The faded flowers of bouquets sent as a peace offering are now merely tattered remnants of empty apologies
The bridal suite was exquisite, the adjourning bath with jacuzzi enviable. My Mary Kay bridesmaid attentively and artistically created a beautiful portrait of my then young face. The hairdresser created a beautiful hairdo, weaving together a creation worthy of a princess. That is how I felt that day. Like a princess. Hopeful that the hard life behind me was just that, behind me. Faded like a distorted photograph of a former life.
Close friends came and went, oohing and aahing over the gorgeous fit-for-a- princess wedding dress, the expensive wedding suite, all the amenities that came with it, such as the luxurious bathroom equipt with a jacuzzi.
I was a nervous bride. I was trying hard not to be irritable, not wanting to be a Bridezilla. I was supposed to be full of joy, wasn’t I? Wasn’t this suppose to be my day, the day of joy, celebrating finally finding the right man for me? The man I would spend the rest of my life with? So, why the deep sense of impending doom? “What is wrong with me” I kept wondering.
Looking back, I realize that the God-given gut instincts were at play… the instincts that I wanted so desperately to ignore, could not be ignored. Those red flags that I ignored while engaged to be married to this man; all ignored. After all, everyone loved him, approved of him, encouraged me to walk through the rest of my life with him.
Not trusting myself, I trusted others. Some of those that I trusted were the annoying ones coming in and out of the bridal suite that fateful day…
Today, nine years later, we are divorced. Five years ago, it was final…Today, I struggle picking up the pieces of the shattered illusionary dream of wedded bliss, forever after, growing old together, walking on the Florida beaches in retirement, holding my Lovers hand…
this is what I would write to him today in a letter if I could…
To My Last Husband,
I still miss you…I miss us…the us I thought was the reality. I do not blame you for everything, it takes two. I have to own my part in it…I ignored my God given gut instinct. I could not hang in there while you figured out that you were an abuser and that the therapist was actually colluding with you. I could not stray while I was being destroyed physically and emotionally by the gaslighting and the verbal bullying. I tried, I kept leaving and I kept coming back, believing that this time it would be better, this time we can make it work.
Yes, I had a part in our mess. I kept trusting that you would get it, that you would make us safe again. But, you chose the colluding therapists, you chose to keep playing the game. It took me a while to figure out what was going on. All the accusations that I was the abuser threw me off, I started to believe you. I did not know that standing up for myself and reacting with outrage toward you was not abuse. I started to believe you and the colluding fly monkeys, that there was something wrong with me…that I was mentally deranged. delusional was the word you loved to say about me. After all, wasn’t me, as you loved to point out, that was on medication. You, being a very intelligent pharmacist, knew all about my medications. You feigned being so concerned about my welling being that you wanted to come to all my appointments and tell them how concerned you were. I now realized what you were up to. My therapists told me you called them to let them know all my behaviors and how concerned you were about me. You were so good at manipulating that even the male therapist that worked in the local men’s battering program was almost convinced that it was me who was doing the abusing.
I could go on and on about all the things that came to light after I entered into the local Domestic Violence Shelter. I could write a book about the short time we were married. The 12 step inventory I found with the handwritten confession of all your abuse. Then the divorce papers with all the wonderful husbandly things you were still doing for me….yep, convincing. I had to laugh when I found out you were soliciting funds for the new housing program for victims of domestic violence while me, your wife, sat in a shelter for victims of domestic violence in order to save myself from complete mental breakdown from your abuse. The irony of it…
I miss my beloved Jack Russell Terrier. I must say, if I had been treated as well as you treated my dog, I would not have had to flee from your house. Yes, your house, After all, you reminded me quite a few times that it was your house. You never put my name on anything. You controlled everything.
I sit in poverty now. On disability. The trauma almost destroyed me completely. Funny, I sit here thinking back on our early days. I remember sitting in my living room, you across the room, so innocent, like the good Catholic man you portrayed yourself to be, saying “Poor poor baby, you have been through so much. You will never have to work again, you can heal from all the trauma of your past. You can write another book, go back to college, finish your degree,, take art classes, you can go to spas and have manicures and pedicures and just be pampered.
I am sure that you meant it.
However, after our extravagant honeymoon in Key West, where I was treated like a royal princess, things changed. Drastically. No longer were even interested in spending time with me. Suddenly, we were like strangers sharing a house. I felt uninvited, like an intruder. I had no idea the darkness that resided in that house your grandfather built I had no idea that your grandmother invited gypsy tea leaf readers that and had rented to a witch. I had no idea that you saw what you called gremlins. I had no idea that you also saw hooded creatures lurking at night around your bed. No. I had no clue that I had no clue. I didn’t know that I didn’t know about the darkened world of the occult. It almost convinced me to kill myself.
Thank you for the letter you sent to my parents admitting that you abused me causing me to leave you…so sad that my father still didn’t get it, nor my brother either, but, what could I expect from them, after all, they sure did their share of abusing me when I was growing up. They liked you and thought I was the abuser, they believed you above me. You sure were good with getting folks to collude with you and be your flying monkeys. Dad always said birds of a feather flock together. Maybe that is why the churches are so toxic.
I am grateful for the time I had with you. Even though at this point in my life, I will most likely not complete the college degree I at one time pursued, I have a Ph.D in narcissistic abuse syndrome, domestic abuse, and narcissism. Although at times I truly did not want to go on living, Creator has a purpose in mind for my life. I lived to tell my story. You are only part of that story I lived to tell and an education that most will never have.
I am grateful for my time with you because I learned these following things:
Money does not buy happiness. Botox and fillers do not make a wife more attractive and cannot compete with addiction to the illusionary world of porn. Your porn problems were there before I ever came along. Your gambling addiction was there before I came along. Just because a person is sitting in 12 step meetings for years and not drink or use illegal drugs does not equate true recovery. I learned that narcissists fool most everyone, even experts. Most believers are clueless about domestic abuse, therefore will re-victimize the victim due to their chosen ignorance. I learned who my real friends are. Living the high life using credit cards can be a sign of gambling addiction. I learned that abuse can be part of a person’s gambling addiction. I learned that you are a very broken person using the only coping mechanisms you know. I learned that we are all broken children in need of His healing power. I learned that marriage is a serious covenant and that most of us do not understand what marriage is. I learned not to believe people just because they verbalize a profession of faith in Christ. I learned that I need to love myself and listen to what my God-given instincts are saying and not listen to humans that are so easily fooled by master manipulators. I learned to trust my Creator. I learned that I am very valuable and you were not worthy of me. I learned that Yeshua is my real husband and that He is my Provider, Healer, and Protector.