Something good has happened. Really good. It shows how holding on and believing things will change has a power all of its own.

My friend, Gina, went through a really bad divorce last year.

It was one of those weird situations where there doesn’t overtly seem to be anything wrong that you can put your finger on as the reason for the divorce. Apart from the fact that John, Gina’s ex-husband, doesn’t have a sense of humour. You can get divorced for all sorts of reasons but I don’t think you can divorce someone for being humourless.

I should have known there was a problem when John didn’t laugh at my jokes. It’s not that I am forever walking around cracking one-liners like a stand-up comedienne, but occasionally, like most people do, I will say something that is kind of funny. Except John didn’t think anything I said was funny. Ever. He didn’t think shows renowned for their funniness on T.V. were funny. He didn’t think the cute things little kids say were funny. Nothing got him breaking into a smile. Nada. Zilch.

I should have known there was a problem because I have met men who never laugh before. Just a few, but enough to last a lifetime.

All of those men were abusers.

I didn’t find out until a few months ago that John had been an abuser.

The reason Gina’s marriage broke up was that she was being abused and she ended it.

She put up with the abuse for years. She told no one, not even her sister who she is so close to that they finish each other’s sentences.

John told everyone he ended the divorce because he had fallen out of love with Gina. He painted her as boring and uptight. As someone who was holding him back.

The real reason was that he abused Gina so badly he could have done jail time.

I took Gina to hospital well over a year ago. She suspected she had an ovarian cyst. I remember thinking at the time that she was holding her stomach in the wrong place to be suffering from a cyst but in the rush to get to hospital I kind of forgot about it.

Gina told me a few months ago that there was no ovarian cyst.

John had been checking his stock portfolio in bed one morning. Many of his shares had dropped. He was so enraged that he began to kick Gina, who was sleeping at the time, in the back, kicking and kicking until she fell on the floor.

That ovarian cyst was actually an abrasion on the liver and serious internal bleeding.

I had no idea. That’s what gets me. I had absolutely no idea. There was never a mark on her.

When someone tells you they had to suffer in that way there is a kind of crying that goes on that is completely internal. You hear the tears rushing around inside your head but there is no way to let them out. The horror of the situation is so bad you don’t even want to release your tears out into it. The grief is fingers sliding down a wall, unable to find a place to lodge themselves.

Gina has worked really hard to rebuild her sense of self since divorcing John. I am really proud of her.

When she first left him I remember her telling me that all she really wanted was to sit in the park on a swing and watch the world go up and down, back and forth, as carefree as a child.

You can’t do that when you are riddled with anxiety and self-loathing.

Gina has met a new man. A lovely man. He is seven years younger than her.

I am delighted to be able to tease her about being a cougar.

I am even more delighted to hear that she has put up a swing in the garden of her new house.

To swing as she pleases.

Image –  Freedom by Clyme from DeviantART

23 thoughts on “Unchained

  1. So many things going on behind closed doors, rattling around inside protective minds and behind wary eyes that we don’t know of and sometimes would never expect. Secrets that are kept because to tell would make it real and sometimes things are easier to face in solitude. So glad you friend faced what she needed to and healed something as a result.


  2. I am so glad there was a happy ending. What a horrible man – I can think of a few things I’d like to do to him when he’s fast asleep. Congrats on being featured in ‘she who blogs’ – I love that story of yours 🙂


  3. How wonderful for Gina! Happy endings are the best and they come to good people, I am a firm believer in karma. John, on the other hand, had better watch out.


  4. I’m glad she has friends like you she can trust and who can help her through this. Makes me smile that she went out and installed a swing.

    (A big go girl on the younger man!)


  5. It’s good to know that Gina is back on track to getting her life back. Her ex husband sounds like someone who is cruising for a bruising, and if there is any justice in this world, he will get what is coming to him.
    On the positive side, it’s heartwarming to know that she has found love again, and the fact that she has installed a swing at home is just fabulous! The fact that she is now a cougar is just icing on the cake! Good for her!


