It’s amazing how a person can allow life’s circumstances to isolate them and make them feel alone, even when they are surrounded by people who love them. This is one thing I learned about myself in the process of gaining the strength to leave John. The entire time that I cried myself to sleep…. that I felt as if I had no one in the world to talk to … I had people all around me that would have dropped everything to help me (and did once I told them what was happening).
In college I became very close to four girls and, throughout the years, we kept that strong bond. They were there on the day that I met John and they were standing next to me on the day he and I became man and wife. In the beginning of my relationship with him I would share the stories of our fights with them as well as the terrible things he said and did. I even remember telling them one day that I thought I needed to end things because he was just too argumentative. I used to tell them that if I told John the sky was blue, he would find a way to argue with me about that.
But as the years passed, I stopped sharing. I allowed myself to be isolated. I believed John when he told me it was me and that this was normal in a marriage. He reminded me how much my friends and family loved him. He was a part of their lives too. Soon, on the days that I was feeling complete desperation, I would pull out my phone wanting to call them… and I would just sit there and stare at it until I eventually put it down and cried myself to sleep. Maybe it was because by this time, John was so ingrained in my life that they had become friends with him too… but I think it was more that John was in my head so much that I believed I had no one else.
Once I made the decision to go to counseling, I slowly started opening up to these friends. Even though they had their own busy lives, and they had their own difficulties to deal with… they were there for me.
Mary reminded me that she had been there for some of the early times that John had lost his cool with me. She assured me that she believed my story and that I had her support no matter what. Anna made sure to get me out of the house a few times a month, even though she was dealing with the loss of her child. She’d invite me out with her friends and we’d stay out late laughing and providing support for each other. After the divorce, Molly would call me every night that she knew I didn’t have the kids to check on me and make sure that I was ok, and even though Emily lived three hours away, she came to Connecticut multiple times to show me her support and love.
I was never alone. I was never unloved. I just needed to get John out of my head long enough to see it and feel it. I didn’t get the reactions I needed or deserved from everyone I told about the divorce…. but I did from these girls. They were more than my friends. They were my family. They were my rock… and they continue to be.