(Most of my posts during this time will have little editing, because I really don’t wish to ever rehash my thoughts on these days. I apologize in advance for all the typos and grammatical errors.)
I suppose a question people might ask at some point is whether or not I think my soon-to-be ex can change. I know a lot of people don’t think abusers can change, but I’m not one of them.
Before I was saved a few years ago I was definitely a different person. I couldn’t stand a person who had a differing opinion, especially a different religious opinion. I was a screamer at my kids. I had a short fuse and more often than not I would yell at my kids because I was actually upset with my husband. (Because I couldn’t ever express anger at him…for a variety of reasons which might be discussed at some future point if I remember. ;))
But after I was saved, and I got out of the church I was in at the time and got under, what to me was unusual preaching…the idea that God loved me was pretty radical after a lifetime of being taught that God either hated me or wasn’t particularly concerned with what was going on in my life…I slowly began to look at things differently.
Recently, Dr.Gary Habermas spoke at my church. He said something interesting, that what we think about ourselves ends up being how we act toward others. That has been true about myself. I hated myself, I hated everyone around me. I had the false humility that comes from thinking I was awful, not the real humility that rests on Christ’s work for my imperfections.
As I said, after I was saved, I slowly began to change, and I actively sought ways to make things right with and for my kids. Unfortunately, I still thought my husband was interested in the same thing and I waited on him instead of kicking him out on his ear, and that led to a great deal of continued frustration on my part. But God continued to work in me, and, though I’ve messed up a lot, he has changed me.
Over the past year, I have gone through a lot of change, especially as I’ve finally realized my husband wasn’t interested in the things of our family or even in leading it (he recently told me he’s been waiting for me to lead the family…don’t ask). This was another source of frustration, intensified by his inability to actually listen to anything and engage in conversation like a normal person instead always trying to turn things back on me. Unfortunately, I allowed him to push my buttons and I would get angry and yell.
As I look back, I can see most of this was cause by the fact that I thought I was utterly alone in all of this, even without God, who obviously hated me, I mean, why else would he have allowed me to marry this man who never loved me. I couldn’t talk with friends about my problems because I had been told many many times that you should never complain about your husband to anyone but only say good things about him.
But over the past few weeks, since I’ve gone public with the situation as it has been since the beginning, I realize that I am not alone, that there are people on my side, and that has made a huge difference in my demeanor. It’s amazing how much easier, though still difficult, this has been to carry now that I know I will not be rejected for the truth. This has caused me to calm and focus and truly forgive (though his behavior still frustrates me). I was able to speak with him on the phone and once in person without completely losing it, even when he tried to turn things into my fault and play his usual games. That’s huge progress.
As for whether or not my soon-to-be ex can change, I hope and pray that he does, though no longer for my own sake. That bridge is burned to the ground and the ashes have floated down the river, it can never be rebuilt. But for my kids I hope he does. I hope he can finally step outside himself and whatever it is that drives him to need to be the center of everything, and to always have everything have the appearance of him being good in the eyes of others. I hope he can learn to be real for the sake of the boys.
And I think he can, if he so desires.
A friend of mine encouraged me the other day with the thought that this is a lesson to be learned, a teaching opportunity presented to me by God, as it were. We all encounter situations in life, and both good and bad are lessons, if we choose to learn them. I hope he learns and is some how able to turn from whatever his problem is (Narcissism in my opinion). If he does, there can at least be healing, though never what should have been. But, most importantly, he will be able to have a long and good relationship with his kids, which is what I hope for.