I was thinking this morning about how blessed I am to have made it through the hell of domestic abuse. I have a wonderful boyfriend who is thoughtful, communicative and funny as hell. I admire him, appreciate him and look forward to the time we share together, which is such a far cry from dreading the darkening hour of my exes arrival home. The sound of his car in my driveway making my heart race and making me sick to my stomach. But a few small things stuck out for me today. They aren’t even related thoughts but I wanted to share.
I remember when I was little, very young in fact, probably around 5. I had a small freckle just under my knee. I remember showing it to my father and he said to me “That’s a beauty mark.” and as I grew and that freckle became a mole, I still considered it a beauty mark. In fact, if anyone ever questioned it, I would say, “It’s a beauty mark.” And that answer was accepted. Until one day when I was in my 20s when my then boyfriend, who later became my abusive husband questioned it. When I answered him he said, “That’s not a beauty mark, it’s an ugly mole.” I’ll never forget the feeling I had at that moment. Looking back on it, I realize how important it is for women to have their father and/or positive men in their lives who see their “flaws” as “assets or a beautiful part of them.” As time went on and I got older, the mole did get bigger and I chose to have it removed but only because it became an issue when trying to shave my legs. The surgery was done by a cosmetic surgeon because of where it was. I never told the narc I was having it done and as much as he picked on that mole and how I believed it was a beauty mark for years, he never noticed it was gone. I had spent literally years being self conscious of something that he picked on only because he noticed it shook me up. He didn’t really care about the mole being under my knee, he only cared that my father loved me enough to say it was a beauty mark and in my Dad’s eyes, it probably was.
That brings me to my present relationship. So far my “flaws” have not been flaws but endearments. It’s a part of accepting someone for who they are. I am free to be me and he is free to be he.
My second thought today. I have been very sick this year. I work for a school and for whatever reason every, single virus has found me. My life partner (boyfriend) has been nothing short of wonderful. Calling me, making sure I’m okay. When I was with my ex, I could not be sick. Even though I was rarely sick, when I was, he would treat it as if it were just another day. He would not offer to cook dinner, he would not ask me if I needed anything. I could not even ask for him to get me a glass of water. I was told I was not an invalid and could get it myself. I was truly alone. If I felt I could not drive to the doctors, I would have to call my parents. Luckily, I have children now that can drive and still live at home so if I am as sick as I was, they will drive me. And I know if my life partner and I were not separated by his job right now, that he would not hesitate to take me and would probably even call my doctor if he felt I had waited too long. As you get older, being able to rely on your partner is important. There has to be trust and respect and honesty so that they can help you maneuver through health issues that present themselves in middle age. If you can’t tell your partner right now that you have a cold or the flu, what is going to happen and what type of support are you going to get if you have a serious health issue present itself? Handle it alone? You shouldn’t have too.
So, today I was thinking about how long I was without basic human kindness and thoughtfulness in the one relationship that was supposed to be the most loving and trustworthy.
If you are in a relationship where you can’t be sick or where you are not comforted when you feel horrible or if you have another piece of you that is seen as a flaw and the abuser just continuously uses it to make you self conscious or insecure, then you definitely want to look at your relationship sooner than later. I spent 28 years not having my needs met. I met my own needs but when you are in a partnership, you are supposed to also meet each other’s needs. Your relationship should ebb and flow naturally and common courtesy and kindness should go hand in hand. I put myself last for a very long time. Now I put myself first and I align my life partner with myself because when you have mutual love and respect, that is how it should be.