This weekend was a pretty good weekend. We have been cleaning up our yard and made some amazing progress, it is looking so much better. There had been debris from a storm in the yard all summer, and we couldn't mow because we were afraid of launching projectiles. Already it looks more like it should. Its such a good feeling.
Another thing happened this weekend. As I was working, I noticed a red car backing into my driveway. The man I was married to for 27 years dropped off the last of our stuff that he had. I saw him from a distance. I took a picture for the police as he is not permitted on my property, so I am keeping records to protect myself in case I need to do something about it someday. It was a strange experience. I saw him, he looked so familiar, the same walk, the curve of his shoulder, the massive bald spot on the back of his head. He was like the man I remember. I saw my husband. Those old feelings that I had when he was around, briefly resurfaced, the memories of the control and dominance. Those horrible feelings that used to be just part of my everyday existence, that for some reason I had grown to accept as normal and as part of my identity. And then it hit me, those feelings have no place in my life now. I do not have to feel that anymore. I realized was looking at a complete stranger. I really do not know this man, and he is nothing to me now. But now, I do understand men like him. None of the things he said to me during our marriage were true. I am not a lying cheating whore. I am not to embarrassing to be take out in public. He is, he is an awkward, weak man that attacked my sense of self in order to be king of the house. In looking at him, the thought crossed my mind, I want this man completely out of of my life. And then I realized, he is. I never have to deal with him again. He no longer has any control in this house or this family. I do. My life from this point forward is all mine.
I am truly free, the hold of his mental control and brainwashing is fully broken. No trace of the trauma bond remain. Even though the marriage ended 3 years ago, for a significant time afterwards I was still very haunted by him. I could still hear his insults, his anger. I still felt the impact, and it was still hurting me. I was constrained and controled by the limitations and definitions he had placed on me. It took time and overcoming my personal fears in order to learn I am capable, I can do things, I do not have to fear failure. No one is going to come and scream and me because I didn't stick to his terms. A memory just flashed though my mind of the time I hired a kid to mow our lawn because he had been to busy to get to it. He raged at me, NO ONE but him was to cut our lawn. I was an idiot for hiring that kid, he would wreck our lawn mower. I WAS NEVER TO DO THAT AGAIN you fucking cunt.
The false illusions and gaslighting that had for so many years clouded my judgement and thinking did not dissipate immediately. It was a very slow and painful process, as I had to methodically go through the memories and integrate them with the new understanding I have developed. I have learned things I did not know or even suspect at the time. I am so glad I have taken that time to work though this, gaining perspective on what really happened. How he used anger and rage to keep his secrets and deflect his guilt on to me so I wouldn't look into what he was doing. If I got close to discovering something he would just rage and call me names and tell me everything that was wrong with me. Tell me everything real and imagined I ever done wrong.
It's amazing to me how confused I was back then, how I could not see or understand what was happening. I had no concept of how damaging that behaviour was for my family. But I know now, and absolutely nothing remains of any affection I may have once held for him. If someone abused you, they never loved you. He did not love me, ever. What he loved was the control. There was zero love. Now I can say with confidence I am healed. And what a difference it makes in life. True freedom when you are no longer affected by thoughts of him. You can and will be happy when you take the time to fully heal while moving on. It may feel like you are dwelling at times. But, it is worth it.
My children have been also been also been sharing more of their experiences with me. Its very sobering to realize what they also went through. For some reason, I didn't think he was doing the same thing to them. I always thought he was a good father. But the reality was he was doing the same thing to them that he was doing to me. They also experienced the control and degradation. Their spirits being methodically crushed. One of the reasons I stayed was I thought it was better for the kids to keep the family together. It was a choice that hurt them very badly. I think if I were to give advice to someone experiencing the same thing, it would be to get out. Just get out, save yourself and your kids. Nothing you do can fix the situation. You cannot sway or change him. You cannot repair the relationship. It will never be what you hoped it could be. It will never go back to the beginning when he gave the appearance of being a wonderful caring loving man. There is nothing to salvage, there is no hope, you cannot make a difference. All you are doing is wasting your time and your life.
During my marriage I knew I wasn't happy, I knew it didn't feel good, but I did not know that what I was experiencing was abuse. I did really believe it was my fault. I was not good enough. Since then, I have spent a lot of time learning about emotional abuse, the tactics and the patterns that are used to control the victim. For a long time the understanding that the marriage was abusive was intellectual. I knew it, but I didnt really feel it deep down. I had not really accepted it emotionally. I would still have the thoughts, was it really that bad? Was I imagining things? Am I exaggerating?
For some reason, seeing him really drove it home for me. No, I was not imagining. The abuse was real and it was significant. It didn't just hurt me, it decimated my children. That is not the way a normal husband would treat his family. And, it does not have to control my life anymore. He is gone and it is done. We no longer have to fear him. He is someone else's problem now. He will never change. And most important, it doesn't matter what he says or thinks, or what his family believes. That's all part of the toxic pattern that kept me trapped in the first place. We know the truth, that's all that matters. It doesn't matter if anyone else knows or believes it.
And most important, we now all know this truth. The problem was never us. It was him. He is a weak, pathetic bully that is not worth a moment of our time or concern. He really is not worth any thought or consideration. He will keep spewing the lies that he has always spewed, making the mistakes he always made and blaming everyone else. Of course, its all our fault. I keep the kids from him, I was controlling, I wasted his money. Blah, Blah, Blah I was not good enough. But really who gives a fuck what he thinks or says. Instead of dealing with his issues, he compensated by making us all feel like shit and dragging us down to his level.
He failed. And I am at the point I don't care what happens to him. It doesn't affect me. If he does well, or he falls on his face. Who cares. He is just a stranger out there in the world. It has nothing to do with me.