After ten years of abuse, divorced mom on a journey to a better place
From page 11A
I asked her what he meant.
“Well I couldn’t have the nice family, live in the nice house etc and have a faithful, loving husband,” she answered.
“And we have talked after our divorce and he told me that the reason he did those things was because I let him. I made it okay. So, I take responsibility for my part in it all,” she said. I asked her about her responsibility. “There were things I did that contributed to our life being so turbulent. I’d lock him out of the house. I threw his clothes out, I broke his phones. In my own misguided way I thought this was me taking a stand and being strong,” she answered.
“Then there were times I went to the police station to make a report and they’d ask if I fought back and if I said yes, they would say then we have to charge you too,” she continued.
She stopped speaking and I was about to ask if it still hurt that much when the tears started to flow down her cheeks.
“I thought I was over all of this,” she said, crying. “The first time my ex and I separated life was hard and so I went back but the last time I told people and I had help and so it was a little better.
“Sometimes we stay because we honestly don’t see a better way.”
I asked her what she wanted to say to the sisters who are staying.
“I’d say give the people around you some credit. They care more than you realize. I’d say no one can help you out of a situation unless they know the situation. I’d say in a year or two you’ll look back on what’s happening, and you won’t understand why you didn’t leave sooner. It might be a cliché, but it does get better with time. And there isn’t a soul on earth who can make you do right by you. That’s all on you.
“In my case, divorcing my ex was the greatest gift I could have given him and me.” “Did it make you free or save your lives?” I asked. “I think it saved our lives,” she answered. “So, it still hurts but you are in a better place?” I asked. “Oh, I am on my way to a better place,” she said with a smile.
“But I don’t think I have forgiven myself yet,” she said.
“I haven’t forgiven myself for staying because none of my reasons for staying seem legitimate enough,” she said reflectively.
“My children witnessed a lot of what was happening now they have a life without all that pain and drama. You know when someone develops Stockholm Syndrome or was brainwashed they have to go through a process to be normal again? That’s where I think I am. It’s taking longer than I thought it would but I’m getting there.
“It has been over two years since the last time my ex hit me and that was after being regularly hit for about ten years. Yes, I’m lucky. My experience just left me with a crooked finger and some emotional scars. So many others aren’t here anymore or had it so much worse.
“If there’s any way you can bring out the fact that violence in a relationship is not normal, it would be good,” she said.
The conversation was over, and she was back to continuing that journey to a better place.