I Wish I Knew…

If someone had told me that I was in an abusive relationship, I wouldn’t have believed them. It’s only now that I am out of it that I can really see it for what it was. There were no beatings but that doesn’t mean there was no abuse.

The first red flag that this relationship wasn’t going to work was his insecurities; I put it down to petty jealously as we can all be guilty of that in relationships. It quickly turned to a discussion about our pasts and my refusal to get into it showed me a side to him that intimidated me. I eventually told him everything as he asked, expecting it make things better but I felt it was held against me and that I should be ashamed. I was apologising for having a life before I met him.

The second red flag should have been the ultimatums; I assumed this was because of how much he cared about the relationship. I would often be given the option to do as he said or he would leave me. So I would do as he said, ignore my own feelings and this would chip away at my self-worth.

The red flags kept on coming. I felt like he picked at everything I did and blamed me for everything that went wrong. When we argued, I felt I was brow beaten until I apologised and accepted blame. I would be given the silent treatment for days at a time and all the while not fully understanding what I was supposed to have done wrong.

It seemed like there wasn’t any consideration for how his behaviour affected me; this left me feeling like I didn’t matter. I didn’t feel valued or loved. I grew frustrated and angry at how unfair it was. I felt I was doing everything to please him and he did nothing but control me, intimidate me and use emotional blackmail.

We split up and got back together more times than I can count. I always went back for fear of what would happen if I didn’t/ what my life would be like without him. I became embarrassed of the relationship; I made excuses for our behaviour and felt I was being judged by my family and friends when they questioned why I was still with him. He did not like that I spoke to them about us and I was told to keep everything to myself. I felt like a burden and eventually grew apart from my friends.

The worst thing about it all is in trying to regain some control I tried to fight fire with fire. I became harsh, unkind and full of anger. Name calling and belittling became normal. There was a constant power struggle. I felt so wretched, trapped, I had no one to turn to and I was in utter despair at what my life had become. The relationship took all of my energy and I was exhausted. There were times when I thought I was losing my mind. We went round and round in circles. We were abusing each other and I hated who I had become.

When we finally ended it, I had lost who I was; everything that made me, me. My confidence was destroyed after spending so much time supressing my feelings and inner voice while trying to be so many different things in order to please and accommodate someone else. Even after the relationship was done, I found myself still ruled by those same feelings of anger, self-doubt and worthlessness. I suffered from bouts of anxiety and depression that affected me so much that I stopped going to work. After a while I sought help, I wanted my life back.

Over the years using CBT with the help of a counsellor, I built my confidence back up by gaining knowledge on how to change my negative thought processes. I dealt with my anger and accepted responsibility for my errors in that relationship. I still suffer with self-doubt from time to time.

Looking back, I’ve grown and learned a lot. I wish I knew then what I know now. I wish I’d had enough respect for myself to walk away sooner for both of our sakes. I wish I could have seen how much damage we were causing to each other and the impact that it would have on my life in the future. I wish I’d have trusted myself to know that I didn’t deserve to feel the way I did and I wish that I hadn’t lost so much time feeling like I wasn’t good enough.

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7 thoughts on “I Wish I Knew…

  1. I’m not liking this for what you went through (obviously), but because you’re totally right about all of this. I hadn’t realized when we started following each other that we have both been in emotionally abusive relationships. I feel like no one can really understand what it’s like unless they’ve been through it. In my case, my abuser, in my humble and non-professional opinion, is a textbook case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. He subtly shamed every element of my life – my degree, my job, my family, my friends, where I live, how I look, and (most painfully) my creativity. He always had to be “the funny one” (he totally wasn’t), the talented one – the better one.

    He withheld from me physically. He had fits of rage that scared the shit out of me to the point I was walking on eggshells all the time. It was only when I was a shell of my former self that I realized how bad I actually felt all the time, especially when I was around him, physically and emotionally, that I decided to leave him. I actually had Stage III adrenal fatigue at that point from all of the stress. It’ll be two years at the end of next month and I’m still rebuilding a better version of who I used to be. It hasn’t been easy.

    Godspeed to anyone who has been on this journey. I don’t want to give that asshole credit for changing my life, but I’m glad it gave me the kick in the ass I needed to make some serious changes in my life that include not accepting crap for what it is and not trying to shine a turd and for making me face my more serious problem – lack of self-love – which I’m completely dedicated to fixing now (and it’s WORKING!)

    I’m so sorry you had to go through this. Super big hugs to you and thank you for sharing your story. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah Melissa! This shouldn’t of but it totally made me chuckle. I know EXACTLY what you mean about him having to be the funny one! I had to rewrite this a few times over as I didn’t want it to sound like a pity party and I didn’t want it to sound like I was bad mouthing him as he taught me a lot. But yes we are obviously so very different from the kind of men we have chose to have in our life. I’m glad you saw your worth and I am too sorry for what you went through. I say I wish I had know but I don’t think I would take the relationship back if I could maybes just ended it sooner and fought for my worth abit more. Big hugs right back at you! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great reflections, glad you finally got out of the vicious cycle! The thing with leaving unhealthy relationships (I did too) is that you don’t want to leave it until you actually do, and it’s usually not by choice (from my experience)
    It takes a while to move past it but eventually you will make improvements, despite how small they are. Keep up with the good work! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah that’s the thing I never wanted to leave and when I did I wasn’t sure it would last then he did something so abhorrent that I couldn’t go back and I was so angry at him that he had taken that choice away from me but now I’m just grateful! Thanks for your kind words!

      Liked by 1 person

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