“Good luck finding anyone who will love you!” I can’t tell you how many times those words have echoed in my head. He was sitting on the couch in the same spot he spent most of his days. Although I can’t recall what else was being discussed, we were in the heat of a divorce discussion. Those days after I told him I was filing for divorce were some of the most mentally and emotionally exhausting days of the entire 20 years we were together. The cycle of abuse was fast and furious during those days. Most of what he did during that time rolled right off my back, but this one…this one stuck like a knife through my soul.
Many people want to know how I stayed so long, the short version of that is this, the first 10 years I was trapped trying to make it work because I had a new baby ALL THE TIME! I was much younger, had little to no support system to help me see what was happening, and I was exhausted from trying to work, care for the house, the kids and in reality him. So I fought hard to be “loved” and make it work. I’m not certain if the abuse got worse or if it was worse in my mind because I could recognize it more, but the last 10 years were all about staying safe, and trying to find the courage and confidence to leave. Five years ago I finally had the clarity to realize I could and I started making a REAL plan.
My adult life has been a cycle of trying to be worthy of love from someone who wasn’t worthy of my love, to having a wall so high and thick that no one could get through it. So when he said these words, I think they hit so hard because I looked back, as if I was dying and my life was flashing before my eyes…and I saw emptiness, coldness, loneliness, a woman who had felt so unworthy, not good enough, ugly, stupid, hated, because that was how he’d made me feel or the things he’d said about me for not just years but decades! I had tried so desperately to be loved, feel worthy and not feel like all those things he said about me; but then I finally had enough and started to believe I could get out, I just built a wall up so high and thick I felt nothing. I was numb, cold and robotic.
Since he continued to live with me (hindsight, why the hell was I so kind to him), after the divorce was final, I didn’t fully get away from the abuse until he left, and even then he still managed to weasel things in here and there. I have worked really hard to overcome the grips he had on me. To fight to be my own person, and more importantly be the person I knew I was before I met him. As time went on many of the things he use to say to me have since faded from my memory, pushed way back into the depths of the archives of my brain never to be accessed again. But this one, this one still cuts through my soul from time to time.
I have grown so much over the last four years. If someone would have told me I’d feel how I do about life and be where I am now, I would have told them there was no way. Still many times I felt unlovable, stuck on the idea that no matter who I was, good or not, I was not worthy of love.
Then I heard something…What if you are the love of your life? You are the best thing that ever happened to you! Holy crap! Yes! Yes I am! I am strong and brave. I got out of the clutches of his abuse, I walked away and stood on my own two feet. I survived days and things in ways I never imagined. I fought hard to heal myself and get to a place where someone could get through the crack in my wall that formed as I began to heal. I took more than a decade of being numb, cold and emotionless and gave myself and my heart to someone. If that doesn’t make me the best thing that ever happened to me, I don’t know that anything ever could be.
The realization that I truly am the love of my life. I am the most important love that I will ever have. I am the only one who can pick me up when I am down and decide to keep moving forward. I will be there to cheer myself on in times of victories, dry my tears, be the protector of my heart. Although this doesn’t ease the pain of the heartbreak, it does give me hope.
There was a victory here amongst the heart-breaking abuse. “Good luck finding someone who will love you!” and my response now is this…(while holding up both of my tiny little middle fingers at him) “I found a greater love than ever before, I found the love of myself.” I found myself, I am the one who will love me everyday for the rest of my life no matter what. Like any love worth having it will be work, but I am so worth it.