If you were to come through my check-out line at the grocery store where I work, you probably wouldn’t guess by looking at me how badly I’ve been hurt—physically, emotionally, verbally. How does that quote go? “Those who are saddest smile the brightest.”
Yet, if you asked my fiancé, he could tell you exactly how hurt I’ve been. Not because I explained to him in great detail my past relationships, if you could really call them that. I barely spoke about them; they’re still something I really don’t share. No, he could tell you based off how I interact with him, what he goes through in choosing to be my partner. Because it’s like I try to make him pay for what they did, and it kills me every day. I see it happening all the time but the habits I express feel so hardwired into me I don’t know how to stop them.
First and foremost, in any relationship there has to be trust. That’s usually a big thing with just about anyone. I seem to be able to earn it, but expressing it? That’s complicated. I’m skeptical of things that don’t add up in my mind, and I lash out. Things get so intense that then I start saying things I don’t even mean and I know I don’t mean them but I can’t stop them from coming out, things I’d never want to say to someone I love.
My fiancé tries so hard to keep me grounded and on the same page as him, because he understands and I know he does. But when I push him to the edge, he yells back and with that yelling, I shut down. The fear I feel associated with yelling is unbearable most times.
It doesn’t help that when we fight, his go-to makeup routine is to cuddle. Because of past abuse, sometimes it physically pains me to go to him even though every fiber in my being wants to hold him and say I’m sorry a thousand times.
There are so many other things, small things, that I do that I know hurt him. As I said, it’s like I try to make him pay for the things that happened to me in the past and I wish I could get past this. His patience with me, his constant love, his desire to understand—these are the reasons that I love him so much. Despite everything, he is still here trying to help me overcome my past. He had his own bad relationships, and he knows deep down what I’m feeling—and he wants to be the person that helps me get through everything.
We both know that there is a long road ahead of us, but we want to show our daughter that with the right person, there is a love that can heal any wound.