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Cut loose from the abuse

Updated on July 16, 2011

Fear, Phobias and Frozen Feet

Why are some of us always victims?

 Abuse.  It comes in so many forms, some are blatant and other subtle.  It can happen to us at home, at work or even in the street.  Some people go through life never being abused.  They are the lucky ones.  Others, like me, often end up the victim of abuse.  It's like I have 'Doormat' or 'Free to be abused' tattooed onto my forehead.  I hate conflict and will avoid it if at all possible.  I am a people-pleaser and love to make people happy.  I am a Rescuer, I'll always make sacrifices to help those in need.  I struggle to say NO.  All these qualities, make me a prime candidate for someone who can be used and abused.

My ex-husband was very abusive, a diagnosed sociopath.  When he entered a room he could be charming and the life and soul of the party.  But more often than not, it was like a dark cloud of doom entering the room, and I lived a lot of my ten years with him in fear.  I remember hiding away from him in cupboards.  He didn't physically abuse me, but I was terrfied of his anger and the things he'd say to me.  When he threatened to kill us all and himself in one of his maddened states of depression, I decided it was time to go.  We got assumed names and fled to another city, arriving there destitute as my next door neighbour who had helped us, stole all my money and any items of value I had from my boxes in the storage she had arranged.  We spent three months in the Salvation Army Family Crisis Centre.  The Captain there, treated all us women like we were scum, not much better than my husband.  As if it was our fault for landing ourselves in his shelter with our kids.  Although I was a qualified teacher, I couldn't get a job teaching in a state school near the shelter.  I had been teaching in international schools and had no recent state school experience and wasn't on the redeployment list.  I couldn't get a job at a daycare as I was over-qualified.  I couldn't get a job in a supermarket or a pharmacy manning the till, as I didn't have recent manning a till experience.  My church told me to find another church, as it was their duty to support the weaker partner, and in this case they thought my husband was weaker than me as I was a strong woman.  So, I guarded cars at the racecourse and outside restaurants at night, relying on tips from grateful people.  Obviously, I did get out of that situation.  I wrote about all my experiences with my ex-husband and how we escaped, in a novel called Stop the world, I need to pee!  I had to call it fiction, because who would believe that all those experiences can happen to one person!  Even though I wrote the book, I do recommend it as a good read for anybody who is in a bad situation and needs to escape and doesn't know how or feel they have the strength.  Stop the world, I need to pee will make you laugh as there are many funny parts, but it might make you cry as well.  You might find yourself identifying with Fenella Fisher, the main character.

Eventually, I managed to emigrate to New Zealand with my children.  I needed to get as much distance as possible between my ex-husband and myself.  Lo and behold, I found myself back in abusive situations with both men and business partners.  I thought, shyte, not again!  Why do I always end up in these situations?  Then I got breast cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder, which came to the fore after my cancer, and all those years of abuse finally got to me.  I was tired of being strong and couldn't be strong anymore.  My therapist at the Cancer Society, got me thinking about why these things always happened to me, and as part of my therapy, I started to do a lot of research.  I went on internet chat sites, dating sites, blogs, forums and chatted to many people who had had similar experiences to mine.  I investigated the Relationship Triangle and the Victim/Rescuer Game we often play.  The result was a self-help book, called Fear, Phobias and Frozen Feet.  I self-published, then went back into international school teaching.

Three years after first publishing Fear, Phobias and Frozen Feet, I revised it and recently, it has just become available on Amazon, together with Stop the world, I need to pee!  During my time on Hubpages, I have written quite a few hubs on abuse, and how to move on from it.  Many of the hubs are extracts or have been adapted from my book, Fear, Phobias and Frozen Feet.,

Currently, I am working on another novel called The Case of Billy B, which is about a little boy who is abused and neglected.  Many people think that domestic abuse only happens to women.  My research showed, that men are often victims as well.  Fear, Phobias and Frozen Feet is gender-friendly, and is not aimed at just women.

On the 17 November 2009, I celebrate my 10th anniversary of freedom.  It was that day, ten years ago, my divorce became final.  Last year, my ex-husband randomly emailed my son and told him that my breast cancer and other health problems were not a coincidence, but were as a result of him using white magic and putting spells and curses on me.  Obviously, the church did a good job when they chose him to support as the weaker partner.  If you are in an abusive situation, get out.  You do not have to stay.  Nobody has to remain the victim of abuse.


