Updated: Jan 15, 2019
Prior to my marriage, I was a fairly self-confident woman. I worked out one to two hours every day, and was very fit and full of energy. A healthy lifestyle was very important to me.
I was confident with or without makeup and had no issues leaving my house in workout clothes or sweats. I never had body-image issues and was great with how God made me.
Plastic surgery had never entered my mind.
I remember the first time my ex-husband made me feel uncomfortable in my own skin. It was about six months into our marriage.
We had been invited to go out with another couple. The woman had previously dated my ex-husband and remained friends with him. I'll call her H. She and her fiance were very fun and we enjoyed hanging out with them. I liked her very much as a person and am still friends with her today.
My ex-husband always wanted me to dress sexy when we went out, so I did my best to please him. That night, I wore a cleavage-revealing top. While we were in the car, he made a back-handed comment that my breasts didn't look good in the top. His comment stung, but I shrugged it off and decided to ignore it. I thought I looked fine.
We met our friends at a restaurant and as we were being escorted to our table, he whispered in my ear, "See, H.'s breasts are pretty. I wish yours were pretty like hers."
I couldn't believe my husband had just said that to me. It was that moment that I looked down at my chest and felt inadequate for the first time in my life.
I was unable to enjoy dinner and couldn't wait to get home and out of that top. I spent the entire meal silently comparing myself to H. and faking smiles. Pretending to be a part of the conversation while my head was awash with a myriad of negative thoughts. She was prettier than me. Her chest definitely shaped better and much more endowed. She was thinner and younger-looking.
I could see why my husband thought her breasts were better than mine. Swarming thoughts of the two of them naked together made me gag on my dinner. I felt self-conscious and embarrassed by my clothing choice. It was not an enjoyable evening.
As soon as we arrived home after our evening out, I quickly changed and put the top I had worn in my Goodwill donation pile. He didn't think I looked good in it, so there was no need to keep it. I wasn't sure I could handle him saying things about me if I wore it again.
I tried to make love to my husband in an effort to make up for not looking good; he told me he wasn't in the mood and that I wasn't turning him on. He turned his back on me and pretended to sleep.
I was convinced it was because he was thinking about H.'s breasts. He didn't want to see mine. He was ashamed of me. I laid in bed and cried silent tears until I fell asleep.
I became very cautious with my clothing choices after that evening. Clothing that I once felt very comfortable and confident wearing was moved to the donation pile. I started wearing more baggy shirts and layers to cover my inadequate chest.
A few weeks later, my ex-husband and I were watching TV on the sofa together. iPhones were a new thing and he had just bought one. I was playing with it while laying in his lap. Taking selfies and changing my contact name to "Mrs." and setting a special ring tone (our wedding song) so he would know when I called.
When I went into his photos to pick the selfie to attach to my contact, I was shocked. Photo upon photo of different women bearing their breasts were on the screen. There had to have been at least 75 photos. These were not downloaded photos. These were photos he was taking himself when he would sneak to the bar while I was at work.
I remember jumping up and screaming at him, throwing the phone at his chest. I was so upset. Crying and asking him how he could do that to me. It was nasty! Why couldn't he be happy with me the way I was?
He quietly told me to chill out. I was overreacting and emotional. He hugged me and said he was sorry. He would delete the photos. I didn't have any reason to worry. He was just testing out the camera on his phone.
But I was worried! I told him how it made me feel. I tried to express to him how those photos affected my self-confidence. I told him it made me feel unwanted, especially with him not being in the mood to make love more often than not anymore.
I told him how badly he hurt me when he compared me to H. at dinner a few weeks prior. How I felt inadequate and not good enough for him. How I didn't want to be compared to other women.
He said, "I'm sorry, I just need some breasts that are more beautiful to look at because yours just don't do it for me."
This was my husband. The man I married. The man who had seen my breasts many times before we were married (not proud of that). The man who never had a problem with them before suddenly treating me like a damaged purchase he wanted to return for a full refund.
