—-Note: This piece was sent to me by Linda Latta about her boyfriend. This is the first time I’ve been notified about a man being beaten & abused by his wife. This took courage & bravery for Freddy to come forward. He will be reading what you have to say, so make sure you comment after you read this post. I, for one, think he’s amazing for telling this story.
~“Well, it doesn’t appear you have a concussion; just a good sized knot on your head. Take a few ibuprofen if the pain gets worse. And I recommend you take it easy for a couple of days. Give me a call if things aren’t getting better. Say, those stitches I put on your lip last month healed up nicely.” the doctor said.
“Thanks doc. Yeah, I think I’ll call in sick tomorrow and rest thru the weekend; head back to work on Monday. Maybe by then my forehead won’t be so bruised and I won’t have to take a bunch of crap from the guys at work.” I was not looking forward to having to explain a second injury in less than a month, and was hopeful that a few days would be enough to cause the bruising and swelling to dissipate so I wouldn’t be asked about it.
“One more thing.” The doctor added. “Maybe you should give up basketball before you get REALLY hurt out there. Try tennis. Or golf. Much safer.”
“Probably good advice.” I conceded. “I’ll think about it doc. Thanks much.”
It’s been almost 2 years since that doctor visit.
Years before, when I was first going out with my soon-to-be wife, she had punched me in the face over a fib she had told my family during a visit with them earlier in the day. There is never a good reason to physically assault anyone. I have always been a pacifist; always shied away from violence. So the sucker punch was a complete surprise, totally unexpected. This was the first time that had happened. She saw my surprise and hurt, and quickly apologized, swearing it would never happen again.
I believed her.
But of course it did happen again. And again. Again. Until I stopped counting.
We had only been married less than 2 years, but it was time for me to start weighing my options, which I eventually boiled down to three (3):
#1. I could hit her back ( NOPE)
#2. I could call the police (Humiliating)
#3. I could just shut the hell up. (YEP)
I chose Option 3
And I got pretty good at it. I came up with wonderfully creative ways to explain away bruises, black eyes, fat lips and stitches, such as: I was playing softball and the ball took a bad bounce. Or, I was holding my sister’s baby and the baby threw his head back unexpectedly and caught me in the mouth.
Two thoughts consumed me during this time.
The first thought was, I prayed that no one would find out, because it would humiliate me. Plus, I remember thinking I don’t want my family to dislike my wife.
I recall wondering if others, men or women in the same predicament as me, felt the same way.
The second thought was, how can I change my behavior so that she won’t feel compelled to pummel me any more?
As I look back on it now, it really was fruitless for me to try and reconcile these feelings.
So began my attempt(s) at pleasing her so that she would not get angry. Visits with my family became less frequent. Those visits that I did make did not include her, as she had recently declared that she hated all of my family. Visits with my friends also decreased. It was just easier to not visit them than to deal with her anger when I would return from one of those visits.
I’ve heard it said that hope springs eternal, even for a hopeless individual such as myself.
I decided to leave.
One month went by. Two months. Three months. I’m feeling good, optimistic that things will now be better for me. But not so fast! As it turns out, men are weak, and I am no exception. After five months, I moved back in with her. I honestly believed that things would now be different, although I had no real reason for such optimism.
“What’s it been? Maybe a couple of years since you’ve been in here?” the doctor asked.
“Yeah, I stayed away from basketball like you suggested. But I was at a barbeque yesterday and there was a pick-up game and I just couldn’t resist.” I replied. “And of course this is the result.” I pointed to my swollen shut eye. I guess I was lucky that night as I lay asleep that she had grabbed the fireplace shovel and not the fireplace poker as her weapon.
That would be my last doctor visit to patch me up after one of my wife’s outbursts.
Somehow I found the strength to leave for good, file for divorce, and free myself
It’s now been ten years, and the question I ask myself continually is: what took you so long?
~~~~~~My name is Freddy Sepulveda. I am not a writer by profession. I spent some 40 years in contract negotiations and export administration working for various defense contractors until I retired last year.
With my new girlfriend, Linda’s, encouragement, I wrote the story that you read. I had wanted to write it shortly after the divorce 10 years ago, but I could not even muster the courage to tell anyone about the situation, let alone write about it. With time, and more perspective, and I was able to put pen to paper.
—Photo by working parent dot com.
—-Help for domestic abuse call the National Domestic Abuse Center @ 1 800 799 7233