My tenth wedding anniversary is in exactly one month. I bought a special ivory dress, pearl jewelry, pearl sandals and a pearl encrusted evening bag in preparation for the celebration to match the pearl promise ring I picked out when we celebrated our first anniversary as a couple in 2008.
I planned out all the details of the evening, down to ordering a smaller version of the original wedding cake I designed myself ten years ago from the same bakery.
I even bought my husband a new wedding ring that is engraved with our tenth anniversary date: 10/24/19.
I did all of those things with optimism in my heart. But now I don’t care if I am still married in a month’s time or not.
My husband told me yesterday that if this is what I’m like when I’m healthy, then he wants a divorce!
What?! Yes–after struggling with a four year long nervous breakdown, my doctor got the meds right and I have fully recovered. I am feeling as great as I did when I was 16 and studied journalism all summer at Cornell University. I feel capable, effective, creative, engaged and successful. I am publishing, raising my daughter, without a burden of heavy mental anguish. But, my husband said this past Monday that I have until Wednesday, September 25, 2019 (otherwise known as today) to agree that I am manic or he will file for divorce.
I have been steadily improving myself and my outlook since my last suicide attempt and hospital stay two weeks before Christmas in 2018.
My husband doesn’t think this is true. He tried to convince me all weekend that I was still sick, prevented me from working, yelled and accused and belittled. But I stayed focused. He became threatening and angry. I didn’t capitulate. I know I’m in my right mind, my therapist and psychiatrist know this, too. But, I fear, as long as I’m still married to my abusive husband, I am in danger of eventually falling for his litany of subtle gaslighting attacks which only lead to shame spirals and depressive episodes.
If you have been reading my journal on this website (see Menu) or following my Facebook posts in the past few years, you surely remember that I reported three instances of physical abuse with pictures of my bruises. You remember the article I wrote: “Abusing a Mentally Ill Person is Especially Heinous,” right? A few of you, dear readers, even printed out my articles and had a meeting with my husband’s boss (principal) to bring this abuse to his awareness–unfortunately, nothing came of this–but I am grateful to you anyway (and would like to know who you are–contact me!).
I have realized that my husband can really only hurt me if I allow him to, so I stopped allowing it. Whether or not I’m technically “trapped” in this marriage for financial reasons, I am still in control of what I am willing to give to him and right now all I’m willing to give is indifference.
I have decided that in my mind, if not someday also on paper, I no longer consider myself married to my husband the way I define the term, even if we never get divorced. It just simply doesn’t matter to me anymore, either way.
The facts are clear: he is still abusive and refuses to go to therapy; I have lost all respect for him because of this and no longer give any weight to his opinions; I am going to let my marriage fall by the wayside since it’s problems aren’t mine to solve; I am now focused exclusively on raising a happy, healthy daughter and on advancing my writing career; I refuse to continue to participate in the cycle of abuse in this marriage; I have found the validation I sought from him all these years within myself and I am ready to move forward with my health intact to meet my two goals. He is irrelevant to me now.
For whatever reasons, I’m no psychologist here, his abuse becomes especially intense when I am publishing books. This is third time I have been in publication mode, and he really pulls out all the stops. Take this example:
“Kristen, no one wants to read your f***ing books!”
“You’ll never be healthy enough to work again.”
Wow! And he’s an educator!
He refuses to read even one of the sentences in any of the five works of fiction I have published. He has stated that he will never be interested in reading them.
I was willing to let all of this slide and be forgiving; but, once I got my health back, it was perfectly clear that he is not on Team Kristen. He wants to control the narrative, all just for the sake of being in control. It’s like it’s an animal instinct in him, it’s relentless.
But he wants me to know that he forgives me for sticking up for myself!
Now that I’m at an optimal level of functioning, it is clear that I was also in this state of mind most of the time during these past four years while I thought I was having a nervous breakdown–it was just that I had handed my mind over “for safe keeping” to him because I believed him every time he told me I was too sick to make decisions for myself. I trusted his judgment more than my own, after all, he is my husband, the person who loves me above all others, right?
I believed him every time he told I was too crazy to handle my own affairs. But, he was only telling me that so that could feed his insecurities and feel superior to me. He likes mind games, after all. But…
So, if you’re wondering how I could make peace with all of this and still stay married, there are two simple reasons: I get to live with my daughter everyday and I get to write books instead of teaching English.
Thank you for reading this post. Keep your eyes peeled for more articles about my determination to make the most out of my health moving forward as a mother and an artist now that I have broken the cycle of abuse in my marriage!
And, you know I have to type this:
Follow me at http://www.Amazon.com/author/mariekjohnston to read free previews of the four works of fiction I recently released to the public and to enter to win a free eBook!
Kristen M McCurry/Marie K Johnston