My throat hurt, my eyes were red and swollen from crying. I was laying on the bed staring up at the ceiling without seeing it. Emotionally spent and vaguely aware of the pain in my heart, I felt unable to move.
The words swam past my minds eye. With no emotions I repeated them. I forgive him. I could forgive my husband, but could I forgive myself? For the first two years of our marriage I was a beggar. I begged him to love me. I begged him to love our son. His response was anger, swearing, throwing things, cursing us and finally kicking my son out of the house into a large city that he couldn't relate to because he didn't know the language and had no money. We had just moved to Quebec. My husband told us he loved us, God and wanted a family. The family he rejected 18 years ago. But we forgave him and took him back.
Then for two years he screamed, swore, cursed, broke things and showed us that he hated us but loved his family. His mom and sister. Through a miracle we, along with our son, moved back to the west. I believed that now, without the influence of living above his parents, we could be a family. But he got a new family. His new co-workers and employer became his family.
The first year I was still begging him for love. Even through his hateful name calling and raging temper tantrums had become physically abusive, I begged him to love me. Then something changed. I started screaming back. I began to treat him like he treated me. Yet there was a difference. I was forced to listen to him yelling at me and sometimes even kneeled by his feet repeating the names he was calling me. I had to agree with him. I couldn't yell at him to his face...so when he went out of town, I would email him and express my pain in a way that he couldn't physically hurt me for. At first, I thought that I would get into trouble when he got home, but...I didn't know that he used those emails I sent and showed his co-workers the crazy wife he had. He needed people to feel sorry for him and so he used my emails to get empathy. I knew he was doing it, but it was the only way I could safely let him know how much he was hurting me.
Finally, his hate for me became too much, and I became just as verbal to him when he was home. The difference is, he had the control of the money. He would just leave the house if I started yelling at him. He dropped his anger on me and then when I got angry back...he left. He was in control of everything, so if I got mad back, he simply punished me for it by leaving and making sure I had nothing while he was gone.
His co-workers applaud him for leaving me and encourage him to throw me away. It's okay, he can find someone better. Someone he will lie to and romance in his little boy style...then, when he has won his prize, she will be as useless to him as I was.
He loved cursing God, me and letting me know over and over again how much he would enjoy cheating on me. No matter what it did to the person he was mad at...he loved screaming out his anger.
I yelled at him. I screamed at him that day and he finally left with a couple packed bags. I forgive him, but could I forgive myself. The last two years of our marriage I had become him. I had turned to drinking, just to numb the pain. I repaid evil for evil when I knew it was wrong. But didn't God warn me that would happen? In Proverbs 22:24-25, "Do not make friends with an angry man! And you will not go with a furious man, lest you learn his ways and get a snare to your soul."
Can I forgive myself for allowing his anger to boil over and fill me? He enjoyed screaming at me and the consequences didn't fall on him...they fell on me. And today...I forgive me of any blame or guilt...and if I can do it...you can too!
May/June - 2018
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2010 Jan/Feb issue
Tammy Erickson, Olympic Medalist
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