I'm a lucky woman. No one has ever raised a hand to me. Yes, my feelings have been deeply hurt, and I mean deeply and very recently hurt, but I've never been subjected to physical abuse.
So, when I read about how hard it is for a woman to leave a physically abusive spouse, I sympathize but I don't feel her turmoil in my gut. I've never been there, and thankfully so.
I've been married for almost twenty years and I sincerely hope that we will stay together. It's not that I see something bad coming, but you just never know. I know that divorce can be terribly painful, but I only have an intellectual understanding of this pain.
Well, now I understand--just a tiny, tiny bit more--why people stay in abusive relationships, be they physical or mental.
Yesterday, I was working with two of my former associates. We were hired by a third party, meaning each one of us accepted the contract independently, not knowing with whom we were going to work.
One of the two people in question, although not the person who ultimately made me feel so horrible that I couldn't stay in the group, has been psychologically abusive to me over the years--not every day, but with such ferocity that I find it hard to shake off the effects of things that she has said. She can be this way with everyone, certainly not just me. It's just that, coupled with what my other associate said to me in September, I just don't have the psychological power to shrug off her outbursts anymore. Anyway, I was working with her yesterday. She was very pleasant but understandably somewhat distant. I am no longer part of the gang.
Our work day was demanding, but everything went quite smoothly. Coolly and smoothly. On breaks, in the past we would leave the room to go and chat. This time, I just went and read by myself or surfed on my computer. By the end of the day, I felt quite alone. Not that she had been nasty to me in any way. She treated me like she treats colleagues with whom she has only a professional relationship. No histrionics, no nastiness, but no friendship either.
Did I like the way we sometimes interacted while we were associates in the same group? No. That's why I left (although I could have put up with her mood swings for awhile longer--it was another associate who treated me with such contempt who was the real cause of my departure).
But boy did I feel lonely yesterday. And I understood why people find it hard to leave, even if the situation is abusive.
My drive home took over two hours. I was famished, ate supper and went upstairs to watch TV. I started crying and asked my husband to come upstairs and just stay with me. He watched wrestling and I read a book. He held my hand. I feel better today.
Ursula Le Guin, 1929-2018
8 hours ago