Dear Mr. Church
Iâ€™m leaving you.
I know this may be a shocking statement, especially considering the relationship weâ€™ve had all these years. But Iâ€™ll say it again, to make certain you hear me: Iâ€™m leaving you.
All this time, youâ€™ve sworn to me that you value me, that Iâ€™m a woman of worth, that my life, my contributions, and my sacrifices really mean something to you. And I heard your words, wanting to believe them, while at the same time I tried to make my reality fit your words. Thereâ€™s a big discrepancy between how you made me feel by your actions and how you told me to feel by your words.
If Iâ€™m so special, so valued, so filled with worth, why did you treat me as if I had no worth? Itâ€™s apparent all I ever was to you was a workhorse, a maid, someone to get things done. I made you look good in your position of status. No power was ever granted to me in our relationship. It was well understood who held the power. I made sure you had order, organization, peace, contentment, and ease in your world, while you sat back and accepted this from me with an air of entitlement and expectation. I worked so hard! And what did you say? You told me that it was my duty, my privilege to be doing those things for you that were expected of me. And often, you told me that my efforts might not be quite good enough. I was made to feel guilty each time I did something for me, because itâ€™s not about me. No, never. Itâ€™s all about you ~ how to make you look better, and how to give service to you and yours, how to build you up.
If I ever felt weary or discouraged about how I was being treated, you were always quick to assure me that I was wrong to feel that way. You made me apologize and repent for what you said were my unrighteous feelings. You told me to appreciate all the opportunities for service and giving that were there to enrich my life, help me grow, and bring me happiness. You made me feel selfish and low for wanting to have something, anything, different than the life you created for me with your high expectations and unwillingness to let me have some say in who I wanted to become.
And what carrot did you dangle to keep me with you all these years? You told me that if I stayed by your side, unquestioningly doing all you told me to do, I could one day be a goddess! I could earn eternal glory! You told me that you needed me, and who doesnâ€™t love to feel needed? But then you told me that without you, I am nothing. You assured me that if I ever left you, Iâ€™d have no family near, no home to call my own. Iâ€™d have no support. Iâ€™d be worthless, cast out, alone. To think I actually believed you when you told me you valued me! I actually thought you loved me! But when I stopped working and listening to your criticism long enough to actually look at our relationship with open eyes, it was devastating! Absolutely devastating. Because it was all too clear.
All along, your actions told me exactly how much worth you really felt I had. I had no ability to make the final decision in anything. I had to run everything by you for approval first. If I ever did something that fell outside the guidelines you set for me, I had to tell you about it, and face consequences that you created and that you enforced. You told me how much money I could spend, and on what. You insisted I pay you 10% of all my personal earnings, in order to be allowed entrance into the temple, another thing required in order to obtain your dangling carrot. You gave me specific jobs to do, without letting me choose for myself what I preferred doing, exerting extreme pressure on me to always do what I was told to do without question. You made sure I knew and understood that I would never have any real authority in our relationship, because this is the way you said itâ€™s supposed to be. You made me report back to you in all that I did, and you kept tabs on my life constantly. When I said I resent that I have to tell you everything and answer to you in all things, you said, â€œThis is the way it is. This is the way itâ€™s supposed to be – the way itâ€™s always been. Embrace it. This is where you will find your true destiny and ultimate strength. All trials have been gifted to you to make you stronger, to help you become your best self.â€
All this time, I wanted to believe that you valued me. But you didnâ€™t. You didnâ€™t. How could you? I mean, who values the mat you step on to get inside the door?? Itâ€™s rare to even notice the mat, let alone dwell on its worth to you.
Until itâ€™s suddenly gone on a rainy day.