These days , so many years after I left the abusive relationship I do at times have to communicate with the man who abused me .
When I first left this was a massive anxiety trigger for me.Just seeing his name in my e-mail inbox had me struggling to breath and my heart racing. The fight or flight reflex was still very much in place even though I was physically away from him. His name alone was still so closely linked with terror and the anticipation of something awful happening.
This is no longer the case.
I see his name in my e-mail. I roll my eyes. I maybe mutter “what does this twat want now ” under my breath but there’s no fear there. There’s boredom at having to read his over friendly words as though I’m some old friend he’d lost contact with. There’s mild irritation in his choice of over familiar language and his appalling spelling. Nothing about it causes me panic anymore though.I can arrange him seeing the kids ,I can deal with emails .
One thing about having to communicate with him though ,now we’re so far down the line , is that he seems to have expected that I have forgotten what he did. That he can make attempts at humour or that he can project some kind of united front when he talks of ‘our’ kids or makes observations about the children as though he knows them oh so well. That he can add lol to the end of a sentence cos we’re old buddies now , never mind all that torturous abuse that was just bants mate come on lol with me!!
It seems to him that because I tolerate communication from time to time everything that has gone before is swept under the carpet. He acts as though we’re exes who had a bitter break up but so many years later it’s all healed and fine.
He doesn’t get to rewrite history. He doesn’t get to edit and censor my experiences. I know he’s done this himself. I know he has a story he tells people about our relationship and why it ended as subsequent girlfriend’s have sought me out once they’ve split with him. He’s chosen a story for himself (you’ve probably heard it many of you – psycho ex stopping him seeing his kids???) He tells his story to friends and family and new in laws.
Don’t try and tell that story to me though. I was there.
I was there the first time he ever hit me (in an Odeon carpark , he hated the movie , it was American Beauty)
I was there the first time I lied about marks on my face (it was at work ,I said I’d fallen out of bed)
I was there when I was putting something heavy against the bedroom door so I could just please nap when I was exhausted and pregnant without him flying through the door in a rage at my laziness.
I was there when every special day , Christmas , kids birthdays , were spoilt by him having toddler tantrums because all the attention was away from him.
I was there through the really dark times.
The ones I won’t even write about because I won’t give them oxygen.
I remember every last one though.
Every last detail.
Every last word he said.
So you see never would I want to be pally with someone like that . I’m never going to engage in anecdotes about these amazing children with him. I’m not going to “lol” at his far from hilarious quips.
Should he mistake my bare minimum communication for forgiveness then he is so very wrong . Remembering is my strength. It’s my reassurance that I did the right thing all those years ago and the only forgiveness I’m interested in showing to anyone in that situation is to the scared girl who packed up her kids and fled.
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