Thursday, March 15, 2012

Heavy Heart, Heavy Mind

I don't know what to do.

See, a friend is getting married later this week and she really shouldn't.

In fact, she should have walked away from this dude MONTHS ago.

I've had this conversation now with her a countless number of times and every time it lead to her making the same conclusions.

Imagine my utter shock when she announced that she was going to MARRY this guy.

I've only spoken with her about her relationship with him via instant messaging and she's canceled the lunch dates, meet-ups, etc I've made with her to talk to her, in person, in relative private about her decision to continue this relationship.

I understand she's nearly 20 and all her friends are married & having babies and I understand the pressure that goes with that.  I've been there.

I've begged, pleaded, and reasoned with her.  I've never personally met her husband to be, I can only judge his character by what she's told me herself.

That worries me. DEEPLY.

I was her at that age.  Thought I was desperate to get married, start a family, and do all those things girls from less than ideal family situations dream about doing just to escape from the family we grew up with.

Fortunately I lived through that marriage.  I have a child who never got a chance to breathe in oxygen though because of that marriage.

I have scars, many of which have faded too well for my camera to pick up.  Deeper scars that a camera can capture, but they're not as obvious as the physical ones.

The three inch scar on my shoulder - a knife.
The dime shaped scars on my legs & arms - cigarette burns.
The six inch scar down my right shoulder & breast - a kitchen glass that had water spots.
The slight droop of my left cheek - a fist.
The numerous 1-2 inch lined scars on my forearms - defensive wounds against knives, broken plates, glasses, bottles.
The half-dollar shaped scar just above my belly button - a tire tool.

All permanent reminders that I once foolishly married a man that said he loved me.  A man that I had children with.  A man that I married because I thought I wanted what all my friends had and it wasn't happening quick enough for me.

Logical reasoning escaped me.  Every word of wisdom I'd ever been taught was found filed in an old dusty cabinet that was locked in a closet I'd forgotten about in my mind.

The relation did not start off so horribly though, no.  Any predator knows they have to lure in their prey.  He was very a creepy sort of way now that I think about it.  He was smooth.  He'd lure me in with tales of caring about me, give me small little gifts, but mostly attention.

Then he started making the accusations against me, doubting my loyalty to him.  So I'd push harder to prove just how loyal I was to him.  I checked in with him everytime I did anything. I got  a cell phone so he could call me at any time to check that I wasn't doing what he would think me to be doing.

He was sly.  It started subtly enough.  Just small things at first and just enough to make me push harder to try to win his complete approval.

He'd pulled some killer lines about how he's had horrible relationships, so that made it hard for him to trust any woman.  He would go on and on about how he felt the world would be a better place without him because he couldn't trust anyone.  So I'd work harder just to prove that there were good honest people in the world and that I was one of them.

He'd then make promises of a grand future and then rip them out from under me.  Only to turn around a few hours or days later and recant his withdrawal from me and promise me the world again.

I was weak and he knew it.  And he used it.

After a while my behaviors were not good enough for him, so I worked to improve them.  Ever careful not to do anything to upset him or have him voice his discontent with me.

He'd also throw in high praises of the things I took ultimate pride in or when I'd conform to his ideals about how I should be.  And then criticize me harshly if I did not meet expectations the next time around.

I never knew exactly where I stood with him.  That kept me weak.

I was almost 5 months pregnant with our first child together the first time he laid a hand on me.  By that time I already had a marriage commitment before him, our families, friends, and God.  He especially enjoyed throwing Bible constructions at me about how a real wife was supposed to be.

He had me isolated from friends and family as well by this time.  We'd moved 12 hours away from everyone I knew and then he refused to pay the phone bill and thought the internet was for nothing more than meeting people to go have sexual relationships with.  I was alone.  No phone, no internet, no friends, no family, just him.

I was trapped.

It was bad.

After 2 years of trying to do the "right wifely thing" I left.  I packed up my 13 month old son, some clothes for the two of us, and lived out of truck or acquaintances' couches and got where I am today:  In a lovely home, with a husband who loves, honors, respects, and adores me and a daughter added to the mix.  The road here was rough, but only for a little while, I'd say less than a year...the last 6 or 7 years have been great.  It is totally not worth the opinion of others to stay in a toxic relationship.  I've lost the relationships I'd had with many of my family members & very close friends.  But I have my life and the life of my children.  I've built new relationships with people and have grieved the loss of my past close relationships...neither feats that would have been possible if I was dead.

We need to teach our daughters to distinguish between a man who flatters her & a man who compliments her .... a man who spends money on her & a man who invests in her .... a man who views her as property & a man who views her properly ..... a man who lusts after her & a man who loves her ..... a man who believes he is God's gift to women & a man who remembers a woman was God's gift to man

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