I haven’t been blogging much recently because I have a lot on my mind and it’s not the sort of stuff I usually talk about in this space. I have come to the realization that the internal struggle I have had over the past few weeks has a direct impact on my children and therefore, it does belong here.
I grew up knowing that my parents supported me unconditionally – they may not have always agreed with my decisions but I always had their support and they never said I told you so when things didn’t work out the way I planned.
I grew up in a house where we were held accountable for our actions.
I grew up in a house where telling someone to shut-up or calling them stupid or a baby was unacceptable and I plan to raise my children the same way. There is no reason to ever tell someone to shut-up, it is incredibly disrespectful. In this house we listen to each other – and really listen, not simply wait for them to stop talking so we can have our say.
14 years ago today I entered the 2 darkest years of my life when I married my ex-husband. Every decision I made, every penny I spent, every phone call I made – it was all watched. Everything I said was debated and I finally got to the point where I stopped expressing my opinion because I would be ignored, told I was wrong or screamed at for an hour. I started to believe that I wasn’t smart, that I didn’t matter, and I didn’t recognize myself anymore. I believed that marriage was forever and divorce would make me a failure – if the abuse would have ever turned physical I would have been out the door in a heartbeat. It took me a while to realize that the verbal abuse was still abuse.
A very good friend of mine was getting married (Hi Jim!) and when I told my husband about the wedding he said we couldn’t go because he had plans for that day. I quietly sent the RSVP for myself, I wasn’t going to miss the wedding. When the day rolled around he flipped out and was shocked that I was going without him. That is the day that the light bulb went off, we separated for good a few weeks later.
I filed for divorce, volunteered for every extra work assignment to advance my career and went back to school. I am a very different person today because of that time period. In recent years December 6th usually passes without much thought, I have a husband who loves me and thinks I am pretty smart too. We listen to each other’s opinions and above all respect each other.
No one has ever spoken to me that way my ex-husband did until a few weeks ago. There was some drama in Scott’s family and someone felt that they were entitled to be really mad and take it out on me. I put up with the screaming and cursing on the phone watching my every word in an effort not to make the situation worse. I was shaking for hours after that call and the subsequent e-mails (when you come from a family where shut-up is a bad word, being told to F*%# off from someone who is supposed to be family is a bit jolting). The saddest thing about all of this was that Scott wasn’t surprised by the events.
Now I am in mama bear mode and I want to protect everyone from the ugliness. I feel like I saw the true personalities of a few people that weekend and now I need to decide how that affects our household. The reality is that my children may grow-up not knowing their only cousins and that makes me sad. (Note: This is not an isolated event, there is obviously a long history that I am not discussing here out of respect for Scott – those are not my stories to tell).
Photo credit: My amazing friend Michelle.