How long does abuse residue last? I have read numerous articles on how your brain reacts after abuse or how to heal from trauma. My trauma is not near what other women have experienced so I’m speaking from a middle ground. I’ve never been sent to the hospital or escaped to a battered women’s shelter. I have had hands on me and mentally abused to the point that I felt I was worthless for years. Those feelings rear their ugly head often and strongly. It is like an anxiety waterfall. All the blood rushes from my face, my hair stands on end and tingles, my lungs struggle for air, and my extremities feel like every muscle is tensed and ready to run or fight.
There are certain triggers for me (yes, I am responsible for learning to handle these triggers myself so I am not blaming anyone). I’m sure there are for you as well if you have ever been in a situation that crushed your self worth. How many times does my heart have to endure these feelings? How many times CAN it before it finally just says, “Enough is enough. Here is a heart attack.”? I don’t know but I felt it last night again TWICE. Let me spin you the tale…
My husband and I went to an Eric Church concert. It was a last minute decision. While there, a lady started yelling for our son (he and my husband’s mother also attended even more last minute than us). She was there with her son and the boys play sports together. You have to remember my husband had quite the reputation in town as a ladies man. My heart jumped into my throat and I immediately wanted to vomit when he quickly ran over to her and hugged her instead of grabbing my hand and reminding her he is married in a very open way. Later in the night he opened his phone and quickly pushed away her message. She had not only hugged my husband publicly now she was in his personal messages. I’m NOT ok with that. He brushed it off. “I hugged her right in front of you a while ago. Don’t even start that.” Yes, I was already cracked from that and now you are hurriedly hiding messages thinking I didn’t see them. When we first started dating he gave me a spill about how he had told all his lady friends that he didn’t want them messaging him because he was dedicated to me and was no longer “that guy”. He asked me to do the same because he wanted us to be together and not have those obstacles in our way. I agreed wholeheartedly because I really believed he wanted to change.
Has he changed? Am I being blind? Is this going to turn out just like the others? Maybe he will suddenly not want to be with me and run off to the Philippines for a new bride (it happened to me). Maybe he will just love someone else right here in our small town (the guy didn’t love her but was sleeping with her). Maybe he will string me along for years until the kids are grown and I have put my all into raising the family and then confess how he never loved me but used me to get the kids well cared for in their needful years. That he had never changed from “that guy” but I was just so eager to take on all that responsibility and he needed help so it was a perfect situation for him.
Why am I so damaged? Why can’t I just accept love? Because I have heard it all before. Every man I have ever been involved with has sworn that they are not “the same as all the rest” and guess what? All but one have been. ALL. BUT. ONE. They continually tell us, “Don’t judge me by all the rest of the men in the world because I’m different!” And what do we do? We have been so broken and torn down that we grab onto that hope and believe them.
So, here comes the being fair part of my story. I have not told him all of my past. How I had been mistreated, how I had been hurt physically, how I have been tossed to the side as a piece of garbage, or how my heart breaks so easily at small things because they trigger memories that are absolutely soul crushing. He doesn’t know because I have not shared the embarrassing details of the way I ALLOWED myself to be treated.
He is a guy that everyone either loves or hates. Normally, that runs along the lines of the women love him and the men hate him. I’m not an ugly woman but I cannot compete with the women that have their hair done every six weeks and spend $50 on a bottle of make up. While they are spending on such things I’m making sure there are groceries in the house. Yes, I’m jealous. It hurts to know they can twitch their pony tail (or giant balloons) and gather attention while I’m thankful I still have enough toothpaste to brush my teeth. It hurts to know that my kids don’t get the name brand stuff because there isn’t enough money left for that after the bills are paid. Will it kill them? No. It didn’t kill me. My parents struggled and I didn’t ever see my mother even get a salon cut until I was grown. Maybe that shaped who I am and how I react to things. I’m sure it did and I’m ok with that. It keeps me from being an entitled spoiled wife.
I wrote this to show you that you are going to be ok. Some of you may read this and decide just to become a lesbian but my lesbian friends will just tell you it is the same drama because we all have some sort of triggers we live with inside. You will survive. You will thrive. But you have to choose to just let the hippy in you absorb the good and let the bad roll off into the gutter where our exes lie. In the end, choose happiness. Be mad for a while and stomp or scream or just sit quietly contemplating your revenge but then let it go. It is like when you see a homeless person you give a dollar to, you can’t make them spend it on something to eat rather than putting it on a bottle of booze. You can choose not to give any more money or continue believing in the goodness of people. When you release that money you are not in charge of it anymore. Just as releasing your expectations on a relationship. Release it and let happen what happens then make your decision from there.
If you are being abused please seek help. If you are being an overly dramatic woman, like I am, then suck it up and stop. The number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233 or you can go to thehotline.org.
UPDATE: So while we were showering last night, I broached the subject. I explained how it hurt and why it hurt and he has promised to not let that type of thing get in our way again. Also, his mother cussed him out and got him right because she saw the look on my face when it all went down. Thanks, Nannie!
He has yet to break a promise to me so I can trust him, right? Regardless, I’m tough and have things to do so I’ll just keep my nose to the grindstone and do what I know to be right!