• Thu, Oct 10 - 11:04 am ET

Anonymous Mom: I’m A Single Mom Of 4 Kids Since I Left My Abusive Marriage

supermanAnonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.

I grew up in huge, cult-ishly religious family. I have seven sisters and five brothers. We were raised outside of the city and had to go to a school ran by the church. We weren’t allowed to have friends outside of that school and weren’t allowed to do “normal” things other kids did, like swim in pools. All considered too many “occasions of sin.”

I rebelled and moved out at 15. I went to live with my oldest brother. He was married with one kid at the time, but felt the same way I did about the oppressive religious stuff.

At any rate, I ended up pregnant, terrified and alone by 18. I moved back in with my mom, where I was swiftly told that my options were to marry the guy, or get out of her house and deal with the baby on my own. BABY daddy was all for this idea. He was 10 years older than me, had a daughter from a previous relationship, and wasn’t all that crazy about the amount of child support he would be paying (yeah…he’s really not too bright).

I was so scared. I broke up with him most of my pregnancy. But after months of intense family/church pressure, I walked down the aisle eight weeks after my daughter was born. I was miserable, in tears in every picture. We spent the night of our honeymoon fighting, and he left me and the baby in the hotel by ourselves at seven a.m.

And that’s pretty much how the next six years of marriage went.

He was extremely abusive. I wasn’t allowed to use birth control or have a job. My job was home in the kitchen, and that’s that. I almost lost our second at five months pregnant from taking a steel toe boot to the back. After three years, the physical abuse tapered off, but it was daily verbal abuse. I was called a “bitch,” “dirty cunt” and a “whore” daily in front of the kids. Our second daughter was a HUGE disappointment to him, as it was his third girl, and she is autistic.

Then we had a boy. And he was super happy. Finally a boy.

About six months after my son was born, I was planning my escape. But about three months later I found out I was pregnant, AGAIN. I had a nervous breakdown and was absolutely devastated knowing I was going to have to stay at least another year. The verbal abuse never got better, nothing was ever getting better, and I gave birth to another boy.

Nine months after he was born, I finally did it.

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  • jessica

    You know what I think after reading all of that? I think there is no way you can possibly be a regular human being. No way. You’re a superhero. If I had to deal with all of what you’ve been through, I’d be a mess… curled up in a fetal position on the floor… bawling my eyes out… all day every day. You’re amazing!

    • jessica

      Also there are a number of on-line communities (one is called no longer quivering) that provide support to adults who left ultra-religious communities and thus have been shunned by their bio families. It might be helpful to check them out. You’d at the very least find emotional support from others who have been through similar experiences.

    • Pappy

      No Longer Quivering is an excellent site with many compelling, uplifting and heartbreaking stories. I’m a genuine admirer of the work the people on that site (and many others) are doing to raise awareness about religious abuse. FWIW, I wanted to second your recommendation.

    • jessica

      As far as I’m concerned the woman who founded it (I think her name is Vyckie?) deserves many awards. I read the stories on that site only sometimes because they make me cry.

  • Angela

    Um, if anything I’d say God needs to make his peace with YOU because it sounds like you’ve been through hell. I’m so glad you found the courage to get out. Your kids are lucky to have such a kick-ass mom!

    • Simone

      Yup, God should be asking for YOUR number, OP chicky. You’re awesome.

  • keelhaulrose

    You are amazing. I’m having trouble finding the right words to express my awe at your strength. I sincerely hope there’s someone out there who reads this and is inspired by your courage to do the same as you and get out of several bad situations.

  • Véronique Houde

    Wow. Congratulations for such fortitude! God did not punish you (I am not a religious person but do believe in a higher power), but I do believe that he has been giving you an insane amount of energy, strength and stamina to get to where you need to be in order to provide the best for your children. Your parents will suffer their own fate – that’s the great thing about life. Shit happens, no matter how good or bad you are. Your parents will reap what they sow in their own time. I can’t believe your mom made you pay her 1600$ a month for childcare!!! That’s an entire person’s salary right there!!!!

  • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

    You are so amazing.

  • LadyClodia

    It never ceases to amaze me how some very religious Christians seem to forget one of Jesus’ most important teachings which was to help those in need even if they were “sinners.” (I’m an atheist now, but partially grew up in a very religious household.) Clearly most of the author’s family has forgotten that, and that’s very sad.

    Good for you for having the strength to get out of your awful situation! I really hope that things improve for you soon! I’m sure your kids are very proud of you, and you’re a great example for your stepdaughter too!

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    • SarahJesness

      Oy, tell me about it. The whole “love everyone, even sinners” was like, Jesus’ whole thing, so that’s a pretty crucial element to leave out when you claim to be following his word.

