Friday, April 10, 2015

Our Story (2): The Married Years The First Time Around

"Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves."
Henry David Thoreau

(continuing from last time...)

So despite how toxic the relationship was and how mismatched we were and what a stupid idea it was, my ex and I got married when I was 24. Looking back now with 20/20 vision that comes with experience, maturity and wisdom, I can see clearly what a big mistake I made. Huge. I should have been a runaway bride and headed for the hills. I didn’t.
I should have headed for the hills!

Instead, I convinced myself that once we were married things would eventually get better. They didn’t. No matter how hard I tried. Or how I behaved. Or what I said or did. Or what I put up with or pretended not to notice. Or how often (and for how many shortcomings) I apologized. We were married for 8 years and the majority of that time was miserable. Heartbreaking. Painful. Dysfunctional. Alarming. Exhausting. Disturbing. Confusing. Dishonest. And worst of all, volatile. Many a time I would sit on my back balcony with a heaviness in my heart and a sense of despair and a darkness in my soul and think - over and over again - as I stared off into the horizon “This can’t be my life for the next 20...30...50 years. It just can’t. I won’t make it.”

I've never felt more lost and unhappy and alone and pessimistic and worthless than during that period; witnessing and dealing with situations that were beyond my comprehension. My world had spiraled out of control. I was living a life that was so off course and so misaligned in every way from what I’d dreamed about and wished for and approved of that it felt surreal.

I should have left early on. Why didn’t I? For many reasons. So many, in fact, that if I were to list them and explain them, it would lead to a book. In a nutshell, I got stuck in an emotional and psychological cycle that took many years and a lot of tears and intense soul searching to untangle...and heal. Because at some point I had to locate the woman I truly was and free her; the one that was buried under all this madness.

In the meantime, somewhere in this chaos my two beautiful daughters were born.

To be continued... (click here)

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

45 comments:

  1. When we're young and inexperienced, we hope against hope and persevere despite all reason. I'm glad you were able to break out of that cycle of despair and dysfunction and become the happy woman you are today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. P.S. Oh I almost forgot . . . I answered your "Ask Me Anything" question at my blog today.

      Delete
    2. Thank you, Debra. I'm so grateful that the horrible time is in the past. Live and learn. And I'm on my way to your blog right now. It's been a crazily busy day but I'm done. Time to visit my blogging pals.

      Delete
  2. Beautiful bride you made! It was good you did get out of the marriage and although a lot of it was not how marriage should be, at least like you said, you got the gift of your two daughters and I know you wouldn't trade that for anything!

    betty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are absolutely right, Betty. I wouldn't trade that for anything. They are the best thing that ever happened to me.

      Delete
  3. oh Girl,you were a beautiful bride, you're even more beautiful today. i was 25, the time I got married, I made my new husband promise to me that we'd fix any problems that came our way. I made him promise. The first six months were great, and the rest was spent trying to keep my head up, swallowing the abuse, the lies, the cheating....until i finally asked myself at 29 is this the rest of my life, to be disrespected, treated as less than a human being, did I want my son to be raised in a place where women were stupid and never did anything right? I got my divorce at 30, and it was the best thing I ever did for me, for my son, for our happiness. He crushed my innocence, i did get over it but I could never marry again. I was happier alone. But i'm so glad that you found a way out of this cruel marriage and met the most wonderful man in the world....You deserve all the happiness in the world xxx PS my son married an intelligent, strong beautiful woman, and I'm so proud of him...I can't wait for the story and hopefully photos of your wedding to the most important and wonderful man in the world. You deserve it Girl!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, Lorraine. I had no idea. I'm so sorry you had to live that. Good for you for getting out. It definitely is the best thing you ever did for you and your son. Sometimes I think about how great it would have been if my first marriage had ended sooner but that would mean that my younger daughter would not have been born. And that is a horrible thing.

      Delete
    2. That I understand Girl, not having met him, not having had my son is unbearable...

      Delete
  4. Oh Martha, I think it is the person you are that kept you trying to make this thing work for all those years, you sure did not give up. I was stuck in a job with a boss I did not get along with for many years until I finally quit. It was only then I realized I should have done that a long time ago, I was freed and happy!

    To analyse one step further, you had the perfect father and you expected all men were like that, it was what you knew. Well that is just my 2 cents.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we all have a story to tell, Christine. I'm always happy when I hear that someone has been liberated from a toxic situation. Good for you for getting out!

      And you are right about my father. He was such a great man and I expected them all to be that way. I learned how wrong I was.

      Delete
  5. A dear friend just managed to leave a bad marriage, full of abuse and sadness. She is beginning again at 50 - and turning into a tigress! Every time I see her she is more substantial. He did not break her. :) I cannot imaging the bravery involved to untangle yourself from abuse and the cycles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good for you! And she will continue to thrive as time goes on. She is liberated!

      Delete
  6. You're sharing "our" story. It's the story many of us fell into...and finally worked our way out. Hugs to all our sisters...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You bet! One big group hugs for all our sisters.

      Delete
  7. Like turquoismoon said. I think we can all relate. Don't beat yourself up for being human, and I'm so glad you got two beautiful daughters out of it - a double blessing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My daughters are the greatest gift. Thank goodness for them.

