Admitting that the relationship we are in is toxic is sometimes harder than actually leaving one, because we feel ashamed that we have allowed this to happen, the key thing here is we haven’t allowed it to happen, it has been done to us and once the fear of that relationship takes root it is hard to accept and then break free.
During the time of the relationship it has gone through many changes, at first it seemed a dream come true, he was all I could hope for, but over time, very subtly he began to change and before I knew it, I was living in hell.
He was slowly but surely ripping me apart, killing who I was and making me into something I wasn’t, and worse I found myself making excuses for him and his behavior.
I convinced myself of the following:
1. He was just kidding
He would make fun of me when we were alone as well as in company which left me feeling humiliated, I put it down to his sense of humor and that I needed to wear my big girl panties and not be so sensitive. Picking on someone and embarrassing them is not love its abuse but I excused it.
2. It was my fault—I got him mad
Everything was my fault, he had a bad day, my fault, work was shit, my fault, his job was a nightmare, my fault, the damn weather when he wanted to go out, my fault. Looking back anything and everything was my fault and it was my fault he got mad, he never once took responsibility for his actions and never apologized when he was wrong.
3. Deep down I knew he loved me
I loved him so much this man who had been so kind and gentle, funny and great company when we first met, he had to love me, right? I wouldn’t accept that he had changed even though the evidence was right there in front of me. The thing is he never loved me, he just wanted to own me and in his twisted mind that is what love is having someone who is a possession and not a person in their own right.
4. That’s just the way he is
When people started to notice a change in me, they would ask me if everything was ok, I’d tell them of course it is, but never took the next logical step of asking them why they felt the need to even ask that question. It all came to a head when a friend of mine noticed me flinch when he moved near me, the look of horror on her face is something I will never forget. He acted with such arrogance and indifference to me and people around us, but I just kept telling myself its just the way he is. He never showed an affection in public they other couples do, and I would just tell myself he doesn’t like being a show-off like some other people. The truth is there was no love there, my friends and family knew it, and finally, I had to admit I knew it too.
5. No one else would want me
As time went on even my love started to die, I finally saw him for what he truly was, a selfish, ignorant abusive man, he wasn’t the love of my life, the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with, he was, in fact, a man I needed to escape, but how to escape was the solution that eluded me for quite some time.
6. I had nowhere to go
For a long time, I believed I had nowhere to go, no one to turn to as he had been isolating me without me even knowing it. Our nights out with friends seemed to suddenly stop, it was a battle to even attend family events. He had convinced me that I couldn’t exist without him and that everyone was sick of me and he was a saint for putting up with me.
All of that was part of his pattern of abuse, I did as I found out have somewhere to go, and I did have support and love when I needed it most.
Everyone was relieved when I finally broke free and welcomed me with open arms and put up a wall of silence and protection around me. I know not everyone has that when they leave their abuser so I am under no illusion how lucky I am.
Staying in an abusive relationship is never an option despite what they tell you, reach out to family and friends, if you don’t feel you can reach out to support groups, call the helplines or speak to your doctor.
I am loved, I am worthy, and I am in no way a burden on anyone despite what he tried to make me believe and you are those things too. You are not alone even if you think you are, reach out it will be the best decision you ever make.