Thursday, February 17, 2011

Far Reaching Damage of Leaving an Absusive Relationship

It's been almost a year since I left my home, my family and the life I knew for the past 25 years. It's been almost a year of fights with my soon to be ex, meetings with lawyers, appointments at court and with counselors. Almost a year of trying to rebuild the relationship with my children, of living in a new place, in an unfamiliar house with my blood family that I was so isolated from that I didn't even know them when I showed up almost a year ago.

It's been almost a year of being physically removed from my abusive husband. Of knowing in my heart and soul that leaving was the right thing but dealing with the day to day struggles of doubt and fear and uncertainty and guilt and pain. And today I find myself missing my family. Not my parents and siblings, not my children but my in-laws. This is really strange and totally unexpected.

In my relationship, just like in so many others, my husband isolated me from my family and friends and somehow over the years it came to be that his family was the only family. Most likely because he did not perceive them as a threat to his position as the boss. They see him, as so many others do, as the wonderful dad, the great provider, the hard worker, the perfect catch.

I don't dislike his family and they have been part of my life for 25 years, as they have mine. However, in all this time they were not ones I could go to, they were not my support or confidants and because it was important to me to not be the one to shatter their illusions I never allowed myself to get too close. I helped sustain their image of him.

I believe I know the perception they hold of me. I am the bad one, I am the home wrecker, I am the one who walked out and abandoned her children, I am the one who left Mr. Wonderful with a broken heart and a shattered life(can you hear the sarcasm?). For the past year I really haven't thought about them very much and when I do I usually feel ashamed. Why? Because of how I think they perceive me. But today, almost a year later, I am thinking about them. Will I ever talk to them again? What do they really know? How do they feel about me? Will I go to my mother-in-laws funeral?, my nephew's graduation?, my other nephew's wedding?.

When I decided to leave my abusive marriage I knew it would be hard. I knew I would be giving up my home, my pets, my yard, all that was familiar and secure. My “family”. I knew my children would not understand. I understood that without the visible signs of physical abuse and knowing nothing other then the dynamics of dysfunctional relationships, they would be angry and resentful of me. I didn't, I couldn't think past the immediate things to the more distant relationships that would be damaged.

Today I am angry at my ex for being so good at manipulation and deception. For being a chameleon that can change his colors to fit the situation. For presenting himself to his family as the hero and the martyr. I am angry at him for not only isolating me from my blood family, but for influencing his family so now I have lost them too.

My lessons for today are

1.The damage done by abuse is long lasting and far reaching

2.The farther I move away from it, the more I'll see

3.He did not only manipulate and control me, it is how he interacts with everyone he encounters

4.No matter how bad I am hurting now, I will get better

5.I was right to leave

No comments:

Post a Comment