Loving and appreciating the right people even after abuse
Earlier this week, I was watching old episodes of one of my favorite shows–Criminal Minds, and found a story line that has always frustrated me. It hits the worst point in the second episode of Season Three called: In Name And Blood
What has always bothered me about this episode, (and the earlier shows with the same story arc,) is one of the main characters’ wife is always angry about his demanding job. In this episode, she leaves him because he refuses to quit his job.
Why does this bother me? Yes, I know it’s not real, but it is a theme that happens in real life. When I see this show, I see a woman with a beautiful home and a good-looking husband who respects her–a man who saves lives for a living. I know men who seem liked good, normal guys who have flaws but aren’t abusive. And sometimes, their wives leave them for things that could have been compromised on, so I look at my own situation…. Both of my ex spouses are narcissists–the first was mild and covert, but the second was overt. When I was married, my first ex-husband criticized me constantly for little things, and nothing I did was good enough. My second ex-husband was a sociopath who raged and screamed, and called me stupid multiple times a day. He still won’t keep a job and pay child-support, so when I see the above mentioned Criminal Minds episode, I cringe and think “lady, you should count your blessings and compromise with your husband who is who he is and isn’t hurting you!”
Since I often blog about the abuse I went through and my recovery, I am usually writing about my ex as abuser, but that doesn’t mean I hate men. In fact, I really like men. Even before I was married to an abuser, I used to see men who worked hard but had demanding wives, and it bothered me. It bothers me just as much as seeing men who pick at their wives. When I was with my ex-narcissists, I loved to care for them and loved to be loving. I loved the first one unconditionally, and took everything on myself when he kept attacking and controlling me. I would compromise so much that I was the only one giving anything. I really tried with the second one, but I had gained enough self-esteem by that point to realize I didn’t want to be abused hourly. It wasn’t little things, little frustrations that caused me to leave. It was big abuse. If my exes’ only issues were things like working long hours, leaving dirty clothes on the floor, not doing dishes, I would still be married. Unfortunately, it was my unconditional loving and giving that made me an easier target for abusers.
This is where it becomes important to know the difference between someone who deserves that love and compromise, and someone who doesn’t. I don’t want to stop loving, and start nagging someone to change. If I were to marry again, I’d want to marry someone I could love, respect and compromise with without having my own rights trampled on.
And just like I couldn’t change the abusers to get them to respect me and stop abusing, I can’t…and don’t want to change someone who isn’t abusive. No one is going to be perfect, so we need to choose the safe people whose flaws aren’t harmful to us.
So after thinking about this episode, and real life, I would say to anyone who has an imperfect spouse: if your spouse loves and respects you, contributes to your home and doesn’t abuse you, count your blessings. Some of us had spouses who threw us around and hurt us for fun. Remember to love your non-abusive spouse for who they are.
And for those of us who are single after abuse, let’s remember that no person is perfect, but most are not dangerous and abusive. I don’t want my bad experiences to make me afraid to love and cherish the right person who could come into my life at some point.