I never thought I was being abused by my husband for quite a while. The abuse was not physical. I had been raised in a physically abusive background and the beatings were what I knew as abuse. But as time went on, the name-calling, control, sexual abuse, and financial abuse (which I’d never heard of before) all worsened.

I have been hospitalized twice for attempted suicide and twice for breakdowns. I knew I was in trouble by then but didn’t know what to do or where to go. Not a lot of people believed the severity because, as you may know, there are no bruises or broken bones.

At one point I even tried to provoke my husband to hit me just so someone –anyone – would believe me. But the most physical he ever got with me was shoving or restraining me by pinning me down. This was not hard for him as I am only 5’4 and weighed just over 100 lbs. while he was 6’2 and nearly 300 lbs. I did call the RCMP four times over 19 years. All four times he was arrested, charged, and pled guilty. All four times, we separated for as long as a year.

The problem was that I always went back. I guess I wasn’t ready yet. I didn’t want to put up with the abuse anymore but I really missed the man I had fallen in love with. Plus, money was a big worry. I’ve finally left again and although I am not quite ready for the next step (divorcing him) I am ready to start my new life without him.

I miss my home and the village where I came from and sometimes I still miss my husband. What I do not miss is the abuse.

I will find out who I am again, the person I was before I met my husband, but I doubt we will ever reconcile. I have seen how my children grew up living with this. One of my children behaves just like my husband, and even abuses me physically.

If I had one piece of advice to give, it would be this: think of how your children are learning; they are innocent and do not deserve a life filled with any kind of abuse, even if they are not abused directly, they still suffer and learn.

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