He Hit Me and It Felt Like a Kiss

January 28, 2016 — 67 Comments


*Trigger Warning: Domestic abuse

In the history of the world, no one has ever loved anyone the way I loved my husband.

I felt that way all the way up until the moment he dislocated my rib cage.

He bought me my first car. I didn’t own a car until I was in my 30’s. I grew up dirt poor. My first car was the BUS.

Our first Christmas together, he presented me with a cherry red Mazda Miata convertible.

I loved that car. I named him “Herbie.” As in, the movie “The Love Bug?”


The very first week, I logged 800 miles, visiting every friend I had in the tri-state area.


For the first time in my life, I experienced the exhilarating sense of getting behind the wheel of my very own vehicle. He gave me my love of the open road. He called me “Road Warrior.”


In a world where everything changes, one constant for me has been my love of road trips.

He gave me that.

He also unearthed the soft white underbelly under my fierce determination to rely on no one, EVER. Found in me the little girl who grew up abused and abandoned. And filled that great yawning abyss of feeling unloved.

Accepting love is a muscle that can atrophy if you let it go unexercised too long.


We accept the love we think we deserve.

–The Perks Of Being A Wallflower


His love for me was stronger than anything I had ever experienced since the death of my oldest brother. The first few years of our marriage were unequivocally the happiest years of my life.


In a world where everything changes, the only constant is change.

My husband got into serious trouble, and lost everything – including his ability to make a living. I stood by him, because I loved him. For Better Or For Worse.

We switched roles. He became the stay at home parent, and I the provider. I backed into a successful business purely by accident. But this unorthodox and unexpected role reversal was brutal for him.

It soured our relationship irreparably.


Love truly is blind.

I was blind to the years he gradually bankrupted me.

I was blind to his pathological lying.

As it all unraveled he transformed into someone I didn’t recognize. Or was he always like that?


Eventually all his financial malfeasance surfaced.


That doesn’t begin to describe your feelings when you realize your spouse has destroyed you financially.


When it first erupted into violence, I was FEARLESS.
I’m from New York. If you’re gonna hit me with a shovel, I’m going to hit you with a bigger shovel.

We might have beaten each other to death, Mad Max Thunderdome style, in my garage, had my then 4-year-old son not wandered in. I saw the fear in his eyes, and stopped.

I threw my son in the car and got on a highway. Drove to my NY BFF’s house upstate New York.

I filed for a restraining order and threw my husband out.


One night I received a phone call from my gym, which is affiliated with a medical center. A child in the playroom had been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis – the fatal kind. They were contacting every family who’d recently had a child in that playroom.

My son had come home that day with a fever and a stiff neck. I was told by the nurse on the telephone to wake him up immediately and bring him to the ER. I argued with her that to do so would terrify him.


Our conversation was interrupted by the ambulance she had dispatched, screeching into my driveway.

My son screamed in pain and fear for hours while they ran a battery of tests on him. Around dawn my husband showed up and my son calmed down. Daddy was here.

Maybe, if I had family or friends nearby.

Maybe, if I thought I could handle parenting my son alone.

Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

The next day, my husband moved back in.


For the next few years I accepted his outbursts of violence and told no one.

We accept the love we think we deserve.


Then, more crushing debt surfaced. Reluctantly, I decided to tap into my son’s college fund.

There was no money in that account.

There was no money in that account?



That doesn’t begin to describe your feelings when you realize your spouse has emptied your entire life savings.



I started the fight that time, punching and kicking him.

He smacked me away, and caught my lip, which opened and bled.

I tasted the blood. And got up in his face.





I literally flew across the room.

He’d full-on punched me square in my chest. His 220 lbs to my 110.

My heart stopped beating.

Every time I tried to sit up, excruciating pain tore through my chest.


Slowly, painfully, I put my 6-year-old in the car.

And got on a highway. Fled like a thief in the night all the way to Boston.

I made up an elaborate story to my college BFF about my injury.


It was a dislocated rib cage. But really?






I’ve had to file for bankruptcy. The house I broke my back saving the down payment for – is lost.

It’s just a house.

It was my first ever backyard with a swing set and trampoline and everything my son deserves and will no longer have.



