When I left my abusive marriage I realized that I would be afraid: I had a lot to fear. Not only was my ex in possession of multiple fire arms, he was well trained in using them. That, combined with my knowledge of his mental and emotional instability left me in a constant state of anxiety and fear; I can easily recall the panic moving from my weighted chest to the pins and needles feeling in my arms and hands and eventually to sweat on my pulsating finger tips. Imagine looking down at the floor and instead of 5 ft. 3 in. away, it looks as though you have climbed a 100 ft. high, teetering wooden ladder that could fail you at any time. I refused to be alone and would lie in bed at night, waiting for the door to burst open with him standing over me. His voice haunted everything I did, his face glaring at me. His hot breath burned the tiny hairs on my neck.
He Was Winning
I really do not like using this phrase because I feel as though it categorizes the notion of control and abuse to a menial game of chess or Jenga; admittedly though, even after I got away from him, he still had complete control over me. I feared every aspect of my life from a visit to the grocery store to pumping gas. I was, quite literally losing my mind.
My attorney had advised me to not speak about the situation (like I wanted to keep reliving this hell), and he freely composed fictitious allegations that led to extremely vicious attacks toward me. In a sense, these claims re-victimized the victim and I will post on this another time. This contributed to my anxiety.
Taking it Back
I had to realize that I can only control myself; I cannot control him (heck, he couldn’t even control him). And I could not control the one-sided opinions of others.They key being: I CONTROL MYSELF. This means building the courage to not only ask, “why did I leave if I am still so scared? What was the good of being out of an abusive marriage if I am still going to be abused?” I had to be courageous enough to take a critical look at my actions and devise a solution.
I could not control if he decided to come after me as he had promised so frequently throughout our marriage. I could only be prepared for it. This meant, without being overnparanoid, devising a safety plan for myself, my children, and close friends. We made up safety words such as: “fire” and each of us had instructions to execute.
I realized that even one week, one month, one year of feeling like a human being, an individual or feeling like I was more than just the bacteria on a dirty McDonald’s wrapper abandoned in a parking lot, would be more meaningful than the rest of my life (however long that would have been) in such a horrible circumstance.
In other words: staying in that marriage would have been risky and leaving it was risky. At least, by getting out, I could have the quality of life that everybody deserves.
To those women who are afraid:
You CAN do this! YOU CAN DO THIS! YOU CAN DO THIS!
(Note: This is only observations gathered from my own, unique experience. This may not be applicable to everybody)