It has been a month since I officially left my husband and I am not sad at all. People keep asking me how I am doing and to their surprise, I feel amazing. I feel like an incredible weight has been lifted and I can breathe again. No one should have to live the way.
Because of my husband’s unpredictable behavior, I knew I would have to have a solid plan in place before I filed for a divorce. The last time divorce was mentioned (which was a year ago), I found myself pinned down on the bed with a gun pointed to my temple and he said, "I will give the cops a reason to kill me tonight". Those words did the trick he intended and I pretended I was happy. I knew when I was going to make my move that I would have to have a plan that would keep me safe.
I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. I felt like I was standing on the edge of a cliff and I was waiting for my husband to push me off. Whether good or bad, God puts us in places and situations for a purpose to learn a lesson. I am a praying woman and despite the fact that divorce goes against the Bible, I knew that God would not want me to be tortured or treated like that. The events that took place the night I left my husband were put into motion almost effortlessly on my part and took it as a sign that the time was right.
I was at my friend's house, which was just two doors down from mine. It was a Friday night and we were celebrating the fact that we had just survived a near death experience (we came "this" close to being crushed in a head on collision). We were pretty shaken by the ordeal so we each took a shot of alcohol to calm our nerves. I had invited my husband over to celebrate with us. He did not come over. Instead, he left. I saw him come and go from our house several times that night.
Not too long after the last time I saw him leave, I received a phone call from my son. He was quite shaken and yelling at me to stay away from my husband and to not go home. The tone in his voice was filled with panic so I knew to trust his words. He was at work and apparently my husband went down there and caused a scene telling my son that he was going to "beat my ass." The reason for this "beating" was because I had withheld some information from him regarding my recent promotion. I did not tell him that I would have to eventually relocate to Texas within two years. In my own defense, I chose not to tell him because I knew I was going to leave him before my relocation even happened. I also knew that if I told him about it, he would not have let me accept the offer.
My friends and neighbors overheard this conversation between my son and me. They escorted me to my house so I could pack an overnight bag because they did not want me to be there either. I quickly packed a few things, grabbed my purse, and my briefcase. I went back to my neighbors and had no intention on returning that night.
Within 30 minutes of talking to my son, my husband showed up at the neighbors. He was trying to convince me to go home with him. My friends kept telling him that I was having a good time and to leave me be but he would not. Knowing my husband was a ticking time bomb my friends kept me in their line of sight. At one point, my husband noticed my bag in the corner of the living room and snatched it up, including my purse and briefcase. He ran out of the house and took it home. My friend, who is a big guy and not afraid of anyone or anything, looked at me and said "well, I guess this is happening tonight." and he followed my husband back to our house with two other
friends and myself in tow. I was shaking in my boots.
I do not know what words were said in the beginning but when the shouting began, I started shaking. It all happened so quickly. My husband was trying to keep us from entering the house and at one point he went for a butcher knife. When my big friend welcomed this gesture, my husband went to release my dog (who is a VERY protective pit bull) from the garage. I slammed the door before she could enter the house though. My friend kept telling my husband that I did not want to be here anymore and I did not want to be with him anymore. He told him to let me get my things and to let me go but he was refusing. Both of these guys are big but my friend was bigger. In the end, he had to restrain him so I could get the bags I had packed earlier. I ran out of the house and never looked back.
That took place on the Friday before Memorial Day. He refused to leave the house after nearly begging him to leave so I stayed with my friend for four nights. I left everything there. I left my dog, my cat, my cars, my elliptical...my scale. I was done. I could no longer live like that. I could no longer feel like a prisoner in my own home.
I filed for a domestic violence restraining order and a move-out order on Tuesday, picked up the temporary orders on Wednesday, had him served with the orders on Thursday, filed for a divorce on Friday, and served him with divorce papers on Saturday. I was spreading my wings and taking my life back.
In order to make the restraining order permanent, I had to go to court and testify. I had to show proof of abuse, which I had. I also brought my son with me to testify as a witness to the abuse. I knew this would be hard on him but he was there to support me. I was hoping my husband would not even appear for the hearing but when I stepped off the escalator he sitting there right in front of me.
In the two weeks that has passed since I initially left, I had been stress free and my body learned to relax. When I saw him sitting there, all of those negative feelings and tensions that I used to have when I was around him filled my body immediately and I could not stand it.
We had to testify in an open and public courtroom and I was nervous. I am not great at public speaking and I knew I would get emotional. We had to testify for two separate judges because the first one knew my son and it was a conflict of interest. Apparently, this judge likes to frequent the fast food restaurant where my son worked quite often so they had gotten to know one another. My son had no idea he was a judge. The judge was very polite about it. After I had called my son as my witness, the judge looked at me and said, "I am very sorry but I can no longer here this case. I know your son. I know him quite well. He is a good boy". In light of everything, I was experiencing that day, my heart lifted with his comments.
I chalked the first testimony up as practice because it gave me the confidence I needed to get through the second. During the recess, I composed myself and carefully wrote down the questions I would have to ask my son on the stand.
- Have you ever heard "Mr. Smith" make a verbal threat against me?
- When was the most recent threat?
- What was the threat made?
- Have you ever witnessed "Mr. Smith" get violent with me?
- What have you witnessed?
- Have you ever called the police on "Mr. Smith"?
- Have you ever filed a restraining order on "Mr. Smith?'
- Why did you file?
- Do you feel threatened or intimidated by "Mr. Smith?"
- Do you feel he will harm me?
I broke down in tears when he responded to question number five, "what have you witnessed?". It is gut and heart wrenching to hear your son talk about how he had seen his mom get choke slammed, choked while being pinned up against the wall, had things thrown at her, and watched in horror as a gun was held directly to my head as he told my son that he was going to blow my brains out. I listened as he described being threatened himself, which I didn't know about but explains the real reason why he filed his own restraining order the previous year. I praise Jesus that there was a sheriff in the courtroom or else I would have leaped across that table and beat the crap out of my husband right then and there. No one messes with my baby.
Before we could do closing arguments, the judge decided to immediately grant my permanent restraining order and she even included my son under the protection order as well.
Like I said at the beginning of this post, I feel like an incredible weight has been lifted. I am now free. Everything that night happened in a way that kept me safe from harm and was enough to file for a domestic violence restraining order and escape the torture.
God put me at the edge of a cliff for a reason. I thought I was going to be pushed off to my death but it turns out that God put me there to learn a lesson and I most certainly did. I learned that when push came to shove on the edge of a cliff, God would either catch me as I fell or He would teach me to fly. In this case, He gave me wings and turned me into a butterfly...