Dear Junior High Self,
I wish I could tell you that your life will be easy. That whatever you touch will turn to gold and you always win first place. But that is not the case. You will lead an incredible life. Filled with adventure, beauty, friendship and joy. But there will also be heartache, disappointment and pain. In fact, there will be a chapter in your life that you will call your Season of Captivity. But do not fear. It will not last forever. And the beautiful story that comes from it, will make everything you went through worthwhile. For a moment you will think that you have ruined your life. But take heart, little one. God has a plan of redemption.
Love, Love, Love
Your Future Self
About 6 months into my marriage, I thought I was crazy.
Like batdoodoo kind. But I had heard that marriage was hard. So I thought, Huh, this must be what they were talking about. Or maybe it’s the birth control.
It wasn’t until 4.5 years later when my mother suggested perhaps I should Google emotional abuse that I finally understood what had been happening the past 5 years of my life. Now my mother is a very wise woman when it comes to handling her headstrong daughter. She didn’t come at me head on. She just made a comment that I brushed off in the car with a, “No, I just need this new job to work out,” but the seed had been planted.
Later that I day, hidden away, I searched Emotional Abuse. And I came across a website that saved my life.
And the name caught my eye immediately because if you have ever been in an emotionally abusive relationship, you think you is crazy. Because you feel crazy. And you are told you are crazy. over and over.
So I clicked on the link. And as the words started to slowly fill the screen, the tears began to pour down my face. Soaking my lap and the computer. Because someone else was telling my story. And for the first time in five years, I no longer felt alone.
This is what it said.
This website is wholly, compassionately dedicated to the women who have fought to love and understand, in total solitude, the men that rage at them, call them names, criticize their mistakes, joke about their insecurities, mock their interests, trivialize their pain, yell at them suddenly,threaten them with their deepest fears, then tell them they deserve it.Then to top it off, he steadfastly denies it all as he masterfully charms everyone he meets just like he did to her when they first met.
If you are one of these women, welcome to your tribe.
We believe you and the struggle and pain is very real. You are no longer alone and you are not crazy.
By this point, my entire body was wracking with sobs. I could not see the screen through my tears. And the snot. Ugly cry style. As 5 years of confusion, pain and self-loathing came pouring out.
I clicked on the next page and read:
You are not crazy if you believe he loves you, he just doesn’t like you.
You are not crazy if you struggle to modify your behavior or needs so he’ll treat you the way he treats everyone else.
You are not crazy if you feel confused and inadequate to repair what’s broken in your relationship, but you keep trying.
You are not crazy if you seem to recall things in a totally opposite way then he does.
At this point, my heart feels as if someone has cracked it open and light is pouring in. I’m still crying. But it’s not sad tears. It’s tears of relief. Of aching. Of longing. Because as I read these sentences, it is as if someone has captured my journey these past five years. And the darkness is encountering light. It is both beautiful and painful.
So I click another page. And read a little more. There is a chart that compares abusive relationships to healthy ones.
Competition vs Partnership.
Control and Power Struggles vs Intimacy and Shared Joy.
Contempt vs Validation.
Manipulation vs Mutual Cooperation.