It’s taken me years to come to terms with the harsh reality of what my marriage actually was. I was so young, trusting, and naive when I met him. I thought I had faced the worst of it, though. I felt like I had gotten past those sneaky little thoughts of denial that kept wanting to creep in and convince me that it really wasn’t so bad and he really was the good man I wanted to believe he was.
But….then my kids continue to share things with me. As adults now, they have been free to make their own choices regarding their relationship with their dad. I have watched as first one son cut off contact with his dad. As he shared memories with me of his experiences with his dad, I was devastated and horrified and supported his decision. I felt horrible about having missed so much and choosing to not see some of the rest. I apologized profusely to him and worked through my own guilt. Then, my oldest son, through attending counselling also came to a decision to cut off contact with his dad. Although his experiences and memories were not as severe as his brother’s, they were still horrible. Again, I supported my son’s decision and worked through my guilt. My daughter is still on her own journey regarding this.
Tonight, one of my kids told me more. I’m so glad he felt brave and strong enough to talk to me, and trusts me enough to do so. But, I am devastated all over again. How could I have missed so much? How did I not see? I wish I could have protected them! I wish I had known and seen! I feel that I failed my precious kids.
Yet, I also remember considering leaving….several times over the years. I knew that would mean unsupervised visitation and I knew enough to feel scared of that for my kids. I always felt I needed to be the buffer in their world. I dedicated over 20 years of my life to being just that.
Oh how easily I could sink into despair. I can’t. I can’t change the past. I made the choices I did believing them to be best with what I knew at the time. But, the guilt….oh the guilt is so hard!
I have to keep loving myself through this part of my story too….I choose to own every part of my story, including new chapters. My kids have been through enough. They don’t need me to fall apart. They need me to model how to own my story and love myself through it….no matter what.
I pray for the strength to do that for them.