Battlefields of the mind, it’s like a game of war to see who will win. To find out who is the strongest and who can or will endure. I’ve adapted, or rather I should say – I’ve acquired the skills needed in this contest that I’ve take on. It’s almost like a game of charades, but more so – it’s masquerade. Or maybe it’s a little of both, one present and one hiding.
I am the face of the unheard victims of war, but no one knows about me. When you see my bruises you jokingly tease me about her hitting me. When the reality of the situation is – she does – and hard. And she gets away with it because no one would believe my story. The big strong man being beaten by his wife who is half my size. No one ever believes that a wife beats her husband. It’s difficult for people to wrap their heads around it, because it’s women who are always viewed as the victims. But what about me. What about my bruises, my scars, my pain. You see, I’ve become so good at hiding it, and performing within this masquerade of a so-called ‘marriage’ – that no one even notices.
I’ve become an expert at lying and pretending, and covering up when I shouldn’t. I’ve become insecure and timid. Because I know the price of having a voice and the anguish of being silent, but with the voice inside me ever screaming to be heard. But it knows that quiet sometimes has it’s own reward, especially when you are furious. I know how to keep quiet, and if you’ve been drinking – I try my hardest to be invisible, but I know in reality that I can’t hide. I can’t hide, even though I want to. You tell me how I’m nothing, and how I was trash. How you made me into who I am. You threaten me with poverty as if I’d never experienced it before. But what hurts more than your words – are the mind games you play. I know your goal is to break me, to destroy me. But you can’t. Or at least I hope you can’t.
Few have experienced the mind games she plays with me. It’s like she’s holding a loaded gun to my head. She often threatens to take the children from me. Or pretends to have hurt herself, so that people will think I have hit her. But I haven’t, I would never hit her. As much as I would like to at times, I wouldn’t. My parents always told me, “ Boys don’t hit girls. Period.” The problem is not that I believe that – but that she knows that I believe that – so she is able to tear me down with her verbal abuse – knowing she is safe from any physical harm, that I would never hit her. She calls me every foul name in the book. Her profanity would make a sailor blush. She tells me that no woman would want me, that I am scum and that she hates me – that I should feel lucky that I have her. These scars from mental abuse are the hidden scars carved into a person’s soul. Their pain and depression are constantly with you. The mind games she plays just tear you down until you feel there is nothing left of who you were – and no one knows. The black eyes and the scratches I can always lie about, but my soul doesn’t have a voice that anyone can hear – even though it screams out for help everyday. It get’s to be so hard lying to yourself and to others all the time, pretending things are okay when they aren’t. Sometimes all you can do is cry. And I cry a lot these days.
No one knows the beatings and emotional abuse I’ve endured. Some say it’s like when a prisoner of war is tortured and you develop dual personality as a means of survival. I’ve even tried some of her makeup to hide the bruises. But the ones that are deep inside my soul – makeup can’t hide those – and no one can understand them, unless they’ve endured the same hell that I have. Because after every beating and every insult, you say, “I’m sorry” – and then have the nerve to tell me that you love me. Then I feel guilty and confused, because I want to leave – but then I remember your threats, and my Son, so I stay. I stay and endure this endless torture that my soul knows this isn’t love. It can’t be!
My parents invite us to Sunday dinners, but I decline because I don’t want them to know what’s going on. To wonder why I look so unhappy. It’s hard enough enduring the questions from my sisters and brothers. I think they suspect something, but they’re not quite sure. Our son looks at me and wonders what’s wrong with Daddy, has he been a bad boy as well? Is that why Mommy is hitting him and yelling at him? I don’t want him to think this is normal or that this is love – it isn’t. I just say that Mommy is playing, and not to worry, Daddy is a tough guy, no one can hurt your Daddy. But I know he sees the tears in my eyes, and I know he can feel the pain that I am enduring – and that hurts more that anything.
