Give an Inch, Take a Mile

I met him through my brother-in-law.
He was very nice to me when I first met him.
We fell in love right away.
He was serving in the military as part of his conscription.
He promised we’d get engaged as soon as he finished.
When he finished his service,
We got engaged,
And were married a year later.

I had a weak personality.
It was easy to control me.
I didn’t know how to stand up for myself.
He wasn’t easygoing.
He was stubborn,
And he knew how to turn things to his own advantage.
He had a way with words.
Whenever we’d argue,
He’d manage to convince me that it was my fault.
I used to see the aggressive side of him with the people around him—
Hot-temper and cursing.
But I made up excuses for him.
I grew up in a stable house,
And I wasn’t subjected to violence.
I didn’t register violence as an imminent threat.

The first month of our marriage was fine.
The fights started—or became consistent—when I got pregnant.

The first time he hit me was the day I found out I was pregnant.
He picked a fight with me when his friend and his wife were having dinner with us,
And I fried the mombar (a kind of sausage dish),
Before the chicken breasts.
He pulled me by my hair,
And dragged me to the stove,
And threatened to set me on fire to get rid of me.
I didn’t do anything because I was pregnant.
We made up later.

He hit me three times during our marriage,
Besides the cursing.
The issue was not only with the physical abuse,
But the verbal and emotional abuse as well,
And his ability to blame me for everything,
And for all his misfortunes—whatever they were.

Emotional abuse...
He was a person who was never content,
who criticized everything;
Even if he sometimes denies it.
He was passive aggressive,
And would give me long lectures about how I need to change,
And how he feels like an old man when he’s with me.
He always made me feel like he was doing me a favour by providing for our home.

I never felt at home.
I was always afraid I would break something.
We had a small apartment that had a bedroom and a living room.
He made me sell my car,
So he could open a small shop to cover our expenses.
I settled for less than what I deserved.
And I helped him do that,
Which was wrong of me.
I gave him an inch, and he took a mile.

Three years went by.
We became very distant.
He used to tell me,
“I’ll leave you if you stay like this.”
Like what?
I never got it.
I had a gut feeling that he was cheating on me.
It was a woman’s intuition,
And some signs.
I was fed up,
And depressed.
I felt like I was being buried alive.
He rarely came home,
And when he did, he’d go to sleep right away.
He stopped sleeping next to me.
He stopped touching me.
He’d sleep on the couch.
He used to threaten to divorce me all the time,
And that he’ll remarry if I didn’t change.

We fought one day over something silly.
We went to his parent’s place,
And he told me in front of them that he was going to marry another woman.
He asked me to choose between staying with him or leaving him.
I didn’t know what to say.
“Let’s take a break,” I told him when we went home.
I packed his clothes,
And he left the next day.

As soon as he left,
I felt as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
I was heartbroken for a few days,
But I was relieved.
I decided to get a divorce.
He was surprised by my decision.

I got a job so I could provide for myself and my son.
He didn’t give us any money.
It’s as if he was waiting for this moment.
I started taking care of myself again.
I lost weight,
And looked good.
The divorce wasn’t final yet.
He was still trying to get back to me,
But I insisted on the divorce.

He told me one day that he got married.
He had a child soon after.
He still hadn’t divorced me.
He confessed that he married the woman because he knocked her up.
I was right.
He asked me to forgive him,
But I refused.
Even when he was asking me to forgive him,
He still blamed me for his mistakes.
He said it was all my fault.
He was trying to flip the tables, as usual,
And blame other people for his mistakes.

He tried to scare me into going back to him,
But I insisted on the divorce.
He threatened me a lot,
And cursed me a lot.
He hit me in the street,
And forcefully removed my hijab.
He ripped my clothes once.
But I insisted on getting a divorce.
I stopped being afraid of him.
I was stronger.
He came to his senses after someone talked to him,
And he divorced me.

I live with my son now,
And I’m furnishing my own apartment.
I have a job that pays well.
I completely changed my life around.
I’m a stronger woman.
I learned how to say no.
I am no longer a weak, broken woman.
He’s the one who is afraid of me now.

He used to taunt me for being an orphan.
“There isn’t a man in your family who could stand up to me,” he once told me.

Warning The stories on our story archive could contain potentially sensitive and/or triggering material. If a story causes you discomfort or pain, please remember to breathe and check in with yourself before continuing or stop reading completely if necessary.