My Non-Aversary

Jul 21

I woke up an hour ago at 3:15 am. Today is the day I would have an anniversary if I were still married.

But I’m not married.

So, it’s not my anniversary. Instead it’s my Non-Aversary.

Four years ago today was my 25th anniversary.

(You can hold the applause.)

People seem to think it’s a huge accomplishment to be married for 25 years. In my case the only reason it lasted that long was because of inertia. I was married to a man who destroyed my love for him through his actions. He mistreated me and I stayed there because I thought I didn’t have a choice. We had all those kids! God hates divorce! 

Instead I lived for years with this.

Cycle of Abuse by Anthony Peter van Duyn Source: Wikipedia

Cycle of Abuse by Anthony Peter van Duyn
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Go ahead. Click on it to open the graphic in another page and read the fine print. I’ll wait.

Did you read it?


In my case, the abuser denied the abuse occurred. He never hit me. It couldn’t possibly be abuse.

I’ll never forget one incident in particular…

I awoke with a pounding headache. I wasn’t sure that my marriage would last another week. I’d failed. Again. We were up until 3 am fighting. Again. Nothing I did was quite good enough. Ever. He would put up with it and put up with it until he finally snapped and then he raged at me and told me everything I did wrong.


This time I couldn’t take it any longer. I told him that I would never be able to satisfy him. I apologized and I cried, but I knew I couldn’t make the children perfect and I couldn’t make the house perfect and I couldn’t make his life perfect. I cried a million tears, but I just couldn’t even try any longer. I figured that it was over. My fault.


And then…


I realized that he was puttering around the house getting ready to go to work. He sounded…


Cheerful? Seriously?


He’s out there humming a little tune? Our marriage is over and he’s humming? What the hell?


Later that day, he called me about something. I don’t remember what. I was short with him. Afraid to trust him. He sounded so normal. So happy. He finally asked me what was wrong. Was I upset about something?


Am I upset?

You know, I thought I was going crazy. I was living with insanity and I thought I was the source of the crazy.

Now, I’ve been away from the insanity for nearly 4 years. My life is so much better. But, today? Today I’m dwelling on the past. It’s not really a good place to be. I can’t believe I lived that way for so many years.

Also, today I think of my friends who are still living with their abusers. They’re terrified of change because the insanity feels normal.

Abuse and insanity shouldn’t feel normal.

Get out.


Elizabeth Siggy

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  1. Oh, honey! I am so glad you got out! And that you continue to help others try to see loving shouldn’t be crazy.

  2. It’s amazing that enough of your spirit survived to form a rescue but that’s what you did. You rescued yourself. I’m betting you showed your children in the process, what treatment of another should never be tolerated. Be proud of that. As a woman and as a mother, you sound mighty to me.

  3. I’m so proud of you. You are so happier now than you were then. You are so much stronger now than then. And your children are safer. And you are helping others through your posts. <3

  4. Charlene /

    Hi Elizabeth,

    From one survivor to another , I’ve been where you are many times. I lived the life you described and had my children subjected to it. At times it gets easier and other times its fresh and in your face.
    My ex like yours can put on that , nothing is wrong with me face and that is because they are a Narcissist.
    So on days like this , do something nice for yourself . We are strong women !! I had to leave 32 yrs of marriage and 5 kids were affected that is the hardest thing we will ever do . God Bless you and your family .


  5. Happy Non-Aversary to you!

  6. The blame game … so glad you saw the light and walked yourself right into it xxxx

  7. Good for you for having the strength to save yourself and your family. I’m sorry you had to go through this. I’m sure you’ve set a positive example for others who also need to recognize the abuse they don’t deserve to have in their lives.

  8. Thank you for sharing your story. It isn’t easy. I know. I wish I didn’t understand but I do, and it sucks. It sucks that you experienced this, it sucks that I did, it sucks that anyone did. Thank you for your strength. Thank you for sharing your story. Do not stop, please. There are always more people who need to hear it.

  9. You are an inspiration.

  10. Elizabeth,
    Thank goodness you found the strength to get out. It’s so crucial to value yourself so you won’t be mistreated and finally, you did. You fought the inertia. Congratulations. Be proud of your strength. So many other women never leave.

  11. Oh Elizabeth, it takes so long to get over a marriage that lasted decades. You can’t help it, your entire life has been tied to the marriage. Heck, 14 years later, I still love my ex-in laws. How could I not? I married their son when we were 22 and they were parents to me for 20 years. The dissolution of a long term marriage leaves scars everywhere. The trick is not to pick the scabs… And when you do, acknowledge yourself and all the hard work you put into your marriage, then throw a bandaid on it and move on. Yeah, it kind of hurts forever. xoxoxo

  12. Get out, get better, but please don’t give up on love all together… I suffered emotional abuse in my first marriage. I felt stupid for staying seven years. But eventually I did find out what love and marriage is supposed to feel like.
    I felt so strongly about this I wrote a book and then a blog:
    Don’t let your abuser/wasband win by destroying your belief that love can be the best experience ever!

  13. You are amazing and I’m so glad you changed your life. Wow.

  14. Beautiful post. I know that every issue can’t be covered in any post, but as heroic as it was to actually leave (and believe me, I know it was) it takes even more courage to face the next steps of recovery, something which cannot be done successfully in a bubble without a great therapist and an amazing support group (both of which I’m blessed to have). Leaving (the reality of facing the problem) is the first step, recovery (the reality of healthy living) and then, hallelujah, new love with a healthy partner. 🙂

  15. Holly /

    21 years. And I’ve been free for 9 in August. I didn’t have the guts to leave, when I started to get stronger, get a backbone, object (to the cheating and the porn), he left. I didn’t realize the abuse was abuse until about 6 months after he left. He kept it up during the process of the divorce and got a lot he shouldn’t have. I wish I had left 8 years before when he laid a hand on my son. But the whole church thing, God hates divorce, and not knowing how I would raise my kids on my own kept me there. He had all the power at that point and knew it and the cycle started. I’m single, not interested in changing that, and I’m happy. So are my kids.

  16. This is so raw and poignant, Elizabeth. You describe the “gaslighting” phenomenon perfectly. It’s very hard for people who haven’t experienced it to understand it. I have an idea of how hard it was for you to leave your marriage. I’m glad you did.

  17. I’m glad that you were finally able to break that cycle. Happy non-aversary to you.

  18. Y’all, thanks for all the comments. If I were a good blogger, I’d reply to each one individually. This post was hard to write and even harder to respond to. Just know that I appreciate each one of you so very much, and I’m thankful I got out, too.

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