Sorry guys but this concerns our gender by a ratio of 1 out of 4 instead of 1 out of 9 for you. So I’ll be holding session with the ladies here, but feel free to read on if you so choose.
Sophia* was a vivacious, kind, giggly teenager. She had frizzy dark hair, a big smile, and round face and big brown eyes. I remember her working hard in school, laughing a lot, and being a generally nice person. I can only remember her now, because she is gone. She would have been my age this year – 45 years old.
I don’t know the grizzly details and I don’t try to find out. All I know is that like me she had a teenage son, and like me she had an emotionally unstable husband. Unlike me she was not so lucky as to get out of that relationship in time. He killed them both.
At first I felt nothing but shock at the news. Then I felt anger – so much anger – and not necessarily at him, the sick bastard. I felt angry that she stayed until that horrible conclusion.
Beautiful women, what do I have to say to make you realize that you are precious? You do NOT have to sacrifice yourself to be loved. If in exchange for love / companionship your partner wants you to be anything other than who you are RIGHT NOW – they are not worthy of you.
Anyone demanding a performance from you is unworthy of it. Make a pact with yourself – either they love you and want to be with the authentic YOU – or you are better off alone.
There are way worse things than being alone – and trust me, I feared being alone for so long. But being with the wrong person is actually worse – and especially if they are a demanding, narcissistic, emotionally unsafe SOB who does nothing more than use you for their own gain.
I’m sorry but clearly some of my anger over this is not gone, nor will it ever be, because it is a tragic and useless waste of LIFE – and Sophia and her son should have had a nice, long one.
There are always warning signs. Violence of this sort doesn’t just happen out of the blue one day. Jealousy, anger, manipulation, twisting things, confusion…oh, confusion is a big one. Keeping us off balance so we won’t know who to believe… if they can make us doubt ourselves they have essentially won the battle. But I digress. All of these symptoms appear in a relationship before the final violence. There are always signs – sometimes we are just too damn unrealistic to see them. We bury our heads in the sand and hope for the best. Sometimes that gets us by a little longer…but it is risky at best. Are you willing to make that gamble with your life? With the lives of your children?
It isn’t normal to fear closing your eyes because you think your husband might harm you while you aren’t looking. I used to being afraid and jumpy all the time. He thought it was funny how easily he could scare me in the shower or a dark doorway. Being scared is NOT normal ladies. It’s not healthy. If you can’t fall asleep in your husband’s arms as safe and secure as a baby, then there is a part of you that will not let her guard down around him and there is a reason for that.
Trust yourself. There is a reason you walk around on eggshells. There is a reason you tense up when he walks in. There is a reason you feel like you need to protect the kids, that you need to constantly appease him and smooth things over. You are not crazy, you are not looking for reasons to be paranoid. Fear is your bodies way of getting your attention because there is something fundamentally wrong with the situation. Listen to it and ask it why it is there.
When my husband finally left the house (at the urging of the elders of our church who I had tried to involve since he wouldn’t listen to me) for our separation to begin, he didn’t take any of his belongings – except for his gun. It was a message. He was armed and pissed off. He refused to let me change the locks so that he could come and go as he pleased. He threatened to kick down the door and call the police if I dared to disobey him on this matter. He tried to maintain power over me for as long as he could. Needless to say I didn’t feel very safe.
During our separation – which lasted almost 2 years – I would have violent dreams at night of him trying to kill me, of me allowing him to stab me because in my sick dreams it would heal him. I never fought back in my dreams. I would run sometimes, but somehow he always had the power to hurt me. Again – pay attention to your subconscious. It also is trying to warn you of a threat that you may try to rationalize away in your waking hours.
I was fortunate in that I got out of the relationship alive. Thankfully he turned out to be more bark than bite, and for that I am thankful. I prayed protection over us everyday though, and tried to always be mindful of how much and how quickly I could push. It took years for me to feel safe though – since he had a hard time respecting boundaries. It wasn’t until my new husband’s rottweiler bit him that he finally backed down and started giving me space. But I grieve for my sisters like Sophia who did not get out in time – or maybe was trying to get out and he snapped. I don’t know and I certainly don’t blame her, but I grieve for the unnecessary loss of life.
All this to say ladies – get out! Seriously. If you feel he is unsafe (trust your gut) – don’t try to fix him. You cannot be his savior nor were you meant to be. By all means pray for him and point him to people who can help him, but it CANNOT be you. Get out and get some safe boundaries in place.
Be smart about it, but do it. Get a support system in place, find safe people who will help and take action. Don’t wait until he gives you the green light. You don’t need his permission. He will hold you captive as long as he can because he is diseased and he needs someone to feed off of. Stop letting that someone be you.
Your life is too precious to lay down at the altar of his twisted and endless needs. Whatever you give will never be enough and you could very well end up giving more than you ever bargained for. Please – get help and get free! You deserve a beautiful, long life.
*name changed out of respect for her privacy and memory
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