Saturday, February 8, 2014
Thinking... assessing... realizing...
I'm coming up on a year since I left my husband. I remember that around this time last year, I was actively planning my departure, though I don't remember when, exactly, I told him I would be moving out. But if I had to venture a guess, I'd say it's right about a year ago, with my leaving occurring at the end of March.
I remember how scared I was to make that move, but I had been too scared to do it for years. But last year... last year, I more mad and fed up than I was scared, and that's what propelled me forward. I got to the point where I'd rather live in a cardboard box under a bridge than to put up with one more minute of his negativity and criticism.
So, now I've had a year to reflect. And in that year, I've lost 55 pounds, done well by myself, and felt a sense of freedom I haven't felt in far too long. And in that same year, he's gained weight, hasn't cut his hair and is growing out his goatee to a disgusting length, and hasn't cleaned the house I had turned into a veritable showplace. And he's become even more of a hermit than he already was.
What I have to share here in NO way is meant to say that I'm an angel and he's a devil. It's not about that. But at the same time, I have to look at the dynamic that was our relationship and how that relationship affected me, my mental health, and my physical health.
When I met him, I was CRAZY about him. I actually can say I loved him more than I loved myself. I loved him to a fault. I loved him so much that when I started to see the REAL him, I internalized it and believed that I had done something to make him change. I was the reason he was becoming sullen. I was the reason he didn't spend time with me or have anything to do with him. I lived in this bad place for many years, trying to figure out what "I did wrong" to make him change. I think he liked me in that place to some degree, because it took the focus off him and what HE was doing wrong.
However, during that time, I gained weight. A LOT of weight. At my highest, I had nearly doubled in size from what I was when we met. And, for obvious reasons, that caused me and us even more problems. I felt even worse about myself. I blamed my weight for the reasons he didn't have anything to do with me. I beat myself up further and punished myself for being a loser. It was a vicious cycle that was completely unhealthy and emotionally devastating.
Then I woke up. I realized that it wasn't all me. Hell, much of it was him, and much of my bad behaviors -- towards him and towards myself with food and self-loathing -- were coping mechanisms I had adopted to deal with his negativity. Much of what I had become was a direct result of what he was. He's a miserable person who doesn't realize his misery is internal and something he brought into the marriage as opposed to being my fault.
However, my waking up was not a good thing for him. My waking up meant that he could no longer hide behind the facade of everything being my fault. Now he's alone. If he's still miserable, who can he blame but himself? And how easy is that to do after blaming me for 20+ years?
Though I don't spend my days ruminating over this anymore, I do have the rare time when I think about how things went down -- if only to try to figure my own life out. Add to that a few friends I have who have great relationships, and my heart twinges with a bit of pain, wondering what my life would have been like had I had that kind of love, caring, support, and uplifting during all this time. Again, I don't exert too much time thinking like that because there's no way to request a redo. I made my choices, and I paid for them. Now, all I can do is learn from them.
Anyway, I feel as if I'm rambling now. All I'm trying to get across is that I feel as if I broke a spell of sorts by walking away from the destructiveness that is negativity, criticism, and bitterness. And since doing so, I'm starting to learn how to love myself and realize my own value. I no longer need to seek that from an outside source, nor do I need to "medicate" myself with food to fill the void that my marriage left.
It's amazing what a year can do.
Posted by Beth at 11:26 PM