Abusers love isolation.
The mandate came across the television screen. “Stay at home”. Social distancing had begun.
The USA is in lockdown. Unless you are an essential worker, like a nurse or doctor or healthcare employee or medic or police officer or work at a grocery store, you must stay at home. This coronavirus is wicked and travels from one person to the next. Not only thousands have died from this virus, it easily leaps from one country to the next.
Some would think it was a relief to sit at home and watch tv. Others would become restless and uneasy and knowing that a paycheck wouldn’t come in nor bills would be paid like the rent or mortgage or utilities or food.
To the man or woman who knew the sting of domestic violence, this isolation would become an inescapable trap.
Isolation is an abuser’s best friend, with isolation came their ultimate control.
Emma was a young beautiful girl. But as a child, her parents ridiculed her day in and day out. Though Emma was a natural beauty, her entire life growing up, her mother and father would tell her she was fat and ugly and stupid. Her neglect and abuse was early on, as she watched her mother dress in the finest clothing, and her dad drink his gallon of wine a night.
Emma would frequently stay away from the high school parties and football games because she was convinced she was fat and stupid and ugly.
And then she met Ted. He was a big guy. Kind and protecting and eventually never left Emma’s side. She thought his “protection” and always wanting to know where she was, was his way of showing love and affection.
They married. And she was determined to be that perfect wife. Ted would come home from work and the table would be set with a magnificent dinner. But Emma realized that everything had to be perfect with Ted. It’s hard to always be perfect.
He eventually became cruel to her and verbally abusive. If Emma’s hair wasn’t just right, he’d scream at her. If the house wasn’t clean, he’d push her into a corner leaving bruise marks on her arms. And the pattern of control and abuse grew. She wasn’t allowed to see her old friends much less her parents. She wasn’t allowed to buy new clothes without his ok. If she was napping, he’d accuse her of being tired because she must be having an affair. The neglect and torment and control would escalate. And Emma was doomed in her mind to be a worthless person.
And then the pandemic hit. More isolation. And Emma felt paralyzed. She was confined to her home. Ted became more aggressive and angry as he couldn’t work and couldn’t pay the bills. Screaming and hitting Emma to “keep her in her place” and the nightmare was endless.
Emma wanted to get help. She wanted to reach out. But Ted told her if she left the house the coronavirus would kill her. She wasn’t able to get on the phone to talk to her friends. Nor was she allowed on her laptop. The control and isolation grew. Easily she would be punched in her stomach, or shoved into a corner if something was out of place or the TV had the wrong channel on.
Emma tried to get on her laptop to signal one of her friends for help. But Ted slammed the laptop onto the floor.
Emma was trapped in her own house where the isolation got more intense and Ted’s control of her became unbearable.
At 3:00 am, when she thought Ted was sound asleep, she tiptoed down the stairs, with only her clothes on her back. No suitcase.
She had to make an escape. It was now or never. Slowly and quietly she walked down the staircase. She made it to the front door.
Ted ran down the staircase and grabbed her arm. Stating that she would never leave him. He pushed her against the wall. And put his gun to her head and fired three times. Emma fell to the floor. Blood splattered everywhere.
Ted calmly got on the phone and called 911.
I did it.
I killed my wife.
There were no tears.
By: Debbie Moore-Black, RN
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