I apologize for the length of this post, but sometimes the only way to heal, is to release it from your hold and to tell the story one last time before you can put your face to the sun again. I’m going to tell you about someone I know, because there was a lesson that she learned, that took her longer then she wished but that changed everything. Maybe her journey will help you through yours, as it’s helping me.
We were talking one day, and she looked at me exhausted with life, but smiling because of a conversation she had just had with somebody that showed her a different path. She had been through so much in her life, and then had left a toxic marriage and endured a very nasty divorce, so it was wonderful to see her smiling. I asked her what had changed, and this was her story…
It had taken her a long time to get the nerve up to leave her husband. She had small children, and had quit school to raise them, so did not have financial backing, especially since her husband held all of the finances and did not allow her part of them. They had been in therapy for five years, which began because of how horrible his family treated her. This family had started out amazing, surrounding her in love and praise and treated her like one of their own. But that ended up changing after awhile, when they realized she wasn’t like them. His parents excluded her and the children from any family functions for years, they talked poorly about her amongst the family and others in the community. This “Christian” family was anything but that behind closed doors. They would smile to your face, and say horrible things behind your back. And this wasn’t just with outsiders, they did it to their own family. Watching their conduct for seventeen years made her question what it meant to be a Christian. And eventually she stopped caring about being part of that family, especially since her husband would not stand up to his parents, as he depended on them too much. So they focused on their own issues in therapy. He was abusive, he drank too much, and he was never really around or involved with the children (she had to find a ride home from the hospital with their newborn son; she had to find a ride to the hospital for heart surgery because he choose a week of hunting, amongst many other things). He then had to go to a sex therapist for his porn addiction, and because she was the victim of marital rape. This went on for a very long time, with his excuse that she was a “sexual sleeper”, which made him think it was ok for him to do the horrible things he did. Eventually she kicked him out of the bedroom and installed a lock on her door. It took her a very long time to sleep through the night, and to this day still has re-occurring sleep trauma.
The fairy tale that everyone saw, was not the truth. When the door closed, the mood was always tense, the voices were always loud and the abuse was present one way or another. There was so much anger, there was so much drama with the family, there were so many tears. He became more and more distant, allowing alcohol to be a big part of his evenings. He was short with the kids, he had a temper that caused him to hit and scream and scare. Then he would buy gifts to make up and life would go on. Rings, cameras, cruises, wads of cash, flowers. He always thought throwing money at them meant he could do whatever he wanted.
Then, on top of that, she caught him cheating with the neighbor. They had just built a new home, which she poured her heart and soul into, thinking she would live there until she was old and grey. It began with her staying home with the kids while he would spend late nights drinking and complaining about her with these new friends. Then one night she caught him doing things he should not have been doing with another woman, in her own kitchen. When he was confronted, he blamed the neighbor and took no responsibility, even though it had been going on for months. He then blamed her for not being attentive enough to him. And like always, he told her she just needed to choose to be happy and appreciate everything he had given her and everything would be fine. He always used the things he bought as an excuse to be able to do whatever he wanted. He hid behind his money like always. At this point, he had broken all of his vows to her, his words were meaningless, and she was done.
So she did choose happy. She chose to leave and start her life again. She didn’t want her children to think that this was a healthy way to live, or a relationship to copy. She stupidly thought they could be amicable and deal with things properly, but he had other plans. He hid his money (which his parents helped with) and he began his web of lies. They quickly told everyone she had cheated, that he had provided so well and wanted things to work. The church she attended for 17 years sent her a letter revoking her membership. Friends that they shared (some of the women she had confided in about the rape) stayed and supported him, and he began his threats and bullying. He kicked down her door (and was charged with domestic mischief) when she tried to stop him from ransacking the house of all of the furniture that she had bought. He threatened her about court and how they couldn’t go because of the things he had done with his business and all of the money would be gone if he was caught. He was hostile and she needed him out of the house. She did not realize agreeing to 50/50 custody to make him leave would mean she wouldn’t be able to change that later on. He would say horrible things infront of the kids, telling them their mom was a whore and they were getting a divorce because she “fu@ked all these men”. He lied in all of the paperwork. He lied and he lied and he lied. And then he had the audacity to tell her he was in the best Christian walk that he had ever been in. She watched this monster unfold infront of her, and she started to ask herself how she never saw what he truly was. Why she had ignored all of the red flags that were there from the beginning. He bullied her to the point she gave up, and he walked away with the better deal. Yet, he tells everyone lies of inflated child support, her getting everything, she cheated, she was crazy…and the list goes on.
When she left, she was positive, and happy to be free of him and his family. She didn’t know what she was going to do exactly, but she knew that she and her kids were going to be a lot happier. But life was hard, and she struggled with work, with the kids adjusting and her ex trying to cause her as much pain as possible. Her children were her heart, and every week they went to him, he used it as a way to hurt her. She watched as he bought a brand new skiidoo, two properties (one that he is building their old house she designed), brand new truck, yet somehow wasn’t working. She watched as her children were devastated when he proposed a few months after starting to date their daughters teacher. She watched as her children would come home and take days to destress and relax, because of how he was treating them. She listened as they told her of the abuse they were going through, while his partner watched and loosely threatened that she wouldn’t stay with him if he kept hitting the kids. She listened as they told her that their dad would just buy her things when she said this, and she would look the other way, telling them that ‘hands on wasn’t ok and that if he ever hit their kids she would freak’. She watched, she listened, and she became angry. Mainly because her children were collateral damage. He was so consumed in the material things and rebuilding his life quickly (and creepily very much the same as his old life) that he was not considering how the kids were feeling. That they needed time to adjust. They wanted time with just him as a little family, but instead he was too busy buying himself a nanny.
