I started a post two weeks ago (give or take) on the anniversary of the final moments of my marriage. I had lots of ideas, yet words weren’t finding their way through my fingers to the keyboard. I’ve been going through a lot of stressful stuff, but still, the landmark of that day cut through. I always found a bit of irony in the fact that the decision to end our marriage was made almost exactly 16 years to the day of our first date. As it was, the day after we made that decision, we still went out to Carl’s Jr to commemorate our first date. I felt it was a decent activity to close the relationship as it had started. After we finished our double western bacon cheeseburgers and fried zucchini, we headed to do a bit of shopping to get some totes and boxes to pack up my worldly possessions so I could leave; which I did less than 10 hours later when my parents arrived. Unlike so many that have to carefully craft their escape from abusive relationships, I seemed to have an easy time. I didn’t have to lie, I didn’t have to hide, and I didn’t have to just leave and never go back. I fully believe that had I tried to leave when it hadn’t been his idea, it could have been ugly. At this point though, I am pretty sure that we were both very done. I had become so done with that life and world that I no longer became emotionally devastated by his tantrums and anger. I knew he was completely stunned when he calmly (for the first time ever) stated he wanted a divorce and I agreed. The whole conversation was not his normal method for asking for a divorce. It was usually brought on with major fits of anger and a lot of pacing and yelling on his part, followed by sobbing and emotional breaking on mine. This time it was calm, his words were well put together, and there was no anger. I will never forget him finally stating he wasn’t what was good or best for me. He finally admitted that I did everything for him. That for all the yelling and discontent for me not being the “perfect” wife, that it was NEVER me. There was never anything wrong with me. After sixteen years, he finally validated what I had always known but had been made to doubt.
Now he had no idea the emotional and mental debates that had been going on inside my head for weeks. I had lost count over the previous year how many times I had googled “Sacramento County Divorce”. I had been praying constantly in my heart for some sort of confirmation on should I go or should I stay. I remember very vividly that Friday afternoon in 2014. I had been doing house work and enjoying some Sherlock episodes on the computer when I looked at the calendar and realized it was a Friday. I was quite disappointed that I had to then “deal with” having the husband home for Saturday and Sunday. Saturday would inevitably be a day I’d be stressed out because he’d want to sleep in and then he’d want to go hiking or something. I am not opposed to hiking. I’m actually rather fond of it, myself, but I also like to kinda plan ahead. He liked to wait until I had my day planned out, errands/chores/etc. and then demand we go out and do something together. Sure I was unemployed at this point, but I could not plan anything ahead because as soon as I did he’d upend it and if I didn’t go along with it things would get unpleasant. Saturday nights he’d like to watch movies until I couldn’t stay awake any longer and then eventually we’d get to sleep. That meant Sunday mornings when I would prefer to be getting ready for church and getting to the services on time, he’d either “let me sleep in” or wait until I was almost ready to leave to either change his mind on if he was coming or going, or demand that instead of driving our car we either bicycle or motorcycle. I was upset with myself for being upset that I’d have to spend the weekend with him. I hated the way I felt towards my spouse. I was trying to change myself and be more understanding because I knew I couldn’t change him, but it was just getting harder and harder. I remember I had to go upstairs for something, probably putting laundry away or something that I’d asked him to do. I finished and started to walk down the stairs and I heard a voice. It’s hard to describe this voice, it sounded like myself, but at the same time it was not me. It simply said “You’re done. The next time he asks, just go with it.” Just go with it – that bit echoed in my mind a bit. It put all other thoughts on pause and just hung there. He hadn’t brought up divorce for a few months since threatening to leave and not tell me where he went when we were on our way to Church. I honestly can’t remember what caused that one. I felt peace and just went about the rest of my day. He got home from work, we had a nice night, and that very night – he asked, and I went with it. Granted he thought I’d be hanging around to help his 40yr old self learn how to pay bills and such, but I was gone within 24 hours. The song that was playing on my phone (I didn’t have a car sterio) was Let It Go from Frozen and it became my theme song.
It took two years, as I’ve said in other posts, to even accept the fact that the live I had lived with him was abusive. I knew it wasn’t normal. I knew it wasn’t right, but I had no idea about what to do with it. At about three years I started on anti-depressants and they kind of helped, but I would still wake up tired and just want to sleep. I got up, went to work, tried to keep things going at home but always felt smothered. With the deaths of my grandmothers things were rough but I kept moving on . Just like Dory, just keep swimming… This past October my doctor put me on a different antidepressant and it did its job. I got to the point where I was emotionally stable, emotionally flat. I was feeling, but not nearly what I needed to. After gaining more weight (which scientifically isn’t a side effect of this drug, but most all the folks that have taken it report weight gain) and starting on some weird dreams (and for ME to say they were weird dreams is something), I made the decision to stop. Don’t panic. While my doctor wasn’t convinced it was affecting my weight, I still started working off of it. I know not to go cold turkey and am slowly weening off of it. After the first several weeks dialing it back, I noticed something. I could feel. I could feel so deeply that I got goosebumps. I don’t believe in “magical super powers” but I do believe in spiritual gifts. One of the bits about me had been stunted with that medication. I hadn’t been able to really empathize with anyone for at least several months if not longer. As I’ve been coming off, I have been able to start meeting my emotions and feelings again. Instead of a barrage that seems smothering, I am able to take them on slowly. I can now digest them, discard what I no longer need, and place what I need to keep where it belongs in my “lessons learned” memories. I have been getting up, getting dressed, and moving on.
About a year ago I joined a few Facebook groups that deal with healing from narcissist abuse. It’s been educational, and has also helped me realize that my experience was a best case scenario. It could have been so much worse. I had been lucky. In many ways these women and men who had suffered much worse than I almost had me doubting that my life was all that bad and maybe just maybe I was exaggerating what I went through, but, I’ve grown in the now 5 years since I started the first stage of my “moving on”. Back then I didn’t realize how many stages there was to “moving on”. I’ve come to realize it is like “growing up”. There is no final stage. It’s a progression and it goes forwards and backwards and sometimes sideways, but it’s progress.
The above quote I found and realized that in all my “moving on” I have not really recognized #3. Coming off my antidepressant is now allowing that pain to visit so it can teach, but now I have to also make sure it isn’t overstaying, which, in a way, would prevent me from really healing. I will never be as I was before and I wouldn’t want that. I am stronger now. I feel that I am a better person than before. I have learned so much and met so many amazing people and made some of the best friends on this path I’ve been on. So here is to the process of “moving on”. I’ve turned off notifications to my support boards on Facebook. I was going to leave them all together, but I think just time away for me to continue my healing and make sure nothing is overstaying. Most wounds don’t heal if you keep picking at them (trust me, I am a nervous picker if I have a scab), and the more you pick the bigger the scar they leave. None of us are getting out of this crazy thing called life without a few scars, but lets try not to make them bigger by over checking and picking at them.PS: Next up… Chicken Enchiladas… mmmmmm…….yeah…..