I recall the relentless onslaught of criticism that followed my departure from an abusive marriage, making me acutely aware of how bullies perpetuate their control by tearing you down: "You're worthless, you're unintelligent, you're hopeless, you're nothing more than garbage." Regrettably, I internalized these hurtful words.
The most devastating betrayal occurred when, on his departure, my ex-husband uttered his final, chilling words, vowing that his return would ensure my demise and that I'd never see our children again. True to his word, he poisoned my children's minds against me, and even today, they hold me responsible for the torment I endured. It's disheartening to witness how individuals struggling with addiction and abusive tendencies have a role in perpetuating their falsehoods, with his being the manipulation of everyone against me. What's even more disheartening is that they all sided with him, even when I bore the physical evidence of abuse on my neck and other places on my body. Their support made me feel as if compliance with his demands would spare me from this ordeal.
He employed a strategy of shame and blame-shifting, which worked then and sadly continues to work today. Thankfully, I've distanced myself from these toxic individuals, for people of integrity can easily discern the deceit and manipulation in such games.
He used to seize upon any personal challenges I faced as a means to assert his self-righteousness and my supposed wrongness. An example of this occurred when my mother passed away, and I sought solace in speaking to a grief counselor. To my shock, he labeled me as "crazy" and claimed I had equated the counselor with my mother. This accusation was entirely false, as I had merely expressed my longing for the nurturing nature of the Maori culture, something I missed since my mother's passing.
Regrettably, this counselor was far from professional, and I couldn't trust her, much like my ex-husband. I had lent her a calendar my mother had given me, adorned with Helen Keller's poems, which mysteriously disappeared when I asked for it back and was never returned. Both individuals were marked by their dishonesty and abusive tendencies.
I chose to forgive him and all who joined in on his games, not for his or their benefit, but for my own inner peace. This forgiveness allows me to shield myself from the toxic stress of these kinds of destructive games, I see them now within 3 minutes of talking to a person. This is now my superpower thanks to these people. I reclaimed my own power, recognizing that only I truly understand myself—my thoughts and my emotions. His hurtful words carried no real significance for me, and neither did the support of those who sided with him.
It's disheartening that even today, my children continue to lay blame on me for his abusive actions. What's truly saddening is that they still harbor resentment towards me and firmly believe that I was the problem, not him. He operated without a moral compass and relished in stripping away my power. Abusers like him are individuals plagued by weakness and sickness, deeply troubled souls with no control over their own lives. Consequently, he felt compelled to seize my power, ensuring it remained out of my reach, whether I was with or without him.
They do not even realize that this dysfunctional dynamic is not normal because they've been raised in an environment where such behavior is considered normal.