• Annika Sharma

Listener Story: Love and Abuse.

Updated: Aug 26, 2019

Note: This is a story submitted by a listener to share. She would like to remain anonymous. It has been edited only for readability and some grammer, but has remained otherwise untouched.

Three years ago I married a guy I met in college (I have known him for a total of 9 years) and I really loved him and connected. After we got married, something just felt off and I kept brushing it off. Like, instead of us being in that newly married phase, he would always pick little fights with me. But I kept convincing myself this was normal--married couples fight.

Our first argument was 4 days after getting married when he told me he was upset with me during my Vidhai ceremony because I didn’t hug his mom when she came to. I calmly tried to explain him that there were a lot of emotions that day and I don’t even remember that if that happened. If it did, I didn’t do it on purpose. I noticed we had a lot of those little fights but it was tearing me down from the inside because he started questioning me on the type of person I was. If he did yell and argue with me, he wouldn’t talk to me for days until I apologized even if I didn’t do anything and if his family called, he would speak to them so happily while continuing to ignore me.

There were many instances when he would say him yelling at me was because of me and my stupid ways. He’d call me stupid and brainless. He’d say I’m a bad wife, daughter, and I’d probably be a bad mom. He’d call me heartless, cold-hearted, loner. He’d say our friends were not my friends and they were only talking to me because of him. He’d call me a liar, and say he had to teach me everything and I know nothing and my parents taught me nothing. He’d check all my mail, and criticize me spending money on coffee once a week. These are just a small portion of what he said to me.

Last May, his parents moved in with us full time. A few days before they moved in, he had told me that a portion of his mom’s clothes would be moved into our bedroom closet (we have the master bedroom with a walk-in closet). I told him we have 3 other bedrooms in the house that she’s welcome to use and I will arrange something else if she needs more room (her prior closet was smaller). I also told him this was our room, our private room...the only room in our house that should be just ours. We have an attic and basement so we have plenty of storage if needed, so I didn’t want her clothes in our closet because it already had our clothes. He then said since it's half his, he wants to give his half portion to his mom. I tried to reason but he got really mad and pushed me down on the floor and threatened me that his mom’s clothes were going in our closet no matter what and he’d throw my clothes and me out. He also would keep our bedroom door wide open at night because he wanted an open-door policy with his mom to enter when she felt like it and because of that, she did.

A few days after we drove up to help with the move and we had the same argument. I tried again to reason with him but it got to the point of him threatening he’d divorce me and that I was such a bad person. I cried so much in pain in the car because the words really hit me--how could he think I’m a bad person when I knew I wasn't? He didn’t seem to care that I was hurt at all. After they moved in, I told my parents everything (I couldn’t hold it in anymore--it was taking a toll on my health). All the fights. All the things he said. One thing that was hard for me to say was that within our first year of marriage, one night (around 11pm), I came out of the shower in just my robe. Neither him or I remembers the argument but he took my arm and proceeded to drag me out of the home. We got to the door and I continued to beg and beg and then I broke down.

Another time we had gotten a big dishwashing soap bottle and I wanted to keep it in a certain place but he wanted to keep it downstairs. I said calmly that it would be better here and let's just try it out. He got mad and dragged me forcefully from the kitchen down the steps of the basement and made me put it down with my hands. I decided to take some space away from him.

All in all, we went there to pick up my things and his parents and him wouldn’t let me and suggested that we should talk and I had to negotiate my time away from him to just a few days. 2 months later, things started being bad again. At that time his sister was over (for a month) and he’d yell at me for the littlest things in front of everyone and belittle me and then not talk to me for days and days, even if I tried to talk to him. No one in the house did anything. I finally called my parents and said I’m done and I told them I need to take a longer break. I told them how these past 2 years I tried everything to keep him and everyone else happy. I tried cooking more for him, tried to keep his mom and family happy, tried to change myself for him and gave up a lot. We talked and I put everything on the table and he agreed that he’d change and I believed him. He even said he’d talk to his mom and he knew we were fighting because of her.

A few months ago, he started to call me stupid and lazy and would yell at me if I placed my jacket in the corner of the bedroom (our room was clean and nothing was there) or if I kept things under the bed because it had to be how his mom kept it. Basically, if he didn’t get his way with me, little or big, he’d talk down to me and curse at me and yell at me. Throughout our marriage, he wouldn’t let me go home to my parents who live 30 minutes away. I didn’t see them much for the first two years because I wanted to invest all my time and efforts in him and his family. I’d want to go there for the weekend maybe once every two months or so and he would argue with me. While before his parents moved in, we would go visit them for 2 weekends a month just because. I started living in a type of fear where he’d text me and I’d start worrying if I did something wrong-was he going to yell at me?

Fast forward to now, I sent him a divorce notice and told him I knew he wouldn't change.

I know his mom always instigated him about me and that’s how our arguments started--but blaming her wouldn’t help because he allowed her to. He never once stood up for me and believed in me. He fell for it every time. She’d criticize my cleaning, cooking, if I get my hair and nails done (I barely did because of all the judgement), if I stayed out (only an hour and half after work) with my coworkers she would convince him I was drunk when I wasn’t (I had a glass of cider) and then, in front of me, she’d act nice and act like she never said that and that she cared for me. But he would always yell at me for her and she completely took control of my house. It was all her rules and I couldn’t do what I wanted. She would lecture him when we’d stay out late or if we drank and actually stay up until we came home and call us when we were out. We barely went out because he felt guilty leaving his parents alone even for a few hours. He’d always tell me I don’t do enough around the house and she does so much, while I work in the city and my commute one way is 2 hours and she is always home but I’d still help even days when I had a fever because he wouldn’t care, he’d say I was faking it. I got to the point where 6 months ago I was also sick from exhaustion and was always tired.

Some days are really hard and I just want to cry because I really loved and trusted him and stuck up for him and I just feel lost and betrayed. Some days I can’t think straight and doubt every decision and specifically, my decision to leave him. A lot has happened and I’m just starting to open up. I used to be this super bubbly, happy, and outgoing girl and now I feel like a different person.

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