Tires squealing, we merged out onto Lake Shore Drive seemingly oblivious of the Saturday afternoon traffic, patches of burnt rubber left in our wake. I gripped the Oh Jesus! bar over the door, my knuckles white, while I tried to breathe through my panic. I couldn’t let the four-year old strapped into the car seat in the back see my abject fear.
Nervously, I glanced at the driver, Matt, my ex from many years before and the father of my child. We’d been broken up for ages, but my upcoming wedding had him nearly off his rocker. Foolishly, I’d agreed to celebrate our son’s birthday together with a trip to the museum, and now we were stuck in his two-ton death trap barreling 80 miles an hour down the highway. Out of his mouth streamed a steady diatribe that had flowed unrelenting since he’d picked us up from our condo that morning. I was a selfish fucking bitch, I was ruining his life with my marriage, I was ruining my son Ben’s life, we belonged together, to raise our son together.
He seemed to forget the lies, his affairs, the fact that underneath his denial was the absolute truth that he hated me with a fiery passion.
“You’re such a fucking bitch,” he sneered through his teeth, punching the steering wheel and dashboard to drive the last two words home. “How could you do this to me? To US?” He gestured to the now-sleeping child; oblivious to the danger we were in. Quickly, he jerked the wheel right, pulling us into the right lane, as horns blared and brakes squealed. I sat quietly, knowing that this moment was not the time to correct him, not the time to fight. Now I needed to play my cards right in order to survive. To save Ben and I.
The tears began to spew from his eyes, hateful bitter tears, as he insulted my character. “You’re such a fucking whore,” he spat. “I’m so much better than you. You don’t deserve me. You’re a failure. You’re turning into your crazy mother. You’re mentally ill.” The insults were hurled viciously at me, occasionally punctuated by a punch to the left side of my body. The adrenaline coursing through my veins prevented me from even feeling them. I’ve never been so numb.
His car merged onto the highway and he changed lanes with frightening speed. I watched in horror as we crept from 90 to 100 miles per hour past other cars, narrowly missing their bumpers. I could taste the metallic taste of fear in my mouth as I tried not to vomit. Vomit would enrage him further. I saw a few sparks of metal gnashing upon metal, but just like that, we’d moved past. The exit that would take us back home loomed ahead of us, and I sat there, quiet, trying to placate him and telling myself to take deep, slow breaths.
Rather than merge onto my exit, he instead got into the left lane, narrowly missing a motorcyclist. His eyes narrowed.
Tentatively I asked him if he were going to take us home. “No,” was his reply. “I’m not.”
I considered calling the police but the hatred of all authority that Matt possessed made me acutely aware that this wouldn’t end well. I saw a massive car crash and decided to do nothing. I sat there, sweating profusely despite the air conditioning, the smell of fear and panic radiating off me like ugly cologne.
Onward and onward we drove, his driving and mood fluctuating dramatically between offering me diamonds and riches to just come back to him and telling me that he was going to take me to court and use my past depression as evidence of being an unfit mother. That he should just kill me now and be done with it, I wasn’t going to amount to anything.
Minutes turned into hours and I prayed that my fiance wouldn’t try and call me, knowing this would further enrage Matt and escalate the situation. I focused on survival, counting my breaths, and watching the clock tick by. I was powerless. Just as he wanted me to be.
Ben, thanks be to the Powers That Be, slept on obliviously in the backseat, where I nervously watched him out of the corner of my eye. He could sleep through anything, apparently, even a kidnapping. Poor kid, I thought, he didn’t need to see this, this had nothing to do with him. I was suddenly overtaken by a wave of sadness that things had gotten so bad. He hadn’t asked to be born into what quickly turned into a volatile situation. He didn’t need to know how cruel his father could be. He never needed to see his father debase his mother.
Just as I was contemplating what the hell to do when he finally had to stop for gas (getting out of the car was key, but having Ben strapped into his car seat made things logistically trickier), he quickly yanked the wheel right and exited the highway. He turned his car in the direction of my house, crying and cursing me all in the same breath, still intermittently punching me when the anger overtook him. I was numb. A doll. A waxy numb doll.
I don’t remember much of what happened after that.
Hours later, he inexplicably dropped Ben and I off at home. I quickly popped my son out of his car seat and out of the car before he could take away him from me. Without so much as another “I hate you,” he peeled off, leaving us in a cloud of burnt rubber, bruised and battered. But not broken. Never broken.
Becky blogs at Mommy Wants Vodka.
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My ex asshole is also named Matt and has treated me exactly like this. He lost it when I started dating after he divorced me. Thank you for sharing your story
Oh my God. I think Al_Pal said it best: "You're even more amazing than I'd realized". You survived that and you are unbroken. You are a one in a million, amazingly, breath takingly strong woman and mother. I am honored to know you. Thank you for sharing.
My god, I cannot begin to imagine the kind of strength you have. I am glad that you are out of that situation and in a much MUCH better place.
Other commenters have written about your courage- both during this event and in telling your story- with more eloquence than I can. I'll reserve my comment for your writing. It takes real talent to bring readers in like this, to make them feel the horror of that moment. I hope there's a book deal in your immediate future. More people need to read what you have to say.
