(This blog is a continuation of my previous blog entitled, ‘Abuse’.)

And take back my Power I did. It wasn’t easy though. Don’t be fooled into thinking it was. I had opted for divorce over suicide. Good decision, don’t you think? But you have to understand, when you’re in something that is so harmful and most of you is gone, you think you don’t have a choice. I was caught between strongly wanting to honor my marriage vows (I did marry for life, after all) and not wanting to leave a marriage that wasn’t ‘all that bad.’ Again, when sober, my husband was everything to me. Why couldn’t he see that? Why couldn’t he change?!

Well, maybe it was because he wasn’t ready to change or maybe it wasn’t for him to change. Maybe it was for ME. I don’t know. You can only change yourself (I learned that in counseling, too).

As any woman who has been in an abusive relationship knows, there is a ‘cycle’ or a rhythm that happens.  This cycle will not change until one person decides to do something differently. For me, the cycle was: drink, fight, sober, apologize. Then, one month, one week or one day later, it would all begin again.

I’d tell myself, “This is the last time. If it happens again, I’m filing for divorce.” And then it would happen again and I wouldn’t be ready to take the next step.

When I was ready, I did break the cycle.  I told my husband I wanted a divorce and he laughed at me. He said “don’t threaten me with that.”  I leveled my gaze and felt 90 feet tall. I said, deadly calm, “Do you honestly think I would joke about this?! I. Want. A. Divorce.”

Either his laughing or thinking I was bluffing was all it took to get a little bit of the Melissa I used to be to assert herself into the Melissa I had become.

Listening to the women’s stories the other night triggered some powerful memories and emotions for me. Out of those memories/emotions came these blogs.  I know there are so many of us (men and women) who are suffering abuse. Abuse can come at the hands of another or at the hands of ourselves. Sometimes I think the abuse we heap upon our own shoulders is the most insidious.

Who hasn’t thought, “I’m worthless. I’m a failure. I’m fat. Nobody will love me. I’m stupid.” If you’ve never had a thought about yourself like that, then I applaud you.  At times, thoughts like those plagued me and sometimes still do! Told you I was a work in progress. But, as with external abusers, you don’t need to put up with that.  As with anything, if you want it to change, then change it yourself.

One of the things I did to combat my negative self-talk and heal from the death of my marriage was to find things that were empowering to me. I hired a personal trainer to help me feel physically strong. I broke the ties of most of my old friends and found new ones that supported and encouraged me. I found fabulous spiritual mentors who helped me see the World through different eyes.

How? I’m so glad you asked! I believe we incarnate to learn lessons. Some are powerful and some are gentle. Sometimes we learn them and sometimes we don’t.  For me, I think I came back to learn I had the power inside of me to help myself and I didn’t need to give that away to anyone else.

I’m fully at peace with what happened during my first marriage. I forgive my ex-husband and myself. Sometimes though, I really want to ask him if he can forgive me. You see, I believe he and I agreed to come together in this lifetime in order for one or both of us to learn powerful and profound lessons. I love him for the part he played in my spiritual/emotional growth. That sentence took a whole lot of healing on my part, but that’s where I am. For all I know, he saw a glimpse of what I’d become if he did this or that and he decided to give up some of his own happiness so I could become radiant. I don’t know. But there are no coincidences in life. That I DO know.

I will not stand for abuse in my life. I’m by no means the authority on it, but I know what I deem as abusive. Remember, abuse takes many forms. If you are belittling yourself and calling yourself names, then I’m telling you that’s a complete travesty to your beauty. Stop it. Stop it right now. You do not deserve to see yourself as ‘less than’. You do not deserve to treat yourself so poorly. Ever. You are a child of God, no less or more important than the next person.

Choose your internal/external words wisely or you may be unknowingly teaching this kind of abuse to your children.  I’m betting the legacy you’d like to leave is filled with positive, loving and uplifting words.  I know that’s the legacy I’m trying to create for our daughter.

If you’ve glimpsed yourself in these two blogs, do what you need to do for you. You are just as important as the next person. Believe it. Own it. Know it. You DO have choices. What will be your catalyst for change?

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