To the friends I lost in the divorce

Subject: To the friends I lost in the divorce
From: the woman you still have to work with.
Date: 8 Apr 2015

Don't sh*t where you eat. I believe that's the saying I ignored.

I'm so sorry that you feel you've had to take a side, or form an opinion or invent a theory behind what has happened to the marriage of your two friends.

I can tell you that I have been you. I formed opinions. I gossiped. I speculated about motivations, intentions and conflicts that I knew nothing about. I seemed to get some satisfaction out of organizing the pain of other peoples lives into some order that I could understand. I'm not proud. I'm sure this divorce is the universe explaining to me in very blunt terms that it is not my place to evaluate the lives of others. I've learned my lesson.

I will never know what you think you know about my marriage. I will never know what you've heard or what you've been told. I can speculate by your silence and eventual dismissal that I'm not being thought of in a flattering light. I understand. But I would like you to know that it is not fair.

He abused me. I am so sorry that the word "abuse" is a loaded one. I am sorry that it makes people uncomfortable. That word makes me very uncomfortable. To me, it conjures up pictures of battered women, drunk men in white tank tops, broken dishes and crying children. I grew up in that household. But I never called it abuse. I called it "home". I was naive enough to call myself well adjusted when I left home. I was proud to have survived my childhood, and forgiven my parents and I was somehow smug about the idea that I had endured and prospered in a toxic environment. I didn't realize that my hubris was actually what made me a mark. I didn't realize that my aggressiveness, my vanity and my insecurities are what made me attractive to my second abuser in life. My husband.

You call that guy "friend". You didn't know. how could you? I certainly wouldn't rat him out. I thought so much of it was normal. Or just typical "marriage". You know, where one spouse yells a lot and calls the other one names, and mocks her, and admonishes her lack of character and integrity. Reminds her on a daily basis that she is untrustworthy, and lazy and needs to learn how to submit. Where one spouse assures the other that his "wisdom" should be revered, that he knew better, that her friends were stupid and childish, that her family was manipulative. The kind of relationship where the same woman is thankful to have such a knowledgeable and wise husband in her life to guide her, because she is such an inferior specimen that she should be proud to have such an accomplished man to lead her through this chaotic landscape. you know, marriage?

I wish I was given the opportunity to tell you how much your friendship actually meant to me. You couldn't understand that the smallest niceties went a very long way. That a smile, or a conversation, or a "good job" meant so much to me. That it gave me worth as a human being. I started to realize through your friendships that I had value outside of my husband. I started to feel as though I had merit on my own, and that my deeds could be evaluated on their own and not measured by how they benefited my husband. I looked forward to your phone calls and your laughter. And you may not have known this, and I suppose that's my fault for lying to you and myself for so many years, but sometimes your phone calls, and text messages were the highlight of my day.

I still have to see most of you. I still stiffen my body and try to neutralize any facial expressions so that you might not get a glimpse into just how hurt I am. I am so hurt by your dismissal. I feel as though I've been kicked when I was already down. Maybe you don't see that hurt because I have perfected the ability to carry on with a neutral face in order to get the job done. And I am good at my job.

I hope you know that you mean a lot to me. Even if we never talk again. Even if you continue to act as though I'm not in the room, and avoid all eye contact and tear me down in your private chats with him- I hope you know that you were an important part of my life and I ought to be thanking you for your smiles and your handshakes and your kind words. If you had never said them I might still be anchored to someone who hurt me.

Seems like a stupid thing to say, but thank you for lifting me then, even if it means you are hurting me now. I am much more prepared to deal with your hurt now. I am in a safe place now. I can cry in peace. I can heal in peace. I can ask for comfort from my family. I know who my friends are. I needed you then. I guess that's worth something.

so thanks for the memories.

- the disgraced wife.