Today we have a guest post from “Mary C” who is a freelance writer based in Shreveport, La. Mary writes on a variety of topics for web and print but she is also a survivor of infidelity and emotional abuse. She shares some of her story with us today of emotional abuse as well as a few tips for life after infidelity.
Most people that have been the victim of infidelity know it is abuse, plain and simple. Each of us experience it differently, for different reasons, and we deal with it in different ways. Today, I am a strong and happy woman. I was always strong; someone just had to remind me. I want to make it clear that I think marriage is a wonderful thing if the love and respect is mutual. Should love ever come my way again, I will open my heart and embrace that love.
Unfortunately, some of you will relate to my story. If so, my wish is that you will have a similar ending as well.
The Bad Boy Syndrome
When it comes to abuse, I have experienced most types including physical, mental, and emotional. I have been married three times. I’m a slow learner. I always seem to choose “bad boys.” Some of you can probably identify with that as well. My counselor once told me that bad boys are what I am attracted to and it will most likely always be that way. That is not exactly what I wanted to hear, but counselors are like that. They tell us the truth instead of what we want to hear. Go figure. Nevertheless, I highly recommend therapy. She is the one that helped me remember how strong I am. She woke me up so I could do what was necessary to regain my sanity.
Husband Number Two
Since we are on the topic of infidelity, husbands one and three will be another story at another time. My second husband was the guru of infidelity. I will attempt to give you a brief indication of what he was like. He was the most handsome man I had ever seen. There was nothing unattractive about him. When he entered a room, every woman, young or old, single or married, turned their head in his direction. However, my biggest attraction to him was his self-assurance. It was obvious that he was aware of all the adoration coming from those women. He seemed to be entirely secure with it. I fell completely in love with him.
He began cheating on me within six months after we were married. I was shattered. I could not endure the vision of another woman being in his arms. He seemed genuinely remorseful about the betrayal so, of course, I forgave him.
That is how it progressed for the next ten years. I would catch him, he would be apologetic, and I would absolve him. It was as if these women were on a list and anticipating their turn to have a chance with my husband. I became a pro at catching my unfaithful spouse; however, I still wanted to keep fighting for my marriage. You are probably thinking that I let him off too easy and you are right. Of course, he would continue to cheat if I kept forgiving him. However, you will soon learn that when I tried to take a stand, it did not work out very well.
The Mental Abuse Began
I finally left him and that is when the mental abuse began. I will make a long story short to spare you the graphic details. He found me, took me out in the middle of nowhere, and held a gun to my head. He told me that he was going to kill me for leaving him. I was terrified to say the least. I told him anything and everything that I thought he wanted to hear. I told him I was wrong and I would never leave him again. He finally released me, but it was not the last time it would happen. For years, fear was his way of preventing me from leaving him.
Sometimes the only thing left to do is give it up and move on. However, in this case, I believed leaving could be life threatening for me. This will sound extreme, but I reached the point where I believed in order to be free, one of us would have to die. Unfortunately, I feared that it would be me. Obviously, I eventually did become free and everyone lived. The way I finally made that happen will also be another story.
Life After Infidelity – Getting Past the Pain and Abuse
When the relationship ends, we have to get past the heartache and somehow learn to trust and love again. Many times, the injured party loses all self-worth. They begin to think that if they were prettier or more handsome, or if they were smarter, or had tried harder, it would not have happened. They eventually convince themselves that they are somehow to blame. As a result, they feel unworthy of a loving relationship with a good person.
How did I get past it? I suppose you could say I am immensely stubborn. I have seen other women let it destroy them. I refused to fall into that way of thinking. I never allowed myself to think I deserved a single minute of the treatment I was enduring. Yes, he was controlling me, but I was not going to let him destroy my spirit.
Why Did the Abuse Happen?
There are countless reasons why people cheat. Was he just the kind of person that could not say no to those women? Perhaps he did not want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Well, I think we can all agree it is not likely that those were his reasons.
I began to remember some things he had told me through the years. For instance, he once mentioned that his first wife told him he was a terrible lover. I began remembering other little things he had said that a person with his self-regard would not say. By the way, his first wife was correct. He was a terrible lover. Sorry, I had to throw that in there.
Eventually, I realized that he in no way had the self-assurance that he portrayed. He was a desperately insecure man. Strangely enough, he had to have woman after woman to keep convincing himself that he was a desirable man. If all those women wanted him, then he must be desirable. I never learned the reason for his extreme insecurities.
Wouldn’t it have been easier for him to be single? Being caught by me would no longer be a concern. Amazingly, I believe that would not have worked for him. There had to be someone there for him to betray. Unfortunately, he picked me for that role. I am still unable to understand that. If anyone has the answer, I would like to hear it.
Just do It!
Sometimes, in order to get past something like this, you just have to do it. I know you might think you are not strong enough. There is help out there and you should not hesitate to grab it. Please believe you are much stronger than you think you are. You have to reach down deep inside yourself every day. You have to repudiate anything and anyone that tries to beat you down. Before you realize it, you will be strong again. You must refuse to allow anyone to control how you feel about yourself.