Today, five of Anita’s children come to visit their partners. I baked a cake and ate lunch. She celebrates this day, because for a few years it was not clear that her children are together.
On July 9, 2010, Anita collected her most valuable possessions and placed them in a beauty case. I put it in the back of the car. Her three children had already left the house, and her husband’s three children were staying with their grandparents. She and her husband went on the road, and they had an appointment to talk to social workers about how their marriage would continue.
As soon as the car stopped and he wasn’t paying attention, Anita quickly put the beauty bag next to the steering wheel. Once inside, she told her husband in front of several rescuers and police that she was leaving him. What you predict happened. Her husband felt betrayed and left. Grief destroyed Anita and she fell to the ground. cried. Difficult and long. “I felt so weak. In that moment I knew I would never see the love of my life again.”
Just some Mother’s Day gifts
Suddenly I thought about her beauty issue. “Are you still in the parking lot?” I asked the savior. he was there. She opened it and looked at the few pictures and Mother’s Day gifts from her children and her stepchildren. It was the only thing she could take with her to the women’s shelter where she would be staying from that day forward.
A year after deciding to leave her husband, she did.
“I let him overstep my bounds.”
But it didn’t start until then, says Anita of her small garden house in Zwolle, which was assigned to her eleven years ago after her stay at the women’s shelter. It refers to the process of grieving, letting go, rediscovering yourself. Because who was she anyway?
Anita makes herself a cup of coffee. Black without sugar and milk. She laughs, “You know what I drank while I was married? A sugar latte. I had straight blonde hair.” Her luscious locks of hair fall smoothly over her shoulders. It is an indication of how slowly she is drawn into his world. “Each time I adapted to what he wanted of me and let him go beyond my limits. Then I think: I kept it to myself, I did not oppose it. I did not ring the bell, while I knew what was happening in our neighborhood. The house was not well.”
This is how the relationship should be.
She looks back at the first moment she met her husband. It was while training for her job. “He parked his big car and got off. I immediately thought: Wow, what a nice guy. He was handsome and smart – it turns out – and he was a great lover – it turns out.”
Anita fell head over heels for him and eventually he fell for her too. “When I was with him, I thought: This is how a relationship should be. It was such a huge contrast to the marriage I had. I used to be a flight attendant, and travel, and discover the world. But I got married when I was 19, had three children and lived In a semi-detached house. I used to live a good but middle-class life. A life I would choose now.”
But she chose his new forbidden love, a relationship full of passion and passion. “I was convinced he was the love of my life.” Anita and her new love ended their marriage and continued together. She took her children with her and soon married her new flame.
Not everyone was happy with that. First of all, her ex-husband, with whom she had been for 24 years, her three children, whom she had dragged into this new marriage, and her parents, who said that this man was not suitable for her. “My mom couldn’t stand it. She already saw what I didn’t see then.” Her mother said: There is something wrong with him.
Soon something went wrong
Turns out she’s right. Soon things got worse. “During a weekend in Paris with work, we went to a department store together. I saw something beautiful and kept looking. When I looked up, my husband was gone. He wasn’t handy, I thought. When we saw each other again, he looked angry. He took my arm and asked me outside what the point of my actions was and how I could have been so selfish and unloving and I didn’t understand what I had done wrong and wept that I should have followed him. Bag and went away. And I found: without money or phone.”
He came back a few hours later. They went to a cafe together, where he asked for an apology. “I should have said, ‘What are you doing to me?'” “But what did I do? Like a tamed sheep, I said sorry. There, at that moment, I opened the door and he knew he could pull these things.”
This was followed by a relationship of psychological violence, and after a few years the first blow fell. “Of course I said I won’t be defeated. But there was dependency under the skin for years, with apologies, ‘Sorry kid, I’ll never do that again,'” and doubt in my mind: Did I provoke this?”
I stayed. Things went well again. Until an error occurred again. “A lot of people say, ‘If a man treated you badly, wouldn’t you leave?’ But it’s not that easy. You don’t leave someone with whom you also live a wonderful life. Plus, his children live with us, and they don’t have any contact with their mother anymore. I took care of them. I kept hoping my husband would change, and eventually everything would work out.”
