My body doesn’t lie
My divorce was final in April and I was excited to be legally free, even though we parted ways last November, this was the official end to our union. It is good to have my own life, and set my own rules. It feels good not to be in a toxic environment, where around every corner was an argument waiting to happen. It became not about us as people, but about a separate entity or problem that needed to be solved. Were we going to throw away years of building a family, a home, a way of life in search of our individual needs getting met? Or were we going to stay together and compromise our needs for the sake of the marriage?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It is a choice, and a hard choice. Neither of us knew what laid ahead without each other, but the toxicity of us being together soon became too much for either of us to take, and we went our separate ways.
Last Wednesday, I had a LIVE discussion on Instagram about how being in this toxic atmosphere affected my body. My once energetic and sexual body became weighed down and passive. I felt like I never received resolution to the questions I had about our relationship, but instead we would end up in a heated argument and walking away from each other. With big questions lingering in my mind I would have to live with a person that was slowly becoming a stranger to me. But I am sure I was becoming a stranger to him too.
I know I changed. I wasn’t the girl I was when we met. We met in a bar, and I had stopped drinking and started focussing on healing the trauma from my past. I thought that if I got married and had a family that would be enough to erase my abusive childhood. I thought it would be the answer to the many questions that went unanswered about how I grew up. I thought that I could walk away from the confused girl that I used to be, the girl I didn’t like. I thought I could move to a new city and start over, and lie about my family of origin. No one would ever have to know that my mom used to hit me for no reason, that she withheld food from me, that she made up stories about the guys I was dating so I wouldn’t date them anymore because she didn’t like them. No one would have to know that my mother didn’t have my back, or that she was jealous of my successes.
But I still knew! I couldn’t walk away from her dialogue in my head. I couldn’t walk away from deep inside believing that love meant removing my boundaries, and trying to conform to what my partner wanted. My mom taught me that. Even though intellectually, I knew this wasn’t the truth, there was a deeper part of me that believed it. And I also believed that if I wasn’t loved and treated with respect that it was somehow my fault.
I wanted my husband to solve this for me. I wanted him to love me unconditionally and take away all the hurt from my past. Instead, our relationship only reinforced my insecurities of not being enough. I took the blame in most situations and tried to make things better. I wanted so badly to have a loving family that was a safe haven from the world. I wanted so badly to have what I didn’t have as a child.
Obviously that didn’t happen. And when my mom passed away 5 years ago, I felt compelled to write about my truth. I wanted to come clean about who I really am, and where I really came from. I hate it. I hate that I come from a toxic place, so I guess I hate a part of me. I have to work hard on telling myself that it wasn’t my fault, and I did the best I could. But my mom’s blood is in me, and there are parts of her that I respect and love. She was a strong resilient woman that didn’t realize her own beauty. Yes, she was beautiful to look at, but she was also creative, smart, resourceful, and loved her children. I saw her vulnerable side, that would slip out in moments of weakness. She shared with me the stories of her own traumatic childhood, and of not being told that she was loved. I wanted to see her happy, and released from events that were not her fault. But that didn’t happen, and she stayed in a toxic relationship with my dad because it was all she knew, and maybe thought that it was all she was worth. For all my judgement of her for doing this, I ended up doing the same thing. She was better than that, and I started to realize that I was too!
The only way to break the cycle of abuse is to be honest about it. To say that there were things that happened in my childhood that were abusive and wrong, and led me to think less of myself. This was passed down from my mother who went through the same thing. It is scary to break a cycle, because I am walking a path that has not been walked before, and this path tends to alienate other family members.
All I know is that my body does not lie. That there came a time in my marriage when my anxiety, lack of energy and sex drive, and my disinterest in daily life became too much for me to bear. I didn’t want to leave, but my body didn’t want to stay. It had enough! Since I have been on my own, fat doesn’t stick to my stomach like a barrier to protect me from hurt. I feel lighter and calmer. I smile more, and feel more open to take chances. I now have the ability to walk away from situations that don’t feel good to me, without an explanation or an argument. I can chose where I spend my time and with who.
My marriage didn’t give me what I wanted and expected it to give me. But it did give me my daughter. And I love my daughter more than anything in this world. She is smart and loving, and she is my best friend. And she has unconditional love for me! So, I did get the family I always wanted after all, just not in the form I thought it would be in. And maybe me leaving a toxic situation with the belief that I am worth more, will show her that she is worth more too, and break the cycle for good.