I recently received the following letter that a woman wanted to post on her blog. She asked me if she should post it. I understand fully why she would want to post it to her personal blog, knowing that her abusive husband, soon to be ex-husband, would read it. I know that deep desire to “tell them off:” To make them understand just how horrible they have been to us, how much they have hurt us.
It’s a common truth that most people gain weight over the holidays. This time however- I lost it! About 90 Kilograms, or 200 Pounds worth. Simply put, I’m currently in the middle of a divorce.
Now before everyone posts with their sympathies for the loss, it wasn’t your fault. None of the readers had anything to do with it, nor were any of you the cause of it. Truth be told that none of you had any idea what was going on in my personal life.
No dear, I wasn’t happy. The reasons I wasn’t happy? I could list them off one by one, but I wouldn’t waste my breath. You didn’t care then and don’t care now so why bother? Don’t worry, I’m not going into detail here, because Lord knows there simply isn’t the space and I have told you many times over, I like my privacy.
Maybe it was the lack of respect from you. Your disrespect of me so many times, so many ways and the way you intentionally crossed or undermined me every chance you got may have been a good reason I wasn’t happy. Of course you will never take responsibility for your actions or lack of, nor should anyone ever hold you accountable for such either. It’s okay though because all of what you’ve done is not mine to own. When the day comes that you meet your maker, You shall be judged for your actions, not I.
Each time you called me names, many times of which in front of our children, each time you accused me of things, destroyed part of whatever it was that we had together, each small or large act you committed against me, I considered them nothing more than stones. Before long, I had quite the assortment scattered at my feet. How could someone who claimed to love me, someone who only wanted me to be happy, cast out so many hurtful stones in my direction?
I looked around at the stones one day and decided to clear them up in the mess you had made and put them to good use. Each one was picked up and moved. Some of them were heavy and I struggled with them, because of the substantial size of the wound they were intended to inflict. With those stones, I built a wall between us. Each time you threw another one, no matter how big or how small, there was always a place for it in that wall. Each day, each stone cast my direction made that wall longer, taller, wider and more sturdy.
Never once did you even try to look for me on the other side. Never once did you try to climb over, go around, tear down or even put a door in that wall. All you had to do to start was simply apologize. Not one apology came from you, let alone you actually trying to make things right. Did Heaven above forbid you of doing that?
Why should you? You’ve still to this day, never claimed to have done anything wrong. I am the problem, I’m to blame. In light of everything, let me ask you this. If I am so bad and such a horrible person, such a miserable wretch to live with, if I don’t know anything or I’m incapable of any intelligent thoughts- why then, pray do tell, aren’t you happy that I’m gone? I certainly wouldn’t want to cause you any problems.
I have not once said anything bad to our children about you. I have not and will never encourage any disrespectful behavior from them with your regards. I didn’t then and refuse to even now. I don’t discuss any of our personal matters in front of them, not even on the phone with my attorney. I haven’t told them why you’re not here, just that you had some things to take care of. This is not their fault, nor their battle, but they battle daily with their own demons because of what has happened. They are the ones you have hurt in all of this, they are the ones you are hurting. No dear, I am not happy.
The problem is, though, that a person without empathy cannot comprehend what we are trying to convey, or care about our pain, except maybe have a “duping delight” in the fact that they have messed us over.
I advised her not to put this on her blog, that she could not “get through” to him how much he had hurt her and her sons. He did NOT CARE that he had hurt her.
When I was in the kind of pain this woman was in, when I felt the betrayal clear to my soul, I wanted so badly to let them “know” what they had done. How unfair they had been, and unfortunately, I told them in letter after letter. Of course all this letter writing did was to give them ammunition to shoot back at me, to hurt me further. To make me appear crazy at best.
I think this desire to “tell them” is close to a universal experience among victims of abuse and betrayal by offenders, by abusers, by those without a conscience. But they cannot comprehend or care because they are incapable of loving us back.
“No contact” is difficult to achieve when we want so badly to tell them. Yet, no contact is the only way that we can survive. Sometimes it is like taking a rusty butcher knife and cutting off a limb. No contact, when we want so badly to “tell them,” is so difficult. Yet, NO CONTACT is the only way in which we can truly heal. It is a painful excision of the cancer in our souls that they have become. Just as surgery and chemotherapy are a painful but necessary treatment for a malignant growth in our bodies in order for us to survive, NO CONTACT, not even the “back door” contact of sending them a letter, or posting it for them to read, is necessary for us to heal. To recover. To be restored. To be whole again.
It took me quite some time to achieve full no contact, because even in physical no contact, I still “talked to them” in my head. I would drive down the road screaming the things I wanted to tell them. I imagine other drivers must have thought I was crazy, shouting to the windshield. Another survivor and I talked about how we had both done this “crazy” ranting to the universe. Eventually, though, the ranting stopped, and with physical no contact, mental no contact finally came slowly into my soul. I started to heal. No contact physically meant they could not inflict new injuries on me, and the pain from the old injuries slowly subsided.
Fortunately I did not share children with any of my betrayers and this woman does have three sons she shares with her abuser, who may ultimately get visitation with those precious children. A visitation she will probably not be able to stop.
I can’t go back and undo the damage that my own ranting in letters did but I hope that my experience and advice will help this young mother cope with the anguish she has experienced at the hand of her abuser, and that she will eventually no longer want to “tell him off” and will find comfort in her healing. Find peace in her life. My prayers are for all people who have been betrayed by offenders of every type and stripe.