I think I am finally ready to add to this post. It's been a long-time coming as we've been separated for a little over a year now (still waiting for the divorce to go through, everything is still backed up and slow from Covid). I had so many fears when I started on this journey. I was in an emotionally abusive situation and he had me convinced that I couldn't do anything, make any decisions without him. S much ahs changed :) I'm going to try to cover most of the biggest fears I had/have...
Fear: Financials. I was a stay at home mom with three kids under the age of 5 when we separated. None of them had ever been in daycare so I had no idea how I would figure that out and pay for everything.
Reality: Before I was a stay at home mom I was a certified accountant, and had wonderful people I worked with who were more than happy to provide me with references. I got a job with a firm I used to work with and they have been incredible. My schedule is flexible enough that I can handle getting my kids to school/daycare and picking them up. I don't have my license back yet so I'm starting my career over, but I know that its just a matter of time until I can climb that ladder again. Financially, I am getting my own paycheck now which was one of the most freeing feelings I've ever experienced. I am no longer 100% financially dependent on my STBXH. On top of that, I am getting more child support than I expected, so altogether the panic of being able to afford basic living expenses is gone.
Fear:My entire future is gone. What I had imagined will never happen.
Reality: Yes, what I imagined will not happen. But a different, happier future will happen. Looking back I've been able to see how unhealthy my relationship had become. I had not been truly happy for a long time, but I was afraid to even consider that fact. Even vacations weren't fun because there was so much pressure for me to make everything perfect, and make sure the kids behaved the entire time. If anything went wrong, it was unspoken that it was my fault. I am free of that now. I can relax and enjoy time with my kids and roll with the punches!
Fear: I will have to be the best co-parent in the world because I owe that to my kids, and that means doing birthdays/holidays together with STBXH.
Reality: I do not have to set myself on fire to keep everyone else warm. I do not have to put myself in a situation with my abuser who is continuing to be emotionally and verbally abusive to me. If I were to do these events with him, there would be so much tension in the air that I'm sure my kids would pick up on it and they would not enjoy it either. So far, I've done two birthday parties separately and they were wonderful! I was able to relax and just have fun with my kids. We are doing Christmas separately and I am so happy for that.
Fear:I will never be happy again.
Reality: I am happier than I have been in years. I am blowing my own mind by being able to say this, but it’s true. I am feeling like myself again. I have reunited with my family (I had not spoken to them in years). And overall, I feel free and at peace. It took a VERY long time to be able to look back and accept the truth of what my relationship had become. To see how much I had lost myself. These days I am overwhelmed with how much progress I have made and how far I have come. I look around and I see so many blessings, and I am just so incredibly happy. Of course I still have days when I am sad. I miss having a husband, and a best friend, someone to share the load with and not be so alone. But I am now able to see clearly that my STBXH was not that person anymore, so I don’t miss him specifically anymore.
Fear: I will be alone forever.
Reality: This is another one that surprised me, but I can honestly say for the first time in my life that I am happy being single. I had never really dated a lot, but I didn’t spend a lot of time being single. And when I was, I was really just looking for my next relationship. I have spent this last year rebuilding my life from scratch. I have put my kids and myself as my priorities and done everything for us. I am starting to enjoy building this life as its one that I am happy with! I have zero desire to pull someone new into this life and have to consider their needs as well. I feel like this is my time to be selfish, for myself and for my kids. I’ve gone on a couple of dates here and there and it was fun to feel desired again. But I have no desire to start anything remotely serious with anyone. I am so happy to be by myself. On top of everything else, I had lost myself so badly in my relationship. I didn’t even know what I liked anymore, or what my opinions were. So I’ve taken this entire year figuring that out! I have tried new things, new hobbies, and when things come up, I really think about what I want, not what my STBXH’s opinion was, or what he would have wanted. I need to know myself again before I am healthy enough to start an actual relationship.
Overall, I just want to say that a year ago, I never expected this. I was in the deepest, darkest hold I had ever been in. I could hardly get off the floor, and only forced myself to in order to take care of my kids. I could not imagine a life without my STBXH. I was constantly crying. So anyone else who is in that position, have hope. Stay strong and believe in yourself. Take it a day at a time, sometime a minute at a time. Because everything really does make you stronger. It happens slowly, but be proud of all the progress you make, every little accomplishment. Because they’re really not little, they take an enormous amount of work and strength. If you had told me back then that I would be where I am today, I would have never believed you. But I am, and I continue to make progress. This site was a lifeline to me, and I will forever be grateful to all the people who took time out of their own lives to give me support and hope.