Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Acknowledging Anger

It’s taken me five years to get to feeling angry. It feels surprisingly good, it’s a (delayed) reaction born of no longer torturing myself into trying to understand what happened, and seeing my marriage for what it was.

I hope sharing just a bit of my experience can make anyone who is in the position I was once in, see what is happening to them, for what it really is. There is no bigger picture, abuse is wrong.

When the divorce was made final, it seemed unthinkable that I would ever get to today, to now, with any semblance of a normal life (I have, but it’s still very much a work in progress). Acknowledging my anger has helped me move on, something I couldn’t do when I was stuck in my “being reasonable”, “trying to see it from all sides”, rut.

You know those letters we write but would never send? This is part of one I wrote to my ex:-

“…If I had my time again I wish I’d played it all so differently; gone to the police, really heard what the solicitor was saying to me, not conducted the divorce looking at some distorted bigger picture which had me siding with you against myself, the children and what was best for us. I thought I was doing the right thing, being mature, trying to understand why I made you abusive.

Hindsight tells me I was terrified. After all those years, layer upon layer of abuse, I didn’t think I could manage without you. I thought I had to be measured and considerate, fair. I felt a failure for having had the abuse happen to me; I felt shame and guilt for daring to divorce you. I was doing it because I thought you would kill me next time you “lost it.” And I had to stay alive to protect our children.

So I protected you too, colluded with you because I couldn’t see how me, someone so useless, could go it alone with the children. I traded the promise of some financial security for the truth. I convinced myself that you didn’t deserve to be held to account for what you’d done to me. As you’d always said, “it takes two.”

If you’d done what you did to me that last time – carried out an unprovoked, premeditated attack (coming from behind so I didn’t even see you and thought initially that the ceiling and the kitchen units had fallen in), beating and knocking out someone half your weight, a foot shorter, a woman; if you’d done what you did to me, to a stranger in the street, you could have expected a criminal charge to be brought against you, a court case, a custodial sentence. But within the parameters of marriage it seems it was OK, just one of those things.”

 

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2 thoughts on “Acknowledging Anger

  • Admin says:

    Thank you for sharing this with us – and apologies that we have not commented previously.

    We are so glad that you are processing what happened to you – I’ve been in the position of ‘seeing it from both sides’ which I used in order to manage my feelings and to prevent my partner at the time from getting even more angry.

    Sending peaceful thoughts x

    • Eden says:

      Thanks for that Admin – it means a lot to be heard. Had just gone looking through your site this lunchtime to see if I really did post that piece.
      It’s difficult to be peaceful when the abuse continues but in a different “wrapper” – withholding child maintenance unless I “behave” or beg for it – the CSA is not being much help as they have repeatedly said they treat everyone the same and they can’t make judgements on whether he is, or has indeed, been violent or abusive as that is my opinion.
      The “seeing it from both sides” is also about making it alright for yourself, doing that female thing of smoothing things over and explaining it away.
      I’ve posted under a pseudonym but actually feel angry that for all sorts of compelling reasons including needing to keep ourselves and our children safe, feeling shame, we can’t and don’t reveal who we really are. If we could stand up, name and shame those that do this then the shame we wrongly feel could find its rightful home with the perpetrator (who could also then have the chance for redemption and change).
      Just a thought, and I’m still scared.
      When the Nigella Lawson story broke in the summer my hairdresser (male) casually commented “no smoke, without fire” and I’ve been advised (by a well-meaning business mentor) that registering my interest in this cause could damage my fledgling business – it might “put people off.”