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    • cindyvine profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Vine 

      7 years ago from Cape Town

      Meshabell, good luck with your book. Writing about your experiences can be very healing and cathertic.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I am thinking about writing a book on my abused life but am not ready yet. I was the perfect target... Kind, caring and concerned all the time thinking I could help him get better and change ... But the truth is that he will never change ... He will get worse and the caring, concerned person will end up dead, if you stay and sometimes dead, if you leave. I just cringe at the ultimatum that is given by the psychopathic abuser with such mind control that causes his victim to freeze like a rain drop in eight below weather. My book is going to me titled, "Prisoner of Marriage" and could even be a Lifetime Movie.

    • cindyvine profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Vine 

      9 years ago from Cape Town

      Cameron, you are exactly right and when you claim of being abused, people think that you are the crazy one!

    • cameron eslin profile image

      cameron eslin 

      9 years ago

      I gotta comment on this : "When he entered a room he could be charming and the life and soul of the party."

      That's probably why abusers get away with it for so long. When they're not abusing you, they look charming as hell, the kind of people you wish could be always around you.

      I will read all your hubs about it. Thanks for sharing this.

    • cindyvine profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Vine 

      9 years ago from Cape Town

      Thanks for dropping by Creativeone! Sorry you also had to suffer through abuse.

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 

      9 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank you for your story, I lived through abuse, but one I realized that God wouldn't want this pain and heart break for me, left all that behind, it took ten years but I did it. so now I try to help others with the same problem, you hub kind of brought back bad memories. Thanks for sharing. creativeone59

    • cindyvine profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Vine 

      9 years ago from Cape Town

      DVhelp, you are so right, let's continue to make people aware of this problem!

      Cari, we stay in those relationships out of fear. Sometimes, we fear what our lives would be like if we were no longer in a relationship.

    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 

      9 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      Just the other day I was near a local hospital when I heard a man being very abusive to a lady walking next to him. Seemed as if they were in some sort of relationship. Why? I asked. Why do women put up with that? I said prayer for both of them as that was all it seemed I could do. I pray that any one in an abusive situation finds the strength, as you did, to get out of it.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      A truely inspiring piece of writing - Lets not forget that October was domestic violence awareness month, it is our responsibility to keep the message alive throughout November and on towards the festive period where the number of reported incidents will no doubt be on the rise!

    • cindyvine profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Vine 

      9 years ago from Cape Town

      Thanks for the compliments, Maggs! You made my day!

    • maggs224 profile image


      9 years ago from Sunny Spain

      A brilliant hub a wonderful testimony that gives hope and encouragement to others that might find themselves in the same situation; you are an inspiration and an excellent writer.

    • cindyvine profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Vine 

      9 years ago from Cape Town

      Lisa, you are so right! Physical abuse victims are more likely to get help.

      FP, I am the ultimate survivor

      Diana, I'd love to hold my ex responsible!

      Tatjana, I am no longer scared of my ex. When I last saw him, he looked pathetic. The lithium he's on has damaged his teeth, and he slurs now when he speaks.

      Hello, Hello - I think the abusers all have some mental problem and are probably sociopaths or schizoid.

      Pam, it's amazing how many people have been victims of abuse! I definitely think more should be done to stop it.

      Prettydarkhorse....and here's to the next ten years!

      Dohn, all my life my family have told me that everything happens for a reason, and each trial makes you stronger. I have to ask, how strong do I have to be for it to stop?

      Fastfreta, I hope that my books will inspire people to get out of bad relationships. There is no such thing as the devil you know. People should not have to stay in bad relationships.

      Paradise, when you are a single mother who has never received child support then you just have to become resourceful and overcome the odds.

      Alekhouse, thanks for the compliments and buying my book. On my gravestone I want it to say, She Endured.

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      9 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Cindy, as someone who has survived both cancer and an abusive relationship, I can totally relate. I went to Amazon and ordered your book on abuse. I read the first few pages on line and couldn't resist buying it...although I didn't try very hard. You are such an interesting, engaging and just damn good writer. I also went to NaNoWriMo. Can't believe you're actually writing 50,000 pages in the month of November! Kudos to you.