      Delete
  8. Dear Martha
    So sorry to hear of of the heartaches you had to endure during your first marriage but you got 2 wonderful daughters from it and that is truly a blessing!

    Have a lovely weekend, Martha.
    The birds are singing here and I am so happy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so right, Margie. I got my two girls from it and that is the greatest blessing. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

      Delete
  9. Don't be too hard on yourself. Hindsight is always 20/20 and at least you're not still with "Mr. Wrong."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, thank goodness "Mr. Wrong" is a thing of the past!

      Delete
  10. When we are young, we think we can do and overcome anything. It takes life experiences, good and bad, to wake us up and see ourselves and our situation for the first time.
    Your eyes were opened, Martha!
    Good for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You got that right, Jim. Life experiences teach us lessons. And they build character. No one is born knowing everything!

      Delete
  11. The old adage, "If I knew then what I know now..."

    If you could turn back time would you not get married or did you learn huge lessons during that time and appreciate it now?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is impossible to say I wouldn't get married because my daughters would not exist today. But if I was the person then that I am today, I wouldn't have given this man a second look. And my life would be different now. But there's no point in looking back. What's done is done. I've got two beautiful daughters and the man I'm married to today makes that period seem like a million years ago.

      Delete
  12. Been there did it with my first marriage with two boys I was married the first time at 21 then after the first child at age 23 all went down hill as well as the metal and verbal abuse from him started and I was stripped of who I was and took me years to feel confident and human again ! I finally got out and away from it all but it took me years to do it I was in the marriage for 18 years as I had the kids and I didn't work back then either not as easy then as it maybe these days to just pack up and walk away no matter what we went through but I see now that if it wasn't for these pasts that we had our futures wouldn't be as good as they are now as we both have found our hero's ! Thanks for sharing , Life is good now aint it my friend ?! Have a good weekend !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, you are a true survivor! And I completely understand how and why you stayed in that marriage. No need to even explain; I totally get it. Life is definitely good now. And I believe that living a shitty relationship like that makes you really appreciate that special person that comes along later on. Thanks for sharing your story. And I'm so happy for you and the loving life you're living now. You earned it! Happy weekend to you.

      Delete
  13. You tell a story that many other women could tell. It seems that there is an age when we do not entirely get reality. I like the way you express your self about this situation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Experience is one of the greatest educations. When we're young we don't have enough of that. Thankfully, I learned and changed directions.

      Delete
  14. Martha ~ I just can't fathom that this is/was you ~ I would say that your soul-searching really was deep and you have come out the other end scarred yet strong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes I can't fathom that this was me. That soul-searching did wonders for me. And having good people in my life certainly helped. I have grown and changed and change direction and the past did scar me but certainly made me stronger.

      Delete
  15. We are who we are because of where we have been... I believe you had to learn something then plus you got 2 daughters, can you see your life today without them? What is really important is happening today!

    You always find the perfect quote :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't have said it better, Richard. And I agree. I had something to learn during that period. It was a very important lesson. And no, I could not imagine my life without my two daughters. They are a blessing.

      Delete
  16. Your story is one of a survivor, I hope it helps others that might need a boost of confidence to make a change in their life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am always happy hearing about people getting out of toxic situations. And I always understand why it takes time to do so.

      Delete
  17. Oh, what a beautiful dress! Hey, I love the comment from Richard above, I so agree.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I can only imagine how terrible it was for women in the times where getting a divorce wasn't a thing that was not socially acceptable. Men can be monsters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank goodness it's gotten easier...at least in some countries. There was a time where it was a nightmare for women.

      Delete
  19. Having those two great girls is the best part. Thanks for sharing all of this with us. Glad you found Mister Wonderful now. That's what my one grandma called her husband. Only when she did it she had a thick Hungarian accent. So it sounded more like Dracula's grandma, which I loved, of course.

    Anyway, thanks bunches for sharing all of this. How does it feel to write about it on your blog?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't know what to expect/how I'd feel when I decided to start writing about all this but I've discovered that I'm really enjoying it. Almost as if I'm releasing this into the universe. Very liberating.

      Delete
  20. PS today I have photos of said son and his beautiful baby and photos of me and baby, drop in if you can

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh, Martha! I'm so glad that you found you and got your life on track. You learned from that difficult and painful lesson and made better choices that led to your happy marriage now. Some people just go on repeating the toxic cycle over and over. When I read what you wrote, I felt like I was reading the story of my first marriage. I met my first husband on a blind date, and when I was standing on a back street in Madrid outside my pensione waiting to met him, I had this strong voice inside that said: "Run! Run, Louise!" I thought at the time, "What a ridiculous thought! Why would I think that?" So I dismissed it. I've thought about that moment a lot in my life. But if I had stood up that date, I wouldn't be with Terry today. That's worth everything I went through. Some of us need to learn some lessons through tough experiences, before we go on (hopefully) to happiness. It's all a big mystery to me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a reminder once again how important our instincts are. They are that little voice that something is just not right. But like you, if I hadn't taken the route I took, I wouldn't have had my daughters and I probably never would have met my present husband...truly the most amazing man in the world. It'll become clearer and clearer just how different these two men are. Night and day.

      Delete