I am in my 40′s, raising two beautiful boys (18 & 15), and finally officially divorced from my verbally abusive husband of 17 years. We separated in January 2010 after he put his hands on me again.
Before October of 2008, I had no idea that abuse was an issue in my marriage. I knew he treated me badly; I knew I wasn’t happy. I thought most of the problem was my fault and if I could simply fix me, then our marriage would be a happy one.
As I set about “fixing me” I think I turned a blind eye to what was truly going on in my marriage. No matter how I acted or what I said, I wasn’t ever going to be the woman my husband thought I should be.
And that, my friends, is the real issue behind abuse. Victims of abuse are not punished for who we are, but for who we are not. And we can never be the “dream” woman (or man) the abuser wants us to be.
Think about it – could you really truly be your abuser’s ”imaginary friend?”… No thoughts unless the abuser gave them to you. No needs unless the abuser felt like pretending they were important for a while. No feelings that were different from the abuser’s feelings.
No one can be an imaginary friend…that’s why they’re imaginary.
And abusers punish us real people for not being who and what at they imagine.