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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