I have been going back and forth on whether or not to launch this blog. Not because I don’t want to share my story, but because I am terrified of being judged for what I’ve been through and even more terrified my abusers will find me.
For 18 years I hid behind a mask so no one could see the true pain I was feeling. It was easier than dealing with the truth because I myself didn’t even understand what was going on. I mean, how could someone who says they love you treat you so poorly. I was convinced it was all in my head and the depression and anxiety were just something else.
As I start looking back, I can’t help but start seeing the truth and the pain these two men inflicted. Since high school, a man has been telling me who I could and could not be friends with. Went with me to every co-ed social event I had because he was convinced I would cheat on him. Convinced me not to go to Europe during the summer on a high school trip because it would be more fun to spend the summer together. Followed me to college. Essentially moved in with me and my roommates without permission so he knew where I was at every moment. Or, my ex-husband telling me we were spending the holidays with his family not my extended family. Ultimately telling me where we were going to live but making me think I had a choice. How did I not see this as abuse? Why didn’t anyone speak up? Better yet, how did I not see my ex-husband’s ultimatums as abuse, especially the very first one?
- dating relationship: “either we’re boyfriend and girlfriend, or I walk out the door and never come back”
- engagement: “you can only have this ring if you promise to have kids”
- end of marriage: “I will only stay with you if we move back to our hometown”
There’s a lot of back story to those ultimatums that I am leaving out but I’m sure you get the picture. Here’s the kicker, my ex-husband is the one that wanted to seek marriage counseling and conveniently “forgot” his ultimatums. For the last two years of my hell…he said I was the abuser. He even put that in the divorce papers as to why he was divorcing me.
The last two years of my marriage were absolute hell. My ex-husband had me convinced it was my fault our marriage had failed and I didn’t know where it went wrong. I sunk so low into depression that I retreated from the outside world. I stopped doing things I loved including my volunteer work where I served on the Board for a local children’s organization and president of my sorority’s local alumnae group all because I was ashamed of my failed marriage. I even stopped hanging out with friends since they were newly married or engaged. There were many days where I didn’t even know how I got to and from work. I was just all of a sudden there, which is pretty scary.
Today, almost two years post-divorce I am still suffering, and still where the mask. I have days where I can barely get out of bed or motivated to get off the coach. Heck, I can barely get motivated to write this blog or post on Insta or Twitter. My struggle is constantly wondering where it all went wrong and how I am suppose to pick up the pieces.