There was never a defining moment apart from the feeling that it was the end and that things had to change.
Like so much in life it was easier to think it than do it.
To leave a marriage after so many years when you truly thought the vows you took were sacred was not and never would be simple.
But when you saw the destruction that was happening not only to yourself but to your children the decision was a lot more manageable than you imagined.
To do so was to give up the person I was before, the cowering, compliant and pathetic self who had grown to hate life and whose day to day was all about fear. Fear of discovery, fear of retribution and fear of punishment on self and those who looked up to me.
I had to move away and become strong. I had to stop rolling over and rid myself of the feeling I was selling my soul.
It’s not a path I would recommend unless you are at the end of your tether and have nothing to lose other than the crumbs of character you cling to.
So, I left, and I’m sure my ex felt I would be back. She knew she could and did cripple me financially and as I walked the path of uncertainty a friend did ask me if all the pain and abuse I was dealing with was worth it. To which I replied, “Freedom is priceless.”
In the months that followed, I did seek some form of renewal. Wanting to find out if I could still function as a man, if the days of being my ex’s whipping post could be put behind me.
It was never plain sailing, it doesn’t work like that because there is so much that is part of you that it drags you back into your past and directs the way you react and feel.
For me it’s been a learning curve, I’ve made numerous mistakes but they say that’s how you learn and I think I have learned a lot about myself in the years since.
The one factor I hold most precious is I have now the opportunity to be me, to discover who this me is and to see if I can live comfortably with him. He is refined all the time, I try to keep him open to new things and not get too bogged down in routine, for I am a creature of habit.
After years of mistrust, it takes time to find trust in others. I have been fortunate to have the love and support of my children, and I treasure that. I have tried to form relationships and found they have gone the way of my past relationships, down the gurgler as I have not attracted partners who have seen me as me.
But I am fortunate to found one friend whom I value above all others who sees me for whom I am and with whom I can be me.
Life is far too short for regrets, so I try to be positive and compassionate to those around me. Being a person of integrity is what I’d like to be, but I know it’s part of developing the me I most want to be. Whether I reach the heights of “something amazing” I am yet to discover.