The fairest thing in the world — the most proper thing in the world — to do when you know the time has come is to let a person go. Get out of her life and stay out.
Sure enough, the person who is constantly being damaged has the option to kick the perpetrator out of her life, but in some cases, the ties are so strong that if both people don’t let go, there is no release.
History, love, and emotional soul-ties are some of the harshest things in this world. It’s hard to let go. Decades of love can’t easily be thrown out the window no matter how hard they try. The heart wants what the heart wants.
Listen to “Ex-Factor” by Lauryn Hill. When she says:
It could all be so simple
But you’d rather make it hard
Loving you is like a battle
And we both end up with scars
Tell me, who I have to be
To get some reciprocity
No one loves you more than me
And no one ever will
Those scars? They may not be visible to the naked eye, but they’re there. Neither of them can even look at each other without giving away what’s in those hearts. Both parties sustain battle scars, but they both keep walking right back into that thing. He won’t let go. She can’t.
I keep letting you back in
How can I explain myself?
As painful as this thing has been
I just can’t be with no one else
See I know what we’ve got to do
You let go, and I’ll let go too
‘Cause no one’s hurt me more than you
And no one ever will
It was once said that she could move to Jupiter — he’d still find her. That’s true. He loves her. She loves him. True love knows no distance. True love can hurt just as badly as betrayal on it’s the greatest level.
Everybody feels depression at some time or another. We all get a little down in our spirit now and then. A little depression is normal, right? No one is 100% happy, 100% of the time. Some people call it the blues. Some folks just refer to it as being down. True enough, we all feel down in the dumps from time to time; the problem is some people fall into the pit of depression and can’t find a way out. Sometimes, we cannot find our way to the surface of that deep blue. Some people are pulled under by a current that won’t let go.
That Sinking Feeling
I’m not going by things I’ve heard. I’ve been severely depressed before. I’ve never been suicidal, but let me tell you, there have been days when it really didn’t matter if I woke up or not. I just didn’t care. Did I want to die? Nah. I would never want to leave my friends and family. My son and my granddaughter need me. If there’s one thing I know, I know my folks love me. That man loves me. He needs me.
During the time I was married, though, when the days of hell melded together, I just didn’t care. I knew that on any given day, I would likely be blamed for something. I knew that it was likely I would be belittled or made to feel inadequate in some way or another. I knew that regardless of how clean the house was, he’d find a speck of lint (because he made a point of looking for things like that). I knew that he’d head upstairs to check if the underside of the toilet lid was clean. I knew if there was a single cup in the sink, he’d stand there with his coat on and wash it because he “couldn’t stand mess”. Overall, I knew nothing I ever did would be good enough.
When It Finally Sets In
For me, deep, deep depression set in on three different occasions in my 50 years. As I said before, the first time was while I was married. The depression I experienced back then was the result of being battered mentally and emotionally. Eventually, I got professional help. I had to. To be honest, initially, I sought help for my son because I could see him spiraling out of control. I was kinda blind to what was going on in my own mind, but I knew my child needed help.
Almost from the beginning, the sessions that I had meant for my son turned into joint ones because the counselor recognized the mental and emotional beating I was taking. He actually told me that in the beginning, he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to help me because I was so damaged. He thought he would have to refer me to a more experienced counselor. I was a complete mess. Like I’ve said a million times before, I didn’t realize that I was in shambles because I thought the hell I was in was normal.
Anyway, the next time I found myself down under was after the divorce. Sure enough, I had been freed from that hell, but the dissolution of my marriage also meant that for the first time in nearly 20 years, I was on my own. I found myself floating in the middle of the ocean with nothing but a life raft. Yes, my family and friends were all around me and refused to let me fall or fail, but depression can put a stranglehold on you that can’t be readily pried loose. It had me and it was suffocating me. All I wanted to do was sleep. Honestly, that’s all I did. I slept. I ate. I gained weight. I cried uncontrollably. I repeated those things day after day. The difference with that bout of depression, though, was that I was able to pull myself out. I know I would have benefited from the help of my counselor, but he was 250 miles away in Dallas, but thankfully, I was able to pull myself out.
