I used to write. A lot. Like…a lot lot. Hours a day sometimes. From high school through to college. Almost every day.
So needless to say, I have a whole archive of writing I will likely never read. It’s just too much.
I hadn’t thought about it in a long time and suddenly, someone wrote a reply yesterday to a post on LiveJournal I wrote 15 days before my wedding in 2009. So, as I went back to the post to see who in the hell would be responding 9 years later, I became engaged in my inner dialogue – clear for all to see.
It’s funny the story our brains make up about things. I was convinced that I was only just seeing the reality of D’s abuse and our life together in the last year we were together. That is clearly false.
2 months before our wedding, I wrote this:
“I could just say I hate myself but that’s not even coming close to the truth….it’s a rationalization. If I hate myself, whatever I do is not something I feel responsible for. It’s more than that…I’m disgusted by myself. Especially when he gets that look on his face. Or maybe I disgust myself because he’s disgusted by me.
How can we possibly thrive like this? We aren’t even married yet and we are disgusted with each other. Both of us blame the other for *our* problems.
I cry a lot….but the only person who can make me feel so utterly despicable is him.
There is no excuse. For me, for us. 70 days until our wedding. Maybe I should never have said yes….maybe I should have kept it the way it was when he was in MI.
He has no phone on him. I worry he is never coming home. I worry he is driving and not stopping. I worry he is gone forever. I have no one else. I have ruined my life.”
4 months before our wedding, I wrote:
“Everyone tells me to stop thinking about things too much. The problem is that whether I think about things or not, I am unhappy.”
1 month after marriage, I wrote:
“Every argument we have is like a LIncoln-Douglas debate. I can’t just say what I want to say because I “feel like” it’s dismissed or entirely shut down. From my perspective, you don’t ever seem to put the magnifying glass on yourself. Everything I say is wrong, everything I do is wrong, everything that has to change is me.
I don’t treat any one else like this….no one could possibly make me as angry as I am at you. Because I love you. But I feel like you use that love to make me hate myself. And you act all sweet so that I don’t feel like I have a right to be angry at you. But I am angry and you being sweet isn’t going to sugarcoat the fact that you make me miserable a lot of the time.”
1 year after marriage (of the 6ish we were together):
“I feel like a horrible person for considering divorce, especially as much as I despise the trend and talk about how marriage is forever. If I said that he has changed from before we married, it would be a lie. But all of the little things have added up…even though it is the 6th year of being together. Love is not enough anymore…not when every time you see the person, all sense of sexuality, independence, and respect is washed out the window. I truly hate to admit feeling that way….but I do. Most days. Every so often, we’ll have a good day…and of course D attributes it to my hormones and my pill on good or bad days. Of course, bad days are more often attributed to me complaining too much. No fight is ever his fault. No problem is in any way his doing.
I want counseling, but I know it would be useless. He respects no mental health professional and sees them as being feminist protectors.
I still love him. At least I still want to. But I can’t help thinking I might be happier with someone else. And I want kids…soon…but recently I haven’t wanted them with him. My own husband. Not like we would have kids…since sex only happens once every month or less. I want him during the day, but when I get home….I get so angry at whatever new annoying defamation of the apartment or expectation he’s created. Or his playing Starcraft instead of spending time with me after I get home at 8:30 (and leaving before he wakes up). I truly don’t feel he wants to be with me anymore, though he insists he does.
I always discussed abhorrence of people getting into marriages that they could predict wouldn’t work. I was so stupid. I fear we will be added to the statistics of our generation. “
All of this pains me to read. I was not just ignoring red flags. I was just convinced that what I believed firmly in rare moments (that he was horrible) was not true, that I was the problem and I just couldn’t see how “great” he was. But some days, I knew exactly what was happening. And I didn’t leave…for 6 more years.
Part of me is still angry with myself for not leaving sooner, but in some ways, seeing these words makes me relieved. I was not entirely blind despite his clear gas lighting. I was not entirely blind to the things going on in our relationship. It also took a long time to lose my fight – and when I finally did, I knew I had to find it again. I fought tooth and nail against his manipulation until it just wasn’t worth it anymore. I did not roll over and take it – not for a long time. In some weird way, that’s some consolation. He didn’t kill my fire; I just needed rekindling.
People clarify when they talk about being a victim of abuse that they are *survivors.* It’s never felt like the “right” word to me. I mean, I survived, but I also was broken and fractured inside in what felt like permanent ways. I had panic attacks every morning for close to half a year after leaving. I couldn’t convince myself to eat consistently for about that long. I trusted no one – and still struggle with trusting, especially my own judgment. I was diagnosed with complex PTSD. I underwent EMDR. I had so much anger, I considered going into boxing just so I had access to a punching bag I could tape his face to and beat the living shit out of until I couldn’t punch anymore. Honestly, that still sounds like something I’d appreciate doing.
Time has softened things, but there are still parts of me scarred in ways I can’t explain. Am I survivor of trauma? No. I’m a transformer of trauma. Or maybe just a transformer (kudos to those who get my joke). If we can’t take struggle and make it into something positive, what’s the point of it at all?
“I fear we will be added to the statistics of our generation.” Of course, we were. But it’s not just my generation. It’s everyone. People are abusing each other – verbally, physically, but mostly through just pure emotional negligence. We cannot expect forever. We cannot expect a permanent +1. We cannot expect love, sex, or romantic candlelit dinners. Or the finances to cover the dinners, for that matter. The only thing we can expect from a partner and they can (not will) consistently give is honesty. And yet, it seems to be the main aspect of most marriages and relationships that is missing these days. Instead, we expect the forever, the permanence, the stable paychecks, love, sex, and candlelit dinners. It just so happens that this need is not sexy, loving, or conducive to honesty. And so we end up living lives next to an almost complete stranger – a stranger of the heart. We don’t choose them; we just need them, we cling to them, we abuse them. We know they will take it because they need us too…until they don’t.
The day that I told D that I didn’t need him anymore, I meant it as a good thing. I meant it as an abundant joy that I could *choose* him now, that I was not stuck with him financially, that I could be on my own if I needed to – but that I was there of my own free will. It scared the fuck out of him. I think he believed firmly I would not choose him. If I didn’t need him anymore, he could not control me any longer.
Turns out…he was right.