As most of you know, I wrote Finding Amy Archer based on my life experience last year. It is a fictionalised version, but it deals with the emotions that I had to deal with throughout the year. And it was an emotional year.
One of my beta readers didn’t really understand why Amy wanted to get back with Roger, and once I got through the read through, I understood what she meant, but it took me a while. Because people don’t understand why you want to stay in a relationship that sounds like hell – but looks pretty good.
That’s because you learn to hide things, put on a facade of a perfect relationship where you work well together.
What people don’t realise is your life revolved around the other person. And I can’t explain how that happened. We used to be a couple, took everything the other said into consideration, made decisions accordingly. Then he was making decisions without discussing with me, he didn’t ask me what I wanted or wanted to do. It was more about him, and it all became about him – although if I questioned him, he told me that I wanted it to be all about me. I was his wife, of course it should be about me.
But when I got to the end of the story, my friend pointed out the reason that I should have put at the beginning and built on that. It wasn’t that Amy didn’t want to be on her own, she was afraid of being on her own. And so was I. My ex and I had been together for 15 years, I had shared in the raising on his boys, one was only 4 months old when we got together, the other 4. They had become my kids in a way too, because I had some input into their lives. We had been together through a lot, a lot of business turmoil, personal chaos, but we had been together through it all.
But suddenly, we weren’t. I stopped taking on his crap. I stopped letting him make me feel responsible for his actions. And that’s when the wheels started to fall off.
But I didn’t want him to leave, because how would I cope on my own? How would I survive? Where would I go? What would I do?
When the crunch came, and I asked my ex for a trial separation; we split, deal with our issues and look at getting back together. I didn’t want him to go, and as much as I wanted him to leave, I wanted him to stay. And I begged, and I asked. But he still left anyway.
And I did alright. I was still breathing. In fact, I was breathing easier than I had in a long time. I was okay, and I was actually more than okay, I was feeling fantastic. The day after he moved away, I told him I didn’t want a trial separation, I wanted a full separation.
When he realised that I didn’t want him back, he changed. He wanted me back, he wanted to be there for me.
He knew that he didn’t control me anymore, that he couldn’t control me anymore. And that frightened him, because he had no one to blame for his problems anymore.
He still had power over me, and could manipulate me, but that is a different tale. This one is about how, after 15 years of a relationship that I had thought I would spend my entire life in, I would now be free of. I was free of the control, his power, his mood swings, his attempts to upset me, or make me tow his line.
I knew that I had a life that was worth living, and now I could follow my dreams and goals, ones that I had been battling to achieve for so many years without his support. Without him in my life, I didn’t need to battle. I could start achieving those goals and dreams. I now write and do art when I feel like it, not in secret. I can smile and laugh and joke with male friends without wondering how this would be perceived.
My life became my own. I could do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it.
And that, is how a dysfunctional relationship ended. I didn’t realise while I was in it, just how bad it was. It wasn’t until I was out of it for a while that I could see the things he was doing to me, the things that I thought were my fault weren’t. How he turned from being loving and supportive to being so self centred, I don’t know. How I allowed him to do that, I don’t know. All I know is that I am now free to live MY life.
Women get stuck in dysfunctional relationships for so many reasons: they don’t want to leave and be on their own, they are told they wouldn’t survive without their partner, that their partner won’t hit them again if they stay, won’t drink again if they stay, would take the kids. This is all emotional abuse, as well as physical abuse. If you have heard these words before, reach out to someone. Tell them your story. You don’t need that in your life, the negativeness, the hate, the anger. You are worth so much more than that.
And You will survive on your own.