I’m starting a new series today and would like to introduce you to Mardell. Normally, I like to start a series with a little background on the interviewee, like how long she was married for, how long she’s been divorced, how old she was when she got divorced, etc. It all helps to add context to the interviewee’s story. Mardell is a little different and I’m going to start this by letting Mardell give you the background to her abusive marriage(s). Here’s Mardell:
“Yeah, some dude I thought was my friend, I owe him $7,500, he had me served at the reception.”
I was living in Seattle then and through a dating service, I met this man in Colorado. I thought he was my escape. We courted and he moved us to Colorado. When I got here, he said,
“Good, I’m glad this is all over with. Now I can get my life back.”
I felt uncomfortable marrying him but at the same I didn’t want to feel that I had abandoned everything for nothing so we did get married.
He turned out to be a manic depressive and an alcoholic. It just went on and on and I was counting the days trying to figure a way out.
He had kept a separate residence, which was really helpful for a while but then that got rented and he moved in with me. That’s when everything went really bad. He came home in one of his drunken rages, smashing things and he threw me against a wall. It was very frightening. He was just so far out there. I was thinking it was all over. I ended up with a spinal injury and couldn’t use my right leg. I just thought,
“Oh my God, what’s happened? I haven’t got anything. He’s going to take everything. I’ve got a kid and I gave up my home, my business, my family, everything in Seattle to come here to try and get a better life.”
I thought I’d end up living in a shack on a creek bed.
It’s all too easy to read this and wonder why on earth would anyone get themselves in this situation? Mardell will tell you – desperation but it was also desperation that got her out of it and Mardell will be sharing how she turned her life around in the next post.
I have not been in a situation that comes even close to Mardell’s dire straits but talking to Mardell helps me understand why she thought her man in Colorado would rescue her. I can’t speak for Gen-Xers or the Millennials but Mardell’s and my generation, the baby-boomers, was definitely raised with expectation of getting married and having a husband who for the most part would be the bread winner.
Breaking away from those expectations, understanding that there is no Prince Charming, is a big breakthrough. Another interviewee, Sue had a similar lesson to learn when her lack of money management skills resulted in bankruptcy after her divorce. Like Mardell, it was fear of becoming a bag lady with her young son that drove Sue to turn her life around.
Have you fallen into the Prince Charming trap? What helped you to get out?
Photo Credit: Samat Jain at Flickr