It takes a lot of bravery to stand up to someone you once loved, and tell them that your relationship is over, and you want out. It becomes an act of heroism when you’ve spent most of that relationship surviving intimate partner violence.
There were red flags. Ones that were both clear and confusing. My X hated his ex-wife, was overprotective of me in public, was neglectful or over-bearing with his children, aggressive towards his animals, paranoid of outsiders, fanatical about his passions, insistent on his beliefs, a know-it-all, a renegade, a radical subversive, and often angry at the government, the world, and me.
Even though my child and I were financially dependent on my X, there was a tipping point where living with him was unbearable and scary. There was psychological mind games, emotional manipulation, verbal abuse, control, physical abuse and threats of death. He was bigger than me, much, much older than me, had all of the money, the house, the vehicle, the friend circle, the community, and what he thought was absolute power over my life.
But there was a power inside of me too. The naivete I had coming into the relationship was now gone. I was older and wiser. My desire for self-preservation was stronger than his threats. I was a mother and a warrior for my daughter. I wanted our lives to be better. To be brighter and full of love. To be cherished, and respected, and valued.
I didn’t know how I was going to leave him, but I trusted myself with the first step. No matter what obstacle appeared, I called on my inner wisdom and knowing to guide me. I learned to value my choices. My decisions. My rights. I learned to listen to my gut. My heart.
I learned to value myself.