All through my marriage, I was always in the defensive mode. Shielding myself from the accusations, seeing my life through his needs and myself through his critical eyes and trying to be not disapproved of.
I would see discontent in his looks and lay awake wondering what have I done wrong now, how can he love me better, or be proud of me more; like a kid who seeks their parents approval. Finding myself constantly wondering “what would he say” or “how would he react” before choosing how to react for myself…
He didn’t strip me of my identity overnight, he subtly chipped away more and more until every thought I had, word I spoke, and action I took was worship and tribute to him. All my thoughts, feelings, hopes, words, and actions are ultimately subservient to them.
A string of hurt and pain and words that would shake my very core, using my deepest insecurities and exposing them every chance he got. Over the years learnt how to hurt me and he did.
He kept telling me I’m a failure until I felt like one, he kept telling me that I was ignorant and thoughtless and unwise, until I was so embarrassed to talk in public… I was almost to become mute. He kept telling me that I was ordinary that all I could ever be is inferior and I believed him and I became so! He would make snide comments and downplay all of my successes and up play his own and would take digs at my looks and my talents, and I would think, he’s more talented and more successful and more social, of course he’s better.
He would hate when I got any attention, that I tried my best to become nothing but a shadow… and a shadow even to myself I have become.
When shit escalated and he would just pick fights out of thin air… He could yell and swear and hurt me so deep for hours, and a few minutes later he’d come ask me if I would like to join him to watch a movie! When I point out that he had just… like just hurt me, he would say, “you’re always clinging and living in the past”, that I don’t appreciate the positive…what past!!! What positive!!! The thing is; I believed him when he said things like “I’m just being honest”, “It’s not criticism”, “you’re just too sensitive”, “you’re the abusive one by always bringing out the past”.
I would sometimes became a lunatic who exploded in profane rages, carefully calculated and orchestrated by him. Though not irrational–they were based on things he had actually said and done–they were reminiscent of the rages he had been spewing on me every third day since the beginning. I had lost myself.
I would lay next to him afraid to talk, … afraid to complain or explain or comment. Cautiously composing sentences in my head and yet all my wariness would be in vain.
The first time he made me cry, I should have realized that people who love you do not treat you that way. The first time he called me a burden, I should have known that he would never have my back. The first time he got abusive, I should have known that it would not be the last and that I would remain his punching bag figuratively and literally.
The first time he made it clear that he could say what he wanted to hurt me, but I could not do the same, I should have known that I would never have a say in this relationship.
Right now, I am alone and days would come, where I am extremely lonely, but ironically I am less alone than when I was with him.