If I had know then what I know now

What was my role?  

I played the emotional patsy, the lonely child, the reproaching parent (to him), the desperate powerless woman. He played the naughty, willful child, the playboy, the salesman, the clown, the Devil May Care imp, light relief, the rebel, the entitled man.

I cried, I shouted, I tried for meaningful conversations. He left the room. He verbally attacked. He was mute holding court of his entitlement he gave himself because he WON the battles.  I was like a tiny country crying, "No Fair", he brushed my needs aside and laughed.

I set myself up for the roles I played.  I grudgingly cleaned up after him.  I kept his secrets even harder than he did. I fussed about making interesting, delicious meals and nice home and children (this is the legacy of my own mother).  I took over the bill paying when he couldn't/didn't do it.  I played the willing/able catch-all/ do-all.  I did not know how to play the games of control that H was playing all along. He was playing to WIN against me. 

If I had known then what I know now:

I would have packed up and moved the FIRST time he didn't come home at night after a night of drinking, realizing that the my financial dire circumstances would last for a while but not for a lifetime - unless I did nothing.

I would have broadcasted to family and friends EXACTLY what happened and found some support from them - moral and financial.

I would have looked past the fun smile and joking ways and promises and excuses.  I would have not believed lies but rather watched his ACTIONS toward me to know the truth of his heart.

I would have gone to a marriage counselor BEFORE marriage and put in WRITING those promises and how they would be carried out and what the consequences were if not carried through or re-negotiated.

I would not have BELIEVED that love conquers all.

I would not have taken on ALL the guilt and shame I carried for getting pregnant before marriage....in those days, here, that was a thing.  I would not have let guilt and shame make me into a sacrificial lamb of marriage.  I think it was the guilt and shame of pregnancy in those days that kept young women quiet and servile and grateful that we didn't have to bear the other shames of "unmarried mother", "welfare mom", "loose woman".  Yes, those were the labels here in those days....along with parents who would have been shamed if I was unmarried and pregnant or divorced.

I would have carried out EVERY threat I ever made without exception. I would have found strength and support and never be ashamed of myself for living with integrity rather than living with the rules of the culture and tradition that kept women in their places.