I loved my husband. I had very high hopes for us. I had married him for life. I didn’t want to abandon the marriage. I wanted to make it work. I was guilty of trying too hard, giving too much. Guilty of believing in the Institution of Marriage; to love, honor, cherish, obey, forever. I was a victim of an American Dream. Grow up, get married, have children, live happily ever after. A dream that turned into a nightmare for me. The man I had chose to spend my life with was an abuser.
I didn’t feel responsible for his anger. Whenever he hit me, it either made me sad or made me angry. I knew he was wrong for hitting me. In the six years and seven months we were married, I never felt there was any reason for him to hit me. I was doing everything to make him happy, comfortable. Why was he attacking me? That’s what I thought about the abuse. I hated him for hitting me. I never felt I suffered from a lack of self-esteem. If anything, I suffered from a martyr complex. I thought I could save the marriage. I thought I could save him. Why didn’t I leave sooner? I kept hoping and praying he’d turn back into the wonderful young man I had fallen in love with.
I kept thinking that the abuse was temporary and once he realized how much I loved him, he’d stop, he’d be sorry and he’d make it up to me. But, it never got better, it kept getting worse. One night when I was crying, he callously said he wasn’t responsible for my happiness. That surprised me. Everything I did was to make him happy. Until that moment, I never thought I could be happy without him. He made me realize I would never be happy with him. It was a turning point for me. I realized I was staying with him because of the marriage I dreamed of. The marriage that never materialized. I was living in my own fantasy. Deluding myself about our happy future together. He saw my love and dreams as weakness. It made him despise me and fed his penchant for abusing me.
The divorce was hard for me, because it meant giving up on all the things I believed were important and essential to my happiness. Until the day of the divorce, I kept hoping he’d change. He didn’t. I was depressed for a long time after the divorce. I remember hearing a line in a song that goes, so much trauma, for so little love. That’s how I would sum up my marriage to him. People may think that women like me blunder into abusive relationships, but I married someone I loved and trusted for the same reasons people in good marriages are married. Something went terribly wrong. That marriage changed me. It changed the course of my life. Over the years nothing ever happened to make it right. Some of us only get one chance at happiness. I am still grieving over the dreams and aspirations I never realized. Under the circumstances, divorce was not enough. Where’s the justice? I keep thinking who is going to punish him for what he did to me? Our marriage? My soul still cries out for vidication and time is now telling, I do not wear victim well. But, more importantly, I am not a victim anymore.