I filed for divorce a year ago. I moved out shortly thereafter. I took my wedding dress with me, along with family photos. I can’t describe entirely why I did this. While I’ve never once regretted my decision to divorce, at the time I was still spinning.
You know what it looks like when you dip your finger in water and spin it around? You take your finger out, but the water is still spinning? That was my life for the past year. He was gone, but my life was still spinning.
Such is the case with victims of emotional abuse. I’m now learning that I have suffered PTSD from that relationship and it actually changed my brain chemistry. In short, I needed time to stop spinning. My recovery from this divorce has had several parts, one of which was to simply do things alone. Attend dinner alone. Attend a movie alone, etc.
I chose to attend War Room alone last August. I was still suffering the effects of invalidation, and although I had peace about leaving that prison I once called home, some part of me still prayed feverishly for reconciliation. I prayed to have my boy back. I prayed, if it was God’s will, to restore my marriage. After all, according to Christian and secular counselors alike, the purpose of not jumping into a new relationship right away is so you can restore your heart, become healthy and whole, and if possible, attempt reconciliation. So that is where my mind was. That is why the wedding dress and family pictures came with me. What if his heart softened and he gained valuable wisdom from our split? What if he realized all he had done and wanted to put the swords away? Like any normal person would, once the dust had settled, I had to come to grips with some of my ugly behavior during the marriage. Surely he would too at some point? I spent this time praying, and adamantly, not dating.
He spent that time sleeping with a stranger. He spent that time ignoring my attempts at any contact with his son. I was nothing. No one. Not only had I been replaced, I had been replaced by a boldface lie. Borderlines create their own reality, and this was exactly that. He very comfortably lived in the lie he told himself and others about the end of our relationship.
The months that followed have been up and down. Healing from a divorce is much like grieving a death. Losing a child to parental alienation is like someone ripping your heart out every single morning. By nightfall, you may be able to sew some spots back up, but in the morning, it’s gone again. Repeat.
Though, there is a light and great hope in the truth.
I recently had a week from hell. God shook up my whole life like a snow globe and, in my obedience, I didn’t fight it. Sure, I thought “oh of course, take everything away AGAIN!” but I knew He was doing something big.
And in a week’s time He has created for me the most beautiful forward path. I am amazed at how things can just fall right into place sometimes. My ex husband has moved this new woman in. A stranger, that he met merely months ago. She is in my home. She is raising my son. And they are ignorantly blissful while the ones who know the truth are rolling their eyes. I do not get satisfaction out of that, I see it for what it is now; sad. But it helped me to put a hard stop on a place of healing. I wish them well, and I hope for all I can hope for – that she is good to my son.
I will grieve the loss of that child for a lifetime, until he and I are reconciled. I am working through the triggers that still plague me from such a tumultuous relationship. But as I move on, I had one new step to take.
Getting rid of that wedding dress.
It was not very expensive. I did not feel it was appropriate to “trash the dress” with my girlfriends and some wine. Now, surely I could have donated it. But the truth is, I have made it my life’s mission to speak truth and empower others to seek and live out truly healthy relationships. That dress is a reminder of many painful years and life lessons. I would not wish it on my worst enemy. As such, I wouldn’t want someone else to wear it.
So I threw it away. Like he threw me away.
I didn’t even give it a second thought. Like he didn’t give me a second thought.
I held onto it for 6 years, we had a 6 year bond. And in a moment it was useless. Like to him, I was useless.
And it was cathartic.
I will never repay evil for evil and that man is sitting in the mess he made with his own hands.
But for me, it was time to toss that symbol in a dumpster, and move on.
I am so glad I took this time to truly heal. To not take shortcuts. To be WHOLE. I’m a work in progress but I’m a hell of a lot farther than the ones running from themselves.
I will be full of grace, humility and love for my boy whenever life returns us together.
Until then, onward.