Dear Edie, I feel in despair. I’m in the middle of a divorce but still totally love him. I had to leave due to physical abuse and violence. I tried counseling, but he would not. I miss him terribly. He’s done with me because I called the police on him two times and he feels that was the worst thing I could have done. At this time, we are not allowed communication of any kind. I just don’t know how to deal with so much sadness and missing him. How do I move on? I’ve got so many feelings. –Darla
I’m sorry you are in so much pain and turmoil right now. One thing to remember is that there is never an excuse for abuse. No matter what you have said or felt or have done in this marriage, he doesn’t have the right to do violence against you. One who perpetrates abuse will often justify his or her actions, indicating that the other person ‘made them do it’. That being said, sometimes feelings are confusing in relationships in which one person acts out aggressively toward another. There may be times when your feelings for him overshadow your own needs. One of the most important needs is for safety, both physical and emotional. No matter how much you love him, your well being has to come first. Calling the police is about self-preservation. If he chooses to feel angry about that, you can’t change his mind. It is an inside job in the same way as his unwillingness to take responsibility for his actions. He may never get treatment himself, but could benefit from it. If you are not permitted to speak with each other, can I assume you filed a PFA (Protection from Abuse) order?
What many who have left abusive partners have said, is that the most dangerous time is when they choose to free themselves. Do you have supports around you? Family, friends, a competent therapist, a domestic violence program and a support group can all assist you in getting through this transition.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7 1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
With regard to your feelings… they will come and go. You may feel sad, scared, angry, frustrated and yes, even loving toward him and sorry for him. Let yourself cry, expressing whatever comes up for you. Treat yourself with same loving kindness that you would anyone else (friend, sister, daughter) who would come to you telling you her story that might sound like yours. You deserve love, respect, kindness and safety. In my life and work, I have met many who have survived abuse and trauma and have created new lives for themselves. Wishing you whatever it takes to do that for yourself too.
Reach Out Recovery Exclusive By Edie Weinstein