My husband has told me many times that “Good girls want a Bad Boy that will be Good for them. And Bad Boys want a Good Girl that will be Bad for him.” I’ve come to realize that there is truth in this. (But PLEASE DON’T TELL him that I said he is right!)
I try not to dwell in the past to much. After all, I have a husband who loves me at least as much as I love him. (We argue who loves the other more, but he clearly wins with all he puts up with from me.) I have two beautiful, smart, funny, charming demon-monkey boys that I adore so much I don’t know whether to hug them or strangle them. 🙂 I have a sweet, smart, witty step-daughter who comes to stay during summers and help balance out the testosterone laden house I live in. Both of parents are still alive, though quite happily divorced for almost 3 decades. I have a lot of happiness and sunshine now, so I don’t particularly care to look back in the past and shadows. But occasionally I do. This post is about one of those shadows.
I recently came across a link of Facebook to an interview with Patrick Stewart. I had no idea he was a child of a domestic violence home. His advocacy work now is a great tribute to his willingness to remember his roots, and overcome them. He talks about his father suffering from undiagnosed PTSD (then called “shell shock”) and how it manifested in violet attacks against his mother. He talks about how his mother “did NOTHING to provoke him.” And I think about how close I came to being another statistic.
See, until my husband, I WAS that girl that wanted a bad boy who would be good just for me. I thought I could “change” him. Ha! Let me tell you, that is NEVER going to happen. A sheep is a sheep and a wolf is a wolf. And an abuser is an abuser. Unless they get professional help, they will not change.
My ex-husband was bad enough. He took his own insecurities and attributed them to me. I was the reason he couldn’t do well. I was the reason he got fired. I was the reason he gambled all of our money away. I was the reason he stayed out all night. I was the reason. And I almost believed him. But then common sense would return and I would remember his gambling addiction and his alcoholism. The final straw came when I found out he was cheating. See, I had stayed for 4 years. I took my vows seriously. I had promised “till death do us part” and, well, death had not parted us. Then HE decided he wanted a divorce. Then I found out about her. It was like I could finally hearing God say, “You’ve taken enough. You CAN leave now. It’s okay.” And I left. Happier than I had been in 4 years. It is really an eye-opener when the news that your husband is cheating on you is the best news in your entire marriage.
He was bad. But there was one worse. The ex just yelled a lot. Ridiculous accusations then gone again. But the boyfriend…..there was a sociopath for you. Seriously. He really did know the difference in right and wrong. He just didn’t care. Not only did he yell, and accuse, but he knew where to aim his words for the most damage. He knew exactly how to destroy my psyche. He obliterated any self-worth I had managed to attain. By the time I finally left him (I lied to leave and hid where I was safe and he couldn’t get to me), I was a shell. I knew the entire time that he would begin hitting me soon. Every time he lost his temper, I wondered if it would be then that he would hit me. But I actually, luckily got away before we reached that “milestone”. Lucky wasn’t it. Again, I believe God was watching out for me even when I wasn’t watching out for myself.
It took me over a year to put myself back together. It was over a year before I would even consider going out with a guy again. And honestly? I’m still not sure I’m completely healed. I still hear the echoes of his threats. He’s dead now. Dead before 35 of a stroke. Maybe God was watching out for his wife and kids then. I hope she doesn’t carry the scars that I do from him. But I’m pretty sure hers are worse.
Domestic violence is never right. There is no reason to beat, abuse, humiliate, destroy your partner. It leaves scars mentally, emotionally, and physically on not just them, but any children in the house, and any family members that know or can guess what is happening. It is a self-perpetuating circle. From the parents to the children. From the abuser to the victim. The victim then becoming the abuser. And it continues. It takes a lot to break that circle.
Leave. Run. Get help. No matter whether you are the abuser or the victim, get help. Neither of you deserves the anger, guilt, or torment. And neither does anyone else.
My husband spent YEARS helping me put myself back together, heal the wounds. But there is still a lot of scar tissue to deal with. I wouldn’t fight with him for several years after we started dating. We were probably together for 3 years before I would actually disagree with him instead of crying and hiding in a corner. And he never raised his voice. He never said hurtful untrue things. It was just my conditioned response to a man I angered. Now we can fight. We argue. But these are healthy fights that every marriage should have. I no longer worry that he’s going to leave me. I no longer worry that I’ve made him so mad he might say something mean. He loves me. He really loves me. The way a husband should love his wife. The way a man should love a woman.
That is what every one deserves. Love. Understanding. Compassion. Trust that the person you give your heart and body to will not hurt you intentionally.
I want my boys to know that it is never okay to hit a woman. And I want my step-daughter to know that she can never do anything bad enough to deserve being hit, or hurt. Never