I spent 8 long years trying to make a destructive relationship work. I walked away with my head hanging low and severely low self worth. I also walked away with an amazing little boy who thinks I am a hero. A lot of people say things like; why did you stay so long, why didn’t you JUST leave, why did you give him your power…. you get the idea. I was a strong woman when I met this man, but had absolutely no healing done from my childhood of sexual, physical and emotional abuse. I was loud, rambunctious and full of life ready and willing to be the center of attention at any party. I was known as always being fun to party with and keeping one going until the wee mornings. I was actually very tired from all the partying when I met this man so I was willing to give it all up for the one and “settle down,” boy was I in for a roller coaster ride.
I will admit I gave too much of myself in the beginning. Dropped all my friends and gave every spare minute I had to him. Soon I was head over heels in love, and he said he loved me too. Once I was all in the abuse started. A beating here, a spit in my face there, snarky comments and seclusion from everyone but him. I don’t want to go into full detail on what I endured but give you a picture of how severe this relationship was. By the time I left the relationship I had completely become someone different. Still loud, but not nearly as often. Afraid of how stupid people would think my ideas and opinions were. I rarely spoke up and if I did it was to one or two people and behind closed doors. I even remember starting a blog, but after my first post I said nope not doing that again….. way to vulnerable for me, and people probably wouldn’t read it anyways. I’m just a dumb Indian that no one cares about. Just another statistic.
It took me 5 months to open a new fb account. Even though I was free of him he still controlled me. I was so scared that he would see my account and reign hell on me. His voice was with me everywhere I went “you’re ugly like your mom”, “you’ll never find someone like me” and “you’re a pig.” Everything I did I did with tremendous fear. Going out into public scared the living shit out of me. I thought everyone was looking at me and knew how disgusting I was. I assumed people were laughing at me and knew I was a complete failure.
Fast forward to today. It has been over 13 years since I met that man, and I am taking a stand. No fucking more! Not just to him but anyone that makes me feel less than I know I am. My value is high in this world.
I had this epiphany last weekend when yet again we were being keyboard warriors arguing through text about how he will withhold child support because I withhold our child. Let me please point out I do not enjoy holding our child hostage. It hurts me a great deal watching my son cry for his Dad he misses so much, but someone needs to be the adult and that person is me. When it comes to the safety of my child I have to make the hard decisions about what is safe and what is considered proper parenting. When your “sober” when you see your child but using extremely unsafe drugs and participating in scary behaviour it is my duty as his Mother to make sure he never becomes collateral damage. Supervised visits are few and far between but that is not my issue. What I can do is enforce my own love to our child tenfold so he knows just how special he is. He has no shortage of love.
But, this isn’t about our child or my parenting. It is what happens when we argue that is the topic. After I argue with him I go into a funk. My boyfriend knows what’s up and it impacts our relationship which is a huge no no in my book! Do you allow other relationships to pour into your life like poison? That is what it really is. POISON. Do I need to engage? No. Do I need to remind him of his shortcomings? No. Do I need to put him down because he angers me? Fuck no. So why do I then? Repeated behaviours, cycles and not being aware of my emotions. So take a step back. Is it hard to not involve myself in this anymore? Absolutely not!
It comes down to boundaries. These need to be put into place to ensure success. Blocking his number and having a third person do the communication; this is also important because now the communication is only pertaining to details of visits and the child. Sticking to my guns. This is a hard one. I used to give in all the time, but as I have become stronger in my own recovery (how that looks for me) and have a clear idea on what is acceptable and not acceptable. Putting a rule into place means sticking to that rule!! NO MATTER WHAT!!!! Doing these steps allows me to breathe and fully move on in life, and not be subject to any outrages or comments made out of anger. I don’t need to be told I am a bad mom because I am not. I may have made some poor choices in the past as a mom, but that is the past, something that can not be undone, and I live in the present planning for the future.
So I leave you with this. Brene Brown said this “Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we disappoint others.”
XX Badass Bon