Who would want you?
I had left my husband months before, tried to leave rather. I was back in 4 hours after the pleading and begging over the phone, the endless promises of, “ I will change!’ I knew, deep in my heart that wouldn’t happen, but the reality was I was a 40 something woman, a mother of three and had a responsibility to try for the sake of the family.
But how long is a piece of string? How long do you keep your life on hold in the hopes that one day all those promises will come true? And better yet, How do I set an example to my young daughter that abuse is never ok? or to my sons that treating woman badly is not OK? As they were getting older, they too were questioning my belief systems. For I wasn’t practicing what I preached, not even close.
‘Just get us out of here,’ my daughter pleaded one night. I had just turned 40, my 40th birthday party was in true form to the standards we had all grown accustomed to and let him get away with. He had gone from belittling the guests, to hitting on woman, to abusing his kids and finally to throwing out my presents and smashing the rented glassware.
As my daughter stood behind the door, slightly ajar, I could see her tears and her fear, “Why do you put up with this!”….Why indeed.
I was doing it for them I thought, I was trying to keep it together for the sake of the family, for the fear of being alone, broke, lost, lonely, used up. Then I realized I was already those things when I tried to look at myself in the mirror.
Yet I had tried bloody hard to keep it all together. I tried when the bottles of wine would come clanging up the driveway, I tried when he threatened the kids, I tried when his vicious words would keep pouring out nonstop abuse…I tried when he would pass out every night, I tried when he would spit tones of inadequacy…lord knows I tried. For 19 years I tried.
How long do you stay in an abusive marriage? What is the code of conduct? I tried thru marriage counseling, I tried to keep the kids on their best behavior, I tried to keep my house the cleanest it could be, I tried to be Suzy homemaker (even though my name is clearly Lisa), I tried passiveness, I tried loneliness, I tried giving up friends, and when I realized how hard I had been trying, I changed a few vowels around and came up with TIRED!
I was so tired. Tired of the eggshell floor, tired of the accusations, tired of not being allowed to grow because he couldn’t, tired of my children watching abuse and thinking it was the norm.
That’s the key thing with relationships; each of us will grow at different times. Not always at the same time, but if you are truly meant to be in that friendship/relationship then each one of you has to acknowledge that change is inevitable. Each day I change, a new wrinkle here, a new white hair there, nature tells you, you are changing.
I could have tried to hold back the changes, but Botox and boob jobs were never going to be for me. He insisted if I was to have the above, then he would love me more. Actually he would always love me more if I changed for him the way he wanted that change.
Who is anyone to tell you to change for them? Change is for you; you are not on anyone’s time frame of how you should change.
4 months later I was back in the same position. Sitting all business like with his sister, a 30 something, single woman with only her career and her endless degrees of paperback knowledge to contend with. After I had explained the circumstances, tried to make sense of this existence and how it had to stop. This modern day woman of the world had this pearl for me, ‘But, honestly Lisa, Who would want you? You have 3 kids, your over 40 and face it, you come with a lot of baggage! Not words of, as a woman you shouldn’t stand for this, or I am ashamed that you had to go thru this. No, there was no sisterhood support, actually she just shrugged and kept with her line of thinking…’Who would want you?
I thought about that for about 2 seconds, to be honest the cold had now set in and at the same time a burning rage. My eyes set straight ahead knowing my next steps. In my heart I was looking for me, I had been lost trying so hard to be everything for everyone else that I wasn’t interested in who would want me!!!
I was interested in if I would want me, if I could look at myself in the mirror and be proud of that woman who was changing. Changing from a young girl on her own, changing from a newly married woman to a mother of three. I wanted my changes to be appreciated not held onto like a bonsai tree. I was interested in my children seeing a woman stand up for what was right. If I wanted anyone to, ‘want me’, it would be them.
I left the next day, quietly packing my bags. He and I had spoken the night before in a long stand off. Reasoning was difficult, there were never going to be enough words, once a loyal person is pushed and the indifference sets in, there is no going back.
He had 5 key statements in desperation to make me stay, for this change to not take place.
1.If you leave me I will kill you
2.If you leave me I will kill the children
3.If you leave me I will kill you and the children
4.I will kill myself
5.Let me take you out for dinner and everything will be alright.
To answer her question, ‘Who would want me?
I’ll tell you who would want me… even though my losses have been high, I can finally look at myself in the mirror and know that change is inevitable, that being smothered, abused and disregarded is not what you are here in this life for.
I am here for me! Once that had been established, once I could honestly be me and sit in my skin, the who comes, the wants arrive, the love flows and you realize that piece of string is yours alone to measure.
I have changed again, a little older, a lot more under my belt, and I am with an amazing man who has watched from beside me those changes take place. In fact he encourages them, loves the fact we are changing, sometimes together other times encouraging from the sidelines.
I am this Woman. Who would want me? I would x