I recently received a touching testimonial from a woman who found help from Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse, a book I wrote several years ago, and revised last year. In her testimonial, she expressed a desire to help others who have suffered similar pain.
With her permission, I am sharing her story, in her words, below:
I filed for separation from my husband. There was verbal abuse, lack of empathy, stonewalling, and plenty of other warning signs. I was able to see abusive patterns that I had grew up with from my step-dad. He raised me from the age of 5 years. When I was 11 his job had him gone all week, I was left at home alone with my invalid grandfather who was in his 80’s. I was beginning to see the emotional damage that those actions might have caused me.
The step-dad was very verbally abusive. Calling me stupid, yelling at me, ignoring me, and put-downs.
I married at age 17. Now I can see that I did that to get away from the abuse. The first marriage lasted 14 years. Looking back now I cannot remember much detail of the bad. I do know it is there because when I remarried I had to go through this huge custody trial. In that trial, the ex-husband was vicious. It was a yearlong litigation. Any time I had to talk to him in that first year I would get triggered, my body would get heated and I would freeze. Which tells me that I had a history with this man that was negative. Within that yearlong trial, I healed and did not get intimidated by his threats and games any longer. I started to see him as an irritation and insecure to act that way.
Therefore, after I was having a hard time in this second marriage, I started to think that I was repeating my past. However, this time I chose somebody whom was worse to the extreme. It was a big burden to feel the guilt that I did not see a pattern. The treatment from the second husband was so much worse.
After four years of couples counseling, one separation, and a lot of pain, one day at counseling I mentioned to the therapist that I tried an idea. My husband works from home and some of the ideas why he was getting upset with me could have been that I was trying to interact when he was focused. I knew that this seemed off. One day I went a whole day without talking to him. The next day I did try to interact. He blew up. At counseling I mentioned this; that it was any time I would try to talk to him. I asked her what this problem was. She leaned over and gently told him that she has seen Asperger traits in him!
Whew, I did go through the emotions of healing. Finally it had a name. I was then able to take a load off my shoulders and let go of the guilt for thinking I was living in a generational cycle. It was a hard thing to go through which for a while made me angry at what I endured, then I thought of how it brought me through the deepest deep and made me look at my past.
I have been separated from my husband for 9 months now. He has since been officially diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. I have done a great deal of healing. I am attending school working towards becoming a Registered Dietician. That is another thing to be thankful for — that the abuse and stress that goes with it pushed me to learn how to take care of myself with nutrition, diet, and exercise. I got into reading self-help books from Gottman, Dr. Weil, Dr. Mark Hyman and Dr. Amen. I found my passion for health. I knew that I was at risk if I drank to hide from my problems. I have several siblings who have heart problems, diabetes, and addictions from not coping with their problems. I made it through!
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