I HATE that I still think about Jerkface. It’s so much less than it used to be when we were married, but still…all these years later and there he is in my brain…Jerkface. Right now I am so angry at the years I threw away to be with that man – the money, friends, and opportunity I discarded because they didn’t fit into his crazy plan for our miserable little life together.
There are moments I suppose I will probably replay in my head, over and over again, for the rest of my life, trying to make some sense of what he said, trying to understand how I let it happen.
Sometimes I imagine myself shaking my head in pity and disgust and simply walking out as I should have done, as I wished I could have done but instead cried and begged forgiveness from him. Sometimes I dream that I escape while he is napping, or at work, or at his expensive week-long baseball camp that he was allowed to go on while I was tormented for wanting to see a friend without him for an hour or two. Sometimes I imagine disappearing into a stranger’s house while on vacation in Hawaii and telling them my husband is an abuser and then changing my name and living there in paradise forever. Without him.
Most days I don’t think of him. Most days I am too busy with my own real life, where I have the pleasure of “normal” problems like a dirty kitchen floor, a too-short haircut, or a sick dog. Those of us who were or are partners with abusers know – these run-of-the mill frustrations, annoyances, disappointments are a luxury.
On some level we understand that life can be hard and painful but abuse is something entirely different. It’s not normal. It’s not ok. It’s not just a disagreement.
We will probably be processing the trauma of our abusive incidents for some time still, but the further away we get from it, the less space it will occupy.When I first left Jerkface, I thought about him daily. After having been Jerkface-free for more than a decade, I now go weeks or even months without doing so.
I try not to judge myself for still needing to process what happened to me. But I still do wonder, what if…
As with meditation, I allow the thought to be there, I try not to indulge or deny. I let it happen and I move on. I think about what I should wear tomorrow, what I need to buy at the grocery story, who I need to call back. And when I step outside myself, I see how far I’ve come.
Most of the time I am a regular person with too much to do and too little time to do it and I forget that the way I feel now, the life I now live, was once a goal and a dream that seemed almost unattainable. Jerkface may still occupy a tiny space in my head, but he can never take what I now have away from me.