When I was 39 years old, in 1993, I had hit my lowest bottom ever.
I had been married for 23 years, at that point, to a very abusive man. He had had numerous affairs, had been extremely violent both physically and verbally, and I was by all definitions a battered woman. As most such women, I also suffered from the Stockholm Syndrome.
“Stockholm syndrome is a condition that causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captors as a survival strategy during captivity. These feelings, resulting from a bond formed between captor and captives during intimate time spent together, are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims. Generally speaking, Stockholm syndrome consists of “strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.”-Wkipedia
In my day, this was not understood. I had attended a Grad class at a local College and was required to do a Thesis on Family Violence. I titled it: ‘There’s NO Excuse for Abuse’. While doing my research, in a remote library, I ran across an article written by a gal on this topic. She spoke of an attempted rescue of POWS who fought off their rescuers in defense of their captors. The analogy I perceived to a battered woman was a revelation for me. Nowadays, thankfully, it is much widely understood.
When folks would ask the question: “Why does she stay”, I would respond with: “Why does he batter?”
One day, my then husband had received a letter in the mail. It was our custom to open one another’s mail so opening it was not out of the ordinary for me to do. I soon discovered that it was a very flirtatious, to put it mildly, letter from another woman. For three days, I bit my tongue. Finally, I simply asked if he knew a gal by the name of______________.
The ‘shit’ hit the fan.
He began to chase me throughout the house, around the dining room table, while yelling and screaming, then into the kitchen. At this point, he grabbed a knife from the drawer. He then tackled me and bent me backwards over the kitchen chair. As he raised the knife over my throat, I began to blackout before falling to the floor, thinking: ‘so this is how it ends’. My eldest came running in yelling at him and saved my life. The police were called and he was barred from our home.
About one week later, I had succumbed to the enemy’s lie that everyone would be better off if I simply ceased to exist. I swallowed a bottle of pills.
At some point, I ‘came to’ briefly. I was able to get to the phone to call my husband for help. The next thing I knew, I was waking up in an emergency room with a tube down my throat. Eventually, after a day or two, I checked myself out with the awareness that I had done a very stupid thing.
Another couple of weeks passed, and I then received a call from an elderly woman from the other side of town. She introduced herself as the woman who had received a call from my number, and was wondering if the woman who had called her was alright. I then realized that when I made that call that dreadful night, I had dialed the wrong number. I was too ashamed to tell this woman that it was me. However, she told me she had called the police when she got that call which is what saved my life.
God saved my life that night through this elderly woman…a total stranger. I have often prayed that God blessed her abundantly for taking such action.
(((HUGS))) Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ currently available at 3 locations:
Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/2017/03/the-pain-of-holidays-after-the-loss-of-loved-ones/