My name is Shana Dood. I was raised in Jenison, MI most of my life. I met my first husband at the age of 17, who I spent 13 years with. Little did I know what I was facing when I first met him.
At 17 years old, I thought I fell in love. It felt so great to be loved. My parents had a very loving relationship and remained married until they both passed away in summer of 2013. I always dreamed of having a loving marriage, one like my parents.
Introducing him to my family did not go so well. My parents were not a fan, but they still supported my decisions as much as they could. In the early years, I really did not understand the tension between the man I was falling for and my parents. After about a year, my mother started talking to me about how he was treating me. In my eyes, I could not see it. I accepted him for who he was.
My ex husband was an alcoholic. At 17 years old, we drank and went to parties. I never thought of anything else of it. I did not think he was an alcoholic. It took time for me to see for myself, how hard it was for him to put the alcohol away.
In 2010, I became pregnant with our first daughter. I was 22 years old. At that time, a part of me thought, "this will be good for us, he will become more responsible." Unfortunately, that was not the case. His addiction became bigger and more powerful. His addiction just made his anger more actable. It got worse. When I was 3 months pregnant, I remember how he was so angry over something that he ended up locking me out of our apartment. I slept in my car that night, crying, praying, and asking, "Why is he so angry at me?" "How could he lock me out of our apartment when I am carrying our unborn child?" Today, I don't remember what exactly that fight was about or do I care about remembering the reason, but the feeling of being homeless and abandoned by a man that said he loved me.
After that argument, he apologized. I was told that he would work on his drinking and going out with friends all the time. His words never meant anything because over the course of 13 years, it was just a cycle that I started to grow with. I accepted his criticism every day because he always made me believe that he was right.
Our relationship did not change through my pregnancy with our first child, it just got worse. The first time that he laid a hand on me was February of 2010. I was about eight months pregnant with our first child. I was in her new room putting all of her newborn clothing in her dresser. I enjoyed setting up her room for her arrival. I can not recall what the argument was over this time either, but I remember him knocking me to the floor in our daughter's room. That was not good enough for him because as I tried getting out of the room, he shoved me into the bathroom where I got stuck between the toilet and our tub. I was able to call my brother to help me. He rushed over to help me get back on my feet.
My brother was always there for me when I called him to help me out. After so many phone calls, he started getting really discouraged about what was really happening. After getting my brother involved in our relationship, my ex husband started threatening him and he was no longer allowed over. Soon after, it was my mom and dad. Over time, he isolated me to where I had no one to turn to anymore.
I lost my family. I was so confused on what to do at this point because I know what he was doing was wrong, but I was also pregnant.
Our first child was born March of 2010. I was admitted into the hospital that Monday morning because I had lost fluid and they wanted to induce me. He came with me to the hospital, stayed for her birth, but left afterwards because he just was not comfortable to sleep on the pull out couch in my recovery room. He left and went home. He came back the next day, but did not stay long until I was discharged from the hospital.
Life continued its cycles of arguments and happiness. Although, the happiness was not true happiness. I did not learn this until my late twenties.
In 2011, I got pregnant for our second daughter. This ended up being a harder pregnancy on me. During this time, my parents took a turn for the worst. My father had Alzheimer's Disease that started progressing so fast that we ended up having to place him in a nursing home. I was so devastated by this and stressed a lot during this time for his well being. He went missing a few times and having to see him go to a home was not ideal. I was not ready to loose my father. A genuine man that I looked up to all my life. My father was always calm, collective, fair, loving, and supportive.
My mother really took it hard when my dad had to go to a nursing home. My mother also struggled with her bipolar and Schizophrenia as it got worse after they were seperated. My mom needed my dad. She soon, lost rights over my father and I took over guardianship over him. Having guardianship over my father got hard as I spent less time with my ex husband.
2011 came many changes in our lives. We bought a house in May 2011. I was so excited to be moving in a house with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and to have a yard. I thought we were making positive changes and growing in the right direction, but it was complicated. He would not let me put my name on our house. I disregarded that thinking, ok, this is what is best for "us". He told me that after we get married, he would just add me to the mortgage. That never happened. We got married June of 2011 and had our second daughter November of 2011. We had gotten a new puppy named Rocko. It felt like we started living the American dream.
At this point, I became discouraged. His name was on all of my accounts, I was responsible for all the utilities, but he never allowed me to be on his accounts. I knew that marriage was not supposed to be like this. He still wanted everything split 50/50 as far as the bills went. My parents shared all the same assets in their marriage. Why isn't my marriage like that? I still accepted life as it was as I just tried to keep our family together.
Still pushing forward, putting a front on, I shared only positive news with the world. I was so embarrassed to share with anyone the real world that I was living in. I was scared to share the world that I was living in. Life for me consisted of him gone most of the time working. Then after work, he was going out with his friends to have a couple of drinks. He would not get home until the late hours of 1 AM to 3AM.
I started to enjoy the moments of him being gone. I was always ok with him going out because I did not feel like I was stepping on eggshells when he was home. My daily routine was ok as long as the house was cleaned, dishes done, laundry done by the time he came home. He expected his house to be immaculate by the time he was home. I always made sure the house was shut down by the time he came home. That included me being in bed, even if I was not sleeping, I pretended to be sleeping so that he would not wake me up to fight about nonsense things. His drinking got worse and his drug addiction became more obvious.
I would have friends call me to warn me that he was on his way home and what his current mood was in. I really started to hate those feelings and it got harder to pretend to be sleeping. He started not liking that I was always in bed when he got home too. He started waking me up regardless when he got home. He would just turn our bedroom light on and leave it on until I would get out of bed. I would always call his mother and step father if I could not get him under control. They would come over a lot, but never would talk any sense into him.
In 2012, My mother had moved into a new apartment. I had brought some of her boxes home and some of the furniture that she no longer needed. He got really upset that her stuff was in our garage. That night that he came home around 1AM and he had found my mother's belongings in our garage made him flip. A friend of his had brought him home because he was so intoxicated. I had asked him to please stay the night somewhere else. Especially because both of our daughters were sick. That question did not go over well with him. He opened his door so hard and gave a black eye. From there, he pushed me into our garage where he let loose.
This was the first time that I had pressed charges against him for assault and battery. My cousin had came to my side right away and stayed by my side through the whole process of filing a police report. That was a scary moment for me. They took pictures of me, our house that had been severely damaged. He was arrested. He hired a lawyer and talked me into staying with him and dropping those charges under the spousal act. Dropping that charge is one my biggest regrets that I have done.
He pulled me back in with his words. Its was just a pile of broken promises that I believed. I took care of our children 24/7. I worked full time and took the children to and from daycare everyday. I fed, bathed, changed, loved, taught them things that I could. They were and still are my life. During our 13 year relationship, he had only bought 2 boxes of diapers their entire young life. My parents had helped me provide the things that our children had needed. Life continued in cycles after I had tried pressing charges to make him get help.