  • TwentiSomething Mom

    What an inspiring story! You have been through so much and have set such a good example for your daughters and sons by showing them what a good woman and mother is and showing them it is NOT ok to be abused and mistreated. I hope you continue to reach your goals and you continue to receive support from your older brother and younger sister.

  • Blahblah

    You’re amazing.

  • Ellen

    You are so BRAVE! I wish you the very best. You are a hero to me and a fabulous example for our children. Bless you!

  • That_Darn_Kat

    You are amazing. Congrats for having the courage to leave.

  • JLH1986

    I’m sending love, light and happiness your way. You are a brave woman!

  • Mystik Spiral

    I don’t have much to add except an echo of other comments. You are so brave, amazing, inspiring… Your family is missing out by not having YOU in their lives. I’m glad you have your sister and brother to lean on for strength.

    No doubt you will raise great kids. Keep on keeping on, and please share your story as often as you can. You have the ability to inspire other abused women to follow in your footsteps.

  • Bethany Ramos

    It never ceases to be heartbreaking how religious people can be so hurtful. I am semi-religious, so I totally get the need to push the rules because it makes you feel like you might just be accepted if you can work hard enough at it. I hope someday more members of your family will come around and can open up to you. You’ve come a long way!

  • Amber Starr

    OMG. You are such a wonderful woman and mother. I would babysit all of your kids in a heartbeat. Seriously, you have me in tears… Thank you for getting your children away from that scumbag. You are a true superhero and I wish I could give you a big hug right now.

  • TngldBlue

    My God doesn’t punish people and he asks us to lift up those facing hard times or challenges in their life, not push them down further. It makes me sad when people hide their own failings behind the cloak of religion. I do hope that one day your family can see, and be proud of, what a strong, capable, and loving mother you are but regardless, stand tall knowing you are giving your children an incredible role model and that is the best gift you can give them!

  • Manda

    You are an amazing woman.

  • nikki753

    All in the name of religion. *big sigh*

    I hope that you and your siblings will be able to lean on each other and create your own family. I hope that your hard work will continue to pay off and that you will soon have all of the rewards you deserve. Keep your head up and don’t be afraid to reach out to programs designed to assist victims of domestic violence. Maybe they have resources to help with the child support situation?

    It really breaks my heart that people would do this to their children. Your parents to you and your siblings and your ex to all of his kids.

  • Rachel Sea

    I want to make capes for you, and your brother and sister. I hope some day the rest of your family develops the strength you three have.

  • Emil

    So impressed right now. What a ray of hope you are to others struggling in similar situations.

  • Ptownsteveschick

    You are an amazing woman! Way to make out a life you want for yourself and your kids. As a child who grew up in a verbally abusing home due to my father’s alcohol problems and my mom’s fear that we couldn’t live on our own, I can tell you your children will see you as a strong and magnificent woman.

  • C.J.

    Your family should be proud of you for everything you have overcome.If one of my children left an abusive husband and went back to school while raising 4 children I would be so proud of them. Many people find themselves in bad situations, not everyone can find the strength to get out of those situations. You are setting a great example for your children. I don’t get how anyone can turn their back on their own child.

  • hdean

    You are teaching your children to be strong ,independent and to stand up for what they believe! It is your families loss to not have you, your brother, the kids and your equally strong sister in their lives! You cannot see me, but I am standing and applauding you!!

  • Véronique Houde

    I have to say – this is a woman who I would adore to read a series of blogs from!!! I’m sure that she has so much to tell us about her life that is inspiring and emotional. Please!

    • Simone

      I second this – get this interesting clever hardworking moral woman a blog series so we can read more about her life and thoughts. Also, pay her for it.

    • Angela

      Yep, count me in!

    • meteor_echo

      I definitely agree with this. Those blogs could be the inspiration for so many women who currently are in abusive relationships, and they would help those who just left.

  • Coby

    Bless your heart. You have gone through so much, and I admire your tenacity and fortitude! Good on you for your strength to leave, to raise four children, to do it virtually on your own.

  • Alicia Kiner

    I don’t even know what to say to this woman. I just want to give her a giant hug, find her a babysitter, and take her out for a massage! It might sound stupid, but I can only imagine how much stress she has been under the past several years. She probably gets very little time to just relax. She definitely deserves it. I’d also like to borrow my husband steel toed work boots and kick her ex in the back, see how he likes it. Pig. Ick.

  • Annona

    I’m sure it’s hard and it sucks, but you did the right thing and your kids will thank you for it. I have a friend who consistently goes back to a terribly abusive husband because she just “can’t handle” being a single mom. Sorry that your family are for the most part dicks. I hope you find a decent community of supportive surrogate family to help you when you need it.

