With only a few Mother’s Day gifts, Anita fled from her husband: ‘Best decision ever’

Today, five of Anita’s children come to visit with their partners. She baked a cake and had lunch. She is celebrating this day because it was not clear for some years that her children are together.

On July 9, 2010, Anita collected her most treasured possessions and put them in a beauty case. She put it in the back of the car. Her three children had already left home, and her husband’s three children lived with grandparents. She and her husband went on the road, they had an agreement to talk to social workers about how their marriage should continue.

As soon as the car was parked and he was not paying attention, Anita quickly put the beauty case at the wheel. When she was inside, she told her husband in front of several rescuers and police officers that she was leaving him. What she predicted happened. Her husband felt cheated and left. Anita was crushed by grief and fell to the ground. She cried. Hard and long. “It felt so double. In that moment, I knew I would never see the love of my life again.”

Just some Mother’s Day gifts

Suddenly she was thinking about her beauty case. “Is it still in the parking lot?” she asked a rescuer. There was. She opened it and looked at the few pictures and Mother’s Day gifts from her children and stepchildren. It was the only thing she could have taken with her to the women’s shelter where she would stay from that day on.

A year after she decided to leave her husband, she had done so.

‘I let him go beyond my limits’

“But it actually only started then,” says Anita from her small house with garden in Zwolle, which she was instructed eleven years ago after her stay at the women’s shelter. She refers to the grieving process, letting go, rediscovering yourself. For who was she really?

Anita makes herself a cup of coffee. Black, without sugar and milk. “Do you know what I drank during my marriage? Latte with sugar. I also had straight blond hair,” she laughs. Her delicious curls fall smoothly over her shoulders. It’s a sign of how she was slowly being drawn into his world. “Each time, I adapted to what he wanted from me and let him go beyond my limits. Afterwards, I think: I maintained it myself, I did not go against him. I did not ring the bell while I knew what was happening. our house was not ok. “

‘This is how a relationship should be’

She looks back at the first moment she met her husband. That was while she was training for her job. “He parked his big car and got out. I immediately thought: Wow, what a lovely man. He was handsome, intelligent – showed up later – and an amazing lover – showed up later.”

Anita fell head over heels for him and eventually he too for her. “When I was with him, I thought: this is how a relationship should be. It was such a great contrast to the marriage I had. I used to want to be a stewardess, travel, discover the world. But I got married when I was nineteen, had three children and lived in a semi-detached house. I had a good but middle-class life. A life that I would choose right now. “

further together

But she chose her new forbidden love, a relationship full of passion and passion. “I was convinced he was the love of my life.” Anita and her new love both ended their marriage and moved on together. She took her children with her and soon married her new flame.

Not everyone was happy about it. First of all, her ex-husband, with whom she had been together for 24 years, her three children, whom she dragged into this new marriage, and her parents, who said that this man was not the right one for her. “My mother could not stand him. She already saw what I did not see then.” There is something wrong with him, her mother said.

It quickly went wrong

She turned out to be right. Soon it went wrong. “For a weekend in Paris with work we went together in a department store. I saw something beautiful and kept looking. When I looked up, my husband was gone. Not very practical, I thought. When we saw each other again, he He looked angry, took my arm and asked me outside what was the point of my action and how I could have been so selfish and unloving that I did not understand what I had done wrong and obviously cried I should have followed him. He grabbed my bag and walked away. There I was: without money or phone. “

After a few hours he came back. They went to the cafe together where he asked for an apology. “I should have said, ‘What are you doing to me?’ “But what did I do? Like a tame sheep I said sorry. There, at that moment, I opened the door and he knew he could pull these things.”

The first blow

A relationship of psychological violence followed, and after a few years, the first blow fell. “Of course I said, ‘I’m not being beaten.’ “

She became. It went well again. Until it went wrong again. “A lot of people say, ‘If a man treats you badly, then you do not go?’ But it is not so easy. You do not just leave someone with whom you also have a wonderful life. In addition, his children lived with us, they no longer had contact with their mother. I took care of them. I kept hoping , that my husband would change, that it would eventually work out. “

Long time no see daughter

Not only did Anita suffer during this marriage, but so did her children. “My oldest daughter left when she was 16. She said, ‘Mom, it’s nice that you want to stay in this relationship, but I’m not in this anymore.’ I did not see her for six years after that. “

