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What I was told while married

Last updated on January 31, 2023

Following several triggers this week I am processing, again, many of the things I was told while trying to decide whether to end my marriage(s) or not…and the supportive or judgemental things I’ve said to others going through separation or divorce.

It is incredibly painful to face how desperate I was, for years, for the permission to simply say “I don’t want to be treated this way any longer.”

Path To Freedom’s posts about how proud he is that his ex-wife left him has opened this new chasm of grief within me. I am newly aware of how much baggage I’ve continued to carry and pass along to those I love.

For instance, these are direct quotes from priests and counselors (licensed, trained, know-better, professional counselors):

Once I was told “it is your fault your husband turns to pornography and live encounters with sex workers online.”

Once I was told “everything your husband does isn’t to hurt you, it’s his own brokenness. Since he isn’t being harmful to you or the children you it’s up to you how much you put up with.” Long pause. “…because he isn’t abusing you.”

Once I was told “you keep running away.

If you would just stay emotionally available and stopped criticizing him so much then your husband would feel safe enough to respect you.”

Once I was told “it is incredibly difficult for two people from traumatic backgrounds to heal without hurting each other. It is very rare for a relationship like that to survive.”

Once I was told “it’s enough. He can’t or won’t be honest. You don’t have to keep letting him lie to you.”

Many, many times I was told “it’s not your fault but it is your responsibility to forgive, therefore you do not have Biblical grounds to leave this marriage.”

Only a couple of those statements were remotely comforting. Somehow the fact that I too was broken, that I too treated my ex-husband(s) badly and that I too struggled with respect, rage and my own addictions meant that I no longer had the right to expect respect.

It’s only now that I can look back and honestly, wholeheartedly say that I did all I could do. Whether or not I was given absolution, I can choose to only take responsibility for my half of our crazy.

I’m beginning to see how shameful I’ve felt for so long. I’m still processing how to let go of that baggage.

Accepting safe hugs,

Elise Photini

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