Still In Love Though I Feel Like I Shouldn't Be
I've been married for ten years. On and off I have been verbally and physically abused. This has been something that has been difficult to deal with.
My husband is in the military. I have never wanted to get him in trouble with his job. I have kept this a secret to protect his job for 10 years. Only a select few family and friends know about my situation.
I have tried to leave before. I ordered plane tickets and he figured out how to cancel them. I guess the last straw was when he got mad and punched a hole in the door and my son saw what he did. He also pulled my hair. I filed for divorce while he was away.
Now we both have lawyers. Our divorce is almost over. Anytime I am around him I still have feelings for him, I still love him. I have heard that this is because of how he has treated me over the years and I shouldn't really love someone who treats me this way.
I am just so terrified that I am going to mess up and do the wrong thing, but I keep telling myself I am so close I just have to hold on a little bit longer.
I guess I would just like to know what do I do after this is over? How do I make sure this doesn't happen again with the next guy? I'm just terrified and want to do what is best for my son.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello, and thanks for telling your story here. Congratulations for taking the steps to get a divorce. From what you've written here, that is clearly the best choice.
It is also very good that you want to make sure this doesn't happen with the next guy. You also said you want to do what is best for your son, and that's good. You do need to protect him.
To break your pattern, however, you are going to have to make changes for yourself, not just for your son. The best thing you can do for him is to provide a strong, healthy and happy mother for him. That's your job, and you have to do it for yourself.
You have definitely been in a battered wife syndrome, and you're not completely free from it yet. I wish there was something I could tell you that would definitely insure that you will not enter into another abusive relationship, but that will actually take professional counseling for you as an individual.
Find a counselor that is familiar with helping individuals heal from abusive relationships, who is also well versed in dealing with underlying family of origin and childhood issues. I have had a lot of success helping women such as yourself, and that is the approach I use.
You are a wise and strong person, and that is why you have chosen divorce. Now it's time to go the rest of the way in your healing process. The chances are very high that you will choose another abusive relationship (without realizing it), unless and until you deal with the underlying issues causing you to get into and stay in this situation.
Believe in the goodness, strength and well being within you, and take one step at a time. You will get to the healthy place you desire, with focus and persistence.
My very best to you,
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