‘It’s possible: Years after I left my abusive marriage I’ve found closure’

Sep 14, 2021
A domestic violence survivor, Julie shares her experience and how she's finding closure. Source: Getty Images

Do you believe in closure? Maybe there can never be any such thing. I divorced my late ex-husband more than 30 years ago. He was a very volatile character. My husband always liked a line in a book I read, “Live fast, die young, and have a good-looking corpse”. That’s exactly what he did.

I am more of a pacifist in nature, someone who likes being at home. My late, now unbeloved, turned to the bottle and died an alcoholic. He never accepted that. He also had related anger management issues during our marriage, as well as before or after our time together. As he was a champion ex-boxer, I had to survive his fists and backhanders. I never knew when he would hit me again.

Is there closure? Way back then, I lived in a largish, well-maintained home in a reasonably affluent suburb. I did not know how to relate the domestic violence to my family or any neighbour. A woman can feel totally isolated even in a marriage that appears so normal. Even if I made a cup of tea, he would hit me for smiling. No one forced him to behave like that.

No one forces us to do anything. Alcohol is a legal substance. It was his dependency issues, not mine. The best thing to do was to take a chance and leave the building. Finally, I received some counselling in a women’s refuge, and walked away to make a fresh start.

Really, it was the best option, and I never looked back. Anyone can overcome setbacks and turn challenges into successes. Divorce is practically unheard of in my family. The no-fault divorce is a blessing for some women in society. Other females have no idea where we survivors have been at certain stages. I always kept my qualifications and employment opportunities up to date and managed as a single woman all these years.

My late ex-husband never had another bride, after I cut the controller free. The last thing he said to me was, “No hard feelings.”

At that time, I thought that was a bit much. No one ever really asks women about their feelings. Or maybe I was unlucky, very stiff.

Now, years later, maybe I can sit back and think, “No hard feelings,” to make peace with the long ago past. Perhaps that is the best form of closure. For him, and other men, it is the booze or the babe. It was his problem, after all.

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