Standing up for yourself is hard. It’s even harder when you love the person who is treating you horribly. It’s even harder still when your 11 year old daughter sees the things that you go through.
So tonight I stood up for myself. I’ve spent the last 15 years loving the same man. The last 5+ he has been in several other relationships that are inappropriate for anyone married. But I stood by him. I prayed for him. I took him back, and cared for him when he had major health issues. When he was healed he wanted to go back to his unfaithful life. I took our daughter and left our home when he demanded it. Putting us in a much harder place than we had ever been before. I filed the divorce papers because it’s what he wanted me to do, not because I wanted it. I have done everything he has told me in hopes that one day he would come back to to me. I loved him. I still do.
Tonight my daughter came home with several complaints about her weekend with her dad. This isn’t unusual, but when I found out that he was raising her against things that we clearly had set up different for her, I was upset. She has special needs, and I work hard everyday to makes sure she gets all the care that she needs to function in this world. He didn’t do that for her.
So I called him. I called him, and called him out on these issues. He had been horrible to me all weekend. Possibly worse than he has been before. Last week I put up boundaries, and he didn’t like it, so I assumed the behavior was due to that. But this time he turned on me. Made me out to be a bad parent, mocked me, and hung up on me. I tried to message him, saying that we needed to talk because how he was treating me was unacceptable. He refused to respond. I told him that I knew that he was at the restaurant where his new girlfriend works, and that I would come in if he didn’t talk about this. He still refused. So I went in.
I walked up and sat down across from him. Startling him, and his girlfriend. I did not reveal to her all the things he was keeping hidden. I could have, but that’s not why I was there. I was there to stand up for myself. Yes, I took my daughter with me. Going in she was cheering me on. I think she needed to see that you cannot accept people treating you badly.
He was angry. He kept telling me to leave. To stop being emotional, and making a scene. I wasn’t. I wasn’t crying, or yelling. I was calm, and the only one who thought I was out of place was his girlfriend. He refused still to talk. Saying that if I didn’t leave he would have me removed. I said what I needed to say. That he couldn’t keep treating me this way. He said he would come over later to talk about it.
But here is the truth. When you are being treated like a piece of worthless trash it is not okay. You don’t have to stand for it. You have power. You have a voice. Was I right or wrong to do what I did? I don’t know. But I do know that I needed to stand up for me, and I needed my daughter to see it. She thinks all men leave. She thinks you can not be loved for a lifetime. But I never want her to think that it’s okay to be treated badly, and that you just have to take it. You don’t. I didn’t.
It’s not over yet. I know that. But I took just a little bit of power back for my own sake tonight. And I’m okay with that.