becoming free of someone who has bullied, hurt, and slammed you takes a long time. it's been about two years now, and today i was a bit shocked, when i saw him. i knew it would have to happen, and i steeled myself for it, prepared myself, hoped and prayed that there wouldn't be an altercation. made plans A through Z to be sure I was safe. that my children were safe.
so i was shocked that when i did see him...that it felt so 'familiar.' i was surprised, considering how much fighting, cowering, surviving that had happened behind our closed doors, then into the realm of the legal world--how much preparation i had to do every time i had to go to court. bracing myself for every single action, building up my strength to endure the depositions, even listening to him spew lies about my dearest friends and myself on the stand. how much i've had to advocate for my children's safety and my own all of these days, months, now years, and yet it was like greeting a part of myself when i saw him get out of the truck.
how strange, and how antithetical to everything i've learned about leaving an abusive relationship, everything i've read, all the therapy i've been to, my support groups. no one told me that seeing someone who had threatened our lives, who had left behind emotional scars that i'm still healing from them...would feel so normal, as if no time had passed.
after some thinking, i realized i think part of it is because of my sweetheart children. that the connection is there, because of those two beating hearts, and that's why, i guess, there will be this 'bridge.' but make no mistake. there was a huge price, a severe one, that threatened our lives--for this 'familiarity.' it is one that i know i cannot ever pay, and one that would have meant the end of us had we stayed, had our lives not changed.
i tell myself this message: do not mistake familiarity with love, with respect, with 'he will change.' familiarity in this case merely means that i was used to the thunderstorms that destroyed our family, that i was used to clinging to the 'good' times, that i excused his injuries and hurtful behavior, because i was familiar with how he acted. being familiar is not a reason to stay.