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Tuesday
Sep182018

Part of me never escaped

Warning: discussion of abuse

 

I have that dream again. The one where I've finally managed to break up with my emotionally abusive ex and can finally start putting the pieces of my life back together again. It's a dream I've had countless times since I drove him to Bangor and put him onto a plane out of my life. The details are different, but the themes are the same.

This time I'm cleaning up my old apartment, one that I haven't lived in since I was with him. There's stuff everywhere. It's a mess. But I'm confident that I can get things cleaned up. Then my ex shows up and won't go away.

Even though it's been 11 years and the relationship only lasted 3 years, it left a scare on my soul. I will never forget the confusion imposed by constant gaslighting. Those endless nights of crying, not knowing what to believe anymore. Feeling like this was my fault because of the choices I'd made or some fatal flaw within myself that couldn't just make things work.

There was the night I called 911 because he wouldn't let me leave then explained to the police officers that he just wanted a number on my cell phone.

Or the time he threatened to return my cats to the shelter if I couldn't work things out with him.

There were the subtle and not so subtle ways he tried to control me. From sexist jokes to convincing me that my friends and family hated him.

Mostly I've moved on. I have a great life with a loving husband who respects my autonomy and two cuddle demanding children. That is aside from the occasional panic attack when I think I've seen him or the crushing weight of remembering all I went through.

I did learn some lessons.

1. Anyone who makes you cry more than you smile is not good for you.

2. Anyone who tries to physically stop you from leaving doesn't respect you.

3. Someone who has been caught lying has no incentive to tell the truth.

I'm not sure what triggered the dream this time. I think it has to do with Blaise Ford's description of her assault and her willingness to stand before a body of people - more than half of whom have a vested interest in ripping her life to shreds - and defend her truth.

You never forget when you think someone might kill you. Part of you is still there, will always be there in that moment when you realized that your fate was in the hands of someone who will take pleasure in hurting you. 

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