Calamity Jennye

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

where do you turn for help?

I think last month was abuse awareness month and I was really torn when I read the BlogHer plea for people to raise awareness by sharing their stories. In the end I decided that was not a part of my marriage I was ready to share yet.

The truth is it took me 10 of our 12 years together to figure out the constant strain and fear I was living in was abuse. 10 years to realize that it's not normal in a marriage for one person to bear the full responsibility that everything meet their partner's expectation of perfect at all times. I shouldn't have had to be the only consistent breadwinner, responsible for all practical aspects of every endeavor we attempted, who was then also completely to blame if even the smallest thing didn't go exactly the way my husband desired. Oh and did I mention there must be alcohol in the house at all times?

It wasn't until his family found me crying in the corner of a public restroom, because he was about to find out I messed up a plan, the repair of which would cut into cocktail hour, that I realized perhaps this pressure was too much.

I finally brought myself, months later, to discuss with him that I felt like I was living in an abusive relationship.

As I'm able to reflect now on the results of the conversation I realize that is when the abuse got more subtle.

The emotional side became more about keeping things from me rather than punishing me after the fact and that is when the emotional strain I had all but accepted as part of my life became sheer mental abuse and anguish.

My marriage became a constant guessing game. Every decision, nearly all of which I consistently had to make on my own, was a gamble. Is this the time I will choose wrong? What will he withhold this time if I don't get this to work out perfectly?

Every day felt like a precarious balancing act and every decision a gamble filled with sheer terror.

When I think of the adjustments I made over our twelve years to make this all feel like a normal way to live I am astounded!

I mention this all now, a month late, because yesterday my mantra of the last year: "at least I made it out with my life." Suddenly became all to real.

Yesterday my husband's girlfriend attempted suicide. I hate to say I was not surprised to get the news. So many facets of her new life, for which she sacrificed so much, had to be utterly miserable.

What I hate the most though is the thought that anyone, especially someone who used to be a close friend, someone I can't help but care about, could find themselves in a place where this feels like their only option.

Convincing myself I was abused has been much harder than convincing those who know my story. In fact it is my friends and family who opened my eyes and gave me the strength and support to get out. I am so sad that She severed those important ties in order to pursue this love and found herself in such a horrific situation all alone.

I am relieved to know that her family is there with her, determined to take her home and help her get healthy.

And now in an ultimate stroke of irony I am off to "the happiest place on earth" to celebrate my daughter and family and love that is pure and without expectation.

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  1. Oh my goodness - how horrifying. Both for you and for her... I'm so thankful that you escaped. I will be praying for you both.

  2. Prayers ascending for her and for you. May you both find healing. I pray that you and Esme do have a lovely Christmas. You're both a huge blessing.

  3. I know someone in your very situation. But she hasn't left and I doubt ever will. I'm not sure if I can help her. It breaks my heart. I'm glad you made it out and am so sorry for Her. I will pray for both of you.

  4. Thank you so much for writing this. You're so brave and I'm proud of you.

  5. This is so sad to read. Both because of the immediate horror, and the realization of what you must have been going through, while working your rear end off and keeping a happy face. I hope you enjoyed the happiest place on earth, and that everyone involved is able to move forward towards a much happier place. -M.E.