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Juggling Life Filled With Fear

Is There An Oscar For This Type Of Acting?

By Judith Rivers-Moore

Upon beginning my preparations for divorcing my husband of 30 years I signed up for a women’s therapy class at the JC. It was at the suggestion of my counselor and met two nights a week with a circle in the round style classroom where we could see one another’s faces and discuss the abuse and how to get well. It was amazing how many women were in this classroom. All shapes, all sizes and different ages. Truly I did not have any understanding of how much abuse went on in my little community.

My next thought was, “Do I belong HERE? It did not make sense to me. My clergy (that I finally told - knew both my husband and I) explained to me that I was under heavy abuse. My personal counselor that I had gone to for several months said the treatment by my husband for all those years was very abusive. Yet here I was wondering if I really belonged in this group. The getting well was part of my acknowledging and realizing these things were unhealthy symptoms from...

A husband that comes home daily and takes all his stress out on you in anger. He explodes and then says it’s all your fault for anything that goes wrong in his life, and controls you by dictating your friendships, saying you are dumb or stupid…and worst of all (in my case) tries to kill you. Then the counselors must say, “You are abused. You must get well from this and learn what “bad behaviour is doing to you”, and that you do not deserve to be treated this way. You have tried separation and that did not work. 

You must consider erasing this person from your life. You are a woman that loves to much, and forgives to easily. Eventually it brings you down into a nothing. ( Interesting that was pretty much how I felt. “A nothing!”). My minister, of all people, said the Jewish matrimony service is Love Honor & Respond. If I had been responding to my husband, I should have been hitting him on the head with a skillet.  The class was the first time I was forced to express this publically. Few knew what he was like. Of course my children witnessed much of it, but we kept the secret for all those years. In the past year I had only told two of my closest friends and the counselors of the situation. It was difficult to admit and share. (it still is!!!).

I had become such a good actress as the “Good Wife” Business Owner” “Church and Community Leader”, “Good Employee” that No One would ever have believed what had gone on behind closed doors.

When he tried to kill me, I realized finally how numb I was, and I had to come to grips with it all and the worst was not being a Good Mother. Yes I did protect them by not letting them be home before me when I worked. But they saw and heard so much. He decided to ruin my reputation because I left him. His ego could not take the fact I would leave him. He told his own students in a high school classroom, and our church members that I was having an affair. He eventually left town and I left the church. How does someone get away with something like that???

By people keeping his secrets.

He lied and lied and never admitted his abuse. He has never apologized to me or his daughters. He has had two other women leave him since me. Recently he said to one of my girls, “I don’t understand why your mother left me???” I finally wrote him a letter and outlined “a few” of his abuses and how he tried to kill me. Needless to say it was seven pages long - single space.

The only way to gain my momentum and live my life was to forgive and to realize he is a sick man. I know God forgives all, but whether he ever asked for forgiveness is his responsibility. My daughters and I decided our forgiveness was the only way WE COULD BE FREE and enjoy our relationship.

YES, Since then It has taken another 25 years to openly discuss or write about any of this. He moved back into our prior church community recently, but I have never called a past church member to tell them about his cruelty. I have never said anything except to the prior minister, counselor and my three closest friends about him by name. Happily my daughters and I are very close and there is a strong bond between us.

In retrospect I realized what a great actress I had become by forty-nine.

But there are NO Oscars for this type of acting role.

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