Abuse Hides in the Dark. Turn on Your Light.

I Blamed Myself for My Rotten Marriage

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Introduction to Verbal Abuse Journals

Years ago, as I read through my old journal entries, I stumbled upon the earliest one that described my relationship with my now-ex-husband, Will. It was a single sheet of notebook paper, college ruled, and I couldn’t recall if other pages followed in the same notebook, and if they did, why I ripped this one out to save it. But as I read through the words, memories came flooding back to me.

Back then, I didn’t journal much. I was optimistic and trusting, and I believed that everything would work out in the end. We had some minor problems at the time (that were actually major problems, in hindsight). I blamed myself for them, mostly because Will was the one always angry at me for doing things “wrong”. But I thought that with time and effort, I could learn to be the wife he imagined. But as I continued reading, I realized how naive I was. He only wanted the wife he imagined; he didn’t want me to exist in her at all.

We had only been married for about six months at the time of the following entry, and we had dated for eight months before tying the knot. Looking back, our relationship moved at a breakneck speed. It seemed that we were head over heels in love, and we couldn’t get enough of each other. Little did I know that the quick progression of commitment was a warning sign for future abuse.

There was so much I didn’t know back then. I didn’t know that abuse could come in many forms – physical, emotional, financial, and more. I didn’t understand that love shouldn’t hurt like this one did and that it certainly shouldn’t make you feel small or insignificant. I didn’t know that I deserved better than what I was getting or that staying in this toxic relationship would lead to more pain, heartache, and an almost entire loss of myself.

Reading through that old journal entry was bittersweet. It reminded me of how far I had come since those early days, and how much I had learned about myself and relationships. It also made me grateful for the people in my life who supported me and helped me through the tough times. And most importantly, it made me realize that it’s never too late to leave a bad situation and start anew.

From 1992:

Well, maybe I should start keeping a journal again.

I’m out in the field – we just got news that we will be out here an extra week. I haven’t told Will yet – it seems like I never have good news to tell him. Of course, bad news doesn’t help out our situation too much. I wish one day I could give him good news that would just blow him over. Maybe the good news can’t be so easily given in a sentence or two – I must prove it to him.

I feel like I’m always proving my love to him, but I always fail in his eyes. Always. I can’t do anything well enough.

I do love him though. I love him more definitely than I’ve ever loved anyone.

Read this entire post and more. Buy My Abusive Marriage . . . and what i’m doing in it by Kellie Jo Holly (or preview the book now).