Dec. 4, 2011 _ Today, I am thankful in more than words can express for the love, support, understanding, and time that so many of my family and friends have given me in my efforts to handle an abusive ex-husband and co-parent. There is no way that I could have moved forward and not ended up in a ball on the floor without these people’s kinds words, prayers, and willingness to listen.
It is not easy to talk about abuse. In fact, it is very hard, embarrassing, humiliating, shameful, guilt-inducing, and so on. I struggle with it every time I begin the dialog. But, after I have started talking, it flows out of me like a river. I held it in for so long, that when the flood gate opens, it spills out.
There are so many people who have been there to listen. This is my friend, the social worker, who knew both my ex and me and spent many a night hanging out with us. In fact, for a very short time, she even lived with us. She never saw a second of the abuse, but her instant support when I finally told her what had been going on was unprecedented and so valuable to me.
My sister has been there to listen to so many stories, heart-breaking tales about what had been happening in my life when I was married, and how the abuse continues after divorce. She takes care of my heart like a mother and understands my ex like no one else I know. She keeps the anger for me that I know I have toward him, but attempt to put away so that I can co-parent with him. She doesn’t have the same duty, so she will defend me with zeal whenever I need it.
My step-mother has listened to me over and over vent about the latest infraction or abusive situation. She gives me the perspective that only a 70-something woman who has had children, marriage, and divorce, can have. She gives me the advice of forgiveness and shows me how to move on. But more than anything, she gives me time.
I have another friend, who has had a lousy year of personal struggles that are so taxing and painful, and yet, she will offer sound advice to me and has never once told me that “life could be worse.” She hangs in there and helps me face the trials and tribulations of my forced involvement with my ex.
Then there is my lawyer friends, two women in fact, who have given me so much advice about how to face a custody suit, an abuser, and someone who is willing to see me fall. Those women have given me more free advice than could be understood. No business manager would ever allow that. And yet, they did so with love, and patiences, even when I really haven’t felt rational.
My sister-in-law spent many hours on the phone talking through the issues at hand and helping me sort through the logic or lack there of, of my ex’s actions. Her husband, my brother, who often didn’t know what to do gave me his love straight up instead.
My dad, who was so confused by ex’s actions and abuse, struggled almost as much as I did in trying to understand, has stayed by my side and I will love him for that.
My cousins and aunt have circled the wagons at a level that didn’t fit with my own self-worth. These are people who knew nothing of the abuse my ex was doling out, accepted him with open arms into our family because I asked them to, and then, did not look at me with any judgment when I told them why I was leaving this man. They accepted the situation and new reality quickly, with support and love toward me and my children and offered themselves in anyway that they could.
My dear friend who was so shocked to learn of my divorce that it rocked her world. She liked my ex and she knew my kids well. But, when she found out why I left, she rallied around me with such support. She will leave me 3 minute voicemails that are so natural and supportive that I find myself talking back to the recording of her voice.
There is my best friend from high school, who after all these years have come to my emotional support.
And so, so many more people that can’t fit into this blog today. I truly really wish there was a way that I could thank people who have been there.
The only way that I can is to help others in their name and by following their example of support.