  6. i wish i could give your wonderful and lovely gina a hug and tell her what an amazing courageous woman she is. cougar indeed. they have always been my favorite wild animal. xo to her


  7. so happy for her and proud that she finally stood up for herself. it absolutely enrages me that some people can be so completely heartless with no respect whatsoever for another living being. 😦


  8. I like hearing that someone has gotten away from an abusive relationship. I often hear in the news of fatal ends. But it’s good to know others, such as Gina, was able to get away and have a new start with her life

    Sometimes, abusers doesn’t know that they are hurting others. I guess it’s hard to break such cycles but I hope still that some of them will get help. It’s probably hopeless but you’ll never know.


  9. I cried when I read this. I felt good too. To anyone who is in a bad relationship right now – don’t give up. There is always a way out.


  10. Hi DAOINE:
    It’s great news. It shows the power of hope and determination. I am really glad about it.

    Hi IAIN:
    She has been just as good to me. I am sure she will find happiness now.

    Hi SINGER:
    Oh, you are so right about secrets. Making something real can be terrifying. I think it woukd be impossible to calculate the number of secrets that lie behind closed doors. Everyone has some cross to bear.

    Oh, definitely. I have had many revenge fantasies regarding that man. I was really pleased to be featured on She Who Blogs. An honour, indeed.

    Hi LAURI:
    Yeah. I hope a tall building falls on him. Actually, I happen to know he has shares in BP. Send him to the Gulf coast and let him swim about in his investment. That would be a start.

    Hi NAT:
    The swing is brilliant. A symbol of liberation. And as for the younger man – YEE HAAAA!!!

    Hi MANOJ:
    It is so good for me to see her come out the other side because for a while I was worried. It is a great thing to see!


  11. Hi MAMIE:
    Awww. That is so nice of you. It is great to hear from you. And yes, I am rather partial to cougars too!

    Hi CHRIS:
    Happy endings are sweet. I am so relieved 😀

    Amen to that. That swing is already very popular. All of her friends are reliving their childhoods!

    Hi SAN:
    It’s awful, isn’t it? I just don’t understand it, either. I am glad it all turned out well in the end!

    I really like that. I hope it comes to pass. That would make me very happy!

    Hi LISSA:
    I think part of the problem with abusers is that they’ve often been abused themselves, so it’s a pattern of behaviour they find it hard to break free from. It’s still not an excuse but it does explain some things. I am glad she got out of it before it was too late!

    Hi MELEAH:
    It is good to know it is possible to break free and repair one’s sense of self. I am SOOOO glad about it!

    Hi GINA:
    More power to you, babe. The only way is up from now on XXX


  12. Woo-hoo! Another empowered woman. I hate reading about abuse – not that I ever hate reading YOU Selma – just the subject. I’m sorry she had to endure any of it!


  13. I am so happy for Gina. Words cannot express.

    As an aside, I think you should be able to divorce someone for being humorless. Someone who can’t laugh at life is not someone worth being with, in my opinion.


  14. Hi Selma, and thanks for visiting (again). As you are a ‘friend’ I can tell you that as a fellow stutterer and bed wetter, I always sympathised with George.

    I so appreciated your observation that Gina’s ex never laughed at your jokes. Musicians are always good joke tellers so I must presume it was his anger that broke his funny bone. So many women (and some men) tolerate abuse forever in shame. So don’t underestimate your role in setting her free. It sometimes takes only one friend to give permission to stop it. Well done and well written. Cheers.


  15. Hi TEX:
    Sorry for the late reply to this comment. It’s been quite a week.

    I hate reading about abuse too. It upsets me so much. It is nice to know that in some cases there is a happy ending.

    Hi KATE:
    I completely agree. Living with someone who never laughs would be so stressful. Kick him to the curb, I say 😀

    Hi ROWE:
    I completely agree. No one deserves that!

    What a beautiful comment. I am honoured to be counted as a friend of yours. It’s true that a lot of people tolerate abuse because they are ashamed. If I had any part to play at all in setting Gina free, I am thrilled!

    Hi JINGLE:
    Awww. I value yours too. Thank you.


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