Demons rattle the bars of the cage from time to time but the nice thing about healing….real true healing inside as well as outside….is that they can rattle those bars all they want but they just can’t get out and touch your life any more.
Last week, my ex husbands name was listed in his small town local paper. In the arrest report. The charge was listed as “Assault On A Female.” No bond set. This is his 3rd charge.
I have no idea who the female is. I currently live half a country away. What I have come to learn from my stumbling across that arrest report online has shaken my core a bit, helped me settle some things within myself, and guided me through the next process of this journey as a Domestic Violence survivor.
You see, the abuse began a little over a week before the wedding. But I married him anyway. Because he was stressed, he didn’t mean to, he had a lot on his mind, he said he was sorry, I could help him.
And within the span of a two year time period it continued. A roller coaster marriage. And I felt obligated to stay. Because good christian girls don’t give up, they pray. Because love can fix anything. Because I could help heal him, help sooth the savage beast in him that was really just a scared, lost, hurting little boy. No one understood him the way I did.
Here’s the funny thing, I can look back now and see how wrong it was, how twisted I had it all in my head. I can tell other women now who are in their own tangled web of violence to get out GET OUT Dear God please just get away from him because he won’t stop won’t change you can’t save him take your babies get in your damn car and go. I see the weariness in scared eyes, the timid way their eyes dart around as they whisper confessions in heavy shame. I see bruises in the old familear shape of fingertips on upper arms. (It has been 18 months now since I last wore fingertip bruises on my upper arm.) I tell them my story so they know I am not judging, that I DO understand, I truly do. How it feels to love a man who only knows to show you love in spits and spurts, starts and jolting stops, slaps and clenched fists curled in much like the fetus in our belly that we pray will change who he is, draw out the gentle calmness in him. I tell them my story and then I tell them to get out. It’s easy for me to say. I understand it’s not easy to do, taking that first step, but it’s so beautiful to be safe and happy and unhindered these days. So I tell them my story and I tell them to go.
But…..here is the funny part…..often, when I am alone with my thoughts, I ponder my past and that tiny voice down deep in me whispers “What if?” What if this was my failure? Maybe I didn’t stay long enough. Maybe I lost faith too soon. Maybe I could have saved him. Maybe if I had given him more freedom, more space, more time away, more allowance to do as he pleased, not insisted the drugs stay out, not demanded he lay off the drinking, maybe I WAS controlling bitch, fun-killer, maybe it WAS my fault…..
No no no. I KNOW that’s utter horse shi. I swear I DO. I know better, am smarter than all that noise.
The funny thing about abuse
No matter what kind it is…
verbal, physical, emotional, mental, financial, sexual…..it’s all basically on the same damn track with one sole purpose. TO. BREAK. YOU. DOWN.
Piece by piece by piece it chips away all of your self confidence and courage and it dulls your shine and knocks the bounce out of your step and basically implements all it’s tools to convince you THIS IS YOUR FAULT.
And I am so damn happy now. And life is good. And this man by my side is wonderful. He would never hurt me. Not even a shove or a verbal threat. Not a chance, not on your life. I am secure and safe.
the funny thing is, sometimes I feel like that broken girl I was before 18 months ago. Back when I walked on egg shells and apologized for the world and all of it’s ways. Sometimes I feel totally unworthy of Justins love. When Justin and I first got together he asked me “Why do you apologize for everything?” It was a question that confused me. Well, why WOULDN’T I , when everything was always my fault? I have learned over time to let that go. But still……the scars on ones soul from a person they loved and trusted hurting them, are there forever.
I had never had a fractured bone within this skin until I met Dave. Had never known how futile defending yourself and throwing a punch really is when you are a 5 foot tall 110 pound woman and your opponent is a drunk giant. (Hint: You don’t win. He’ll pick you up by your dreadlocks and shake you like a ragdoll and your mind will half feel the pain and half be in awe that your hair doesn’t rip clean out of your scalp.) And see? That right there. My mind says “Well, you know, in retrospect…if you hasn’t have tried to hit him BACK…….” Not that it mattered. I got my ass kicked whether I walked away or begged him to stop or fought back.
The funny thing is this: it is so easy for me to tell others to get out because they do not deserve it and IT IS NOT THEIR FAULT.
It is far harder to not feel like I deserved it.
But you guys don’t know me. You don’t know how hard I can be to live with. How frustrating living with someone with anxiety and depression can get. How stressful this many kids can get. I’m not fun. I’m too busy cleaning and cooking and diaper changing to want to go out and smoke meth or get wasted. I havent been wasted in ages. I nag sometimes. I can’t let things go. I have grouchy days. I PMS. I get sleep deprived and cranky. I’d rather stay home watching Netflix than go out. I’m not 21 anymore. I’m tired and old and worn out and used up and not pretty enough fun enough anything enough. Of course he hit me. Of course he said those words. Of course. And someday soon Justin will realize how much better he can do. He will see how he is throwing away his life, wasting his heart on this messy pile of broken pieces of what used to be a wonderful girl, he will realize his mistake because OH I don’t deserve him.
Those soul scars.
They shout loudly sometimes.
It hurts my ears.
Makes me want to curl up in a ball on myself just like that little fetus in my belly that never really mattered to him any more than my tears did when his hands were curled into fists, curl in and just cry because all I feel is ugly. Still. After all this time.
Not all of the time. But sometimes. Still.
Until 2 days ago.
When I saw that arrest report.
And I don’t know who the female was he assaulted. But I do know it was not ME. No. I am here. Unbattered. So, that shakes things up a bit, you see? I always put myself as the deciding factor. But I am removed from this equation now and still the same damn answer keeps coming out. Which tells me only one thing:
IT. WASN’T. MY. FAULT.
Do you understand how it moves my heart to type those words?
To read them?
To think them?
I read that arrest report a half dozen times and that epiphany washed over me and I cried. It was such a weight being lifted from my shoulders.
It was not my fault. Not my failure. I could never save him or change him. That was not my place. I am not God. I am just a girl who loved the wrong guy for awhile and knows better now.
It wasn’t my fault.
(I get tears in my eyes every time I type that. I’m still healing, see? It’s a process, see?)
I don’t know who the female is whom he assaulted but I do hope she is a faster learner than I was. I hope she gets out and stays out. I hope she is safe tonight and forever and never knows his angry fists again.
What I have learned is that sometimes….sometimes healing hurts just as much as what we are trying to heal from.
This right here. This encapsulates pretty well how I feel.