At some point the progression of battering leads to hatred. At first, it is called love, then protection (aka jealousy), then control, and manipulation; which of course leads to guerilla warfare; and finally, into hot, red hatred.
The more I fought back, the more he hated me. When I stopped fighting back, he hated me even more, and the war was escalated to the next level – the basic necessities of life.
The last time I took a plate of food, he emptied a bottle of salad dressing on my head, my face, my hair, my plate and the chair I was sitting in. After that, when I cooked, I tasted. One bite here, one there. But I did not eat.
The drama of control extended to every area of my life, every particle of my being. My critical mind was gone, battered into submission. The violence and hatred had taken its toll over the years. When we escaped, I was a walking skeleton. Every rib could be counted. I am sixty-five inches tall and at that time I weighed one hundred two pounds. Not even two pounds per inch. Nothing in my life was normal.
My dear cousin tried. She moved us in with her, before the shelter, while we waited for a room to become available, and after we left the shelter while I was looking for a job. I was too skinny. She determined that I needed to eat three meals a day, which she prepared and watched me eat. I immediately became bulimic.
(I showered three times a day and threw up every meal she made for me. Apparently that wasn’t quite normal.)
She took me to her very own “shrink.” He peered over his reading glasses at me and said that I had a bad case of “learned helplessness” and that my posture and eye contact were an indication that I was trying to “come on” to him. Yeah. For real.
I told him what I thought of that comment. Yes, I did. And I never went back.
Meanwhile, I was vacant and broken. My windows were all boarded up. Cobwebs were hanging around inside of my brain. All of this help just made me feel even more empty.
When I finally got a job, I started to come back to life. I have no idea why they took a chance on me, but I scratched and clawed my way back from there. No one was going to help me. No one really could help me. They didn’t know what I needed. And neither did I. So, I had to do it on my own.