I was planning to write a blog post about how sometimes the blessings we receive in life are the ones we were never planning on. I was going to talk about the ability to grow up in a loving family, with a dark secret, a childhood full of abuse that was kept hidden for years and the ability to overcome that and have a happy life. I wanted to talk about the purpose of working hard, and not giving up on yourself. How I found my soulmate when I had given up on love after a decade of bad relationship choices.
And hopefully someday I will go back to that post because I wanted to encourage anyone who has ever given up – either for making bad choices or for being victim of something they could not control. Because I did it and I am proof that it’s never too late! But first, after receiving messages and posts on my “News Anchor” Facebook page from people I’ve never met and thereby have no idea who I really am or the real story behind my life, I feel I need to reach out to those who are being told “it” is their fault. I feel the need to take a moment to stand up for them.
I feel that everyone should have privacy when it comes to their relationships, especially when those relationships end horribly and they leave with the guilt of knowing they shouldn’t have entered into it to begin with, or stayed as long as they did.
So when I went through my divorce, I didn’t talk about it with many people. My few close friends and family knew about the scary moments, the fears, the times I should have filed a police report and didn’t, the moments I went out of my way to talk him down from those scary moments, why I chose to stay as long as I did and why I finally left. And I won’t even pretend that when I left that I did it the best way I could, but I did what I had to.
I was never the best at picking relationships and where I excelled in my career, I failed miserably in choosing lifelong partners. I have to own that. The bad decisions I made, I have to own; including choosing the relationships in the first place.
It generally started with someone who was understanding and supportive, and then over time would put me down, make me feel worthless, isolate me from friends and family and then make sure I did not have the financial means of leaving by talking me into leaving my job or refusing to pay certain bills to ensure that I never had enough savings to leave. Then the stories would be twisted so when something in the house was mysteriously broken and we laid awake at night in fear of the next temper tantrum, I would be too embarrassed to tell friends and family the truth behind it and would let them believe the new version they were told.
How I met my soulmate, a kind man who really does respect us and never tries to control or manipulate me, I have no idea. But I am so grateful for him and the security he gives us emotionally, mentally and in every other way. Which is to say, if you’ve ever been in a relationship where you have suffered emotional, physical or mental abuse, please don’t give up. Please! Life does get better. I promise!
But I know it’s hard to think that will ever happen because if this is you, you are probably hearing the judgements from those around. The people who don’t know the truth. The people who blame you for leaving when leaving was the only way you felt safe. For choosing to fight for the safety of your children when others call you a gold digger and assume you just want child support. When people judge you for now being a single parent.
I’ve been there and I know you how feel. And so I say “shame on you” to those who judge others without having been in the relationship yourself. Shame on you for feeling you have the right to publicly comment on someone’s marriage, divorce, relationship based a rumor or a one-sided story. Shame on you for continuing the cycle of victim blaming that is plaguing our nation. It is because of people like you that rapists are allowed to hurt a young girl and the rapist is allowed to go free because of a “promising future.” That is why judges use the excuse that teen girls shouldn’t have invited someone into their room when the person we should be blaming is the mid-30s male who should have known that teen girls aren’t allowed to say “yes” to sex in the first place.
Shame on you for continuing this culture.
And to those living through it, be the voice others don’t have the courage to speak yet. And know, that it can get better.