One of the things that is very important to me is this passion for serving other woman. I often wondered where it came from and didn’t realize how deep it went.
I come from a family of 4 girls and one baby brother, I’m second from oldest. In my family growing up I thought it was strange that we kids were treated differently. For example, if my Dad would fix himself a steak while we had hotdogs. I thought, if he’s the man of the house and he can’t afford for us all to have steak then he shouldn’t have it either.
I got pregnant when I was 17; it was when I lost my virginity. I only found out when I was already 4 months pregnant and we weren’t even together then. I was a cheerleader and my mom figured it out.
I was a real good girl, I never got into trouble. My parents called up his parents and said, they’re getting married this weekend. Two weeks into the marriage, he started hitting me. All his brothers and father hit their wives. I had moved to another state to marry him so I didn’t have any family around me.
At one time we had a cellar. Whenever he would get mad at me, he would throw me into the cellar and throw cans at me. He broke my ribs a few times.
I was young and had kids. After we’d been together for about a year and a half, I told my parents that he was beating me. They told me to come home. He said if I went home they’d find me under a rock in the desert. I did finally get the nerve to go home. I was pretty scared.
A week before Christmas that year, he contacted me and said, ‘it’s the holidays aren’t you going to let my parents see the kids.’ I agreed to let them see him for that day. He came and got the kids and never brought them back.
For 3 months, my parents got private investigators to try and find my kids. We would go to all these places that they’d been to find them. In March he said, if I ever want to see my kids again, I would have to come back to him.
They set up this sting operation so they would grab the kids. But he showed up without them. I was so desperate. We got in the car and he blindfolded me. We were driving forever and it was snowing. He took me upstairs and let me see the kids, they didn’t recognize me and my son had learned to walk. Then he made me have sex with him.
The next day he went off to work. This went on for 2 days. On the 3rd day, I bundled up the kids and went to a store. I asked to use the phone and asked can you tell me where I am? It was Salt Lake City. My parents came to get me the next day.
We went to court. The court said he didn’t need to have access to the children. I had lots of hospital records; he beat me up while I was pregnant with my son. So the court took his rights away. I was only 17. I went back to school, got my degree and became a single parent.
Several years later, I ended up getting married again to someone who I thought was completely different. He had been in the seminary to become a priest. I discovered he was controlling in a different way, only with words. I had gone from one extreme to another. I had a daughter and stayed married to him for several years. The first 5 years I was pretty happy though he was quite controlling. As I was coming into my own, I realized that I had been quite meek, and he didn’t like it as I got stronger.
One day I told him that I wanted to get a microwave and he said, “as the man of the house, I’ll think about it and let you know.” Three days later I asked “well?” And he said, “as the man of the house we don’t need to eat ‘radared’ food.” I went out, bought it and said “as the woman of the house, I decided that we did.” He packed up and left.
This time I was a single mom for 16 years. I built my business as an entrepreneur, and told myself I would never let anyone control me again. When I was done with my second divorce, I decided that I thought I should see a counselor. She kicked me out and said I was one of the most together patients and people she knew. I saw the pattern and knew I had to break it.
Now I’ve been married for 15 years. When I met him, my husband had 3 daughters and an adopted son. We had to merge the children together. Now we have 12 grandchildren. It was very important to me that the girls all had no issues; that they would feel very comfortable and not have it pass on to the next generation. I wanted them to feel comfortable with who they are; feel successful and have good self- esteem.
I hired a counselor that specialized in blending families. It was the best thing I ever did. We laid out boundaries; we become a couple after 8 o’clock. If it’s not a crisis before 8 it can wait until tomorrow. We discussed everything. The kids are very close. We have never had any kind of issue about raising our kids together.
I feel very blessed that I’ve raised those children and they all love me and respect me and we’re all very close. They all turned out really good; it makes me real proud.
I was really important to me that there would be no violence in my house. My husband says that my kids have the best negotiation skills ever. They can say whatever they want as long as it’s respectful.
Periodically over the years, my oldest 2 would try and see their father. He got married again and beats her and they stayed married. When they kids were 12 and 13 they had gone to see him. Every time he’d drink and start on about me. One time they did that and he told my daughter ‘you know what one of the times you go home your mom’s going to be dead cuz I’m going to kill her’. His wife stuck up for me. She said ‘if you’d stop trashing their mom then the kids might want to see you.’ They never saw him again.
It gave me trust issues for a while. By the time I divorced my second husband, I was kind of ‘I dare anyone to try and lay a hand on me now’.
You are only powerless if you give someone power over you.
I was determined not to live in fear because I didn’t want to let my kids to live in fear.
I wanted my children to have a wonderful life.
I got out soon enough that they can’t remember him hitting me.
It could have been a lot worse.