My Ex erupts into violence frequently. I’ve been advised by my lawyer, my therapist and the police to keep a bag packed at all times. Store it in the trunk of my car. Have a place ready to flee to with my son.




One night, he flew into one of his irrational rages.

He smashed my laptop. He grabbed the extension cord and began hitting me with it. I tried to diffuse his rage, hoping to not wake up my son, dodging the blows that were opening up cuts on my arms and legs.

He wrenched our child out of bed. My son was crying and terrified, and I was screaming at my Ex to get out.

Madness. Dysfunction. Chaos.

I ran for the bedroom and locked us in there until he left.


Just a few minutes later, my phone buzzed. Lizzi was Facebook messaging me.

And in that moment – I needed her desperately. Her kind words; her gentle voice. Her beautiful soothing English accent. Her humanity.

We skyped.

Never before had anyone seen me like that. Broken and bleeding and bruised.

We spoke until daylight.

At last.




And now I need to tell it. If even one woman feels less alone, then writing this will have been worth it.


I want this story to end the way other domestic abuse stories do.

With hope.

But even with him out of my house, and locks changed, I don’t feel safe.

You think the police can protect you from an irrational person who wants to harm you?



It’s not even me I worry about. What toll is this taking on my son?

And should I end up dead? What will happen to him?


The height of irony is my Ex accusing me of wanting to be with another man.

I will never, EVER allow myself to get close to someone again.

If I suspect someone likes me, I make sure to drive them away.

If I’m intimate with someone, I keep feelings out of it.

We accept the love we think we deserve.


People often tell me that I’ll heal when I find the “right person.”

For what? To strip me of my worldly possessions and my self-esteem?

Happily ever after isn’t REAL.

What’s REAL is that I spend my life looking over my shoulder.

We accept the love we think we deserve.


I have that bag packed in my trunk.

I’m ready.


Some day, I’m just going to get in my car.



Get on a highway.

And just drive.



and drive…

And keep on going.





*This post was originally published on Sisterwives. It is dedicated to all of my SisterWives, who supported me in writing this. Thank you. I love you.


Do you have a story about domestic abuse?
Talk to me. I’m listening.

67 responses to He Hit Me and It Felt Like a Kiss


    I’m to the point where I can barely hug my family and friends, because I don’t want anyone touching me. I used to be an affectionate person, but I no longer am. I’ve been to therapy, but some parts of abuse just never fucking leave. These walls are high.

    Thanks for sharing.


      I can hug. I’m an excellent hugger.

      Falling in love is a different story. That’s over with.
      I’m so sorry you ever had to go through this. Thank you for letting the walls down just enough to tell me about it. xoxoxoxo


    I understand this. The financial abuse and the fear for your life. Yup. Take care, Samara. 💛


    Protect yourself. Protect your son. You are brave and you’re going to survive and THRIVE because you and your boy deserve that. I was not physically abused and will not go into my story here, but I raised my son alone from the time he was 4 1/2 because I would not subject him to that environment. Samara, he’s probably closer to your age now – 36 in March. And I will be 65 this year. And all I can assure you is that things will get easier and life will get better (then worse, better, worse, better – that’s fucking life) and you just keep moving. I am the happiest now and having more fun than I ever dreamed. Don’t worry about whether or not you’ll love again. Maybe yes, maybe no. That’s not what defines any of us, anyway. Keep writing. Keep loving that little boy. Keep loving and respecting yourself. Hugs to you, little sister.

    Gretchen Kellaway January 28, 2016 at 9:01 am

    Only one man ever laid his hands on me and he can’t remember ever doing it. But the emotional abuse I took as “love” left me uncertain for years.

    Samara, your words are a light in the dark for many. And I love you lady.


    I remember that song and I, too, was in a situation once. I never expected to be there, not someone like me. But so many of us have experienced this. It breaks my heart. All best to you…


    We do accept the love we think we deserve. No one deserves to be hurt, and love shouldn’t hurt. Physical wounds heal, but the scars on our soul take much, much longer. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your story.


    I am so proud of you being able to tell this chapter of your story. I can’t wait until I read the next part…where our heroine learns that most people are not like this, and she can and will have a healthy, loving relationship again.


