| Survivor Snapshot | On Being the Fox

“After my divorce from my cheating, narcisstic husband, a friend told me a slightly different take on the scorpion and the fox fable. In this story, the fox had watched earlier as the scorpion hitched a ride across the river with the frog and saw the scorpion sting the frog because it was ‘in his nature’ to do so. The fox, however, when asked to carry the scorpion across the river, watched the scorpion’s every move and prepared for the moment when the scorpion would try to sting him. Because he was educated in the scorpion’s ways, the fox was able to fling the scorpion off of his head just as the scorpion was preparing to sting him, thus saving himself from the scorpion’s sting and from drowning in the river.

GreatPlainsGirl

My friend told me that with my ex-husband, I needed to be the fox, so I bought this ring to remind me.

After 18 years of living with my husband, he cheated on me. The agony I went through at his betrayal was horrific, but now? I see it as a blessing. I had no idea that I was being abused because, if he didn’t hit me or call me names, I wasn’t being abused, right? How wrong I was. The gaslighting, the lying, the cheating (I only have evidence for the one time, but I have no doubt there were others), the way he minimized me, insulted me, dismissed my feelings, put himself first, the financial abuse, the sexual games, the alcoholism…I could go on and on. I lost myself in this marriage, constantly walking on eggshells around him, never knowing when his explosive temper would hit or when he’d turn the car around to go and chase someone who’d cut him off in traffic. I lived constantly with a fight or flight response.

In those months after he left, I struggled with no contact, struggled to understand that this man whom I’d loved unconditionally could treat me so horribly. Now that we were no longer together, he played with my head, telling me he missed me one minute then telling me to f*&* off the next, all while living with the woman he cheated on me with. He would go for weeks without contacting me, then all of the sudden, I’d receive a text message or a phone call or he’d drop by, and it would mess with my head and my heart.

But slowly, through a lot of therapy and through a support group, I began to see the signs of his personality disorder. I began to understand how he wore a mask much of the time, twisted my words and played with my emotions. I wrote in my journal day after day, trying to make sense of it all, and then the truth began to sink in. I grew stronger. This man was a monster in many ways. He’d betrayed me, yes, but he’d also betrayed me for years in several other ways. This was who he really was. I could see it now, and as I looked back through our marriage, I had many ‘aha!’ moments. Things began to make sense. I began to pinpoint the abuse and my reactions to it, most of them unhealthy. Where before I had asked WHY he did what he did, now I knew: because it was in his nature, just as it was with the scorpion. That is who he is: an abuser, a liar, a cheat, a predator.

It’s been over a year since he left. I’m still not fully recovered, but I am in a MUCH better place. My life is calm and peaceful. The ONLY time I have drama in my life is when my ex pops back up. However, because I have grown and changed and LEARNED about the abuse he heaped on me for years, I can fight back. I can stand strong. I now know that I deserve better, that I deserve respect and commitment, that it was not me who made him do the things he did, IT WAS HIM ALONE. We are all responsible for our choices. His cheating, his abuse, his lying and manipulation, was never my fault. The fault belongs squarely at his feet.

And that is why I wear the fox ring. It’s a reminder to me that I am not that woman anymore: I am a fox. I am alert and ready. I see with my eyes wide open. I refuse to get into another relationship where I am abused or disrespected. Never again will I be the woman who bends over backwards to make excuses for why her husband or boyfriend is treating her this way or acting the way he is. Never again will I be the woman who refuses to see the red flags and instead hopes to ‘change him’ through her love. No. That simply doesn’t work. We are each responsible for our own happiness. We cannot ‘fix’ these abusers; that is not our job. It is THEIR job to get the help they need.

I will do everything in my power to make sure my daughter can spot the red flags of abusive men so that she does not make the same mistakes I did.

I am a survivor. I am mighty. And I will never again turn to a man to find my happiness.

You can, too. It’s never too late to start over, to get away from your abuser, to find help, to find hope.”

| Great Plains Girl |

Want to share your own Survivor Snapshot? Submit a photo, along with your story and a signature handle, by email to jannawrites AT gmail. Approved Snapshots will be published at Breaking the Silence for Women on Facebook and here at womandetermined.com.

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