“I’m proud of my heart. It’s been played, stabbed, cheated, burned, and broken…but somehow still works.”
- Unknown -
(continuing from last time...)
I come from a long line of strong women and despite the jam I’d gotten myself into, that heritage would be my saving grace. And my way out. Because the one thing that my ex could not stand about me was my attitude, which my present husband affectionately refers to as “sassiness”. I fought back. Often. And although my ex did manage to beat me down regularly and deplete me of energy, I would not stay down. I managed to pick myself up and try again. With a vengeance. Because deep down inside, the woman I am today was trying to break free. And she could not be contained indefinitely. As the years went on and maturity kicked in, I became stronger and angrier and less reluctant to lie to myself and keep the illusion going. Most of my strength came from being a mother. And that strength doubled when my second child was born.
|My reason for everything.|
Something shifted inside me and although my brain was still wired wrong, it was trying to fix itself. The sunshine was trying to peek through into my dark world. I became so involved with my kids and so in love with them that my ex started to become less and less important. There were times when I truly resented him. For his volatile temper. For his selfish nature. For his callousness. And lack of remorse. For his manipulative ways. His lies. Betrayal. Deceit. Dishonesty. Criminal behaviour. For all the female ‘friends’ he constantly paraded in front of me; an intentional reminder that I could be replaced at the drop of a hat. To keep me on my toes. Let me know that if I didn’t behave right, do right, act right...I’d be gone. And when I questioned if this was proper behaviour of a married man, he would answer “You’re not my mother. Don’t tell me what to do.”
In addition to the growing resentment, my respect for him dwindled. And so did my trust. And attention. And opinion. He was not my hero. Or someone I admired. Or someone I could depend on. Or even someone I liked. So in January 1998 during the North American Ice Storm (read about it here), when I needed help in transporting our children (a six month old and a five year old) to a safe place when our electricity shut down, I accepted the help that my family offered when I wasn’t satisfied with my ex’s response. And when he found out, he was livid. So much so that the children and I resided in a separate location from him while our electricity was off. When we returned home five days later, he didn't show up for another week. And when he finally did, he announced that it was best that our marriage be terminated. Because I disrespected him. Embarrassed him. Because I was a terrible, selfish, unsupportive, sneaky wife that couldn't be trusted; one that had committed an unforgivable act by depending more on my family than on him (where do I even begin with this?).
Did I drive him to that decision? I suppose in some ways I did. I’d been subconsciously (or consciously) pushing him away for a very long time. But I also suspect that the woman he was rumored to be involved with for years (since our first child was six months old) played a key role; the one that – coincidentally - he is married to today. A much more compliant and passive partner; perfect for someone like him.
And although it was the beginning of the end (the best thing that ever happened to me), it came at a very heavy cost. He said he wanted out but wouldn’t leave. Instead, he moved into the basement and made the next few months absolutely miserable for me.
To be continued... (click here)