Chris and I were married for about two and a half years ... we got married at 19 were divorced by 21 ... It's not weird to be married at 19 in our Mormon culture ... Yet I was a free spirit, although I was too afraid to say so. I dreamed of flying free ... being my own person ... but my inability to say "no" tied me down. Throughout my life I constantly surrounded myself with people who have a type A personality ... my mother (no choice) ... my best friend (still friends ... 20 years strong!) ... other friends ... and now Chris. I tried to break up with Chris a few times before we got married. Once before he followed me up to school ... once I actually did breakup with him fall of our freshman year, but that only lasted a week because I couldn't handle someone being that unhappy ... so I put his happiness above my own from that point on. What is difficult for a person with type B personality is that most of the time they have the disease to please ... wanting everyone around them to be happy before their own happiness ... that was me. I dreamed of being the leader ... tried sometimes ... it worked with people who also have a type B personality ... but usually what happened was I let people steamroll me when it really came down to it.
With that in mind ... I will say that I don't think that it was all Chris' fault. The divorce, the abuse ... I enabled him to do that ... and he was wrong for doing it ... two to tango every time.
I digress ... marriage was great for six months ... I was not the all-star housewife to any degree ... but we made it work. Towards the end of the first six months things started to get rough ... I had quit my job three months earlier ... after only three months ... because I did not want to be associated with working at Wal-Mart ... and aside from homework ... ok ... I even rarely did homework ... I hardly did anything. when people would come over I would shove the dirty dishes in the bathtub ... yea ... it was that bad ... but i was only 19! no excuses ... I chose to get married. When I look back on it now I think my laziness was a combination of a couple of things ... my mother did most things for me growing up ... and I was rebelling against the cage that I had just put myself in. But that didn't mean I was going to give up ... we got sealed for eternity and eternity it would last. When things started to get rough I started looking for a job again ... started cleaning more ... started cooking more ... but it was a little too late ... the blackness had already begun to seep.
Chris allowed me to take on this more homemaker roll ... he loved it ... the house was clean ... and he didn't have to lift a finger. Three months later I got a new job ... and we moved to become apartment managers. Little red flags about the impending bumpy road popped up everywhere. We got new furniture ... but it was what he liked ... I hated it ... it didn't matter. I was doing his homework ... at least writing a lot of his papers. Sex had to happen everyday ... or else he was super grumpy for days. He would do little things to keep me happy ... like getting a dog ... or even just earrings ... but then those acts would be held over my head whenever I asked him to help a little more (more like screamed it), to which he would reply that I am the woman. We fought everyday (that is not an exaggeration) ... I remember our first fight ... it was early in our dating months ... after that there was a fight everyday (I apologize to my neighbors who ever lived around us ... that big white house has crazy thin walls ... and you heard almost all of it).
Soon my whole life was being controlled. I was working sixty plus hours a week, going to school full time, helping with the apartments, keeping the house clean, cooking (when he would let me ... he didn't like me to cook because he couldn't stand looking at the mess and it was too expensive .. and he liked McDonalds anyway), doing his and my homework, taking care of the dog, and teaching our primary class on Sundays. I was never allowed to shop ... though we made a lot of money (he got new clothes and things [huge TVs] because he had to look nice at work and he had to have the latest technology ... yes ... we were some of those who waited all night to get a wii ... no he didn't play it more than a handful of times) and didn't have any bills but non-smart cell phones ... by the time we got divorced I was down to one single pair of jeans that were the only ones for about three months ... they were from Wal-Mart and I had already had them for two years. Chris refused to go to church ... the first hour at least ... he would rather stay home and watch the cowboys ... or he was "sick" ... I would go by myself to teach the kiddos ... I was too scared to go to all three hours by myself. I wasn't really allowed to see my sister (who moved in below us ... sorry to the people we kicked out ... I thought her living there would help the situation ... and that you weren't living there anymore ... it didn't, you did) or my best friend (who found herself in a very similar situation with her boyfriend at the time) or really anyone for that matter. Chris didn't like to go out with anyone, or didn't like to have anyone over ... too much effort. He had depression and Bipolar which he refused to take pills for.
I fell into a deep depression ... though I really didn't know it ... glass half full remember ... I gained sixty pounds ... I started being really rude to my family and those around me ... I started failing school. Chris would just tell me to drop out of school each semester because his school was more important. So I would ... hello six years to graduate. I quit my job ... it was too draining on all levels ... physically, emotionally, mentally (I managed a home for adults with disabilities) ... because I was already drained, I couldn't take anymore. I would find myself crying after Chris went to sleep for hours.that's when I got the housekeeping job at the hospital.
The final six months went like this ... Chris would wake up at five to go to work and school ... be done by ten am ... I would wake up around nine leave for school as he was getting home then go straight to work and be done by 11:30 pm. When I would leave Chris would be sitting in his chair with his giant soda on the side table with his xbox remote in front, the TV remote in his hand and his computer open on the other side of him. And that was where I would find him at the end of the night ... either there or in bed ... his stuff stationed in place waiting for tomorrow ... the dishes from the day were waiting for me to do them ... the house was waiting for me to pick up all of his stuff ... the dog still needed to be taken out ... and so I would do it ... all of it ... at least a clean house helped me be somewhat happy.
