Life Lessons

I learned some really hard life lessons in my last marriage. I was in an abusive relationship. Of course the abuse was bad and changed me in dramatic ways. I was forced to grow and change in the process of leaving the relationship and recovering from it. One of the hardest things I had to face was that my friends and loved ones saw what was going on and heard me talk about how awful he was. The honeymoon phase would come around again and I’d be happy and in love forgetting just how bad the bad parts were. They didn’t forget. I was faced with people not respecting my husband, my relationship and I did lose a few people along the way in my decision to stay… or go back a couple times before the end stuck. Denial is a powerful force.

A few days ago I needed to tell a friend that what he’s said about his husband and his marriage for the last 2+ years is abuse. I don’t respect his husband based on what he says about him. I set a boundary for myself that I can’t be the person to listen to him vent when he’s upset and choose to stay in the relationship. I’ve lost the ability to stay quiet and be supportive. Sadly, I think my limit has ended the friendship.

I’m sad that I hurt my friend and may have lost the relationship. The anxiety of hearing the stories and knowing he’s going to stay is too hard. The similarities with my ex are too close to passively sit by and watch my friend be abused and continually opt to stay. I had to put myself first and be clear about my need to not be part of the problem.

10 thoughts on “Life Lessons

  1. I’m so sad to read how your friend’s problems with his husband has triggered you so badly. I understand completely how upsetting and unsettling it is when you hear things that are so similar to your own background. It makes it very difficult when you can see someone actively refusing to break the cycle and get out of the toxic relationship.
    It makes us want to demand they see what is happening and act on it.
    Your friend sounds like he is still caught up in the love bombing stage and thinks he can get back ‘the holy grail’ he was given when he first met his husband. All he has to do in his mind, is find the right key to unlocking that ‘love’ again he had in the beginning.
    It’s a hard cycle to watch, it’s even harder to stay and support someone through this stage, especially when it hits so close to home.
    I have a friend who is going through a terrible divorce right now because after 13 years she finally saw what I had been saying to her quietly for 12 of those years. It took me 12 years of talking to her, and quietly pointing out why what she was telling me was considered abusive behaviour. It took her hearing him gas lighting their 8 year old daughter before the penny finally dropped and all the pieces came together in her mind.
    It took her 24 hours from that minute of realisation to her throwing him out and filing for divorce.
    The decision has to be theirs sweetie, they have to exhaust all possibilities in their mind before they can finally act and say I tried everything, I have no option left but to end this relationship.
    It doesn’t matter how many times they go back, each time they do, they have a deeper understanding of what is fundamentally wrong and they recognise the behaviour patterns more quickly each time. Eventually they can no longer ignore the truth and they have to act.

    But it doesn’t have to be you who does it. It doesn’t have to be you who has to keep pointing it out. I know you have made some hard decisions, I respect you for the decisions you’ve made, I understand completely why you have had to take the stand you needed to take. You have to look after your own mental health and wellbeing too.
    Dealing with triggers is emotionally draining and can destabilise us on a fundamental level, it can affect every decision we make, the way we look at our lives now and it can make us scared to death again.
    Don’t beat yourself up for making the decision to look after your wellbeing, you tried with your friend, you have sown the seeds and hopefully they will take root and he will understand what it is you are seeing and hearing sooner rather than later.
    I apologise for the absolutely massive response to your post, but it is a subject very close to my own heart and life and I wanted to reach out to you.
    Huge ((((HUGS)))) sweetie xxx

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I don’t feel triggered around his relationship, actually. I worry for him and see very clearly that he isn’t any where near a stage of being ready to acknowledge what’s going on. I will support him and love him whatever his decisions are. I simply cannot be there to listen to the venting portion of living in an abusive relationship. It’s not helpful to him or to me. I did the DV survivor counseling to eliminate most, if not all, of my actual triggers. Self care means opting not to allow it in any form in my life. Should the day come that he wants to leave, I will support him through that process.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I admire you for your strength in this. I know a lot of people who struggle to maintain distance during situations like this. I’m so happy that it isn’t a trigger situation for you. xx

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Courage is sometimes overlooked—but you showed some in this situation. You did the right thing for both of you. After he’s had some time to think about things, he will likely renew the friendship.

    Liked by 1 person

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