You know the allegory about the boy with a bad temper who drives the nails into a post & then pulls them out, but realizes they each left a hole? Or the story about the smashed dish never being able to be put together again perfectly (because you can’t say “I’m sorry” and magically make a plate whole again)? Sometimes words leave damage that is unseen, it’s true. But often times it is a precursor to physical violence and emotional/psychological damage that leave marks both literally and figuratively. Be careful with yourself. Don’t push yourself to fix someone like this (that’s their job), and please pay attention to how often it occurs (it’s easy to let hope cloud your memory—make a mark on your calendar for every time you are verbally abused so you can remember more clearly).
The video & audio above is how the verbal abuse sounded—and how the physical abuse looked: The punch through the grey bedroom wall & wreckage of a several hundred pound dining table, the babies’ high chair, the dining chairs, the vases & dishes under it, the drywall-anchored hook of aprons that was ripped out of the wall and left in the middle of the floor — that was after The Heart Ball in 2012. You may remember seeing us there. Perhaps you went as our guests? We had a wonderful time. He said later that he couldn’t remember what set him off, but “you must have done something.”
He thought that was “rock bottom”?
[Click to enlarge.]
Apparently not. Because the assault & battery that damaged my knee, ankle, that gave me the bruises you see in the video above occurred September 30/October 1, 2013. And, outside of a courthouse, that was the very last time I saw him. I have not spoken to him and don’t plan to again. Ever. [Update: I have spoken to him in a courtroom. Afterward, in June 2015, he called and left a voicemail asking me to coffee.]
I believe certainly that Ms. Hamelberg’s testimony with respect to the injuries that she received at the hands of Mr. Hamelberg were credible. I believe certainly she suffered numerous injuries including bruises on her wrist, a damaged left knee, a swollen ankle.
Mr. Hamelberg apparently has had other incidents which have caused damage to the furniture and holes in the walls at the residence, so I believe certainly there has been a history of domestic violence and anger control issues from Mr. Hamelberg.”
:The Honorable Judge Holly Clemons (Champaign County, Illinois, December 11, 2013)
Warning signs to look for: Past abuse (in this case, multiple police reports made by Chris Hamelberg’s first wife for Domestic Abuse that I was unaware of, etc), Familial history, drug use, alcohol abuse, verbal abuse that starts gradually and escalates, Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde-like personalities, you feel like you are walking on eggshells, your friends notice you are not the same, and more.
Please ask for help if you are having trouble identifying abuse. It is a common problem. The abuse seems to sneak up on you until you have trouble identifying it as domestic violence. You’re always looking for a reason: He’s tired, he’s stressed, his ex-wife is terrible (maybe it’s her fault), it’s always like this during turnover/inventory/end-of-month, maybe he needs medication?, the kids are too much for him, he wanted you to cook more, you’ve gained some weight, you forgot to shut the sliding glass door… Just stop. It’s not you. It’s not her. It’s not the job. It’s him.
And when you’re ready: An abuser doesn’t change just because you leave them, they simply change their tactics. It is up to you to leave them completely and see to your own peace of mind…don’t ever expect them to participate in you gaining your safety or freedom.
If you sometimes feel like you are a post with nails being driven into it or a smashed plate, you are in the wrong relationship. Prayers may help, but God wants us to help ourselves, too. Be strong. Leaving is one option. There are others. There is help…ask for it. You can do this. The sooner, the better.