I know you’re wondering: how does life turn into a Cinderella story? Where is this going?
This started out being about one thing, then turned into something completely different.
The story began like this…
Do you ever look for something that you cannot find? And last you saw it, it was on the table next to your chair where you always keep it.
A short time ago, I was looking for the little blue and white saucer I set my cup of coffee in every morning.
I search for it. Dig into the sides of my chair with my hands. Look to see if it got knocked to the floor.
Then finally, I see it.
And it’s right there on the table next to my chair where it always is.
Do you do this? I feel so silly once I realize I looked right at it and didn’t see it. And this reminded me of things I’ve done in my life that I’ve lived to regret.
When I had rose-colored glasses on and didn’t see what I should have seen.
And Here Comes The Cinderella Story:
I think we all, or the older portion of us, watched Cinderella on TV when we were little girls. And we were spinning around for days seeing fairy dust in the air.
And then it happens.
Years later, Prince Charming comes along and he praises everything about you. His eyes reflect the stars mirrored in yours.
You coast along, your feet barely touching the ground, while visions of sugar plums dance in your head.
Then everything changes, seemingly overnight.
“You are nothing,” he tells you.
What happened to the man who adored you, whose eyes lit up when you entered a room?
He Was Never There:
You saw what you wanted to see. A prince in shining armor never walked in his shoes. He just made it look like he was a prince so he could reel you in.
Things will end badly, you know. But you so want to believe in him that you go back again and again even though you promise yourself that you won’t.
People wonder why you do this. How could such an intelligent woman go back when he treats her so badly, they wonder?
What’s wrong with her?
- Many victims return to abusive relationships because they are driven by the basic necessities of life.
- Victims who experience secondary victimization as a result of the negative attitudes of others are more likely to blame themselves as well.
- Some victims return to abusers because they believe that despite the mistreatment, the rewards outweigh the costs of separation.
He has said you are nothing. Over and over again.
Well, now he’s made sure you have nothing.
Where can you go with nothing? Nothing doesn’t pay for food or shelter.
And like the second bullet point says: We blame ourselves for being where we are.
Intricately threaded into a spider’s web from which we cannot seem to extricate ourselves.
Let’s get one thing straight: he does not have to hit you to abuse you.
He can abuse you psychologically with his words. And by keeping money away from you.
By putting you so far into debt that the water is fast approaching your neck.
Then you remember something he said one day that you just let pass by. “I’ll make sure you’re so in debt you’ll never be able to leave.”
This hangs over your head like a gray cloud. Because once you reach that point, you feel like he has won.
You buried your head in the sand when you should have been paying better attention. Because you so wanted to believe in that Cinderella story.
How many little girls wanted to believe that fairy tale?
Many victims return to abusive relationships because they are driven by the basic necessities of life. They are not financially secure, don’t have anywhere to go, and do not want to live in a shelter.
You become so confused and afraid that you call the police. They come and see that you have no bruises.
It’s All In Her Head:
So they believe him when he says: “It’s all in my wife’s head.”
There is nothing to see here.
The two policemen look at you with pity because you have wasted their time.
And you wonder if they’re right.
You look in the mirror and don’t see any bruises. But you don’t yet know that words can be just as deadly as fists.
Sometimes you float through life without really living it.
You find yourself driving, just driving, and then you’re in front of a church out in the countryside. And you pull into their parking lot, because you don’t know where else to go.
You park in back and reach for the bottle of pills you brought with you. And then you sit and cry.
You can still hear his words and he isn’t even there.
You’re so confused about how your life came to be this nightmare that you are utterly unable to make even this one decision.
And so after a time you put the pills back in your purse and drive home.
Abuse comes in many different forms. Emotional and psychological abuse include mostly non-physical behaviors that the abuser uses to control, isolate, or frighten you.
Often, the abuser uses it to break down your self-esteem and self-worth in order to create a psychological dependency on him/her.
Emotional and psychological abuse are hard forms of abuse to recognize because the abuse is spread throughout your everyday interactions.
Unlike physical abuse, there are often no isolated incidents or clear physical evidence to reference.
After years of fear and uncertainty, something finally cracks within you. And you pack up your life and leave.
This time you don’t go back.
Life is different. You have nightmares and jump at the slightest sound. You’re listening for the footsteps that are no longer there.
Healing is possible. But it takes time and self-compassion.
Never forget self-compassion. Because it is something we women often don’t allow ourselves.
And Then It Occurs To You:
We never found out what happened after Prince Charming put the slipper on Cinderella’s foot.
We never found out if she got to live her fairy tale life, did we?