I haven’t seen my daughter in a long time
Anita was not the only one who suffered from this marriage, her children also suffered. “My oldest daughter left when she was 16. She said, ‘Mom, it’s great that you want to stay in this relationship, but I’m not in this relationship anymore.'” “I didn’t see her for six years after that.”
Finally, her youngest daughter opened her eyes. Anita was called: her daughter had collapsed and was in the hospital. “She was very skinny and had all kinds of tubes coming out of her nose and arms. She weighed only 34kg. The light only came on when I saw my daughter lying on that hospital bed. Not only did her eating disorder occur, it was caused by years of precarious home situation. I had to stop My marriage and making my family healthy and happy again. Nobody can do that for me.”
What followed was what Anita describes as the most difficult year of her life. “You don’t just let someone manipulate you for years. I had to break up with him. It started with a little resistance. He always went with me when I did my manicures or when I went to the hairdresser. I wanted on my own, without him.”
“To leave, you need people around you who keep saying: I see you are not feeling well, you can always come to me.” In Anita’s case, the youth welfare worker arrived a little earlier than had been agreed. “She accidentally saw an explosion from my husband. She gave me a card with a phone number on it.”
Finally, she mustered up the courage and called the savior. Together they put together a plan for the kids, too. They were put under surveillance and help came to them too. She told her husband that she had made an appointment to talk about their marriage. It worked, he went with me. Travel bag packaging would be a highlight, so I filled the beauty bag with pictures and Mother’s Day gifts from the kids.
Leave a few friends
After Anita ended their relationship, she had to start over. “I had no one left; my parents didn’t want to know me anymore, nor my sisters, and there were only a few friends left. When my ex-husband said, “This friendship is not sincere, you have to distance yourself,” I did. I wanted to make him happy. I didn’t realize that I was pulling myself out of my old life. I only realized it in that small room in the women’s shelter.”
“I first had to process, and understand. Gain insight into what really happened. Four months later, when I was crying a little, I started seeing some perspective again with a lot of help.” Her children helped her with this. “It was my birthday, I turned forty-eight, and I wasn’t going to celebrate that. As a surprise, all three children, including the daughter I hadn’t seen in six years, were in the hall with a cake. The disgust was emotional and for me a very clear sign: if I came back Now, you will lose them forever.”
She persevered, and did not return, and eventually a house was allocated to her in Zwolle. And she went there, without work, without money, and 150 kilometers with her children. “I had no teaspoon, no towel, absolutely nothing.” She found a job, furnished her home with second-hand items and saved for her dream: to travel and explore the world. “I was about 50 years old, but I finally felt like that student I hadn’t been before.”
Now she has her own company with which she tells her story over and over again, to police officers, to general practitioners, to businesswomen. “I regularly post my story on LinkedIn and get all kinds of messages from women who are going through the same thing. They are also businesswomen and lawyers. Smart and strong women who have their own companies. And people can say: Huh, you?”
“Domestic violence occurs in all strata of the population. Many people think it pertains to vulnerable women in a socially and economically weak position, but this stigma creates a blind spot that causes us to miss cues in our immediate environment.”
Anita managed to rebuild her life, restore the relationship with her children, and make them healthy again. “During my first marriage, we didn’t talk about feelings. We cleaned everything under the rug, otherwise the other one would be sad. This is over. I now have an open and honest relationship with my children and with two of my three stepchildren. Talk about anything that upsets or hurts us.”
The relationship with her eldest daughter was also restored. “I got married and was allowed to go with her when she went to pick out her wedding dress. For years I thought I’d never be here because she didn’t want to see me anymore. When I stood there, in that beautiful dress of mine, I was so happy.”
Eleven years later, there is also a new love in her life. Someone you feel safe with, trust with, and laugh with a lot. It took a while, but Anita is happy again. Especially on a day like today.
“It’s been so many years that not all the kids celebrate Mother’s Day with me. But a few years ago, our relationship became close and loving again. Mother’s Day used to be about gifts, and now it’s basically a loving encounter, a place where kids can be themselves and feel safe. .because they are the greatest fortune in my life.”
Every Sunday we post a text interview and photos of someone doing something special or experiencing something special. This can be a big event that he handles admirably. Sunday interviews have in common that the story has a huge impact on the interviewee’s life.
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