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Four years ago I received an email from my abuser. He was very apologetic, and he seemed genuinely ashamed of his past behavior. I replied back to him calmly. I told him I'd forgiven him years ago (which I had), and in his final reply he stated that he’d been to anger management classes, a psychologist and a psychiatrist. He said he's married with a daughter now, and is happy, PAXIL FOR SALE.

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I am now 33, with three kids and a wonderful husband who is so, so patient with me despite all my baggage.

***

Sunny blogs at Slave to the House..

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Thank you for visiting Violence UnSilenced, a speak-out platform for survivors of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and sexual abuse. If you are a survivor and it is safe to do so, we encourage you to share your story here. If you are not a survivor but you want to support those who are, please click around this site and find out more about what you can do.

Comments

33 comments
Night
Night

I wanted to post this to everyone else who is reading the story. Sunny and I have been married for over three years. Despite what she thinks of herself she is the most wonderful person I've had the privilege and pleasure to know. While I am a bit biased, this goes back to when I first met her. I see how she's grown over the last several years of having known her. She's gotten stronger, overcome fears, and has grown as a mother, a wife, and a friend.

I have heard her story and to see her face, and to listen to her, it's always going to be different than reading it, but she does a very good job of expressing herself via the written word. I do hope that her story helps others to break the chains of fear and the bondage of abuse (in all its forms) and share their story.

Kay
Kay

Thank you so much for sharing your story - and that despite the horrors that you survived, your story has a happy ending.

Kate
Kate

You are not damaged goods.

You did not deserve what happened to you.

I think you are very brave for sharing your story.

Thank you.

Nina
Nina

Coercion is always a violation and alcohol has been used as an excuse for the inexcusable for far too long.

Thank you for speaking out and for having the courage to find your happy ending and build a good life.

Angie
Angie

Sunny,

I went through pretty much the same thing, except I married mine at the age of 16. Luckily, he had pending charges and I will single within a couple of months but those months with him were the worst of my life. I'm thankful I made it out, and I'm glad you had the courage to get out of there and speak about it now.

Maureen
Maureen

Thank you for sharing your story. It sounds like you finally have the life you deserve.

Dorothy
Dorothy

Thank you for sharing. I am glad to see you have done more than just survived.

What is most poignant about this is your description of how emotional and verbal abuse can escalate. Too many people do not recognize that and I, for one, am glad you managed to get that across.

Rachael
Rachael

Thank you for sharing your story. I'm so glad you broke the cycle.

Emily R
Emily R

well, i am sure you have some amazing qualities packed into that baggage :)

Joy
Joy

Thank you for sharing your story.

Lillian
Lillian

Thank you for having the courage to share your story.

FreedomFirst
FreedomFirst

I'm so glad you found a way out. I hope you have a wonderful life from here on.

Indigo
Indigo

I know from my own experience the inevitable questions of why did you stay, why didn't you leave if it was so horrible. Unless you've lived that life, it's hard to explain it in such a way others can understand.

For me it was part of what was normal, in my world growing up and later as an adult. Abnormal was peace and quiet, love, compassion, understanding. I didn't know any of those things. Now after breaking the cycle as you have, I get what I was living wasn't even close to normal.

It still takes time, love, and respect for yourself to learn to live with the normalcy. Thank you for sharing your story. It's a reaffirmation that yes, we can break the cycle and learn to live again. (Hugs)Indigo

Cat
Cat

Thank you for telling your story.

Aunt Becky
Aunt Becky

Oh Sunny, I could have written parts of this. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

thordora
thordora

Coercion is rape. I've been there, and know that feeling.

Thank you for your story.

kelly
kelly

thank you for your story, sunny. i'm glad that it has a "happy" ending, as they go. i think that your sharing your story will give someone else the courage to push through to the other side, and know that they don't have to live as someone's captive.

ilinap
ilinap

Thanks for sharing your story. You deserve a world of happiness.

quin browne
quin browne

my first husband also came to me years later, asking forgiveness--he was long term aa, offered his body up for women to practice self defense upon; always making the announcement at the beginning of each class that he did this as atonement for his abuse of me.

funny how it helps us move on, to have those things announced and power given back to us to forgive or not.

i'm happy you found your safe place.

