I know you believe you’re putting on a good show for the kids. Smiling and pretending that it’s okay. That it’s normal to feel anxious when daddy is on his way home. That sometimes mommy cries but it’s okay. You tell the children there’s nothing to worry about.
You believe that the kids can’t feel the depth of your sorrow and pain that your smiles at all the right times protect them from the truth about your marriage.
I know you don’t want to hear this but your children are very aware of what’s going on. Even if your children can’t put their finger on what’s wrong with Mommy exactly, they know that their mother is not happy. If your children are older and in school, they have friends with families and they can make the comparison. It’s pretty easy for them to figure out.
You believe wholeheartedly that you must be doing the right thing by staying married for the sake of your children. After all having both parents is better than a family separated. You feel that you are choosing happiness and security for your children.
The truth is you’re lying to yourself and hurting yourself and your kids by staying in an unhappy, abusive, and toxic relationship.
On My Own
One of the greatest fears is the idea of being on your own and having solo financial responsibility for your children. Yes, your spouse will probably have to pay child support but until that is all settled (if ever), you will become the sole breadwinner.
The good news is that running a household by yourself is possible. It will take some time to build your income but it can be done with determination and a little ingenuity. Will it be easy? No! but if you take it one step at a time it is possible to be a successful single-mom household.
Ask for help from friends to spruce up your resume or to keep their ear to the ground for job openings. The more open you are about what you’re looking for and how others can lend a hand, the closer you’ll be to success. Even if you haven’t worked in a while, it is possible. As a stay-at-home mom, you have many skills that are transferrable to the working world. Look for entry level positions.
Although it seems like a struggle, it will be worth it and it will end! You have two choices: trapped in a miserable marriage or being free. The struggle when you leave is momentary and it will end. Your misery in your marriage will go on and on.
What’s a little struggle when the reward is freedom, happiness and peace?
When you stay with your abusive partner, your children are watching and learning. After all, children pattern their behaviour on the adults that they hold in high esteem. Your children are aware of what’s going on and they will repeat what they have witnessed.
Your children hear the names you’re being called and in the case of physical abuse, they see the bruises on your body. They sense your depression, anxiety, anger, and hopelessness. These are the lessons you are teaching them. These are the patterns they will repeat when they are teens and young adults.
Daughters will believe that it’s okay to be called names, or to feel fear when her partner is on his way home from work, or to be raped or beaten. Your daughter will repeat your role as a victim. Or she could become the abuser. Yes, that is a possibility. It will become her defense mechanism if she feels threatened. She will choose to lash out, bully, coerce and shame others to protect herself.
You are teaching your daughters that women are powerless.
If you have sons, you are teaching them that the way to express love is a good smack or embarrassing your partner by calling her names, shaming her into believing she is worthless. Demanding sex and controlling her every move. He will grow up and pattern his relationship skills on those of his parents.
You are teaching your sons that women are powerless
Teach Resilience & Strength
Teach your children to be strong, to stand on their own and be independent. Teach them to walk-away from anyone who disrespects them, bullies them or doesn’t value them as a person.
Teach them to break the cycle. Leave. Do not wait. Do not hesitate. Go now.
Susan Ball is the founder & CEO of Broken to Blissful™. She is an author and sought after international speaker, sharing her message of building joy on the journey from victim to survivor to thriver. She brings her experience, insights, and proven strategies to her work much to her clients’ delight.
In a nutshell, Susan helps women heal. Whether a woman is in need of support following a divorce or toxic relationship or recovering from an abusive relationship, Susan welcomes everyone and works with them using the tools and concepts from her ground-breaking book: Courage and Grace, From Broken to Blissful, The Journey of Building Joy During Your Recovery From Abuse
Susan is a regular contributor to LifeGrid, Huffington Post, and Thrive magazines. She lives joyfully ensconced with her soul mate, off the grid, snug at Tiny Wrecky House on Canada’s Atlantic coast.