My latest battle with depression is going on right now. It still pains me to say my nephew died. My entire world shifted on December 9, 2017. Many people who knew us have said that on that day, Margarett’s son died, but that he was my baby. He was. I was nowhere near being okay when one of my closest cousins died on January 14, 2018.
This time around, though, the depression is different. I know I won’t need professional help (although I wouldn’t hesitate to get it if I felt I needed it) this time around because I’m shrouded more in grief than anything. I’m still so stunned, I haven’t reached the point that I’ve entered the grieving stages. I’m not even at the first stage of the process which is denial because the truth is, it’s still not real to me. In my mind, neither of them are dead in the sense that I will never see them again. They’re just gone. I know that makes no sense, but neither of them is dead to me.
I know the reality will set in at some point, but as of this writing, it hasn’t. Nope, there’s nothing wrong with me — folks grieve differently and this is just my reality. I’m okay. I just need to process this stuff in my own way.
If you’re depressed, get help. If that means reaching out to your folks, CALL THEM! I know what it is to be too embarrassed to tell your story, but trust me when I tell you, your folks are there for you.
IF YOU ARE IN NEED OF CRISIS COUNSELING, CALL THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE AT 1.800.273.8255. Call those folks TODAY!
By the grace of God, some of us survive domestic violence. That fact, in and of itself, is wonderful and something to be eternally grateful for. In some cases, though, the residual damage sustained is just as devastating as the abuse was itself. I’ve been there. I know what I’m talking about. I’ve either experienced the following things or I’ve watched (or am currently watching) friends experience them:
Out of the Skillet Into the Frying Pan
Divorce oftentimes leaves a person reeling, unsure of his or her self-worth, wondering if true love will ever find its way to them again, or even if it ever really existed in the first place. Some of the strongest people are left mentally and emotionally displaced and ultimately begin the search for someone to fill the void that’s been left in their lives and in their heart. Sometimes they start that search a little too soon.
I know a woman, who at 42, has been married six times. She has recently started divorce proceedings for this latest marriage. I don’t of a time when she’s overlapped relationships, but it’s never long after one is over that she heads full-on into the next one. I’ve never known a time when she didn’t buy her own engagement/wedding rings in these relationships.
Once, during our weekly lunch meet-up, she said, “Trease, it seems like I keep running into narcissistic guys who just use me. I don’t know why I keep picking these guys that need to be fixed. I don’t know what a good man looks like. I try so hard to love them, but they never love me back.” I’m no relationship expert, but I readily advised her that she needs to love herself first and love herself hard. I reminded her that self-love is imperative in order to live and that it is not an act of selfishness.
I fully believe that once you truly begin to love yourself, you will refuse to allow anyone in your circle who won’t do the same. I believe that once you cherish your own heart, you won’t allow another person who refuses to do the same any access to it. You won’t be willing to jump from one empty relationship to the next in an effort to find true love.
There’s just no sense in jumping from one guy or girl to the next on a wing and a prayer, hoping that he or she will be the one. In my opinion, that’s one of the easiest ways for things to go from bad to worse. You’re in essence, jumping out of the skillet into the frying pan.
Don’t be the Pawn
One thing I’ve seen far too often is an unsuspecting person becoming paired up with a person who has just gotten out a long-term relationship. Every situation is different, but you can almost always win the bet that a person coming off a 20-year or so marriage is just not ready to start a new relationship immediately, let along get married.
I know three men, personally, who jumped into marriage or a Facebook relationship after their long-term marriages ended in divorce and I can vouch for the fact that in all three cases, the women that ended up with them found out they were being used. They were either rebounds, sex toys, or being used to show the ex-partner that the guy had moved on.
Two of the guys I know ended up marrying younger women. One of them would later find out that the woman he chose was only there for his money; the other found out that he was the one who had been tricked. The woman he chose had a laundry-list of issues and problems that she chose not to share with him until well after they were married. The other guy ended up in a “Facebook” relationship and in the end, the younger woman got far too caught up her feelings and found herself left alone with memories of a too-good-to-be-true fling that was never real to begin with.
