Part II: The Practical Quandry
My personal emotional quagmire was not the only reason I struggled to leave. There was a practical side to things too.
- Where will I live?
- Can I afford to live on my own?
- How am I going to get around without a car?
- Will I lose friends and/or family?
- Can I afford to keep/protect my pets?
- How do I break away financially without him getting suspicious?
- What happens to our joint mortgage/bills?
- What happens when people get tired of helping me?
Even though I have a full-time job, people offering me rooms to stay, my situation over the past few years left me reluctant to put my life, livelihood, and living situation in anyone else’s hands. There are matters of trust I had to get past. Fears of inconveniencing others (though they assured me, time and again, I would not be an inconvenience.) Fears of being let down, or dropped, when I became too great of a burden. (I assumed I would be).
My ex’s patience with me was so short, I didn’t want to exchange that for simply another situation where people would be short and angry with me, too. I wasn’t willing to risk losing the independence I did have simply for a chance to be miserable somewhere else.
The fact of the matter was, I was paralyzed by the unknown of the distant future, and too emotionally exhausted to cope with more than one or two days of my present.
The reality of the situation, now that I am out, is this:
I don’t know what the next few years will have for me in the way of belongings, or possessions, or financial situation. I might be in a lot of debt for a long time. However, I will have my family. I will have my friends. I will have my pets. I will go home (wherever that is) and be at peace. Already I am sleeping more than I have in a long time, even when I don’t sleep well. Instead of ‘not sleeping well’ meaning 1 to 3 hours of sleep, it now means I ‘only’ got 5-6. Some nights I even manage a few, full eight hours.
I have no car. My personal space is limited to an 8×8 room. But I still have my job. The rest can come with time. I have a lifetime to figure that out.
Still, however, if I think too far ahead, the fear of the unknown is paralyzing. You see, for so long, when you live in an abusive relationship, it’s your job to overthink the possibilities. You have to be aware of what can happen, so you can minimize the fallout and the pain (emotional in my case, physical for some others) that you will experience. It’s something my counselor calls being hyper-vigilant, and was a way I survived in that terrible marriage for so long. But the trouble is, the things we learn to protect ourselves in an abusive relationship, don’t always translate so well to reality as other people see them.
I still marvel, that I am one of the lucky ones. I had the people to help me escape. I never let go of my job. I grieve the loss of children I’ve never had and may never have, but I know that choice of having no children made my departure easier, too. But I am out. And now that I am out, I realize that none of the above things really matter.
Because I will survive, and I’ll be happier doing so without an abusive marriage hanging over me. If I can escape that, I can do pretty much anything.