We've reached day number 9 of the 100 days of Gratitude Challenge. Today, your mission is to "forgive someone you feel has done wrong by you."
WARNING: this blog post is about to get personal. It contains information on horrors that I went through and lived to tell.
On January 4th, 2008, my second husband who I will name "Ken" for the sake of not receiving backlash from said person...well, he walked out on me and my young daughter, just days after New Year's and my seasonal job had ended. Yes, you read that right. I was broke, unemployed, penniless, and now, had to find somewhere new to live. The rent was paid up til Feb 28th, so I had about seven weeks to relocate. Worse, he didn't give me a "reason" why he was leaving -- just that he suddenly "picked a fight" in the kitchen and threw kitchen items around and grabbed his 2 young sons, packed them in the car with a bag of clothes and he said "I'm out of here." Later, I would discover he had been cheating and being dishonest, just six months into the new marriage. Don't worry, he cheated on the first wife too, I soon learned through a mutual friend of many years.
Luckily, my family still had the old farmhouse and it was vacant. I would take Rachel, only, eight, and move "back home." Oh boy, was I bitter!! There I was at 30 years of age, thinking "Oh I have finally ARRIVED -- married (successfully?) a second time, and we had a blended family. Things were looking up for me, finally.
But that's where I made a fatal mistake. I'd gone into yet another marriage completely BLINDED and refused to see the RED FLAGS that were obviously there from the start. What was my excuse? Co-dependency. Being 30 and naive. Refusing to stand on my own two feet for fear and anxiety that I couldn't make it. Okay, i'm taking accountability right here and now for my own choice to get into this mismatched union.
Just ten days before the wedding ceremony, a man driving a van EN ROUTE to church around the corner from my designated church of my planned wedding...the man had a heart attack at the wheel and DROVE RIGHT THROUGH THE FRONT DOOR of the church, St. Stephen's, where I was to be married on July 7th! What an omen! How could I not see the warning signs right in front of my face? Because my own stubborn pride refused to see the truth. I could have spared myself so much PAIN, if I'd only backed out, cut my losses and maintained my sanity.
Sorry for the long post. To summarize, it was a match made in Hell. He swept me off my feet with poems, roses, romantic dinners, talking on the phone til late hours in the night, bringing me coffee in the morning, wanting to INVEST in me. All the things that a woman wants to happen for her, right? But it was LOVEBOMBING -- the typical narcissistic behavior that one does-- COMES ON STRONG -- to blindside their victim, so they can't see the DECEPTION that is really happening behind the scenes. I was that "new supply" that narcs need to feed their ego and soothe their badly damaged self esteem.
Years later, with therapy, research, good mentoring and recovery, I realize I lived through horrors, shame, lies, slander, public humility, mental and emotional abuse, abandonment, financial control and abuse, and poverty. But still -- I don't feel hatred towards this person. I've run into him a few times over the past 11 years since he left. He is bashful, hangs his head, acts like a shy puppy dog, and tries to strike up conversation...I have been diplomatic and kind each time. One of those occasions was at my job at the mall, where I dodged him and hid behind a clothes rack and proceeded to help a customer. Ten minutes later, "Ken" the ex has the nerve to come back into the store and strike up a conversation - "what are YOU doing, working here?"
My reply - "I helped build the store -- and here I am."
All this time, I still felt ...NOTHING for him. No hatred, no emotion, no sadness, not even regret. I think it's safe to say I've reached the point of FORGIVENESS for this person who used to call me his "Queen" and "Goddess" and "the best thing that ever happened to me."
I wish him well, I really do. Last I heard, he'd moved onto a 3rd marriage. I'll leave that one alone.
This post is about FORGIVENESS, and I truly feel, after moving on and up to better things, I do forgive "Ken." He taught me to stand on my own two feet, to not easily trust people as I had back then, to OWN my power, to believe in myself and myself alone, and I became an entrepreneur of sorts, learning to sell furniture and household goods to feed myself and young daughter, so I've become a master of adaptability, tapping into my God-given gifts of sales, leadership, communications, etc.
That old girl back then in 2008....ugh...I don't even know her!! If I met her today, I'd actually feel ashamed and pity her big time. I'd tell her to pull up her bootstraps and GET THIS DONE, GIRL!
"Ken" -- thank you. I am grateful for you abandoning me. I found myself. I found self love. Self empowerment. I found FREEDOM, not being owned by anyone. I discovered I didn't NEED to be married to someone, to feel validation and worth. I was ALREADY somebody.
To all the abused women out there who think they can't stand on their own two feet -- I urge you to take back your power now -- pack up your things and leave that horrible wretch. God will provide for you, just as he feeds the sparrow. He will make it possible for you and your children to be fed, sheltered and clothed.
Praying for you always,
xx RR xx