I have wounds from you
That haven’t healed yet
I’ve gone on to do things
You never would accept.
I have grown in ways
You’d never expect.
Rebuilt the bridges
You forced me to burn
Putting to use all the lessons
You forced me to learn.
On every inch of my mind
I had hoped you’d change
But you’re just not the kind.
Trying to forgive
But I can never forget.
You may be gone
But the wounds are still wet.
4 years ago I left a 5 year long abusive relationship. Today, I am married to a gentle soul who keeps our family laughing and enveloped in love. Every now and then the fear of what I went through comes back, at odd times I will find myself flinching at a raised hand, even when the hand in question is raised for a high five or to reach a lightbulb. I can still feel my heart clench when I say something that Kyle would have deemed “stupid”, which was anything that did not interest him or things he didn’t understand. I wait to be scolded or mocked but am now only met with a warm grin, loving approval, humor and wit. Little things have changed and make more of an impact than I would have thought. Today I was doing some chores and gathered up the empty returnables to bag up and bring to the redemption center. While packing them into a trash bag it occurred to me that I didn’t have to worry about sticky bottles anymore, or that gross sweet rotting smell that old beer bottles get. I felt relieved at the mass of water bottles in front of me. My biggest concern was if they would fit in the bag, not if the person at the redemption center would judge me on what I was bringing in. No chance of broken glass here. No sticky mess in the back of my car. No alcoholic to come home to. Such a small thing that has changed in my life but I only now realized how it had effected me negatively in the past.
When we are in these toxic relationships we often look passed so many of these “small” things. The problem with that is they build and build on one another, like a snowball down a hill the small things add together and become a giant hazard. We get accustomed to that though. I am not sure I even let myself notice how gross and embarrassing even that one thing, sticky beer bottles, had been for me. I blocked it out, maybe to protect myself from seeing the actual problem, but it’s clear now that I put up with a lot that wasn’t necessary.
I’m slowly learning what a healthy life feels like, and adapting to a moderate level of calm (I DO still have 2 kids lol)
It takes time to heal, I put a blanket over that part of my life for a few years now and had thought myself healed from all the things that had happened but that isn’t real healing. There has been some minor progress lately, now that I’ve pulled back that blanket and peeked at what I left hiding under there.
Anger is a huge problem, one I struggle with daily because after you’ve been abused, fight or flight becomes a front line response to even the slightest things. Loud noises and screaming children can trigger unwarranted fear or urges to hide. Smal mistakes like forgetting to buy new sponges can cause panic attack level anxiety until you remember you aren’t living that life anymore when the person at home will lose their mind over simple human error.
One of the biggest things that sticks with me is that my son, who knew Kyle as his father for the first year of his life, would grow up to be like him. Every time my son, who will be five soon, throws a fit, I want to crumble into a ball and hide. It’s something I’m proud to say I’ve almost outgrown, the reflex to wind myself up and throw my battle gear on. I have had to retrain myself to see him as not Kyle, not like Kyle, as just a child having a bad day or a rough moment.
Projecting my Ex’s behaviour onto my son, seeing my child’s tantrums and attitude as a reflection of my ex was the worst parenting mistake I had ever made and it caused a lot of tension. It was hard to separate the two and when my child is yelling some of the same things my Ex had in the past. Obviously my son had no idea he was repeating things, he was only 1 when I left Kyle, but I had to remind myself that for over two years before it sunk in.
My ex is gone. He went on to do the same things to the next woman and I haven’t seen or spoken to him in years but he is a ghost that haunts my house still.
Abuse hides behind doors you wouldn’t expect.
It effects those who endure(d) it for an immeasurable amount of time.
Healing is a process that has one million steps, it starts with a step out of the door that is closed forever.
I hope my story might help someone. I might add more to it later, but the best thing would be to be free of it and not have to say another word. ❤