The final stage of healing is using what happens to you to help other people. I’m not saying I’m all healed up and perfect. Growth is for life. Trauma has layers. And we all experience trauma. What I am saying though, is that when we share we connect. And when we connect, we heal.
My marriage was abusive. Unhealthy. Toxic. More psychologically torturous than physical abuse, although both were present. It took a very long time for me to leave my marriage. I thought about it for years. Despaired. Wondered how I could get out. Convinced myself that it would be okay if I changed this about myself. Or if only he did that. Convinced I would never be able to survive without him. I came up with endless ideas about how we could be happy together. Spend time together. Prioritise each other. Communicate effectively. Be loving. I was so deluded. Those years of hardship were the hardest, most difficult years of my life. I was so broken. But. They made me. And whilst I wouldn’t wish that turmoil, that emotional shattering upon anyone, I’m thankful. I’m grateful for who I have become. Who I continue to become. My voice is my password.
It’s really quite impossible to explain it all. What I do know, is that it starts off subtly and before I knew it, I was in so deep I had completely lost any idea of who I was and I was isolated. It was about control but in a clever way. Slowly but surely, making me feel like I was so lucky that he chose me. And that I was worthless. Somehow, he made me believe that I was irrevocably damaged because my mum and dad were divorced. He told me so many times that I never had a dad. Never had a fathers love. Which isn’t even the truth. I had such a happy childhood for the most part. He used my trauma against me but made it sound worse than it was. As if he was there. As if he knew. What is so absurd is that even now, he tries to say this to me. These day’s, it doesn’t penetrate in the same way and just makes me feel sick that someone can be so disrespectful, but at the time it was so so damaging. He continually showed me ‘examples’ of how my mum didn’t love me and only favoured my sister. Spoke about things that he wasn’t even a part of in my past as if they were facts. I have no idea how he managed to do this. I used to argue. Cry. Sob. Scream. Shout. But what he said hurt so deeply. He played on my insecurities and I truly believed that no one loved me but him. How lucky I was to be loved by this man who could see how unlovable I was, how unworthy I was. He could see how disgusting I was, but he still chose me.
I couldn’t understand why it hurt so much.
I was so desperate to be loved by him. So desperate to make it work. I had dreamed my whole life of getting married, being swept off my feet, me and my man together forever. I thought this was love. I couldn’t understand why it hurt so much. Whenever it got too much to bear, real breaking point, he would relent. Give me a glimpse of my dream. And so the cycle continued.
He was never wrong. Everything was always my fault. Even things he did were my fault because I created an environment where he had to do those things. It was my fault he got drunk and came home at 3/4am because I didn’t make him feel like coming home. He would have come home earlier if I hadn’t kept calling to find out where he was. How stupid of me to think that something might have happened to him when he didn’t come home from work for dinner. If I was more understanding he wouldn’t have to lie. I made him lie by being angered by the truth. He was scared of me. Brilliant. It’s actually pretty genius if you think about it. I was the crazy psycho. I believed more and more how unworthy I was and the situation just got worse. And so the cycle continued.
On the outside, I was a successful, happy, lively bubbly young woman. I was thriving at work and also had lots of friends. How does one deal with this predicament. Easy when you know how. ‘YOU ARE A FAKE. I know the real you because I am the one that has to live with you. All those people that think they like you only do so because they don’t actually know how awful you are. They don’t know you are a dishonest, ingenuine person. A fickle and a fake’. And so the cycle continued.
My body was physically rejecting him and I thought it was love.
We decided to have a baby. Why? We had periods of happiness. It wasn’t a plaster baby. Leaving was not an option for me at that point. This was my husband. The man I wanted to stay with for the rest of my life. Through better or worse. I still felt lucky that he actually wanted to be with me. Vile, disgusting, unlovable me. We moved countries. It will be better there, he promised. It wasn’t. Obviously. It was worse. I used to cry so hard. Cry with my whole body and soul. Beg my tear stained reflection in the mirror for help. When I felt confused, I’d sob. My body was physically rejecting him and I thought it was love. And so the cycle continued….
Today though, I sit here with my cup of coffee, my three kids and I couldn’t be happier. I know I worthy. I am enough. It took me a long time, but I love myself fiercely now. My healing journey continues but when people say ‘Sorry’ that I’m divorced I say ‘Please don’t be.’ I’m not sorry at all. I’m so thankful. I’m not angry or resentful. I feel sorry for him. How did the cycle finally break I hear you cry? Oh no, we are not there yet! There is still much of this story to be told. My voice is my password….TBC