An Open Letter To My Ex-Husband

Subject: An Open Letter To My Ex-Husband
From: M.V.
Date: 4 Aug 2023

Looking back now, I laugh at all the times you took me for granted.
But more than anything I want to forgive you. I want to forgive the decade of Narcissistic abuse that led me to become the ugliest version of myself. A version I have to heal, and most likely will have to work on for the rest of my life.
I’m not the monster you made me out to be – you and I both know that. But I’m writing this to correct your wrongs. To tell the world my side, finally.

Just over 5 months in and cheating was already at the surface, but you played me – you played the game so well, I almost want to give you a round of applause.
Women came and went just as my tears did. Many lovers know that struggle, I know.. But the way you went about it was masterful, honestly. Gas-lighting me into thinking it was somehow my fault, and then crying to the women you cheated on me with about how awful I was to be around.. but it was you, it was always you. You lied and manipulated and through all the deceitful games you ultimately made me sick. You make me sick.
Do you know what happens to the brain which you try loving someone like you? It causes brain trauma..
Please Educate yourself: Effects of Narcissistic Abuse (
During our separation you admitted to thinking you gave me PTSD from emotional abuse – don’t worry, if you want to deny it I have the screenshots.. I have all the receipts honestly.. but I won’t post them here. Names , however, that’s another story:
You proposed out of fear of me leaving after Cait. You spent your time with Carly while my dad died. You bought hotel rooms and Valentines gifts for Kaileigh – while I miscarried and worked three jobs to help you pay child support.. You told countless people I was crazy, and an awful mother, yet you chose to have children with me. You held Melissa’s hand and told me you loved her, and honestly, I should’ve left then. But I felt like I deserved you.. like all the bad I may or may not have done in all my lifetimes had come back to punsih me with the karma of loving someone who cannot love.. loving someone who can only use.
I was 17 years old, and you roped me into helping you raise your kid. Honestly, if you hadn’t have had Hart, I wouldn’t have stuck around. I loved her like my own, and I always will. But you used me as a safety net, as a way to get around your schedule of occasional parenting, and as your scapegoat more than anything.. and that's not okay.
I laid all my trauma and issues out on the table from the get-go, so you can never say you didn’t know who I was. Unlike you, I didn’t hide. I told you I had abandonment issues; about how I react in tense situations and someone gets in my face. I told you about my rage. I shared my dreams and deepest fears with you, bared my soul to you and all I asked for in return was the bare minimum and even that was too difficult. Not to mention the way you used my trauma against me - that’s a sickness you don’t want the world to know about, I’m sure.
I tried, Devin. I tried with all my heart, all my might, all my rage, all my soul.. All of me, I tried. I tried being laid-back and trusting, that didn’t work. I tried to stay on top of everything, but micro-managing got exhausting. You convinced me to try swinging and you watched as it killed me, and then I tried to walk away and you wouldn’t let me go.. Why? Why did you choose to do this to me? I don’t understand. You knew all I wanted was to be good and to be loved, and you took advantage of that at every turn. I tried talking to you about the wounds, and you dismissed me. I tried expressing how I was feeling and you belittled me.. I tried letting it go and when I finally did, you didn’t reach out to hold on.. you let me slip away, because you were too busy entertaining others.. and I’ll never get the answer as to why.. why?
Somewhere in me, I always knew you weren’t enough – you never would be. You just figured it out long before I did, which is why you were always searching for a new fail-safe. But I would’ve loved you for the rest of time, and I think it’s sad that you gave that up when it’s all you ever really wanted – to be accepted – to not have to hide – to simply be loved.. But you don’t know how, and for that I am so sorry.
The struggle, I realize now, is that I don’t know if it ever really was love. You poisoned us so early on that when I look back, I’m having trouble remembering who I loved.. But what matters most is I came out of this loving myself.
For more than two years I wrote letters to you, begging and pleading that if we didn’t work on this – if you didn’t put forth effort – we wouldn’t make it.. And when we separated you cried, you apologized for not realizing just how close to death you had dragged me, and then you moved on like it was nothing. You talked down to me as I struggled. You made me feel small and inconsequential and I honestly believe you reveled in it. Making a fool of me became a favorite pastime for you.. I mean, why else would you tell everyone your wife was certifiable, and then post loving little things titling me as the ‘best wife ever’, etc.?
I used to think you destroyed me.. I used to wonder if I was even real, or if you and all these girls were in on some joke – some hidden camera reality show – profiting in some way or another off of traumatizing me daily.. Sad right? No.. Because I know now that I always loved myself, maybe not on the surface, but deep down where it actually matters. I know because I didn’t let you put me in the ground. I know because I finally walked away and I haven’t missed you a single day since.
I told you once, that if you left not much would change..
I’d have to take out the trash and do the dishes more often, big whoop. But boy, do I remember the hurt on your face when I said that.. It was like I shot your dog; the disbelief scrambled through your facial muscles and then it registered – I saw you.
Boy did that hurt you, when I realized you didn’t do much else.. You never truly offered me emotional connection, or physical comfort.. You never offered me anything real; anything I couldn’t make happen for myself. I dreamt of you, but that’s all you were.. a dream – more of a nightmare truthfully. And today you’re just a ghost – a haunting.
Through all the discoveries of betrayal my reactions got worse.. I shouldn’t have laid my hands on you, but you forget you did that same in return. And honestly, I’m not sorry. You deserve to be popped in the face a million times over again for what you did to me and our family. Someone needed to discipline you and it surely wasn’t going to be your parents. Just the thought of your parents actually holding you accountable for anything is hilarious to me. Laughable for sure. But I shouldn’t have ever laid my hands on you. Not out of anger, and in hindsight not out of love either.
I wonder what my life would’ve been like had I let you go before I sewed myself to you by having children with you.. and I think I probably wouldn’t have lived very long. The children saved me, so thank you for them.. thank you for the kids and showing me that I’m so much stronger than I could’ve ever dreamed of.. but fuck you for everything else.
You know, it’s scary to try and raise children with someone like you, because I know it’s your chosen counterpart I’ll actually be co-parenting with, but I hope you wake up one day and realize you’ll never get this time back.. I hope you find a treasure in this lifetime, because our children are mine. Our kids will be raised to have manners and morals. Don’t you worry about them; I’ll parent while you play with your new Kate and enjoy life.
I hope through all the lovers and leavers you eventually learn how to actually put someone else above your own selfishness. I hope one day you look back and forgive yourself for being a piece of crap husband, and a time-stamp dad. I hope I was a lesson that you actually learned from. But most of all, I hope you have all the days you deserve, John Devin Verhelst.
I forgive you, but most of all I forgive myself, finally.

Your life-long forgiver, Madison

PS. You asked me after you left, if we could still be friends.. When were we ever friends?