I’m stumling upon some really hard realizations.
My heart hurt last night and hurts worse today. Actually it is more than my heart hurting, it is an ache, a deep, throbbing ache, and it takes over my whole body, not just my stomach.

At its worst, my heart is throbbing in my lower back while my stomach can barely expand to breathe.

It’s not the relationship nor the divorce that does this to me. It is realizing how messed up *I* have become.

The realization started when my therapist said that she’s more concerned at why I tolerated this treatment for ten years, moreso than why I’m choosing to stay with him now. What I’m doing now is smart, I’m taking care of myself while still following what I’d like to see in our relationship/family. But taking it for ten years and NOT enforcing being treated well is the part she questions.

That got me thinking.

Then last night, we were talking divorce details. I found myself worrying both in my head and aloud that I was afraid he would leave me if he didn’t have the legal tie to me.
It stopped me in my tracks, through my tears.

When did my self worth diminish to this point? When did I lose self respect and find that my own value of myself had gotten to this absurd low?
How can I sit and cry and fear that he is going to leave me?
I realize how genuinely absurd that is.
#1 I am an amazing find. I’m beautiful, I love sex, I am domestic and a great mom. I cook delicious dinners and bake amazing treats. I keep the home clean and neat. When working, I had an amazing business and made great money. I put him first and support him. I know all of these things logically but do I not believe them?? I know them!
#2 He is the one who hurt ME. Who betrayed me and neglected me and lied to me over the years and years. Why should I care if he “leaves me” because we don’t have the legal bind of marriage?

I’m so troubled by the very slow but hard hitting clarity in my self esteem. Why *have* I tolerated emotional neglect for so long? Why have I not known my worth and valued myself?

Is it because I invested so much in our relationship, in trying to get him to notice me? I admit and accept that at some points, everything I did was for him, was trying to get him to notice me. Everything I wore, every time I did my hair sexy, put on makeup, yes I did it for ME but not really. I mean, why would I? I am starting to see that nothing I’ve done has been for me. It may have looked like it on the outside but I’m just not sure any more.

When I was making a lot of money with my business, all I wanted was his acceptance and praise. I never ever got it. When I was just getting into working out, I remember showing off my new body to him, sometimes asking, sometimes not asking and hoping to be noticed. Even when I asked though, he would not give me what I wanted. I wanted a compliment, an act or look or words of desire, and he always refused. Refused.
I remember running to him with pride and joy at big sales looking for positive enthusiasm, to always get a lukewarm “good job honey” with no body language warmth, nothing. Nothing I could do turned him on. Did I let that destroy me? When did I lose myself?