An Open Letter to the Man Who Destroyed Me

Subject: An Open Letter to the Man Who Destroyed Me
Date: 29 Dec 2015

It's been three months today since we went our separate ways. You've moved on with your life (no surprise), and I... well, I'm not sure that I have, or ever will for that matter. If you're reading this (which I doubt) I'm sure you've no idea that YOU, dear husband, are the intended recipient of this letter. If you are somehow aware, excellent. Here are all the things I've wanted to say during our separation, but never could.
First and foremost, I would like to thank you, for multiple reasons. The first 3 months of our marriage were like a fairytale. You truly swept me off my feet, and showed me what love could, and should, be like. For that, I will be forever grateful. You set the bar for any man coming to fill your shoes. More importantly, however, in the following months after the honeymoon phase was well and truly over, you showed me precisely what love will NEVER be. Abuse, mistrust, fits of rage, and constant infidelity are NOT parts of a healthy marriage. I know that now, and I thank you most of all for teaching me these lessons the hard way. Now I know exactly what I will never again put up with, not for one single minute.
11 months ago I truly believed I was the luckiest woman alive. You were my first love, my middle/high school sweetheart, and everything I had ever hoped to find in a man. I do not exaggerate when I say you swept me off my feet. I was head over heels in love with you, and I guess in a way, I still am. When we stood before he judge and witnesses in that old Alabama courthouse, and the sweet lady presiding over our ceremony asked me if I would take you as my husband for "as long as we both shall live", I literally could not get those two little words out of my mouth fast enough. "I do," and I did. I wanted you, by my side, for better or worse, forever and ever amen. It was truly a fairytale, in every sense of the word. Especially that it wasn't real.
My momma always told me that anyone could be good for 6 months. Hell, they can even be good for a year, if there's something they're really wanting from you. "Wait," they told me, "see what it's really like before you take that plunge." But I didn't... I dove headfirst into marriage because I had found my one true love, and all I wanted was to start our new life together. In those first 6 months, you showed me more happiness than an 18 year old could ever know otherwise. We didn't have much, but we had the essentials, and we ad each other, and that was enough. Or was it?
At the 3 month mark we hit a rough patch. We separated. I told you that you would have to find a job to help support us, or you could figure things out on your own. Within a week, you had a good paying job, and were back home on day 9. Things went smoothly for a while. When you lost that job, I didn't blame you. I wasn't angry. This is one time no one can argue against the fact that they did you wrong. They fired you for missing work due to emergency surgery, which was ridiculous, but that's Alabama for you. You stayed in the hospital for a week, and I was right there by your side, day in and day out. I never left you alone for more than a minute. When they told you you couldn't eat, I didn't eat. When they said you couldn't go outside yet, I went without a smoke for 2 days. When they finally let you come home, I did everything for you with a smile on my face, because that's just what you do when you love someone.
A month after your surgery, we moved into a new place, and got sudden, emergency custody of your 9 month old son. Surprise! Just like that I was an 18 year old, full-time, stay-at-home stepmom. I wasn't the best. Half the time I had no clue what I was doing, but I did the best I could. That little boy became my life. I was wrapped around his little finger. My heart and soul belonged to that child, and you hated it.
Fast forward another 3 months, and you left again, taking your precious baby boy and everything we had of value with you. Again you were gone for only 9 days, but this time something changed. You came home, and said all the right things at just the right times, but it was clear you didn't mean any of them. You became aggressive, and later downright abusive. I spent my days making sure none of the bruises showed while I took care of your son, and my nights doing anything and everything you asked of me to avoid another "accident". Yet through all of it, I still loved you unconditionally, still believed that there was nothing but good intentions and love in your heart. Every time you hit me, I convinced myself that I had done something to deserve it. The day I found out that your son's mother had enjoyed another drunken night with you while your son lay crying throughout the night in my arms, I did nothing. Nothing at all. I let you come home, didn't hold it against you.
It's now less than a month til our first anniversary. You got your side chick pregnant, left me homeless and broke, threatened my life, and threw every kind thing I have ever done for you back in my face. I have been hurt, angry, depressed, and had days when getting out of bed or taking a shower is a major accomplishment. I did not eat, rarely slept, and honestly, barely survived. you betrayed me in so many ways that no one should EVER have to endure. But endure I did. And that, sweet husband is the basic purpose of this letter.
You destroyed me, dear. I do not like to admit it, but it is the truth. You took everything inside of me and shattered it, spat on it, and left me to figure out what to do with the pieces. Though I've been a bit long winded, here is my major point. I write this letter to thank you, for being who you are, and doing what you've done. You have taught me so much, and beyond that, you destroyed who I once was. You took a fragile, frightened little girl, and broke her beyond recognition. I am not finished mending, and truth be told, I may never be. I do not know for certain, any more than I know the exact number of stars in the sky. However what I do know is this: because of you, I will never again allow myself to be degraded. Because of you, I will walk a little taller each and every day, because I know now that I am a survivor. I may have allowed your abuse to go on for far too long, but your shattered jaw can attest to the fact that I have never been an entirely helpless victim. Because of you, I have grown to love myself. Not the girl I was, but the woman I am becoming. Because of you, I understand that not all people are good people, but you can never judge a book by its cover. Because of you, I am becoming who I was meant to be. So thank you, dear sweet husband, for each and every lesson, each and every covered bruise, each and every sleepless night wondering whose bed you were in that time. For all of that, I am now, finally, a strong, independent woman. I know what to look for, what to watch out for, and just how effective a right hook can be. So thank you honey, for destroying me so completely.
Now I can finally rebuild myself, from the ground up.