  • Sara610

    1) You are an incredible, strong woman and an amazing role model for your kids. They are so lucky to have you for a mother.
    2) I’m so sorry for everything you’ve had to deal with. Your family sucks, and good for you for doing whatever you have to do to give your kids a better life.
    3) You get the biggest hug ever right now.

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    You are one hardy woman. My hat is off to you.
    I think the very religious who are obsessed with the idea of sin are unusually very angry types of people. Happy families don’t give their loved ones the boot. Probably all the repression makes them miserable and this is them acting out.

  • MomsUnite

    I’m no expert but I venture to say that God values you more than your unkind religious family. You’re an inspiration.

  • SGRM

    Did you comment on the “my cousin is hogging all the free family child care” article? If so, I remember you! I am so glad that you wrote your own piece – congratulations! I, too, would love to read more of your writing. I am a mom of a 10 month old. I think about single moms every day and cannot fathom how they do it. So much admiration for you all.

  • Kelby Johnson

    You are an inspiration to women everywhere. I hope you have nothing but the best from here on out!!!

  • BubbleyToes

    Heartbreaking. I am so sorry that your family is so very unhelpful. You are not being punished by any omnipotent being in the sky for choosing a different lifestyle than your family chose. I am 100% positive this is not what you envisioned when you broke away from them. I wish people could just accept other people’s choices and not force theirs one them. It’s a shame when your own parents would rather you be married to an abusive man (because somehow that makes your family whole) than be a (i’d venture to say wonderful) single parent. Bananas to me.

  • Jessie

    Oh my… I don’t even have words. The best I can say is GO, GIRL. Your life has been hell, but you have somehow found the strength to persevere and pull yourself and your precious little ones out of a horrible situation. You are an amazing, strong, and wonderful woman, and someday all your hard work WILL pay off. Perhaps you will even someday find a partner who will love and cherish you and your children like you all deserve to be, when you are ready.

    It appears from your words that you are not religious at all anymore, but I have to say: Goddess’ blessings on you, sister. May you find your way out of darkness soon. <3

  • Katia

    I’m glad to hear that you And your children are healthy. Your parents and ex seem very disturbed. I am curious how people turn out like that. Super religious or abandoning your own kids. Don’t get it!

  • AnonMom

    I just want to say thank you to all of you for your kind words! It’s been 3 years on my own, and things are pretty good! I have a great job, 4 healthy beautiful kids, and wonderful friends that are pretty much family! I’m beyond grateful for how things have turned out, and I’m certain it will keep getting better!

  • once upon a time

    Hi Anonymous Mom, your story is absolutely amazing and I think you’re incredible. I kind of feel weird or whatever saying this, I really hope I don’t offend you and if you can’t accept I totally understand, but if you have a PayPal account I’d love to send you something to help you out. You can respond her or email me at fdljks [at] hotmail [dot] com.

  • Getting the t-shirt.

    Anonymous mom… I applaud you. Having recently left an abusive and shitty marriage myself (I filed for divorce, now he’s fighting me for custody of our 1 year old son), I want to give you the biggest hug…

  • Dorotha

    Wait… so you married an abusive man that you did not love, and proceeded to have 3 more kids with him? And it is HIS fault?

    Woman! Close your legs!

    That is all.

    • Armadillo

      You really think that someone who would kick his 5mo pg wife in the back with a steel-toed boot would allow her to say no to sex? My XH would force sex on me and he wasn’t nearly as violent as this guy. I’d bet everything I own that this woman was not only physically and emotionally abused, but sexually as well. It usually goes hand in hand.

    • whiteLily

      Did you not read the part where he denied her access to birth control??! AM, you sound like an incredibly strong and smart woman…I’m sure if you had been able to find a way to “close your legs” sooner you would have. This is in NO way her fault, Dorotha! Way to miss the strength and courage it took to break free of a lifetime of oppresive and abusive relationships and claim that he family and husband’s deplorable behavior was her fault…you sound like a gem!

    • ophelia

      A comment like that just goes to show how little you know about woman in dire situations. The solution always seems so easy to those who can’t seem to have the decency to put themselves in other people’s shoes before passing judgement. In a way you are no better than her parents. You can’t imagine the intense psychological upheaval that a woman endures in an abusive relationship. Any qualified psychologist can tell you that. How is a person supposed to make sound judgments when she is in an emotionally bad place and in turn unable to think rationally. as you say she can close her legs, but how does that stop a man from wielding the wand of power between his legs? Here is some helpful advice for you: Think before you write something like that.

  • Skye Belle Matilda Brand

    WTF is WRONG with religion? Seriously? If god existed I’m pretty sure he/she wouldn’t want people to be trapped in an abusive relationship! Any “god” who would punish someone for their sins by sending them an abusive partner isn’t a god that anyone should be associating with anyway!