It’s been a year today since the first time I left him. So much has happened in that year, I’m not even sure what exactly to reflect on. It’s mind-boggling, overwhelming, inexplicable. I’ve grown so much as a person, but I’ve also hurt more than I ever thought was possible.
I think the most important thing is that I did finally leave him. Today is the anniversary of the day that the process began. I was only gone for a couple of days. But it was the first step in me saying “no, I don’t want to live like this anymore”. I still have the e-mails from that day. I still remember him calling me at work and telling me that I better leave and get home so we could “fix” this. I remember sitting in the car in the driveway with him yelling at me. I remember the rain. I remember truly believing that he had the upper hand in all of it, and that ultimately I was just a guest in his home and I had better play nice if I ever wanted to see any of my things again. I remember calling Nikki to come rescue me, which, true to form, she did.
I have a hard time believing that I trusted in him when he showed up at my parents house with a diamond ring a couple days later. When he said that he wanted to make a fresh start; make up for all of the things that he had done in the past. I thought finally he was seeing what was wrong with our marriage. That the way that he treated me was undeserved, no matter how angry he might be. I really wanted to see him be the man that I had built him up in my mind to be. I desperately wanted to bury all the hurt and pain and shame that I felt. I wanted my little family to survive what seemed like the crash that had been coming for so long. I didn’t want to have to admit to everyone that I knew that I had failed to keep my marriage together; failed as a wife and a mother. So, I went back. And thus, the cycle resumed.
It was a long year of ups and downs. Of broken promises. Of heartache. Ultimately though, I knew that I didn’t deserve to be hurt the way that he was hurting me. The more I talked about it, the more I admitted to people that life wasn’t as beautiful as I made it out to be, the more I began to realize that I needed to start over. I needed to leave him in my past and move on toward a better and brighter future. It took a long time, but I got there.
Now I sit here, having been out for 7 months. The threats continue, the attempts at control and manipulation continue. But I see them now. I’ve finally come out of the fog that I lived in for 6 years. I know better than to believe him when he professes his love for me in a long, rambling e-mail, because when he doesn’t get the answer that he wants, he will return to his cruelty. I expect it now, I see it coming, and it doesn’t hurt me anymore. It is just par for the course with him.
One blessing has come out of all this. My baby. At the end of next month I will be holding my little angel, the baby that I always wanted. I truly believe that part of what saved me from going back again is this child, whom I will go to the ends of the earth to protect. It isn’t about me or my safety anymore. It’s about this baby growing up strong, happy, healthy, and away from the abuse.
So, today will be a day filled with mixed emotions. I will continue to mourn the loss of what I once thought was a wonderful relationship, but I will also bask in the glow of my new-found inner strength. I will wonder what he’s doing today, if he realizes what a major milestone it is, although I’m sure that he won’t. I may cry, I may laugh, I’m just not sure. But I know one thing. I will never regret this past year. The person that I was then is gone. The person that I a now, the amazing, strong, talented person – she’s here to stay.