      What about the chapter where she travels to Florida with her Malleable Hot Mama, and they give a good hard kick in the gonads to a certain person…

      Love you. xoxoxo


    Your story is painful to read. I am so glad that you shared it. I can not imagine what you have endured. I applaud your strength. Please keep posting so that we know you and your son are okay. As evidenced by all of the comments, you are not alone.


    My heart bleeds for you. Seriously. My marriage wasn’t as physically damaging, as it was emotionally damaging. I, too, fought back with a rage that now seems foreign to me. But my ex only hit me a handful of times. Still, there’s no excuse for that. I remember each time, and I worry about what the impact of those few times is on my children who were THERE. He was much better at insults and constant blame and criticism, so much so that even today, 5 years later, I still second-guess things based on leftover anxiety over how he will react. And I HATE it. You are a stranger – but I love you. I love you for the strength you have and the fire you write with. Thank you for sharing your story – I hope you don’t mind if I share it.


      oh, I’m so happy you want to share it! Yes please!

      Emotional abuse is just as bad, if not worse. Yes, I know that anxiety. It’s soul crushing.
      Wishing you the best going forward.
      And I love you, too. xoxo


    He said I was fat stupid and ugly. I weighed 115 lbs at 5’7″… I left, cut off my waist length hair to the chin came back and said, “now there is nothing good about me, asshole.” That was the only time I got hit. He full on punched me. I dislocated both his knees, cracked his jaw, and broke his nose. (He was a red shirt for the college football team…) Then I moved out. This, my dear sister from another mister is where we are different and where I wish we weren’t. When I went to the bank and realized our accounts were empty, no… negative, I realized what I was worth because we DO accept the love we think we deserve and I knew in that moment that I deserved nothing but the best. I am not trying to tell you that your true love is out there blah blah blah… I am trying to tell you that you didn’t deserve HIM. It isn’t if you find a man that you deserve. It is if you will ever find a man worthy of you. What you truly deserve is happiness. Oh, and maybe a vacation to Denver.


      I’ll take happiness. And the trip to Denver.

      I don’t think I’m unworthy of love; just unwilling. The walls are up, and they’re staying up. But life is still full of promise and good things.
      Love you xoxoxooxox


        Love you too! And as long as you’re happy, I could give two shits less about men. Besides… clearly WE love each other. And we deserve it! ❤


        Jenn. I miss you.
        I know you’ve been swamped with moving, and me with whatever it is that swamps me. But I suddenly feel this urge to connect with you.
        I’m trying to get something written that has a desperately close deadline. Let’s try and make some time to chat, though, okay? xoxoxo


        WOW, Samara once again your strength amazes me, Jenn you too have more strength then most will ever know. I am so proud to have the chance to know you. The happiness we find in ourselves and with each other in the crazy group of people who have been lucky enough to find each other is all I need in my life.


    Ugh. I’m sorry you went through this. So much of it is so very familiar to me, but we survived. You’re wrong about one thing though: you deserve so much more.


      Thank you Goldy love, I think I do, too.

      We’re comrades-in-arms; two soldiers who fought so many of the same wars.
      And we’re both still here. It’s a miracle, isn’t it? xoxoxoxo
      (oh shit I just got tears in my eyes when I typed that)


    I fortunately don´t have such experience. (I feel I grew up isolated from the real world.) But I admire you for being this strong and putting this into words. I love your writing because it tears my entrails apart. Ehm, if that´s the right metaphor. I hope you and your kid will be alright!


    In the hopes that repetition makes the message stick: You deserve the best kind of love. You deserve the best. You deserve the opportunity to show that heart-of-heart son of yours that good love can happen, and that Mama deserves the very best.


      I do sometimes think how much I’d like him to have a good male role model; a man who never screams at a woman or raises his hands to her, who works hard to provide for his family.
      Can I borrow your husband? 🙂


    Thank you for your courage to share your story. There are many out there who have lived through abuse. Emotional, physical…or both. They either keep it locked inside or they share it bravely, as you have done. No words of advice can be offered that would land well, I am sure. I wish you enough, brave lady.


