A Celebration of Women™
… is elated to Celebrate the Life os this woman. Not only is she a Survivor; she realizes today that she is a Thrivor!
Having Risen Above her Greatest Challenges in Life, she is now here to help the Women of our World.
Welcome with us another awesome Woman Taking Action !!!
WOMAN of ACTION™
I grew up in a loving environment. My mom and dad were very loving but strict parents. I was daddy’s little girl and mommy’s little helper. I went everywhere with my dad. His side-kick. It was always so much fun to be with him. At home I would curl up on his lap and nuzzled in his neck. We would go in the backyard and hang out in the pool that he put up every year for me and my sister. As I got older I always felt a special place in his heart. The compliments he would give me and the encouragement along the way. He was also a very strict father. Being of old school Italian heritage his little girl was protected.
There were curfews that had to be followed and limited time on the phone. Going out was never big on his list of priorities with me. My older sister would help me convince him to let me go out as I approached my teens and into my High School years.
I never seemed to mind because I respected him and my mom for the decisions they made for me. I enjoyed my high school years despite the fact I was not allowed to “hang out” much. I had many friends because I was athletic and participated in many things. As I look back on those days I only thank them for the protection they felt necessary to bestow on me and not the restrictions. In my heart, until the day he passed away, I still remained his little girl.
My mom was the organizer. She had things that me and my sister had to do around the house. We would have designated days to clean. Every night we had kitchen duty after dinner. Alternating between my sister with clearing the table, cleaning the dishes and sweeping the floor. It taught me how to take pride in my environment. My room was always neat and clean. You can say we were the typical middle class, low-income family. My mom would make sure we had the things that were necessary and not the things everyone else had. We never had a lot of money but you would never know that in our home and I never felt any less provided for because of it.
I can’t write enough about my mom. She was an “angel”. I would watch and learn from her as she opened her heart and her doors to many. She was always with a kind word and a kind gesture. She never had an angry bone in her body. She would often tell me to let things go, not to hold onto anger or hate. My compassionate and nurturing side is a result of being her daughter. I owe this side of me to her because it would be what got me through much of my life. I carry her close in my heart everyday as much of my adult life would be a nightmare. I would never let her in to all that was happening.
My dad would sense things and also remain silent. I know now it broke his heart to see his little girl struggle through many moments. He would politely tell me he wished better for me and wanted to help but couldn’t. I always understood.
When they both became ill I would become their caregiver. For five years I would care for them and towards the end of both of their lives.
“It would be the defining moment in my life when I realized I deserved better and I went out gradually and sought after it.”
I already had one failed marriage under my belt so the thought of marriage was not high on my list of things to do. I would meet a man who I quickly became involved with. He seemed to be a perfect match. He said all the right things. He provided for me and my young son from my previous marriage. I was in love. I never doubt the beginning of our relationship. He was a good man. The decision to have children was something I would treasure. These were the times that drew us closer. Three beautiful boys would become a part of our union.
My older son from my previous marriage would become his target of angst. He would begin this early on in our relationship and I would excuse it because I thought he knew better. My insecurities and lack of self-confidence would be the cause of many of my oldest sons pangs as he grew into a lost teenager. Fights would escalate as he grew into his teen years. I would intervene but would never win this battle.
My husband’s drinking was out of control.
He would begin showing a side of himself that I despised.
There was no talking to him at those moments.
I would threaten to leave and he would counter attack with nobody would want me with four children and that I could never afford to be out there on my own. Reality of this fact would always kick me in the teeth and I would stay. At this time I would call on my mom, who had passed away, to help me find the solutions, the answers. I would be on my knees at times crying for some kind of peace in my life.
And then one day a huge fight erupted between him and my oldest son. It would result in him kicking him out of the house at 16 years of age. I allowed it. A decision I still regret. There is a fine line between forgiveness and letting go. I have let it go because he grew up to become a son I am very proud of despite the fact I allowed this to happen in his life.
I regret it because my children are my life and I struggle with this because I feel I let him down as his mother. I would do whatever I needed to do for him while he was out of the house. It was always on the sly. My husband never knew he would come back home to take a shower, to eat, to get his laundry done. It was all I could do for him at the time until I convinced my husband to let him back in almost two years later. It would be a love/hate relationship between the two. But he was home and my empowerment of self grew.
The moments between my husband and I would again escalate. His drinking now was being coupled with the use of cocaine. This would alter his personality even more.
I entered the world of confusion on many levels. Not knowing how to sort out the moments he would be abusive to me. Not realizing I never deserved one of them. When you fall under the hands of an abusive spouse, friend, family member your mind becomes clouded. One minute you feel it all and the next you are numb. You begin to believe in some distorted way you deserved what was happening. Did I say something wrong? Did I walk up to him the wrong way? Was I not pretty enough that day? Very mundane statements, but a victim’s world.
