It takes the average person seven times to leave an abusive relationship.Perpetual Neo
I love musicals, and over the past few weeks I’ve been listening to The Greatest Showman soundtrack. Chasing your dreams, faith in yourself, taking that risk, being a misfit, going outside your comfort zone, owning your uniqueness are all themes that resonate with me. But lately it’s the song “Never Enough” that echos in my mind, and I catch myself humming the chorus during the day. The thought, to never be satisfied, even if you have all the stars in the sky…
One of the saddest days of my life was realizing that I didn’t really mean anything to the person I had given everything. It wasn’t a surprise, really. I had known for years that I wasn’t truly appreciated or seen as an individual, I was only an object. To give, to serve, to perform, to be used, to be vilified. I was expected to subjugate my being to another under the guise of love. To play a role, imperfectly as I am human, with lines that would change, sometimes within a conversation, as did the character I was expected to be. I was a princess, a hero, a villain, depending on my partner’s mood. I didn’t realize that I had willingly agreed to this role, continually corrected until I was groomed to the act. Over time, a sea of inconsistency left me spinning and unsure who I was, what I was worth, and what I deserved. It took me many years to understand what was happening. How could I be all these things; that didn’t make sense? It was logic and kindness that finally broke the web I was bound to, bound by my own naivety, misplaced trust, a desire to fix things, to make things right, to be enough.
I don’t know if I can count how many times I’d left in spirit, because over time my heart became numb, my soul gray, and I retreated to my shell. Every time I was made to feel not enough, it would eat away at my self worth. I hadn’t much to begin with, and it was easy to question myself and accept the illusion created by the person in whom I’d placed my trust and faith. The person who claimed to love and cherish me. Didn’t he have my best interests at heart? At least, that’s what he told me. Why would I not believe it? It’s a self sustaining cycle once you buy in, just a little, that spirals you to the depths of the abyss. Time and time again I would slip just a bit, accepting disrespect here, a harsh word there, an imposed rule there, all slowly stripping away not only who I was but attempting to remove those around me who truly cared for me. What person says to you that those who have stood by your side, some since birth, don’t love you? Tries to undermine relationships with your friends and family? And expects you to believe it? I did not believe these things. But by then, I was in deep and it was a long swim back to the surface to see the sun. Those who truly loved me sat by, watching and waiting for me to come back to shore. I am humbled everyday to have these special souls in my life, who were there to wipe away my tears, lend me strength, and give me words of solace on days it became too much as I struggled to breathe.
Today I sit and watch the sun rise and set from the place that brings me healing and peace. I used to feel terrible that I could barely feel empathy anymore towards him. I mourned it as a failing of my heart. I know better now. Some people revel in cruel acts and petty drama. The glee in his eyes as he tried to take what I love from me, to punish me, to destroy me, was unmistakable. Even today, I will always be the villain, always wrong, imperfect, and too (fill in the blank, I’ve heard it all) in his mind. I know that no matter what I do, nothing will change that perspective. So I do not bother. For him, nothing is ever enough. I do not know why he is who he is. Fear? Lack of self worth? Lack of empathy? Childhood trauma? It does not matter to me anymore; it is not my journey to walk. I let go. What I am responsible for is my own journey. I choose to fill it with light, love, happiness, and people who see me, accept me, and value who I am. I have been given so much, more than I have dreamed, and for me, it’s always more than enough.