To my stepfather,
Last October, I sat in the courtroom with my mother, witnessing the court put an end to your 32 year old marriage. Or as I refer to it, your 32 year reign of terror. I guess we appeared, as we always did, like a good family – despite the circumstances. So when the attorneys requested to meet with the judge in his chambers, the bailiff left the courtroom as well. There we were, the three of us, alone for about 20 minutes. Enough time for me to curse you. Enough time for me to laugh at you. Even enough time to stab you, shoot you or strangle you. Just a few of the heinous ways I envisioned murdering you – for repeatedly physically, sexually and emotionally abusing and humiliating me during my teens. Instead, I was silent, barely glancing in your direction. It is only now that I remember that I was mostly silent and wouldn’t look directly at my ex-boyfriend during the sentencing phase of his trial, either.
Like my mother before she met you, I was a lonely, vulnerable woman, sick and tired of being sick and tired. I wanted a good, decent man to love me and my child. I wanted a family. And like my mother thought of you, I thought my ex-boyfriend was that man. And just like my mom allowed you, I allowed my ex-boyfriend to move in with me before truly knowing who he was, or what he was capable of doing.
But unlike my mother, I recognized who my ex-boyfriend was within a week of him moving into my home. He was YOU. Like YOU, he was a dark, brooding cloud that settled over us. Like YOU, his sense of entitlement as the “man of the house” disrespected and disregarded our rights to feel at peace in own home. And like YOU, he wholeheartedly believed I so wanted to live “happily ever after” that I would unconsciously sacrifice myself and my child to that false god. But unlike my mother, I was – and never will be – that desperate.
It took some time (as it always does with dysfunctional, trifling men) to get my ex-boyfriend out of my home. But I did. And I was grateful. Grateful for surviving him, like I did you. Grateful that I did not commit 32 years of my life trying to make a marriage out of an un-holy, unblessed union. Most of all, I am grateful that once his/your dark cloud was lifted, the sunshine revealed the right man, one who was truly good to me and for me.
It is because I chose to not be terrorized or victimized, and to willingly trade the dysfunctional familiar for a chance at real love that my ex-boyfriend sought his revenge by murdering my new boyfriend and attempting to murder me. I believe he wanted his 32 year reign of terror too. And now he has it. In fact he has a lifetime of it at a maximum security prison. What do you have? A divorce. And my silence.
About The Author: Refer to her bio under the ‘We Are…” page.