I can feel it seething through my pores. Little reminders bring it back up again at the oddest of times. I keep thinking I’m free of it, but there’s just a bit more that needs to be excavated. It is part of my shadow I prefer to hide, but I will never outrun it.

It is something I hate to acknowledge and talk about. In fact, I gloss it over when I go there as much as possible. He never actually hit me. Nor did he cheat on me. He knew the lines in the sand. As long as he didn’t step over those ones he could play his sick and twisted games. Always the well trained Catholic girl – those are the reasons you walk away from a marriage. He knew. Instead, he chose to continue to push me to breaking and, quite truthfully, he almost won.

He picked well. The challenge of a woman who was a strong feminist who felt most men were not worth her time of day. A passionate woman who would do anything for those she loves. My ferociousness attracted him and that I was impossible to possess. The day after he first told me he loved me I broke everything off with him. Taming a wild beast is always a challenge.

I chose to be in a relationship with a man from an abusive family. For 8 years of dating I continually pushed his buttons looking for where he would do to me what they did to him. He never did. I thought when I finally gave in that he wanted a different enough life as that is why he said he picked me. The river runs deep in recreating the world one grew up in.

Most likely there were signs. I just chose to ignore them as I loved him. That the moment I met him I could not stand him should have been the biggest sign ever, but I grew to believe his other side was who he really was. He loved my crazy twisted sense of humor, my ferociousness and fearlessness, my ability to make things happen anytime I put my mind to them. The only thing I saw was his snootiness about where he graduated from college.

The night before the wedding things changed. He flipped out on me screaming and yelling about everything. About how he didn’t want to marry me, etc. This is a man that pursued me for 8 years and asked me to marry him 3 times. He refused to stop yelling and screaming until I was bawling. I crazily knocked it off as nerves and cold feet as I had never seen this side.

The week following was our honeymoon where you’re supposed to have fun and enjoy the time you get to spend together without anyone else around. He had at least 3 more complete flip outs including threatening annulment or divorce. In hindsight, I should have taken him up on it. The week we were back home I cried just about the entire time.

We were married for 10 years. Had a child born healthy that passed away. I continued to give him every excuse in the book.  It was always about how I was not good enough, how I needed to change, how I made him do the things he did, how I made him so miserable, how I made him so angry.  Someone told me that instead of standing up to him if I just let him run his stuff it would get better. I tried that. He then thought he had me. I was told that no one would believe me. I was crazy. If he drank he would be even worse – telling me how horrible of a wife I was, that he wanted to divorce me, how much he hated me.  One time he even held me down against my will. Then he would tell me when he sobered up what I said happened didn’t occur and I was just making stuff up. He would always push and attack until I would bawl. That was his only clue that what he was doing was wrong or he had gone too far.

The tipping point was we had been trying to have another child in various ways. He had decided he wanted to have one of our own instead of adopting. I decided to go along with him after some talking with a counselor as there was a 1 in 4 chance something would happen again. I was put on meds to make this happen and we were supposed to have a lot of sex for a week. He decided that he was too busy at work and stressed to have sex at all that week. This had never been an issue before. Unlimited sex and I received a no. I was devastated.

My eyes were now wide open. I started seeing the other ways in which he tried to hold me back from things I desired. The entire time we were married he felt that he needed to punish me. He started pointing out how my family was crazier than his (they have their issues, but they are not). My privileged upbringing was something I needed a lot of punishment for. I didn’t really have a privileged upbringing. It had some very nice parts, but no one would put it in the privileged category. Except for him. I finally saw what he had been doing to our dogs. Our youngest we got to slow down my desire for a baby. He started taking things out on her. All of the sudden she started having submissive peeing problems. Dogs with no abuse and that have never had that don’t just develop it.

I finally had enough. I told him I wanted a divorce. His response was, “what are your reasons?” I actually listed them. He dismissed each and every one of them then went to bed. I was left in total shock. I decided to stay a little longer to get my ducks in a row. A month later was our child’s birthday. We always went to dinner with friends to celebrate. I was sick as a dog with a stomach virus and at my parent’s as they were out of town watching their dogs. He came over as I was completely dehydrated and non-functioning. He fed the dogs then went and sat in the other living room instead of the one I was in leaving me in the dark. This would have been our son’s birthday and he left me by myself watching sports. My heart broke just a bit more.

A few days later I was at home in bed. My baby dog jumped up on the bed and accidentally landed a bit on him. He flung her across the room. I lost it. Up until that moment I had never seen him actually hurt any of the animals, but I had undeniable proof. No, he didn’t hit me nor did he cheat, but he flung someone I cared deeply for across the room as if that is totally appropriate and normal. I told him I was done and I wanted a divorce. That day I moved out.

He quickly learned how much I actually did for him that he never appreciated. In fact, he tried to use my desire to have a child against me to get me to come back. He also decided to tell me verbatim what he desired with me which is exactly what I told him I wanted when I was 18 years old. The difference was I saw through everything he had done for years now and I knew he was just feeding me what he thought I wanted to hear to keep me in this excruciatingly painful cage.

I refuse to be tamed anymore and to be kept in a cage. Anyone that truly loves me would never do that. They love and appreciate my fierceness and passion desiring to meet it, not control it. My rage and passion will forever keep me out of a similar situation.

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