If you have read through my blog, you would know that I spent twenty-one years in an abusive marriage, before I finally mustered up the courage to get the hell out. This man was a very angry, controlling, verbally and physically abusive man. All through those years I made excuses to others as well as to myself, for his behavior, and my acceptance, by blaming his childhood. Of course, there was the Almighty belief, selfish and egotistically driven, never ending hope that somehow I could fix him, and make it better, or be perfect enough so he would stop.
But at some level I knew I was just as broken somehow as he was, only in a different way. I have been very angry at myself, as well as dumbfounded, ashamed and curious, as to why it took me so long, not to mention why I married him to begin with, and how I allowed so much damage to be inflicted on my son in the process. I used to ask myself time and time again, “What is so broken inside of me, that I would ever think I deserved, or allow myself to be treated this way”?
I always believed with out a shadow of a doubt that I had grown up with loving, supportive parents, so why would I feel unworthy…not good enough, most all of my life? Where did it come from? The other day while doing the “repentance and forgiveness exercise" I wrote about, I got slapped in my face with a reality, I have been denying most all of my life.
Recently, much to my dismay, I have had to spend time with my father and my son together, which has left me with extreme anxiety each time. The reason being, is it appears to make my father angry, just because my son is alive and breathing. He cuts him down, finds some smart, degrading, insulting thing to say for everything my son says and does; never an encouraging word to be found anywhere. The last time, I realized I felt the same way when I was alone with my ex-husband and son. I was always the peace seeking middle man.
I had commented to my mother several times throughout my marriage that my father hated my then husband, however, they were so much alike in many ways, and we would laugh about it, because she also saw many resemblances.
My ex-husband was not only verbally and physically abusive, he was also very controlling, and cunningly found ways to trap me into having to rely on him, as a way of making it harder for me to ever escape. Two years after I finally did escape, and the bitter divorce was final, I entered into another relationship. I thought I screened him very well before ever dating him, let alone getting emotionally involved with him, however, this man was very clever, and seemed just the opposite of my ex. My friends and family adored him, and my dearest friend even threatened to “kick me straight dead in the ass”, when I tried to run away at one point, out of the belief that I didn’t deserve him. We started a life together.
We moved to another town, under the guise of being closer to his work, he bought me a new jeep, after my car was totaled, and a home, which were in his name only, due to my credit being in a shambles after being married to a man who loved to buy and not pay. This man appeared to want to give me the world, and if a balked, he would tell me I was not committing, although he never put a ring on my finger. He so easily slipped right in under the radar, and I allowed him to put me right where he wanted me…and it wasn’t in his heart. Once he had won my heart and my trust, had me securely tucked away in a town away from my friends and family, had my mode of transportation, and my home securely under his control, things began to change…little by little. It wasn’t long before my family and friends changed their tune, and started telling me I needed to get out, and the same friend as before again stated she was going to, “kick me straight dead in the ass”, if I didn’t get myself the hell out of there.
He told me on several occasions, that he hated my ex-husband, because of the things he did to me, not only abusively, but how it had affected my sense of trust. I now know that what he hated most was, because I started spotting the similarities, and the “red flags”, and gradually began removing myself from his control. Although, even after he put another woman between us, it took me several tries, before I left for the last and final time, being allowed to return, as absurd as it was, only after seeking and being forgiven by him, for my betrayal. Since the two years since I finally left, I have spent time learning how the mind works, and going within to seek that answers to all my unanswered questions.
It wasn’t until I was working on that exercise the other day starting with my father, and so many things started coming to mind, I had forgotten, and looked right past, that I realized for the first time…these two men were clones of my father, in their behavior, and the way they saw and treated me. I kept being drawn to them in an attempt to fulfill, and receive the love, and acceptance that I never received from him.
On some level I already knew, and I recognize now, so many attempts my subconscious has made to try and get me to see this. I go back and read a paragraph in the article I wrote about my abusive husband, which reads;
“My son and I spent many nights in a hotel room…never in town, and always in a different place. When he was small, he never knew or understood what was going on. I always turned it into an adventure, and besides…this was something we had always done. He would never realize it was strange.”
I remember the conversations I had with my mother as to how my ex-husband and my father were so much alike. I even told my father recently after allowing him to have control of my current vehicle, under the guise of getting away from the control of this other man, only to end with him using it the same way my ex had, that “he was just like every other man in my life, that did what they could to gain control of me”. Still I did not see I was attaching myself to my father, over and over again. Not only that, but I was playing the role of my mother.
Just like my son, I did not see so many things, because I did not realize it was strange.
Alice Miller, in "For Your Own Good", has observed:
"... we were not even allowed to be aware that all this was happening to us, for any mistreatment was held up to us as being necessary for our own good. Even the most clever child cannot see through such a lie if it comes from his beloved parents who after all show him other sides as well. He has to believe that the way he is being treated is truly right and good for him and he will not hold it against his parents." (Miller, 247-248)