The Bend In The Road


I have this dream, as I had last night, that comes to me over and over and over again. And has for years. What happened in the dream was not what happened in real life. It was the very opposite.

A little background: I left my second husband for my third husband. The second husband was kind to me, but it was more of a brother/sister relationship.We were friends. 

When we'd been married about 8 years, just as I was turning 40, I got that feeling you get when you think you're about to close out a whole chapter of your life. And I thought I was okay with that. But turning 40 must have set something in motion inside of me. 


I began to wonder if this was it. If I would ever feel a man's strong arms around me. If I would ever be kissed again or be loved in that way. 

And this led to a tragic mistake. I didn't know it then. I didn't know it for some years. But it was to be a mistake that would cause lots of pain, and scars to form that would never heal. 

I believe in karma. And I think, if you have the capacity to feel guilt, that your own brain, your own mind, will punish you. No one else has to say a word. You will punish yourself. In dreams and mindful introspection.


I came to a bend in the road, where a fork in the road appeared, and I took the wrong one. You don't know that at the time. You don't know which road is going to be the mistake until later. Because you can't just sit there, you have to keep moving. It is your life.

This dream I have, is that he hurt me instead of the other way around. It is filled with my pain; it is filled with his feelings of guilt. It is the very opposite of what truly happened. 

When I wake from this dream, I always say to myself: "Why? Why do I keep having this dream in which he was at fault instead of the real guilty party, which is me? 


Once in an email to him, years ago, I insinuated that I had taken the wrong path. That I felt guilt as a result. He did not reply. I haven't heard from him in 5 years. I want him to know that I am sorry.

I was still with my third husband at the time. But I believe it was my dream then that was the foretelling of what later happened. I paid a steep price for taking the wrong road. The one that looked so wonderful at the time. 

I feel the effects of that choice every single day. It is lodged in my brain so far that I know I will never be rid of it. It caused so much damage that I deal with it on an almost daily basis. It changed how I deal with the world. It changed how I view trust.

I will never be able to love a man again.


This month, as many of you know, is Domestic Violence Awareness month. There is a poem that is famous for its words, read around the world each year. I'd like you to read it. And if you are afraid and need help, please read the info I have included below, before the poem:

Call 911 or your country's emergency service number if you need immediate assistance or have already been hurt. Helplines for advice and support: In the US: call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE). Keep this close at hand, but don't let him know you have it.

If you have been searching for help on the internet, please take these steps to protect yourself.


“REMEMBER MY NAME”

When you remember my walk upon this earth
Look not into my steps with pity.
When you taste the tears of my journey
Notice how they fill my foot prints
Not my spirit
For that remains with me.

My story must be told
Must remain in conscious memory
So my daughters won’t cry my tears
Or follow my tortured legacy.

Lovin’ is a tricky thing
If it doesn’t come from a healthy place,
If Lovin’ doesn’t FIRST practice on self 
Iit will act like a stray bullet 
Not caring what it hits

You may say:
Maybe I should’ve loved him a little less
Maybe I should’ve loved me a little more,
Maybe I should’ve not believed he’d never hit me again.
All those maybes will not bring me back – not right his wrong.
My life was not his to take.

As your eyes glance my name
Understand once I breathed
Walked
Loved
Just like you.

I wish for all who glance my name
To know love turned fear – kept me there
Love twisted to fear,
Kept me in a choke-hold
Cut off my air
Blurred my vision 

I couldn’t see how to break free.
I shoulda told my family
I shoulda told my friends
I shoulda got that CPO
Before the police let him go

But all those shoulda’s can’t bring me back 
When I lied so well
To cover the shame
To hide the signs.

If my death had to show what love isn’t
If my death had to show that love shouldn’t hurt
If my death had to make sure another woman told a friend instead of holding it in
If my death reminds you how beautiful, how worthy you really are
If my death reminds you to honor all you are daily
Then remember my name

Shout it from the center of your soul
Wake me in my grave
Let ME know
My LIVING was not in vain.
     -By Kimberly A. Collins

The Facts


DID YOU KNOW?

 On average, nearly 20 people per 
minute are victims of physical violence 
by an intimate partner in the United 
States. During one year, this equates to 
more than 10 million women and men.

 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have 
experienced [some form of] physical 
violence by an intimate partner within 
their lifetime.

 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have 
experienced severe physical violence by 
an intimate partner in their lifetime.

 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have 
experienced stalking victimization 
during their lifetime in which they felt 
very fearful or believed that they or 
someone close to them would be 
harmed or killed.

 On a typical day, there are more than 
20,000 phone calls placed to domestic 
violence hotlines nationwide.

 In domestic violence homicides, 
women are six times more likely to be 
killed when there is a gun in the 
house.

