It’s been more than six years now since I found out the man I was married to was a practicing pedophile. Why am I still finding myself suffocating from this? Why is the mental abuse still plaguing me? Why? Why? Why? Why am I still allowing the abuse to affect me?
I found out some information last week about John, the man I was married to for almost forty years, and I was floored. “No, this isn’t John! He would never do that!”
But, my son said otherwise.”Dad used to laugh about this. I never told you about it because…….well, because I thought you might get mad if I told you.”
I’ve replayed this over and over in my mind hundreds of times already. To some it might not be a big deal, but to me it made me sick in my stomach all over again. I was unable to sleep for several nights because I kept getting awake with bad dreams.
Let me explain……….
John was a minister for a small country church. As you can understand, the pay wasn’t much so he supplemented with another job. John sold insurance mostly to retired school teachers. Long term care insurance was a premium item to sell, and he was good at it. I was so proud of him because he’d come home and tell me how much he was helping these women to preserve their income by making certain they had long-term care nursing home protection. John was a top salesman two years in a row getting the salesman of the year trophy each time.
What was said that floored me? My son said, “Dad laughed his head off telling me some of the tricks he used to close sales. One of the best tricks was keeping a pack of cigarettes in his pocket. If he saw that he wasn’t going to close the sale, he’d pull out a cigarette, light it up, prop up his feet on a coffee table and begin filling the house with smoke. He said the old ladies wanted me out of there because I was being so obnoxious blowing smoke in their faces. I’d shove the paper under their hand, and tell them to sign so I could get out of there. He said it was the funniest thing ever because it worked every time!”
“What? Your dad did what?”
I’m still sitting here as I’m typing in a rather stunned stupor. John didn’t smoke. He always told people he was highly allergic to smoke. My goodness! He even preached against the evils of smoking! I cannot picture him sitting in anyone’s home, feet propped up, puffing on a cigarette. Nor, can I imagine him mocking the fact that this is how he closed a sale. I can’t see him doing this. That’s not the man I married!
I feel sick all over again.
Why is this news such a big thing to me? Because it’s one more lie. It’s one more time he used people. It’s one more way he deceived me and others. It’s one more way he manipulated people. It’s one more way that tells me I never knew the man I married. I shared my life with a liar. I shared my heart with someone who was so terribly dishonest. I shared my life with an abuser. I shared my life with a man who used mental tactics and physical know-how to rape innocent, beautiful children and I’m just sick about that.
It does something to a person when you find out that the person you loved and trusted isn’t who they say they are. It rips you up inside. It’s gut-wrenching. Even though this story of John and the cigarettes might not seem like a big thing, it is HUGE to me! It’s another one of his horrible lies. He acted like he was so kind, so thoughtful, so caring about “his clients” when in fact he was manipulating them to do just what he wanted. I hate that! I absolutely hate that kind of trickery!
What I hate the most is knowing that young hearts have been broken. Innocent children have been used. The name of God has been mocked. The trust relationship that was built between husband and wife, father and child, preacher and parishioner was all a lie. A big, deceitful lie. If I’m hurting this much from the emotional abuse, how must those children he abused feel? How are they coping? What must go on inside of their hearts and minds?
John is in prison for life. That is where he belongs. He can no longer play with people’s minds. He can no longer molest children. For those of us who are still feeling the suffocating effects of abuse, it is my continued prayer that one day there will be freedom. It’s on the way. I know it. I can feel it. There probably will be moments of “awakening” such as I’ve experienced this past week for the remainder of my life. But, John no longer holds me under the blanket of abuse continually causing me to gasp for air. I can breathe. I pray his victims can breathe easier knowing he can no longer harm them or any other child.
My son Jimmy and I are continuing to educate others on the topic of preventing child sex abuse. We’re working hard to be a voice for those who are unable yet to speak out. There is great joy on the horizon as we watch more and more victims of abuse using their voices to become a strong, united voice against sex crimes. Children of abuse are becoming more and more empowered every day! Help is on the way, and everyone knows it! Victims of abuse are becoming thrivers of abuse!!
If you’ve been strangled by the lies and abuse of someone you loved and trusted, believe me when I say you’re stronger than you think. Speak out. There are people who will believe you. If you are in an abusive situation, please don’t stay. I know it takes courage — a lot of courage — to leave, but leaving is far, far better than staying! Your life is precious!! Every life is precious!
If you are a child of abuse, speak out. Everyone needs your voice. Together we will become the voice of change, and that is when there will be freedom from this suffocating blanket of abuse!