The Ugly Truth

Love shouldn't hurt. If love hurts then it's not right.

I had learned this lesson before, years ago when I dated someone I now refer to as Voledemort. I swore to myself I would never end up in an abusive relationship again.

When my former wife moved out here (after doing the long distance thing) things quickly started to feel off. There was far more conflict than I was used to. There was yelling, there were strange overreactions like the time they left me in a restaurant and drove off, or the time they got mad at me and blocked me on facebook, or the time....(I could go on and on but I won't).

These all should have been warning signs, but I excused every single one of them. I reminded myself that my former spouse had just been through the serious trauma of having their house burned down in a hate crime. I excused those behaviors because my former wife had never lived with a romantic partner before. I listened to and believed the excuses I was given for the erratic behaviour. I kept thinking if I loved L enough then they (my former wife's pronouns are they/them as opposed to he or she) would overcome these things and things would settle down into a smooth life.

I went through a mental checklist: L never belittled me, L never called me names, L never hit me. I went through the list and determined it was my fault, that I was overreacting. Maybe if I was just more kind, more patient...things would get better.

I didn't know about gaslighting. I thought abuse was just name-calling and violence. I would watch them treat me like shit and then ask them why they were doing whatever it was (rolling their eyes and sighing loudly when I talked; literally turning their back on me when I tried to respond to them; berating me for not sharing my feelingsm then when I did, criticizing how I shared my feelings) they would deny it, which made me feel even crazier.

I didn't realize that I was also living with a compulsive liar. Slowly the lies popped to the surface. The lies to cover up the lies were even worse. I would catch them in a lie to someone else and they assured me they would NEVER lie to me. How could I have believed that?

I constantly walked on eggshells around them. My performance at work suffered.  I didn't see my friends and family often. I was a wreck.

I am one of the lucky ones. I found the strength to leave. I left despite the pleading. I left despite the desperate lies to make me feel sorry for them. I left despite the suicide attempts (which I now believe were staged). I left despite the cops being called to my home. I left despite threats. I left my home, the home I paid for and continued to pay for including all of the utilities. 

It is important to note that I also  left despite the fact that in between the crazy we had some great times. I left even though at times they could be loving and supportive. I wanted so badly for them to just break free from their baggage and stand in the sunshine and just be the person I believed them to be. I finally realized that the costs outweighed the benefits and that I was not willing to sacrifice my happiness for them.

I left my house and stayed with friends and family for months, giving them some time to figure out where to go and find a job (since they quit their job in the midst of this) waiting to get them to agree to a divorce.  I just wanted it over. I agreed to take on our debt even after they maxed out all of the credit cards they still had access to, after we split. I knew that even if the judge ordered them to pay half, they never would and I just wanted it done. I agreed to let them keep the camper and the furniture they said they wanted.

When we got engaged I told them I will never promise forever and they agreed that was not possible. We both certainly intended it to last forever, but I knew that was a promise I would never again make. We had agreed to let each other go in kindness and love if either one of us ever felt it wasn't right. My wife wasn't able to honor that commitment.

When I was able to get back into my house after months and having to threaten eviction, after having them call the suicide hotline and give my name and number, after the cops broke my screen door and almost broke the main door down because they were inside threatening suicide for the fifth time,  I found  a dirty house with mice living in it. I walked in to discover almost all of my furniture stolen (and stored at the neighbors house because they actually didn't need my furniture) and most of what remained was ruined. I found that boxes of my belongings had been dumped into piles. I found deep scratches in my hardwood floors.

It was shocking but I sucked it up and just felt grateful that it was over, that I had them out of my house, that they were no longer running up $300 a month in electric bills under my name.  At first I was sad about the furniture they stole but then I realized that things were just things and I was so far in debt after the marriage it didn't seem to matter that I now had to buy all new furniture.  I was just glad that I no longer had to deal with their crazy making ways. With the help of my former husband (who is one of my best friends), my amazing long time friend (who is now my girlfriend), and my mom, we spent weeks cleaning up the house, hauling things to the dump and to donate, getting rid of the mice, and trying to make the place livable. I found amazing tenants who have brought love and laughter into that house which brought tears to my eyes.

Then they started writing publicly saying THEY were abused. They said that they were writing a book about domestic violence/emotional violence they were going to title The Invisible Bruise.
This felt like the final insult. After everything I had been through I felt gutted to think that people might believe them.

