“It Ends With Us” – Colleen Hoover

While I had planned to talk today about the possible shift in my workload to the kid books instead of the novel at this point, I feel it’s important to talk about this 2017 novel by Colleen Hoover. I have just finished reading it, and it impacted me, big time. I love how the ending came about, no spoilers here, just read the book. It ended one of two ways it could, and I’m glad for the ending. I will say it’s a story about a woman who finds out a man is abusive. It starts innocently enough, but it escalates.

We always hear stories about women who won’t leave. We scoff at her saying, “But I love him.” I’m sure she does. Loves him for his goodness, when it surfaces. He is so deeply hurt himself after he lets his temper and fists fly. I’m not defending these men; far from it. They employ whatever tactics they find effective to keep their woman or child in line. They know what they’re doing, and most times, he is acting out behavior he learned at home. Maybe he really doesn’t like women. At first, I thought he was a pretty selfish kind of guy who prided himself in one-night stands. Never a relationship. Maybe he know the demons inside him could erupt. Was he afraid of that? Maybe.

This is a horrific way to live. Let me raise this issue, though. If a man is “only” verbally abusive, should she stay? If he’s detached from family life, while professing to love his wife and kids, is it worth staying? I was finally freed from that kind of life. I finally realized we were far too different. I didn’t care what he said to me, but I hated seeing the tears well up in my children’s eyes. I needed to end it. Many years later, one of my sons told me he probably would have been on drugs if his dad was still in the home. I was so sad at first, but reminded myself he did it to himself. Again, I wish him well. My kids had a stable family life. We ate dinner together nearly every day, but especially on Sunday. It was our tradition. We all loved it.

Having your hopes and dreams ridiculed is also not the way to live. It used to be, “At least he doesn’t hit you.” I retorted, “But he won’t talk to me. He makes fun of me (I’m only joking), and I’m isolated. Therapy helped me see why I married the wrong person. The pride of youth is a big part; the adults in my life couldn’t tell me the details of why I shouldn’t marry him, and not at the age I was. I get it. “Because I said so,” was not enough of a reason to a headstrong young woman. It never does. If you are in a situation where you are dealing with abuse, be it verbal or physical, get to safety. Find someone who can help by listening to you first. They will help you make a plan and implement it. It is never easy. Staying is harder. Logic has to make these hard decisions, not emotion. Emotions can get your hurt or worse, killed. You can do this. You can be strong enough. It took me 18 months of therapy to be able to end it. I was fortunate there was no physical abuse. It can escalate to that; be mindful of that.

Every family has some dysfunction. Every family. If you have behaviors in your home that are not rooted in love, take a step back. Think of outcomes. Think of living differently. Make it stop with you. Be brave but careful.

**If you are of a victim of domestic violence or know someone who could use assistance in leaving a dangerous , please visit this website. See you tomorrow.