I’m a survivor. I made it out of the marriage after 12 yrs of craziness. I dont even know how to tell that story because it is just so surreal and others seem to have a hard time understanding the complexity of dealing with someone like my ex. I’m exhausted and incredibly sad looking back at 12 yrs of my life that I spent existing for him and everything he needed and wanted. I did TIR, support groups, therapy , meditation but the sadness just stayed. How do I overcome this sentiment that sucks the life and joy out of me and prevents me from moving on and forward ? It has been two years since I left.
I really believe I do understand you, my sister. I left my marriage after 11 years and was divorced after 12. All of it was awful. Awful. And I suffered the same realization that I was alone in understanding just how complex it all was.
Lilly Hope Lucario writes:
Survivors often feel so little connection and trust with people, they remain in a terrible state of aloneness, even when surrounded by people. I described it once as having a glass wall between myself and other people. I can see them, but I cannot connect with them.
Another issue that increases this aloneness is feeling different to other people. Feeling damaged, broken and unable to be like other people can haunt a survivor, increasing the loneliness.
Even to this day, after all these years, I will read something that opens my eyes (even further) to how much hate I felt from my ex husband . . . just how much he used me . . . just how far down he wanted to push me. And, for me, it took several years just to understand all of this.
I wish I could give you a “magic answer” and tell you that things will get better “if you only . . . ” but it is so different for everyone. I CAN tell you that things WILL eventually get better. This pervasive sadness is part of the scarring of your soul. I think that, when we go through trauma, there is always a little bit of sadness, even after years and years. I can be at a party and enjoying myself and then, out of nowhere, comes a sadness I cannot explain . . . and I just want to go home. I have always been this way, though — at least, since my parents died when I was 24. I have been adorned with beautiful “flaws” through emotional trauma. But, that is OK. So was Jesus.
I can also tell you that isolation is a killer. Your ex isolated you and we, as survivors, feel compelled to isolate ourselves. This is one of the worst things we can do to ourselves. This is something we must fight in order to take care of our personhood.
My husband (David, not abusive) told me that he believed it would take me half the time I was with my ex to fully heal (this is not prescriptive). That seemed like forever. But, he was right. It has been six years, as of August 13th of this year, and I finally feel whole. That is not to say that I do not have scars. But, I have chosen to embrace those scars and see the as part of my wholeness. They are a part of me now. I am, only now, weaning off of my anxiety-depressive medications that I took to bring me through the process of trauma therapy and EMDR (which took me five years to get to). I won’t ever be the same and I have come to grips with it. Still, though . . .
Sometimes, I find my hands all tensed up and gripped in fists . . .
Sometimes, someone says something and it triggers me and I start to sweat and my face gets hot . .
Sometimes, I avoid certain situations (although I’m working on this) . . .
Sometimes, I still have nightmares . . .
Sometimes, I still have to use weighted blankets or pillows to sleep.
At the same time, I now have compassion that I never dreamed of . . .
I know how to love deeply and fiercely . . .
I have a spirit of empathy that sees the hurt that a lot of other people do not know how to see . . .
I am a better counselor . . .
I have been refined by Jesus . . .
I help other women who have gone through the same pain . . .
I am able to help my children . . .
I am able to express my emotion through art . . .
In a way, the sadness is beautiful. It keeps a fire, in my belly, to help others. And it reflects a part of Jesus that only He understands. He and I get it. He was there when I went through the pain of abuse, abandonment and being “shunned” by my very own people. He was there when every word of gossip was spoken. He was there every time my ex husband shamed me or made me feel dirty. I am not alone in this. And neither are you.
I believe He rescues His people for a purpose but I also believe that it hurts. We live in a dialectic personhood. We have our joys and our sadnesses and that is not a bad thing altogether. It is only bad if we are swallowed up by the sadness and do not see the hope that we have, as Believers, that He is working in us, through us and on us. My friend, He is doing this for you.
My prayer for you, today, is that you see that hope. It is there. Jesus never promised that our lives would be flawless. In fact, I would argue that he promised they would have affliction. I believe Him. I also believe in His ability to heal and to make beauty from ashes. He can and will do this for you. It sounds as though there is so much discovery of YOU to do. What makes you joyful? What brings you pleasure? What do you enjoy? Who are you now, aside from him? Who is the girl that he tried to ruin but couldn’t ruin? Do not give up, yet. And please take care of yourself. You are His precious girl. Take time to heal.