I had planned to write a blog post yesterday evening but I was just too tired. The kids, who had been at their dad's over the weekend, were definitely a handful and by the time I had got them into bed I just wanted to do the same myself. The transition from one parent's home to the other's is a well documented stress for children, even when there isn't abuse in the picture. It is so strange: you look forward to them coming home but you dread having to deal with the behaviour. As a mom who has left an abusive relationship I have had to deal with the guilt associated with all that my children have to experience as a result of my decision to leave. Guilt is a huge wall to climb but it is definitely possible to get to the other side.
It would be great if I could write an insightful post about how to stop the guilt.." follow this simple 3 step process and free yourself from guilt".....why aren't things that easy? I think it is a process but more like one that comes as a natural result of learning and healing. The more I have understood the truth about the abuse in my marriage the more I have been able to let go of unnecessary burdens, burdens of guilt that I have carried for far too long.
There are still things in my life that I feel guilty about ...eating too many starches after 8pm, not exercising enough, thinking mean thoughts about my husband's girlfriend...you know what I mean. But I thank God that I no longer feel guilty about leaving. For months though I did feel guilty and along with guilt was the terrible feeling that I had made a huge mistake. Thankfully I was in a woman's shelter at the time and I literally clung to their words that reassured me that I had made the right decision for the safety of myself and my children. There was an abuse education group that was held every Wednesday morning.....I counted the days til that group, I couldn't get enough of it. Looking back I think it was because I knew in the deepest part of my being that leaving was the right decision but the pain of doing it seemed worse than any good that might possibly come. I loved my husband, I was 100% committed to my family and for me to "break us up " was the hardest thing I could possibly do. The truth is this: You can be the best partner, the best cook, the best everything but you cannot make someone else be what you wish they would be.
Last year I read a book by Lundy Bancroft called "Why does he do that". I want to encourage everyone to have a look at this book, better yet, read it from cover to cover. This book helped me to understand that my relationship with my husband was unhealthy and it wasn't because of me. It helped me to grasp that there was NOTHING that I could have done any better to fix things. Wow, let me tell you, that realisation did a number on the mountain of guilt I was carrying around.
So, today is a beautiful day in Southern Ontario with not a cloud in the sky. I am going to pour myself a cup of tea and go and sit with my face in the sunshine. I am going to think about how thankful I am for the lessons I have learned so far and for the opportunity I have been given to be able to share them with you. There are lots of things that I still struggle with and my path is by no means smooth but I take comfort in the reality that I am not alone, and you can too.by