Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"Today is the first day of the rest of my life."

"Today is the first day of the rest of my life."

My doctor made me repeat that, over and over until I think I tricked myself into believing it. Maybe she is right, while each day brings new challenges and joys for us, some days are truly the beginning of a new era. I don't know what was so special about today, I spent half as much time crying as I did talking, and her listening more than speaking. But today was the day we decided I should keep this journal.

I made the joke, again, today that I had cut two cancers from my life this year. Both sinister, creeping and rotting. The one from my cervix was tossed out, well, biopsied and studied and who knows, maybe sealed in a glass jar. I wish the other one could be so hastily removed.

A lot got dragged up this morning. I'm feeling bitter... which probably isn't the best time to write. I am just so angry. At him, at friends, at this world that makes me feel because I am a woman, I am to expect this sort of thing. But mostly, I am angry at myself.

I have never been afraid to speak up before. I have never thought, if I say this out loud, I will be hurt. But that is what abuse does to people, it makes them afraid. For the better part of a year I lied for him, and for myself, too. I saw the monster that was there, and always in the back of my mind I knew it could easily devour me. I thought I was safe, I thought that because he had my heart he couldn't take my soul. Well, in the end I won both my heart and soul back, but the scars are still there.

It's only recently that I have come to say that word aloud. Abuse. Only recently have I been able to say it in mixed company, though I still look over my shoulder when I do. Will he be there, waiting for a chance to attack? I know he truly can't do anything to me. Even the one time when it became physical, if I hadn't been so shocked, I would have been able to defend myself. But it's the words that cut me, the words that made me so hollow and so afraid.

And it's the words I can't always fight against. Physical abuse is so easy to recognize. I would like to think that if people saw a man hitting a woman in public they would come to her aide. But when a person distorts the truth, lies, and manipulates those around him, how do you easily point that out? How do you defend against a barrage of "you're crazy," "I'm the only person who will accept you for who you are" or when that person knows all of your dark fears and secrets and uses those to keep you at his side? How do people see that and not say, "This poor girl, she is being abused." Because they don't know. They don't see it.

And I didn't help the situation any. It wasn't until the end that people saw me cry, and by then it was just outbursts, events he used to play the victim and to show how insecure, how unstable, how crazy I was. Even then, I still lied to protect him. I still put up with his paranoia and fears that people were out to get him, and tried to fight his battles. Why? Maybe I thought if I proved how much I loved him he would stop? I don't know, I don't have an answer for that. Even when he attacked me, I still went back. What we do for love makes us crazy, so in the end I guess he was right about something.

How do I talk about what I went through? How do I talk about the way he would lie to his friends, manipulate everyone around him so he could be the hero of his own story. How he would threaten to post scandelous pictures of a former ex if she ever became noteworthy, or how many times he wished people he didn't like would die in car crashes....

That one lingered with me. I was on a road trip, a few weeks back, with one of the people he did wish would die in a car accident. I couldn't help but think, "Does he think the same of me now? If we die, at least I know who to haunt."

It's a hard thing, to write so openly about such things. To bare the scars of my soul for all to see and judge. But I have never been one to shy away from standing up for what is right, or to let others see when I have failed. I just want to help; myself, others in this position, and find comfort from those who have been down this road before.

I don't know what this will be, but I hope it helps in some way or another.

1 comment:

  1. You're my hero, you know that?

    You've gone through more in your life than anyone I know should have to. You're a wonderful person and it's unsettling to know that people would take advantage of the kindness you so readily provide for them. It sucks because while anyone and everyone can say "just get up and leave" and "I'd never be in a situation like that" it's alot easier said than done. Especially when you've invested so much time and effort getting to know the person. I guess I feel once feelings develop and you begin to build a connection that's more than just a superficial basis, simply packing up and leaving is a really, really hard thing to do.

    But you did. I don't doubt the difficulty of it for a minute, but you had enough hindsight to see that something wasn't equating, things were getting toxic and staying any longer could be detrimental to all facets of your well being. Honestly, I can totally see this happening in any committed relationship. It shouldn't have to, but I mean...I don't think the insults and violence would start up immediately. Typically it would be when it's a little too late want to cut emotional ties.

    I think everything happens for a reason. We may not be able to explain those reasons, or like them in any way, but...and as much as I horrible as this will sound...maybe you stayed as long as you were supposed to stay. To see the kind of person this guy really was, inside and out, to see how he really treats those around him and what those in his circle really mean to him (if they mean anything at all)

    And don't take this the wrong way because I really don't want to offend you, but I don't necessarily think the time spent in the relationship is as important as the actual resolve to leave. There are soooo many others that can see the bad state their in, but are for whatever reason cannot find it in themselves to leave. The fear of being alone again, what the other person might do to them, maybe even just being too tired of wanting to do anything. Love is also the big factor. How can you leave someone you love?

    But if the other person really loved you, truly cared for you, he wouldn't treat you like that. I don't expect to be put on a pedestal, but i expect to be treated equally. He didn't do that. It might not have been as easy to spot before, but it is now.

    And you took the step that many victims can't or wont take; you stopped being a victim. By no means was it an easy battle. But when the dust has settled, you made the decision that you were worth so much more than this. That this behavior should not be accepted or defended. You made a big sacrifice, but you also held your ground and made the choice not to sacrifice anymore.

    You made an amazingly difficult choice. But you made the right one.

    Thank you for sharing this. It probably wasn't easy, but I hope this outlet helped relieve some of the pressure that's on you, if only a little. Please take care of yourself, and if you need anything, lemme know.