For the longest time, I thought all the pain I felt in my heart that resulted from my ex-husband’s words and actions were normal. I thought all that excruciating pain represented true love. Yeah, I knew some of the things he did were intentional. I knew some of the awful things he said were concocted to devastate my spirit, but at the time, I was all about participating in the back and forth process of our love/hate relationship. I was grateful to get any kind attention from him so in my mind, those horrendously negative acts and actions somehow meant that he loved me. He wouldn’t have bothered one way or another if he didn’t love me, right?
I can count the number of times I received positive attention from him. He even told me once that whenever I was talking to him about my day, he would just tune me out. When I stopped talking, though, he told me that his feelings were hurt because I didn’t come to him with anything anymore. See that roller coaster?
The Year Was 2009
In 2009, things started shifting in that marriage. In July of that year, I suffered a brain hemorrhage. On September 10, 2009, one of my closest friends died a day after being broadsided by a drunk driver. Besides the fact that a piece of my heart died that day, it would also become one of those last straws that people so often talk about.
I was still on bedrest following my aneurysm and had been chatting on the phone with my college roommate the night I found out. We had been on the phone for about two hours and probably would have gone on longer had I not kept getting email notifications. I figured I needed to check my mailbox because those emails were coming in left and right. The first thing I saw was a “reply all” response to an email that my girlfriend had sent the day before shortly before she died. Almost immediately, I became uneasy. The reason why is because nearly all of the girls in my circle at that time were either paralegals or insurance professionals and we were extremely detail-oriented. There were plenty of times when we sent chain emails amongst ourselves, but we never sent the same one twice. Well, on September 9 at 3:47 PM MST, Leah sent one of those emails to a group of us, but it was one that she had sent before. It had been my intent to write her the following day to poke fun at her for sending it again, but that following day never came. She had been broadsided by a drunk driver traveling 85 mph, two blocks from her home. She died the following morning just before 5 AM. That first “reply all” response? It was from one of our mutual friends expressing her disbelief of Leah’s passing. I started screaming after the fourth time I read that email. My son, who had been in the room with me, started yelling because he was concerned about her son, who he had played basketball with. My then-husband came into the room, asked what was wrong and when I told him, he casually said, “Oh, sorry to hear that.” I had just found out that one of my best friends was dead and that’s all he had to say.
Death and Dying
The day of her funeral, I was a complete mess. It was held in Denver and there was no possible way I could travel to say goodbye and that fact just added to the heartache. I kept saying, “I can’t believe she’s gone.” Finally, he said that he couldn’t believe I was carrying on over Leah’s mother that way. I had never been more astounded in my life. He had gotten so used to ignoring me that he didn’t even realize I said that it was Leah who died. After that, I never went to him with ANYTHING else. After all those years, the numbness really began to set in. That day, it truly sank in that he just didn’t care. Of course, he got mad when I actually told him that he didn’t care. Emotionally abusive people are relentless in their pursuit of manipulation.
It Should Never Hurt
If it hurts, it’s not love. Mama tried to tell me that, but I wouldn’t hear it. Love does NOT hurt. A person who loves you will never abuse your heart, especially not intentionally. Love doesn’t hurt.