She left him this morning while he was at church. My brother drove five hours to come and take her to stay with his family. After seven years, she finally got up the courage and bailed. I have never been more proud of her than I am in this moment.
She left the abuse, the control, the hate, the mind games. She left the drugs, the crime, the lies and the stealing. She left him for going through her things and screaming at her every day. She left him for punching her in her sleep when she snored. She left him for telling her when she could or couldn’t eat or leave the house or come visit me and her granddaughter. She just… left.
History has a way of repeating itself, especially when it comes to relationships. And her history has been on repeat since 1970. Every man she has ever been with has treated her like the scum of the earth: my dad, her boyfriend of 10 years (after divorcing my dad), and now him. I would be lying if I said I thought none of this was her fault because she chose this. She has continually chosen this, but that doesn’t mean she deserves it. Nobody deserves this.
Her bouts with mental illness have plagued her for most of her adult life. It’s like the men she chooses know that she is weak. They prey upon those who seem to “need some help.”
My mother has been homeless on the streets, homeless in shelters, fed by soup kitchens, and by the kindness of strangers. She’s been in and out of mental hospitals and failed relationships more times than I can remember. She has been raped, assaulted, kidnapped and abandoned on the side of the road in her underwear in a blizzard. And through all of that, she lived. She lived through it.
But today? She finally ended it on her own. She didn’t wait to be kicked out or told that he was done with her. She didn’t wait to end up in a hospital or shelter or on the side of the road… or worse. She left on her own, by her own free will. She didn’t wait until she was no longer strong enough to go.
I always used to tell her the analogy of the frog in the pot: If you throw a frog into pot of boiling water, he will instinctively know that the water is too hot and leap out. But if you put a frog in a pot of cool water, and gradually increase the temperature, he won’t notice that things aren’t right, and will let you boil him alive and kill him. She was that frog. The one who started out in a relationship being wined and dined and showered with gifts. But soon those things started to go away, and slowly the little jabs at her self-esteem became major blows, both mentally and physically. She didn’t notice… or maybe she did but soon nothing became shocking; nothing “burned” her.
I asked her this morning what finally made her snap. She said she heard them talking outside her door when they thought she was asleep plotting how they would “off her.” Whether it’s the illness talking, or the truth, I will never know. And it does not matter.
She is free.
I am so proud of you, Mom.
I am SO happy for you, for this little bit of sunshine in such a difficult relationship.
Sarah, this is such a great post! Thank you for sharing! I am SO proud of your mom. Clearly, she has raised wonderful children. XOXO
Thank you. Breaking this generational cycle has been tough, but I’m hoping this is the beginning of the end for her. I hope she can detox her soul and come out better from all of this. Xo
Wow. That’s pretty much it. I am sitting here with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. I don’t have a history of abuse. I don’t have a family that has been through the turmoil of watching a loved one deal with it….
Still, tears in my eyes & a lump in my throat. Good for you, “mom”. You deserve better.
amazing post thank you for sharing. So happy for you and your mother.
Any day that someone gets out of an abusive relationship is a day to celebrate! I’ll bring brownies!
Thank you for sharing. You are a good writer! And I am proud of your mom too. So grateful you had BB2Gther to bring it and share it.
It takes great courage, will, resolve and self respect to break the cycle of abuse. Last night, your mother fought her way our of quicksand and I applaud her. I’m always amazed and in awe of events like this. The way your mother took control of her life is inspiring. Thank you for sharing.
Devastating but so beautifully hopeful. I have never been in an abusive relationship but I have been in relationships and places in my life where I could have used that frog analogy… I’ve heard it before but reading it in this context will stay with me forever. I am so glad to have read this amazing piece.
Sarah you are amazing. Thank you for sharing your pride in your mother’s choice. She is fortunate to have you in her life.
How wonderful that she finally found the courage to take back control. Hopefully she’ll never be in this type of position again. I truly hope she gets the help she needs. Although her own life has been less than stellar, she must have done something right to raise responsible kids. I give you and your brother a lot of credit for not deserting her. Maybe this will be a fresh start for the whole family.
Sarah, I’m so happy to read this. I know the harm is irreparable & your relationship is anything but great but this really is promising. And you have to know what an amazing woman you are, right? AMAZING. You have seen what your mother has done & what has been done to her and you have managed to break the cycle. You are not your mother, you are your own woman and you are strong.
I’m honored that you shared this. What a brave woman she is. So proud. So, so proud.
And I’m proud of you. Sharing takes courage. Thank you.
That you are able to be proud of your mother in this moment? In this moment that may or may not signify a permanent change in her life?
That you are able to find that generosity within you?
I am all kinds of proud of YOU, babe.
You’re my hero. Love, Melissa
so happy for your mom. what courage. I hope this was the beginning of a new way of life for her, and you as well. thank you for sharing your/her story…