…but I do.”
She didn’t say it as an accusation, not quite…just a hint of recrimination as we were driving to the drop off. But my guilt made it feel that way.
And I do feel guilty for not being there as a buffer. Initially, she wanted us back together again, because that’s what kids do. That and her father would play videos of happy times together and tell her how he loves me and doesn’t know why I left.
But even without that manipulation, she would have wanted us to get back together again.
Eventually, though, her reasons for this began to change. It wasn’t just that she wanted us together again. As she got older and started seeing sides to her father that she hadn’t seen before, the reasons for my leaving became clearer to her. And now she wanted me to come back so she wouldn’t have to be alone with him. So that I could protect her, be a buffer to his emotional abuse, when he wasn’t being a “Fun Pal Dad”.
We talked about this the other day. I told her I would not have been able to protect her if I had stayed. I said I was losing so much of myself, there would have been nothing of me left to protect anyone.
And who would protect her from me? I asked her.
I told her when a woman is in a situation like that, she gets filled with anger, and that it would have spilled out over her. I told her I could already see that happening when I left. It’s one of the things that gave me strength to leave.
Moving out enabled me to create a safe space. Yes, she has to be with him for much longer periods than she likes, but she’s not with him all the time, and I do have her more. My home is a respite, a nurturing place where she is respected as a human being. She can have a taste of what it should be like.
No walking on eggshells. Here, she can be renewed.