I wonder if it will ever completely stop…

A friend posted a link to her Facebook wall a couple of weeks ago. I read it, knowing that she had recently extricated herself from her emotionally abusive marriage to a wounded warrior. And in it, I saw quickly that I could have written at least part of it.
That realization brought me up short. I’ve never considered my husband abusive. I’ve been in a physically abusive relationship before so I should have seen these signs. But I’ve always blamed his PTSD or TBI for his outbursts, meanness and infidelity. (Though he claims nothing ever took place anywhere but online it is still cheating to me.)
And then I read this, “When did I stop telling anyone altogether to avoid the shame of the insanity of the circumstances I was somehow in — the shame of being a strong independent woman who couldn’t take care of herself enough to leave a situation that was so toxic? When did I stop expecting more? But he never hit me.
How could I explain to someone that I believed it was partly my fault, even though I was embarrassed to hear those beaten woman’s words spoken from my lips. No one really understood. No one knew him like I did. It was my job to protect him from the truth of what he did to me. I couldn’t let them think he was a monster. I wouldn’t tell anyone. I was entirely alone. But he never hit me.”
The truth is, he has hit me a couple of times. Not punches to the face as one would expect. No, he throws objects at me and occasionally they connect. Twice he’s punched me in the back as I attempted to walk away from an argument.
The truth is, those are easier to admit than the verbal stuff. Because the verbal stuff does far more damage. The lasting kind.
My question, more to myself than anyone else, is what do I do with this realization? He is doing better but is still unpredictable when angry. He no longer puts his hands on me. I don’t have any indication that he has cheated on me in 9 months and he’s not tried, historically, to hide it. We have been attempting to communicate better so that I don’t have to stuff my feelings and he can express himself without blowing a gasket.
But how long do I give him to get it right? Sadly, only I can answer that question and I truly have no idea. I want to give him a fair chance that allows for the obstacles he has in his way but I want to be fair to myself, as well. He has a mental health appointment next week and I think it is a good time to bring the emotional issue up. Thankfully, his provider is understanding of his challenges without allowing him to use them to excuse bad behavior. She is also understanding of my desire to keep our marriage intact with the understanding that he must be attempting to change his behaviors permanently. And if he is not, then I cannot stay.
I suppose this is another day where my reasons for staying go back to love and commitment.
Full article can be read here.

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