This week has been hard, probably because it's the anniversary of that marriage. I wish I could just forget it, but someone says the date, June 24, and I feel thrown back, panicked, and sick. I feel a sense of doom, like what happened thirteen years ago is about to happen again. I'm afraid I'll have to go through that hell all over again., which makes things that aren't normally triggering VERY triggering.
The symphony orchestra I am in is playing Sibelius's Finlandia, also known as the hymn "Be Still My Soul". Hearing the melody played out, I had a whole bunch of memories invade my head.
While I was married to him, I believed any anger or negative feelings towards him were MY problem. Those feelings were something I needed to change and fix, so I prayed and prayed and prayed. I never worded it this way, but what I was really saying in my prayers was, "Please, help me to take his shit. Help me not to care if he rapes me, or ridicules me, or keeps me away from my family. Please make me a good wife who doesn't care about myself. Help me want to take care of him. Make me love him. Help me stop wanting anything. Make my anger go away. Change me into someone who can just take this." Along with prayers, I sang hymns like "Be Still My Soul" in the hopes that it would change my feelings into something more acceptable.
I thought if I was a "good wife", and loved him enough, that would be enough to make our relationship good.
I'd tell him I love him several times a day. I'd look for his good qualities, and write him love notes listing those qualities. He didn't work, so I'd work two jobs. He'd tell me he didn't like me spending time with my family, so I wouldn't. I thought if I just did what he wanted, even if he didn't stop hurting me, at least I was being a "good wife" and a "good person".
All of my prayers, the hymn singing, the efforts to serve and love him helped... sort of... they helped me adapt. They helped me to stay in that horrible situation. I started to think it was good. I started to think that the way he treated me was the way all husbands treat their wives. I started to believe I deserved what he did to me. I stopped feeling angry, and I learned to just take it. There were big parts of me that died in order to spare that relationship. There are things I really should have said to him, but I didn't know I could. Thirteen years later, I think I'll say them here now.
You are an asshole.
I'm leaving you. I know we've only been married for about five hours, but that was long enough. I'm taking the car. Find your own way home - wherever that is - but it won't be with me.
I didn't "make you do that to me". You did that. You used physical force and violence to get sex. That's called rape. It's not my fault you raped me. That's 100% on you. I'm not sorry for fighting you. I'm not sorry at all. I just wish I would have kicked harder.
Touch me again, and I'll call the police.
I work, you sit on your ass. That makes it MY money. Stop spending MY money on stupid shit.
I don't care if you don't want me spending time with my family, fuck you!
Using scriptures or church quotes to justify your abusive behavior is just fucked up.
Leave me alone.
If I'm fat, then WHAT THE HELL do you think you are??To anyone out there who is still in abusive relationships: Walk away. Just walk away. Life is so much better without the fear and anxiety that comes with trying to keep an abuser happy.
When you say, "No one else could ever love you," you're wrong. I won't let you manipulate or control me with those lies.
Go fuck yourself.
I don't know where he is now, and I don't really care. It took me a LONG time to find my anger again. It has taken me a very long time to shake the beliefs that I formed by taking his abuse for so long.
I feel very VERY grateful that I got out of that relationship. I feel SO lucky! I stayed there for two years, and I still don't know where the courage to get away from him came from. Somehow, even though I thought I loved him and I never thought of the way he treated me as abusive (even thought it most definitely was), I got out.
I feel very grateful for the things I've learned, and now I know how to love and protect myself. I feel very happy for the relationships I can have now. And once that song was over, and I started playing the theme song from Raiders of the Lost Ark, I felt happy that I was at rehearsal; surrounded by people who love and appreciate music enough to give up their Saturday mornings just to play.
I'm also grateful that although this week has been hard - it's nothing like it used to be. I went through all of these emotions and memories in a matter of a few minutes. (It took WAY longer to write about it than it did to go through it.) This is what healing is like. It takes a lot more to trigger the old pain, and the pain is a lot shorter and far less intense.