Photo credit: Specter & Bride Hand Lettering Co.
In the series called The Truth Is Not Delicate I describe a list of unhealthy thoughts and/or behaviors about what I may have taught my daughters as they grew up in a home with a young mom (me) involved in an abusive marriage and who was just discovering that she was sexually abused as a child.
Last week, number six in this series was making excuses for my spouse’s poor behavior to protect him is not ok. This week number seven in the series is: allowing my spouse to treat me disrespectfully is not ok.
One thing I didn’t learn as a child was about healthy boundaries because my boundaries were violated at a young age. When I entered into a relationship with my former husband, I carried those unhealthy boundaries into that relationship.
As I learned more about how to be a healthier woman, I began to start setting healthy limits and communicating my needs to my spouse. It wasn’t until much later that I realized one of the reasons I wasn’t able to fully engage in good boundaries was because there was an escalation in anger in my former husband when I began to apply those healthy boundaries in our marriage. That anger caused me to be fearful to keep my boundaries. I didn’t have the tools to navigate how to be respected as an individual under those circumstances.
I allowed disrespectful communication in my home in front of my children and frankly; I allowed myself to be disrespected by my spouse in public as well.
The core issue at the time was that I didn’t think I was worthy of respect. I had been treated with such disrespect for so many years and I don’t think I even knew what being treated with respect felt like in my marriage.
The extent to which I allowed someone to disrespect me reflects how I may not have respected myself.
I’m continuing to learn how to love and respect myself by accessing resources and growing in the understanding of how much God loves me and does not want me to be disrespected.
I want to share with my daughters that for whatever part I played in teaching or modeling that allowing my spouse to treat me disrespectfully is not ok. I am truly sorry. I ask for forgiveness. I want to share healthier communication styles that provide a different teaching model not only for my daughters but also for all my relationships.
I know God loves me even when I need to make some changes. I am a Treasure and a Pearl.