Oh Lord, Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

(Post title based on song by The Animals)


Mo-ooom? [sob].  Come get me.  I’m scared!”

It was 1978. I was 26 years old and had been married for 6 years to the man I thought was the love of my life.

Jimmy (not his real name) was charming. Jimmy was loving.  Jimmy was fun.  Jimmy enjoyed cooking, and when not working his construction job, he cooked at various restaurants.  People would follow him to each restaurant because his food was so good, and presented with such zest.  Everyone loved Jimmy.

But there were signs. My mother tried to warn me, but all she could do (and did more than once), was to tell me that no matter what happened in my life, no matter what was done to me, no matter what I did to anyone else, I could always come home.

I was young and in love. I ignored the signs.

There was a reason Jimmy had fled his home state, and it wasn’t the reason he gave me.

There was a reason Jimmy’s first marriage had failed, and the fault was not completely his wife’s, as he had told me.

Who do you know that carries a hip flask? Jimmy did.

Who do you know that brags about hurting other men in bar fights? Jimmy did.

There were reasons Jimmy lost or quit every job he held. The day before we married, he came home from his construction job happy that he wouldn’t have to return soon.  I assumed he had taken vacation time for our honeymoon.  Years later, I found out from a friend that he had quit his job, telling his boss that he didn’t need to work anymore because his new wife would be able to support him.

Jimmy was happy to treat me like a princess as long as I footed the bills.

Jimmy was charming. Jimmy was fun.  Jimmy was loving.

Until he wasn’t.

Until he stole all of my money and spent it on booze, leaving no food in the house and forcing me to choose between feeding my dog and feeding myself (the dog won).

Until he held a shotgun to my head and told me he was going to blow my fucking brains out.

What caused such rage, you ask? Jimmy had just finished 6 weeks of alcoholism treatment at the VA hospital.  Every day, I worked 8 hours, then took 2 buses to visit Jimmy, followed by 3 buses back to my suburban apartment.  Jimmy seemed to be doing well – I was so proud of him.  Finally, we could get our lives on track and become the couple we were meant to be!

Unbeknownst to me, one of Jimmy’s “friends” smuggled booze into the hospital on a regular basis. The day Jimmy came out of the hospital, he went to a party and came home drunk.  I told him I hoped it was worth it because it was the end for us.  I then searched for the bottles of liquor he had stashed away, and poured it all down the toilet.

Hence the threat of impending death.

Soon enough, Jimmy passed out drunk (guess I missed a bottle or two). I carefully dismantled the rifle.  Me – who had never even touched a gun.  It’s a wonder I didn’t blow myself up.  I threw the firing pin off the apartment’s balcony.

After my panicked call to my mother, my father (bless his heart) corralled my brother and the biggest friend my brother had, and drove over 400 miles to pick me up. In the dead of winter.  Mere days after a major snowstorm.

I left 99% of what I owned sitting in that apartment, taking only enough to fit into the back of my father’s station wagon. And my dog, Sherman.  Only lovable Sherman kept me sane in the following days.

In Dorothy’s famous words – there is no place like home.

My mother (bless her soul) never once said I told you so. Later she told me she was shocked by how thin I was and was both amused and chagrined at how much food I shoveled in during the first few days back home.

Sometimes you’re powerless to stop your kids from making horrendous mistakes – all you can do is wait by the sidelines until comfort is needed. Sometimes you can only hope that you will never have to comfort your own kids the way your mother comforted you.  Sometimes you can only pray that the feeling of spiders crawling up your spine is just overreaction.

I re-built my life and soon met the man who became my second husband and the father of my children. He was in Buffalo all along.  Perhaps I never should have left home.

NOTE TO READERS:  If you’re ever afraid of your partner – the very first time you’re afraid – get away!  He (or she) is not going to change.  Things are not going to get better.


I love to hear from my readers. You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook or Twitter pages, or email me at cordeliasmom2012@yahoo.com or notcordeliasmom@aol.com


Image by Cordelia’s Mom

This entry was posted in Health, Relationships, That's Life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to Oh Lord, Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

  1. Reblogged this on Sutter Press and commented:

    I don’t know if Jack Sutter likes us re-blogging to his site, but I feel strongly that there are too many young, stupid lovers out there who ignore the signs of a potential abuser. Be safe, people! Listen to friends and family who try to warn you!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Jay Colby says:

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  3. So familiar. Although a drinker, he was never violent towards me.Instead, his abuse was verbal and accusing. He not only bled me of my confidence, but also my bank account, left me to look after his kids, run the house and manage the bills while he led the life of a single man. It wasn’t all bad, but after my breakdown I could finally see that our relationship was one sided, and my father, brother and a friend with a van collected some small pieces of furniture and my yamaha organ whilst I followed the van in my car with the dog.
    I was a fool. The signs were there, but I didn’t want to see them. I left after 8 years with no regrets, knowing I had literally tried everything to make it work, but he just wasn’t worth it. I rebuilt my life, and am happier now than I could ever have imagined to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. They never listen. You have to be the safe exit whether a parent or a long term/close friend.
    Too many signs are missed when using rose colored glasses.
    Appreciate you trying to send out a warning and hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Elyse says:

    So glad you left when you did –this is a story that often doesn’t have a happy ending. So I am very happy that yours did.