Screwed Up Texan
Screwed Up Texan

Thank you for sharing. I think a lot of us who have been abused feel like they have to hide behind shame not only because they dont want others to know what their abusers are doing, but also because they dont want others to know that the abuse is happening to them. That is how is was with me at least. I was more ashamed knowing that others might not think I was as strong and competent as the person I am today. Thank you for being strong. You are an inspiration.

Nicole
Nicole

Thanks for being brave enough to share your tale. There are no doubt innumerable others who may see themselves in what you’ve written. Maybe they will recognize the pattern of destruction – and end it.

Hopefully, they will see themselves in the you of today, too, -- someone happily in a loving relationship. May you make peace with your past so you may fully enjoy the happiness you so richly deserve.

Mojo
Mojo

It's so tragically common it's numbing in a way. The pattern is almost invariably the same. Sometimes the abuser is considerably older, other times not. Sometimes -- most times -- the abuser is a man, but sometimes not. Age, gender, orientation, race, religion... none of the usual demographic "markers" matter. What's always the same is the element of control.

In the worst cases, the control borders on Stockholm Syndrome. A hostage too terrified to resist develops a bond with the captor, even defends the kidnapper in the aftermath. I have a friend in the Wake County (NC) Sheriff's Department who told me of a case when he and his partner were on patrol and saw a man punch his wife so hard in the face that her nose was completely flattened. And choking on her own blood, the first words she managed to get out were "Don't arrest him please! I love him!"

That woman was in her 30's and presumably a competent adult. She was not an impressionable sixteen- or seventeen-year-old taken advantage of by an older man.

But the theme is always the same underneath it all. It starts with a need, born of whatever needs are born of. And an abusive personality can sniff that out like a dog can find a bone. He latches onto it, feeds it, nurtures it, builds it up so large that it becomes all-consuming. He turns it, reshapes it and modifies it so that now he is the only one that can satisfy that need. And then the game truly begins. Step out of line? Your need will not be met. Speak out of turn? Your need will not be met. Piss me off? I will beat you, and your need will not be met.

Slowly, inexorably he draws the circle smaller and smaller so that finally the only one left in it is you. Even he isn't in the circle. He walks around its perimeter, laughing and gawking at the caged one. Because now everyone who would have supported her is gone, and only he remains. He has the ultimate control now. He is all she has. Her sole link to anyone is to him. And he can do as he pleases with her.

If she is very lucky, someone will see and intervene. If she's a little bit lucky -- and a whole lot brave -- she'll finally realize her plight and break free on her own. And if she's luckier still the abuse will end there. But the scars will remain. Some of them forever.

Sunny, you aren't nearly alone, and you aren't anything remotely close to "damaged goods". I think -- I hope -- you see that now. Now that you're removed from it and can view it objectively, you seem to see that none of what happened to you was your fault. Not the second guessing, not the self doubt and most of all not the abuse. You were roped in by a textbook maneuver at a time when you were vulnerable. And the results were as predictable as they were tragic.

But don't mistake the commonality of your story for insignificance. Every.Single.Story is significant. Because whether the underlying theme of the story is the same or not, the experiences themselves are as individual as the person telling it. And it takes a heroic level of courage to lay that ugliest and most painful memory on the altar of the greater good.

I read that kind of strength, that kind of courage in your words. And that's what makes your story so very powerful. It demonstrates in a totally unambiguous way that it is possible to break free from the nightmare. That it is possible to escape and find someone who truly will treat you as you should be treated. In short, it underscores what I have always felt to be the underlying theme of Violence UnSilenced itself.

"You are not alone. And you don't have to live this way."

Thank you Sunny. For all those who will come after you with their own versions of this same story thank you. Your courage and perseverance have shown someone else the way out of the darkness today.

PunkOnFire
PunkOnFire

A heartbreaking story with a happy ending.. SO happy that you got out safely!
Thank you for sharing your BRAVE story.

MK
MK

What an amazing story, one I'm not sure was easy to share. I'm so glad you are in a happy relationship now - and are getting the love and support you deserve!

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