My First Divorce The Raw Truth
Something I’ve never written about before is the pain of divorce. I have been divorced not once but twice. I have been there and worn the shirt and it’s certainly not an easy thing to go through.
I first married when I was 20 years old. I was young and in love and wanted to spend the rest of my life with a certain man. We married and planned to have a family but things did not work out the way I had hoped.
As the days and weeks went by, my marriage became a marriage of abuse and neglect. I don’t know how I managed to get through the turmoil but I did. I used distraction techniques and put all my efforts and thoughts into my University education. University and studying was my escape. I studied hard, got good grades and kept telling myself, “If he does not change and stop treating me this way, I will leave”.
However leaving someone you love is not an easy thing. Leaving an abuser is particularly hard. You see there is the nasty cycle to abuse and it has a habit of sucking you back in when you are most vulnerable. This is how it works. You are abused, you become upset, hurt and confused. You separate or have time out, feel real pain, hurt and sadness. You barter with yourself. Plead for the abuser to change. After all you love him or her and all you want is to be in a healthy and happy relationship.
When your abused deep down you know it is best to leave and stay apart but then the abuser comes crawling back. The abuser says sorry, they promise not to hurt you again. You enter a “Honeymoon” phase, they woo you, treat you amazing, make up for what they had done. Your treated the way you should be and hope that the relationship has truly become what you want it to be. Things go smooth and then it starts all over again.
Well this is what happened to me and I tried and tried to make something which was not going to work to work. I pleaded and begged my husband at the time to change but he would not. I experienced a lot of suffering in my early twenties at the hand of this man, the man I had given my heart to and I still remember the terrible things he did to me.
My x husband was popular. To his friends he was a fantastic person and he did have many good qualities, but that does not take away the fact he abused me. He destroyed my soul with the things he said, the names he called me and the actions he took. The abuse I suffered really impacted upon my life. It destroyed my confidence and self-worth. I became weak and felt worthless. I believed the lies he told me, that I looked like a bulldog and that no one could ever love me, not even my own family.
Well, I don’t know how it happened but I got to a point where I began hating my abuser. I would dream and fantasise ways to leave him, ways to escape and be free yet each time I tried I would allow him back into my life. Friends and family and those who were not abused could not understand, but it’s the cycle of abuse and the fact I had been worn down into a shell of a person, desperate to be treated right.
At age 22 I made the brave decision to leave my husband for good. I was not sure if I could do it. I had tried so many times and allowed him back. I loved him but he was destroying me. I knew I would come under a lot of judgement. I knew it would be heartbreaking and lonely and I deep down I just wanted him to change but this was not going to happen.
The week before my exams, the week before I completed my Bachelors Degree in English and Education, I told my husband It was over. I’d said this so many times before but this time I really did mean it. Of course he was happy to split. He thought he’d be back in a week or two and all would be back to normal but it was not to be.
I had a credit card and booked my husband a holiday to Australia. He said he would let me leave if I paid for him to go see his friends. Of course he was using me and expected to get a free holiday and then come back but it was money I was willing to pay.
We went to the mall and I bought my husband a ticket to Australia. The next day, he said goodbye. He dropped me off at my parents and said goodbye. I collapsed outside on the doorstep of my Mothers home. The experience was simply too much for me. I went and laid in my brother’s bedroom and cried. I cried and cried and then my cell phone rang. I did not answer it, he left a voice message. My husband said “sorry for everything I did to you. I still love you”. This broke me even more.
I broke down again, it was so hard, my heart just wanted to be with the man I loved but my head told me I had to get away. This was my one chance. While my husband was away I packed up the house. I gave all my husband’s belongings to his parents and emptied our family home. I moved away. I moved to the North Shore and went to live with a friend who’s mother had died of cancer. She was the same age as me, 22 and had younger siblings she was now raising on her own.
When my husband came back from Australia he wanted me back. He rang and begged and used every trick in the book to try and get me back. He had my cell phone number and messaged me constantly. I did not tell him where I was. I cried each night, my heart ached but I decided to do what I needed to do. I wrote a quote on the wall, “To thine own self be true”. I read that quote everyday and in my moments of weakness stayed strong.
I walked each day as I was an emotional mess. It was my way of coping and processing what I was going through. I started working as an English teacher at an Asian Language school. I lost weight and each day battled through the emotional turmoil I was feeling.
My husband tried so many times to get me to return. It was all via the cell phone. I should have changed my number but I guess it was the last thing connecting us. He messaged me. He wanted his gun back. He owned a gun and demanded I return it to him. I had not known what to do with the gun and had not given it to his parents, so I placed it in my bag and agreed to meet.
I met my husband and gave back his gun. When I saw him for the first time in a month, I felt disgusted. I felt scared and I could not stand the sight of him. I still loved the man but I also hated him for all he had done to me. He then said to me, “I should have given you more sex”. I was disgusted and angry. Who did he think he was? After all he did, that’s what was on his mind. I was not going to be his anymore and he was not going to have his way.
I left and walked away. My heart was torn and I never went back. Leaving this man was one of the best decisions I ever made. My life was torn and I had a lot of healing to do. I was judged. My husband told all our friends I had had an affair. It was not true but people chose to believe this. I lost a lot of friends and my life changed. My heart was torn and I was lonely but I made the right decision.
At age 22 I was divorced. Who would have guessed. How could something which started so beautiful turn so ugly? It did and to this day some people still don’t know the truth. They don’t know the suffering I faced. They have no idea what this man did to me, how he was destroying my very soul with his words and violence. I have always kept a journal and sometimes I read the accounts of abuse I recorded and I always feel the same, great relief that I am no longer connected to that man, the man who often haunts my dreams and plagues me in my sleep.
This is my truth and I plan to share more in the future. I don’t really care what people think. I know what I experienced and I plan to share more in the future, to speak out because if this helps just one person then I will have achieved my purpose.