This time of year is especially hard for me. I am reminded of the weeks that followed my decision to leave my abusive husband. I'm sad. I'm angry and confused. And surprising to many, I do miss him.
People understand me for being sad and angry, but they are confused that I miss a man who caused me great pain and sorrow. I met my ex-husband during my first week in college at the University of Georgia. We were close friends for 10 years before we got engaged. I loved him. I married him. We had so many great times together.
Those memories don’t just fade away. Other survivors I have met over the years have asked me why no one talks about that particular phase after abuse. The simple answer is the same reason that kept many of us in abusive relationships— we worry we will be judged or stigmatized.
I now have someone in my life who exceeds all expectations in a partner. He comforts me, he supports me, and he lets me keep the good memories alive. Moreover, he understands that my situation is not clear-cut or straightforward. I’m allowed to have and experience all of the feelings.
Today, I want to emphasize to all of you that it’s ok to feel sad. It’s ok to feel angry. It’s ok to feel confused. It’s ok to laugh and reminisce about the good times. It’s ok to wonder about the what ifs. And it’s ok to forgive.
But never forget!
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