You did not break my heart or shatter it. No, you calculatingly cut little pieces out of me. Like a frog that doesn’t know its being boiled, I did not know I was being dissected piece by little piece.
The first thing you cut from me was my understanding of life and of true love. Our first married morning when you put your hand on my hip and demanded that I take off all my clothes so you could consummate the marriage. You left me feeling violated, confused and sick to my stomach. When you walked out on me, curled up in the fetal position on the floor with nobody to call and no idea what I would say if I did call someone; Deeply hurt by the one who just pledged to love me was more than I was able to comprehend.
You created confusion so deep it was like walking through a mud bog, at night, without light, alone. Everytime I thought I understood you, you changed, just to keep me off-balance. You were charming and delightful often, enough to keep me trying to fix us, fix me, fix something.
Next, you cut out my passion. You took away my newlywed desire and replaced it with rejection over and over again. You questioned my knowledge, my abilities, my profession and even my family. I had to look to you to define what was worthy of my time and energy.
After a few years, you finished removing an entire section of who I was. My thoughts, my opinions, ideas and individuality. You took a long time to carefully dissect these parts of me so that when the final cut was made, I would be a perfect but not perfect enough carbon copy of who you defined me to be.
I tried to fight for my soul to remain in tact. I tried everything I knew to do. I stayed with you because hope was paralizing and my hope wrapped around my marriage to you. You were very skillful. You knew exactly how to make me hope. No longer did I have a voice. No longer could I articulate my thoughts. My brain was so busy second guessing you, wrapped around you, that I lost the ability to define, much less express, my pain. I couldn’t share myself with you because I was working so hard trying to survive you.
Over the 16 1/2 years I was with you, you cut more and more from me. Your scalpel was always razor-sharp and your cutting skills precise. After awhile I became numb to the pain of your constant surgery on my soul.
All of them were cut out of my life, severed from my soul.
For a long time, I believed that you had successfully killed my spirit. As each of our children were born I was able to regrasp small parts of myself that you hadn’t fully excised from me. I began the slow process of stitching back together the parts I was able to salvage. I began to hear Gods voice again. While I educated myself about your abuse, manipulation and tactics I became alive again. No more did my life revolve around fruitlessly trying to please you. I regained my focus and I regained my faith.
The first parts of me that I began to stitch back into mysel was my sense of self-care. I started doing things for me. I made my own choices in whatever way I could, going my own way. Next my confusion began to lift. It never completely left me till years after we separated, but my brain fog began to clear just enough to allow me to start to think for myself. My brain began to open and I started to realize that this marriage disaster was not all my fault.
My passions began to reignite as I learned how to be a mother, how to protect, how to love. I reached out to family and I went to counseling, for me. I became strong enough to break the silence I was bound in and that was how I regained my voice. Slowly I became stronger. Eventually, I began to dream again, I began to grow. After time I could see beauty again and I had friends.
Today, I no longer accept your definition of me. I have listened well to my own heart, as I have created my own definition of me: I have learned to hear God’s definition of who I am. I am not the women you thought you created. I am not the women you could control. I am made new, stitched together with strength and love and creativity.
Some days can still be hard on the children and me. Scars always hurt when you pull on them or stretch them. The children and I feel the pain whenever we have to see you, which always leads to the discussion of how to cope with you.
We feel it in the debilitating anxiety attacks that over come us at any moment. Our daughter, when she has to speak out loud, to anyone, at anytime. Our son feels it when he tries to try something new but is scared of the unknown or of failing. I feel it when I have to be apart from them and cannot breathe, cannot swallow and shake so hard I think I will fall apart.
Our scars smart when we wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, crying because we have had a dream, no a nightmare, about living with you again. The scars cause us pain when we try to love each other, fail as we all do at times, and sink into a deep depression of self loathing. We cannot forget the pain because you still create cuts every time you favor one child over another, break promises or withhold your approval and support.
No, we cannot forget, but we can choose to forgive. Forgiving you is a daily practice in faith and emotional fortitude. It is a moment by moment choice that allows us to be free of your manipulation and abuse. It is an ongoing education in choosing to love, over choosing to hate.
We have built a new life, a good life, a peaceful life. We are constantly learning about love, boundaries and effective communication. We discover who we are and honor each others differences. We go to counseling every week. Our children have found their voices and they are so wise. “We would rather live poor and at peace then wealthy and at war.” and “Our family is less broken now then it was when we lived together.” Our future is bright and with God’s healing and with the healthy love of our support we will continue to grow and thrive.
My heart is not broken or shattered. My heart is no longer cut into tiny, unrecognizable pieces. My heart is new, reconstructed, stronger and wiser. I am redefined. I am Taffy, the Beloved.