A letter to Miguel, my ex-husband. We’ve been apart for many years now, and we no longer have much contact, now that my sons are older and he ignores them most of the time. Sometimes I can go for weeks without thinking of him. But not this week, not with the memory that surfaced during my recent travels. Suddenly what he did–just one of many wounds he gave me–took over my body. E suggested I write him a letter. One I’ll never send, of course, one for me to acknowledge my emotions. This is the first draft.

Hi Miguel,

There are so many things I never called you on. There are so many ways in which you mistreated me. Both you and I acted as if this were normal. It’s time for me to tell you otherwise.

It is not normal to disregard the feelings and well-being of your partner. It is not normal to belittle her, to humiliate her. It is not normal to insist on being right all the time. It is not right to force her to have sex when she doesn’t want to. That’s called rape, in fact. It’s illegal, even if you are married. I realize that now, though I didn’t allow myself to back then.

You are a rapist. You are an abusive, controlling, domineering man. You have behaved selfishly, cruelly.

I am sick, literally sick, unable to work. I am sick this week because of what you did to me way back when we were first married, way back when you supposedly loved me. I am nauseous. I am anxious. I am enraged. I am on fire.

This will pass, I know. Emotional states always do. But the wrongness of your actions will never go away.

At times, I have felt compassion for you. But not now, not this week. Now, I hate you. I feel disgust for you. I spit on your narrow-minded, self-centered, judgmental view of the world. Your self-righteousness. Your unkindness to the people closest to you. Your utter lack of compassion.

I despise you.

You have hurt me in so many ways, ways you will never begin to understand, because you lack empathy. Did you ever have any? Or did you just ignore it until it withered away?

I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter, really. You never even tried to see how things were for me. You punished me for even trying to know, myself, what my point of view was. You said I was selfish for thinking differently than you. You browbeat me into looking at myself as you did: with impatience, derision and judgment. I came to believe it was my job to make you happy. Never mind that it was an impossible job, because you always found something to be unhappy about.

All this time later, I am still suffering for it. I am still trying to recover myself. I am paying (a lot) for therapy. I am feeling sick. I am missing work. This was your wedding gift to me.

I can’t say thank you. Instead I say: Fuck you. Fuck your shriveled soul.

— Q.

I hate you and me

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