It has been more than five years since being released from the marital prison I was trapped in for fifteen years. In the beginner the marriage was good, but not not long after we married, his true colors emerged and I was in survival mode for the majority of those years. The one shining moment from that marriage is our beautiful daughter, who truly has the very best of each of us. She is a constant reminder to me not to regret the wasted years living with Jekyll and Hyde.
One of the things that helped me retain my sanity was journaling. I didn’t write daily, mostly weekly, which was certainly enough that when I read my journal I had to take breaks due to the raw emotion it caused. It was while reading my own written words I realized I was being abused. Not physically, but definitely emotionally. It was then that I grappled with what I needed to do: get the hell out to save myself.
Today I have a renewed outlook and I am able to be thankful for the hell I went through. One day you will too! For without my ex being part of my past, I would not be able to appreciate the here and now as much as I do.
So, today I would like to share the 5 things to thank my ex for:
1. Thank you for being the world’s biggest asshole.
This is very true, for if he wasn’t the world’s biggest asshole, I may not have gotten out after 15 years; it may have taken longer. The regular deluge of his insults and condescending tone helped me to see and accept that I’d made a huge mistake in choosing him as a partner. While I once dreaded going home knowing he would be there, today my home is my sanctuary.
2. Thank you for making me strong.
I am not really giving him credit for making me strong, but the fact that he would pick a fight with me almost daily gave me the backbone that I needed to stand up to him and fight like hell to get out. I realize my resilience is my strongest asset.
3. Thank you for teaching me the importance of forgiveness:
He did not only wrong me by portraying himself one way and being someone else entirely, he lied often and was emotionally abusive. In the aftermath of the divorce, I had to learn to forgive myself for being deceived and putting my trust in someone who did not deserve it.
4. Thank you for being a bully.
When you are married to a bully, you believe their threats and innuendos until you finally have had enough. I am grateful to have experienced that because I know that I would never subject myself to being with someone whose main objective is to keep me down. We should all strive to be with partners that lift us and encourage us to accomplish goals we thought impossible.
For instance, my boyfriend encouraged me to go back to school a few years ago, and though it was my decision to do it, his belief in me was the catalyst I needed to see it through. I am happy to report I recently completed my Master’s.
5. Thank you for showing me how a relationship should not be.
This is probably the Kahuna of gifts here. I know without a doubt that I have come out of my former marriage tougher than before and with more real-life experience than I could ever get from just reading about it. I now know the signs to be on the lookout for and the red flags that pop up but are dismissed. I know that if the relationship does not feel right at times, then it isn’t, and you need to get out.
Being able to thank my ex here has been a helpful exercise. As I look around at my life, I can honestly say I am truly happy! In part, I have him to thank for that, for if he wasn’t such a demoralizing ass to me most of the time, I might have still been stuck in misery.