 Intimate partner violence accounts for 
15% of all violent crime.

 Intimate partner violence is most 
common among women between the ages of 18-24.


***

Three women will die today in the United States due 

to domestic violence.


***

Domestic violence thrives when we are silent. But if we take a stand and work together, we can end domestic violence. We can end it by telling our friends and family that we will not tolerate domestic violence, and by asking them to take a stand with us.

We can end it by supporting the programs and shelters that provide refuge and safety for hundreds of thousands of survivors every year.

We can end it by ensuring that our communities hold abusers accountable for their actions. 

Throughout this month of October, help raise awareness about domestic violence. Together we can make a difference.

27 comments

  1. Thank you for being brutally honest. I do not know too many women who can admit fault. You truly are awesome!

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    1. I think we have to be able to admit fault in order to grow. To learn from our mistakes. Deniable does not help anyone.

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  2. This is such a great post, Brenda. Thank you for helping other women through it.

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    1. I told myself when I was getting out that my hope and vision was to help other women through it.

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  3. You need to forgive yourself for being human Brenda..you more than make up for your mistakes by giving advice to other women..this is a beautiful (and sad) post my dear..Thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts once more..

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    1. The way I am trying to mitigate all that happened, and the choice I made, is to attempt to help others going through the same thing.

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  4. Aw the fork in the road. If only we knew what would happen before we step the wrong way. I too married a man who was abusive. Not physically but mentally and emotionally. I was such a fool to put up with it as long as I did. But I was older and felt like no one else would want me and I was so 'in love'. I too will never trust another man as I did before. I'm not in a relationship now and I think it will remain that way. I was lucky to get away when I did as his actions started to escalate and I think physical abuse was around the corner. Thank you for your honesty! You are an inspiration. It is sad that this kind of abuse changes who we are forever.
    hugs,
    Linda

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    1. For me it was mostly mental and emotional abuse as well. There was some physical abuse. Of course, as you said, it escalates. It never goes back the other way.

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  5. I feel the weight of your sorrow for having chosen the wrong road BUT I dont believe in mistakes. Every action we take in this life has a purpose and though we may never learn the WHY of it all, there is a reason..
    Beating yourself up about it all doesnt help you heal and it also doesnt fix it.
    Write to him with the same sincereity you wrote here and by doing so, give both of you some degree of closure. He deserves the truth and you deserve to be free of the pain.
    I personally think by taking this action you will both rest easier when next your head hits the pillow.
    wishing you only sweet and lovely dreams full of joy and peacefulness.
    your pal,
    Sonny

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    1. I have thought of that. But after all the negative publicity my ex had two and a half years ago, I imagine he knows what's happened. I feel bad because I really and truly loved his parents, and I let them down. They had moved to be close to us in New Braunfels, TX. And I messed all that up. I took our dogs, since he worked on the road as a musician. He knows the truth. That wouldn't help him any. He's the one who told me I should return my now ex's phone calls, for he wasn't letting up. I think maybe I should just leave him alone for now. I thought, since our relationship was the way it was, it wasn't going to hurt him. But then he got on the phone with his parents one day, and I heard him cry. That's when I knew that he cared more deeply than I thought.

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  6. Such a honest and thoughtful post, Brenda. And I think while we don't want to have them, regrets are okay...they show we have learned something. xo

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    1. I wish the dreams would go away. I wish I would dream the truth.

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    2. It might be because there are unresolved feelings or even guilt, and in your dreams you are feeling what you think he felt. I hope you can find a way to make peace...like Sonny said, an honest letter of apology without excuses might go a long way, but you need to forgive yourself, too. You have learned many lessons in your journey and helped many people because of your experiences. I am sure you are not the same person you were years ago...I know I'm sure not.

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  7. Honey your not alone, I took 3 wrong turns in the fork of the life road but with my mental state at the time I thought I was bettering myself .
    I feel now if I had been a more mature educated person I never would have married all so young and took the wrong roads. I was always looking for love and a hug someone to care for me . never found it . I heard someone tell me once "Be the Man you Want in your dreams" it took years for that to sink in, however I believe now it has sunk in and I treat myself like I wanted to be treated and loved by a man. I buy myself lovely things i wish a man would buy me however there is no man in my senior life now so I buy and travel as I wish. I have adjusted wonderfully , It took years to get here . I have been alone 10 years . I love going home to my cat and putting my pajamas on after work fixing myself a nice diner and pile up on my bed and watching TV or reading . I work 4 days a week
    You will be OK

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  8. I am okay. I love living alone with my dogs. I love the silence without tension storming down the hall toward me. I don't want a man to treat me at all anymore. I want to treat myself well. I always looked to a man to make me feel worthy. Many women do. And they end up as you and I did. But now we're okay, and that's cause for celebration.

