“You don't drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.”
- Edwin Louis Cole -
(continuing from last time...)
So my ex made the announcement that we should divorce because my recent actions had proven just how selfish, sneaky and untrustworthy I was. Nowhere in there did he ever mention any faults he may have had. He had been, at least in his mind, a great partner. But he wouldn’t go. Wouldn’t physically leave. Instead, he moved into our basement, ignored me completely and hardly ever saw the kids.
This went on for four months. If I ever dared approach him to discuss our situation or suggest we seek counselling, he’d smirk, amused, or simply disregard me. At times, he’d taunt “I see your behaviour is better lately but it’s still not good enough for another chance. Maybe a 1 out of 10” followed by “You’re back to zero again with this attitude; you’ll have to do start all over”. And when I denied anything he asked for (“No, I will not agree to live like this to share expenses”), he’d become very mean and aggressive. “You see, this is why we are where we are. You just don't learn.”
Four months of a living nightmare. All the miserable years I’d already spent with him paled in comparison to those last few months of deliberate and absolute viciousness filled with mind games, emotional blackmail, cat and mouse games, manipulation and intentional harsh and ruthless expressions. He was out for blood. I was getting exactly what I deserved. Because I should have been better to him. I should have been more considerate. I should have been less self-absorbed.
|My children inspire me to be a better person.|
This period finally came to an end when he stated one Saturday afternoon that he was going away for the weekend with friends from work. It was as if I’d tossed a grenade when I dared to question this. He exploded. "Who the fuck are you to question me?" And for what felt like an eternity he followed me from room to room as I tried to get away from him, yelling out all my inadequacies and failures as a woman and as a wife and as a human being. I placed my hands over my ears and pleaded for him to stop. But he wouldn't. He kept going on and on and on. Because. I. Deserved. It.
When I reached a corner in the kitchen, I lowered myself to the floor, grabbed onto my head and curled into a ball, convinced that I was going mad. That's when he stopped, satisfied, and said very coolly "Look at you. You're such a mess. Do you think anyone will want to be with a crazy woman? I sure as hell don't. I'm getting out of here before I get sick. Get some fucking help."
As he walked away, I looked straight ahead and locked eyes with my 10-month-old baby sitting in her rocker. She had been watching and listening. And instead of being afraid, she was smiling and gurgling and giggling. Because she had begun to think that this was normal. I realized right then and there, crazy or not, that my kids needed me. And what they didn't need is to grow up believing that this toxicity was okay.
(Thankfully, my five-year-old daughter had missed the whole ordeal because my brother had taken her out for the day.)
I lifted myself up off the floor, walked over to the calendar hanging on the cupboard door and circled a date on it. When my ex returned after the weekend, I called him over to the calendar, pointed to that day and said “This is the day you're moving out. I’m not living this way anymore. And neither are the kids.”
Two weeks later, he packed his bags and left. And that night, for the first time in a very long time, I slept peacefully.
To be continued... (click here)