My body is covered with bruises underneath my clothing. I’ve become so good lately at hiding them so no one ever sees them. But of course I have become paranoid about taking my shirt off in public, for fear of questions. Have you ever had to explain choke marks around your neck where someone has left her fingerprints? Have you ever tried just leaving for hours at a time, driving no where, just needing to get away to think – not coming home until the next morning? Because if you thought the last beating and verbal assault was bad, the one you are about to get for being away so long is going to be the mother of all beatings! But maybe have been kicked or spat on as if you were trash on the street. Or have had dishes or glasses thrown at you. I even had one of those old heavy phones thrown at me – while I was in the shower? Do you know how hard it is to regain one’s self-esteem and feeling of self-worth through all of this, well it’s almost impossible.
No one knows about this war that I am in – and no one knows my enemy is you. They only see this beautiful, successful woman – who appears to have everything under control. They don’t know my story, they think we are happy, when the reality is that I am dying on the inside and I want out. I need to get out. When people talk of fear I wonder if they’ve ever had someone place a gun to your head and say, “Listen up my little man bitch, if you say anything, if you let out as much as a peep – and I’ll kill you. You got that?” Only to find out that this time it’s a ‘pretend game’ of Russian roulette – one without a bullet – but the next time, there might be one. War games are mind games. And all you can do is pray that it’s stops. Being held hostage isn’t a joke. The reality is that a hostage knows their freedom comes at a cost. And I know my price might be death, or at least that’s my hope, as sad and pathetic as that is.
I hear people say you have that I need to save myself, but the truth is that you first have to actually ‘want’ to save yourself. Do I really want to live is the question that resonates in my mind? I moved from my parent’s home to college, then from the frat house to the matrimonial home – and being a prisoner of war – in my own house! If I had to do over again, I would have listened when my mother said, “Don’t settle for someone who doesn’t have the same values as you. Sex isn’t everything in a marriage my Son, there has to be more than that.” But I compromised, and compromise always comes at a price. And now I pay daily for it with my life, but worst of all – with my Son’s mental and emotional well being. But I know this isn’t the price my Mom was referring to. Lord knows she has no idea about what is truly going on.
I feel like a pig who is being slathered with sauce in preparation to be barbequed slowly. I’d rather just be shot – please just kill me and get it over with – and maybe I’ll find some peace. But who says death is peaceful? Because somehow I feel as if you would probably haunt me there too. I tried suicide because I thought it would be easier, but even that was a cruel joke. I even got cheated out of death. The pills didn’t work, hell they didn’t even ease the pain. At first it’s hard praying and asking God to just let you die. But after a while, it’s pretty much a daily routine. You just want to know that this pain that you keep hidden, within the silences of your own house, will finally come to an end. But God won’t let you die. Why? Because you have to escape – to tell your story! To save your child and to save others. Even though you think death still seems like a reward, especially when you are living in this hell – it isn’t. So I can’t let my little boy see me lying in a coffin, thinking this is what real love is. I still have time to save him! So I pray. You just hope and pray.
It’s hard trusting a woman when you’ve been hurt so badly by one. I never thought you and I would be here, at this place in our lives where we are now. But the signs were always there. I used to brush it off when I thought you were pretending to be jealous of my friends, or when some girl was talking to me. I just assumed, like most guys do – that she loves me. She’s not trying to control my friends or what I do. But you were, and the signs were all there. The pats I assumed were love pats were just the beginning. You would blow up and then apologize for what you said. I should have known better, but I joked and told myself that you were just acting crazy. But crazy is as crazy does. I should have followed my gut instinct. But I didn’t.
It’s funny, but most guys never admit, that like women, we too have this fantasy of what we want in our perfect life and our perfect wife. That we also want the white picket fence, the two cars, and the 2.5 kids. A couple vacations a year and a 401k with enough in it to retire by 55. And like you we take our vows seriously – until death do us part. I was raised in a Christian home, I was taught early to pray for my wife, to pray for the girl I wanted to marry, and believe that God will send her to me. But, you sure aren’t the girl I prayed for. Instead, I was preyed upon by you! You put on this charade that you were saved, and said all the right things, and told me that you went to church. Hell, your Dad was even a deacon. But the reality is that we were unequally yoked from very the beginning. But I wanted to make it work. My Dad said Son, it’s juts like the song says, “You got to know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.” And ohhh, how I should have run when I had the chance! I don’t know if it was my gut or God, but something warned me stay away from you, I just didn’t listen.
