When You Feel Alone…

July 17, 2017

Dearest Friend,

We can see the hurt in your eyes as you try so hard to be strong. We can hear you convincing yourself and others that everything is okay. We watch you hiding behind the mask of having it all together, when you really feel helpless and with no way out. We know that you feel invisible. We know that you wouldn’t dream of speaking up, but please know that you are not alone in this. We see you because we see ourselves in you…

I love you, but…

I never said that…

You’re crazy. I never did that to you…

You must be remembering it wrong…

You brace for the words you know are coming as he embarrasses you in public again. He must not realize how much it stings. He’s only teasing. You take things too seriously, he tells you. You feel yourself harden as layer after layer of his words threaten to squeeze the life out of your once tender heart.

You try to explain it all away – He doesn’t mean to be so critical. He just had a hard day. He’s under so much stress. If you hadn’t been so dumb. If only you hadn’t messed up.

You try so hard, but somehow he knows just what to say to make you feel increasingly small.

 

Nothing is ever good enough. Life with him means walking on eggshells. You try so hard to please him, but you find yourself always coming up short. You try to brush it off when you’re with others, always covering and making excuses for him. He’s just particular. He works so hard. You’ll try harder.

So much of your life is wrapped up in him. You feel like you don’t deserve him or the life he’s given you. You don’t remember what life was like without him.

You’ve never done anything untrustworthy, but he seems to be jealous for no reason. It’s like he doesn’t trust you. He’s just being protective, you tell yourself. You always feel like you’ve done something wrong, but you’re not even sure what it is that you feel guilty about anymore.

 

He seemed so eager to meet your friends and family in the beginning, almost desperate to impress them. You’re not quite sure how it happened, but gradually things have changed. He says they’re trying to drive a wedge between you. They just don’t understand him like you do. You feel so torn. Of course you love him, but you’re starting to feel smothered and you’d give anything for just a tiny breath of air.

When you do get out of the house, it feels like he’s checking up on you. You don’t want to hurt his feelings or make him angry, but why can’t you have just this little bit of time for yourself? You explain it away to your friends – He’s just being protective. He just misses you. But when you get home, you will still feel guilty. The next time your friends invite you out, you might say no. It’s just not worth it.

 

You feel your cheeks burn as you ask him for money. He tells you where and when you can go shopping, and even checks your receipts when you come home. He says he’s making sure you aren’t wasting money.

You feel guilty for even questioning him, but it just doesn’t make sense. You thought the two of you would be a team, but tears sting in your eyes when you can’t shake this horrible feeling that you’re more like a doormat than a partner.

 

You don’t even want to bother with dressing up today. You’re really tired of his questions when you put on makeup or perfume. You just want to feel a little better about yourself, but he asks who you’re trying to impress. He says you don’t need makeup, so maybe you won’t even bother with it.

You gaze at the clothes in the back of your closet – the ones he won’t let you wear. You would love to feel pretty and stylish again, but now it doesn’t feel like you even have a style.

You want to treat yourself to a much-needed haircut, but he doesn’t want you to cut it. He says you get sassy with shorter hair. Maybe you shouldn’t rock the boat.

 

You thought things would be different. You don’t like going to church alone, but you wish he’d stop making hurtful comments. You hate feeling like you have to balance your relationship with him and your faith. This is important to you. Why can’t he understand that?

He found a way to use Scripture to make you feel beneath him. You work so hard to obey and be a good Christian wife, but you never measure up.

Or maybe he won’t let you go to church at all.

 

He said he was sorry… You softly run your finger over the bruise. He said he didn’t mean to. He promised it would never happen again…

 

You look at the closed door. You’ve slowly put the pieces together. Hurt and angry tears threaten to fall as you feel crushed by more overwhelming waves of guilt. You’re not enough for him. Not pretty enough. Not sexy enough. It’s just a guy thing. You hate it – all of those images of other women invading his eyes and your relationship. You think to yourself, At least he’s not cheating on me… But you feel your heart break a little more each time.

 

Does he even hear you say no? Does he see the tears falling down your cheeks? Does he even care?

You long to feel safe – to be held tenderly, and not held down. To be caressed, and not fondled. To make love, and not forced. The dark, far away look in his eyes says that he doesn’t really see you. You squeeze your eyes closed, shutting out the world around you, and numbing yourself to what is happening. Agonizingly, you wait in the darkness for it to be over.

Frightened, your mind races as you roll over and wait for him to fall asleep. This isn’t how it was supposed to be. You feel dirty. Used. Betrayed in the deepest level of your being. Something begins to form in the back of your mind, but you force it away before you can say it. It’s your husband. Not a stranger in a dark alley. It can’t be… Can it?

 

You watch as he battles his demons. You pick him up when he falls. You drag him to bed to sleep it off. Once again you’ll make excuses to cover for him. You’ve tried to get him the help he needs, but nothing seems to stick. He needs you. You’re afraid of what he’ll do if you ever leave…

 

It doesn’t have to be this way. You can find healing, acceptance, and your joy in life again. If any of this resonates with you, we beg of you to find someone you can talk to and who can hold your hand as you walk through this journey. Please open up to someone whom you trust and let them help you through this.

And we can’t stress this enough – if you are in a relationship where someone is hurting you physically or sexually, PLEASE SEEK SAFETY. Chances are that if those are happening to you, then you can relate to the other stories, too. We beg of you to take your children and find a shelter or a safe house where you can get help. Call the police – they are here to protect you, but they can’t help if you don’t go to them. It doesn’t matter what he said in the past. If it has happened once, studies show that it will happen again – and we just can’t bear the thought of one of you getting hurt again… or worse.

If any part of this is your story, Precious Friend, we want so much to give you a big hug and tell you that you don’t have to walk through this by yourself. If any of these resonate in your own life, please know that we are right there with you – holding your hand. Studies show that one in every four women and girls around the world share a similar story. This is the story of our journey and the journeys of others who have gone before you – the darkest moments of our lives, brokenness, finding a strength we never knew we had, and HOPE – wild and beautiful hope for the future. 

We can’t wait to begin this journey of healing with you.

Please remember one thing…

You are seen. You are loved. And you are not alone.

(Portions of text were originally published here.)

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