Oh Aunt Becky... I never would have guessed. Thank God you were ok. Thank God you knew what to do. And Thank God you and Ben have the Daver....
wow. that was the definition of strength @mommywantsvodka Especially shocking is that this happened 4 years ago today: http://bit.ly/YKOeU
Wow, thank God for small miracles like sleeping children, and big ones like you both getting home safely. I can't imagine this nightmare you lived and that you still have to deal with him on a daily basis. Wow. Thank you for sharing.
Wow. You are so very strong - I know how little that means...because women are always the strong ones, even when we don't want to be. But we do survive, no matter who or what tries to keep us down. You have not just survived, but thrived. So happy with your Daver now! You give me hope - that maybe someday I will thrive and find the one whose love can heal those old wounds. Thanks.
I have no words. I read this over an hour ago and I keep coming back hoping I'll have the right words. I don't.
You are one amazing woman to have been so level headed in that situation. I kept thinking I'd have been crying, begging for my son's life, promising whatever future it would have taken for him to stop the car and let us out. I hope that man has zero contact with his son, or with you.
OMG! OMG!! OMG!!! Holy crap! You are amazing... I am sitting here crying after reading that... And I am completely amazed you don't completely freak every time Ben has to go with his dad! I'd need "The Triple V" Valium, Vicodin and Vodka to get through the times my child was with a lunatic like that. No wonder you can't sleep. Know that if you made it through that with your spirit intact, you can make it through anything. It's true that what doesn't kill us only makes us stronger - you are a freaking Superhero! You go girl!!!
Thank you for sharing your story. I'm glad that you and Ben survived. You are strong, brave, and always true to yourself.
I am stunned.
I am in tears.
I'm in awe at what it took to survive that, much less write it.
First, you're an amazing woman, to go through that experience, and still keep your composure enough to let Ben continue to have a relationship with that (insert strong enough descriptor here). It takes a lot to separate the insanity of his behavior towards you from the feelings he has for your son.
Second, I'm so glad that the Daver is one of Ben's people, because he deserves a stable, loving father. You already know how lucky you and the Daver are to have found each other.
Third, on a technical note, you might want to consider writing some fiction. Your writing of this was excellent, and if you could channel that into some made up stuff, you would totally be the next Dan Brown or other popular writer.
I'm so proud of you Becks. It takes guts to pick yourself back up and never look back. Remember, once you break the cycle, it's always broken. You're a strong woman and a great mom. Your son (and his future wife/girlfriend) will thank you for never subjecting him to that kind of violence.
You were incredibly brave and very strong to maintain your composure through that horrifying ordeal. Your son is lucky to have you in his corner.
Becky, thank you for sharing your painful story. I cannot imagine going through that. I am thankful Ben was able to sleep through and not have to see his dad like that. I'm left wondering though what Dave felt about all of that happening?
(first I have to say, I was going to put a fake name down...but that would empower him to this day if I did that...so I put my real name down.)
Having lived thru 9 years of the most horrible physical, mental, emotional abuse myself...I just have to say I am proud of you for speaking out...and for NEVER letting him break you.
I am thankful you got out with your son ALIVE!
I can only hope that your baby does NOT have a relationship with this man to this day...or that with TPTB's help he has turned his life around. Whichever it is...Thank you for sharing your story...someday I will tell my family mine.
What a horrifying, terrifying ordeal.
It's amazing you managed to stay so calm. I wanted to combust with outrage just reading that.
I'm so glad that both you and Ben managed to walk away from that unsacthed.
Aunt Becky, I knew you were a special person, and reading this story only reinforces that belief tenfold.
I'm amazed at how you kept calm... I don't know if I could have done that.
Thank you for sharing your story. I admit, when I saw the title, I scrolled to the end to see if it was you and was not surprised when I saw that yep, it was. You really are an amazing woman and your ex didn't know you very well when he said you'd never amount to anything. You are SO much more than he ever deserved. I'm so glad The Daver has you now & that you are loved.
Dear Aunt Becky,
Thanks for sharing this. I have never been brave enough to share my personal life with the devil. Although I got out alive, eventually got my mental health back and married and have a family now. I am proud of you for being ready. I hope to be there someday.
I'm so sorry you had this story to share. And so thankful you have. I wish I could give you and Ben a big squishy hug and tell you how thankful I am that you're here. Just here.
How brave you are for speaking out and telling your story and how fortunate you are to have escaped that crazy angry man! I hope your courage inspires other women in abusive relationships to find the strength they need. Your story brings back memories from over 30 years ago when I was in a similar situation - although in my scary ride with an angry drunk boyfriend I was alone - thank god no child was with me. I can't imagine your terror! Again, thanks for sharing your story.
Stunning. I could feel your resolve growing as you told on. I am taken back to the stories I heard of my grandma who had the strength (in the 40s!) but *never* talked about it. Because you just didn't talk about it. Thank you for sharing your strength. And talking about it.
(Sitting here reading this, my legs have gone numb as the blood was needed elsewhere. I think I need to go find some lolcatz to be able to get up again.)
Chills and tears here. My heart aches for you. Thank God Ben has you. Hugs to you for sharing your story and your strength.
Wow, Becky. You are so brave for pasting this. I SO wish this hadn't happened to you. But I'm so proud of you for finding the courage to wrtite about it here.
I'm so proud of you for telling your story. And I love you. And I'm using the power of the internet to wrap you up in warm, sloppy, loving, internet hugs.
You are an amazing woman. So strong, I'm crying.
I'm so glad that you found the Daver. You deserve only the best, kindest of partners in life.
I'm so proud to know you. Sending you all my love, Becky.