    • Paradise7 profile image


      9 years ago from Upstate New York

      This is very interesting, Cindy, how you came from the black hole of being an abused woman stuck in a relationship with few financial resources of your own, to a self-published writer and a strong, resourceful person who will no longer put out the "Doormat" sign for other people to step on her. Congratualtions on the TEN WHOLE YEARS OF FREEDOM! You earned every single minute of it and my hat's off to you. Best wishes for the success of your books.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 

      9 years ago from Southern California

      What a powerful article. You are a powerful story teller. Beginning with your second paragraph I thought you were writing a story of fiction, until I read the third paragraph. I am going to get your book and read it.

      No doubt this article is or rather should be an inspiration to anyone that finds themselves in an abusive relationship.

    • dohn121 profile image


      9 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Thank you Cindy. I hope that your situation in Tanzania is better and that at least most of your problems have been resolved. You've lived quite a life and as I always tell myself when things in my life go awry: Everything happens for a reason. I hope that this same mantra applies to your situation as well.

    • prettydarkhorse profile image


      9 years ago from US

      oh Cindy, it must have been difficult, I like when you write, Congrats on your tenth year of being free..At least you are survivor and survived well, what a woman....

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Cindy, excellent hub. It is a long path from being abused to feeling good about yourself. I've been there also and today I appreciate each day because I don't live with that awful fear and I don't have all those nightmares anymore. Thanks for telling your story because if you help just one person get out of a bad situation it is worthwhile.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      9 years ago from London, UK

      Hello, Cindy, thank you for writing such a marvelous hub. A lot of it sound very and I mean very familiar. I wish I had the sense to get out of it straightaway. I tried 10 years to salvage my marriage and in those years a lot of damage was done. Did you notice that these sort of people, mostly men, have practically all the same pattern? Smiling outside, abusive and domineering inside the house and they think they are clever. They also always get people who nothing but loving, especially love to give and love to do anything for anybody. Also hate confrontation and arguments. Take care and all the best.

    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image


      9 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      Excellent Hub, Cindy. Whenever I made sacrifices for others, tried to please them forgetting my own needs etc, some people decided to treat me as "doormat"...instead of showing gratitude...this is very interesting phenomena. It is happening to everyone who is TOO MUCH helping the others ...obviously - it is not good to be "too good". People who sacrifice for other people usually finish crucified, sooner or later he, he...

      I needed to change my ways with people...and I am still in the process of change.

      White magick cannot create cancer for sure. If it was white... But spells and curses (black magick) can help that your fears and level of stress become stronger. Fears and stress are causes of cancer. Always.

      It seems to me that your ex just wanted to present himself as very powerful, influencing your health and life even on "long distance" and he wanted to frighten you again.

      He is not stronger then you, nobody is. You are very powerfull, amazing woman.

      You will find the way how to change your role of "victim"...

      and become "winner" - because that is your true nature.

    • dianacharles profile image


      9 years ago from India

      You are one gutsy lady Cindy and have learned to roll with the punches.Your hub made my tummy churn while I read it. I have friends in abusive relationships, but they refuse to get out, because they say they prefer the known devil than the unknown one. I often think it is more because of a lack of faith in oneself and to be able to garner the strength to stand on one's own feet.. And these are women who get beaten up regularly too besides the verbal abuse.

      Some studies have shown that a great deal of stress in one's life can lead to the body's cells becoming maybe the ex-hubby didn't use white magic, but you could still hold him responsible for it.

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 

      9 years ago

      Cindy, your story is scary and I marvel at your ability to get out of a bad situation and get on with your life. All the best...stay on top of the world, wherever you are! :)

    • Lisa HW profile image

      Lisa HW 

      9 years ago from Massachusetts

      cindyvine, unfortunately, I think there is far less support for victims of abuse than people think there is. The help is there, but I almost think it's mainly there for victims of physical abuse. Maybe it takes a black-and-blue face and a set of broken teeth to get real support.

      People often tend to think the only victims of abuse are women with little or no self-esteem, but now experts are starting to say that strong girls and women with good self-esteem often attract abusers. I suppose it may their wish not to be expected to be supportive of anyone, or maybe it's a wish to have that "combo-mother/child" kind of partner.

      Excellent Hub. I don't know you, but I'm glad you got out (needless to say, I guess).


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