I didn’t initiate this process. I know it’s the right move, now. But at the time, it was not my decision that set us down this path. I want to believe I would have gotten there on my own – given enough time and work in therapy I would have seen the eventual truth as just that. At the end of the day, I’ll never know.
Leading up to everything, we were in couples’ therapy. My ex was angry, and it came out in very negative ways. I was blamed for all of our faults. Everything I had done over 14 years were brought to bear – listed endlessly in an affront to my senses and mind as I tried to wrestle with what was happening.
Now, one of my biggest flaws in my life has been my drive to keep everyone happy – so smooth things over and not cause ripples. That choice often manifests in a way where I am left holding the bag, deferring my own needs, and/or allowing myself to get “screwed.” My ex took advantage of me multiple times by using this character flaw – but she wasn’t the first. A learned behavior from my youth, it’s clearly something I needed to address.
As I was assaulted with all the way in which I was the cause of everything poor in our marriage – I went to what I knew. I apologized. I took ownership. I asked for forgiveness from, her and others. I let her let me believe I was at fault here – that I had failed her, our kids, everyone.
I was devastated by her words, and my willingness to accept them as fact, broke me. for some time after that day, I felt broken – more broken then I ever had. I wondered if my kids would be better without me, if I was able to even manage here alone – without any family or friends by my side. She had her family, her life-long friends, our neighbors. I had none of it – I was isolated and my failure to stand up for myself caused deep hard to my psyche.
I wasn’t sure I was worthy of much in life – friends, love. I was truly broken.
I want to say, “and now I am great.” But I’m not. Have I turned a corner thanks to my friends, family, and therapy – yes. At least I hope yes. At minimum I don’t feel like the broken man I was 6 months ago. But the truth is, there are days I’m not sure, and lack confidence and self-love.
I am a work in progress, and every day I get stronger. I know her words are not my grave, and they only hold the power over me that I let them. But progress is not a straight line, and understanding that my journey will ebb and flow has brought me peace.