This week I celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the biggest decision I’ve ever made in my life. I filed for divorce.
While you may think celebrating an anniversary of such an event is crazy or weird, this was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life. At the time my children were two and six years old, and this would affect them as much, if not more, than me.
When I filed for divorce, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I did know one thing. I wasn’t continuing to live the way I was, and I wasn’t going to watch my children suffer anymore either. All I had to do was look at my daughter’s first grade picture — no smile, only sadness on her face.
Who I am now
In fifteen years, I’ve come a long way from the person I was. I’ve had many obstacles, but I’ve become a stronger woman because of this experience. Most importantly, I’ve become a survivor of domestic violence.
Even though my ex-husband never laid a hand on me, he did something worse. He beat me down with his words. Some people may argue with me, but emotional abuse is ten times worse than physical abuse or any kind of abuse. Emotional abuse takes years to get over. It has taken me over 10 years to get over it.
Why I made the decision
At the beginning of our marriage, I was called a dumb a**, just like he had called his first wife. (Yes, I was wife number two, and now I know why.) At the end of our marriage and in front of our young children, I was called a f******* b****. And the name calling was just the tip of the iceberg.
He beat me down so much that by the time I headed to counseling right before I filed for divorce my counselor told me there was nothing but skin and bones left. I had no self-esteem. I was just a body.
All these years later, I still think of her words. I think about how far I’ve come. When I got knocked down by the family court system, I kept my chin up the best I could. I had two children depending upon me.
Being a parent
Throughout these fifteen years, I tried to be the best parent I could be. There were times when I wasn’t sure I would make it, but with the support of my family and friends, I did.
And I comforted my children the best I could. When my children hurt from something they couldn’t do — like a friend’s birthday, a baseball game, or anything that a parent should try their best to let their child do, I was the parent who held them while they cried.
My children missed friends’ birthday parties, sporting events, and many other things as I proceeded through the divorce and ongoing custody problems. This should have never happened. Divorced parents should work together and give their children the best life they can, not work against each other.
Honestly, I don’t know what I would have done without my family and friends. The family court system doesn’t listen to cases like mine. I didn’t even understand at the time what was truly going on. It was not until 2014 when I started to truly understand.
The family court system
This world is full of narcissism, borderline personality disorders, psychopathy, and sociopathy. And sadly the family court system isn’t educated enough to understand these types of people.
Someday, I hope lawyers, judges, guardian ad litems, and parenting time coordinators learn about these types of people, and I hope they can see who the true victim is.
As the anniversary of my filing for divorce approaches, I won’t celebrate with a party. I’ll celebrate the fact that I survived fifteen challenging years. And I’ve become a survivor.