|Had Enough starts here (July 1999).
June 3, 2000
I've having a
wonderfully quiet Memorial Day weekend. My daughter is
visiting her father and I've had time to work in the yard (when it
hasn't been raining), read, sew, and just loaf around. Last Memorial
Day weekend, I did none of those things and instead spent my time
walking on eggshells and hoping to avoid triggering another argument.
It was that weekend, that I also kept the bargain we'd made during a
counseling session (I'd let my him touch me whenever he wished for a
three hour period that weekend) even though I felt absolutely repulsed
by the idea of my husband - now ex-husband - touching me. I don't do
things like that now! And I feel so much better! Now, it's so obvious to you - that your feelings (e.g.,
repulsion) are there for you to pay attention to! Yippeee!
For the first time in my life, I'm realizing what healthy relationships
can be like. I've started dating again, and it sometimes has been
uncomfortable for me to speak up. Every time I've spoken up, i.e.,
ask what's going on, to ask for help with something, to state my limits,
or to express a contradictory opinion, I've felt better about myself.
And what's been shocking to me, is that my honesty about what's on my
mind has been welcomed! You bet! Most people are
genuinely interested in hearing what's on your mind!
Not only that, there seems to be sense that my needs are important.
example, a week ago he noticed that I tend to get a bit edgy when he's
not called in several days - I don't know if he's swamped with work, or if
he's withdrawing because of something I've done (irrational, I know) so he
promised he would try to stay in closer contact with me and let me know
immediately if something was going on that would effect our plans. I
was impressed. He had paid attention to my concerns, understood what was
behind them, and had a solution. And even more impressive, he
followed through with his commitment on Thursday and called me as soon
as he found out that he was going to be heading out of town again to
deal with an unexpected glitch with one of their projects. :)
I'm not used to my needs being considered important! They certainly
weren't during my marriage (described in an earlier letter on July 14th
entitled "I've had enough") and they certainly weren't in my
origin (a parallel I'd begun to recognize when I wrote an update on
December 30). Never again will I settle for a relationship, where my
needs are not taken seriously! Yippeee! I've learned I can expect to be
decently. No one will ever again tell me I don't know what I'm
about, tell me I have no right to feel a certain way, label me
controlling because I refuse to do something I'm uncomfortable with, or
try to coerce me into doing something I don't want to.
Who knows what the future will bring. I'm taking things very slowly,
and if things don't work out, I know I'll miss H. and the fun we've had,
but I'll get over it. I'll always be grateful for his showing me
healthy relationship can be like! I've been able to try some of the
things I learned in marital counseling last year, i.e., sharing
feelings, the use of "I" messages, etc., and they really do help
communication. I've also learned that I'm attractive when I
I really am, warts and all. Yeah!
I hope that sometime you will consider doing an article (or articles) on
relationships after leaving an abusive one. For an example, how do
avoid making the same mistake in the future? There
are a couple of articles already that address signs of a controlling
relationship. Look for them on the Search Page. What factors indicate
you're recovering from an abusive relationship? Or even an article
describing healthy relationships and how they usually evolve. Janet There is one on an example of a healthy
interaction. But, I'll shoot for more. Thanks Janet for your wonderful
update! And keep up the wonderful work! Just one year, so many changes...