Two summers ago I was experiencing a marriage that had turned very violent very quickly.
Finding the courage to exit that space happened in a moment. I was Suddenly Single in about two hours.
As suddenly as I departed I had known for about a year that I was trying to leave. But it’s such a wild space to be in a place where you are emotionally and sometimes physically hammered to the point that you lose a sense of self, a sense of reality, a sense of direction, a sense of communication. You just completely lose yourself in the haze and the chaos.
I had so many friends and family members on the outside saying you’re such a strong woman…I’ve always seen you as this empowered person. How in the world did you get into a space in a relationship where you were so defeated and you were so lost, and you were feeling so broken?
I think my kids are what kept me from being there for 5-years or 10-years.
I fell in love with him. I was head over heels. I thought he was my spiritual partner.
I fell in love with this idea of who my husband was. Looking back I see all the little red flags that I kept excusing because I was so excited about this other stuff.
I was without employment, without my own resource pool, and with a newborn daughter. Finding the energy to address what I was experiencing was completely overwhelming in the beginning and I felt trapped.
I just kept telling the story, this is just stress…this is just stress. Whatever I could do to keep myself safe in that space.
This isn’t going to be her story of love. She isn’t going to see her dad treat a woman this way.
I acknowledge the difficulty when there are children involved, but at the end of the day, it was choosing myself but also their ability to grow and develop and be in love and relationship with another got me to exit.
I felt like I was standing in the middle of a desert and there were windstorms all around me and I didn’t see an end in sight in any direction.
I felt so isolated, I felt so disconnected. I couldn’t even really remember what I could offer the world.
The really interesting thing was how much time it took me to quit caretaking him. My brain was still so oriented towards his healing. It took my brain and my being so long to quit focusing all my attention on him.
What ultimately allowed me to restabilize was receiving in community. I asked for help. I spoke to my disorientation. I spoke to my shame. It was my second marriage and when I entered into it I thought it was my last marriage. No one wants to be divorced twice. I had so much shame around so many aspects of it and I was really frozen when I first exited.
I had to do a lot of speaking with safe people about what was going on. I had a network of safe people who in many ways I had been isolated from in my marriage but that I reached back out to and said I needed to just talk. I don’t really remember who I am, I don’t really remember what my gifts are, I don’t remember how to share myself in the world. There are some basic things like feeding myself right now that are really difficult. I just need to remember who I am.
I allowed help and community to come back in my life and that meant everything.
Here I am. Its been almost two years now. I welcomed a new love into my life about 5-months ago.
The key thing that I’m trying to share is I never let go of my belief in love, I never let go of my belief in better things, I never let go of my belief of my capacity of healing. Opportunities continued to open as I continued to walk towards that path I was always trying to get on.
He was the ultimate climax in a long history of men I had an imbalanced relationship with where I was caretaker and they were the one who stole the show. I chose to let this time be that refiners fire.
I really devoted myself to transitioning out of this life-long behavioral pattern with men in my life.
It’s amazing what has just continued to open up in my life.
There is a beautiful community waiting for you. There is a massive network of humans out there that are willing and able to help people transition through these spaces. Just reach out. There are resources and they are there to help with these very things. Trust that you can make it out and that there is a different way and that the ache will eventually go away.
Reach for the community and make sure you are held because in the beginning you just can’t do it on your own. You just can’t. We get reabsorbed into the vacuum if we try to do it ourselves. Access resources of community support to find your way through and out. There are many people waiting to hold you and walk you through that space.