I don’t fit the stereotype of an abused woman. At least not the one I always carried around in my head.
I’m university educated. A respected professional and busy mom. From the outside looking in, it probably seemed I had it all: A successful husband, a beautiful home, great kids, my own career and interests, and a large network of close friends and family.
But from the inside looking out, my reality was different.
At 22, just out of university, I married the man I loved. Smart and charming, he had a wry wit, sharp conversational abilities and a boyish, fun-loving nature that appealed to my own sense of joie
de vivre. He was also a bully; selfish and narcissistic, emotionally immature, quick to anger and even quicker to yank his love and support out from under me if I didn’t perform exactly as he wanted.
As a lifetime over-achiever who still struggles with self-esteem, I felt lucky he had chosen me. I convinced myself when he diminished me, called me names, defined me by my mistakes and listed my many flaws he was trying to help me be a better person. I believed him when he said it was all my fault. That if I would only do or say things differently he wouldn’t be forced to act the way he did.