You are standing in the doorway to face the world with a tiny bit of hope.
A few years ago you stepped into the home through the same door. You were married to the best physician in the town. You absolutely loved everything about that man. You worked at his clinic as a receptionist and when you left the job, he pursued you. Although you were hesitant at first, you began liking him. You liked that he was a simple, kind man. You loved that he had the stability in his life, the one that yours lacked. When he proposed to you at that coffee shop, were you caught by surprise? Did you need more time? Or were you elated to get out of your unstable, abusive life and be a part of something new?
You got married in the spring. You had the best summer of your life. You traveled to Paris on a cruise, stood at the base of the Eiffel Tower, and wondered how you got so lucky. You both couldn’t get enough of each other. But something was different about him. You noticed that he was distant at times. On asking him, he would push you away or yell at you for bothering. So you stopped asking. He started picking on your errors. He would scold you for not cleaning the coffee table and later apologise and justify. “I had a bad day, honey” was the usual. He would spit the dinner on you if he found it appalling his palate. You would wipe thinking – Well he had a bad day.
It didn’t get better. When you had your first fight, he held you by your throat until you couldn’t breathe anymore. You gasped and coughed and he left you on the floor crying. You wiped your tears and put a high neck t-shirt on to save yourself. You saved him instead by smiling and brushing everything off under the rug. This time he didn’t apologise. He came around with a bracelet and expected you to forgive. You were scarred on the inside, scared of his eyes, and faked happiness to protect yourself.
He didn’t stop. It had become a habit, it wasn’t a mistake anymore. But he is a good man who loses his mind for a couple of minutes. He loves you, he means it too. He took you in when nobody did. You are obligated. Obligated to put up with whatever he throws. He threw a vase once, you had to get stitches. He stitched it up. So nobody knew, nobody knew that it wasn’t the edge of the cupboard that cut your head, it was him. You had black eye so many times, and you put contour and then some foundation.
A couple of days ago, you opened the door to two men from a not-for-profit organization. They said they raised money for women and children of domestic abuse. You teared up and emptied your purse for them. They saw your scars, cuts, and bruises. You denied, but they had seen worse. And yesterday they appeared at your door and handed you a pamphlet. And you decided to stand up for yourself for the very first time.
I don’t know what you’ll do to your husband, how you’ll go forward from here or anything. But I know you are standing in a doorway to hope.