In a world with so much beauty and so much love, how did I end up in a relationship that lacked each one of those? Tears, hatred, guilt, blame, anger, resentment - these are not words of love, and these are not words that build up a relationship. These are words that can crumble a mountain and end a marriage.
I remember back to the day when we first met. You became my instant friend. We shared so many common interests, and our friendship quickly blossomed into something more, something we both knew wasn’t a good idea. Through all these years, you gave me beautiful children who have the most amazing personalities, each unique to themselves, but these gifts of human life are the only thing I was blessed with in this marriage. I was given emotional pain, verbal and hateful words, and an unapologetic lifestyle. Just this once, I want you to look into my soul, give me this moment, this day in time without your brutish glares, feel my tears, feel my pain and understand what you took from me.
But before I finally say all of the things I’ve wanted to say to you for a very, very long time, I need to admit: I wasn’t perfect either. I’m not perfect. I never will be. I lied. I hid things. I shut down to avoid you. I told you want you wanted to hear instead of what I truly felt. I didn’t trust you like you didn’t trust me, and this wasn’t going to sustain our marriage. But I loved the idea of it. I loved the idea of you. Or the idea of everything you could give me. So I ignored the panic in my heart. And I ignored the pit in my stomach, every time I realized that it wasn’t right. And every time I chose to ignore it.
But that’s all I’m apologizing for. Because the rest? The rest of it is on you.
You have no idea how many times you have stolen pieces of me, leaving me at times wondering how much left of me there really was and if my life was even worth living beyond those moments. Thoughts of ending my life often felt like the biggest reliefs. I was held under water, where my breaths of life disappeared each and every moment you took it upon yourself to suffocate me with your hurtful words, the unappreciative demeanor you carried about yourself and the shame you cast upon me.
You devalued me. The way you would say unimaginably horrible things to me, and mock me as I cried. And then I would always forgive and forget, every single time. How could I have been so weak? So easily manipulated? How dare someone say the things you said to me, and how dare I let those words sink into my soul? I let those demeaning phrases take hold of me. I let them convince me that I was everything you told me I was. I let them convince me that I was monster you told me I was. Each time I allowed your voice to be louder than mine meant I lost one more ounce of myself.
How is that you can say you love me, but yet are capable of leaving me in tears, having no mercy, because in your mind, I was always the problem, not you? For some reason, I stayed. I held your hand and smiled for pictures. I even went as far as believing that you were the man for me, my very own prince charming. But you weren't and I knew it, but held on for shame.
I have never had sex with complete disgust willingly before, and to be honest, it wasn't willingly at all. It was out of fear & guilt and often ended with tears flowing across my cheeks. You laid next to me, physically satisfied while I lay helpless and alone, which brought back suppressed memories of my childhood. Memories you cared nothing about.
I put to the side my hopes and dreams in favor of helping you reach yours. I sacrificed my education and any work experience I could have gained if I hadn’t stayed home to mother you and our babies. I have no 401(K), no pension plan, no nest egg of my own. I essentially did not exist. When I exerted my opinion, you retaliated with anger and force. You verbally abused me when we’re alone together and then made jokes at my expense when we were with friends. You verbally & physically abused me in front of our children, which I have seen within their own behaviors. Shame on you. My apologies to them for your actions will never be enough to make up for it, and I can only pray they chose to never act like you, never date someone like you or think that a narcissistic abusive relationship is acceptable.
You are a coward. You make the people who love you most hurt in small, mean, cowardly ways. You undermine. You mumble. You insinuate. You are a bully. When you would come in the room I cringed. Everything in me tightened, and I couldn’t relax until you were gone. You took nothing as your fault, and blamed each person in the house for the problem. You continually blamed me for everything, no matter what it was and made me believe that I was the cause for the problems in our life. Money, sex, kids, jobs; it was my entire fault. My self-esteem was so low, for so many years, that I would have rather endured the abuse than to be alone. I felt that I was letting everyone down, including myself.
I remember the way you would talk about my friends. How I couldn’t tell you anything about their lives because you would be so quick to judge. I remember how you told me I was a bad person for associating with bad people. I remember you insisting over and over that they were terrible and never being able to understand your reasons. I remember the way you would shut me out whenever I went to spend time with them. How I had to close my world up just to keep our home peaceful. We were in a relationship that was damaging, unhealthy and painful. I can remember it now. The feeling that I couldn’t really talk to anyone, that no one would understand, of feeling too embarrassed or ashamed to tell anyone how the man I adored and who claimed to adore me could hurt me so much, in so many ways. The way in which I cut myself off from loved ones so I didn’t upset you or make you angry.
Then it happened one strong day, I stopped forgiving and realized the truth. I stopped giving in. And I stopped letting you run and ruin my life. I’ve been to the edge of suicide, raped, abused, choked and dragged though life with your words, but leaving you, of all the things I’ve done in my time on Earth, that’s one that I’m most proud of; that I got out, that I got away, that the clouds parted, even for a second, so I could see clearly enough to leave.
And thanks to you, I learned what a true man is. It isn’t someone who picks up flowers on the way home or buys the most expensive meal on the menu. He doesn’t have the best car and he doesn’t have to be perfect. He doesn’t have to buy my love or bribe my forgiveness. He would never call me names. He would never make me feel bad about my past. And he would never hurt me. He doesn’t have to be perfect, but he will be absolutely perfect for me. He will love me unconditionally, without judgment and will tell me everyday that I am beautiful, amazing and that he knows what my worth is and will appreciate it each and every day.
I hope and pray that something in you changes, that maybe one day you will realize that loving someone really is worth it. No woman deserves what you have done to me. I doubt this letter will make any difference, as someone with your behavior traits sees themselves as the victim and not the perpetrator. You need help… but I am free!
(originally posted by a member of our community - First Wives World is a private network filled with women supporting women through challenge. We are a free community, wholeheartedly dedicated to empowering women through troubled relationships, divorce and other life challenges. Visit our community welcome page and join to find inspiration, encouragement and strength.)