Why I’m Glad My Ex Abused Me
Why am I glad my ex abused me? Before you get your panties in a bunch, pause a moment to let me explain.
He didn’t start out as an asshole. Chances are, I wouldn’t have stayed with him at all, let alone married him, if he had been. (Well, maybe I would have.)
On the contrary, he was very sweet at first; he was a good listener, compassionate, and truly seemed to be the perfect guy – my true love. Moreover, he was an old friend from my younger days. Days of endless blue skies wiling the hours away at coffee shops, running amok through the town with him and the other boys as only young adults can. A real life “Elaine Benes” I was, indeed. To this day, the taste of coffee on my tongue is not merely a physical addiction, but one that evokes an emotional recall.
He was, when all is said and done, my first love. He was intense, passionate, darkly intelligent, and dangerous in a way that I first found attractive. Back then, I didn’t know just how dark that danger could be.
He was a suffering soul; he played that part well and I fell for it, coming to his rescue as only my savior complex, co-dependent complex knew how.
He came back into my life after a six-year absence, and it was all I had been dreaming of, hoping for, praying for, during that separation. At that time, he was the only man with whom I had ever been in love. Our courtship was a whirlwind, passionate affair and our marriage was a fairytale experience. He was my tall, dark, and handsome prince who came to woo me away from my lonely existence. Away we went to live happily ever after.
As we began our lives together, he quickly started spiraling downward. At first, I persuaded myself it wasn’t happening. I wanted to believe that his delusions and conspiracy theories were somehow true. When they failed to be, I found it increasingly difficult to smile and pretend everything was alright. His distrust and emotional violence towards me began escalating rapidly from that point forward. What once was a dream became more and more a nightmare.
I was constantly praying for deliverance, strength, protection, calling friends and family in tears, lost in confusion and fear.
The night before Oscar Sunday 2013, I found myself in the driveway of a friend’s house with another friend, bemoaning to him all my trials and tribulations once again. He astutely pointed out that my entire life I had been a victim of some form of abuse. This was oddly comforting and inspiring.
The next day I gave a performance which, if filmed, would have earned me an Academy Award. I tearfully kicked the love of my life out and lived to tell the story.
Thus began my new life. As I began to pick up the pieces, with the help of the love and laughter of some new friends and old, I grew stronger and my life began to expand exponentially. My dreams and passions became real-life pursuits and the only things that mattered.
As my friend had pointed out that fateful night, I began to look back on my life at the other forms of abuse I had experienced and was finally able to release my anger and denial. I learned about the kind of child abuse I had incurred, youthful abuse from my classmates in middle school, and I discovered a name for the turmoil I’d experienced at church: spiritual abuse. Lastly, I realized the violence I had inflicted upon myself as a result. This didn’t spur on more anger, but came as a sort of release.
I was able to finally forgive and heal, not just the wounds of others but my own wounds as well. I chose to no longer allow negativity, abuse, and control from others, and I chose to follow my own path. I was able, then, to offer love to all, both friend and foe, and also to love myself. I was finally free to be me, to accept myself fully, and to see beauty in every part of myself. I was able to see the reasons for the years of suffering, to see how it connected to my true path.
“I made it through the wilderness, somehow I made it through,” as Madonna croons. “I became shiny and new.”
I found my way out. I found freedom. At Last.