“People only see what they intend to see.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Abuse is funny. Of course, I don’t mean humor.
I mean other definition of funny: difficult to explain or understand.
Abuse is not difficult to understand. When someone is abused, we should be able to clearly point the finger and declare that it is wrong.
But not all abuse is overt and clear.
I was abused most of my adult life and I didn’t know it.
Again, I was abused, I did not know.
I only saw what I was ready to see.
Is it really abuse?
I’ve read enough biographies and seen enough movies based on real events to know what physical abuse looks like.
Through a deep discovery with a therapist who held me protectively, I can now say with certainty that I have been abused in some form.
Yes, abuse comes in many forms.
My abuser was my husband. She was the one who was supposed to love me more than anyone else.
I started dating when I was 17 and got married when I was 22. We were married for 31 years.
He was never physically violent. He didn’t yell at me or call his name. or Abuse would have been more obvious.
His abuse was subtle and manipulative.
can not see.
what people see
Imagine standing outside watching a beautiful sunset end your day.
A friend stands next to you and says, “What a beautiful green sun.”
“Green?” you scoff, “The sun is orange and yellow, like a big fireball. It’s not green. You might want to check your eyes.”
Neighbors hear and participate in your conversations. that’s my favorite color. Emerald green with a lime tint. ”
I wonder why they suddenly thought the sunset was green. Are they joking?
You squint and look critically at the sun. We see an orange ball surrounded by a yellow haze popping out until it melts into the blue sky like the sea.
You can hear more conversations around you. Everyone talks about the green sun.
A child passes by on a bicycle. “Look how green the sun is today!” he cries, looking up at the sky. Everyone mutters their gratitude to the scenery.
you slowly start thinking maybe you You are at a loss. Maybe I’m not looking at things correctly.
You often hear that the sun is green, but you don’t see it.maybe something wrong your eye.
And just like that, your perception has changed. The next time you see the sunset, look at it differently. You’ll be looking for green, not orange or yellow.
You see only what you are ready to see.
Abuse is like that.
The more you are told something, the more you believe it.
I was told I was worthless, and I believed it. I didn’t object to it. I didn’t consider it abuse because it didn’t fit my idea of abuse.
The abuse I received was so manipulative and deceptive that I had no idea it was coming. While feeding her husband’s constant need for validation, I slowly lost who I was.
A phrase I often hear is:
- you are too emotional
- that’s not what i said. You never remember things right.
- are you cheating on me?
- you are too sensitive
- The role of husband is more difficult than that of wife.
- It’s good that you have me – who else will love you?
- I didn’t say that. why do you always twist my words
- Your body is mine, not yours.
- Why do you always make me feel bad about myself?
- Remember when you failed once? Let’s talk about it again.
- Most women are better…and I’m stuck with you.
- Women are not as smart as men.
Thirty years of these statements made me feel inadequate. Hopeless.
I wondered why I couldn’t be a good enough wife.
If you read the above sentences, you may notice that there was obvious gaslighting going on.
Classic gas lamp.
My husband made me feel ‘wrong’ about everything in life. I was too emotional and sensitive. I had a good body, but I didn’t want to have sex 24/7. (He called it false advertising.)
I wasn’t allowed to ask him questions about our finances, savings, etc…or I was questioning his masculinity.
He accused me of being offended when I asked innocent questions, such as whether he had to work on Christmas Eve.
My husband used my faith to control me. He hand-picked Bible verses and general ideologies to uphold his authority over me.
And he made me feel overreacted and silly.
To make matters worse, I started gaslighting myself!
I blame myself for not being his “ideal” woman.
I am struggling with lupus, a progressive autoimmune disease, while managing everything in the house, raising three children, continuing to work, and caring for his mother, who lives with us. I blamed myself for not being the perfect wife I could be.
I felt like a failure.
And then something happened…
House of Rise Falls
Thirty years is a long time to live in ignorance. When I finally realized what was happening, the whole world crumbled around me, like a brick building collapsing in an earthquake.
I finally got the blindfold off.
In four months I discovered all the heartbreaking lies my husband told me.
