I’ve been wanting to write this for a while because I feel like I’ve broached this subject many times without giving any real detail on it, and I feel like its important because it is such a large part of what made me the person I am today and since Monday was my anniversary and the day I got a weird ass message from his brother I feel like now is as good a time as any.
Most days that part of my life feels like it didn’t really happen. Most days it feels like a bad dream I tell people about over coffee. Most days I have pretty much forgotten about the three years he spent destroying my life, or my nervous breakdown brought on by his abuse or everything else that went along with being in an extremely abusive marriage. I find that as time has gone by I speak much less openly about the things that happened during my marriage, not because I’m ashamed that I allowed someone to treat me the way that he did but because as time has gone by I have been able to take the lessons I learned from the situation and put everything else in the past where it belongs. I have far from forgotten what happened and even though it is a huge part of me it feels much less a part of me now than it has over the years that followed our split. In a sense, I have been able to pack those things away and move on from it.
I hesitate to call that part of my life a marriage. It wasn’t, it was more like a hostage situation than a marriage. My husband wasn’t a partner, he was an abuser, a manipulator, and an addict. I worked my ass off to support someone who did nothing but lie to, steal from, and cheat on me. There was a period of time where I had to sleep with my purse because any time I had the least bit of cash on me it would disappear and it didn’t matter if that was our rent money or gas money so I could get to the job that was supporting us, of course, it was him stealing my money but at the time I was so manipulated that he had me convinced someone was coming in the window in the middle of the night stealing my money. I wasn’t being held against my will but I was so badly physically and emotionally abused that I felt as though I deserved all the awful things he had done to me. I was constantly gaslighted by him which he used as his motive for any abuse I endured from him. According to him I was “crazy” and brought everything on myself. When I sought help from my family to deal with his issues he took my wedding and engagement ring because “I didn’t deserve them” I would later find out he sold them but the reasons he sold them vary.
Being with him was literally killing me. I had gotten incredibly thin because I couldn’t eat but even at the smallest weight, I have ever been he would use the fact that I was “to fat for him” as his excuse for cheating on me. I couldn’t hold a job because I was so depressed I couldn’t get out of bed. I had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized, I missed my nieces birth. I left for the first time shortly after I was released from the hospital. When he convinced me to come back we were on the verge of being evicted and he had trashed our apartment so badly that I had to wash dishes in the bathtub.
Things had gotten so bad that everyone from his family and friends to our local police department were trying to get me out of the situation. I finally left for good when I caught him lying about where he was for the 1000th time and found him with his ex-girlfriend. Over the next two days I found out through my best friend that our other best friend (who I had confided in alot about things that were happening) was going on days long benders with him and his ex-girlfriend, that she had known that he had been the one setting out house up to look like it had been robbed so he could sell all my belongings for drug money and that she had known all along that he had been cheating on me. An hour after I got that phone call his cousin called me and asked me to meet him at the grocery store. He told me similar things he had found out about my ex and told me that I wasn’t going to survive if I didn’t leave. I finally snapped, I went home threw our mattress off the balcony (which in hindsight was a really poor choice) and ended things for good.
I was a mess, obviously. I jumped immediately into another bad relationship. Partly because I didn’t know how to be alone and partly because I was trying to prove to my ex-husband that everything he made me believe about myself was wrong. I stayed in that relationship for four years until I realized that I was giving more time in my life to another person who didn’t give a shit about me to prove to someone who also didn’t give a shit about me wrong. I had three back to back bad relationships in a 10-year time span and I needed to take some time to be on my own and sort out my shit so that I didn’t put myself in another situation like that again.
In order to be able to move on from everything he did to me, I had to learn to accept an apology I would never get. I had to learn that holding on to the resentment was hurting me more than it was hurting him. I eventually realized that everything I had done in the years following my divorce were done in an effort to prove someone wrong who I wasn’t even sure remembered I existed, and who if he did I was certain he wouldn’t care. The biggest mistake that people leaving bad relationships make is holding on to that anger and resentment and use it as an excuse to hurt other people who come into their lives ultimately punishing someone who had nothing to do with your pain. I had to stop giving the power in my life away to people who didn’t deserve it.