This weekend I was at an elderly relative's funeral. In attendance was an extended part of the family I hadn't had the opportunity to see since my wedding. After the service the families gathered in my great aunt's apartment. One of my older relitives struck up a conversation and asked me how married life was.
I froze. Not normal deer in headlights freeze either. I sat ther staring like a child who just saw Santa, and Santa had a flamethrower and a tiger. I actually had no idea how to react.
After what seemed like 2 hours of silence my Mother interrupted and politely told her Uncle I was seporated.
He looked at her bewildered than at me. Laughed and said "everyone needs to adjust"
If only I could have told him why.
I know I advocate telling everyone. That breaking silence is the solution to violence but sometime s telling your 88 year old great uncle your husband hit you isn't a great plan.
And there will always be those cases. Cases where you can't tell the whole truth. Instances where one story would justify your decision to leave, to make someone understand.
There will also always be those instances where you come clean and they still can't understand.
The important part for me is to know I made the right choice. To know safety is ultimately what matters. There will be the handfull of people who can't understand. Often I feel the isolation of not knowing anyone else who has a story like me. Some days I find it impossible to believe that anyone but a survivour of this sort of life can understand.
Recently I had a conversation with Best Friend P about this. I had been frustrated and told him he couldn't understand. It took me a couple weeks to realize why this comment hurt him.
It is clear that in our lives we have all delt with hurt. Some physical, emotional, mental. Some lingering still. Everyone has that one path that hurt more than anything, some of us have lots. What I didn't understand is that just because Best Friend P had never been beaten he still understood.
He understands what it is like to hurt and not be able to make it stop. What it is like to not be okay. How unfair the world feels and how alone, isolated and confused I feel, even on a good day.
He like my other friends understand the power of a hug. The benifit of a ear or a shoulder.
And even though my 88 year old uncle doesn't meed to know why my marriage ended. I know that when I make the decision to tell someone, to share details that even though they haven't walked my path somewhere along thier's is something that allows them to understand.