I blamed myself for the accident that left my husband crippled, but I didn't know about the secret he was hiding.
For three years, I blamed myself for my husband Brian's misery, and so did he. I had been miserable before the accident, for twelve lonely years, Brian had been demeaning and dominating me, and after the accident, it only got worse.
I'd lie awake during the night, knowing that this was going to be the rest of my life, this unrelenting slavery to a man who despised me. I'd been considering divorce before, but now it was out of the question since I was to blame for his being crippled.
My husband blamed me for the accident that left him in a wheelchair | Source: Shutterstock.com
Brian had been so sweet when we met, so adoring and funny and goofy -- and handsome. Brian was the most handsome man I'd ever seen, and I couldn't quite believe he was interested in me.
When he proposed after six months of dating, I was over the moon. Of course, I was — I was living a fairytale — but after the honeymoon, Prince Charming turned into Mr. Hyde.
Brian was critical, nagging, angry, and had no inhibitions in showing his disappointment in who and what I was. I was paralyzed by the awareness that I had made a huge mistake, and too embarrassed to admit it to my admiring friends and family.
Isn't that a funny reason to stay with a man who mistreats you? Embarrassment? Let me be honest: fear and embarrassment. Brian didn't hit me, but he had a way of gripping my arm when he was making a point that left bruises.
When I married Brian I thought my dreams had come true | Source: Unsplash
And the worse bruises of all, he left on my soul. Those no one could see, and no one would believe. Brian was so charming and loving in public. So I kept quiet and endured it.
One evening we were on our way back from a dinner party at one of his friend's houses -- I no longer socialized with my own friends -- when he started screaming at me, accusing me of flirting with his friend.
Never let anyone who is supposed to love you demean you.
I was shocked and bewildered. Me? FLIRT? "I saw how Todd was looking at you!" Brian screamed, glaring at me.
"But I didn't do anything!" I cried desperately.
Brian vented his anger on me | Source: Unsplash
"Look at how you're dressed! LIKE A SLUT!" Brian shrieked angrier than ever.
"But you told me to wear this..." I gasped.
Those were my last words in our old life. The world was flooded by a bright white light, and when I woke up I was in the hospital. The doctors were quick to reassure me that my injuries were minor.
Brian hadn't been so lucky. "Your husband sustained severe injuries to his back," the doctor explained, "and even though the spinal cord wasn't severed, the probability of him walking again is slim."
In one moment our lives were changed | Source: Pixabay
At first, I thought it was going to be okay. At the hospital, listening to the doctor, holding on to my hand with tears in his eyes, Brian was calm and accepting. He kissed my hand, he told me he loved me and that we'd see this through together.
I believed this transformation until we were back home, alone again. Then the old Brian showed himself. "You did this to me!" he screamed. "It was your fault I lost control of the car. You put me in this wheelchair."
I thought my life was hell before, but I was wrong. My previous life now seemed like some distant dream of a happy childhood. Brian's anger was greater than ever, and he became even more vocal and abusive.
I had to find myself a job -- Brian had insisted I stay home -- and to his chagrin, I was soon earning a lot more than he had before the accident. Brian immediately demanded I hire a carer.
The doctor told us it was unlikely that Brian would walk again | Source: Unsplash
I agreed, of course. When had I ever dared to disagree with what Brian wanted? So he interviewed and hired the carer himself. Her name was Donna, and she was young and pretty.
If it hadn't been for the wheelchair, I would have doubted Brian's motives for hiring Donna. She cost me a fortune, but at least Brian was calmer when I got home every night. I'd pay any price for that.
Donna had been with us for almost a year when I discovered exactly who and what she was. I'd come down with the flu, and halfway through my workday, I was so sick that I went home.
I walked into the eerily quiet house and walked to the downstairs room Brian had turned into his gym, and I heard a giggle. It just made my hackles rise. There was something about that giggle that was lascivious, dirty.
Brian blamed me for his injury | Source: Pexels
The giggle was followed by soft murmurs, and unmistakably moist, intimate sounds. The door to the gym was ajar, and I pushed it open. I couldn't believe my eyes! Brian had Donna pushed against the wall, and he was kissing her. HE WAS STANDING UP!
I must have made some sound because Brian turned around and saw me. For the first time in fourteen years, I saw him at a loss for words. "You can walk," I heard myself say.
"You can walk and all this time you've been blaming me?" I hardly recognized my own voice and the scream that followed it: "GET OUT!"
Brian was walking towards me with his hands out. "I can explain..." he said, but I grabbed a dumbbell and hefted it.
Brian was kissing the carer | Source: Unsplash
"Not another step!" I told him. "Get out, this is MY house, I had it before I married you. OUT!"
He didn't say another word. He left and he took Donna with him. I later discovered that he'd been having an affair with Donna since before the accident, and he'd thought it a fine joke to have me pay her a salary.
I divorced Brian, and he got nothing, and I got my freedom. I found myself in my own home, with a great job, and in control of my own life. BTW, Briand's friend Todd? He called me and asked me out. I may say yes.
Now I am free | Source: Unsplash
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