So she let her anger build and she began to wish that karma would get him. That people would see him for what he was. That the truth would come out. That he would suffer the way that he had made her suffer. And he knew how to push her buttons, and that every time he did, she would react. And when she reacted she was never level headed, and he knew this and he used it to his advantage. She was angry that she was stressed about trying to find a house, while he had a wealthy grandfather sending him cheques to be able to do the things he was doing. That while she struggled to provide a house to fit everyone properly, he had others making it possible for him to own two properties and build two houses. She watched as he tried to do everything the same as their old life together; same dog, same house plan, her furniture and decorations had been used to decorate the house he and his partner lived in, he used his family to surround her just like he had with her, as his lack of social skill and conversation is not as obvious when his family is around. The pattern was the same, he was trying to make his life just like his last. She watched as her children were upset that he was having a wedding not even a year after his divorce, and that they were told there would be new siblings for them to babysit. She listened as her children would tell her the ridiculous things his partner confided in them, all because she was very insecure and needed attention. She watched as his new partners insecurities were so high, that her children no longer got to have any alone time with their dad, and that at every drop off she found the need to come and dress up and parade herself outside of the truck while the kids got in. Actually, she found this waste of time and energy quite amusing. But the rest of it, she let it anger her and she wanted him to get his karma he deserved.
Then one day, she was talking to someone very wise, and he told her:
You don’t want his destruction. You don’t want karma to get him. You actually want him to heal. You want him to become a better man, so that in turn he can become a better father to your children. Because hurt people, hurt people. When you point a finger at him hoping for chaos and pain, there are three pointing at you causing you more chaos and pain. You know what he did to you, and one day he will have to answer to that. He probably knows deep down, how shitty of a person he is. So wish for his healing. Because if he is a better person, then your children will not be hurt, he will be kinder to you, and the woman he is with will not have to suffer as you did. Let him go. Let it all go. You left, so leave.
The same day, she saw this quote:
These two things completely changed her and what she felt. She no longer felt desperate for her side to be heard, for people to know what really happened. Because she knew one of two things would happen:
ONE: He heals, he takes responsibility for all that he has done, he finds help with his anger, drinking and sexual issues and he becomes a descent human being. He realizes you can’t buy love and puts the proper effort into his relationships. Then nothing matters because the kids are happy, she doesn’t have to worry so much about them anymore, and the two can live their lives happily with other people and finally co parent for the sake of their kids.
TWO: He doesn’t heal. He continues to be determined to rebuild his life the exact same, he puts all of his energy into the material things and keeping his new partner happy and his relationship with his kids deteriorates. (They already ask why he hides his money, acts like he doesn’t work, never spends time with them, and why he puts her before them. They are already refusing visits and when there, spending more time with their aunts and friends then him). That his family will continue to support and encourage this behavior, which will never help him to heal, all because they only care about the family image. Instead of working on the important things, he will eventually neglect his partner and under appreciate her the way he did in his past relationship. Because as soon as a ring is put on her finger, he owns her. She will no longer be able to stomp her feet like a toddler or cry in her room for hours to get her own way and have things bought for her. And one day, if she is a woman with any depth and pride to her, she will realize that there is more to a relationship then things. She won’t want to just be a ‘kept woman’. He won’t be able to buy her with big fake rings, motorcycles, botox and lip injections, flower arrangements, trips, new cars, new houses, new iphones, and wads of cash. She will want more than a sugar daddy. She will want more then the broken person in front of her that chose not to heal.
She realized that while she’s focusing on the important things, time will allow his life to repeat. He will end up the same way he did with her, back at his parents house playing victim. He has already started the exact same way as his last life, and shows no signs of changing. (But others were starting to see this, some even mentioning that he has ‘no moral compass’ and that his character was glaring through). And she knew that right now, this was the path he was going down. His partner happily following, collecting her goodies along the way. Thinking that all of these things he had to buy her to keep her happy, was actually making her happy, instead of seeing how superficial it really was. Rushing into a marriage because of pressure and the fact two people can’t manage to live on their own is a train wreck waiting to happen.
So, she could either grab her popcorn and watch it all happen, or she could find grace and wish for his healing. As much as she liked popcorn, she is reaching for grace, in hopes that her children will come out less damaged then the path they are headed right now. Because his life choices were going to cost him more then just money.
If you don’t heal the things that are wrong, you will attract the same broken people into your life, and no amount of material possessions will make you happy. No matter how much you try to convince yourself and those around you that you are happy, you just won’t be. It will all be an illusion. Time will allow your story to repeat.
If you have stuck it through and read to this point, and this story reminds you of how you feel in your own situation, then please try to find the strength to let go. Realize what she did: that you are worthy of so much more and he/she were never capable to give you what you deserved. So close the book. It is done, your last chapter was written. Wish them well, wish them healing, and then put that book on a top shelf out of the way. Because it is time to open a new, fresh clean book. Where the pages are waiting for a new adventure. Where your healing can only come when you are ready to write a new story that is different from the last. Don’t worry about opening that old one up anymore, you don’t need it. And don’t read what the critics say about it, their opinion doesn’t matter. It was your story, and now it is done. Trust me, there are so many things in your life right now to be happy for. And if one of those things is getting out of a toxic relationship, congratulations!
What will be the first sentence in your new beautiful book?