Eventually, her youngest daughter opened her eyes. Anita was called up: her daughter had collapsed and was in the hospital. “She was very thin and all kinds of tubes came out of her nose and arms. She weighed only 34 kilos. It was only when I saw my daughter lying in that hospital bed that the light came on. Her eating disorder did not just happen., “It was caused by years of unstable home situation. I had to pull the plug on my marriage and make my family healthy and happy again. No one else could do this for me.”

little resistance

What followed was what Anita describes as the hardest year of her life. “You’re not just leaving someone who’s been manipulating you for years. I had to break away from him. It started with a little resistance. He always went with me when I got my nails done or went to the hairdresser. I wanted to be alone, without him. “

“To leave, you need people around you who keep saying, ‘I can see you’re not feeling well, you can always come to me.’ In Anita’s case, a youth caregiver happened to arrive a little earlier than agreed. “She accidentally saw an outburst from my husband. She gave me a card with a phone number.”

Eventually, she mustered up the courage to contact the rescuer. Together they made a plan, also for the children. They were put under surveillance and help also came to them. She told her husband she had made an appointment to talk about their marriage. It seemed he was going with me. Packing a suitcase would stand out, so she just filled a beauty case with pictures and Mother’s Day gifts from the kids.

Make friends back

After Anita ended her relationship, she had to start all over again. “I no longer had any; my parents did not want to know me anymore, nor did my sisters, there were few friends left. When my ex-husband said, ‘That friendship is not sincere, you must distance yourself,’ I did. “I just wanted to make him happy. I just did not realize I was wriggling out of my old life. I first realized that in the small room of the women’s shelter.”

“I first had to heal, understand it. Gain insight into what had really happened. After four months, after crying a little, I started to see a little perspective again with a lot of help.” Her children helped her with this. “It was my birthday, I turned 48 and I did not want to celebrate. As a surprise, all my three children, including the daughter I had not seen in six years, were in the hall with a cake. The disgust was emotional and for me a very clear sign: If you go back now, you will lose them forever. “

Finally on a journey

She persevered, did not go back and was eventually assigned a house in Zwolle. There she walked, without work, without money and with her children 150 kilometers away. “I had no teaspoon, no washcloth, nothing at all.” She found a job, furnished her house with used things and saved up for her dream: travel, explore the world. “I was almost 50, but I finally felt like the student I had never been.”

Now she has her own company, with which she tells her story over and over again, for police officers, for general practitioners, for business women. “I regularly post my story on LinkedIn and receive all sorts of messages from women going through the same thing. It’s also business women, lawyers. Smart, powerful women with their own businesses. People you would say: what ‘, you?”

Restore relationships

“Domestic violence occurs in all sections of the population. Many believe that it is about vulnerable women in a socially and economically weak position, but that stigma creates a blind spot that makes us miss signals in our immediate environment.”

Anita has managed to rebuild her own life, restore relationships with her children and make them healthy again. “In my first marriage, we did not talk about feelings. We brushed everything under the rug, otherwise the other would just be upset. It’s over. I now have an open and honest relationship with my children and with two of the three stepchildren, we are talking about something that bothers us or hurts us. “

loving family

The bond with her eldest daughter has also been restored. “She’s getting married and I was allowed to go with her when she went to pick out her wedding dress. For years I thought I would never be here because she would not see me again. When she stood there, wearing the beautiful dress I was so intensely happy with. “

After eleven years, there is also a new love in her life. Someone she feels comfortable with and trusts who she can laugh a lot with. It took a while, but Anita is happy again. Especially on a day like today.

“There have been many years where not all children celebrated Mother’s Day with me. But since some years our bond has become close and loving again. Mother’s Day used to be about gifts, now it’s mainly a loving togetherness. Somewhere, where children can be themselves and feel safe. Because they are the greatest wealth of my life. “

Sunday interview

Every Sunday we publish an interview in text and pictures of someone who is doing or has experienced something special. It can be a great event that he or she handles admirably. The Sunday interviews have in common that the story has a great influence on the interviewee’s life.

Are you or do you know someone who would be suitable for a Sunday talk? Let us know via this e-mail address: Zondaginterview@rtl.nl

Read the previous Sunday interviews here.

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