A New Year. A new beginning. Mostly I am loving the idea of a fresh slate, probably because it allows me to leave the past…well, in the past. These holidays have been really hard for me. Yeah, I know what you are thinking, another rant from a single girl in her 30′s who thinks the holidays are torture because she doesn’t have a man, but that’s not it. Well, not exactly.
The holidays always cause me to reflect and think back to what I was doing this time last year. Well, I spent last New Year’s Eve crying and alone. Here is the funny thing- I was in a long-term relationship at the time. On December 30, 2011 into the early hours of NYE, I was seriously questioning if I would be alive when the sun came up.
I had been lying in bed with C and asked him if he still had the receipt for the boots he had bought me for Christmas. He asked angrily, “Why?” I told him that one of the boots was so tight that it hurt to walk. He refuted that that was the size I had tried on in a store and that the pair fit. “That was the display pair. They were probably stretched out.” Next thing I know, I get a big blow to my back and was pushed out of bed and landed on my knees on the hardwood floor. I was in complete shock! Of course, I started crying hard and didn’t see him come around the bed. I think I had started to get up although I know he grabbed me and threw me backwards into his closet. I went flying in the air and broke both of his closet doors with my hip and back. I stood up to defend myself and because I was blinded by tears, I think I hit his shoulder. He then grabbed me by my arms and pushed me down on the bed. I was screaming that I was going to the cops. He just dug his fingers deeper and deeper into my arms, pushing me harder and harder into the mattress. He saw me spot my wallet and car keys on his desk. He jumped for them and threw them over the deck attached to his room. They landed in an alley that I had no access to. He held me back down on the bed and told me to go to sleep. I had no idea who this man was. His voice was different. Obviously these actions were a far cry from the guy who put a pretty good act as being the perfect boyfriend. “The nice guy.” “So sweet.” “You better not break his heart.”
He eventually fell asleep. I thought about escaping but where was I going to go with no money or car at 3 in the morning? I didn’t speak to him for a few days. He repeatedly told me how ashamed he was. I now realize that he never actually apologized for hurting me. I took pictures of the HUGE bruises on my back, butt, hip and arms. I sent them to him, but again didn’t quite get the feeling that he was sorry. I have now learned that that is a typical tactic of an abuser. They act like what happened wasn’t a big deal, so you start thinking it wasn’t a big deal. You start doubting yourself…We’re things as bad as I thought? Here is this man who I have been with for two years and have been seriously talking about marriage. He does all this overtime for my ring. Everyone tells me how lucky I am because he is so sweet and doting. He is my Prince Charming. He is attractive, soft-spoken, intelligent, well-cultured, employed as a doctor, makes me laugh, opens the car door for me, and makes me dinner every night. He couldn’t have done this, he isn’t capable of doing something really bad to me, right?
And so, with very little talk about the event - I went back to him. How could I let a man I loved and thought I was going to marry go after one silly little event? Well, guess what…two months later, he broke up with me without any explanation and no clue that anything was even wrong. I was laying on his chest with him holding me as we were watching a movie. I was telling him that I loved him and his answer to me was that he had doubts about our relationship and didn’t want to work on it. It felt as though the carpet had been pulled out from under me. He suddenly had a new girlfriend in about a week – although I am clearly aware that he had been cheating on me. Hindsight is 20/20.
Needless to say, I started having anxiety attacks and fell into a deep depression that I am finally seeing a light from. Meanwhile, less than eight months later, he is engaged to the woman he cheated on me with.
I have struggled with all of this. How is it fair that he gets domestic bliss when I can barely get out of bed? How can someone who had claimed that I was so “special” act as if our relationship and I never existed? Can I ever trust and become vulnerable to another man again? And I struggle with forgiving myself. How could I have allowed someone to physically hurt my body and still stay with them? How could I have been such a fool? I would have sworn that he was my life partner, can I ever trust my judgment again?
Who am I? I am the straight A student. The feminist. The strong one. The one who always has her head on straight and definitely doesn’t take BS….and I let this happen??
So the idea of a New Year, a new beginning, a chance to start over again and not look back on what I thought could have been …really resonates with me. This year, I am not making some resolution that is impossible to maintain. Instead, I am promising that I will just “be better”. Whatever that may mean. I realize that I need to let go of my attachment to outcomes and allow God’s plan to just unfold naturally. After all, my attachment to the idea of marriage and a man as a sign of accomplishment is what allowed me to disrespect myself and tolerate behavior that is clearly unacceptable.
I am learning and growing everyday. I have had to learn who my real friends are and have allowed my family to step up and help me. Even if that help has only come from one sister. This is my first time I have actually expressed my pain and asked for help. Normally, I keep it in and just march forward. This time I was so emotionally drained by other difficult life events occurring at the same time…I simply had no reserve and found myself emotionally empty. So asking for help, going to therapy, maintaining reciprocal relationships and rediscovering the friendship I have with my sister are all steps in the right direction. I am allowing myself to really feel my feelings. Those feelings can be absolutely devastating, confusing and keep me in bed for the day, but that is okay. I don’t know what is in my future but that is okay. I have accepted that maybe being married with a family may not be an outcome that God has planned for me. I definitely don’t know best. And that is better than okay. It is reassuring that someone better and a whole lot smarter than me actually knows what is going on with my life!
I hate to end this with a “fairytale ending” paragraph. Like “Yay, sad girl is all healed”. Because I am not. There are days that I am inexplicably down and others where something just sets me off. I am working thorough it. The good days and the bad ones.
A TDL Reader