First, he hadn’t had a job in over 15 years.
He said goodbye to me every day and went to a “job” he didn’t really have. He lied so convincingly about his job that he even made up his imaginary friends and colleagues and told stories about them.
We didn’t have health insurance. He didn’t file his taxes. He hadn’t signed off on financial aid for our college-age kids.We didn’t even have car insurance.
We didn’t have any savings. No retirement. We lived on my meager income. We lived with his mother so we made ends meet.
He missed many events because of “work”. He’s children’s soccer games, concerts, school programs, church events and more. His non-existent “job” required a lot of his time, so I lived like a single mother.
He never gave me an answer as to why he did that. But honestly, do you have an acceptable answer?
He confessed to a porn addiction. He watched porn every day. This distorted his sense of reality.
This is why I was never good enough for him. He expected his wife to be a pornstar.
Then came the infidelity…
the last straw
It is not surprising to hear that he is cheating on me.
When I first found out about all the lies, my husband tried to claim that he had been faithful to me. Well, when it became clear that everything he said was a lie, I couldn’t blindly believe him anymore.
He finally broke down and confessed that he had been cheating on me since we started dating over 30 years ago.
He didn’t have a girlfriend and thought he needed to get brownie points so he wasn’t emotionally cheated.
He has had sex with over 50 people. Fifty!
Over the years I can’t count the number of times he accused me of cheating. I understand why. It’s called projection. He was projecting his guilt onto me. Everything he did, he thought I must have done too.
And the cherry on top? He said he cheated because I didn’t satisfy him.
In a nutshell, he cheated, accused me of cheating, then blamed me for his cheating.
I will never go back from there.
change in my way of thinking
My ex-husband has Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). He’s a pathological liar and a sex addict.
He can think of nothing but to take care of his immediate needs and desires.
But here i had to change my Thoughts: He didn’t act maliciously. Very carelessly, yes. But no malice.
Something is wrong with his brain and he is disconnected. His emotional intelligence is a cross between a horny teenager and a grumpy kid.
You will never get a sincere apology from him. TRUE His brain doesn’t work like most people, so I can’t quite understand his way of thinking.
And that’s okay.
i don’t have to Understanding May he heal, move on, and live a peaceful life.
My perception has changed. I do not accept responsibility for his problems and shortcomings. It’s not my fault.
This change in my perception did not happen overnight. It took me a long time, but I was helped by a wonderful therapist.
In fact, during one session, my therapist had me write in large print on a piece of paper: i didn’t do this. Its visual reminders help you see the situation through a new lens. now:
I no longer accept abuse.
I no longer ignore abuse.
I will never be abused again.
No one can convince me that the sunset is green today. I am ready to see clearly.
but he never hit me
Remember the second definition of funny? Difficult to explain or understand.
This whole situation interesting; impossible to explain or understand.
The only good thing to come out of this is a change in my perspective. I I am important in my life now. I I have the highest priority.
I remember telling my story to a friend. He kindly listened and asked questions in a quiet tone. “Has he hit you?”
Stunned, I shook my head.
“Well, thank God he didn’t cross that line, and there will be much more to heal.
This friend was not frivolous. He said out loud what many people think. Abuse is visible.
But I now see abuse for what it is. Visible but often invisible hurt, harm and abuse.
scars of abuse
I wish I could show you the marks his abuse left on me.
I want to reveal how my self-esteem was whittled to sawdust. Or how my confidence was overcome by fear and panic.
My wounds are deep and carved like an ancient oak tree. No amount of repair work can undo previous damage.
My bones of joy have been broken and re-broken so many times that I can no longer set them up properly.
The scars cover the joints of my freedom from the bondage of “until death do us part.”
And the sweetest, softest part of my soul is dark and overshadowed by the birthmark.
No he never hit me. But the great damage was done all the same.
I am an abused woman.
i am a victim
But I am a survivor.
And my story is just beginning. I am moving away from my abuser and embracing a new life, a life that I am in charge of.
I call shots.
My scars may be invisible to those who don’t know what to look for.