A Letter to My Ex

by Kristin Bushong about a month ago in divorce

Because you won't listen to me otherwise

A Letter to My Ex

Dear Ex-Husband,

I know you don't understand how you made me feel, how much pain you caused, how much damage was done to my overall mental health. You say you are different now, that you've changed. Yet, I see the exact same behaviors, just under a different mask. You're getting angry with me, but it's because I'm aware of your tactics. Which is what led me to write this letter. It's time for some self reflection and behavior changes.

Let's start with gaslighting.

gas·light /ˈɡaslīt/ verb

gerund or present participle: gaslighting

manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.

Sounds pretty intense, right? But apparently, I'm being dramatic. Except I'm not, because I looked up the signs of gaslighting...

  1. They tell blatant lies. (You do this often.)
  2. They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof. (Same with this, it's insane.)
  3. They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition. (Always attacked my intelligence, mother skills, wifely duties)
  4. They wear you down over time. (It was a gradual approach.)
  5. Their actions do not match their words. (This is you, 100 percent.)
  6. They throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you. (Even now)
  7. They know confusion weakens people. (Hence your long, elaborate stories)
  8. They project. (To distract from your own behavior)
  9. They try to align people against you. (You literally do this to this day.)
  10. They tell you or others that you are crazy. (When you're the crazy one)
  11. They tell you everyone else is a liar. (When it's always been YOU.)

So I'm not crazy, or dramatic, or any other word to dismiss my feelings. You did this to me. You made me question my entire reality.

I was living in your little depressed bubble of life, and wouldn't let me see outside. No friends, limited family, strict work hours. I'm a shell of a human living in the same gray and heavy reality as you. All the fucked up words you said to me, the unrealistic expectations you had, the angry fights all pushed me further away from my true self, and closer to you.

It's interesting... I always thought as long as I was not being physically abused or being cheated on, then I was in a decent relationship. Everybody has their hard times. Except, it was more than that. I was never enough. I would improve my behaviors, but I still needed to be better. I was exerting all this energy to being the best wife I could be, while you remained the exact same.

You stopped working. You smoked weed and played video games all day. You couldn't get another job. If you did find a job, you lost it quickly due to the lack of attendance. I was paying for everything, and you would get mad when we didn't spend money your way. You projected all your negative self worth unto me. I took the brunt of all your self hate. I stood up for you towards your family. I was there for you. Then I realized:

I took all your struggles away.

It's not like I was the only one. We can take a look back at your childhood and it makes sense:

Humans need to struggle and make mistakes so we can learn and grow. If you keep relying on everyone else to help you through life, then you will continue to be helpless. You have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. You need to grow. Focus on doing what makes you happy.

Finally, you need to realize that YOU ARE ENOUGH. You probably don't believe it right now. I'm sure you've been building on this belief for a good 20 years now. But I'm telling you now, you are enough. You are a good enough son, brother, grandson, father, employee, man, etc. You have to believe it. Once you believe it, your actions will follow, and it will become reality.

I know there's a kind and gentle soul in you that's craving to get out and shine again. You are currently weighed down by anger and sadness. Once you realize your worth, weights will start lifting off of you. Each day is lighter and becomes easier to enjoy the little things. You won't care if other people don't like you. Clarity comes through often and then you see you didn't need anyone else's approval all along. Because you know you are worth it and that's all that matters.

I am grateful to have compassion and forgiveness instead of resentment and anger. I truly believe you don't want to be this person anymore. I know that sweet and generous soul will be able to flourish again soon. You just have to believe it. I do.

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