In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Proud.”
I told my grandparents that I’m leaving my husband. The only other family members who knew were my sister (my very best friend in the whole world) and our dad.
I visited my sister in October and told her the real deal on a lot of things I’d been holding on to in my marriage. I didn’t hold back the lack of intimacy, the criticism, the feelings of being an inconvenience and disregarded, how I had been working on my marriage for a few years and couldn’t get him to come along, to hear me, to change anything, to go to counseling. She did not try to advise me, only to let me know she supported me and it was okay to be divorced. It is still hard for me to say “It is okay to be divorced.” I always thought it was not okay for me. I don’t know why I put so much pressure on myself. My sister told me I’m too hard on myself. She is one of a handful of people who tell me that as often as they think I need to hear it.
My sister is divorced and after many, many years, considering marriage to a great guy. My dad has been divorced three times and has been married to his current wife for about 25 years.
In December, Dad called me when I was really upset but not ready to leave. He said he knew when we was in town in November that things were not good; it was the first time I had talked honestly and unfortunately, badly, about my husband. Dad has been worried about my mental state and just wants me to do what is good for me, my health, whatever makes me happy. It was a relief to know that.
My grandma had 9 kids with her first husband who died of an alcohol related illness. She then married my grandpa who had been previously married (and I don’t know if he’s divorced or widowed.) They have been together, I’m guessing, 45 years or more. Grandpa is about 15 years younger than Grandma. My grandma, who I’m named after, can be quite a spitfire although she is now in very poor health.
I told my grandparents that I’m leaving my husband, that I haven’t been happy for a long time, that he was not supporting me or my health, that his parents have constantly caused trouble and he has allowed it, and it’s gotten worse and worse, that he won’t change, or if he will it just won’t be enough.
My grandma asked if he was hitting me or cheating. She has the story I used to tell myself: a good wife stays unless he is hitting or cheating. But that is not my story anymore and I will not feel bullied or belittled or ashamed because I don’t believe it. No, he isn’t doing the worst things; he is just mentally abusing me consistently, over and over for years until I lost my self-esteem and forgot who I was. I know that isn’t really good enough for her but I’m lucky.
I’m so lucky because Grandpa told me and my sister at Christmas that he is so proud of us, that after all we’ve been through, we make him so proud. He teared up telling us and I’m tearing up telling you. He is genuinely proud of who I am.
So after I talked with my grandparents and told of some of the things that had happened and will happen soon, we said goodbye. Grandpa walked me out and hugged me tight and told me, with tears in his voice, “I’ll support you any way you need. I’m so proud of you.“