I can be very good at pretending. Pretending I am strong, pretending I can overcome my past and pretending I do not have issues. The only way my pretending works is if I do not allow myself to get close to anyone, as long as I focus more on others than on myself. This strategy has worked well most of my life. Sometimes things hurt too much to think or deal with them. Sometimes verbally speaking about my issues is too hard because if I say it then they will be real. Honestly, most of my life the one complement that is most repeated to me is that I am strong. I almost feel as if I am letting everyone down by having emotions, by being weak, by being vulnerable. Not only am I letting people down, I am letting myself down because I am giving my strength away by being human (as strange as that seems). The simple reality is that I have survived up until this point by pretending. I pretended I was ok and never put my problems on anyone when my father was sexually abusing me. When my husband was abusive, I did the same. I did not know there was another way to survive in this world. In fact, surviving is pretty much all I have done up until this point.
Thankfully, I am no longer in crisis mode. For the first time in my life, my life is mine. Finally, at 28, I have control of my life and can blame nobody for my actions, feelings, thoughts, or situation. At first, I was unsure how to handle this new power. It was so severe I was unable to make the choice to go for a walk with the kids because it felt wrong. I felt I needed permission and I could not make the decision to do anything on my own. That was a year ago. But today things are different.
I have grown more this past year than I have probably my whole life. I see more, I know more, I love more and I am finding myself. Two years ago if you told me I would be where I am today, I would have laughed at you…thought you were crazy. I “knew” better than to leave my husband, I “knew” better than to take him to court and I sure as hell “knew” that divorce and filing for custody were not options for me. I had no control, no safety, no trust. My entire life evolved around making an abusive, drug addict who hated everything (including me) happy. It was impossible. The more I sacrificed money, my self respect, my thoughts, my freedoms, the more I lost myself. My thoughts were no longer my own, they were entwined with his and in no way was this a good thing. I was barely a shell of a human…no longer a woman, no longer a mother, and certainly no longer a wife. I was scum, a parsite, stupid and every negative thing.
Abusers choose people who love, people who have compassion, people with empathy. They break you down and make you believe it is all your fault. Every action they do is to control you, to hurt you, to fuel their own ego and inadaquacies. It works well for the abuser because a normal loving human could not imagine doing what the abuser does. A normal human tries to figure out why someone would do those things. A normal human loves and trusts their spouse. So, when their spouse tells them that everything is their fault…they eventually believe it because nothing else makes sense.
I assumed that when I left I would be the person I can be, the person God made me to be and that the past would be the past. I was wrong. It is not that simple. After the initial shock of leaving, things do get better. 1000X better than living in an abusive relationship. But you are not healed, there are still lingering deep deep issues.
My main goal right now is to retrain the way I think. The subconscious is more powerful than I know, but it is not impossible to change. If I speak to a domestic violence survivor, I can tell them the truth. Everything they need to hear. My heart and brain know that every single word I speak is truth, “You are not to blame”, abusers “Choose to abuse”, and that how they are feeling is normal. The problem is that try as I might, I believe I am different (although I can not pinpoint why or how). The things that are true for others are not true for me. I have basically been brainwashed and knowing the truth does not make it true in my gut.
Now, all my life I have been in survival mode. Abused my more people than I care to remember. Never having a say over what happens to my body. Never having a voice. Never being loved or loving myself.
I am done being in survival mode. I am done scrapping by. I am done pretending. Silence fuels the problems. Ignoring issues allows them to fester. I have been hurt too much, by too many people and I am unwilling to hurt myself any longer.
So…back to my goals.
1. Retrain my brain to rid myself of irrational thoughts.
2. Raise my kids to be good men and women.
3. Love my Lord and follow His commands as best as I can
4. Forgive myself especially for things out of my control.
5. Be healthy in my body (eating right, exercise, sleep)
6. Smile without holding back
7. And last….love everyone, even the “unlovable”