The flickering candle almost going out. :huh: I've used that analogy many times.

No visible wounds but bleeding to death just the same. :(

I hate that this happened to you, Curly!! It's crazy. Some of the gentlest, most generous people are being used and abused.

But he could not kill you, Curly. You SURVIVED! And you are back, better than ever.

Just INCREDIBLY AWESOME about the WIRE gig.

You'll be wonderful doing that, Curly!

(((((((((( We Love You ))))))))))

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free2bme

Kathy,

You are an inspiration to me. And you are a beautiful, strong person. I hope your story helps many who're still in, to get out and to see their beauty and potential to live and be free, and I hope it helps many who're out to see how courageous and beautiful they are too.

Thank you for sharing your story with us. You've made something ugly into something beautiful.

Linny

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Bewitched

Kathy,

I am feeling sick inside myself. It is not just your story, though that is definitely the trigger. I think it is closer to you mentioning that there is not a typical abuse story. I have only read your story, and Stormy's, and a little of Dani's from the main forum....but it has evoked a feeling in my gut , and a lump in my throat that I cannot swallow away. The work you do here is sooo important. Thank you.

That people do this to each other makes me feel ill. x's treatment of you, your babies and your pets is despicable. Whether he knew better or not. Whether it is cultural or not.

Thank God you had the strength to leave. And to live.

Now to work out what to do with that lump in my throat...maybe just feel it and acknowledge it.

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