Updated: Nov 7, 2021
I want to say thank you to my ex.
A man who rarely laid a hand on me, but nonetheless subjected me to a marriage drenched in insidious violence and terror.
How is it possible to have gratitude?
After enduring our violent and ugly marriage, I am now at peace. I reflect with a calm and grateful heart.
I completely and totally adored you; I was never more loyal to anyone in my life. It was for the wrong reasons and you didn’t deserve it.
Regardless, I learned to love fiercely.
I was terrified of motherhood. Deep down, I knew that having a family with you would worsen the entrapment, locking us into further damage and abuse.
However, I discovered an intense devotion to our amazing, beautiful children. I have the incredible privilege of being a mother.
I am calm with a powerful knowing that none of us will be destroyed by you.
I mastered forgiveness. For your affairs, your mistreatment of other women, and of me. I forgave your viciousness towards your own family and mine.
The greatest blessing was discovering how to forgive myself.
I am not dumb or ugly.
Your relentless, subtle stabs at my intelligence and appearance wore me down. The open and direct attacks making me out to be stupid in front of others were incredibly damaging.
How wrong you were.
I now stand tall on my own. I am gritty, resourceful and clever.
Your neglect and concealed double life created a foundation you didn’t intend: an unimaginable opportunity for me to grow into myself.
I discovered I could be independent and strong. I learned to manage a family on my own.
Your heartless abandonment may have stripped my spirit in the early days and almost broke me entirely. Nevertheless, I persisted.
I found the confidence to be who I need to be, and who I want to be.
I endured harrowing depths of sickness and fatigue. Yet the debilitating pain led to a profound awareness of my body’s strength and resilience.
The soul that has been stripped bare by torment and trauma has greater space for rebuilding and understanding than the soul that has never seen strife.
In my life after you, I have rejuvenated from rock-bottom, to flourish and blossom into my own healthy being.
I have found space to show real fortitude.
There’s no tougher woman than one downtrodden and abused by a person who was supposed to love her.
She scavenges just enough bravery to rise up and love again.
She uncovers a persistence to face life even after her self-worth is smashed. Each day, she somehow finds the will to keep going.
Thanks to you, I have become that woman.
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