*This post may discuss some sensitive subjects related to abuse. Please do not read this if you are triggered by these types of topics.
He hit me with a lacrosse stick. How did I forget this?
She told me it was all my fault. How did I forget that?
8 years ago, I was living through depression and feeling like hell. Over the last 8 years, I have managed to forget most of those feelings and forgive myself for my part in all of it.
Now, I am going to say something I have been afraid to say for a while. I was abused. I never had any bruises, but someone physically assaulted me, and that is abuse. Someone also told me that all the physical abuse was my fault and that emotional abuse cuts much deeper than any pair of scissors that broke my skin.
Here is something else. 7 years after I ended the abuse, I had forgotten about most of it. I remembered enough to know that I would never do something like that again, but god-bless my horrible memory, most of the details were gone.
Then, as part of the cleanup and minimalizing of my life, I decided to get rid of a bunch of online files, including my journals from that time period. I had made sure that all my writings during that time were online and password protected so no one could get to them and read them, because I was writing down all the crazy stuff. The stuff that I couldn’t believe was happening.
I read those journals before I deleted them and I want to detail out a couple of things here so others can learn from them.
Quick backstory: I was married for 6 years but together with my ex for 10. He had a son who was 5 when we started dating. He was never married to his son’s mother, but she was very much involved in our lives. They had the weirdest custody agreement I have ever seen, and that basically meant that there were very few days of the week where we didn’t see or hear from her. My step-son was diagnosed with ADHD around 5th or 6th grade. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia about a year, maybe two before that. So there were a good bit of chronic conditions going on in our house. All of these things figure into the story.
I realize now but didn’t back then, that for our entire relationship, my ex-husband controlled me by playing on my emotions. In reading those journals, I realize the amount of emotional control and abuse I was going through. I can’t even count the times that I wrote, “I really didn’t want to do X, but he convinced me that I needed to”. I spent that whole marriage doing a lot of what I didn’t want to do and losing myself in the process.
The physical abuse never came from the adults in this story. The adults around me were all master manipulators and were very good at getting me to feel terrible. But not one of them ever raised a hand to me or touched me in any way. The child in this story was not so kind.
He was learning to be a master manipulator, but he wasn’t there yet, and by the time he was diagnosed with the ADHD, he was having violent outbursts at school and some at home. We enrolled him in therapy and tried to work without giving him medication. This was the path both parents could agree on. This was the beginning of the end for me.
I found out when we talked with the therapist that my stepson was harboring a lot of anger toward me. So, I tried to back off and let my Ex take care of anything related to my stepson. Just until he could work out his issues in therapy. That didn’t seem to work and led to almost violent attacks on me at home. The therapist also required group therapy, and it was there that I realized everyone in the group, blamed me for all the problems. Even the therapist had me apologize to everyone in the group for causing all the problems. I still don’t believe that was a good therapist and now I think that while you always play a part in whatever situation you are in, there is also always a second party who also shoulders some of the blame.
While I was in this fragile emotional state, the violent attacks began. From him stabbing me with scissors, to tackling me, I didn’t do anything. As the cause of everything, I remember feeling powerless and that if I just became the most neutral person ever, all of it would stop. The final blow came the day that he hit me with the lacrosse stick, then proceeded to headbutt me and punch me all while my Ex was in another part of the house. That was the day that I finally was so scared, I took action and started the plan to leave the situation forever.
Fast forward to 7 years later and me reading the journals that chronicled the last year of my marriage. The therapy, the lies, the emotional heartache, and the discounting of myself. I remembered all the feelings that were written in those journals. It reminded me that I may never heal completely, but I am so much better today. I love the life I am building for myself. I have a great support system of friends, coaches, and therapists who remind me every day that I am not broken, and I don’t need to be fixed. I am awesome just the way that I am. I am learning how to be happy and to love again. I remember who I am and I revel in the pieces of me that I am adding to become the new me.
It took me 7 years to start this blog. The idea was there in my journals from 8 years ago. Share my story and hope that it helps other people. I just didn’t have the courage to do it before now.
Healing has been a thousand little steps, each one taken very tentatively. I ran away for a while to hide and heal. But now, I am back, and the steps get a little bigger each day. I will never stop taking steps. Because someday, I want to be healed enough that I can help people, be empathetic and just brighten each day.
I hope you find some kernels of hope in this story for yourself. If you are in the midst of something similar, find a support system somehow. Reach out to me if you have to. If you have gotten out, you are the strongest person I know, keep the faith. And I know not everyone is as lucky as me and can run away and hide, but if you can, do it. Find yourself again. And know that the community of people here are entirely supportive and we are here for you. And if you never had to go through this, count yourself very lucky. This is not the only example of challenges in my life, but I know that every one of them has changed me in fundamental ways. I am sure that everyone reading this has some example of that in their lives too. We are strong people!
Hit me up in the comments, on Instagram or on Twitter for thoughts or if you need help. Thanks for reading.