I usually don’t write so personally, on this blog and I’m still a little apprehensive about sharing the truth in a public forum…I’m sure a lot of us thought twice before hitting the “Tweet” button. I kept it simple….My post simply read:
It was a hard thing to do…even though it’s such a simple statement….I haven’t really spent a lot of time, talking about my marriage. Not publicly, at least…and I just got to the point where I can admit the truth to myself. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship.
It’s not an easy thing to say it, like that….
….because a lot of people who are close to me never saw it….
And how do I convey the true reasons #WhyIStayed in only 140 Characters?
…because, maybe it WAS my fault (I shouldn’t have pushed his buttons)….
…and maybe I am just to sensitive….
…maybe I should have been stronger…
….or maybe I really am crazy…
….because marriage is supposed to be forever NO MATTER WHAT….
….and because making the kids grow up in a broken home is cruelty….
….because when it was good, it was REAL good…
….because I can change him….
….because I can help him be better…for the kids….
….because he’s just angry, he’ll get over it….
….because emotional abuse isn’t REAL abuse…
…..but mostly, because I didn’t love myself enough to demand better….
….because I was afraid my children would treat me the way he did…
….because I was tired of living in a whole inside myself…
…because I started to get numb to it, and everything else in this world…
….because 3 chances is more than enough….
I share this, now, with the purpose of reaching out and touching somebody who might be in my shoes, a year ago. I know how easy it is to convince yourself of the normality of your relationship dynamic….I know how easy it is ignore the signs that are right in front of your face and I know how easy it is minimalize emotional abuse.
I am not in that situation, now, but I do not call myself a survivor. The truth is, I didn’t survive. The woman who walked out of the marriage is a far cry from the woman who walked into it. Part of me, in fact, did not survive. I lost something to the abuse….something valuable…I don’t really know what it is, yet…but I can feel a hollow place inside of me, where that thing used to be….and I don’t know if I’ll ever get it back.
I get so tired of hearing that I’m lucky the abuse wasn’t physical. Of course, it is partially true. Still, I think that statement comes from a real ignorance about emotional and psychological abuse. Physical abuse is, of course, more dangerous but it is also easier to understand.
I, also, have a hard time referring to my children’s father as “an abuser”. I would never have loved him, in the first place, if he wasn’t, in some way, a good person. Part of me hates the side of him that was so quick to anger….so quick to judge…and so quick to cut me to the core but a bigger part, the part that gave birth to his children, recognizes that he never did any of it, with the intention of harming me.
Of course, this can’t be said for all perpetrators of abuse (physical or emotional) but my (ex) husband doesn’t fit into the mold that most men who commit domestic violence fit into. Looking back (and probably the strongest reason #whyistayed), is because I knew that he really doesn’t know any other way. For the usual reasons, he didn’t know how to treat a wife….he never learned how to love….that’s not his fault….and he’s a good man.
I thought about not even including that last bit, because I know how easy it is for that to become a rationalization to stay in a bad relationship…I know it was mine, for a long time. Still, I really can’t speak out against abuse without letting it be known that I’m not speaking out against my abuser, per say. I don’t want the readers out there, who really know me, to characterize my ex based on what I’m saying here. What happened between us doesn’t make him a “monster” and I don’t want any hard feelings toward him.
I’m lucky because he is, in fact, not a monster. Most abusive men are….and even if they’re not, it does not excuse their behavior…or provide a valid reason for staying in an abusive relationship. I hope that this reaches someone who needs it and I urge you to check out the #whyistayed and #whyileft hashtags on Twitter….It’s good to see social media being leveraged to save some lives, tonight.