I’ve been asked over and over again how I could remain in a relationship with someone who was so abusive for as long as I did. The only explanation I can come up with is penance. Maybe, subconsciously, I didn’t believe that I deserved better. It’s hard to escape the demons from your past. Sometimes issues you didn’t even know you had bleed into the very fabric of who you are. I had a lot of regret not fighting for my marriage to Giovanni when I should have. He was a good man, a good husband and father. I should have fought harder for him. He had elevated my self esteem and worth up so high that when he came to me with a problem, with his feelings of not wanting to be in our marriage any more, I let him go…just like that. Hell, I even threw a party the week he moved out, to prove how OK I was with the rejection. I should have fought and I didn’t. So maybe my relationship with E was my way of punishing myself for not being the wife I should have been. Maybe subconsciously I went back to being that little girl, content in her own little world, until the swift hands of “discipline” would come crashing down and rip into my self worth, shredding and splintering it until there was nothing left but a shell. I felt like a shell with E. A shell of my former happy self. When I was abused as a little girl, I remember feeling unworthy of love, comfort or protection. Maybe that little girl was bleeding through me again. After all, we are one and the same. It’s the only explanation I can come up with. Those who know me can’t believe I put up with and endured the things I did at E’s hands and words….my friends and family were angry with me for not being “myself”, not being strong, not being ardent….but I paid my penance, I am back to being me. I am stronger and happier than I have ever been. The truth about hell is…. it’s real….I’ve lived it, I’ve created it at times. There is a great quote that simply says “still I rise” ….and I do.