By Girl On a Journey, See the Triumph Guest Blogger
My journey with you begins at about four months out of a 12 year abusive marriage. The kids and I love our new house. It is warm and cozy, great location...really it’s just perfect for us. The only problem is, I’m not comfortable here...I’m not comfortable anywhere...anxiety has a decent amount of control over my life right now. The constant state of chaos and crisis in my life over the years has left me unable to just relax and be present in the peaceful world, the affects of abuse still rage inside me most of the time. I am learning that there is so much more involved than just leaving an abusive relationship.
It all began with falling in love, longing for a family, having children, settling into a home. All the stages in life that should be wonderful and normal. But along the way, so many things went wrong. There was always a storm of unrealistic expectations, irrational anger, relentless name calling, verbal attacks, constant criticism, multiple separations, and finally the full-blown storm of consistent physical abuse that made what was happening to me too obvious to deny. I was 9 years in and we had four children together when the physical abuse began.
The reality is, I didn’t realize what was happening to me for a long time. I was unaware of the cycles of abuse or the damage being done to me through his manipulation over the years. I didn’t understand or notice as he gradually eroded away my confidence, sense of self, friendships and family. I knew that my relationship wasn’t perfect, I knew there were problems, and I knew that I didn’t always appreciate the way I was being treated, but who’s marriage is perfect? Men just have bad tempers sometimes. We all have our struggles, right? I had my own misconceptions.
My abuser is also an excellent manipulator so I thought I was the problem most of the time. I thought I just had to work harder to make our marriage better, be a better person and keep our family together. I thought, if I just love and support him enough, he will be able to appreciate all the good in our life. I thought, when “this” happens he will feel happier and things will get better. When “that” happens, things will calm down around here. But it never did, it just got worse. I am now aware it doesn’t matter how hard I work or how much I love him, and I realize, that although I am flawed, I am not a bad person or the problem. No choice, mistake, or decision I make can create or end the abuse, I am powerless.
I am done being abused on any level and I am done letting my children be affected by it. All of our damage is deep and it will take us years to sort out and make our selves feel right inside. I know for sure that we will never forget. It blows my mind as I read the wealth of information available about domestic violence and the epidemic rate at which it is happening in our society. There I was in a dangerously escalating abusive relationship for years and had none of the information I needed to see what was really going on, yet it was right there all along. By the time the severe mental and physical abuse began, I was so deeply entrenched in my traumatic bond and beat down so badly by his verbal manipulation that it took me years to get out. I’m still struggling to get away from him. Physically I am out, but my heart still aches and I long for him to just make the choice to get better already, but my mind knows that it is very unlikely. He tells me he sees what he has done, he has said he is sorry, and that he wants to change...but his actions and attitudes do not show me that he has changed or that he is a safe person to share my life with. It is very important for me to focus only on truth, fact, and actions right now and tell my heart to shut the hell up when it tries to interfere...it is not easy.
I’m fighting the most difficult uphill battle of my life with only a whisper of strength and an empty, hollow feeling inside. I have a lot of hurts, emotions and memories weighing me down, but onward I go. I am blessed with a loving supportive family, I don’t know what I would do without them. They continue to stand by my side no matter how many times I have pushed them away. I’m going to need a lot of additional help, and I am beginning to feel the will to seek it out. I’m done hiding and I’m done isolating myself. I’m recreating who I am with the bits and pieces that are still left. Hope is the only thing I have to hold onto and I am clinging to it for dear life. This is so hard, but probably the greatest thing I will ever do in my life. Thank you for letting me share my journey.