It’s many years since I left the abusive relationship. A whole other lifetime.
Every day I am grateful. I’m grateful I finally escaped. I’m grateful my children are free. I’m grateful we’re all alive, unharmed and content.
Today though another feeling is creeping in.It’s resent. I’ve been resentful before. Previously the resent was about all the years I’d wasted in that relationship. This is different.
This morning, after the little one was dropped off at school and I was walking down the street I almost bumped into a bin. I’m clumsy at the best of times but that’s not what this was. I realised then that I still walk with my eyes on the ground. A behaviour I picked up in the abusive relationship. If I was out with him then any glance in any direction was me eyeing up other men or secretly communicating to them that I wanted to sleep with them. The consequences of this weren’t worth thinking about so I learnt to just walk looking at the ground. I’m furious I still do that.
It’s gotten me thinking though and there are other behaviours I still exhibit that were part of my old life. I can’t stand compliments.In the abusive relationship if anyone complimented me in front of him, if his mum admired my dress or a friend said I looked nice today he’d always tell me later that people would only saying these things to me because they were laughing at me, because everyone thinks I’m fat and ugly and stupid. After time and time of this I accepted it. I still file away compliments, if a friend says my hair looks nice, yes I’ll smile and I’ll say thank you. Somewhere in the depths of my mind though is a little voice telling me none of it’s true.
I automatically assume I’ll get most things wrong too.I’ll giggle when I make a mistake with something, I’ll roll my eyes and talk about how useless I am in a frivolous manner. Still again though I approach most activities, particularly new things expecting to get it wrong. I was told so often how I was useless at everything, the tiniest part of me still assumes that position.
So today I’m resentful about all these ways I behave. I’m not implying I behave these ways all the time, but when I’m not thinking, or when I’m thinking too much I slip back into it. I’m resentful I’m still behaving how he programmed me to, like some kind of robot. I’m angry too and that’s good. I’m rarely angry, but when I am it’s a really productive emotion.
I’m a whole other woman now, I’m different in so many more ways than I’m similar to that woman in the abusive relationship. I’m confident I can change that tiny bit more too.Now I’ve realised I behave this way, I think this way. Now I’ve realised I don’t like it. Now I can work on it and I will.
I’ll be the woman who walks down the street with her head high, unafraid to catch the eye of other people, who is flattered by a compliment, who is confident in her ability to take on most tasks.
Because I already am that woman, I just need to remind myself sometimes.