The subconscious dance I participated in with my ex-husband steals my thoughts today. I want to look deep inside the belly of the beast inside myself and paint a true portrait of my abusive marriage with my own blood.
I don’t want his blood – I cannot pretend to know what he was doing or thinking all those years we were together. He is not up for analyzing. But I am.
Abuse does not happen in a vacuum, meaning that an abuser cannot be an abuser if there is no one to abuse. A victim cannot be a victim if there is no one to transfer authority to.
I did just that. I transferred my authority over ME to him a very long time ago. I gave me away. I chose to be the harmony instead of the melody. I chose to give up parts of myself in order to … to what?
At this point, I think I chose to give up my authenticity and authority over my SELF because I didn’t trust myself to do the “right” thing or be the “right” person. I looked outward into the world for validation that I was a good person. I looked at the expressions on the faces of those who I thought loved me to gauge my worth. I used society’s definition of the roles I chose to embody to determine whether or not I was living up to my potential.
So, when my ex-husband came along with all his assertiveness and black/white worldview, I saw in him an easy gauge of my worth. HE could tell me if I was “right” or “good” and I could trust him because he loved me. It would be easy to become the person I wanted to be with such a strong motivator on my side.
I brought this problem into my marriage. I carried it with me for a very long time. It was only after I began to think that no one, not even ME, could be as malevolent and conniving as he thought I was. No one, not even me, could be so thoroughly mixed-up and wrong about so many things. That’s when I noticed that not only was he telling me what he thought of what I did, but he was also telling me WHY I had done such a thing.
That didn’t sit well with the tiny flame inside. I instinctively knew that if I acquiesced and gave myself over to the idea that he knew my motivations better than I did, then the flame inside of me would go out. I would cease to exist as a spirit and as an individual person. I would be only what he told me I was, nothing more. I would be him.
I can’t help but try to slip on his shoes for a moment and stand before me. I would give in my strong opinion to keep the peace. I would change my habits and actions to meet his opinion. I did my best to reflect the image he wanted to portray to the world. He says I was a good wife for the first eight years, then something changed. From his standpoint, he had the wife he’d always wanted and didn’t notice “how” he got her.
He didn’t have to notice because I didn’t challenge him; I didn’t challenge myself to find my voice. I kept my fears to myself or buried them so deep I couldn’t feel them. Because I deferred my presence to his, he thought I was more like him than I was; so when my differences crept out he felt betrayed.
It’s not that I cannot “understand” how he may have viewed the situation. I understand how he feels betrayed and that he feels I lied to him for years. From his point of view, he was betrayed and I did lie.
But from my standpoint, I couldn’t have done it any differently. I didn’t know to do it differently and I didn’t challenge myself to even consider a different path.
Unfortunately, I feel that too much damage has been done to me and by me. I feel that he and I danced so long under the shroud of moonlight that I can never dance in the sun with him. I partially have and will eventually entirely forgive him; the true test is to find it in my heart to forgive myself. I plan to dance in the sun as I discover how to look into the beast in my belly and paint with my own blood my journey to my salvation.