Abuse changes the entire family.
I became fearful and suspicious of any man that showed interest in me for the 11 years I was a single parent. I truly did not trust any man other than my dad and my son for a long while. There was one co-worker and his family who helped me and my family start to live again and I will forever thank them for what they did to help me get back on my feet.
My daughter and son had an absent father from 93-97. Part of those years he was living in the county near us but only took the kids for 6 hours on a Saturday afternoon if it fit into his schedule with his new wife. When he moved to Arizona in 97, I was truly relieved and could go grocery shopping without looking over my shoulder and worrying we might run into him.
The holidays were especially rough because my kids had my family all around us, but there was never a Christmas Day with their dad because he never asked to see them. I also refused to put a present under the tree with his name on it because I didn't want to lie to my children. Some years he and his mom would send a box of presents from AZ, but that only happened a couple of times that I recall.
In 2002, When I married #2, he promised the kids would always have great holidays because he loved Christmastime. I was very jaded and cynical by this time and let him do what he wanted in regards to Christmas. I didn't even put up the tree until they asked. #2 always made sure there were tons of presents under the tree for Kourtney and Brian and we usually helped another family in the area that we knew were struggling.
For many years, my children referred to #2 as dad because he was the only present, supportive father figure they had ever known. Sadly, I now look back and see him as a better 'dad figure' than husband/spouse. I struggle every day knowing that I brought him into my children's life and now he continues to try to be a part of their lives. It is their choice, but for my own sanity, I wish that he would truly leave us all alone now that the divorce is over and there is no biological connection.
My parents have always been here for me and I do not know how much they know or do not know. My sisters have always been supportive of me even if they didn't know what was going in at home for me either marriage.
Both of my children are now grown and have families of their own. My son is totally dedicated to his wife and children and refuses to be anything like either of my husbands. My daughter is fiercely independent and will not take very much grief from her husband.
I have suffered with Depression and anxiety for years and I am now convinced that the fear and depression is what blinded me to lots of the things that my 2nd husband did in the years we were married.
I still have good days and bad days and flat out UGLY days. Some days I still want to 'hate everything' but my friends (both online and close by) always know just when I need a boost and help me dig out of my dumps for the day. Thank you to all the guide posts in my life over the past few years!! You have helped to light the way to get me back into the Church and that has helped tremendously.
If you need to reach a local shelter or the Domestic Violence Help Line, Please visit http://www.resurrectingrobin.com/#/home/