Now, I know I should have ended it right then. That should have been my cue to shove him to the curb and walk away. I would have saved myself a great deal of heartache and trauma had I kicked him out and ended our marriage right then, but I wasn't thinking straight.
You see, I was getting caught up in the devalue phase of his abuse and desperately trying to find a way to make things work. I wanted it to work. I loved him. All I wanted was for him to be happy. I wanted to please him and to be fulfilling to him as a wife.
I didn't want to face the "I told you so" and "I tried to warn you" comments that were sure to come from family and friends. They had tried to warn me to run as far away as possible before I married him. Even his past victims tried to warn me. I wrote them off as jealous and psychotic.
Instead, I fell directly into his deranged devaluation and discard trap. The beginning of a decade-long, horrific roller coaster ride that stole my confidence, self-esteem, and value.
I scheduled breast augmentation surgery a few weeks later to appease him. I did very little research and rashly chose the surgeon who could get me in faster than any of the others in town.
My family tried multiple times to talk me out of it. I wouldn't hear it. I was determined to make my husband love me and ignored their pleas as well as my own gut instinct screaming at me to get away from this man and to not alter my body for him.
My ex-husband went with me to the consultation and I let him tell the plastic surgeon what he wanted. He said he wanted me to look like a porn star. I cautiously agreed and made the surgeon swear to me that he wouldn't make the implants too large. He gave me his word.
I woke up from surgery with breast implants much larger than I had wanted and what the surgeon had promised. I was furious and embarrassed, but may be my husband would be satisfied. I would just have to deal with it. If he was happy, I was happy.
I had multiple complications as well as a terrible infection after surgery due to the size and shape of the implants compared to my small frame and due to the incompetence of my surgeon and the surgery team. I was left with ugly, giant, disfigured breasts.
The surgeon owned up to his mistake and attempted to revise his error once, but was unsuccessful. It was a very frightening and painful experience in his office without anesthesia. I never went back to him for a follow up. We couldn't afford for me to have another surgeon fix my breasts and I was terrified of even more damage occurring with additional surgeries.
My husband was appeased by my gigantic breasts for only about three months. He often called me his "porn star" and constantly talked and joked about my breasts to his friends in public. I was horrified and ashamed. I wasn't a porn star. I was his wife.
I hated my body even more. None of my clothes fit. I couldn't find any bras to fit. I resolved to wearing huge t-shirts and jackets to cover my body completely. I quit dressing up. I wore the tightest sports bras I could find to smash down my breasts so they weren't so huge.
After his short-lived infatuation ended, more and more photos of breasts showed up on his phone. Texts came through at all hours of the day and night and he became obsessed. Sexual banter back and forth between him and the women sending the photos became part of his daily routine.
I felt completely worthless. I was stuck with a botched boob job and no way to have it repaired. He did not care because he had plenty of breasts to look at and play with on his phone and at the bar.
Our sex life took a nose dive. He was no longer interested in me and made it apparent. I slowly started sinking into depression.
I had changed my body for this man. I had taken something perfect in God's sight and made it into something that I thought would fix my husband. I went against my gut instinct and the warnings of my family and friends and permanently altered my appearance.
He went from calling me a "porn star" to "frankentittie". I didn't like to be naked in front of him because mean comments were always made. I started showering in private. I started wearing modest pajamas at night. I covered myself at all times and felt embarrassed to leave my home.
My disfigured breasts a source of shame and sign of incompetence.
Nothing I would ever do would make this man want me.
My decision to change my body for my ex-husband continues to haunt me today. I have so much regret. So much guilt for not seeing the signs that he was abusive. So much shame for letting someone devalue me so much that I forgot that I was fearfully and wonderfully made and precious to my Father.
It has taken me many years of self-care and recovery to realize that even though I changed my body, I am still loved. That God looks more at my heart than he does my appearance.
I've learned that the same should hold true for people and that if anyone ever tells me I need to alter my body again, they can take a hike.