This post has been floating around in the back of my head begging to be written for a while now. When Kirsty came up with the prompt the biggest chance you've taken I knew it was time to finally get it out. I'm just hoping it makes sense now that I'm writing it because its a jumbled mess in my head.
When I decided to leave my ex-husband I really had no idea how much of a monument-us decision it was. Something just clicked in my head and I decided to do it. From that moment there was no going back, no second guessing, nothing. Once I decided to leave I couldn't go back. I couldn't imagine being with him for a minute longer. I'd had enough. Its like a light suddenly came on in my head and I could see clearly through all the bullshit and finally I realised I didn't have to live that way any more.
To set the scene for those who aren't familiar with my original blog posts, my ex-husband was the quintessential (abusive) narcissist*. I just had no idea at the time. He started out all charming. He was super attentive and affectionate which I loved at first. Having been single for a few years before meeting him, I was relishing the fact that someone loved me so much that he wanted to spend all his time with me. I saw it as adoration in the beginning, but what I didn't see was that he was actually doing it so that I was spending all my time with him. So he always knew where I was, who I was with and what I was doing.
At first it was subtle, but it became more and more obvious as time went on. He slowly isolated me from my friends so that everything in my life was about him. He started out by not letting me go out with my friends without him. Then it went to not being allowed to go anywhere without him, even my mums house. Then we were only allowed to have friends who were married, because married people understand what its like to be married??? So eventually the majority of my friends dropped off and stopped bothering to invite me anywhere because they knew I wouldn't go anyway. I only had a handful of friends who stuck around and they were mainly people I worked with who knew the situation at home.
Soon he progressed to taking my car to work on my days off so he knew I couldn't go out when he wasn't there. On one of those days he actually had a car accident and totalled my car. Incidentally on that day mum had picked me up to discuss solicitors and how I could get out of the relationship. But, when I came home to find out my car was totalled my self confidence was shattered. My car was the only thing that was mine, just mine, and it was gone. All plans of leaving were destroyed along with my car.
So I stayed and endured a few more years. Years of being told how useless I was. How much my own family couldn't stand me. How he was the only one who truly loved me. How if I ever left him I'd never find anyone else who'd love me like he did.... etc etc. The constant taunting and verbal abuse cut so deep that eventually I became numb to it all.
Sometimes while you're going through a situation you can't quite comprehend just how big a deal it is or the effect it will have on life going forward. Sometimes, you're so invested in it that all you can do is keep going in order to survive. Its easier to keep facing what you know instead of facing the unknown. It was definitely a case of better the devil you know. He had eroded away all my self esteem and self confidence, I was emotionally crippled and couldn't imagine facing the world on my own.
Until one day it all changed.
I got to my breaking point and I'd had enough. It didn't matter what the future would be like. It didn't matter if I never found anyone else and if I was on my own for the rest of my life, because being on my own would be a thousand times better than being with him. The light bulb moment was when I found out he'd been cheating on me while we were in the midst of an infertility battle trying to conceive a child. When confronted he told me it was all my fault (amongst a whole heap of other
bullshit stuff). At that point I just laughed. It was so clear to me how much an ass@*#! he was. The first thing I thought was "what if I have a daughter and she sees him treat me like this and thinks its ok".
That thought was enough to make me decide to leave. It was so over. I'd put up with a lot, but there was no way I was going to put a child through that reality. And so I decided to leave. I didn't care about the consequences, I didn't care about what might happen after. I didn't have any idea of the huge battle that lay ahead of me in order to do so, but even if I had, I still would've done it.
Its only now years later that I've really grasped what a huge chance I took. I've been seeing a psychologist for my PND and when we were talking about my general history he came up. I didn't go into detail, just a brief overview of how controlling he was and that I left. Without hesitation the first thing my psychologist said was "you're so lucky you got away from him because hes the type of person that ends up killing his wife". It kind of hit me in that moment what a huge step I'd taken. It also made me realise how incredibly grateful I was that I had done it and how lucky I was that it didn't go badly. All the statistics point to the fact that women in abusive relationships are most at risk when they're leaving the relationship. Put that together with the fact that it nearly sent me bankrupt and I could've ended up forgoing children because of it...and yea... it makes me realise just how huge it was.
Its without a doubt the biggest chance I've ever taken in my entire life and its had the biggest pay-off. While I went through months and months of emotional and financial hardship afterwards, because he was still trying to control me, I did come out the other side. And the other-side is wonderful. Life without him is nothing like he said it would be (surprise, surprise). It's liberating. It's freedom. I finally have my life back and for the first time in years the future can be whatever I want it to be.
If I never took that chance I wouldn't have the life I have today. I wouldn't have this blog. I wouldn't have fallen in love and wouldn't have my daughter. Sometimes taking a chance is the best thing you can do.
Linking up with Kirsty and Alicia.
*Characteristics of a narcissist
- Has an exaggerated sense of self importance
- Is pre-occupied with power
- Requires excessive and continuous admiration
- Has a strong sense of entitlement
- Has to be the centre of attention
- Believes that they are special (more important than others)
- Exploits others for their own gains
- Lacks empathy for others
- Is arrogant in behaviours or attitude