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  9. Some call it karma, others the law of the harvest, you reap what you sow. Either way, it is true that our sins can haunt us the rest of our lives (I know mine surely have), and I've never understood the person who says they live with "no regrets." I actually have a blog post in the queue about that very subject. I have many regrets in life, but I'm grateful that we can be forgiven by God; however, forgiving oneself is the part I've found to be the most difficult. And I know how hard it is to deal with dreams, as well.

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  10. Thanks Dayle. I don't think you can go beyond childhood without regrets. As adults, we are constantly learning. And I don't think we'd have the capacity to learn without making mistakes.

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  11. Well said post. The cycle of domestic abuse has to be put to an end and education and awareness is the step in the right direction.

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    1. If we don't remove the stigma, women will not come forward or leave.

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  12. Brenda, what a gut wrenching post. Thank you for being so real. Coming by to read your blog is like coming in out of the rain for a bit of warm tea and conversation with a dear friend.

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  13. We have chatted before about my having a close family member who was the victim and how long it took for her to break free.

    This post, if it helps just one woman, is necessary to break the silence and allow women to speak up.

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  14. I have a friend I have known for many years now. She is old and frail. She left 6 husbands, had 6 children from 5 of her husbands. She became a Christian late in life. At one of our church gatherings where we were praying for a young family with 4 children that was being broken up by a husband intent on fulfilling his own selfish desires my old friend looked very sad and distressed. She told us all she was often the one causing such distress in her marriages, her family. She even went on to cry as she told us all her ex-husbands were for the most part very kind and decent husbands. Then she became quiet and removed. For me this was more telling than anything anyone could have said.

    I see her honesty in you. Time will not change the past mistakes, but remorse and true love for those who might have been wronged, plus forgiveness extended toward them for any unkind actions regardless of their lack of love or forgiveness...well, it will mean a lot in later years. Even if we are not alive to see it. Thank-you for this honest post. From the perspective of someone who has been deeply hurt by another who left a trusting spouse this means very much.

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  15. Wonderful post, Brenda. The most important thing we can do when we admit our mistakes is to forgive ourselves and move forward. I know that isn't always easy, but we can't live in or undo the past, we can only learn from it. It sounds like you have learned from it, sweet friend. I hope you will forgive yourself. xo Laura

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  16. As you know, I have been there, too. Thank you for this brutally honest post, and for shining the light on this blight in our society. I shared this post on my Facebook page.

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  17. Brenda...I don't see that you made any mistakes at all, you were following a path you had never tread. It chalks up to experience. Those who forgive us when we hurt them have become wise in knowing that they want to be forgiven, too. And sometimes people do "come around", after they've had their time to listen to their heart.

    Pay attention to your heart (and your dreams). It sounds like they are trying to remind you that you are loveable.

    Happy weekend.

    Jane

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  18. Hi Brenda, Thank you for sharing, I know domestic violence only too well as I have expressed on one of your previous posts. Mistakes we make in life tend to heal us along the journey of life. But the best thing is to unchain the past and live for the future. Everyday life may not bring fabulous days everyday , I have alittle trick I play with my mind to keep things in prospective, all I have to do is think of someone who may be in a worst life situation such as a sick child etc. and it seems to make my problems petty and time to put those feelings away. Funny you should talk about repeating dreams....I have the same dream that I am in a farm house decorating the same foyer night after night , it gets tiring caus I never finish lol You can not make changes in the past but you for sure can change the future. Domestic violence is silent , can be your neighbor or anyone whom you least expect. Sorry to say but woman in this situation are just too scared to reach out for help. A friend of mine has been to Washington and has started a rally pertaining to Gun control as her sister was shot in a domestic violence situation . You are a vibrant sole I can see that in your love for your pups and your passions for decorating . Lisa@ Sweet Tea N' Salty Air

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  19. Brenda, I find it so interesting how our childhood and life's events cause us to make mistakes in our adult life that we would have never entertained w/out some of these tragedies. I was married young and when trouble set in we were discussing things, and I confessed something I'd done wrong. So he up and hit me in the face, bruised my eye so bad. I walked out immediately and never set foot near him again. I of course would flinch any time someone near me moved quickly for years. (I had forgotten that til just now). Am I sorry for what I did now, yes, of course, it was wrong, but I couldn't make sense of my own life then. It's not easy looking for a job with obvious bruises on your face. I am so thankful I had the nerve to leave and never go back. Who knows where it might have gone from there. I remember the dark times that you would post and I was so worried for you. I'm so glad you had the nerve to leave and be such an advocate for us all now, Annette

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