So I found myself awake and thinking in the wee hours of the morning. A few weeks ago I found myself confronted with a situation which made me feel unsettled and brought back a memory I had long since forgotten which made me reflect on many of the “lessons” learned. With all the coverage of #why I left I have been quite reflective.
Very early in my marriage shorty after I discovered I was pregnant I found myself facing a decision that really had only one option. Along with the joy of excitement of expecting your first child, I was also facing challenges in my marriage where there was distinct difference in priorities and the related choices were very detrimental to the relationship and new family structure. Being married to someone with untreated PTSD and other potential issues which resulted in a particularly self-destructive cycle which included self-medicating through substance abuse, saying the relationship was strained is an understatement; adding an additional stressor was a trigger for the initial start of a very bad descent into chaos. I had yet to learn how to diffuse situations or to understand the warning signs. There was a particularly bad night that seemed to only turn worse. I was sitting in the kitchen at the table after a sleepless night considering what I should take and how to say I was leaving when I learned one of many lessons, to not sit unguarded with my back to the door. I was startled with his hands on my shoulders and what followed still leaves me unsettled.
Through the next few years I learned many things among them, to not share intimate thoughts and fears because they can become ammunition, how to tell if someone is about to spiral, how to hide emotions because they can only cause situations to escalate, not to allow myself to become cornered in a room, to dismiss my own needs because maintaining “normalcy” was much more important, to always have an exit plan, the pain of betrayal, the burden of living without choice, and the weight of hopelessness.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was really learning so much more. I have come to realize I learned to never discredit my needs, to never undermine my worth, the depths of my inner strength, the meaningfulness of friendships, the importance of respect within a relationship, the need for kindness, the significance of trust, and the value of love.
“We may not be responsible for the world that created our minds, but we can take responsibility for the mind with which we create our world”