Sadness, depression, self-doubt.
It would be how I spent almost 20 years of my life with him? I tried on many levels to help him with his addictions thinking if he would stop the abuse would stop. He committed a year to Alcoholics Anonymous and even went to counseling to learn some tools to help him through this time. It was a quiet year of sorts but the abuse would still be there. It was subtle abuse, but abuse none the less.
At this time I would begin finding myself in my children’s world. I became very involved with them in karate and would eventually join. It was something he never cared for so I would go off every night with my boys to watch them, be involved and train. I grew through this time. I became stronger when the moments of abuse would occur. I was able to say no and at times even ward him off. My coping skills were heightened. I could hide everything from everyone. Nobody even suspected what it was I was going through.
The monetary value in the marriage allowed me to train and to have my boys train. I needed his money so I endured. Again, this is a victim’s world I’m living in. Not the real world by a long shot. I would later take on more endeavors to keep me away from him further. Strength grew and fights escalated because I was becoming my own woman. I no longer needed his permission for anything. I would learn to compromise the moments. Even tell him if I let him do this he would have to let me do that.
My spirit never died, but my heart and my soul were crashing.He became more and more self-absorbed with alcohol.
Money was missing so I also knew the drugs were playing a role. I was beginning to develop a plan. A method to get away from all of this. I knew in my heart of hearts he would be his own demise. He was getting sloppy and I was getting more verbal about it around the boys. They were beginning to see a side of him that I kept hidden from them. Whenever they would question things happening between us I would excuse them away so they never felt any ill feelings for him. But his true colors began to shine all the time and the boys were older so they understood and didn’t like what was happening.
It would be my middle son that would come to me one Christmas and tell me that all the alcohol needed to be removed from the house or he would do it. I would then proceed to empty the home of all alcohol and begin to discover all of his hiding places. It was a very painful discovery as I collected garbage pails full of empty cans of beer and small containers of hard alcohol. I enlisted the help of my oldest son and his wife and we decided an intervention needed to be held. Even as much as I hated him and wanted nothing to do with him, I still thought I could help. So an intervention occurred. It failed miserably. He would again tell me my oldest son, his wife and now my two grandchildren were no longer welcomed in our home. I have never forgiven him for kicking my oldest out when he was 16 and I was not about to put up with him doing this a second time in my life.
Thus began the worse year of my life.
I was still in the stage of believing I could not handle my life financially so we remained in the same home, but separated. I was sleeping on the couch because again my low self-esteem led me there. I was no longer in the mood to fight these battles with him so I placed myself out of harms way and slept there. For the next three months he would torment me, physically try to have me and verbally berate me almost every night. I would fight back verbally, physically remove him and then pray directly in front of him for help. He never understood why I did this but I felt if he heard me praying for help he may just get what he was doing to me.
A decision was made one night between me and my three boys to go into my youngest sons room away from him and protected at night behind a locked door. I would spend the next eight months on my sons floor away from him and loving every moment because it drew me even closer with my children as they were very protective and vigilant. My heart breaks thinking back on this because as a mother you never want your children to hurt. Even though they told me on several occasions they were alright I still felt like I had let them down.
And then an incident occurred that would change everything.
He attacked me one morning while the boys were still asleep and I was in the kitchen making coffee. It would wake them up and the battle began. It resulted in an injury; I remember a police officer once telling me that the only way to have him removed from the home is if there was physical evidence of abuse. I had it and I was acting on it.
He left for work and I called a friend and off to the police station I went to secure a restraining order. I also needed to go before a judge to get a final order so the police could remove him from the home. It was an all day ordeal and him being removed never occurred until 8PM that night. I had my two sons with me after they got out of school, my other one was away at college, and we waited along with my friend for the call from the police station that he was removed so we could go back home.
The following months would serve to be my chance to find the answers, the money, the survival skills I needed to support my boys.
I am at peace now. I still suffer from triggers but they have quieted. I have gone down many paths over the years so I have developed better self-esteem. I am and have always been a compassionate person so this has led me in many directions of helping others. I am in a loving, nurturing relationship with a man who has helped me in many ways of getting through the very dark moments that still plague me.
I have learned to open my heart and accept others help which was the hardest thing for me to do. I write to feel so I can give back. This is my admission into the world of Domestic/Sexual/Verbal Abuse. I am no longer silent. I am no longer afraid who knows. I no longer cling to people who don’t understand and nor do I blame them for not understanding. I am embracing life one day at a time and wear the title “Survivor” proudly.
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WOMAN of ACTION™ – Eileen Bencivengo
August 29, 2012 By Leave a Comment