I wrote this some time ago, before leaving my abuser:
Poe wrote, “All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” Perhaps his statement sheds light on why abuse is so difficult to describe, so difficult to recognize, end, and admit. Living in abuse, I know that nothing is real. Every word I say is labeled a lie. Every emotion I feel is diminished to nothingness. But the person who acts on me in these ways is also unreal. He is a shadow of the bad things I tell myself, and he repeats the nonsense back to me in an effort to become real.
Abusers and victims live in an unreal world, so beyond comprehension that the statement, “Why don’t you just leave?” is itself ridiculous. Asking that question shows contempt for the very real dream I live in and exposes the dream the questioner lives in, too.
We all live in dreams formed by the perceptions we choose to empower.
I will not leave this marriage because you point out the benefits of doing so. I will not leave because you try to convince me I am unsafe and he is imbalanced. You ask me to leave without acknowledging the effort I’ve exerted to stay here, the number of times I’ve resurrected myself from death, or my desire to save the life of the man who kills me. You discount my belief that there is something good in Will, you tell me I am mistaken to believe he can change.
Fact is, he doesn’t have to change who he is to be lovable or loving; he is, by nature, capable of loving and worthy of receiving it. I know this, and giving up on him knowing it is the very last thing I will ever do.
If you keep telling me to leave, if you keep telling me I am wrong in my assessment, then you are the last person I will ever run toward. Your assertion that all would be well if I left is wrong; you telling me that my experience is wrong is wrong. You’re just like him. You live in a dream outside of me.
After a lifetime of living in my own dream, I am ready to change it. I am going to choose a different perception to empower. I have had enough of listening to the recordings of my failures, faults and sins. I have discovered that I am not fractured, not broken, not dead. I am whole and powerful enough to resurrect myself from the tomb to which you and he banished me. I have not wasted my life, for living it has given me more than it has taken.
Living like this allowed me to find God inside of me, a true God, a dark and light, living God who knows when it is time to expand and contract, who knows when it is time to fracture and time to become whole. God as we think of him expands and contracts across eons; I am a piece God, whole unto myself, but capable and designed to expand and contract on a shorter time-line.
Nothing you say and nothing he says will take away from me any longer. I will live as I see fit, I will monitor myself and only myself. I will decide for me when it is time to act and to be still, and I will change my mind as frequently as I like. Only I know how I will live, but I know I live.