“How Can I Let Go And Move On”

by Annie Kaszina on May 31, 2008

Dear Annie,

I was married to a mentally abusive man for 16
years.  I began having an affair as an attempt to
have a part of my life where I could be happy, satisfied and unafraid. I ended
up falling in love with that man and I am with him still.  Although there were moments he admitted he
was mean to me, he now feels his abusive language to me and about me is
justified by "righteous anger". My problem is I have to deal with this man because we have children.
I do fight back, but it just makes his attack worse.  I want to reach a point where he has no
power to hurt me anymore and his attacks on me are nothing more than laughable. 
Is that possible? 

S

Dear S.,
 
Yes,
it is possible for him to have no further power to hurt you anymore and for his
attacks to be nothing more than laughable. 
 
Actually, they are already.
 
You
see you lived the pain of that relationship, and that relationship is now over. 
You have gone into another, better one.
 
The
pain you are now experiencing is the pain of your ‘story’. This pain is caused
by two things:
 
1) 
You want him to see your experience your way and apologize and mean it.  (And
why should he, after all?  It’s not in his interests.  I’m not saying he has
behaved well – he hasn’t.  But he is invested in seeing himself as a victim of
your behaviour.  It makes him feel that he is the ‘good’ one in the relationship
after all, doesn’t it?)
 
2) 
You are acting on this misguided notion that until you can go back and heal your
past you can’t enjoy the present.  You can’t heal the past as such, although you
can change the meaning you place on it.  After, all, if his behaviour had not
upset you so much that you began an affair, you would never have been with the
man who you are now with and love.
 
(You
can read more about these ideas at: http://www.emotionalabuserecoverynow.com/cleanpaindirtypain.htm )
 
So was
it all bad, or did enough good come out of it to make your present good?  Only
you get to decide.
 
And,
of course, only you get to be right.  At least as far as your own truth
goes.
 
So,
your ex-husband can rant and rave and abuse and do all the things that abusive
ex-husbands do best.  The fact remains that he is a bit of a pratt, isn’t he? 
He couldn’t treat a special woman well.  And being a bit of a pratt he is still
grinding on about the same old rubbish as he always did.
 
He can
talk all he likes.  (And if he doesn’t want to move on with his life, that is
his prerogative.  Albeit a stupid one.)  As regards your children , that is the
important thing, is it not?  If you don’t react and get caught up in his game,
they will realize that saying stupid, ugly things about you says a lot more
about him than it ever does about you. 
 
Next
time, don’t give him the pleasure of reacting.  Just say: "well, you are
entitled to your opinion" and don’t get riled.  Sure, he will become much more
offensive in the short term.  Because the poor little poppet will start to
realize that he doesn’t have the power he used to have to upset you.  That has
been his power base for so long, it will really upset him to lose it. 
 
But no
need to feel sorry for him.  He’ll find someone else to rile. 

 
Warm
wishes,
 
Annie

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