Abusive relationships come in so many forms. Physical. Emotional. Verbal. A combination of those. For me, it was verbal.
I was in love. We fell so hard and so fast and it was so amazing to be with someone who felt as strongly for me as I did for him. There were many red flags from the beginning, things I chose to accept because I believe everyone can change. Everyone can improve themselves if they just want it bad enough. And he did. Oh, he knew he had issues, he knew he needed to make changes. He had a rough upbringing, and most of his close relationships were very toxic. There was drug and alcohol abuse, abandonment issues, daddy issues, you name it.
But, I am and always have been very compassionate, I try to be understanding. I sometimes believe I am here on this earth to change lives. Most of my past relationships haven’t worked out because my exes were all stuck in some sort of rut, they didn’t have the tools yet to get themselves out. They weren’t ready for me. For love. When I could no longer handle the impossible relationship, it would end, and then and only THEN, they would snap out of their funk and change themselves like they’d always wanted to.
Back to the abuse. See, this guy knew he was troubled. He even warned me when we started dating. He had said that he didn’t like being this way, I inspired him to see things in a different way. I thought maybe I’d be the reason he would finally get what he wanted out of life. I was the best person he had ever dated, at least the most logical and understanding and real.
We had problems almost right away. I had some health issues that affected our intimacy, and I think that played into our problems more than I thought at the time. He had moments of doubt when it came to us, he didn’t always feel like we had something special. It just felt like a friendship to him at times. He could snap at any moment, it didn’t take much to set him off. And boy, he would cuss and just be plain cruel. If I said something he didn’t like, he didn’t try and figure out if maybe he’d heard me wrong, or maybe I didn’t mean it the way it had come out. He fumed. Said things I knew he didn’t mean. Yell. Put me down. Talk about breaking up. Once, he told me “get the fuck out.” I had just come over in the morning to pick him up to go to the gym. He asked about a Facebook post I had written about grabbing dinner with an old friend to catch up. It just so happened to be a male friend. His response: “get the fuck out.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. There were good times. Every relationship has good times, otherwise how in the hell would it have turned into a relationship in the first place?! He gave me massages, made me laugh, took care of me when I had surgery, even though it was clearly rough for him to see me in such a vulnerable, pain filled situation.
We almost broke up too many times to count. The fights were all the same. Same topics, same misunderstandings, same result. He’d tell me he would get better, he regretted the things he said and the way he treated me at times. He loved me and I loved him. We worked it out. For the time being anyway.
I found myself losing myself. I had more negative thoughts than ever before. I judged people I didn’t even know. I said no to hanging out with friends sometimes, because I was so used to just being with him and I didn’t want him to get suspicious that I was up to no good. He was paranoid and jealous, even though I didn’t give him any reason to be.
I remember the exact day I knew I didn’t love him anymore. He had insulted me about my parenting skills with my chihuhua, who apparently he had to take care of all the time. I was done. I did not feel the same way after that. Except I was stupid and still stayed for almost two more months… Hey now, I was living with him and it was very hard to find a place.
Eventually I found my own apartment, way way too expensive, but it got me out. I didn’t even tell him I had looked at a place because I knew his reaction would be very negative and he’d be very mean to me. I told him at dinner. I had found a place and got the keys the next day. Yes, I was moving out. Yes, we were breaking up. He sat there in silence, refusing to look at me. He admitted later that he almost walked out before the food had even gotten to the table. We went home. Didn’t speak. I got a pillow and blanket to sleep on the couch. And I sobbed. Sobbed for my unfortunate situation, sobbed that it was over, sobbed for how mean I knew he would be to me afterward.
But it wasn’t over. I became all those girls who just can’t leave a bad thing when they need to. He came out of the bedroom, and wanted to work things out. I’m not sure how, but we stayed together even though I was moving out. It didn’t last long, and it wasn’t pretty. He made an effort, I will say that. He could feel that I didn’t love him anymore, and he was determined to make me fall back in love with the new him.
One night, we went out for drinks with friends. He doesn’t do well when he drinks too much, and he doesn’t know how to limit his alcohol consumption. He broke something in a bar. Fucked up his arm real bad, had to have stitches and was facing felony charges. What happened? He couldn’t find me in the bar and went looking for me and thought I deliberately was trying to lose him. Found me, grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me, asked “where the fuck have you been?!” That’s all it took for him to lose it. I was furious. Drunk and furious. He scared me. For the first time in over a year together, he got slightly physical and appeared capable of hitting me. He didn’t, but it sure was close.
We broke up soon after. He began seeing a therapist, went to church, stopped drinking completely, and surrounded himself with some good people. Everyone knew he needed help. And he finally, finally went after it. We tried to be friends, but he still had hope I’d fall for him again, and I was simply just over it. He still smothered me and always asked what I was doing, who I was with, if I was seeing anyone.
Well one day I did see someone. I hooked up with a friend at a wedding. He found out, and called me all the names in the book. That was it for our friendship. He was the one thing in my life that caused stress, and I didn’t need it anymore. I am in control of my life, not him or anyone else. At that wedding I had gone to, my best friend said that I seemed happier that weekend than I had in a long time. It just goes to show how much negative people can affect your life. He messed me up for awhile. I was not me. And I knew that yet I became the girl I hate. The girl who made excuses for her man and his behavior.
Every situation is different, and to this day, I still justify my decisions in that relationship. If I hadn’t stuck around, maybe he wouldn’t have made the changes he needed to make for himself, and I can live with the pain he caused if it means his life is on the right track for the first time. He is finding himself. He is learning new things about himself. He is paying for all the mistakes he made, and learning patience and how to not judge everyone so quickly. He is growing up at 30 years old. From losing me, he has gained everything he had wanted while we were together. The perspective he has gained on life, are some of the things I tried telling him before. The things he says now, some of it is word for word to things I’ve told him.
No one will ever learn anything until they are ready to. People are stubborn. You can’t be your boyfriend’s therapist. You can’t change him. He has to change for himself. He has to love himself and treat himself with respect before he can treat others the same way. There is never an excuse for abuse. Never a really good reason to stay. I had my dumb reasons, and I knew a long time ago that it wasn’t going to work out in the end. I knew I’d leave someday. He is now turning into the man I always knew he could be, and he is happy doing so. He can be proud to be who he is. He doesn’t have to regret anything he does or says from now on.
I have learned what I won’t put up with. I have learned what it’s like to be put down by someone I love. I now know what it feels like to love someone who only ever tries to push you away. It is difficult. It is very hard to move forward from that, to not let myself sink down lower and lower. But I am strong. I am not that person, it is not me, it is what happened TO me.
Don’t let what happened TO you define who YOU ARE. You are in control of the way you turn out. The way you love. The way you live life. Your destiny is up to you, your attitude and the decisions you make. No one else.