Complete transformation is the goal. Letting go of all the long held beliefs that keep me trapped in an emotionally unhealthy situation. Thinking of the way forward as transformation has been a game changer for me. I do not need to build the same house! Everything can be completely new. That includes me. I can put down the baggage. Things like the belief I am not good enough, self-doubt, fear and anxiety. Part of being able to do that is to understand where it came from. I spent years being told all the ways I was not good enough. That I was the problem. Taking a hard look at these beliefs, and realizing it's all bullshit helps me to let go of them.
I have been learning a lot about the behaviour and tactics abusers employ to keep you under control. The things they say that are designed to undermine you. (I strongly recommend Dr. Rhoberta Shaler) Some things that she talks about that I really identify with was the constant denigration. You can never be good enough, always criticizing belittling. It was so pervasive in our daily life, EVERY DAY! It was both overt, and there were the subtle but constant jabs.
I remember once a girl I knew from university ended up in the news because her boyfriend was charged and convicted for a series of rapes. My ex-husband pointed to that as evidence that there was something wrong with me, and that my friends were garbage. They will grab onto what ever little thing they can use to belittle you. Looking back its completely ridicules, how is the fact that someone I knew years before being connected to a crime become a reflection on my value. Why would such an obscure thing come up in an argument. Same with him constantly being accused of becoming pregnant by other men. According to him, none of my children were his. Like seriously, what kind of sick thought is that, to believe that I was out getting pregnant and having other men's children. That is pure insanity. They all would have to have been by the same unknown father since they all look alike. But that is the strategy, just throw accusations at you fast and furious, and if one doesn't work switch to something else. But the bottom line is, there is a never ending drum beat. There is something wrong with you. You are the problem, you need to change. You are a whore. Your are a liar. Its all your fault. You are not good enough. If you would just do this, things would be better. No one else would put up with your shit. You need to straighten up. drum drum drum. YOU DON"T MEASURE UP
None of this is really about you. It's about them!
The effect of this never ending drip of contempt and degradation is the total erosion of your self-image and confidence. You begin to believe you are in fact the problem, maybe you do need to change. You try harder, you try to make him happy. Nothing works. Nothing ever will work. It's a trap. Because it is not about happiness, it is about control. They want to keep you in that place, never feeling good enough because that is how they maintain power over you.
This weekend I hung out with friends and engaged in some of my favorite activities. Tonight as I wrap my weekend up with a long walk I had time to contemplate how much things have changed, and how my life has significantly improved. Life is just easier. And did I change, no. I am the same, what is different? He is gone. That is all that changed. And it's amazing how much better my life is because of that one fact.
The longer I live in the world of sanity, the more it hits home how abusive and deranged it all was. How classically abusive. I was running on that hamster wheel for way long. And finally after all this time, that negative programming is finally beginning to wear off. I wasn't the one with the problem, he was.
That memory baffles me, of how we had to do things exactly like he wanted us to do them, or he would get upset with us. I was supposed to act a certain way or else when I got him he would berate me. "You were such a bitch to (whoever it was on that day) That absolutely never happens anymore. I never have any problems with anyone at all. I remember a boss I once had, told a group of us "Carolynne can get along with anyone, she has it all figured out" Its was such a contrast to what my then husband would have said about me. One of my friends, whom I had told about how he used to say I was being rude and obnoxious, told me she absolutely could not imagine me being that way. She told me she has seen me in public, and I am shy. It's because the things they say have no basis in reality. They will say anything to make you feel like shit. They stir up drama, get you upset then blame you for it. It's all your fault.
I am finally starting to live the life I was meant to live, as a full human being who has the right to take up space in the world. I have a right to have my own opinions, my own feelings and I have the right to make mistakes. I am human. Why someone would ever treat someone the way he treated me I will never understand. But I am finally starting to feel good about myself again. It feels so good. I feel alive! And finally, what he thinks does not matter because I know its complete bullshit.
I truly hope that is someone is out there reading this and they identify with what I am saying, you find the strength to get out. I stayed for way to long and wasted many years. Years that I could have been happy, enjoying myself. Years I could have been the mother I was meant to be to my children. I know while you are in the situation there does not seem to be a way out. That's part of the trap. They want you to believe you have no options, the world is scary, they are the only ones you can trust. But believe me, it's way better once you leave. I regret so much that I stayed so long. Take a leap of faith and RUN! I wish I had.