2 years later

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

It’s been another long while.

The past 2+ years can’t be summed up in one post but using the last one as reference, where I was trying to convince myself to stay with a man who hit me,

in short, I left him.

The longer story involves more personal details than I care to share in this medium, but simply put – the more I invested in myself, the more I could see unhealthy patterns of behavior. Although it took years and I’m still coming to terms with all of it, I finally recognized that C’s behavior toward me was abusive*, intentional and wasn’t going to get better. If anything it was getting worse, and it was negatively affecting not only me but the boys, and the boys’ relationship with me.

So I left.

And it has been the best outcome of sobriety so far.

I started this blog with a fierce determination to Love Myself. And I’m learning how to do just that, because with practice and fighting for myself even against my own tendencies, I’m seeing the myriad benefits of having my own back, treating myself kindly (physically and mentally) and with compassion…how in doing this, I have more capacity to extend and receive that grace and love to and from others.

It’s incredible.

And I want the second half of my life to be about opening up to that love. Getting softer and more authentic, not harder and more closed.

I recognized that in order to do this, I had to free myself from the oppressive and unsafe dynamic in our marriage, a place lacking in grace, filled with fear and control, without room for growth and authenticity. Freeing C also, to be whatever he wants to be outside of a marriage he was seemingly so unhappy in.

I fought for myself. I fought to take care of myself in spite of a situation where it would have been very easy not to. Being told in so many ways, so much of the time, what was wrong with me. That by asking for intimacy and authenticity and connection, I was asking “too much”. That my emotions were wrong, that my memories and sense of self were unreliable, my perception of reality invalid and I shouldn’t trust myself, nor should others trust me.

Getting sober was the first major step in the process of fighting for myself against those odds, and I will forever be grateful for that decision.

*Here are some of the books I’ve read over the past few years that helped me figure this out, as emotional abuse can be really hard to understand. Journaling helped to identify patterns of behavior as well. Sharing in case it helps anyone else:

Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, by Lundy Bancroft

The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize it and How to Respond, by Patricia Evans

Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself, by Melody Beattie

Why Is It Always About You? : The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism, by Sandy Hotchkiss

The Covert Passive-Aggressive Narcissist: Recognizing the Traits and Finding Healing After Hidden Emotional and Psychological Abuse, by Debbie Mirza