I feel deeply wounded by my husband and the man he has become. Right now, It’s 10:30 p.m. He is asleep in the bed beside me, and I don’t know who he is.
He’s here. If I wanted to, I could reach my hand out to touch the curve of his back that’s covered with his own blanket. But it’s not him anymore. He’s not the one who used to open the car door for me, surprise me with random dates or days to myself, and he’s not a man still capable of happiness that lasts for an entire day.
I feel tricked. If I could go back and have my children here today, only with a different man, I would do it. Because I wish that I never had kids with him nearly every single day. There, I said it.
He’s hurt me deeply. To the point of no return. Just today, all before 11:30 a.m., I was called a cunt, stupid, lazy and a fat ass. Why, you might ask? There was too much laundry on the floor of the laundry room, and it’s “ridiculous” he has to deal with it laying all over the ground once a week.
I wish I could say this was the worst of it. But sadly, it’s not. Even through it all, I feel wrong and guilty for calling our relationship for what it actually is — abusive. But if I were an outsider looking in, if it were one of my friends living my same life, that’s exactly what I would call it. And I would tell her to leave. Because of that, I feel ignorant.
There’s been a ginormous part of me I’ve been shoving way deep down which screams at me to get out. And then there is the other side. The one I fear many will call stupid… kind of like I already feel. The one that reminds me not all days are bad. In fact, some weeks, and even months, are full of bittersweet smooth-sailing, almost as if I had the man I know and love sleeping with me under the same covers at night once again. I remember all that he does for me and the kids, how many hours of work that are put in, the bills he pays and the small ways he says I love you, and, for a moment, sometimes it seems like our broken pieces might just fall back into place.
Then the sun rises, real life sets in, and he’s angry. God, he is So. Fucking. Angry. The house is a mess. The kids are too loud. I’m not doing enough. My tone isn’t right. My body hasn’t bounced back quick enough from carrying our children… the list goes on and on and on. But because it’s not constant, because he says sorry and attempts to right his wrongs, I’ve somehow found ways to justify his mistreatment of me and stay.
But it doesn’t matter what I hope for or how many times I think he will change, because the hurtful words are never put to an end for good. And now, I’ve somehow adapted to and morphed into a different version of myself too. I’ve become so exhausted from him berating, humiliating and mentally tormenting me, that I’ve planned my life according to what might make his day smoother so my day goes smoother. Almost like I’m living my life for him instead of with him.
When I hear his car pulling up in front of our house, it’s become instinct for me to do a quick scan the floor for anything that might “set him off” that’s laying around. And if I were a fly on the wall, I would feel sorry for the way I feel like I need to please him. But because I’m not, it’s slowly become my norm without even realizing it.
To put it into perspective, because of him, I feel nervous when my kids lose our remote control. (With four boys who love YouTube, it happens quite often.) I don’t feel annoyed that I can’t find it like I have any other time in my life when I or someone in my house has lost something as silly as a remote; I feel nervous. Nervous that my husband will come home from work, find out, and raise all kids of hell over something that simply happens when you have little kids. Anger over fixable, forgivable and everyday things.
His actions, words and choices have left me to feel like I am just wasted space when he’s around. Like I can’t do things right and like I am incapable of truly succeeding. Somehow, he’s lowered the bar on how he believes I ought to be treated, and I’ve put up with it. I’ve fought through it, for him and “the good of our family,” but I’ve stayed far too long for all of it.
There’s no use trying to patch things up with him either. Because I’ve tried endlessly, and I’m only greeted with his narcissistic mindset which manipulates me into believing that, even though I’m not the one hurling insults, I am somehow the bad guy.
For months, maybe even close to a year, the negatives of leaving my husband had, somehow, outweighed the positives in my mind. But now, I don’t see how I can afford not to leave. If not for me, then for the kids.
When I think of what lies ahead, this parenting-gig I’ll be going at alone, it petrifies me. I feel overwhelmed, and sometimes, I’m sure I’ll just crumble and fall. But I’m also certain that it cannot be as awful as the way he makes me feel after a lash out. It cannot be as bad as the way my self-esteem has plummeted from his words. And it cannot compare to the years of mistreatment I’ve been through.
I’m ready to heal from the wounds my husband has caused and not just stick around while he picks at the old ones and digs for new ones. I can’t wait to not worry about someone coming home from work huffing and puffing, bitching and moaning, over fixable and forgivable things. And more than anything else, I’m anxious to just find myself again.
I don’t know what life looks like for us going forward without my husband. All I know is that there is a brand new life for us after my husband.
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“Women and men of all hues generating solutions to both domestic violence and sexual violence.”
–Tonya GJ Prince has been a leading subject matter expert (SME) in domestic violence and sexual violence.
For over 25 years she has helped people heal, prevent, and overcome domestic and sexual violence.
In order to accomplish this mission, she founded several diverse & inclusive platforms designed to allow Survivors to use their own voices including;
WESurviveAbuse.com, SurvivorAffirmations.com, & BraidtheLadder.org.
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B.S. Organizational Management & Development/Bluefield College
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