    Big love, my friend💗💗💗


    Thank you. It’s hard, but helpful, to know that you aren’t alone. I went through hell with my ex, and I’m just working toward getting my story out, part by small part. Much love and many hugs (if you like hugs, if not, disregard) toward you. I know the looking over your shoulder deal. Thank you so very much for sharing, and I’m so sorry.
    I hope you have a beautiful day sunshine, and please, please take gentle care of yourself.


    I wish you and your son safety, healing, and peace.


    I’m staring at the screen, searching for words and not sure what to write but I can’t walk away without letting you know I was here and read this and admired your ability to transcend these heartshattering events and write about it in a way that is so much more than a pure description. The sentence “we accept the love we think we deserve” will probably haunt me forever. It hits close to home. Please don’t drive away alone. XO


      I can’t tell you how much it means to me that you read my story, and commented.

      I don’t think I could ever drive away without my son. But after he leaves the house, I will be driving solo for the rest of my life.
      And that’s fine.

      You are a dear sweet soul to stop in and read this. xoxox


    Nothing more I love than road trips. I left home at 17 in a souped-up 56 Chevy coupe…because I was the kid in your story, only worse. I don’t understand sometimes why people have to be so…human. But we are not at the top of the food chain because we’re meek. But I can tell you this: love does not end for you. At some point, love will walk back into your life. And along with it…TRUST. This is another reason we are at the top of the food chain.
    PS: have I ever told you that I love your writing?


    I hesitated to hit like on this post. I was abused in a much more subtle way. But you’re right. We accept the love we think we deserve.

    You deserve better. I’m glad you figured it out.


      Emotional abuse is JUST as damaging. In some ways, worse. We’ll have to talk about that some time.

      We both deserve better. I’m so glad you did, too. I adore you.


    I feel your pain. But, not in the same way. I was told about your blog by “Badfish” after he read mine on a similar theme. http://joliesattic.com/author/joliesattic/
    Take heart. Take courage. Don’t be looking because looking really doesn’t cut it. Be the best you can be. Heal and you will find what you need. If it’s love, it will find you.


    I was so dumbstruck reading this. I am an Asian woman and always think that life is so safer and stronger in the west for women.

    Can you shift to some other city where you can find a suitable job for yourself and raise your son. I mean imagine keeping the bag ready all the time to flee from your own house. It is so horrible for your nerves and heart.

    God bless you.


      Thank you so much.
      It’s 18 months since I wrote this, and things are SO much better. I do still fear my Ex, but my life is much more peaceful. And my son is thriving. Thank you.


    I dated an abusive man. He’s out of my life, but sometimes I still miss him.


    Sorry for your story. I just saw my ex husband of many years in the down town and had some strange belly feeling – not good, not bad, maybe just a sorrow about the past times…what we couldhave been. It was so good to read this text right in this moment.


    When I was much younger I was hooked on those ‘golden age’ Hollywood musicals. One that stuck with me for all the wrong reasons was “Carousel’, wherein Shirley Jones gets smacked in the face by ‘the man she loves’ and tells her daughter, when he does the same to her, that it feels like a kiss, and horribly, the girl agrees.

    Some wounds never go away, but we learn to live with them and they become badges of courage. You, my dear, are courageous.


    Those seconds. They drip and drop upon the rock, and wear away sharp edges.

    To do this, you have to let them in, and let them out. In. And, out. Like breathing.

    Don’t dam those seconds. You’ll drown.

    I suspect you know this.


    Difficult to “like” this post. Some men aren’t worth the air they breathe. Kudos to you for changing the locks–a lot of folks don’t understand just how difficult that part of it is, No matter what it costs you, your kid will know what you do for him and he’ll love you all the more of it. The second best day of my life, after the births of my children, was the day I realized “he” was finally gone. It got harder after that, getting by, but sometimes harder is better.


    I am so sorry that you had to go through this. I went through it for 7 years. All people would do was complain to the apartment management about the threats and cries for help through the walls. I’ve been whipped with hangers, punched in the head till I passed out, had knives to my body, threatened with a bebe gun, punched repeatedly until bruises were the color of black and on and on. Lot of my story is written on my blog. Two years after and I’m in a new relationship and it has been an adjustment. I go to therapy 4 times a month. I still have nightmares 😦

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    […] Bad things happen to me because I seek pain. […]

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