The following is an excerpt from my upcoming autobiography "Exodus from Zion".

I don’t know that he ever wanted to be with me. He certainly didn’t want me to leave, but my misery meant nothing to him, and on some level I think he must have enjoyed causing me pain. Our whole relationship sucked. It was an exercise in masochism and I finally learned what it was like to have someone treat me as worthless as I felt I was.

I married him because I was pregnant, but I left him for my son. He couldn’t stand to see me pour my heart into someone else, and he was jealous when Ethan got all my love. He never did quit drinking like he promised me, and even when I had to borrow money from our priest to pay the rent, he had his daily twelve-pack of beer to see him through the night.

When Ethan was six weeks old I woke in the night to pump breastmilk, and walked out to find my husband and a man I’d never met, bent over my kitchen counter with rolled up dollar bills hanging from their noses. The next morning the power went out, because I hadn’t been able to pay the bill.

I left. My brother-in-law helped me pack up the SUV with clothes and books and baby toys, while my husband screamed my inadequacies at me. Over the next six months, I tried to make it work. I set up counseling sessions for us at the church and started attending Al-Anon meetings. I told him that if he would quit drinking, go to AA, and stop treating me so cruelly; I would come back with our son.

Finally, on my first Mother’s Day, he came to see us at my mom’s house, to ruin another holiday. I don’t remember what set him off, but any perceived slight would do. He started yelling, and in the end he told me that I was an incompetent mother. It was as if the sun had reappeared from a yearlong hibernation; he had finally told me a lie about myself I wouldn’t believe.

From then on it was just a matter of the logistics of leaving. He had no more hold on me. Every part of me that had loved him, he had systematically killed, until there was nothing left. And then I was free. Poor, broken, lost and confused, but free.

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Tags: abuse, book

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Comment by Angie Jackson on June 7, 2009 at 8:47pm
@ Don - I must write what is in my heart, and what actually occurred. I know I asked for your feedback, and now I am rescinding that request. This is not about fear; it's about the fact that there are many writing styles and this is one of them. I understand I asked for your feedback, but the feeling that a professor is giving me a bad grade is coming through loud and clear. Feel free not to read further.

@Alex - No, he's not controlling me. I would say rather that the affection I felt for him was destroyed by the hatred I began to feel as he betrayed my trust over and over and over again. Trust me, on an average month I don't even think of him.
Comment by Angie Jackson on June 7, 2009 at 3:21pm
@Maebh - Yes! Ethan Allen and the Green Mt. Boys - true American patriots :)
Comment by Angie Jackson on June 7, 2009 at 2:53pm
Specifically, in the case of my husband 1) he is not crucial to the overall story (which is about my experiences growing up in and being trained to take over a cult) and 2) my son will probably read this one day.
Comment by Angie Jackson on June 7, 2009 at 2:36pm
I will think over what you've said, Don. I must say, the memoirs I've read and enjoyed fall more in line with Frank McCourt's "Angela's Ashes" and Carolyn Jessop's "Escape" (another cult survivor). Making up dialogue from my past, especially since these are real people who may really read my book (and will certainly really be offended) seems dishonest and potentially dangerous.
Comment by Little Name Atheist on June 7, 2009 at 10:01am
So glad you were able to break free. Not only was it a good move for you, but it was a good move for your son.

I hadn't heard anyone outside of Vermont naming their boy "Ethan". Are you familiar with Ethan Allen?

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