It’s All About the Sex
Listen, we’re all grown, but one of the easiest ways to get caught up in your feelings is to start out having rebound sex with a person and end up falling in love. You’re going to get hurt.
Just don’t do it.
Guard that Thing
Love is never, ever, ever supposed to hurt. Sometimes it does, but it’s not supposed to.
Be careful that you don’t become someone’s “look, I’m over you and I’ve moved on”, when the truth is, you were only being used.
Broken people will break you.
Hurt people will hurt you.
Keep your guard up. Love and live, but keep your eyes and ears open.
The heart is such a delicate organ, but it can become hardened beyond anything you can imagine if it’s mishandled by someone you love.
One of the worst feelings in the world comes from finding out that the person you would most like to spend the rest of your life with doesn’t care enough about you to be honest.
What it boils down to is that if a person chooses to lie to you, he or she doesn’t respect you enough to come straight. We’ll talk about their arrogant asses a little later.
“Lying is done with words and also with silence.”~ Adrienne Rich
That has to be one of the most profound quotes of all time. Then there’s this one:
“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
For me, there is never any going back. Once I’ve been lied to, I will never, ever, ever trust that person again. Why would I? He didn’t trust me with the truth; I can’t trust him not to lie.
“People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What I’ve learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders one’s reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one’s master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person’s view requires to be faked…The man who lies to the world, is the world’s slave from then on…There are no white lies, there is only the blackest of destruction, and a white lie is the blackest of all.” ~ Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
I will never understand why a person chooses to lie. So many years of unconditional trust can be destroyed instantly with one stupid lie. I know people who lie even though their social media statuses tell the undeniable truth. A picture is worth a thousand words. A whole album of them is worth a million.
The decision to lie comes so easily to an arrogant person. Arrogance always carries with it an air of superiority. That person will always assume himself or herself to be a little (or a lot) smarter than just about everybody else and that arrogance boils over when they’re caught fabricating. They’ll come up with all kinds of junk to cover their lies, but I’ve yet to meet one who just pulls the grown-up card, admits to the lies, and attempts to make amends.
Nah, deceit is a game of chess in a liar’s mind and that arrogant SOB will do his or her best to outwit you till the very end. I guess they’re of the belief that since they didn’t care enough to tell the truth in the first place, there’s no reason to stop now. They really believe that the other person is just not smart enough to catch on, or that they can continue to stack those lies and reign king (or queen).
What Letting Go Looks Like
I detest liars. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no room in my life for that mess. I just refuse to deal with folks who don’t or just won’t be honest. I don’t have the time or the energy to waste trying to figure out if you’re telling the truth. Once I’ve been lied to, I wouldn’t trust that person to tell me that the ocean is blue. The truth is a real man (or woman) will be honest no matter how painful the truth is. A coward will hide behind lies and deceit.
I have to let that person go.
For me, that means
• no phone calls
• no text messages
• no inbox messages
• no connection on social media
• no pleasantries when we see each other in person
Why would I strike up conversation with a person who has spilled a plethora of lies and insulted my intelligence? Why? Once I’ve been lied to, I don’t care how you’re doing, how your kids are, what your folks are up to, or anything else you may have going on. Go on and find someone else to stretch the truth with or better yet, keep hanging out with the other person you’ve been lying to. Bless her (or his) heart.
I’m no better than any other person on this planet, but I’m a little too good for you. I have to let you go.
Here we are at the start of a brand new year. We’re on the first page of the first chapter of a brand new book. For the most part, this day represents a new beginning. The slate is clean. It’s January 1st. We’re far into the 2000s, but we’re on the first day of 2018. Not that we needed to wait until today to start anew, but it just feels more empowering starting out with a host of ones: day one, chapter one, page one, month one, etc. This is for the ones of you who have forgotten that you are the one.
