Divorcing a Real witch – book excerpt

Sep 13th, 2016 | By | Category: Articles, Books for Pagans

jhp52e267c4eea04Divorcing a Real Witch

For Pagans and the People that Used to Love Them

By Diana Rajchel

2002 heralded war, both at home and abroad. In November of 2001, my husband forgot my 24th birthday. In October of 2002, I filed for divorce and moved to a nearby city; I celebrated my 26th alone. From 1999, the year I married on, I thought something was wrong with me. Stuck in a marriage when culture tells me that marriage should equal progress and achievement rather than
stagnation, I mistook my misery for moral failure. In filing the papers, we both admitted failure. We were right to divorce. We were wrong about ourselves.

A dying marriage has four warning signs, four negative styles of communication that tear people apart: contempt, criticism, stonewalling and complaining. My ex did not view me with contempt but he did stonewall me to the point of isolation. We had no shared friends, he resented my social life, and we did not go on dates if he could help it. The in-laws viewed me with contempt, as did my own family. For the course of a 5-year relationship, I withstood it, but by 2002, I reached the end of my tolerance. Isolation led me to crushes on co-workers, dysfunctional friendships where the female social violence was on the far end of the use-and-abuse spectrum and a sense of total aloneness that made my wedding ring meaningless.

I dismissed my depression as immaturity. I married young because of enormous family pressure. My mother pushed me to repeat her life, and my sister’s baby to her mind meant that it was my turn to make a baby. The pressure began at age 19 when I had just started college, complete with a boyfriend both my mother and sister recognized as abusive. Personal ambitions for my own
life were irrelevant to them. The only path was their path: marriage, babies, and total annihilation of me to their relentless and impossible to satisfy needs.

My tug-of-war between the disempowering culture of home¬†and the personal ambition is not the only one. These conflicting¬†voices stayed in my head well after I collected my diploma and¬†spoke my wedding vows. I originally pictured a fun single life for¬†myself upon college graduation, but marriage seemed fine.¬†Family elders taught me a happy marriage meant to accept my¬†partner with all his foibles while suppressing my own peccadilloes.¬†I did not know that that my impulse to dig my heels in and¬†say no the day of my wedding might have given both my ex and¬†myself a better chance at successful lives. I knew going in I didn‚Äôt¬†want marriage. I got married that day because my family¬†expected ‚Äď even demanded it ‚Äď of me.

I‚Äôm not the only one. Even among the privileged, women face¬†pressure to give over their bodies, lives, thoughts, to somebody¬†else‚Äôs demands. Marriage is only one way out. As soon as I¬†reached legal marriageable age, my own family members placed¬†that pressure on me.¬†When the first year of marriage passed I found myself lonely,¬†isolated and thoroughly miserable. I convinced myself it was my¬†fault. Adulthood meant killing playful impulses; I must want to¬†play too much. I applied the same constant, exhausting mentality¬†to my marriage. ‚ÄúHappily married‚ÄĚ meant a lot of work.
I assumed that marriage defined adulthood, and that real¬†adults can make it through periods of dissatisfaction by inner¬†work alone. I had to be the problem ‚Äď my family taught me that I¬†was always the problem.¬†I was horrified when I realized I wasn‚Äôt the problem. Only¬†after my divorce did I accept that adults rarely act like the fabled¬†grown-ups in my head. Living up to the standard of ideal¬†husband or ideal wife is impossible. Men‚Äôs only advantage in¬†their impossible standards is that their unrealistic expectations¬†are limited to two areas: sexual performance and money. The
demands on the perfect women include several equal and mutually exclusive categories.

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