Updated: Feb 25, 2019
Thirteen. The total number of years of my life stolen by my ex-husband.
Being divorced for the last five years has not been a deterrent; he has still been able to cripple me via verbal and emotional abuse to the point of almost complete debilitation. He has used social media, his flying monkeys, and multiple other sources to ensure his abuse continues to reach me despite my best attempts to hide from it.
Two "temporary" restraining orders granted due to his ludicrous behavior. Thousands of dollars in legal fees. A court system that feels unstable and unwilling to protect individuals from abuse.
I feel unbelieved by the very people who are supposed to protect me. I feel imminent danger around me at all times. It's paralyzing.
The fear of leaving my home often consumes me. I'm afraid of running into him at the grocery store or at a restaurant. I can feel him watching me. I'm always in fight or flight mode.
I've seen him driving by my house and down my alley late at night. My security cameras have recorded him. He texts or emails at all hours about insignificant things, just to mess with my head.
I have been so afraid to live my life. Afraid to move on for fear of setting his anger off and having to endure the subsequent consequences. Afraid of what he'll do to me.
Inadvertently, I've allowed him to imprison me further. To keep me under lock and key. To keep me from speaking my truth.
Today that changes. Today, the man I once called "husband" is moving across the country to live with his internet girlfriend of three months. He jumped at the opportunity to snare the next victim. He can't be without fuel and/or supply.
While I feel pity and fear for the new woman, I am also relishing the fact that I will finally be free.
The weightlessness of that word is indescribable.
I will be free to live my life. Free to be myself and to laugh again. Free to leave my home without fear of running into him somewhere resulting in another bout of abuse. Free from the all-consuming anxiety that rears its head when I hear his name.
Free from the terror that arises when I see a text or email from him pop up on my phone. Free from the panic that takes over when I have to interact with him.
Free to speak the truth about what he did to me.
I'm now free to meet someone new. To hopefully experience real love without abuse. Free to just be and to live in peace.
The last thirteen years have been nothing short of unbearable. I have struggled with my faith. I have struggled with anger at God. Anger that my life turned out the way it did. Anger with myself for being so easily conned by someone who obviously does not know God.
I've struggled with coping and understanding what happened to me. I've struggled with the pain of realizing I was never loved or chosen by my ex-husband. I've struggled with moving from victim-mentality to that of a survivor.
I have come so near to walking away from God completely.
But, I never did. Instead, I prayed. I cried. I screamed. I begged. I accepted. And I asked for His will to be done.
And then I was still.
It took me thirteen years to see His goodness. Thirteen years to trust Him completely. Thirteen years for Him to prove to me that He is faithful and just. Thirteen years to rely on Him for all of my needs. Thirteen years to see that He has protected my children and I the entire time. Thirteen years for me to learn to call on Him in times of need instead of relying on myself.
At year thirteen, I am closer to God and my faith more unwavering that it has ever been. Thirteen may be an unlucky number for some, but for me, it is the marker of God's kept promise and His good plans for my life coming to fruition.
Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.