    My best friend’s husband is a man nobody can stand. He isn’t a drunk, not physically abusive. But so controlling especially about money. It is horrible to watch and has been for 30 years.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dan Antion says:

    We make mistakes when are young, and we don’t understand that we can change our plans at any point. I’m glad you got out alive.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t often use the initials OMG, but….OMG. Glad you’re here to talk about it CM. So many do not make it out of horrid situations. Thanks for sharing your poignant history. Lesson to be learned.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My number two was your “Jimmy.” The one people ask me “HOW COULD YOU?” and all I can say is “I didn’t get it. What I believed he was had NOTHING to do with reality.” I think we see what we want to see, at least I did. I have learned. It was a very very painful and expensive lesson.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. joey says:

    I’m so glad you got out.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh, I love happy endings. Thank God for you had Sherman to keep you sane during those troubled times and for giving you a second chance. ʕっ•ᴥ•ʔっ

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Paul says:

    That is an astounding story CM. Thank you so much for having the courage to share that with us. It is a clear warning to others. I am so pleased that you escaped with no physical harm.Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Just Plain Ol' Vic says:

    Take a lot of courage to talk about painful times in your life, so kudos to you! Thank you for sharing your story.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. candygai says:

    Amen to the message CM. Thank you for sharing. I’m crying for you. What a moving and personal piece. I’m sorry you, and so many women have had to go through this, and that some will tonight. I’m sorry I didn’t know you before I was I gave 25 years to trying to make it right.
    I did get Kidlet briefly as a. reward. She’s pretty special.
    Bless you CM.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Karen J says:

    Thank you for sharing that, CM. It can’t have been easy to write, or to hit “Publish”!
    We can never know how many people read a story like this, and *do* heed the warnings and make changes, before “it’s too late”.
    Bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. WOW. Thanks so much for sharing this. It’s unspeakable what you went through. That was just awesome of Mom to have been there for you without lecturing. I don’t know how I’d keep my mouth shut watching my son do something I know he shouldn’t. And you nailed it: our spouses will not change. Women seem to have a hard time getting that.


    Liked by 1 person

  16. Al says:

    I know where you are coming from. Although not to the extent you did. I was lucky I saw when I did.

    Your family were fantastic to do that for you. You can’t beat family sometimes.


    • You’ve got that right. If I didn’t have family to come back to, I maybe would have stayed – and it could have become very, very ugly very, very quickly.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Al says:

        I was lucky that my sister looked for somewhere for me to move into, and I had a lump sum back pay giving me £4,000. Had I not had that, I was willing to send my kids to live with their mum until I could get out so they would be protected. Luckily it didn’t come to that.


  17. Grandby says:

    I lost a brilliant educated sister
    to physical , verbal & emotional
    abuse. The family all pleaded with
    her to leave, while he had affairs
    in front of her eyes & beat her up.
    She died at 38, leaving two
    wonderful little boys.
    Cancer was what was written on
    her death certificate. It should
    have said a broken body.
    Her boys are married and happy
    and never knew the bad stuff.


    • That poor girl. I wrote this post because my youngest daughter had just entered into a dating relationship with a slightly older man who already had a history of domestic assault from a prior marriage. Fortunately, my girl wised up and dumped him before it was too late.


  18. Grandby says:

    CM my sisters husband was a
    victim of an abusive Dad.
    Onto the next generation.
    Please beg with your daughter
    to back out of this relationship.
    I only saw the pain 1st hand.
    Beat her up right after they
    married, and she showed up
    at our front door with bruises
    & a black eye.
    Counseling if you can get her
    there, might boost her self
    esteem enough, to know that
    she is better than that and
    should never allow any person
    to abuse her.
    Good luck, you are both in my
    thoughts and prayers.


  19. Pingback: You Can Lock Me Up, But Not Forever! | Not Cordelia's Mom

  20. Pingback: You Can Lock Me Up, But Not Forever! | Not Cordelia's Mom

  21. Annie Lowery says:

    Great read thankyyou


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