I walked on eggshells, tiptoed around
You, arranged life so as to keep the
Equilibrium, keep myself safe.
I couldn’t articulate this even to myself
Because although you hurt me
You did not raise a hand and left no marks.
You would have claimed there was no intent
To hurt, and you would have cried, withdrawn
Been made miserable had I told you.
I know, because I did try it. I know that
Any time I tried to find a way to
Say, please, can we sort this out-
Aything that had hurt me became all
About how hurt you were now
And I became the comforter.
When things went wrong it was my fault
Or if there was nobody to blame but yourself
Then you were gloomy, withdrawn
I learned try to keep you from having to
Blame yourself or ever feel flawed
I daily lifted off the dark clouds, carried them if I had to
And if I couldn’t, I held my breath
And waited, and watched for the sun to return,
That precious sun which increasingly came less often.
I petted and praised you but could not give
All that you wanted and I did not know
That it was because I was no longer safe
From criticism, betrayal, lack of trust or loyalty
I was open and exposed in your storm and I clung
To the only rock I knew-our marriage.
In some ways really am to blame-
I accept that for I helped to create you
Co-dependent they call it.
It was how I survived because not
Staying married was unthinkable and
Beyond how I had ever imagined my life.
I could not fail at this, and it WAS my job
To hold it all together and make it work
To take the blame, to be wrong, to be the one who can’t
So that you could always be right
Feel strong and capable and I told myself
He’s a good man, just high maintenance.
That’s what made it difficult, the fact that
You are not entirely bad, in fact probably not
Even mostly bad, and so I made excuses.
I thought, or at least I told myself
And everyone else around me that
You were worth it and I was lucky.
You were controlling but I saw it as caring
And your criticisms I took to be high standards
My self doubt was easily exploitable.
One day in the middle of chaos and difficulty
You told me that you no longer loved me
Which really was quite obvious but
I held on. I said, no, that cannot happen
And I set out to prove that you did actually
Love me and we belonged together.
I managed to convince you just in time for me
To finally realise you were right and
You did not love me and in seeing that
I fell out of love with you suddenly
With a near-audible thump
And I acted on it, shocking everyone, including you.
I was not healed, not cured immediately.
Though I found the strength to leave you
I still took the blame on myself.
I couldn’t admit that you were flawed
And I had made a mistake in choosing you
Or that you had stopped loving me.
The old habit of protecting you,
and thus myself, Remained
But eventually, slowly, I began to tell my truth.
I no longer love you and there was a time
When I was angry but that is gone now
And I can even like you sometimes.
We share a child, a wonderful child
And we share a long history which
I do not regret.
There were good times and I learned much
And I would not be who I am today
Without taking the path I took.
It turned out that I was stronger than you knew
Stronger than even you are, I think
Sometimes strong people make the mistake
Of staying too long, thinking they can fix
What is not their responsibility to fix.
You and I did not work out and we both
Are responsible for that.
I take the lessons learned
and I move forward.