Although what happened to me six and a half months ago was one of the two most traumatic nights of my life (addressed in this earlier post), I have come to believe that it was also something that was quite necessary. Not only did I finally get the courage to risk everything to regain my life, it taught me a lesson in humility. I am not talking about an issue with a garden-variety type ego that needed to be tempered and cooled. I am not speaking of learning how to have seemingly infinite knowledge without lording it over others. And I am not even considering trouble with putting the brakes on an overwhelming sense of entitlement, for I truly have no part of the preceding flaws.
My issue with humility has nothing to do with ego, haughtiness, or entitlement. In fact, mine is one that I have come to believe contributed to the severity of my abusive relationship. Since I was a child, I have always had an issue with not only accepting help from others but, even worse, asking for help when I need it. Coming from a dysfunctional background, however, is not the most conducive environment to cultivate this facet of humility in a budding youth. When there is abuse, neglect, and a pervasive blasé attitude, the child can feel alone, like they must confront, handle, and conquer everything alone. It has been so pervasive and deeply engrained in me that, until six months ago, it reached its dirty fingers into and tainted too many areas of my life. In the many ways I have extended my hand in assistance to others because I simply could not stand to them go without, I apparently did not see the virtue and necessity of extending the same courtesy to myself. Meaning, it would take an avalanche after a hurricane and flooding on top of the seven plagues before I would even consider entertaining the thought of seeking help.
Enter Kevin into the mix. One man with an indomitable will to rule with an iron fist. With prospective clients and others in his trade, he was extremely well-spoken, polite, even attentive. In his vocation, he was superbly skilled and well-versed. He was working for a large firm in New York when AutoCAD first made its introduction to his company. The firm sent two drafters to learn the software. The drafter with an engineering background could not retain what he learned, and Kevin, without any post secondary education, excelled at learning so much of the software that the company had him write the company standards and procedures.
He started out doing commercial and institutional projects for several New York City firms, but upon moving down South, he moved into residential design. I cannot deny that Kevin is extremely talented in this regard. His abilities allowed him to work for some well-known national home builders. His projects? High-end residential design averaging in the $30-$40 million range. As talented as he was designing homes, he was absolutely clueless how to treat women. Not just any woman, however. He had no trouble putting on his façade for his female friends and strangers alike. It was the one closest to him he thought he had the right to mistreat, use, and abuse at his will.
The problems started when he became verbal and I brushed it off. Then when it became worse, I thought if I changed, he would stop. If I could just be good enough, he would realize that I was truly worth something, and he would be better to me. However, no matter what I did, it was wrong. Always. Even when I followed his instructions to the letter, he would flip and tell me I should have done it the either way. Now that I am out of it, I realize that he deliberately made it impossible for me to do anything correctly. This gave him the ability to twist everything around and make it my fault.
When the abuse escalated into physical assaults, I still tried to adjust my behavior thinking that if I could finally get the right combination of anything assembled together, he would stop. In combination with the financial control, physical abuse, verbal abuse, fear, and threats, this proved to be catastrophic.
At the time, I never connected it with being an issue of humility. Now it seems so obvious that it would contribute to my refusal to ask for help. I became so accustomed to doing things on my own, I thought I could accomplish anything by myself. There was also a part of me that simply did not feel as though I had the right to ask for help. And when I left in December, it was more out of fear than anything. Staying to appease him into not following through on a myriad of threats he made was no longer safer. If I was to live through the end of the year, I had to leave.
Enter Kerwyn. One man with a heartfelt desire to serve Jehovah and an entrepreneur who works with people’s interests at heart. Immeasurably intelligent, he is sharp-witted, honest, resourceful, kind, generous, compassionate, loving, giving, trustworthy, capable, caring, patient, and handsome. He is everything to me, and there is no way to put a full list of all the traits he possesses that endear him to me.
Once again, the same as the first time around, I find Kerwyn being a positive influence on my development, spiritually, personally, and professionally. He challenges me to look into myself and analyze what’s there and helps me process and, where necessary, correct what’s there. Never haughty, arrogant, judgmental, or impatient, but always loving, assigning me dignity and respect to be up-building and encouraging. This little thing called humility is something that Kerwyn has helped me continue to shape and refine for my benefit. Unknowingly, by being who he is, he has challenged me to want better for myself and to accept nothing less than I deserve. Not even from myself.
Life is funny how things work out. A chapter I thought was over long ago has been re-opened and resulted in unimaginable joy, contentment, and love, overwriting all the pain and suffering I have endured. As I alluded to in my open letter to Kevin months ago, once upon a time someone earned his way in. And he never left me. And I know deep down, no matter what may come for the rest of my days in this dilapidated, limping, suffering system, I know he never will.