At this point, totally accepting the years I spent treading water and flailing in frustration in my marriage, I find I have a new emotion that I had not had before in my life. Shame. Where is the shame coming from? I am ashamed that I did not fight. That I sat in the false safely of denial and false hope. That I missed the opportunity to be a person of strength and character. I let my family see the person I was then....a person who looked to the rules to walk straight and narrow believing that if I obeyed and cooperated that things would turn out OK . Be humble, work hard, sacrifice. I had not matured into a person who accepted that life is not always pretty and that my life was not working out for me or my family. Faith alone does not change things.
I didn't know what I stood for or what I wanted anymore. After I was married I lost respect for myself. I didn't know that with H, I had to fight for respect. With him, the ring on the finger did not mean he would respect me and care for me. He was playing war. Every day there was a skirmish in which I was not participating but it was letting him feel like the victor in his games and grinning at my daily defeat and submission. His definition of manliness.
There is a new "fight" within me. I will not be humiliated anymore. I want to be able to live the next years living....not just surviving. It becomes a necessity to work differently with H than I had in the past. I have to fight to feel OK with my self again. Things are making more sense, although I have a long way to go toward peace and happiness. Standing strong in an offensive situation means you have to accept reality and constantly choose your responses with each confrontation. I am done feeling defeated. Will I like myself better? I don't know. But I have learned and accepted that this is an oppressive situation (not most of marriages are but mine is) and that I have to deal with H with tactical, on-guard maneuvers.