Ebony: Part 1

Ebony:  Part 1

The cycle of domestic violence is a very difficult one to break and can get passed on for generations. In my last blog, Chasing the Winds of Approval, I wrote about how elusive seeking the approval of someone who is emotionally unavailable can be. Now, I will tell the story of Ebony, who grew up feeling emotionally neglected. It may not seem like emotional neglect is a form of abuse, however, Ebony’s story is one that will reveal how it can send a person on a reckless quest to find love. She chased the approval of her parents for most of her life and it took several abusive relationships, and almost losing her life twice, to escape. The process of reprogramming her brain to believe that she is not worthless has been tough and she still fights those lies to this day. This is her story.

Ebony grew up in what seemed like the ideal Christian family with five children. She was the middle child and always felt invisible.  Her father grew up in a physically abusive home and came out of it shut down and emotionally unavailable. Her mother came from a broken home that left her with feelings of abandonment and her insecurities required most of her husband’s attention. Because of this, neither parent gave enough attention to Ebony, whether positive or negative, and the neglect left her feeling unloved and very insecure. These were the contributing factors that made her unprepared for handling her first abusive relationship because this man had no problem telling her who she was. Sadly, love was not his motive and every word was meant to break her down, which it did.

After college, Ebony moved to Idaho where she landed a job, and this is where she met Joey. For the first six months, he was the perfect boyfriend and treated her like she meant everything to him. This is what is known as the “prince charming” phase, when abusers reel their victims into their trap. They treat them so well that the victim feels like they could never live without them. Soon enough, however, Ebony could not do anything right and was being compared to every girl that Joey considered prettier than her, better dressed than her or smarter than her. In his book, “Why does he do that?”, Lundy Bancroft describes different types of abusers. Joey fits The Player profile: 

“After a while, his interest seems to wane, and he is caught flirting with or even sleeping with other women.  Most of his satisfaction comes from exploiting women.  Besides chronic infidelity, he can be verbally abusive and intimidating when his advances aren’t reciprocated, or when he is called out on his behavior.”1

Ebony kept hoping that, if she just made herself prettier, he would finally accept her but, unfortunately, she never gained his love or approval. The mental and verbal abuse was terrible and, yet, she stayed with Joey exclusively for two years; and on and off for five years. During a six month period of being off, Ebony was in a brief relationship with Lee, who broke her down even more. Finally, Ebony fled Idaho and returned to her hometown to escape from Joey. Unfortunately, she would take solace in the arms of a man who would put her through another level of abuse and pain.

Very quickly, after returning home, Ebony reconnected with Ricky, whom she had known since she was sixteen. He was bad news then and was an alcoholic now, but somehow he convinced her that he would love her.  Ebony was desperate to find approval and acceptance and, after seven years of abuse from Joey, she was easy prey for the likes of Ricky. A few months into their relationship, she became pregnant. Because she was from a Christian home, Ebony felt that she was an embarrassment to her family and deeply ashamed because she was single and pregnant. Therefore, she decided to marry Ricky even though she was already seeing signs of abuse. Once they were married, the alcohol abuse turned into drug abuse, and the verbal and emotional abuse turned into physical abuse. 

During his constant verbal attacks, Ricky would repeatedly tell her that she was a piece of shit, a disgrace, worthless, disgusting and many other things that were belittling to her. The physical abuse became a regular occurrence and consisted of being choked and thrown down a flight of stairs while she was pregnant. This all led to an event where she could no longer deny that she and/or her child would not survive if she stayed in this relationship.

Before I continue this story it is important to address a few things.  Whether you are a Christian, Catholic, Baptist or any other type of religion, you are never under any obligation to marry anyone that you feel is wrong for you no matter what ANYONE says! Guilt and shame should not be in anyone’s vocabulary and, if it is, those people should not be in your life. I know of several young ladies who felt like they were making a mistake getting married but were talked into it because of money or reputations being at stake. I don’t care whose money is at stake, and I care even less about whose reputation is at stake, if you have reservations about getting married, do NOT do it! If you lose relationships over it, well, they didn’t matter anyway. If someone genuinely loves you, they will respect the decision you make, even if it is the day before the wedding. I have a friend who knew three weeks before the wedding that she was making a mistake; now, she will tell you that she would rather have lost the $20,000 it cost for their wedding than to have gone through four years of sheer hell and ended up divorced anyway. Trust your instincts and listen to what your gut is telling you!

Another important point is this: whatever behavior you see and experience while dating will NOT get better in marriage. In fact, it will be magnified! No one magically changes once the vows have been exchanged. For abusers, marriage means they own you and they are free to show their true colors and will do so in the most awful of ways. In part 2 of Ebony’s story, you will see how quickly this can happen. For now, I will wrap up part one.

Because Ricky’s abuse escalated so rapidly and she was in constant fear, Ebony divorced him after only six months of marriage. Unfortunately, he was still the father of her child. Four years after they split up, Ricky’s drug use had only gotten worse and he overdosed. Ebony felt sorry for him and thought that if he just had someone who would take care of him and he felt loved, he would change. Therefore, she picked him up from the hospital and brought him home. Of course, the abuse was worse than before and she had put herself back in a very bad and dangerous situation. Sadly, for this round of abuse, her four year old child was a witness to it.

One night, as per usual, Ricky was either drunk or high and they were in Ebony’s car. They were on the expressway and traveling about 60mph.  Ebony was driving while he was verbally attacking her. He escalated to the point of saying that he wanted to kill her, and he grabbed the steering wheel, yanked it as hard as he could and almost drove them off the road.  Somehow, Ebony was able to get the car under control and pulled over, jumped out and started to run as fast as she could to get away from him. Mind you, this was on a busy expressway with cars passing at high rates of speed! Ricky chased her, however, because of his inebriated state, she was able to outrun him, made it back to her car and fled. She was able to escape a situation that could easily have killed her and left her child motherless. She went to the police to file a report, however, there was not ‘enough evidence’ to arrest him. {Insert your choice of expletive here}. Although this was such an injustice, she finally stopped going back to him. Unfortunately, she would go headlong into another dangerous relationship that would, once again, almost cost her her life.

The laws against domestic violence are tricky because, on one hand, they don’t protect someone who went through a harrowing night such as the one just described. On the other hand, there are laws that will protect someone from eminent harm; but when the victim chooses to put themselves back into that same situation, there is nothing the law can do to help. In part two of Ebony’s story you will come to better understand this conflict and see why domestic violence situations are difficult for law enforcement and judges to discern what is true and what is not.

Until next week, be wise and stay safe!

1. https://www.amazon.com/Why-Does-He-Do-That-audiobook/dp/B0058R8AP2

2. https://ncadv.org/

3. https://willowcenterny.org/

5 responses to “Ebony: Part 1”

  1. Returning to an abusive partner is so common yet seems counter intuitive. We can’t judge people for this. So glad you have the compassion to sit w people through these decisions. It’s so valuable!

    Liked by 1 person

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