My X hated his ex-wife.
If only that had been enough to signal to my inner self to stay away.
But for me it wasn’t that unusual. My parents had divorced when I was nine. They argued on the phone and in person. My mom was often in tears over her divorce, and tried hard to figure out how to support two kids on her own. My father remarried the woman he had cheated with, payed child support at his convenience, and visited his children when he felt like it.
So, when my X called his ex-wife a bitch for the first time, I was stunned, but something also felt familiar. My dad enjoyed dishing out disparaging comments about his ex-wives (he ended up marrying four times). He also liked calling them bitch, as well as crazy, and he taught his children to have mean inside jokes about them. There was definitely a subtle form of parental alienation going on.
I did not give this any deep thought when I was young, but I sure have now. Woah. There were so many subliminal messages that were leeching into my brain about the worthiness of women.
My X cut down his ex-wife’s body, her parenting, her life choices, her friends and boyfriends, and basically, her very existence. He detested everything about her, and whenever her name came up, he scoffed at her stupidity.
It took me years to finally see what was going on. I never thought that the feelings my X had for his ex-wife would someday be directed at me. But in the end, they were. With his misogyny ever present, he had whittled my life down to me being a dumb, fat, naïve little girl.
I left that abusive relationship. I’m a survivor. I uncovered a strength and bravery that was there all along. I honor women’s lives. I honor my daughter’s life. I honor my life.
I have come home to my self.