I’m ashamed to tell you that I’m in my fifties and I’m petrified of my husband. I’m scared to bring a divorce action against him just in case I’m left with nothing. I’m frightened in case my husband finds out. I’m scared in case he knows people that are powerful who can stop the divorce action. I’m petrified of staying in my past and present but I’m fearful of moving into the future.
As a Manager, I’m a well dressed, well spoken woman, with a responsible position at work that I really enjoy. I’ve spent years working hard to get promotions and make something of myself. I feel safe at work; it’s my refuge from the storm: my hiding place. I do my work and help others to do theirs. I know my stuff and I’m diligent: a respected and trusted employee – but that’s the best I’ll ever be. My Bosses like me; they trust me and know that I am loyal and reliable; they don’t pay me enough so I can’t save.
I have a few real friends I’ve formed a bond with over the years. These friends think I’m a good person and they stand by me in tough times as I do with them. However, they think I’m an idiot to stay with a man I’m scared of. They know he hits me and otherwise ignores me. They dislike my husband and when they speak they don’t hold back. They keep telling me to go see a Divorce Attorney. They even offer to accompany me.
My family have been telling me this for years and I’ve continued to ignore them by making excuses. The family are close and like all families we have our challenges, but we face them together. Strangely, on the subject of my marriage we are divided: it’s them and me. They despise my husband because of the way he’s made me live my life in fear. Some of them find him revolting - they hate him. My grown up kids join in with them and tell me they’ll take me to see a Specialist Divorce and Family Law Attorney because for such a bad person as my husband I need a specialist. I can’t tell you the language they use but you can image what insults they hurl at him behind his back. They are a very vocal family.
Since our marriage he’s always avoided my family, thinking of himself as better than them. He rarely misses an opportunity to show them his importance. My people don’t forget things like that. The put downs, the sneering, the bragging, and the posturing disdain: clearly he doesn’t think it could have consequences. It probably doesn’t occur to him that my brother would like to punch him silly; my married daughter can’t bear to be in the same room as him; one of my sisters talks of poison but I’d better not mention that. I’ll also confess that I know I should go and see a Specialist Divorce Attorney but I just don’t want to admit it to them because I’ll have a lot of explaining to do. Anyway, you get the idea that he’s not a popular person.
Maybe I was the first woman who ever said No to him and that was like a red rag to a bull. He swept me off my feet and I got entirely the wrong idea about him. I was pregnant with our first child when he changed completely, forgot about me and opened a business. The business was a great success and grew from strength to strength – it was the only positive thing in his life that he gave any attention to and it rewarded us. He put me to work in the company during my second pregnancy and giving me no choice, he kept me there until the kids were around ten years old.
At home he didn’t spend time talking to me or being my friend; I was there for a purpose: no need for discussion. He lashed out at me; hit me; punched me; and made me look stupid in front of the children. I was frightened in my own home when he arrived as I never knew what to expect and I seemed to always do something wrong. His rage would scream at me that I was a failure as a wife and a mother. When my kids tried to help me up he’d hit them as well.
At work we didn’t run the business together as partners. I was the lowly employee and he didn’t speak to me unless he had to. He shouted and insulted me in front of the other staff and I was scared every day in that office. Scared of making mistakes, scared of him embarrassing me, scared of what the staff was thinking. Smart people starting walking in and out for meetings with him and suddenly one day he locked me out of my office. Said he was ashamed of me and the business was off limits. My fear and embarrassment stopped me from doing anything about his abuse. My terror choked me and I panicked. I had nowhere to turn.
I felt used and dirty; unloved and rejected. He’d managed to make me feel second hand and unworthy. I heard the women at the children’s school talk of divorce and I listened from the shadows as they spoke of their respective experiences with Divorce Attorneys. The stories made me feel like there was hope and I wanted to ask them for more details, but for some strange reason I didn’t feel good enough to mix with them and so I remained silent with my questions unanswered.
When I went to work for this company my husband stopped supporting me. He told me I was on my own now. The promotions started to arrive and instead of being proud of me he made some disgusting suggestions about how I was getting promoted. We got into a big argument and I bravely said I’d divorce him. He laughed at me and asked how I would manage to stay alive without him. I pointed out that we were married In Community of Property. He went red in the face and said but the business was not part of the In Community of Property arrangements; it was separate and I had no claim to it.
I never went out, I was too scared of my husband’s temper; but one of my girl friends recently suggested we should go out for supper. That weekend both our husbands were away on business trips. On a whim I suggested we ate at a restaurant I hadn’t been to for years. Following our Waiter I spotted my husband sitting at a table with a young attractive woman. They were laughing and holding hands across the table in full view of the entire restaurant. We both kept on walking to the restrooms and made a discreet departure without being observed by him.
The following week I was in a consult with Specialist Divorce Attorneys at Martin Vermaak. A few members of staff had spoken highly of them regarding their own divorces. These Attorneys explained the whole legal situation applicable to my matter and that I was in a lot better position that I thought. I learned many things I hadn’t known: they were really supportive and helpful.
So can any of you tell me why I don’t think I can keep my appointment with them next week?
I’m sitting on the floor of my bedroom looking at the new blouse I was wearing that he tore and threw at me in rage. There’s a swelling starting near my ribs where he kicked me. Blood is running down my face from somewhere – I think I hit my head on the wall when he knocked me down. It feels as if my ankle is broken or sprained because I can’t stand up. My hands are shaking so badly and my fingers are trembling too much for me to dial a number on my cell phone.
I will go back to Martin Vermaak Attorneys. They understood me and showed me compassion. I just can’t go anywhere now. I’m too frightened.