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Part 7: Victimized, an Unexpected Visitor and Treachery. What happened?

By Ashley Huckabee

I tried my hardest to hold things together for the kids, but when I became unruly, Joe would take me in the back and "remind me who was in charge". I desperately wanted to escape, but no one really knew what was happening. I also wasn’t sure who, if anybody, I could depend on. I had always been mistrustful, but when Sarah hand delivered me back to this evil, I had no hope left.

My lack of faith was revealed to be well-founded when one of my closest family members came for a visit, a man morally obligated to protect me. Apparently, Joe had the audacity to call him over to "line me out". I originally assumed "Roy" came, because like many who were ignorant of the details, he had placed the totality of the blame on my out-of-control drinking.

Roy entered the bedroom and began removing the empty bottles Joe told him I had stashed. Irate, he launched into a forceful attack on my character. I needed to "grow up and learn to act right", to "step up and be a mom". Despite the torment I felt, I accepted the blame. I was covered in bruises and he knew I was being held against my will, but once again this was taken as proof of my moral weakness, not Joe’s brutality. He failed to understand that this abuse was the TRIGGER for my relapse, not the result. In retrospect, my backslide wasn't a valid defense, but my self-esteem was so low that I accepted the rationalization. In my shame, I was unable to see that a victim’s sobriety isn’t a factor in an abusive person’s conduct.

Roy’s appalling reaction seemed due to a combined sense of resentment and a desire to shift the "burden". After a lifetime of compensating for my dysfunction, it was simply easier to transfer the responsibility. I should have been more deeply affected by this, but it took about ten years for the gravity of his treachery to sink in.

To be continued…

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