When You Are Scared To Speak Up

After more than two decades of marriage, it became easier to allow my former husband’s happiness to matter more than my own.  It was an unhealthy pattern.  And I blame myself for allowing it.

I didn’t speak up because I preferred peace to unrest.  That pattern insinuated itself as time went by, but it wasn’t how the relationship began.  However, it became easier for me to back down, rather than to stand up to him because he never backed down.  Narcissists don’t.  They win.  Because they believe that they are always right and in a twisted way, maybe you’re like me and you give up and hand them the power.

I didn’t speak up because I didn’t want him to get mad at me.

I didn’t speak up because I didn’t want him to not love me.

I didn’t speak up because I was afraid that it would start a fight and I wanted peace.

I didn’t speak up because I didn’t want to rock the boat.

I didn’t speak up because I didn’t feel like he’d listen.

I didn’t speak up because it was easier to stay quiet.

I didn’t speak up because I’d forgotten I had a voice and that I was worthy.

I didn’t speak up because I gave him the power.

I didn’t speak up because I felt worthless.

I didn’t speak up because I told myself that I didn’t matter, nor did what I said.

I didn’t speak up because I gave up on myself and I lost me.

And I remember when I did try to speak up, it didn’t end well.

I remember scurrying to please him when he had a bad day or was angry and annoyed.  Not a good memory for sure, especially when I was blind to what I was doing.  I was just trying with my whole being to keep peace, to make him happy, even when nothing I did was making him happy and it was only making me feel more miserable.

I was scared to speak up.

I was scared to ask for my needs to be met.  I wanted time with him, but instead everyone and everything came before me and yet, he expected that he was my priority.  But I wasn’t his.  When I complimented him, I received less than crumbs, even when I lost weight, dressed the way he liked and tried to look pleasing to him.  I felt like a piece of furniture or a maid who had no voice.  And still, I kept thinking if I said x or did y or stayed quiet, things between us would get better.

Instead…he didn’t respect me and eventually, I lost respect for myself.  It was a huge relief when he left and I realized what I’d been doing…staying mute to keep peace.  I specifically remember the day he left the home because I felt like I could breathe again.

How long had I been holding my breath?  When I look back, it was for years.

Don’t be like I was.  Speak up.  Healthy relationships are when nobody has the upper hand all the time.  There’s no boss.  There’s a give and take and equality between two people.  His word is not law.  And your opinion matters.

I hope this helps you.  I wish I had listened when friends tried to tell me what they were seeing in my marriage.  Instead I made excuses.  And because they didn’t want to hurt me, they stopped mentioning it.

The divorce was a way to break the pattern.  To regain my self-esteem, my self-respect and my voice.  And I’m grateful for all of it.

This entry was posted in divorce, finding happiness at 50, love and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to When You Are Scared To Speak Up

  1. The V Pub says:

    Out of the ashes rises the Phoenix!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. LA says:

    This is such a great post. I think anyone who has had an ex can and will relate to all the things you said….you just try to keep things even….thank you!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. yes yes yes yes yes … all of this is SO true. Did you read my blog about confrontation? I avoid it at ALL costs – even my own happiness. We have to work to retrain our brains from the damage left in their wake. Hugs to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think the time has to be right Janie, I hoped and prayed that he would leave me but he didn’t, then I found the strength to end the marriage myself. People have to build up to make such life changing decisions especially when their self esteem is low.


  5. TJ Fox says:

    And this is why I am divorced from my family. The whole being able to breath and feel free is an amazing thing I won’t ever go back to that. Love and hate that you are in this club with me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • janieleeds says:

      I am just grateful that we are not alone and we have each other to lean on and to understand that it’s not just us or our family. But that this happens in life and we just have to go with the flow and do what is best for us! I’m sorry you’re in a similar position….xo

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Elizabeth says:

    i’m glad we can see clear now, but it isn’t easy to see and learn how to fix things back them, everything depends on the moment. thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. sheenmeem says:

    Great post. I hope you are in a better place now. Many women put up with their husbands in the hope someday the men in their life will realize the sacrifices they make, but that day never comes.


  8. This is a good lesson for those married, as well, especially in long-term relationships that hit the rough (or dull) patch. Don’t succumb to the “quiet desperation”.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s