She had always been a firm believer in the power of words. She knew how important they were. She was articulate, intelligent and generally chose her words with compassion, care and caution. She believed it to be of paramount importance to choose words that didn't inflict pain or hurt but were positive and uplifting... Even if the message was corrective.When she interacted with any of the rest of the world she was able to get her point across and was expressive, lucid and eloquent. People complimented her frequently on her sharp wit, humor and wonderful way with words. It wasn't until she was immersed for a few years, in her marriage that she began to realize how hard he worked at silencing her. She loved to write. She found her inner voice through writing. Often, she would work through many issues by putting pen to paper first. She had always felt extraordinarily comfortable and confident with being able to express herself both verbally and through writing. She had tried in vain for years to use her words to persuade, coerce, convince him that his words, his vitriol, was angry, vulgar, demoralizing and humiliating. He remained unconvinced. She grew all too familiar with the power of the harshest and most caustic words spoken in an angry rage. His words slowly overpowered hers in almost all situations. When they first met she wrote constantly.--She journaled..As time went by, she did less and less. Her life became overshadowed by his temper. As the verbal abuse escalated, she once again sought refuge in her writing. She was hoping to pull any measure of solace she could through her written tableau. She felt like all she had ever believed in...the power of words...had betrayed her. Her words, as articulate and accurate as they may have been did nothing to convince him to change his behavior. She felt for the first time in her life that her words had failed her. She functioned from that place for a long time. She went to a solitary place of few words and silence, for the most part. She knew no other course of action against his intimidation and abusive temperament. His voice had silenced hers. It wasn't until recently, with her past firmly behind her, that she once again felt and believed in the virtue of her own words. The further she got from him, and their past, the more she found the words flowing from seemingly all directions. She felt powerful in her voice, and strong enough to write it all down. Her voice was no longer mute. The mark of silence had been broken.
In the very beginning, she thought she could change him...silly, naive and foolish she now knew all too well. The continuously and persistently angry are unchangeable unless they want to be. She held onto hope, through the first several years of the marriage, that something would make him see the error of his ways. It seemed to her, that there undeniably had to something or someone that meant enough to him to change his behavior. As the years went by, she resigned herself to the awful truth that there was nothing, not even the loss and destruction of his family, would be enough. It was a brutal awakening. It was inevitably this realization that set her on the path to freedom. An awakening can be a beautiful thing -- freeing, liberating and consuming. The actual physical process of leaving following the epiphany, can still take a long time, in her case years. Everyday, she planned her departure. She also tried to faintly appreciate any of the good moments that made their way up through the rubble of the marriage, especially so, for their kids. She always knew she would eventually disentangle herself from him. While she was still there however, she tried hard to maintain the rapidly dissolving facade. She made sure to acknowledge even the smallest moments of harmony, as they became increasingly more infrequent. It was the mark of her awakening.
She didn't reach out to her friends or family, for that matter, in the beginning. She felt ashamed that she felt cowardly in the face of his tirades. She questioned herself and she knew if she talked out loud about it he would turn it on her, that she was ruining his "perfect persona".We cant look in the eyes of those we are closest to and admit what goes on behind closed doors at home. We can't acknowledge the fear and apprehension that they see in our eyes. She learned to downplay his volatility if it began to seep out from under the facade. She didn't question his absolute authority. She had mastered the art of being subservient. She never used the word abusive to describe his behaviors. He perceives himself as powerful, authoritative, in control and is indignant and insulted by the term as a reflection of himself. She did not want to define herself as abused. She rationalized, justified, defended his behavior so that she could live with herself and make him feel better about his unconscionable flaw. It becomes a toxic and unhealthy cycle of destruction. She was alone in what she perceived as her own failure, for a very long time. She blamed herself, believed his accusations that she instigated every outburst. It took years for her to come to terms with the reality of the cycle of verbal abuse. It was when she finally let her guard down enough, divulged the unspeakable family secret, to a sacred few -- that was the beginning of getting herself and her life back. The veil of secrecy lifted just enough to shed the mark of isolation.