May 1

Dear Diary,

One of the things that I’m struggling with the most is my kids. This is so hard for all of us, and it has caused an obvious divide. They’re still mostly staying with their dad but we’re about to switch back to 50/50 pretty soon. I know it will be fine. I know we will work through it and build something better from the pieces. However, I feel so guilty. For letting him into their lives, for letting him destroy their mother, the sanctity of their home, for all of it.

This has had me thinking pretty much constantly about all of the things I ignored or explained away. Things he turned on me as though I was doing anything. Like the time there was lipstick on his shirt and he “jokingly” fussed at me about how I was a bad girlfriend because I didn’t say anything about it when I told him that I saw it (and had chosen not to say anything) after he pointed it out to me. What the fuck is that even? Seriously. I guess he thought he was convincing me that it was innocent by making it a joke so I wouldn’t suspect that he’d been cheating. Funny guy, right?

I know that he preyed on my insecurities. I know that I told him so many things that made it easier for him. He knew all of my wounds so he knew exactly where to stick the salted knife. So many jokes at my expense. So much that I just ignored or wrote off. So many things I said that when I hear them now I’m baffled. I remember telling my brother that I was pretty sure he wouldn’t hit me or anything when we were talking about relationship woes one time. I remember us both remarking that the fact that I even had to say that probably wasn’t a good sign. I stayed anyway. He kept getting more intimidating. He actually told me one time that if he couldn’t get the respect he demanded out of love he would damned sure get it with fear. He told me to my face that he would intimidate me into submission. Still, I stayed.

Now, I’m looking back on all this time I spent losing myself to him and I’m just stunned by how much one person can take from another. These aren’t even that bad in the whole of it. At a certain point, they all just become grains of sand on a beach of bullshit though. It annoys me that he doesn’t have to remember, but then I remember it wouldn’t matter if he did. He didn’t care. He’s probably telling anyone who will listen about how horrible I am and how much I abused him. How much I cost him and how much he gave up for me. Being with me was apparently the worst. The. Worst!!!

I’m tired of being paralyzed. All of this thinking led me to seeing that I allowed him to cage me so completely, that I’ve forgotten that I can leave the cage. (I’m kind of disappointed that my brain immediately went bird analogy here since I’m a cat. Maybe it’s because I’m hungry.) I’m making it a priority in May to leave the cage. I need to stop letting his narrative fill my mind. This is my life. I am a warrior.

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