Abuse Hides in the Dark. Turn on Your Light.

Detaching from My Abuser: Hold and Release

stop sign in foreground, dirt road leading away, storm brewing in the background

There must be something in the air. My mood is so serious, like a rain-filled cloud threatening to rain on my parade.

Although I feel in my gut that I’m moving in the right direction, I’m getting stronger, finding out who I am and what I like (and don’t), … there’s something heavily sad about this weekend.

Will and I have talked several times, amicably enough, in the past weeks. But Saturday, I found myself embroiled in a disagreement with Will, told to quit popping off at the mouth and scolded about my soap opera drama. I didn’t see it that way. Said to stop telling me what I was doing and what my intentions were. He got madder. We hung up the phone. It didn’t last long.

Somewhere in there, in response to him telling me he didn’t trust me and that he thought I was up to no good and being dishonest, I said, “You’ve always thought that of me.” He replied that no, he hadn’t always thought it, that its a recent thing. He got angry that I had said it, told me that he was sorry he’d tried to talk to me. I thought to myself that he wasn’t talking to me, but at me.

When we hung up, I tried to shrug it off as if his words didn’t bother me. They did. But I think what is really bothering me now is what I said: “You’ve always thought that of me.” Shrinks will tell you to not use words like “always” in conversations because they’re accusing words. But I used one, he felt defensive, and the rest is history.

I Think I Was Right

Now, writing this, I’m torn between two paths I could write about. The first one is that it would be nice if he had only said, “I don’t think it’s fair to say ‘always’” to which I could have corrected myself. Or at least apologized for inflammatory language.

But (and here’s the second path), I think I was right. I don’t think I said it to be accusing or to pop off or to start some drama. I think I said it because it was what I was thinking, and the more I think about it, I think I was right.

Although I do wish I hadn’t used the word because I want to learn better ways of expressing myself that don’t ignite someone’s defenses, there are several reasons why I think “always” was the right word to describe what I felt:

  • In the beginning, He called me “whore” often. He didn’t trust me to be faithful to him.
  • When I did tell him about the kiss one of his friends dished out, he told me that I was mistaken and that his friends would never betray him. Sometimes he would come home and “investigate” the house. He’d look for something out of place, or maybe something to give away what I was doing with my time when he was at work. Sometimes he’d get lucky and feel like he hit the jackpot, caught me in some imagined lie, and confront me. This wasn’t usually about “other men” it was about how I spent my time. There were times when no explanation would satisfy him. He didn’t trust me to tell him the truth.
  • Although eventually, all the finances fell to me to handle, he constantly insinuated my mishandling them and became angry over what I’d spent without bothering to find out what our expenses actually were. He didn’t trust me with “his” money.
  • When our children would act out and misbehave, or behave in a way he considered wrong for “men”, he claimed that it was my influence causing their dysfunction. If I’d only spanked them more, if I weren’t so soft on them, if only I’d acted more like him when he was away on deployment, they’d know better. He didn’t trust me with his children.

Integrity, sex, money, children… what else was there to our marriage? I feel that there was nothing at all I could have done to gain his trust in any of those areas. Everyone has weaknesses, everyone makes mistakes, and I am no saint. But for crying out loud, how could I really have fought this issue? If he doesn’t have trust inside of him, then how could I earn his trust? I wonder if he had any to give (to me, at least).

When I would bring these things up to him, he would answer with, “I married you, didn’t I?” or “I must trust you, I have to leave you with the boys when I deploy,” or “You’re the one who handles the money, aren’t you? You could really screw me if you wanted to!” All true statements, but never truly honest.


But there is a silver lining to the storm cloud. It happened today. Will told me that he thinks our relationship should be “only business.” He wants to pull away from me. He said that he can tell I’m moving on, but he’s still stuck in the anger and hurt. He wants to detach, and he set clear boundaries. I listened to him without saying much at all.

A big piece of me is so freaking proud of him! A big piece of me wanted to tell him that he was on the right track, that detaching from me was the right thing to do in order to find peace and health and happiness.

And a small piece of me is sad. The little wife inside of me wanted to hug him and tell him that it would all be all right. That I appreciated his vulnerability and that his decision is a wise one. And I cried (after he left) because he is detaching from me.


You see, when I started this blog, I thought Will and I would be married forever. I thought we’d have our ups and downs and solve the downs and be happy. I thought when he saw what effect his words and actions had on me that he would change them because he loved me. I thought we would heal together, never to be torn apart.

But now he and I are healing on our own. We won’t be together when we’re happy next. We won’t be married forever having overcome the trials of our own humanity. We’ll never sit on the porch together, rocking, gray hair blowing in the breeze.

I must detach from that dream, and saying goodbye to it hurts more than any dream I’ve ever held and released before.

Read this entire post and more. Buy My Abusive Marriage . . . and what happened when i left it by Kellie Jo Holly