Dear Dr. Archer,
I was in a relationship for two years before we met and finally married. We both fell in love without seeing each other, and he was the nicest guy I ever met.
He was kind, concerned about me and I was looking for those characteristics in a man, as I have had a very abusive childhood. My past made me look for a guy who would understand and accept me for who and what I am.
Our two year, long distance relationship was going just fine until we started talking about marriage. Despite fight after fight, the arguments, break-up and make-up, I still believed he was the right person for me. I truly loved him because he would show me love that I had not seen in 26 years.
After we got married, six months later and living abroad things were fine and I loved the way he treated me. Then, things began to deteriorate. We would fight every weekend; it was tiresome for someone who had been fighting domestic violence for 26 years.
I had told him about my past, how I was abused by my dad, and how badly I would feel. He assured me he would treat me like a queen; how ironic. I wasn't even treated like a maid.
He was a strong man, and he started getting physical when the arguments became intense. Poor me, with weak legs and ligament problems wasn't even able to stand steadily if he were to shake me. He used to hurt me with his nails, twist my wrists, pushing me against the wall, warning me to shut my mouth.
I admit that I'd abuse him, too, but that was due to my past neglected childhood. All I wanted was for him to show some consideration; I still don't know the meaning of love. I wanted to experience it through him.
I have not and will not tell my family of my experience. I will bury these memories with myself, and keep questioning God, when my turn will come to be with Him.
A few things come to mind from your letter. First and foremost, anyone who experiences physical or mental abuse, especially as a child, may need counseling to come to terms with their past. You are carrying plenty of baggage with you, and it is causing problems in your present life.
Your childhood is gone; everything that happened can never be undone. Instead of looking forward to a promising future, each of your paragraphs looks back, seeing yourself as a victim. You must look ahead and start viewing yourself as a survivor, and leave the victim in the past, where she belongs. It’s a simple change of mindset, but many have trouble with it, so if you do, then by all means see a therapist.
Next, no one should ever base a relationship on an Internet meeting. It’s a great way to meet, but then you need to spend time -- plenty of time -- with the person, physically. Anyone can type on a screen, but that's not a healthy love, even if it lasts for two years.
Whether or not you know it, you put a very heavy burden on your husband. You wanted him to make all your hurt from your past go away, and that's just impossible. That's something you have to work through, yourself.
However he is now becoming abusive and that has me very concerned Elizebeth. I think at this point you both need to see a marriage counselor, to work on his violence and your relationship in general.
I don't know why you want to bury these memories within yourself, but I urge you to rethink that decision. Talk with a counselor, and talk to any family member(s) you love and trust. Only then will you learn from this experience and be able to grow and move on, bringing you to a brighter future which you deserve. Talking with those we love and trust is therapeutic.
The one thing I can say that you must do immediately is to tell him no more violence. Give an ultimatum on this and be prepared to carry it out. This will never work if he keeps physically hurting you. I wish you well.