And then something happened. (here is where I disspell all rumors created on the labor and delivery floor in the hospital) I met R ... he was working at the hospital ... IT WAS NOT LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT ... he was friends with the same people I was friends with at work ... here and there I would hear bits and pieces of his story with his wife ... they were very similar to my own story ... his wife had depression but wouldn't take pills ... he was doing everything with the house (and new baby) while she sat and watched golden girls ... he escaped by playing video games when he got home at night. It helped me to analyze my situation ... I saw this boy ... who all I could think to tell him was to run ... in the same situation as me ... what does that say about me. R and I became friends ... we confided in each other ... we started to talk both in and out of work ... just friend stuff ... help through the day ... but ... THIS WAS WRONG ... If you are married to someone you should not confide in anyone of the opposite sex but your spouse ... R and I were very wrong to do this ... this is a form of cheating ... I don't care what anyone says ... it is and after our divorce I apologized to Chris about it. Regardless ... it happened ... and I started to find the old me again ... the free spirit me ... the one who I allowed to be stifled ... I dropped 25 pounds in one month ... I started telling Chris a little more of what was on my mind with how much he helped. Chris noticed something at the Christmas party at work ... R and I were too chummy he said ... he thought I was cheating on him (in the more literal way) ... and that is where things got crazy ... the abuse turned more physical ... not all at once ... it started slow ... with him pulling the gun out ... we had a little 22 ... saying he was going to shoot R ... but then turned it on me for a millisecond.
I sent him to Texas for a week ... to decide things. I spent that whole week praying ... I needed Heavenly Fathers help ... that whole week I got no answer ... begging and pleading with him ... no answer ... so I made my decision ... I was going to leave ... On my way down to the airport to pick Chris up I was crying again ... praying ... "Heavenly Father ... I have made my decision ... I am going to end this marriage ... is this the right choice ... am I doing what is right ... help me". I was in the canyon praying this out loud, tears streaming, when I looked up and saw the first star of the night ... all of a sudden I felt a warm embrace ... someone hugging me ... and a whisper in my ear ... "It's ok Amy ... you can go now". The tears didn't stop ... but the comfort started ... I knew that I had learned what I needed to learn ... that I was refined from this refiners fire and ready for the next one ... I knew that Heavenly Father loved me and that I had become the footprints in the sand story ... I was able to come out the other end of this trial because Heavenly Father was carrying me.
The next day was when the physical abuse really started ... Chris and I had decided to live out the rest of the week in our apartment then go our separate ways ... but he found a text from R asking how I was doing and he went ballistic ... I probably would have too ... he was losing control and could finally really feel and see it ... he hated to lose control ... he locked me in the bathroom, threw me on the bed then jumped on top of me, drug me across the floor, and stomped on my foot ... from there I was gone ... ran ... my sister booked me a week at a hotel ... I was afraid he was going to try to find me ... and then I left for four months to my parents house in Texas (end of January, February, March, and April ... i wanted to come back for school but ended up taking a year off).
I tried to give him a second chance ... I gave him three things to change ... he needed to see a therapist ... he needed to get on medication ... and he needed to go to church. But That was that ... he didn't do it ... he didn't even try to do those things or see me or fight the divorce ... he knew I was at my parents house ... but he only went there about three times in the months I was there ... he left me alone ... In a way I think it was his one last stitch effort to control me ... to not fight for me ... have me think I wasn't worth fighting for ... to make me come crawling back to him ... but that was it ... the last time I saw him was the week before I left to come back to Utah. He got a girlfriend in early March who he married the following fourth of July ... but that's all I know. Our divorce was finalized on April 12th 2010 ... we have had no contact since that following August.
This is what happened with R and I ... I went to see a therapist when I was down in Texas (I am still way broken ... but it gets better everyday) ... She advised R and I to not talk the whole time I was down here (he was divorced and separated before I was) ... So we didn't ... sometimes we slipped ... an email here ... a text message there ... a birthday card from R ... but until the last two weeks we did really good. When I got back to Utah we dated on and off that summer before declaring that we were officially a couple by the end of it ... he came home to Texas that Thanksgiving where my family fell in love with him (They never liked Chris ... That is why I was so mean to them) ... and slowly I fell in love with him too ... but that's another story for another post. Two and a half years later we were married in the Logan Temple.
PHEW ... long story ...
What to take away from it:
- Abuse does NOT have to be physical to be abuse - If you, or anyone you know, are getting told things that play with your emotions to manipulate you it is abuse ... and it is just as damaging as physical abuse! example: Chris telling me his schooling was more important because he was going to be the breadwinner and so I needed to do his homework ... or ... right before we split we decided he would take the dog because his dad had a lot of land and to get me to stay with him he would tell me that he hoped the dog wouldn't get eaten by coyotes (if you know me you know how much I love dogs and how much this would kill me just to hear) ... IT IS ABUSE! Talk to you spouse, talk to a therapist, or even call CAPSA ... heck ... even tell me ... it needs to be taken care of because it is not ok.
- Being close friends with someone of the opposite sex that is not your spouse IS cheating - it is inappropriate ... think about how you would feel if the roles were reversed. Just like in the New Testament, in Matthew 5:28 "whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart" ... basically ... even thinking about another woman who isn't your spouse is cheating ... why wouldn't confiding in someone be?
- Listen to your parents - even if your stubborn little 19 year old behind doesn't want to ... they ARE smarter than you ... my mommy knew I shouldn't have married Chris ... she fought tooth and nail to not let it happen. If i would have listened life would have probably been a lot easier.
- Heavenly Father is ALWAYS there for you - regardless of whether you acknowledge it or not ... Whether you acknowledge him or not ... or whether you get an answer when you want it or not ... he love you and will carry you through the hard times ... all he wants is for you to be happy ... President Hinckley, former president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, hit the nail on the head when he said "This life is meant to be enjoyed not endured". I know those words were straight from Heavenly Father ... all he wants is you happy and you to return to him.
- The disease to please is a disease -what people who have this do not understand is that they are not fully able to make people happy without making themselves happy first. It is all about that, make sure you are happy and then you can help other people be happy ... In a marriage it is a little different ... It should be God, then your spouse, then yourself ... but if you have a spouse who does not put you above them then you need to learn to do the same ... or go to couples counseling.