The second to last time that I saw them I had gone back to the house to try to get them to sign the divorce papers. I had been begging them to at least pay some rent or the utilities as I was paying all of that and not having the benefit of living in my home and struggling financially. They then bragged about ordering all new furniture. I was furious and called them a piece of shit. They were allegedly recording this and when I learned that they were planning on writing this book and that they had "evidence" of my abuse by way of this recording, I felt scared that people would actually believe them. It also felt like they were convincing themself of this lie saying I controlled them financially because I had supported them financially for two years. They called me a narcissist and I remember asking my closest friend if she thought it was true (she didn't of course). I started going through my memories to figure out if I was just remembering it all wrong. Then I stopped.

Now? Now I don't give a fuck. I know there is nothing I can do or say to change anyone's minds who believes their lies. I know that I have a legion of friends and family who love and support me.

I feel sorry for my former wife. I feel sad that they are so lost and broken that all they know how to do is hurt others. I feel sad that they must eternally cast themselves as a victim, so much that they have invented several traumas in their life that never occurred, which then makes people doubt the one(s) that actually did occur.

They only know how to get by in this world by manipulating others, lying, and stealing. I know that they can do better, but I think they are just so broken that this is how they have learned to survive in this world.

Once in anger, I wrote a blog listing all of their lies, many of which are egregious . I never published it, but it felt good to write it all down. In the end people are exposed for who they are on their own and smart people will spot the lies. It is my hope that they will get the help they need because I believe they are deeply mentally troubled.

Now I am working on letting it go. I have days where I feel so much anger that I have to go hike it out, feeling some sort of catharsis as my thighs and calves are burning with exertion. I have stopped the less healthy ways of dealing with my anger and am working on healthy coping skills. I have days where I sob in my girlfriends arms feeling so much grief for having loved someone who was so wrong for me. I feel grief for being treated so badly. I feel grief that they are so broken and that I hurt them by leaving.

Now that I am in a safe place physically and now that I have a partner who I trust completely and love so deeply, I am moving out of survival mode and entering the period where I am working out my shit. I know that the only way to get over this is to go through it, let myself feel the feelings, and then let them go.

I am lucky I got out.

The lessons I have learned are many. Some of them are:
I will never again ignore my gut feelings.
I will never again make it about me when it isn't .
I will not ever allow anyone to mistreat me, or embarrass me in front of my friends by treating me horribly, or treat me horribly in private.
I deserve more. I deserve better.
Love is not enough.
Trust is the most important thing.
I am blessed to have so much love and support.
I am lucky I am strong enough that I got out.

I don't write this to shame them, although I know that it isn't a pretty picture I have painted. I hesitated for so long in sharing what happened because I am not a fan of people airing their "dirty laundry." I was also afraid of enraging them by writing this and facing some sort of retaliation.

I am posting this publicly in hopes that one person will read it and realize that they too can leave. They can get out.

No matter how much you feel bad for someone, no matter how special they make you feel in between the times they make you cry, YOU can do better. YOU deserve better.


  1. I am so proud of you. You are so strong and so very brave.

    1. Thank you Wen. When I have felt the weakest, you have always encouraged me and told me I am strong. I appreciate you more than I can ever tell you. Thank you for standing with me in the fire.

    2. I will always stand in the fire with you. Better yet, I'll do what ever I can to keep you from those flames from here on out. I promise you that.

  2. I have experienced this person's manipulation and antics with you in real time. When you came to visit me in Nevada--two separate times--I was dismayed that they seemed bent on ruining your time with us with constant texts designed to cause you anxiety. One of these times was right after you lost a loved one. They couldn't just let you visit with us. I've been your friend now for 20 years. You are a good person. You are not a narcissist. And they are a piece of shit.

    1. Wow I forgot about their behavior both of those times. Wow, yeah. So glad I'm not involved with them anymore. What a nightmare. Thank you for your love and support. <3

  3. I was also taken in by them. They were my best friend, my brother. Experiencing their betrayal of our friendship and then watching as they destroyed what they had with you... it cuts deep. I'm so glad you've gotten out of that relationship and started rebuilding your life. I feel sorry for who ever comes next, though that person is probably already deeply invested and heading for hurt.

    I'm proud of you for how you've taken care of yourself.

    1. Thank you so much and thank you for your support when things were so bad last fall and winter. I appreciate your big heart.

      I too worry about whoever come next. I guess I hold out hope that L will get the help they need and become the person I believe they can be.

  4. I'm proud of you for getting out and I'm extra proud of you for sharing your story. I'm always here for you. Love you!

  5. I'm happy and proud to call you a friend, FF. 💙


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