Too Many Red Flags, But I am Stronger Now

The man I met in college was supposed to be the man of my future happiness but I was wrong. In the first that we were dating, he was an amazing man. He cared deeply for everything I needed and was very spontaneous and romantic. I was constantly swept off my feet. 

After the year had past we decided to move in together which was exciting and incredible. We worked as a team to make our place our home. He eventually got me a dog that I adored and after that I slowly started to see changes in the man I was spellbound by.

He started to care less about me and started to be angry more often, but I figured it was just that money was tight and things would get better. He then would get mad at my dog because of little things and would punch him or kick him. 

That should have been the FIRST RED FLAG of many I should have noticed but didn’t.

So, I got rid of my dog that I loved so much and he got me a cat. Which went well for a while and we loved our playful kitten. About this time I had found out that I was pregnant with our first little boy and everything changed.

We were so happy to be bringing our little man into the world. We bought everything we needed for the little guy. Then my husband lost his first job – but as a supporting wife I did everything I could to see us through. This included 60+ hour weeks while I waited for him to find a job.

He would manage to get one just to be fired from it because of anger issues (RED FLAG #2 ignored). Then he started beating up my cat like he did my dog. At one point, he held my cat by the throat and punched her in the ribs because she was scratching at the carpet (even more red flags unnoticed).

Then the baby came and the happiness cup was overflowing again, but it was short lived. He still was having trouble keeping the jobs he could get so I was working overnight and taking care of my baby during the day, leaving zero time for sleep. My husband also use to scare me when I would be learning how to drive so much that I refused to get my driver’s license.
Because of the lack of sleep I was getting, I got fired for falling asleep on the job. My husband screamed at me the whole ride home to the point that I almost jumped out of the car in the middle of heavy traffic to get out of earshot (talk about more red flags!)

managed to get a new job that I enjoyed and was managing to get at least a little sleep. 

But I then got fired because my husband told one of the managers that he wanted to sue them.

At this point I started to see the red flags that I was missing but I was still blind to what he could really do. Before I got fired from my second job I had found out that I was pregnant with little boy number 2. One day after finding out that I was having a second child, my husband and I started fighting which had upset my oldest and my husband choke slams my 1 year old into his bed. I immediately ran to his door and blocked him from my husband’s wrath which put me right in the crosshairs. 

He grabbed me by the throat and threw me over a chair onto our couch. 

Now I wasn’t blind to anymore of those flags and decided that I needed to find a way out for my boys to survive. That was also when he told me that if I tried to leave he would take my kids from me and I would never see them again.

For the next few months until I gave birth I did everything I could to make sure he was happy. I worked 60+ hours a week while he stayed home and played video game and I took care of everything in the house. We never shared a bed after that. He slept on the couch telling me he couldn’t stand to sleep next to me because I snore. 

I felt the most alone I had ever felt.

After giving birth, I started figuring out ways to leave and move back home with my kids. I would look on my phone for cheap places to live in my hometown making sure to delete everything so he wouldn’t find out. I was afraid to ask my family for help because I was afraid of what my husband might do. This went on for 6 weeks, and I finally think I had found a place for me and my boys to be at peace. 

That was the night that I will have nightmares for the rest of my life from.

I received a call about mid shift that something had happened and they were taking my 6 month old baby to the hospital because he wasn’t breathing. I had a coworker take me to the hospital to find out that there was many signs of child abuse. 

They told me all of his injuries including 2 spots of bleeding in his brain and a few broken bones!

My husband kept changing his story of what happened from it was an accident to his older brother who wasn’t even 2 yet did it. That night my husband was taken to jail and my boys were taken from me for the week while they sorted everything out.
I was so traumatized by what had happened and what I had seen that they had to do that all I could do was cry in a ball telling myself that I was a good mom.

I managed to get my kids back and my ex husband’s parents let us stay with them until everything was ready to move back home. We eventually moved home with my parents and my boys have changed so much. They are both doing amazingly 2 years after everything had happened. 

All three of us still have nightmares about what had happened, but I think their memories are finally starting to fade with time and I hope mine will eventually too.

Better days are coming. We just got to keep looking forward and try not to look back for the monster that might come back for us. But now I am stronger and I will fight to keep moving forward for all three of our sakes.

I wish I had read the signs and listened to what my brain was trying to tell me. If they say they will change, you can pretty much guess that it’s a lie. And if you stay then they know they have you. But if you red the warning and get out there will always be better days ahead.

– I’m Stronger Now, 26 
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