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To Hell and Back

Deann Fullmer

I have been where you are and felt like you have and/or are currently feeling; abandoned, betrayed, confused, and broken, worthless, and not worthy of an amazing relationship. 

I have always been a strong, secure woman that did not take any crap from anyone and if I did not like the actions or the energy someone brought to the table, I was just not willing to rock my life. I am a single mom to 3 kids, with 1 being my 20+ year old son that will forever be my two-year-old. 

It started when my 5th-grade boyfriend text me on Facebook saying, “well if it isn’t the love of my life!”. Not going to lie, my heart skipped a beat as I read the message. I could not believe it, my grade school boyfriend reaching out after 35+ years. 

Mind you, this boy had been in my thoughts for years! Our moms were best friends and any time my mind would wander, I found myself wondering what it would have been like if I had not moved away that summer in grade school.

We started texting and suddenly it was a whirlwind of emotion and love unleashing! We soon were texting from 1st thing in the morning to the last thing at night.  I thought it was magical! This is just perfect! How could anything so perfect go wrong? Small town kids, 38 years later, back together!  Our families were already tied, and nothing seemed to break the amount of attention he was showering me with. His mom administered the marriage as her last act prior to retiring and I just adored everyone in his family! 

We were together for a total of 6 years, married for a short time of 18 months. In the 1st couple of years, I saw the red flags, but I did not want to believe them, I had put him on a pedestal from the minute I responded to the initial text. All the “friends” he kept in touch with, the new friends that he suddenly had, the keeping the friends private on Facebook, the stepping outside to take a call. The small put-downs got bigger, and the physical abuse went from pushes to black eyes with a closed fist, to the emotional torture he excelled at.  I cannot tell you when it happened, but I believe it was from the very beginning. I have emails I had written 3 months after dating discussing the females I knew he was talking to and sharing explicit photos with. I know this seems so textbook and that I should have ended it several times, but I couldn’t. 

It was one lie after another and no matter how much I knew my gut was right, he had manipulated my life to the only thing I wanted was for this man to love me and for this marriage to work. I thought if I loved harder, I could make him better; honest, faithful and the kind of man he pretended to be in the beginning. I did not know he was mirroring the man that I had given him all the information of who I needed him to be.

After several years, broken promises, continuous disappointment, I decided it was me, I must be doing something wrong. I was going to get counseling. I lied to the counselor, stating my ex had made me insecure against my husband when it was in actuality the same man. 

I started my own journey about 15 months before I ever actually told him not to come home. I was in counseling and discovering what exactly I had landed smack dab in the middle of. I had never heard or researched narcissism or gaslighting, and when I was listening and learning my brain was spinning, who would do that to someone, why and how could God make people so demonic that they could have ever come in my life. I had made myself several promises. One more time, if he cheats, lies, manipulates, deceives, punches holes in the walls or hits me, I MUST be done. I had to love me because his actions have and were showing that if I did not love me, no one was going to. 

The last time he left to go get drugs, to go sleep with several other individuals and walk away from our marriage, family and our life then he chose his future, and I would choose mine.  He chose to stay gone that night. 

Being this numerous times in the past, the feelings of being discarded, having sex with hundreds of other individuals, depleting the finances from our bank and tossing aside the portrait of the family I held in my mind, I was devasted but versed at the situation. I had previously separated all our financials so this would be a hiccup financially compared to the torture over the previous 5 ½ years. 

A few days after he left, it was time to come home, get me to do drugs, manipulate me into taking him back, fully financially support him once again and tend to his needs as he got clean. NO MORE. I was finally putting myself 1st. The shock on his face and his voice were priceless. How did he know this would be the last time, I always let him come home? In his defense, I had threatened more times than I am proud of. In my defense, I told him once I got to that point, he would know it.

I didn’t keep much contact in the 1st few weeks. I was angry and couldn’t imagine that he was actually who I finally saw. I started researching feverishly. Counseling, YouTube, Friends, Online Therapy methods thanks to COVID, books and finally “Survivors of the Badass Unicorns” sisterhood. I was getting stronger each day until he would call or text.  The “what if’s”, the promises, the future faking, triangulation, projection and blame-shifting would pull me in immediately. It was 6 months of a rollercoaster ride daily.  My heart and head were torn completely apart. 

I finally worked up my self-worth to go no contact and the healing was almost instant. Your head gets clearer, your heart is shredded but starts to mend with time and distance. Keeping the voice that manipulated you for so many years, took you on so many peaks and valleys of love, lies and devastation that for days and months you felt like you were coming apart at the seams. 

I regained my head, my inner strength, my value little by little with all the avenues and options currently available to a subject I had no knowledge of previously.  As my self-love, encouragement of my sisters, knowledge of what I had been in and was going through grew, I understood that I was a survivor. I had surpassed the phase of being a victim so long that I was then enabling the demonic monster to treat me like the volunteer that I had become. I had to stop the demeaning abuse on every level that I had allowed in my life.  

The adventure of healing was and is simply amazing! I have finally gone inwards to learn who I am, learn what trauma bonds are, soul ties, what I was missing in myself, regain my spirituality, recognize what I want in my life and retrain my brain, thoughts and inner-being to see what my future will look like at the very least. What I will accept, what I will not settle for, and frankly what I deserve! 

The healing process once you have experienced this level of abuse is never-ending, but when you realize this was an opportunity to assist others in their journey, it makes all the hurt, healing, sharing, and supporting others worth it! Life is a journey, not a destination! 

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