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.