The Relationship Mirror
It's painful as an adult to suddenly start reliving the traumas of childhood. To find that the one you love, your significant other, partner in crime and love of your life has morphed into that school bully, the controlling father and the perfectionist mother but this is the purpose of relationships - to hold a mirror up to ourselves to see what we need to heal.
The following is a story that may sound familiar to some:
'As my husband projected all his own childhood wounds onto me and told me I was to blame and as the drip, drip of blame continued, I felt myself turn inwards even more.
The voice on my shoulder got stronger and stronger...
"You never do anything right."
"You shouldn't exist."
I desperately tried to 'fix' myself and whatever situation arose. Each time I saw a glimmer of light, the 'gas-lighting' would start again, and I'd be back in the washing machine of thoughts and emotions.
Eventually I collapsed. Sent home from work. The last thing standing...gone.
This compounded the abuse from my husband even further and he continually referred to me as 'broken' and regularly told me how I disgusted and repulsed him.
I tried to leave several times but each time I felt a 'duty' to make the marriage work. To stick at it. Fix it. Fix all the problems. Fix me. My inner dialogue kept saying...
"How are you going to manage on your own."
"Surely you're better off together."
"You took a vow."
"What will people think of you."
"There is so much shame in divorce."
"No-one will ever love you again."
"This is your only chance."
“Buck up. Just get on with it.”
“Who is going to want me – I am broken.”
After three years in the marriage, I suddenly realised that this dialogue was not my own. It was everyone else's fears; a mixture of generations, parents, friends, colleagues, society, cultural norms that I had taken as my own truth. I was so lost and confused and felt very unsafe. What I knew for certain was that I couldn't stay and twist myself into shapes any longer and I couldn't 'heal' if I stayed. What I also knew is that it wasn’t the first time I’d experienced a lot of this internal dialogue and the only common denominator was me.
I filed for divorce. It is one of the bravest things I have done. I didn't know what was going to happen, but I reached out to a few trusted people, and I asked for help. And it was given generously and willingly.
There has never been any malice from me towards my husband. I love him and always will, but I do not condone his abusive and entitled behaviour. What I do know is that it was a marriage of two unhealed people; a blamer and a people pleaser trying to make a life together without truly understanding the purpose of relationships.
By filing for divorce, I made a commitment to myself, a commitment to love myself first so that I know how to love another.
I didn't know how I was going to do that or even what it meant but somewhere deep inside of me an ember was still lit to light my journey.'
With that ember, there is always hope; and with hope there can begin the journey of recovery and rediscovery. It is all about rediscovering the person you really are, learning to love yourself and finding your ‘home’.