Our youngest did not learn until she was nineteen that my ex was abusive. And that is darkly one of my proudest achievements.
The reveal was made during a somber conversation about an abusive relationship between a friends’ parents. I assumed she knew. Her expression told otherwise.
See, it was expected by Tyrone and his family that I would try to turn the kids against him with my ‘lies’ and so they bad-mouthed me accordingly.
The alienation worked on our son, Stuart, but not our daughter.
Donna made the critical error of treating the youngest as an enemy.
Coraline was punished for showing love or consideration for me. Inappropriate negative comments were made about her looking like me, sounding like me, acting like me.
Letters she wrote me were thrown away. She was punished for wasting the paper. Her hair was chopped off against her wishes, time and time again. Other things have come to light.
I wish I’d protected her more, but I didn’t know the extent of what was happening until long after. She was afraid and so confused.
I was honest—but not forthcoming—about the reasons for the divorce. I was careful not to make him out to be a bad person, but one incompatible with me. He wasn’t a great husband, and I wasn’t a great wife. But he wasn’t a bad father.
He was a victim as well, of whatever afflicted Donna. Conversations I’ve had with several people who were in his life after the divorce confirmed those suspicions.
I’m sorry he’s gone.
It was not my fault.
Donna abused Tyrone.
Tyrone abused me.
Donna abused Coraline.
And yet, Stuart believes that I abused Tyrone, that I abused Donna, and that I abused him.
And the only way he can keep that narrative from being spoiled is to isolate himself from every single member of our family who knows better.
I feel so bad for him.
The truth is waiting.
The truth won’t change with the passing of years.