He Didn’t Mean to Kill Me

The words that follow are results of some deep soul searching after some seemingly unrelated events triggered an enormous revelation: No matter how much I have “healed” from my experience of surviving domestic violence … I will always carry that trauma with me.

I happen to be a female, my perpetrator happened to be male, we happened to be a blended family that could easily be referred to as “trailer park trash” if the statement was based on our gross income. We happened to live together prior to marriage, and yes, I did marry him because I thought our commitment would prove my love to him and stop the beatings.

We fit just about every myth there is about the make up of domestic violence relationships. THE TRUTH? Domestic violence does not discriminate. These violent actions happen to males and females (either can be the perpetrator), heterosexual or homosexual relationships, your race, age, weight, socioeconomic status … domestic violence doesn’t care! (I’ve even heard it told that professionals that help survivors through the turmoil can sometimes fall victim to the slow lead into manipulated oppression by a significant other!)

The most difficult part of discussing domestic violence is convincing every person in the world that they too could fall victim to the manipulation without even realizing it. Once someone is able to see themselves as vulnerable to a situation they are far more willing to open their mind to hear what is being said.

Time after time I have written in depth accounts of one beating in particular, the one that led me to have the most amazing spiritual experience … but, I had to die to have that. This post isn’t about the specific graphic, blow by blow details of that night, it’s about the long term effects of surviving the chaos of loving a man that was willing to kill me.

Over time and many years of research I have learned that perpetrators of domestic violence tend to strangle their victims to show their significant other that they don’t WANT to kill them, but that they COULD kill them if the other person doesn’t do as expected. It is the ultimate real life game of Russian Roulette, the perpetrator is the gun and the significant other never knows if the gun is even loaded. We never know, until the trigger is pulled!

Approximately ten years ago, which was eight years after my near death experience and leaving my perpetrator for good, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea. For the past ten years I have slept with a CPAP machine, without it I will wake up with a massive headache and often coughing and choking. If I sleep without it I am typically taking a short afternoon nap and am fully aware of my surroundings when I wake up fighting for air.

Recently I was in a situation where I had to sleep for several nights without my CPAP. I woke up many times each night, gasping for air, fighting for my life and for about 10 seconds I was sure that my ex-husband was standing over my trying to strangle me to death. Those ten seconds seemed to last forever and even once I was aware of my surroundings my mind and body had been shifted into fight or flight mode … try coming off an adrenaline rush several times a night, by the time I was settled down and able to sleep I had an hour or two to sleep and it began again.

This entire situation was exacerbated when I went to my chiropractor to see some recent x-rays that he had ordered. His first words as he lit up the x-ray lamp? “What kind of neck trauma did you have? The damage appears in a strange place!”

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A normal neck x-ray on the left shows no damage to the neck. My x-ray, on the right, shows damage to the bones from years of  my failure to seek medical attention after being strangled. Note: a normal neck curves slightly to align the head over the rest of the body; my neck curves in the opposite direction.

His question was nothing more than innocent curiosity. Yet, I could not deny that I had only ever had ONE injury to my neck and it was the death of me. Even though the bruises have disappeared the damage is deeper than my heart, the damage is in my bones!

 

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In a close up of my x-ray you can see where years of inappropriate alignment have caused severe deformities in my bones.

I have no way of being 100% certain that domestic violence was the cause of my traumatic bone injuries; however, I can say some things that were distinctly different immediately after that midnight beating:

  • My voice took on a raspy tone, which is worse when I’m tired.
  • If I am not well hydrated I will cough and choke, even on my own saliva.
  • A gland at the top of my neck and base of my jaw protrudes even when I’m healthy.
  • I will become easily winded, as if my throat is closing, if I am dehydrated during exercise.
  • A CT scan of my brain has shown a history of mini strokes and/or severe migraines.
  • My short term memory sometimes seems like it is compromised of swiss cheese.

Even when a man or woman survives a beating there is physical damage done and it can last a lifetime. It is deeper than emotional trauma, it is where … in a million years some poor unsuspecting archaeological student will exhume my body and write his dissertation on the evolution of the human neck because society no longer {insert some odd behavior here}.

My chiropractor has been very honest with me, “It’s too late to undo any damage, but I hope to give you better range of motion through treatment.”

I should also note that in 1991 I was in a car accident and suffered some lower back injuries. Those injuries are not evident on any of the x-rays that were done. Yes, two hands of the man that said he loved me did more damage that being rear-ended by a Jeep Wrangler that was traveling at 50 MPH and never touched his brakes.

Clearly, my ex-husband could have left me for dead. I truly believe that he chose to help me for selfish reasons, a man like that can’t control men by angry manipulations, he knew prison wasn’t the place for him.

Whatever his reasons were for allowing me to live … they aren’t important to me. The spiritual interaction that I had as he stood over my lifeless body … that interaction keeps me going, I know that He wants me to “fight back” for others that have been wronged. I will do that until He decides it’s time for me to join him at the pearly gates.

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