A 20-year Detour

There are things I wish I could change about my previous life and marriage. Now that I have the hindsight benefit of perfect vision, I can see where things went wrong and where we both made mistakes. I am not here to write about what others did and said. This isn’t about them. This is about me.

I have been accused of being many things. This is what I know was true then:

I was naïve and inexperienced.

Young and on my own in a different country, I fell for the first boy who paid attention to me.

I was dishonest. With my family and with myself.

I struggled in my role as bill-payer and money-spender. Instead of asking for help I carried on and tried to fix things on my own and when that didn’t work I tried to hide my mistakes.

I was afraid.

I was afraid of the consequences of admitting to my mistakes. Afraid of what would happen if I failed be encouraging and supportive. Of what would happen if I didn’t help him find another job.

It wasn’t physical consequences that I lived in fear of; it was more painful than that.

I was defensive. Of my parenting methods. Of my decisions.

When critiqued about my parenting skills (although it was always second-hand) I became defensive. I guess I wanted to cling to the relationship I thought I needed to have with my children because it felt right to me and it made them my allies. Some said I needed to stop being their friend and be their mother. They were probably right.

I was reserved. With my emotions and passion.

I’ve always been a shy, introverted person. It’s never been easy to show people how I feel. In the beginning  this was not an issue– I was a newlywed, after all. But as we settled into what would become a life of walking on pins and needles, I withdrew physically and emotionally.

I was miserable but I buried my head in the sand and ignored the reality. I was stuck.

Until one day, I decided I did not want to be stuck anymore.

There are reasons and justifications for many of these crimes, but I’m not looking for forgiveness. However, I do believe and know in my heart that I am not the same person I was then. Or maybe someone could make the case that I am just now becoming the person I was meant to be all along and just had a 20-year detour through chaos to get back to my real self.

My point is that I am not going to let anyone treat me as though I am still caught in the middle of that turmoil. I have tried being reasonable and honest in all my relationships, and trusted in others to do the same. Some would say I’ve been too honest.

I’ve been patient. I’ve compromised at every opportunity. And they took advantage of that. I’m through going along with the flow just because it’s what others want me to do to make their life easier. It’s someone else’s turn to compromise.

Treat me with respect and honesty and I will do the same.

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