2008 Saudi Arabia

A desolate and lonely desert wove its way through tiny towns where necessary stops were made for fuel. Tones of brown and red rolled over dunes that swirled in the mid afternoon heat. Seats were laid down and made into a large bed of blankets, pillows and clothing. Although he made several trips each year the children and I had not been to Damascus for a while and Taita (grandmother) had been asking to see our youngest child, Ibrahim. The used vehicle that had been questionable was now seen as a blessing and nothing more was said.

In the months that lead to this trip our household was eerily wrapped in a temporary calm. Talk of visiting Uncles and cousins gave rise to a cheery and reminiscent atmosphere. He was not allowed to take the company car out of Saudi and so he started looking for a suitable vehicle. When asked about my preferences I had only one request and that was that there would be enough seats to accommodate every person.

With each day his frustration mounted as he viewed numerous vans, cars and SUVs until he found the perfect fit. It was a used passenger van with extra seats and amenities, tinted windows, a television and plush carpeting, but most importantly plenty of seating for our family of nine. He took us to see the van that promised to be the beginning of this last trip to Syria. A guarded excitement found its way into our home as we discussed the comfort and luxury that would ease this long and arduous journey.

The next day his plans changed and he announced that this was a frivolous vehicle that would not be used when we returned. That evening he took us to see the SUV he had chosen and asked for my approval.  I pointed to the lack of seating and when confronted, calmly stood my ground.  He asked one more time if this would be a good purchase and if I would agree, but the same words emanated from my mouth, no. It was hard for him to contain his temper and although I was scared I felt proud of myself for having my own opinion. His thobe (men’s long white robe) swished past me and he stomped towards the car,entering and starting it while the children piled in. Only little D and I remained standing, waiting to take our seats. I plopped her onto a seat and felt the crunch and grind of a tire roll over my foot.  The children let out a gasp and called for baba (father) to STOP; he ignored this and kept driving as I hopped into place.

The car fell silent after doors were shut and a measure of safety was secured. Each child glanced my way and the usual tears welled up but this time they were allowed to drip down my nose and onto ragged lips that had been sealed in desperation. The sting of humiliation was too much and no eye contact was returned, afraid that sobbing would be uncontrollable. My instructions were always clear and meant that the children were to remain calm and never intervene.  Physical pain became insignificant and was overshadowed by the feeling that once again I was somehow an accomplice in this vicious cycle that was brought against me.




125 thoughts on “Overshadow

  1. What that man needed was a furious arse-kicking. How it must bother you to relay these words, Lynn. I know many have told you this, but you are a marvel. Sending cyber hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my heart bleeds for what you went through ! So very glad that you are out and that you are working through the pain!
    No guilt should you feel but I know the victim feels that so often! That’s why the abuser has such control. 😦
    Love and hugs! And prayers as you keep healing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The more I read about your monster, the more I hope that karma will hit hard, sister…..
    I can imagine that trapping very well, you didn’t have a chance to do anything, no matter what you could mind at, without being stopped in one or another way.
    I’m so happy to see, how far you have come after living your nightmare. One good thing, when we get away is, all can only be better from now on. And you don’t even live in same country, which is the best for you and the kids. It should help you to feel more safe now.
    Huge hugs for you ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  4. How horrible and horrifying, Lynn. What an awful mean man. In contrast to your gentle loving nature, he’s ever more the tyrant. I saw in your comments that you felt guilt and shame, but never forget that you were valiantly protecting your children, and look at the beautiful people they’ve become – that is 100% your doing. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I understand the feeling of complicity Lynn and that is what bullies rely on. All sorts of abuse goes unreported because the abused feels it to be their fault. How strong you were, and are, and how supportive your children were then and have been since. What a wonderful family you now have, and so many of us are thankful for that. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh no, the stories you reveal become even more horrible although I already knew you went through hell! Physical pain is terrible but the humiliation that goes along with it multiplies the pain. Huge hugs, dear Lynn 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  7. He is and was an utter bastard to you Lyn. Your survival is miraculous. I’m so glad you escaped with your life, not to mention your family. You are a very brave woman.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Love and hugs to you dear Lyn. You are made of steel. You are an amazing mother. I respect how you have instructed the kids to keep calm. Lots of good wishes to you and your family💖

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lynn, it breaks my heart that you have endured this other life compared to what you grew up with. And yet – I know the huge blessings that came from it are your amazing children. I am sorry for the pain you have endured and will be constantly praying for your healing. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank goodness you are where you are now, free surrounded by a strong and loving family. That is all to your credit. The power of bullies is to make the other person feel shame, as if it’s their fault. Absolute horrible and so hard to overcome. It seems you have and for that I am happy. I think you need to write about this for your own sake, to clarify it for yourself. Does it take its toll on you emotionally recalling, retelling it all? Big hugs xxxx


    • Thanks so much dear Annika! Well for a long time I could not tell this story and many others. I also cut pictures that I shared so noone would see our bed pads and the way we lived. Piece by piece I feel safe to share here!! My friends here are so kind and do not judge. I assumed everyone would blame me and feel I was a bad person and mother. I think writing might produce anxiety but I am not sure!It’s hard to tell if it is about what I am writing or something else.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. MY heart aches for you as you relieve these horrific memories….such a buthead he was and still is….your powerful Lynn and have all the self confidence to rule the world….screw him and his nasty attitude….love you sister….xxkat

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What a sadist! You have such a way with words I felt like I was there with you. That man was a master of head games and held you and your children hostage. My heart breaks from knowing you all went through this torture. I was so into the preparations for the trip and was excited at the prospect of the van I didn’t see him running over your foot coming though I could feel his anger. I still cannot comprehend how people can be so hurtful to other people to the point where it’s their norm.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Horrible man. Thank heaven your foot is OK. That you had to go through this terrible abuse and the kids had to see it is so awful. You have nothing to be ashamed of! You did everything you could at that time under those circumstances. I imagine you were willing to take the abuse so your children wouldn’t be harmed. You are so, so brave.

    Liked by 1 person

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