They say that perception is everything.
That there is always three sides to every story… her side, his side, and the truth.
per·cep·tion — /pərˈsepSH(ə)n/
noun 1. the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses. 2. a way of regarding, interpreting, or understanding something; a mental impression
Alduous Huxley said, “There are things known and there are things unknown, and in-between are the doors of perception”. And honestly, we all are very limited in this arena because we cannot know what we don’t. And we cannot see what we can’t. And we all take our own life experiences and views and put together our perceptions. Mine is different than yours and should be. None of us walk the same path.
But there are also many indicators that bring us together. That combine our perceptions enough to make firm decisions on what is occurring. Even perhaps why it is occurring. These indicators come in such adages as, “actions speak louder than words” and “birds of a feather flock together” and “don’t judge a book by its cover” and “two wrongs don’t make a right”. The list goes on and on…
So when it comes to my perception as I look back at my marriage, at the man I chose until “death do us part”, at the person that I once loved more than life itself, I have to tread lightly. I have to do my due diligence. I have to question my perception. Check it’s corners. Look behind the doors. I have to know everything that I can all the while knowing I will never know everything. But the indicators are there. They are there in the circumstances. In the happenings. In the actions. In the words. They are there in the perceptions of others. Some close to the situation and others very far away. They are there from people who will speak truth to me even when it hurts. Because of all I have been through, I will never blindly believe my own perception. I will dig for not the “her side” or the “his side” but rather for the truth. And the truth blares wildly and loudly before me.
The man I chose as the father of my children and my life partner is an abuser. A controller. A manipulator. A dark hearted person who uses any and all to get what he wants. A sad man. An alcoholic. A charismatic man. A foolishly prideful man. A user. A cheater. A rapist. A sick man. A man with deep seeded issues. A man that I believe was horribly abused himself. A man that would not choose what was right when presented to him if he perceived it will cost him anything. A man that does not put others before himself. A liar. A stealer. A narcissist. A sociopath. A narcopath, if you will. A destroyer. A monster.
And I do not send out these labels lightly. I myself am marred by hideous labels. I myself walk with the shame of sad labels. I know the heartache of walking around with labels given to me that I certainly deserve but others that never should have been attached to my skin. I am very careful as to what labels I assign a person. I am protective of strangers I will never meet because people that have also never met them label them. I no longer lend my voice to office banter about the weird guy we just hired. I no longer lend my energy to gossip about what “that girl” may or may not have done. I encourage all around me to do their own due diligence before bringing negativity down upon any other person. And questioning their reasons if they choose to do so.
So with all that being said, I am quite aware of the weight it carries to apply my own perception and labels to the skin of a man I once gave my entire life to and believed to be my soulmate. I have been sitting on these labels for years now. Digging through them, studying them, watching them to see what they would do, and coming to the hard and very clear truth that my labels apply. And so what is my purpose in sharing this?
My purpose is to shed light on some very dark places. To reach out to any human being who may be walking into the shadows of abuse, who may be sitting deep in them, who may be living out the cycles of trauma I endured. To reach those that maybe, like me, didn’t have the words to apply to what was happening to them and around them. Who can sense the darkness, who can feel the impending detriment of themselves, who know something is oh so wrong but cannot express it. Cannot understand it. Cannot form words to save themselves.
So many people have asked me, “why didn’t you tell us?”.
Because I didn’t know.
Because I did not have the background or tools or knowledge of such hideousness.
Because I was vulnerable and kind and innocent and believed that everyone else carried around the same fragile heart that I did. Even him.
Because I refused to believe that my choice in a life partner was in reality, a monster.
Because believing that made me question every choice I had ever made.
Because believing that would require action. Action I couldn’t fathom.
Because I didn’t believe in divorce or that it was an option.
Because people like him make people like me believe it is all my fault. All my doing. And by believing that, I could not see where the true problem remained.
But ultimately, the answer to that question is…. I didn’t know.
And you out there reading this. You do not know. But maybe, just maybe, you will read my words and see similarities. See truths I didn’t. Learn words that apply. Words that, should you speak them out loud, could save your life. Maybe you can save yourself before you completely lose yourself. Maybe you can get your children out before you break so badly, you’re credibility is shot. Maybe you can break free before you break down. And it is hard. It is terrifying. Their hold on you is only understood by those who have witnessed it first hand. But my God, if my vulnerability and willingness to share can save you. Just one person. It will be worth it. And for this reason, I will write. I will carefully and considerately label. I will unravel myself before an audience that could shred me into pieces or offer me great compassion. Because you are worth it.
My perception is flawed. All of ours are. But I promise that I will use every indicator and honest word and others perceptions to piece together the closest thing to the truth I can muster. I will not dramatize what I’ve lived through to gain more interest. I will not falsify information to seem more credible. I will openly and honestly unfold this world and the darknesses and demons and monsters that reside in it. It can only be healing for me. It can only be eye-opening for you.