Hi, I’m Sunshine. I have struggled for a couple of decades with “Should I stay or should I go?” I was a client of Reach Out Speak Out and then I wasn’t. This is my story, which I tell in hopes that potential donors and the public at large might understand how difficult it is to make the decision to leave. My story rambles because that is how my life has been. I am planning it to run for the month of May so please say tuned.
Is This Abuse?
I’ve been married twice. My first husband died. I never thought of myself as being abused. After my husband’s death, my children (who were more grown-ups than children at that point) told me that I had been an abused wife. Never physically. Well, maybe one time. No. Twice. Anyway. I pushed him past the point of him holding his temper. Of course.
He was verbally and emotionally abusive in many ways. There were a lot of reasons to stay. The kids. He was disabled and needed me to help take care of him. I was financially dependent. God hates divorce. The only reason to leave was that I was just unhappy. And using some really unhealthy behaviors to manage. You don’t break up a marriage, leave a good man when his health is failing, because you’re unhappy.
Here I Go Again
My husband died. I struggled with being both alone and lonely. Suddenly a single parent. After almost 3 years, I met someone. I just wanted someone to hang out with. I thought. This man made me laugh more than I ever had. He had been through some similar life situations as me and we were about the same age so we had a lot of cultural stuff in common, which was nice. My first husband had been 16 years older and, in terms of music/movies/TV, we were quite different. But we laughed and I wasn’t so lonely anymore.
There were red flags. Big ones.
FLASHING RED GIANT BIG FLAGS.
I believe that you can tell a lot about someone by how they treat people like waitstaff, customer service clerks, other drivers. Does the person try to be kind? Put themselves in the other person’s shoes? That kind of thing.
NewGuy didn’t. Not empathetic or compassionate. Unkind. Judgmental. He didn’t like my kids or most of my friends and they didn’t like him.
I overheard conversations he had with other people that indicated that he enjoyed me spending my money on him.
He told me he didn’t find me particularly attractive.
He corrected the way I talk. He tried to change my beliefs.
He tried to tell me how I should raise my kids. To be fair to him, a lot of people were doing that. But he wasn’t kind about it.
I still was so in dread — not just afraid but in DREAD –of being alone that I turned a blind eye to all of it. Lost a friend (at least for a while.) Damaged my relationship with my kids.
Heard over and over that I couldn’t, I wasn’t able, I should do it this way, etc. I started to believe it.
But I needed the companionship. Alone was worse than all of that. Besides, he didn’t hit me, so it wasn’t abuse. Right?
More to come next week…