The ‘Battlefield of the Mind’ affects people you don’t think it would. My Son thinks it’s normal. But it’s not – my normal isn’t normal. If I don’t leave, this will forever affect his relationships also! I don’t want him to think that this is normal. This is not of God, it’s of the devil. His Dad is ill, and he needs help, and now – my Son does too. Because this disease is very dangerous. The same force it takes to build up a person’s spirit, can be used to break it just as easily. But when love has left the building, all you have is desperation and regrets. I realize that my prayers, even the ones whispered and muffled through the pain and tears – were heard by Him. God paid the price, He was beaten for my transgressions. He said that I am loved and that I am worthy of His blood. He said that our enemies are sometimes in our own home. But He also said that He would make a foot stool out of them.
I am not supposed to be at war in my own house, we are supposed to be one yet we are two completely and separate individuals who aren’t happy at all. Or at least I am not. I want so desperately to leave. But I remember your threats, so I stay. I stay for my Son, and only for him. Sometimes we sacrifice our needs for those of our children. But they don’t deserve to see two hurting parents who don’t love one another. Doesn’t he deserve love, because this in not love, this is war. This is war and he is the innocent victim, he is the one that is suffering most from our battle. What price should he pay for our unhappiness, should his soul suffer because of us? Our battle has become his wounds, his soul carries the scars of our war. Sometimes this war seems almost innocent, because the only victims we see are us. But that is never true, we aren’t the only victims – and the costs are astronomical. Our war, unfortunately, has claimed many victims – and one is our Son.
This isn’t the love story He choose for me. I choose my ‘Caesar’ wife, I was young and naive and impressionable. I thought I knew what love was, but I was wrong. I didn’t realize who she really was. True love is patient and it is kind. It’s never jealous or judgmental. Real love does not want to hurt you, true love comforts and protects and blesses. It’s so easy to settle for something or someone you know. Especially when you’ve never experienced true love or haven’t ever observed a relationship of true Godly love to base it on. But I do realize this – that love conquered the grave for me and that the ultimate price was paid. He was beaten for all my sins so that I wouldn’t have to be beaten. He loved me enough to die for me so that I wouldn’t have to die for love.
My Father told me it was time to spread my wings and leave. He told me to get ready for battle and to put on the whole armor. To gird my loins with truth. And the truth is that she has beaten me for the last time. He told me to put on the breastplate of righteousness, and the helmet of salvation. He said. “You see My Son, you are not fighting against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers that rule the darkness. So My beloved, guard yourself with the shield of faith, and take up the sword of My Spirit, which is My Word. And I will protect you, I’ve got your back with My Glory as you move forward in victory.”
My Father said that my soon to be ‘Ex’ needs healing, and love that I can’t give her. It’s a supernatural love and a supernatural healing that only He can provide. So, as I walk away from you with my freedom, I pray that you find the peace you need. And that God takes away the anger and rage that lies within you. For even though our love story was hell on earth, I will forever be changed for the better because of my experience. I don’t hate you, because hating you gives you power over my future. But forgiveness and love gives me power to move on and to be able to be loved unconditionally – the way my Father intended. Somewhere out there is someone who has been praying for someone like me, to love and adore. But I have to be whole and complete, and that starts with the Father – and forgiving my enemy. So as an act of my will, I say this before God – “I forgive you for hurting me.” You didn’t break my spirit, you forced me to find my Father and return home. I am a survivor. And the lesson is this – that we all can use what the enemy meant for harm, and instead let our heavenly Father use it as a platform to create something good for us. For it is written, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper!”