#whyistayed and #whyileft…Because 140 characters is not enough…

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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….

#WhyILeft….

….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.

 

#BeQuotable…Day 13…Quotes about Sadness…#Depression

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“I spent my life learning to feel less. Every day I felt less. Is that growing old? Or is it something worse? You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.” ~Jonathan Safran Foer

There is a place within us all…a hole…that we crawl into when things get bad. When the rolling tides of sadness rush upon us, we move into this spot, to weather the storm. One day, I moved in and forgot, for a while, to move back out. It was the easy thing to do, because being present in the moment…because feeling meant that I had to endure the pain and negativity that lived around me….because not living in the hole meant that I might have to believe the words that were said to me. I lost something, valuable, in that hole. Before I crawled in, I had a hopelessly idealistic view of the world…people are, inherently, good…the world is a good place…Before all this happened, sadness was temporary…it was natural… It was something that came and went with the ups and downs of human life. I had never, before, experienced the type of sadness that comes around and stays for a while. The kind of sadness that flows through your blood and poisons your mind. I never knew that sadness could feel like a ball and chain…I didn’t know that it could ever weigh so much.

In my hole, I was safe from all this. I was numb but it was so hard to breathe….it was so hard to believe. I became the walking dead…soulless and muted…I moved through my days with little pleasure or excitement. I was still breathing but I had already stopped living. Under these circumstances, it’s impossible to feel happiness. The sadness just grows and grows and it starts to seep out of your body into the world around you. Then one day, you realize, you’ve become the sadness and there is not hope of ever feeling happy again….This is depression…Sometimes it occurs naturally and sometimes it is man made…Either way, it’s crippling…it’s not a disease but a state of being….a state of being overwhelmed and ashamed…a state of being toxic and unaware that good things exist in this world…It’s a state of blindness that resigns you to seeing only the grays and blacks in this world.