A timely reprint from a blog on AlexDelon.com. Domestic violence has surged through the Covid-19 lockdowns. If you need help, please reach out.
You’re not alone and you are worth fighting for!
Here’s my story of desperation. It’s the day I gloved up and began to fight for myself.
This has been a strange morning. I stumbled on an email I’d written myself six months before I left my marriage. It was my way of journaling. It showed up in an ‘Unsent’ folder on my iPad email. I knew there was a folder for Drafts I’d not sent yet, but my old iPad didn’t even have an ‘Unsent’ folder. To top it off, my phone rang. It was a friend, returning my call. Only I hadn’t called her. Wouldn’t have, not until I had time to process how unsettled I was about that email. It had sent me back to the edge of that abyss I’d curled my toes around those many years ago. I’d pushed the memory out of sight, but evidently, I haven’t forgotten.
I do believe magical things happen in life, but don’t believe in hoodoo or voodoo. I must have hit the redial button on my phone, scrolled through to select her number and then hit the send button on my landline. That is a lot for a phone I shoved out of the way, as I made room for my coffee cup.
What did the email say that threw me into a tailspin? Too much. People often ask me why, what made me leave a marriage I’d stayed in for forty-seven years? I joke, say it got crowded. His girlfriend didn’t like me that much. After a glass or two of wine I might get crass and tell them that three is a fucking crowd. It sounds like I found out he was having an affair, so I left. Unfortunately, that’s only a tiny part of it. Perhaps the final straw.
Perhaps it is what saved me. My desperation and my decision.
In the email I’d written to myself six months before I left him, over five years ago now, I’d given up on ever being wanted or loved. Through decades of being bullied and emotionally battered by a man I loved, I gave up on my relationship and myself.
“Going on is too hard. I’m exhausted, and now strangely relieved. Unafraid. But damn it, every time I blink, the image of my mom the day Karen, (my oldest sister) died of cancer flashes. She held her hand until we pried her fingers free. Everyone else would get over it and go on without me, but I’d tear my mother apart, saddle her with the pain I want to escape. I can’t do that to her. I can’t.
She’s the kindest yet strongest woman I know and I have to find the strength to fight for myself…for her.”
Before you put me in restraints and check me into a psych ward, please realize that I didn’t give up. Somewhere, somehow, my mind found a reason to be. Found the strength to keep going. Found the sanity to change my life.
Told you this was a strange morning, because I woke to the sound of the surf, smiled, stretched, am having the time of my life. Living my dreams alive and well. Why did I stumble on that email? Why didn’t I simply remember my desperation? Instead I relived it; shallow breath, rapid heart rate, difficulty swallowing, the weight on my chest that had crushed my heart for so long.
Whew! After another cup of coffee, talking to my friend, who I hope isn’t sending the paddy wagon to my door, I decided to tell write about it. I wonder if maybe, just maybe someone might read this who needs to know they aren’t the only one who’s teetered on that edge. Someone afraid to tell anyone the depth of their despair, for fear it would be fuel for their partner to take their children away or have them declared unstable, and incompetent.
Someone who needs to know it may be the bottom they need to reach, to push themselves up and on their way. It was for me.
I wasn’t insane the day I wrote that email to myself. I was coldly rational. Not afraid. Strangely relieved. Unstable? Incompetent? No. I was all too competent of completing my journey by choice. That I kept going because I couldn’t hurt my mother is yet another gift in her legacy to me.
Now, these many years later, I am grateful I found the strength. Something to cling to. You’re worth it, too. Even if you have moments you don’t believe you’re worth the fight. You are.
Toxic partners surround us with negative energy, drain the life out of us and move on.
Damn it, don’t let them win! You don’t need to engage them or fight them, you need to get away, and fight for yourself. My life, and love of that life, and of so many others is evidence it can be done. It also explains why I titled my book, LEAVING YOU…for me. It wasn’t a title bandied around with a slew of others as a catchy one, to catch your attention. It’s what I did. Why I left. Not because of him, but because I was determined to detach, to save myself.
If I could take your hand, pull you away from the edge, I would, in a heartbeat. I think that’s what I’m trying to do this morning. Throw a lifeline to someone as close to that abyss as I was that morning in April over five years ago.
Use the pain you feel to light a fire, burn that damned bridge, set yourself on the run, as long as you’re running away. You may stop for a breath at some point, turn around, see the smoke from that damned bridge, tremor with temptation to go back, but remember you set it on fire because you are worth fighting for. You are.
I’m grateful each and every day that I won that fight.
If you need help, please open the “Help” section of this website…reach out and fight for yourself.