The Slow Change
We never think it will happen to us.
A friend of mine, whom I have never met in a tangible way, but have connected with, wrote a poem that speaks to me in many ways. The poem below gives an idea of the life that I led for 12 years.
It's not like you seek out someone who's going to undermine everything you are, it just happens. It happens because the person starts out so very charming and loving, and then over time, they find every single flaw, no matter how insignificant, every insecurity and they pick and pick and pick, until you feel that it's you that is the problem, when in actuality it is them. It's not an overnight thing, or a few days, it happens so slowly, that you don't realize it's happening, until the actions of another person, which are unexpected, (if you're one of the lucky ones), opens your eyes to the reality of your life.
Finding you again is a wonderful gift
When you start to realize what is happening in your life around you, when you start to find yourself again, and sometimes become aggressive in your attitude, words and actions towards others. This isn't because you are an aggressive person, but because you want to vehemently protect what you are fighting so hard and desperately to regain and retain. So, when anyone or anything seems to want to take it from you, their actions, even when meant as a jest, will elicit a reaction that is usually more than what the situation calls for.
I am one of the lucky ones. I had someone unexpected, open my eyes to the reality of my life. They weren't even trying to do that, this person was just being kind, and even though we have gone our separate ways, this person will always have a special place in my heart.
Walking away from those that hurt you is not easy.
In the ensuing years since my divorce, there are those in your life who you aren’t in a romantic relationship with can be just as toxic, if not more so than the romantic one that you just left. I’ve learned that when you discover those that feel the need to tear you down to make themselves look better or feel better about their own inadequacies can be in your life on many levels, and it is up to ourselves to cut them out like a cancerous tumor, so that we may heal and move forward on our own path.
There comes a time to close the door to the hurt and to move on.
Having to cut anyone out of your life, especially when they’ve been there for such a long time is not easy, nor is it painless. But as we all know, there is a time for everything under the heavens. Even a time to walk away from someone out of self-preservation.
Tracy Chapman Change
This is the poem mentioned in first paragraph, that says so much on how it really is when the abuse starts.
People just don’t understand,
when I say you made me change my fit,
You didn’t actually order me to do it.
No you were more subtle in your control
Merely expressing such disdain
That I was eager to change
Switch to something that you loved
Basking in your words of praise
Not understanding until far too late
That was the beginning of my fate
Teaching, training me to obey
Every little thing you say
A disapproving frown
at the color of my gown
were all it took to send me scurrying
ripping off the offending item hurrying
It was not restricted to the way I dressed
You soon controlled every living breath
Whom I saw, where I was, what I did.
Sounding so reasonable in your requests
You knew better to do as you said was best.
By the time other punishments started for me to pay
when I was stubborn and thought to disobey
You made me feel you had the right
I was yours protected and safe only by your might
The world was a cruel horrible place
Only with you would I be okay.
When I was a shallow mockery
Of the person I used to be
Miraculously you set free
Left a shallow hollow shell of me
Tossed aside like used up trash
You moved on to conquer another in a flash
And now here I am trying to find myself
Shaking my head when people ignorantly say
Oh I would never let someone treat me that way.
Before him I would have said the same
Knowing better now how sweet charming fellows
Often hide conniving devils.