I spent a ridiculous number of years sucked under by self-doubt, no self-esteem, no self-confidence, the fear of stepping out on my own terms, and a deep belief that I was just worthless. That’s what can happen after years of mental and emotional abuse. That’s what happened to me.
All the things that make me the woman I am today — my ability to write, my ability to lead, my ability to empower, my sense of self — were all there, they are just buried. Every time one of those traits would try to surface, my ex was there to smack it right back down to where he wanted it to be. Mental and emotional abuse is real, folks. I didn’t start out as some little shrinking violet. It took a long time for me to fall flat on my back, but once I was there, I laid there for years. I was able to look up, but I wasn’t able to get up.
One day, though, I decided that I would no longer be defined by the words in his dictionary. I decided I would use the ones in my dictionary and if they weren’t there, I’d create them. I decided that I would use all the things inside me to pull up and out. I decided that I would not only survive, I would thrive. I decided to sail through this life on my own steam. Have I accomplished everything I set out to do? Nope, but you better believe a large part of my goals will be satisfied before the clock strikes midnight on December 31, 2018. It’s my time. It’s your’s, too. Let’s get on it! Strike the match that’ll ignite the inferno of your greatness.
What Not to Do
Stop letting folks decide who you are. Stop letting folks shape your opinion of you. Stop letting those who can’t tell you that you can’t! Stop holding on to people who couldn’t possibly care less if you’re in their lives or not. Ladies, stop holding on to men who are holding on to someone else. Men, stop stopping in your tracks for women who are only out to use you. Stop trusting folks with your heart when they’ve proven over and over again that they have no intention of ever doing right by you, your feelings, or anything else about you. You’re better than that. You deserve better. Get after it.
One of the most important lessons I learned after my divorce was the importance of dying to my old self. I had to kill her. I had to bury her 10-feet under — not six but TEN! There was no way I could have continued life and prospered in any manner had I continued to be the battered shell that had been left to rot.
By the time I made it back to Louisiana permanently in late August 2013, I was living life in a parallel universe. I was watching myself from a distance. Eventually, I was shaken back into reality and couldn’t believe what I was viewing. I was damaged in every imaginable way and I looked it. I mean I was a mess from my hair to my clothes. I just didn’t care.
That version of me didn’t just appear overnight. That woman had been dragged, half-way rebuilt, dragged again, and then just left to mold. She’d been left to die by someone who didn’t care about the destruction that had been left. The only time my appearance was mentioned was when my ex said, “You look pretty good when you comb your hair.” That came after he pleaded with me to have sex with his friend so he could watch. That night, my sense of self-worth tanked and it would take nearly five years for me to pull my head out of the sand.
The inside of my head and mind had been damaged by a battering ram of mental and emotional abuse. It had been bludgeoned nearly to death.
Once I woke up, though, I knew I had to finish off the old Trease. She would have killed me if I hadn’t.
One day, I woke up and remembered that I’m smart. I’m not only speaking of my bachelor’s degree or my paralegal certificate. I’m talking about being wise to life. Some folks even refer to me as a smart-ass and that’s true, but I’m smart nonetheless.
I realized that I have amazing worth. My friends and family love me. I love me!
I realized that I’m pretty. Nah, I’m beautiful. Don’t take that as conceit because if there’s one thing I despise, it’s deceit, but I know I’m easy on the eyes. Gray hair and all, I’m okay.
Most importantly, I realized that I have so much to offer the world. The old Trease had to die in order for the new one to surface. The two of them couldn’t co-exist. One had to go and I chose to release the one who was no good to herself or anyone else.
I woke up and got a good whiff of the smell of life.
I still have a way to go in some areas of my life, but for the most part, I’m good. I know I deserve unconditional love from a man. I know that I will give unconditional love to the next man. I won’t let the past dictate my future.
I keep myself up even though I could stand to lose a few pounds. I’m working on that, but my love of cheese and cake are undermining my best efforts.
Do what you have to do to be who you want to be. There is life after abuse. There is indeed life after abuse.