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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Bewildered ~ Peace at Last on the Long Road to Healing (Part 6)

While this may be hard to read for some, it's cathartic in many ways for me having lived it. It is finally time to put it down in writing and share what I went through so many years ago. Thank you for reading and commenting. If you haven't read them already here is Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.

I was in denial for a while after all this happened. I felt like everything was fine. He was gone and out of my life. I had no reason to be depressed or upset or angry. However, I had every right to be all those things and more. My self esteem was damaged and I had no earthly clue that I was in the most vulnerable state I’d ever been in. Even more vulnerable than the night he busted my lip and blackened my eye.

All the external bruises had been healed for ages. The body is miraculous in the ability it has to heal physical injuries. The bruises on my heart …. well, those took years to fade and heal. The scars in my mind that were left will never heal, they remain as a roadmap of who I was and what I learned to become who I am now.

I relived the last night the monster appeared, over and over in my dreams. The nightmares would come and I’d wake up stifling my screams. Covered in sweat, I’d come up swinging and kicking to get him off and gasping for air. It would take me a few minutes to realize it was just a dream and that I was in fact, safe and sound. I just explained it off as nightmares to roommates who would come to check on me. They had no idea the demons I faced when I closed my eyes.

I made some really bad choices in guys to date. Why? Due to self esteem that I didn’t even realize was low. I was trying to prove I was pretty and smart. I picked the losers on purpose because deep down, I didn’t feel worthy. While none of them hit me or dished out the emotional abuse, they were definitely not anyone that I should have been dating. I let myself be used and cheated on because I really didn’t care about me. I didn’t treat them the best either. I was pretty harsh to a few of the guys I dated so I was definitely no prize to be around. I had not healed enough to hold my head high as the wonderful inner goddess we are all created to be.

It took me years before I actually opened up to a wonderful guy, my husband. It took a long time for me to feel like I actually deserved to be happy and that it was ok to be happy. That it was normal to not be scared and constantly worried about what mood you would come home to. That it wasn’t my fault. To learn to trust again.

It's hard to think smart when your emotions are all twisted. I'm an overachiever so I felt like it was me. There was something wrong with me and if I didn't stay "I" was failing. It took me watching the dog get abused to open my eyes to it not being "Me" that had the problem. Then it still took him almost killing me to make me leave. I'm so glad I didn't have kids at that age. That has to make it even harder to just up and leave.

I also realize many people who are in these type of situations are dealing with way worse than what I did. I really had it easy compared to many stories I’ve heard. I could have been pregnant or been dealing with drugs. Not that alcohol didn’t play it’s part.

As the years went by and I learned more, grew wiser, I realized that these people are master manipulators. They have you right where they want you and sometimes it's subtle. So subtle you are there and don't realize how you got trapped there in that spot. Often you are so isolated and feel you've burned all your bridges that you have nowhere to turn. You almost have to rebuild in your mind prior to getting out of the situation before you can truly rebuild. You have to plan and that is very hard with the abuser breathing down your neck. If they sense even the slightest change, you are a goner in some cases.

Do I hate him? Amazingly enough I never hated him. I felt sorry for him once I was able to take several steps back and really ‘see’ the situation. Many things became clear. That he’d more than likely watched his Dad abuse his Mom. His Dad was an alcoholic which research proves does a lot of damage to families. In almost every case that his anger got the best of him, alcohol was involved. Am I excusing him? No. I am forgiving him. Don’t forget he was young as well. He was angry. He was doing what he knew. He was mad and frustrated a lot of the time and had no real way to defuse it. We were both na├»ve, young and stupid.

I’m a much better, stronger and compassionate person for having gone through this experience. It’s taken me a long time to be able to share it. Everyone deals with things differently. I probably should have gone to counseling but I wasn’t even aware that existed. There are many programs now that exist to help in situations such as this. I wish with all my heart they didn’t need to exist.

My story is complete. I found a wonderful man, have had two beautiful children and my life is good. It’s not perfect, not the fairy tale ending, but it’s good. There is light at the end of the tunnel. You can leave and make a better life for yourself and any children you may have. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes healing and accepting that it was not completely your fault. You are a wonderful human being that didn’t deserve what happened. You have two choices. You can choose negativity and bitterness. Or you can choose the path I did. Forgiveness, love, laughter and life.

If you are reading my story and need someone to simply listen, I can do that. I understand. I can cry with you if you need it. I feel very lucky and blessed to be able to write this story. My prayer and wish for you is that you are able to get to the same place I am in if you have been affected by this or have family members who were not as fortunate as me. While anger and bitterness is justified, it’s simply not worth it in the scheme of things. However, like grief, a process of healing involves dealing with all the emotions on the rollercoaster you go through after something like this. Don’t keep it all in, find someone to talk to and get help. Give yourself permission to feel how you feel and actually heal. You are worthy! You deserve to have a wonderful life!

Kathie Hitt

This blog series is from my personal experience recounting my side of an abusive situation. It is my hope that it will raise awareness and educate others about what this side of the relationship looks and feels like. It is a situation that I never thought I’d be in as a smart girl turning into a woman. I was salutatorian of my high school class. This type of thing can happen to anyone. It can blindside you and make you feel like you are literally nothing. Some people never recover fully from the events. I was lucky and can share my story in the hope that it will help others.