While strolling through the bookstore on my lunch break today, I picked up a random book on relationships. I’ve been a little stressed lately, and snappish with my children at times… so when I saw a chapter on verbal abuse, I was compelled to look more closely to see if I could recognize myself among some of the highlighted behaviors and find some alternative ways to deal.
Instead, I found myself recognizing my ex…in many more ways than I ever anticipated. On some level, I was consciously aware of his means to undermine me throughout our relationship. And my growing strength in myself was what ultimately tore our marriage apart. Yet this book opened my eyes to a level of subtle and insidious behaviors that pervaded our relationship from start to finish. I’m ashamed to confess there were times that I didn’t stand up for myself or draw immediate boundaries (I found many new tools for dealing with verbal abuse in this book) — largely because I was caught so completely off guard that someone I loved — and who allegedly loved me — could possibly behave in such a hurtful and inappropriate way.
But I think the bigger realization I had today was that there’s another abusive relationship I need to break: my job. I’m not in a bad “situation” there; no one is verbally abusing me. Rather, the nature of going into a place every day that no longer nurtures my passion nor values the tremendous assets I bring is causing me more harm than good.
I recently told my ex I was going to look for a new job. His response, “What, for $XX grand a year, you can’t give them what they want?!”
I said, “No. What they want is not in my nature.”
It’s a big company. We are all bound, at times, to feel like cogs in a wheel. So I’m going to find a place where my experience and skills are respected and rewarded.
I guess, with more presence of mind, I might have responded to my ex: “What? To save your marriage, home and family, you couldn’t stop drinking, see a counsellor and get a decent job!?”
But those things probably weren’t in his nature, either.