This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!
The D words I’m going to talk about today are domestic abuse and divorce; for me the two go hand in hand.
I have been divorced three times. (Yes, that’s a lot.) I married for the first time when I was twenty, it lasted for five years. My second marriage lasted about ten, and my third about thirteen years. The exact dates and time frames are unclear to me now, it feels like these marriages were in entirely different lifetimes, and in some ways they were.
I have been married to Papa Bear for almost ten years now, and anyone who has read my blog knows that God saved the very best for last, a true knight in shining armor when I would value him the most!
I want to clarify that I believe in marriage and commitment even though my track record doesn’t appear to reflect that. I stayed in each of those marriages as long as I did because I tried everything I knew to make them work, I wanted them to be forever. Yet the truth is that it takes two to make a marriage work, a one-winged bird can’t fly, and there are situations where to continue on becomes destructive and potentially deadly.
My first three marriages are amazingly similar in some aspects… bad choices on my part led to very difficult marriages which became abusive relationships. I take full responsibility for those choices, I was looking for love in all the wrong places. There are good things that came from the first and second ones though, my daughter and my son, and I would go through it all again just to have them in my life. They have both grown up to be amazing adults and, along with Papa Bear, my best friends and supporters. I will talk more about my exes when we get to the letter X (yes, that’s cheating… my blog… my rules. :-))
What I want to talk about today is domestic abuse, how it worms its way into a troubled relationship, and sneaks up on you bit by bit until as one friend put it to me bluntly “You think your life is normal; you’ve lived this way so long that you think everybody lives like this. You don’t even know what normal is anymore.” And he was right, I had grown used to living in hell, and I was too worn out and defeated to even fight it anymore. People often ask why victims of abuse don’t just leave, but it’s so much more complicated than that. Thinking back now, I am amazed that I survived and that I didn’t kill myself when at times I really wanted to. Apparently my survival instinct is a lot stronger than I knew.
While the physical abuse I experienced was minimal compared to what many have, the emotional/psychological abuse was a nightmare. By the end of the third marriage I was so broken that I hardly even knew who I was anymore, and I wondered if maybe all the bad things they said about me was true. Thank God, with the help of my daughter, I was able to free myself from that situation, and at the end of 2006 I began picking up the pieces to build a new life on my own.
Admittedly, I carry many invisible scars from those years, but because of those experiences I have learned and I have grown tremendously. I am a proud survivor, and even more than that, I have overcome… I love myself now, and I love my life! 🙂
This is an excellent article on domestic abuse. Even if you think you know everything there is to know about it, I urge your to read it. You may learn something new that just might save a life… maybe your own. https://helpguide.org/articles/abuse/domestic-violence-and-abuse.htm
Do you know someone who is a domestic abuse survivor?
Note: Please bear with me as I scramble to catch up with your A-Z posts now that I am back up and running here. This didn’t start out nearly as smoothly as I’d planned! I will be around to visit everyone within the next couple days and I can’t wait to see what you’re sharing! 🙂
Links to my previous 2018 A-Z Posts: