As I put my life back together, I find notes here and there that I kept. Volumes and volumes and I cannot believe, reading them now, that I stayed.
“It feels like every movement has to be just so or he will be disappointed. I spend my days trying not to disappoint him and have lost myself in the process. There has to be a balance.”
My “log” continues and says “I’m worried that he will find something wrong with the cleaning I did in the house or with dinner and it will ruin our vacation time. I hope I’m wrong because we all need this…kids included.”
The only way you are going to stop walking on egg shells…which means to watch your every move so you don’t anger or upset the other person, is to take control of your own life and STOP WALKING ON EGG SHELLS. Stop. It’s one thing if someone is having a bad day and you want to just be careful around them that day but to live it every day is exhausting.
My log goes on to say that while I am not without blame myself, I am not perfect, it is exhausting to try to be perfect for him and that I am coming to the realization that while I am not without blame, I do not deserve to be verbally and emotionally abused. It is in this note that I commit to going to Alternatives for Battered Women to see if I can break the cycle of abuse and reclaim my life. I make the call and I find a meeting…..I would stay with him 13 more years but I tried many, many times to leave, save our marriage, save him. I did a tightrope walk through life between him and my children, trying to keep everyone safe and my head above water. Many counselors told me I was the strongest person they had ever met. They did not know how I kept everything in balance. I just did. My main focus was my boys. All my decisions were based on them and trying to make sure they grew up knowing right from wrong in relationships so that they would not carry out this cycle of abuse.
It would be another 9 years before I got my first restraining order and admitted publically that I was a battered wife. In that time, things got progressively worse as his anxiety grew and he tried more and more to gain control of me as I worked to loosen his control and regain my sense of self. He started making up paranoid stories to give reason to the way I was acting. Anything was better than admitting he had an issue himself. It would be another 3 years before we would separate and end our marriage for good.